Thursday, July 26, 2012
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
12 ounces precooked andouille, sliced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick rounds
1 medium red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large stalk celery, chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon each of marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary and sage (or a couple of teaspoons poultry seasoning)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bunch scallions, chopped, for serving (they are a must-have with this!)
Place a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in the pan and brown for 2 to 3 minutes*, until the chicken has given up a bit of its fat, and you can move the pieces around the pan. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the sausage, and cook 2 minutes more.
Add onion, bell pepper, celery, bay leaves, Louisiana hot sauce and cayenne. Saute 5 to 6 minutes, until vegetables are just soft. Stir in tomatoes, stock, cumin, ancho chili powder, herbs, Worcestershire and salt. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is desired consistency.
Remove bay leaves and serve immediately over cooked rice, with chopped scallions and more hot sauce at the table.
(*If using chicken breast, add a couple of teaspoons of oil first; thighs already have just enough fat around the edges to get the job done. Combined with the fat from the andouille, it then provides all the oil I need to saute the vegetables.)
This was a spontaneous riff on an old quickie jambalaya I used to make that got pushed aside once I found this amazing oven baked version. However, as much as we like that more recent dish, it's definitely more of a lengthy weekend evening endeavor. Enter this revised one-pot wonder.
It's straightforward, quick (with prep time, easily 30 minutes or less, depending upon your experience) and, frankly, it tastes amazing.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
from Foodie with Family
10 dried guajillo chili peppers (stem and seeds removed)
7 dried arbol chili peppers (stem and seeds removed)
4 dried New Mexico chili peppers (stem and seeds removed)
2 white onions, peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds ground pork
Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the dried chili peppers. Toast the stemmed and seeded chili peppers until pliable (about 1 minute on each side) in a hot pan. Transfer them to a large non-reactive bowl (stainless steel, glass, or plastic), layer the chopped onion and garlic on top. Heat the vinegar (either in the microwave or on a stove top) until very warm to the touch. Pour over the chili peppers, onions, and garlic and lay a plate on top to weigh them down. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let set at room temperature for an hour.
Transfer all of the peppers, onions, garlic and vinegar to a blender and process until you have a smooth, thick paste. If necessary, add another splash of vinegar to help things move along. Let cool completely.
When the chili paste is completely cool, add it to the ground pork along with the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly, using your hands, until everything is a uniform color.
Use immediately or divide into portions and freeze.
Steve, my Mexican husband, says it all about this one. Having grown up eating a lot of store-bought Mexican-style chorizo, he was hesitant to believe that the homemade versions could be just as good or better. This recipe has changed his mind in a big way. He loves it tremendously and I do, too. It is a flawless recipe. Outstanding flavor, absolutely spot on, never fails.
With the onions, chiles and vinegar, this recipe makes about 5 pounds, quite a bit, but it freezes beautifully for future use. Perfect for chorizo and eggs:
Also great for tacos or what I use it most often for, make-ahead breakfast burritos.
I am once again indebted to Rebecca at Foodie with Family for gifting my household with yet another wonderful recipe that will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Thank you, my friend!
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
adapted from this recipe
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1 1/4 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup chopped parsley
Bring 3 cups of water to boil in a medium pot. Add wild rice, return to a steady simmer on low, cover and cook for 45 minutes, until tender and the water nearly absorbed.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and nearly cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken to a bowl and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium and add the salt, onion, celery and carrots to the chicken fat in the pot. Saute for about 5 or 6 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the flour and stir well. Gradually pour in the stock (or water), stirring constantly, until all has been added. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low so that the soup is just simmering.
Add the cooked wild rice, chicken with accumulated juices, curry powder, mustard powder, ground black pepper, almonds and sherry and stir well to combine. Pour in the half-and-half and water and stir again. Leave it on a bubbly simmer for about 30 minutes.
Check broth for salt level and add more to taste, if necessary. Stir in the fresh chopped parsley and serve immediately.
The original of this recipe called for half a cup of butter as a base and precooked chicken to toss in later. I am only mentioning this because I must say I revise a lot of chicken one-pot or soup recipes in this fashion: why would you cook the chicken separately when you can cook it in the pot as a flavor and fat base? Makes perfect sense to me!
As for the taste, all I (we) can say is WOW. This is an outstanding soup. The combination of chicken, mushrooms, wild rice, sherry and almonds reminds us of our very old favorite Cornish game hen stuffing. Fantastic. The addition of curry powder and mustard powder seemed odd at first, but after making this numerous times, I must say those two spices really work. You don't taste them specifically, yet I feel they add extra body and punch to an already wonderfully savory soup. Kind of genius.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Indian cuisine purists, look away now. I know aloo matar is not "supposed" to have chicken, but in an attempt to get my husband to eat this for dinner with me, I added in the protein. Don't kill me!
Aloo Matar with Chicken
1 1/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
4 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated ginger
4 large cloves grated garlic
2 large bay leaves
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 cups water
1 14-oz. can petite diced tomatoes, with juices
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
Fresh chopped cilantro and crushed red chile, for serving
Cooked basmati rice and/or naan, for serving
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and nearly cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a bowl, leaving the pan coated with the chicken fat. Set aside.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the mustard seeds. As soon as they start popping (which should happen pretty quickly), add in all the other spices. Stir in the onions, ginger, garlic and bay leaves. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes (see cooking notes). Add the potatoes, stir to coat with the spices, then add 4 cups water, scraping the bottom of the pan until all the cooked spices are mixed in.
Cover the pan, return to the heat to medium high, and gently boil until potatoes are halfway done, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sugar and salt. Continue simmering, covered, for another 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are soft but still holding their shape. Return reserved chicken to the pan. Add peas and simmer until peas are bright green and tender, another 1-2 minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and crushed chile as desired.
Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. This was savory and complex and wonderful and just every dang thing I wanted it to be when I set out to recreate aloo matar at home - not an easy task.
I often order aloo matar (potato and pea curry) from the place my sister and I meet for lunch every other week (India Chaat Cafe) and have been so impressed with their version I wanted to replicate it for inclusion in my lifelong repertoire. My first attempt was, um, mediocre. Dry, bland, not right. I was frustrated and perplexed.
I went through the recipe I used with one of the staff members I frequently chat with at the restaurant, to determine what I could have done differently. The only clue I got out of it was to add bay leaves. Noted, but still not the whole story. I ordered it once more that day and tried to commit to memory everything I loved about it. I was on a mission!
I went hunting online for a recipe that fit my wants (if you cook as often as I do, you "know it when you see it," know what I mean?), but turned up nothing. So, like my Thai red curry chicken, I took the next necessary step and created my own recipe, a fact of which I am intensely proud. Adding bay leaves was a great idea. So was adding ground coriander. However, I think the biggest issue was the paltry amount of seasoning I used the first time. I mean, hey, there are times cooks should use a light touch... but heaven knows one of those times is NOT while making Indian curries.
I'm thrilled that I finally have a viable second option for Indian at home (the first being my chicken tikka masala). Now if I could just get vindaloo right...
1. You will find that during the step where the onion, garlic, etc. are cooking in the pan, everything gets pretty dry and the bottom of the pan will probably have a coat of dry spices sticking to it. Feel free to add a bit of oil if this bothers you, but I prefer not to and I am able to scrape everything up when I pour in the water. Why add oil if you don't need to, right? That's my philosophy, anyway.
2. If you want to make this a true aloo matar, no chicken, you could heat a couple of teaspoons of oil over medium heat and start with the mustard seeds step. Voila. Vegetarian entree.