Dinner, Meat, Moroccan, Stew

Beef and Sweet Potato Harissa

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As the Beatles said “I get by with a little help from my friends”.  For this recipe, my “friend” was store bought Harissa Simmer sauce.  I keep reading about Harissa in magazines and have always wanted to try it.  However, this past weekend, I was in the mood for something delicious and fast.  So, I used the simmer sauce.  But I did doctor it up.  It turned out delicious! I mean, really delicious! MIND-BLOWING DELICIOUS!  Here is what you will need.

Ingredients:

1.5lbs stew beef

2 sweet potatoes, diced

1 large red onion, diced into large chunks

1 tomato, diced

1 can of red kidney beans

1 packet of Harissa simmer sauce ( I used Saffron Road)

2 tsp of cinnamon

2 tbsp of olive oil

salt, pepper and chilli flakes to taste.

2 tbsp of chopped scallions

Lime wedges for serving (optional)

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Method:

Brown the meat in oil and set aside.

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Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions, salt pepper and cinnamon and cook till vegetables soften.

Add the meat, beans and pour in the sauce.  I filled the pouch with water to rinse off every last bit of the sauce and poured it into the pot.

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Simmer on medium high heat for 30 40 mins, till meat and vegetables and fork tender. Add scallions at the very end and take off heat.

Serve hot with polenta or couscous.

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Dinner, Indian, Poultry

Tamarind Chicken

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Years ago, it took three friends to convince a certain Irish man to try Indian food.  Trying to make the distinction between spicy and spiced is always a challenge–till you try it.  Needless to say, the Irish man is now a convert.  He now enjoys Indian food and has a variety of chillis in his pantry.  So the dish that he tried was Tamarind Chicken.  Traditionally a South Indian dish, it has several varieties.  Some are more spicy, some more tangy and creamy.  I did not grow up eating this variety of curry so I created my own version of it.  He liked it.  WIN!  Hope you and your family like it too.

Ingredients:

5 chicken breasts, cubed

1 inch of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

1tbsp of minced garlic (2-3cloves)

2 quartered onions

2 tomatoes

1 jalapeno

1 tsp of mustard seeds

1tsp of fenugreek seeds

1 Bay leaf

3-4 whole cloves

3-4 whole cardamom pods

2 tbsp of tamarind paste, dissolved in 2cups of water

0.4oz of Berbere spice blend (from rawspicebar–refer to image for spice blend)

2 tbsp of canola/vegetable oil

salt to taste

honey/sugar to reduce spicy-ness (optional step)

Method:

Blend ginger, garlic, jalapeno, tomato and onions.

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Heat oil in a pot, and add the mustard, fenugreek, cloves, cardamon to pot and wait for them to start popping in the hot oil

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Then add the onion-tomato paste from the blender.  Then add the berberre spice blend.

Cook then spices, stirring often, till the raw smell has cooked off and it turns a deep red color.

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Add the chicken and saute for 5-10 mins

Add the tamarind paste in water

Cook till the sauce thickens, on medium-ow heat for 30 mins

Taste to adjust salt and seasonings.  You might want to add more spice, or if it is too spicy you can add a tbsp of honey or sugar.

Serve hot with Naan or basmati rice.

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Comfort food, Dinner, Poultry, Stew

Chicken Sausage Stew

This is a light stew for those cool rainy summer nights.  I used store bought chicken sausages along with mushrooms and roasted red peppers for some depth of flavor.  

saute mushrooms till golden brown.    

add sliced roasted red peppers ( from a jar), 1 bunch of chopped of scallions, a few springs to thyme, 2 tsp of minced garlic and 1tsp of red pepper flakes. Saute for a few minutes to marry the ingredients.  

Add water or chicken stock just enough to cover all the vegetables.  I also added a pinch of saffron for an exotic flare.  You can most certainly omit it.  

Add the cooked, sliced sausage and simmer till the stew thickens to desired thickness.  Serve warm with garlic bread !  Polenta would be a great gluten-free option for a side with this stew.  I would also consider making the stew with shrimp instead of  chicken.  Eggplant and butternut squash would be a great vegetarian alternative.

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Meat

Apple Cider Pork Chops and Green Beans

Just because the weather has warmed up does not mean I am going to give up on a classic pairing such as pork chops and apples.  Here is yet again, another speedy dinner recipe that you can have on the table in 1 hr.        

Marinade pork chops with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup white wine, 2tsp ginger, cinnamon and 1tsp of crushed red pepper flakes.  Add in a bunch of rosemary, toss to combine and let it marinade on the counter for 20 mins.       

After they have marinaded, toss the pork chops in some flour (season with salt and pepper) and fry in some olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  Once the outside is golden brown, set aside.      

In the same skillet, saute 1/2 of an onion with some rosemary, salt and pepper.  Deglaze the pan with either 1/4 cup white wine, water or chicken stock.  Stir in 6oz of apple sauce.  Add the pork chops and allow to simmer till chops cook through.  Adjust salt and pepper.  If the stock tastes to sharp from the vineger, add some baking soda to it.

Serve with green beans and the spoon the sauce over the chops !  

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Meat

Steak and Potatoes

This is my super speedy weeknight steak dinner.  ready in  hr.   Marinade a 1.5lbs  round bottom roast or skirt steak with 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup red wine, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 Tbsp of whole mustard seeds and 3-4 springs of rosmary.  Let the meat marinade at room temperature for 30 mins.

In the meantime, cut up potatoes ( I love red bliss) and put in a shallow pot.  Cover with chicken stock, salt (to taste, some stocks can be very salty), whole peppercorns and some more rosemary.

After 30mins, heat 1tbsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet and saute 2 sliced shallots and 5-6 springs of thyme.    

Once the shallots become tender, add the steak and the marinade into the skillet.  Sear on each side till desired done-ness.  I like my steak medium rare.  

In the meantime, check the potatoes and if they are done, drain the potatoes and plate them. 

Allow the steak to rest responsibly, about 10-15mins.  

Add a little bit of chicken stock or red wine, to the bottom of the skillet to deglaze the pan and create a quick pan sauce.    

Slice steak.  Plate steak.  Devour !  

Dinner, Gluten-free, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Prosciutto-Basil Chicken in a Tomato Sauce

  
A super speedy dinner I pulled together for a quick dinner party.  It used whatever I had in the kitchen and pantry and pulled together a tasty chicken dinner.  Try it !

Ingredients:

5 thinly sliced chicken breasts

5 slices of prosciutto

10 basil leaves

1/2Tbsp of minced garlic

3 stalks of green onions, chopped

2 shallots sliced

Bruschetta spread ( I bought this from Trader Joe’s)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp of cornmeal

1 tsp of crushed red pepper

1 cup of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Season the chicken breasts with salt.

Spread the bruschetta mix on the chicken breast and lay two basil leaves on top of the spread.

  
Fold the chicken breast in half and secure with toothpicks.

Wrap each breast with prosciutto.

  
Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet and fry the chicken breasts till golden on each side.  Set aside.

   
 In the same pan add the chopped garlice,green onions and shallots and saute till pale.

Add 2 Tbsp of the bruschetta mix and cornmeal and saute for 2-3 mins

   
    Remove the toothpicks and return the  chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock

Simmer till the sauce thickens.

Serve with your choice of sides.  I did saffron rice and roasted asparagus.

 

Dinner, Fish & Seafood

Lemon-Pepper Cod with Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus


Another speedy weeknight dinner.  Once again, you can have an elegant and tasty dinner on the table in under 1hr ! You can even entertain with this meal, just add some starch (rice/orzo/quinoa/bread/potato) with a glass a wine !

Heat oven to 375F

Pat and dry cod fillets and season with salt, lemon pepper, parsley and paprika


Wrap asparagus either individually or in bundles with prosciutto

  
 Arrange everything on a tray (separate trays for veggies and fish) and bake for 20 mins

Serve hot !

Dinner, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Chicken sausage with roasted fennel and sweet potatoes

Like the previous post, with a little bit of planning you can have a week’s worth of dinner ready in 1hr flat.  All you need is a hot oven at 375F, sausage of your choice, sweet potatoes, fennel, salt, pepper, olive oil.  That’s it.  Infact you can cook this meal and the swordfish dinner all at once.  This is how I cook.  Delicious, home cooked food and all I have to do cook and clean once night a week.  Perfect for a busy graduate student !    

Classics, Comfort food, Dinner, Meat, Stew

Beef Short Ribs

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Hello readers ! It has been quite a while since I have posted.  The last few months have been a whirlwind with the holidays and my travel back home to India.  It took me a while to settle back into the pace pf things and I realized that I had stopped cooking for myself and had reverted back to the old habit of eating caned soup and vending machine granola bars ! The very thing I wanted to avoid and which is why I started writing this blog !!!!!!  Anyway ! I am back and here with our Valentine’s Day meal ! Nothing says love like a big bowl of rich beef stew !  Thank you Ina Garten for the recipe !

Ingredients

6 beef short ribs, trimmed of fat
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 small fennel, fronds, stems, and core removed, large-diced
1 leek, cleaned and large-diced, white part only
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 onions)
4 cups large-diced celery (6 large stalks)
2 carrots, peeled and large-diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (750-ml) bottle Cotes du Rhone or other dry red wine
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 cups beef stock
Directions

Season short ribs with salt and pepper and fry in a large Dutch oven till  golden brown and set aside.

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In the remaining oil add the fennel, leek, onion, celery and carrots and cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and wine, bring to a boil and cook over high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the rosemary and thyme together with kitchen twine and add to the pot.IMG_0568

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Place the roasted ribs on top of the vegetables in the Dutch oven and add the brown sugar and beef stock. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Cover the Dutch oven and cook for 2 hours or until the meat is very tender.

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Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot and set aside. Discard the herbs and skim the excess fat. Cook the vegetables and sauce over medium heat for 20 minutes, until reduced. Put the ribs back into the pot and heat through. Serve with the vegetables and sauce