Classics · Comfort food · Dinner · gluten-free · Poultry

Chicken Cacciatore

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For those who know me and also read my recipes, you might have noticed that I cook with whatever is lying around.  I rarely “follow” recipes, most of it is by smell, look and taste.  Nevertheless, I love collecting cookbooks and my inner scientist can respect the importance of a well written “protocol”/”recipe”.  So I dusted off a cookbook that I got for Christmas and cooked this recipe–with a few changes

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 pounds of chicken breast, cut into cubes

1 large onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 tsp of rosemary

1 small can of chopped tomatoes

salt and pepper

(original recipe called for fresh rosemary, chicken thighs and tomato paste)

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet, season chicken with salt and pepper and saute till browned.  Set aside.

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Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and rosemary to skillet.  Season with salt and saute till softened.

Add chopped tomatoes and 1/4 cups water.  Return chicken to pan.

Cook on low heat till sauce reduces.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Classics · Comfort food

Meat Pies

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Happy New Year! It has been a while since I have posted.  Life in graduate school can be all consuming and with the holidays and traveling back to India, I have hardly been cooking or eating right.  So, I will try to be better this year and what better way to start off the year with a delicious, savoury and very English Meat Pie.  The recipe is pretty straightforward.  It is rich and comforting and pairs perfectly with Downton Abbey or Sherlock ! Enjoy a night on british teli with this recipe !

Ingredients:

1.5lbs of cubed stew meat

0.5 tbsp of minced garlic

1 cup diced onions

1 cup chopped mushrooms

0.5 cups of chopped carrots

0.5 cups of chopped red-skinned potatoes

1 cup chicken broth

Winter herbs of your choice, I used a spice blend from Raw Spicebar–use what you like! (Thyme, rosemary sage etc)

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Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tbsp of olive oil

3 rolls of store-bought pie crust

Method:

Heat olive oil in a pot and brown meat in batches till dark brown. Set aside.

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In the same pot add onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and potatoes and saute for 10mins till the vegetables start to soften.  The key here is to make sure the vegetables are fine chopped and relatively the same size.

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Add salt, peppers, herb mix and saute for another 5-10mins

Put back the meat and add the chicken stock.

Simmer till meat is tender and the filling has a thick consistency.  You do not want too much liquid since it will make for a wet and soggy pie–nobody wants that!

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Cool filling completely.

Take a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan and grease with cooking spray.

Cut out pie crust to fit into the muffin pan and leave a little bit of an overhang.

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Spoon in a generous amount of the meat filling.

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Cover with another round of cut pie dough and crimp the edges to seal thoroughly. Cut a slit in the top crust so that the steam can escape.

Bake in a 375F pre-heated oven for 45-6omins till crust is golden

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Serve hot !!!

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Asian · Comfort food · gluten-free · Soups

Thai style Hot and Sour Soup

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I have an obsession with Asian style soups.  I think I get it from my dad.  I remember as a child downing a chicken egg drop soup and my dad and I would compete to see who had the longest egg-drop! Whenever I get a hankering for Asian soups, I would order take out.  Then I realized the amount of junk I was putting in my system, so I did some research and found this recipe.  It is easy, healthy and hits the spot ! I hope you like it.

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You will need:

Canned goods: Bamboo shoots, baby corn and straw mushrooms

Fresh stuff: Cilantro, scallions, juice of two limes and ginger paste

Carton stuff: Chicken stock and Liquid Eggs

Asian sauces: Sambal and fish sauce.

Spices: White pepper, salt.

This is where the recipe gets super complicated.  Dump everything in a pot and boil away.  OK, but here are a few tips.  I add 2 tbsp of fish sauce to every 32 Fl Oz chicken stock carton.  I like to add two heaping tablespoons of crushed ginger.  I added juice of four limes–that makes it nice and tart, but stick with two if you don’t like sour.  Add as much Sambal as you like.  White pepper is a must ! It tastes spicier than regular black pepper.  I use a whole bunch of scallions and a lot of cilantro.

 

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Once your soup is ready, stream in eggs and gently stir to create the egg drops.IMG_0986

Serve piping hot !

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 !  

Bengali · Classics · Comfort food · Fish Course · Indian Food

My Mother’s Tuna Cakes (Macher Chop)

Bengali style fish cakes, or in this case tuna cakes.  Slightly spicy and nothing like any other fish cake you might have had.  For starters there is no mayo and definitely no old bay seasoning !!! Don’t get me wrong–I love a good crab cake, but this recipe is simple delicious and full of fond memories.  Don’t believe me — I got my very “irish-paleted” boyfriend to love them ! You got to try these !

  
Ingredients:

5 cans of tuna packed in water

1 potato

2 onions

1 jalapeno

1 tbsp of ginger paste

1tbsp of chopped garlic

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of cardamom

1/2 tsp of cloves

1tsp of sugar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

4tbsp of olive oil

salt to taste

eggs and breadcrumbs for breading

oil for frying

Method:

  • Blend together onions, ginger, garlic and jalapeno
  • Add oil to a pan and then add the drained tuna and the onion paste
  • saute for a while till the paste cooks through and no longer smells raw.
  • Add salt, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves
  • Saute for another good 10-15mins till the whole mixture turns golden brown (you might need to add more oil if the mixture sticks to the pan)
  • Finally stir in the cilantro and allow the mixture to cool
  • Meanwhile boil the potato till fork tender and allow to cool
  • Mash the potato and mix in with the cooled tuna mixture.  At this point taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning.
  • Form the mixture into burger shaped patties.
  • Dip in egg and then breadcrumb and set aside
  • At this point, you can freeze the cakes or fry them.  If you do freeze them, make sure you thaw them completely before frying.  If they are not thawed, the outside will crisp up super fast and the inside will remain frozen.
  • Heat oil in a skillet/shallow pan and fry the cake till golden on each side about 2mins per side.
  • Serve hot !!!!!!