Beef · Main Courses · Soups and Stews

Beef Chili

Yes, I know, I have already posted a chili recipe, but I like this version too.   The dried chilies in this recipe add a nice depth of flavour that will help chase away those winter blues.    They are easily found here in Mexico, but depending on where you live, you may have to do a bit of searching.  If your local grocery doesn’t carry them, look around for a Mexican or East Indian market.  They often carry spices that the big name stores do not.   I realize it could be a bit of a treasure hunt for some of you, but I’m pretty one bite will convince you that finding the chiles was worth the effort.

This serves 8.

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Beef Chili

4 large ancho chiles

2 dried guajillo chiles

2 dried pasilla chiles

3 cups boiling water

3 Tablespoons canola oil

2 kilos boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2″ slices

Salt & pepper

2 large onions

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 bottle Corona beer (or any other kind you like)

1    14 oz can diced tomatoes

3 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 Tablespoon molasses

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

sour cream and grated cheese for serving

Wipe chiles with a damp paper towel to remove any dust or sediment.  Remove stems and seeds from all of them.  Tear into large pieces and place in large heat-proof bowl.  Pour boiling water over, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to soften chiles.

Meanwhile, season beef with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, brown beef on both sides – about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate.

Reduce heat to medium add onions and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent and very soft.  About 6 – 10 minutes.  Add garlic, cook one minute more.  Add cumin and oregano and cook, stirring one minute more.  Add tomatoes and brown sugar and scrape bottom of pot to loosen any spices stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Add the beer, increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the beer has evaporated.  10 – 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put chiles and their soaking liquid into blender and blend on high until smooth.  About 1 minute.  Cut beef into 1/2 inch pieces.

Add beef, chile puree and 2 cups of water to pot.  Bring to boil, reduce and let simmer, uncovered, until meat is very tender and liquid has thickened slightly.  About 2 hours.

Stir in beans and cook just until they are heated thru, another 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Remove from heat and stir in vinegar.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheese and /or whatever else floats your boat on the table so guests can help themselves to toppings.  Round the meal out with a  salad, baked potatoes or rice and garlic bread.

 

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Fish and Seafood · Main Courses

South Indian Fish Curry

Full of flavour yet mild enough for those of you who are not lovers of spicy food.

The good folks at LCBO where this recipe came from suggest a cold Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc to compliment the flavours in this dish.

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South Indian Fish Curry

South Indian Fish Curry

Spice Mix

2 Tablespoons coriander seeds

1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 whole star anise

1  teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon mild curry powder

4 – 5 Tablespoons water

The Fish

2 Tablespoons oil

1 large onion, diced

salt

3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely minced

2 teaspoons grated ginger – from about 1″ fresh ginger root

1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

1/2 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)

1 lb Mahi- Mahi, Red Snapper or other firm white fish cut into bite size pieces

Garnish

Cilantro leaves

lime zest

In spice grinder, mix coriander, cumin, peppercorns, mustard seeds and star anise and blend until finely ground.   Transfer to bowl and stir in tumeric and curry powder.  Add the water to make a paste & set aside.

Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat.  Add onions and a pinch of salt.  cook until onions are soft and just beginning to turn brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, 1 minute.   Reduce heat to low, scrape onions to side of pan and  spice paste to the spot you have cleared.   Cook spice paste, stirring constantly, until most of the water has evaporated – about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and coconut, increase heat to medium high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to med low and cook until sauce is slightly thickened – about 10 minutes.

Season fish with salt and add to pan, gently stirring to coat with the sauce.  Cover skillet and cook 4 – 5 minutes, just until fish is cooked through.

Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime zest and serve with plenty of rice and Na’an bread to soak up the sauce.

 

 

 

Chicken · Main Courses · Uncategorized

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Confit and Lemon

Don’t let the long fancy name stop you from trying this one.  Garlic confit is nothing more than garlic cloves simmered in oil.   Keep the leftover oil to drizzle over the finished dish, onto your next pizza or use it to make a killer vinaigrette for your side salad.

If you don’t have preserved lemons, sprinkle the finished dish with lemon zest just before serving.    If you do have preserved lemons already in your fridge, this dish is a reason to make some more.

We like this with some couscous or quinoa and some green beans on the side

This will serve 4.

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Roasted Chicken Thighs with Garlic Confit and Lemons

10 garlic cloves

1/4 cup olive oil

8 chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry

salt & pepper

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 Preserved Lemon peel flesh removed, peel finely chopped

Juice of 1/2 small lemon

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley or mixed herbs

Make the garlic confit:  heat garlic and oil in small pan over low heat until garlic begins to turn brown and is tender.  10 – 15 minutes.  Leave in pan and let cool.   You can do this a day or 2 ahead if you want.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Using 2 large skillets, over medium high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil you poached the garlic in each pan.  Cook chicken skin side down until skin is golden, about 5 minutes.  DO NOT TURN.   Leave chicken skin side down and transfer pans to oven and bake 20 – 25 minutes, until thermometer inserted into fleshy part of thigh registers 165F.

Remove thighs from pans to platter, keeping skin side up.   Keep warm.  Remove garlic cloves from oil and roughly chop or smash.

Bring chicken stock to boil in one of the pans, stirring to scrape  up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.    Reduce broth to about 2/3 cup.  Whisking constantly, add butter 1 piece at a time until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  About 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in preserved lemon, lemon juice, the chopped garlic and all but 1 Tablespoon of the herbs.

Pour sauce onto platter, arrange chicken thighs over top, skin side up, and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon herbs for garnish.

Serve immediately.

Credit for this goes to Bon Appetit, November 2017.  No link to the original as it doesn’t seem to be on their site.

 

 

Main Courses · Pasta

Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes & Cream

Inspiration for this came from LCBO, whose recipe included Speck and Taleggio cheese.  Ingredients I have no hope of finding here in PV, so I  switched those ingredients for ones more easily found in my grocery.    If you are unable to find Taleggio, Manchego or Smoked Provolone, you can sub in Fontina or even regular Provolone.

The flavour of the bacon really shines in this dish, so buy your favourite brand to make this.

 

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Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes & Cream

1 Tablespoons olive oil

6 thick-cut slices bacon, cut into 1/2 ‘ pieces

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 springs fresh thyme

1/4 cup red wine

3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup manchego cheese, grated

1/2 cup smoked provolone, grated

2 packs store bought Gnocchi (500 gms each)

In large skillet, over medium heat, cook bacon until nearly crispy.   Be careful not to burn it, you don’t want bacon crunches in this dish.   Remove from pan , set aside and drain all but 2 Tablespoons bacon fat from the pan.

Add onions to bacon fat and cook over medium – high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  About 10 minutes.  Do not let them brown.  Add tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring for another minute, until tomato paste darkens a bit and garlic becomes fragrant.  Add thyme sprigs, white wine and chopped tomatoes.  Cook, stirring often over high heat for about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil over high heat.

Reduce heat under tomato mixture to very low and add cream and cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted then let simmer slowly while you cook the gnocchi.  Stir in bacon

Break apart the gnocchi and carefully add to the large pot of boiling water.  Cook Gnocchi only until it rises to the surface of the water.  Skim out the cooked gnocchi as it rises to the top of the water with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato cream mixture.

Once all gnocchi has been transferred to the tomato cream mixture, stir the mixture to coat gnocchi.

Pour into serving dish and serve hot.

 

 

 

 

Main Courses · Soups and Stews

Coconut-Curry Turkey Soup

As always, once our Christmas Turkey was picked pretty much down to the bones for turkey sandwiches, after the Big Day, I bagged the carcass and tossed it along with any leftover meat into the freezer, already looking forward to the soup I would eventually make with it.

This soup was inspired by one I made several years back, but as luck would have it, while the memory of great flavours remains with me, the recipe seems to have gotten lost along the way.

Actually not a bad thing, because this version is very tasty.

As a main course it will serve 2 very hungry people or 4 for a light dinner or lunch.

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Coconut-Curry Turkey Soup

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 carrot peeled and diced

1 small sweet potato or, peeled and diced

1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

1/ 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably Madrass)

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek (optional)

2 litres home made Turkey Stock

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

2 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey – pulled from carcass after making the stock

1 cup frozen peas

3/4 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)

freshly ground pepper

chopped green onion for garnish

In large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and sweet potato and cook, stirring until onion becomes translucent.  Do not brown.    Stir in ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Add curry powder, garam masala and fenugreek (if using), and stir 1 minute, until spices become fragrant.

Add Turkey stock and bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrot and potato are tender.  Stir in coconut milk, cooked turkey and frozen peas and simmer until heated through.   Add salt and pepper, taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with chopped green onion for garnish.

Serve immediately with crusty rolls.

 

 

Main Courses · Rice and Beans

Mushroom Fried Rice

Aside from being great with a stir fry or a batch of ginger beef, this makes a great side dish for a pork roast or chops.   Or, toss in a diced chicken breast and you have a complete meal in a bowl (and one pot!)   Cook the rice a day in advance for best results.  If you forgot to cook your rice in advance, you can use warm rice.  The flavours will still be there, but the texture may be a bit mushy.    Inspiration for this dish comes from LCBO Food and Drink Holiday 2017

Mushroom-Fried Rice

4 Tablespoons canola oil, divided

1 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes, seasoned with salt and pepper (optional)

4 cups sliced button or brown mushrooms

4 green onions,  sliced – white and  green parts separated, greens sliced and reserved

1 Tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups cooked white rice, cooled

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons sherry

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

3 cups roughly chopped spinach, tough stems removed

Sesame oil for garnish

Sesame seeds for garnish

Additional thinly sliced green onion for garnish

In small bowl, combine water, sherry, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.  Set aside

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a large wok over high heat.  If using chicken, add to wok and stir fry until nearly cooked through.   Using more oil if needed, add the mushrooms and cook 1 minute, just until they begin to soften.  Add 2 more Tablespoons oil, the white parts of the green onions, ginger and garlic.  Stir quickly around in the pan for 1 minute.

Add rice and stir to coat rice with oil, pressing to break up any lumps.  Add sliced green onion tops, stir briefly, then add reserved water/sherry mixture.  stir to combine, season with salt & pepper.  Stir in the spinach until it is mostly wilted, about 30 seconds.

Transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced green onion over top.  Serve hot.

 

 

Main Courses · Rice and Beans

Lentils with Sausage

This is a tasty budget friendly meal and it is ready in under an hour.  After all the over the top food eaten during the holidays, I am happy for a simpler, lighter meal this week.  For a vegetarian version, skip the sausages and serve over cooked brown rice.

This recipe comes from the Lentil Hunter, and one of my favorite TV personalities, Chef Michael Smith.  Did you know Canadian lentils are shipped world wide?   Awesome!

Lentils with Sausage

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
4 cloves  garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
2 cups green lentils
6 cups water
1 tsp salt
6 Italian sausages
1 baguette
Additional olive oil for drizzling

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Stir gently without browning for about 5 minutes,  the heat will brighten the flavours and colours. Add the tomato and stir a few minutes longer, 10 minutes in total.

Add the lentils and stir for a few moments, evenly coating each seed with a thin film of oil. This will help the lentils stay distinct. Pour in the water and toss in the salt.  Increase heat to high, and, stirring gently, bring the works to a full, furious boil.  Reduce heat, lowering the pace to a slow, steady simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the lentils cook through and tenderize, about 30 minutes.

As the lentils simmer, cook and brown the sausages in frying pan.  When they’re done  transfer the sausages and any liquids or brown bits to the lentils in their pot.  Alternatively, you could simply submerge the raw sausages in the simmering lentils. By the time the lentils are done, the sausages will have cooked through.

Cut the bread into long, thin slices and toast, bake or grill until lightly browned and delicious.

When the lentils are done, serve them with the sausages and crisp bread. Feel free to slice the sausages or simply serve them whole. Drizzle the works with olive oil, too. Enjoy!

© Chef Michael Smith