Meat, Moroccan, Savory

Pork Chops with Harissa

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The past few days have been hot and humid.  It is too oppressive to turn on the oven and the sudden, thunderous, downpour (providing no relief by the way) makes grilling difficult. Under these circumstances,  I try to make quick, skillet dinners.  I also recently bought a jar of harissa paste, so I decided to make the best of the situation and make this dish.  It was a little experimental but turned out delicious.  If you are not a fan of pork or have dietary restrictions, the sauce will work really well with chicken, shrimp, or mixed vegetables.

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Ingredients:

3, center-cut, boneless pork chops

1/8 cup flour

1/2 tsp each of salt, pepper, coriander, and smoked paprika

1 medium onion, sliced

1/2 tsp of minced garlic

1 tsp of tomato paste

3 tsp of harissa paste (not sauce)

1 tsp of chicken broth concentrate + 1 cup of water OR 1 cup of chicken broth

1/2 tsp of dried parsley

2 Tbsp of olive oil

Additional salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet.  While the oil warms up, mix flour with flour, salt, pepper, coriander, and smoked paprika in a bowl.

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Dredge, pork chops in the flour-spice mixture, and add to the hot oil.

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Fry the pork chops, about 2-3 minutes per side, till folder brown.  Set aside.

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Heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil in the same pan.  Coat the sliced onions in the remaining flour mixture and add to the pan.  Sautee on medium-high heat for about 2-3 minutes till they soften.

Once the onions start to soften, add the garlic, tomato paste and harissa paste.  Continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes.

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Add chicken stock concentrate and water, dried parsley, and reduce the temperature to medium-low.  Simmer the sauce for 3-5 minutes.

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Return the pork chops to the pan.  Continue to simmer till the sauce thickens. Taste the sauce and adjust salt and pepper as needed.  If the sauce taste too tart, you can add a pinch of sugar to cut through the acid.  This will depend on the harissa paste and tomato paste brand.

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Plate the pork chops with healthy dollops of the harissa sauce.

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Appetizers, Savory, Sides

Zucchini Fritters

 

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In India, on a raw, rainy night, you will often find family members gathered over hot cups of tea and plate of piping hot fried fritters.  These fritters are usually vegetarian, like potato, onion, and eggplant (all separate–not mixed together).  Yesterday, a beautiful sunny spring day turned into a gloomy, rainy evening–which led me to crave fried food.  I could have pulled out some samosas, but I have zucchini in the fridge that needed to be used.  Also, earlier in the day, I came across this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, so it must have been a combination of all these different sensory inputs (haha, can you tell I am a biologist?) that led to this recipe.

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchinis, grated and drained

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

1 small onion, minced

1 egg

2 Tbsp of flour

1 Tbsp of rice flour

1/2 tsp of salt

A dash of black pepper

1 tsp of olive oil for the batter plus more for frying

Method:

Grate and or chop finely the zucchini.  If you have a food processor, you can grate it.  I have a handheld grater which almost pulverizes the zucchini.  So, for some texture I grated one and chopped the other–the different textures give the fritters some body.

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Place the zucchini on a paper towel or dishcloth and let it drain for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

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Squeeze out all the water and add the zucchini to a mixing bowl.

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Add egg, flours, salt, pepper, jalapenos, and oil to the zucchini and mix thoroughly.

Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a skillet.  Using a tablespoon, gently dollop the batter into the hot oil.  Using the back of the spoon, flatten out the dollops to form a pancake shape.

Fry on medium-high to high heat for 2-3 minutes or till golden brown.  Then flip the fritters and cook the other side.

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Blot the fritters on a paper towel and serve piping hot!  This makes a great evening snack or a hearty side dish for a simple chicken dinner.

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Comfort food, Poultry, Savory

Saffron Chicken and Rice

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Over Christmas break, I went back home to India.  It was a glorious three week holiday filled with lots of home-cooked food, family, R&R, and of course shopping.  One thing that I brought back was good saffron from Kashmir–nothing quite like it.  I love the vibrant orange hue and the lovely floral fragrance that saffron lends to any dish.  Spanish saffron is equally delicious and is the appropriate substitute for this recipe, especially since this version is inspired by Spanish-Style Arroz con Pollo

Ingredients: (cooking for two)

5 chicken tenders

1 red pepper, 1 green pepper, and 1 onion–diced

1tsp of minced garlic

1tsp of sweet paprika

2 cups of hot chicken broth

1tsp of crushed paprika

3/4 cup basmati rice

2Tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Parsley for garnish

Method:

Heat 1 Tbsp in a deep skillet.  Chop up the chicken tenders, season with salt and pepper, and fry in the hot oil till pale golden.

In the meantime, soak the rice in cold water–it shortens the cooking time and improves the flavor!

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Remove the chicken and add the rest of the oil in the same pan.  Add the peppers and onions and saute till they are very soft.  Halfway through this process, add garlic and paprika.

While the peppers and onions are softening in the hot oil,  heat 2 cups of chicken broth and add the saffron.  Allow the saffron to bloom–the yellow stock will turn into a dark orange color.

Once the onions and peppers are softened, add the soaked and rinsed rice to the skillet.  Sautee the rice for 2-4 mins till the grains are lightly toasted and fragrant.

Finally, add the hot chicken stock and saffron solution, reduce the heat to medium-high and wait for the rice to cook through.

Once most of the liquid has evaporated, add the chicken to the skillet and continue cooking till all the liquid is gone and the rice is cooked through.

Finish with a garnish of fresh chopped parsley.  Serve piping hot!!!

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Classics, Comfort food, Meat, Savory

“Winter is Coming” Meat Pie

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I recently jumped on to the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon. Yes, I know I am about 8 years late, but I am here now, completely obsessed and can’t wait to see how the story wraps up.  This past week has been everything “thrones” especially with the HBO marathon going on.  In Season 4, there is an extensive description of a particular “Steak and Kidney Pie” made by the character “Hot Pie” at the “Inn at the Crossroads”.  As Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne hungrily tucked away large bites of the pie, I couldn’t stop thinking about how delicious it must be.  Decision made.  I am was to make a classic English Meat Pie (you can read the “mini” versions of these pies here–slightly different recipe though) to celebrate the premiere of Season 8.  Yes, the weather is warming up, but I hope you choose to make this recipe soon, we only have Game of Thrones on till the middle of May !!!

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds stew meat, cut into small bite-sized pieces

Chopped button mushrooms, carrots and onions – cut them small enough so that they are the same size as the meat.  You can change up the ratio, but I went meat heavy since that is the way my husband likes it.  I would reckon about 1/4-1/3 cup for each veggie would be sufficient.  

1/4tsp of dried rosemary, thyme, and sage

3tbsp of flour

2tbsp of good red wine, you know what to do with the rest of the bottle

1tsp of Worcestershire sauce

1tsp of paprika

1 can of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil for frying

Store bought pie crust

Method:

In a heavy bottom pan (I like my dutch oven), heat olive oil and brown beef in batches, seasoning it salt and pepper.  Once browned, set aside.

 

 

In the same pan, add a little bit more oil and add all the veggies and saute till pale brown.  Once browned, added dried herbs, salt and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes.

 

Add the beef back in with all the veggies.

Add flour, and saute till all the meat and veggies are coated with the flour and browned (5-7mins)

 

Add 1 can of chicken stock, paprika, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and simmer on medium low heat till the gravy thickens, the carrots are soft and the meat is fork tender.  This is a pie filling, so it has to be nice and thick.

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Divide the filling into individual “pot pie” dishes (OR one big pie pan) and cool the filling completely.  In the past, I have made a meat and potato version of this in muffin tins, with a double crust.  You can find that recipe here

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Cover the filling with thawed pie crust.  Crimp the edges to seal in the filling, add a slit on the top for steam to escape.

 

 

Brush the top with egg wash–this will ensure a deep golden crust.

 

 

Bake in a 375F oven for 40-45 mins till the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath.

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Serve Hot !!!

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Dinner, Poultry, Savory

Chicken, Apple, Sage Patties – revisited

chicken patties

These patties a delicious.  I made these a few years ago and decided to revisit the recipe.  Last time I suggested a cranberry sauce/chutney to go with it.  This time around, I sear the patties then topped it with store-bought “apple, onion, maple, bacon jam” and then baked it in the oven at 350F for about 15-20 mins.  The jam caramelized and created an ooey-gooey sweet and savory sauce. YUM!

https://quetesaveur.com//?s=chicken+apple+sage&search=Go

Original recipe from Martha Stewart.

Classics, Comfort food, Poultry

Celebrating 1000 followers!!

A while ago this blog hit a milestone of 1000 followers ! Never in my wildest dreams did I see that happening, so thank you to all those have been a part of this flavor quest ! As a celebration, the initial plan was to go out for a nice dinner and update you all about the adventure. But instead I decided to challenge the boy and asked him to make me dinner instead ! The only rule was that he could not prepare something that we have made before ! So he decided to make a wonderful lemon rosemary roast chicken with potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Here are some pictures from the cooking event ,

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Comfort food, Soups, Stew

Winter Minestrone

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Ingredients:

Olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions

1 can of peas and carrots

2 cups (1/2-inch) diced celery (3 stalks)

1 acorn squash, roasted, peeled, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)

2-3 Tbsp thyme, rosemary and sage

2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes, with juice

4 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 15 oz can of red kidney beans, drained

1 package of Swiss chard.

 

Directions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, peas, celery, garlic, red pepper flakes and herbs and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.

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Meanwhile, in an oven preheated to 375F, roast 1 acorn squash

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Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chicken, the bay leaf, 1 Tbsp salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

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Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and Swiss chard and roasted, cubed squash. Continue to cook till the chard wilts and soup comes to desired consistency.

Serve hot with crusty, buttery bread !

 

Poultry, Quick Dinner, Savory

Chicken, Apple and Sage Patties with Homemade Cranberry Sauce

I will not take credit for coming up with these recipes.  I founf them on Pinterest and Food Network respectively but I thught that they would be amazing fall recipes.  Also,  you could use thanksgiving leftovers to make these recipes as well.

For the Cranberry Sauce:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

Directions:

In a medium pot, combine the cranberries, sugar and water. Stir to blend. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir to blend and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. Some of the cranberries will burst and some will remain whole. Add the orange juice and zest, stir and allow to cool before serving.

1  tablespoon olive oil, plus additional oil for cooking sausages
1 small onion, finely diced
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 pound ground chicken (I prefer dark meat)
1/3 cup fresh sage, finely shredded
3/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of cinnamon
1.  Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onion and sauté several minutes, until soft.  Add the apples and continue to cook until they just begin to soften.  In a large bowl, combine the onion-apple mixture with the remaining ingredients.


2.  Using your hands, form the mixture into 10 small patties.

3.  Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush patties with oil and bake till golden brown and cooked through, about 30 mins.

Serve warm with the cranberry sauce.  This can be made into a sandwich too !

 

Dinner, Meat, Salad

Steak Salad Platter

I did not grow up eating beef.  As a result, I am really shaky about cooking steak and even buying the right cuts of meat.  But I still try.  I think I have nailed down the beef stews, mostly because I get a lot of help from the slow cooking process.  So this past week I took the challenge of cooking steak.  I cheated and bought 1lb of shaved steak (the cut you would use for steak sandwiches) and tried to work with it.  Much to my pleasure, it came out really good! Also, the roasted vegetables made their last appearance in this recipe.  Enjoy !

Marinading the steak:

1 lb of shaved steak

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1Tbsp of thyme (dried or fresh)

a few dashes of garlic powder and black pepper

Use all of the above ingredients and marinade the steak for about 2hrs.  Marinade in a ziploc bag and rub in the marinade into the meat.

While the steak marinades, cut up 1 medium onion and 1lb of mushrooms and saute them till deep brown.

Season with salt and pepper at the very end, this way the water will not come out during the cooking and the mushrooms and onions will get a chance to brown up.

Next in a wide frying pan, fry the steak to desired doneness, I like it well done.  Once the steak is almost done, add the mushrooms and onions and fry together

I like to serve the salad on a big board with the ingredients separately so that you can build it according to your choice.  There is plenty on flavor and juices in the steak and the roasted vegetables so I did not use a dressing but feel free to use you favourite dressing.

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Garlic bread and glass of red wine would make it a complete dinner !

Comfort food

Yellow Lentils with Black Seasame and Red Wine

I have been giving a little more attention to the bags of lentils that were hidden in the back of my pantry.  Lentil cook relatively quickly, they are very hearty and high in protein–not mention good for the wallet.  Yellow Lentils are a Bengali staple and hence I grew up with “dal” and had it everyday.  This is my ode to a childhood staple with an adult twist ( hint–red wine).

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow lentils

2 cups water

1/4 cup red wine

1 medium onion chopped

1/4 tsp of black seasame seeds

salt and pepper to taste and little bit of olive oil

Method:

Heat a dash of olive in a pot and add the black seasame seeds once the oil is hot.  The seeds should sizzle and pop once added to the oil

Next add the chopped onion and saute till pale and golden.

Add the yellow lentils and turn them about in the oil to toast them.

Then add all the liquids, salt and pepper and let the lentils cook till they are soft and tender–but not mushed up.  You would want them to fall apart if you were make a soup but this is more like a warm lentil side dish, where you want to see the individual lentils.

Once they start to cook down adjust the seasoning according to taste ( I love lots of pepper !)

Serve hot, warm or even at room temperature with the Salmon recipe I had posted earlier–but that is just a suggestion.