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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Asian, Dinner, Fish & Seafood, Lent

Coconut Curry Shrimp

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My husband thinks he does not like Thai food.  In my opinion if you like Indian food, you will like most Thai food.  This recipe made it to our dinner bowls because I wanted to cook something in the neighborhood of “Thai” food and also something quick.  I saw Ree Drummond make this recipe on TV once.  I did not “follow” here recipe, I just recalled what she did and made this dish.  So here goes !

Ingredients:

1 lb of shrimp.  I usually get the EZ-peel shrimp and remove the tails myself.  I get whatever is on sale, however, the larger shrimps taste better in this recipe.

1 package of frozen peppers and onions.  If you don’t have this, I would take 1 yellow, red and green bell pepper and 1 onion, slice them length wise and use it.

1.5 tbsp of curry powder

1 can of coconut milk (not cream)

1/2 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tbsp of ginger paste

1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

1 tsp of red pepper flakes

salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high, and saute ginger, garlic, salt,peppers and onions

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Once they are soft add the red pepper flakes and curry powder and saute for till the raw smell of the curry powder it gone, about 10 mins

Add the coconut milk and the reduce the heat to simmer.

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes till the sauce thickens. Check and adjust seasoning, keep in mind that the shrimp will absorb some of the flavor so if the sauce is on the saltier or spicier side, its ok

 

Add the shrimp and cook till it turn pink. DO NOT over cook the shrimp !

Immediately remove from heat ans serve over warm Jasmine or Basmati rice.

If you have Thai Basil, you could fold some in the end

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Classics, Comfort food, French

Ratatouille

A bowl of stew full of fresh summer veggies ! There really is nothing more to say about this recipe.  I guess if you make your kids watch the cartoon “Ratatouille” and serve them this stew–you might just be able to make them eat their veggies !

Ratatouille adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child.

Ingredients:

½ lb. eggplant

½ lb. zucchini and yellow squash

4 Tb. olive oil, more if needed

½ lb. (about 1 ½ cups) thinly sliced yellow onions

2 (about 1 cup) sliced green bell peppers (I used red peppers–just because I had them in the fridge)

2 cloves mashed garlic

1 lb. firm, ripe, red tomatoes

3 Tb. minced parsley Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Chop the eggplant and salt it and let it stand for a 20-30 minutes till all the water drains out.

Meanwhile chop the rest of the vegetables.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and fry the eggplant till soft, and set it aside.

Next heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil and saute the squash and the zucchini till tender.

Next, heat the remaining oil and add the garlic, tomatoes, pepper and onions and saute till soft.

Now add back the other vegetables and let them stew together for about 30 mins till all the vegetables fall apart and marry into the stew.

Towards the very end, adjust salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.

Serve hot or warm or even at room temperature.  I sometimes add a fried egg on top to add some protein to my meal and make it a little more filling.

I am a huge fan of this recipe and I truly advocate in its power of converting vegetables haters to lovers.  Please try this and I encourage in using fresh vegetables since all the flavor comes from them.  Try it this French classic this weekend !