Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 38: Spicy Chicken

The Recipe
1lb half-frozen chicken breasts
3 sausages
1 tbsp cajun spice (see mix below)
0.5 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1.24 dl flour
2 bell peppers
3 carrots
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
120g butter (divided)
3/4dl oil (divided)
1 can (425g) tomatoes w. chili
1 tsp sugar
2.5dl (1 cup) water

Cut chicken, sausages and vegetables into bite size pieces. Mix cajun spice, oregano, paprika and flour and pour all but 2tbsp over the chicken and sausage pieces. Heat half the oil and half the butter in a wok and cook the chicken until brown - it doesn't need to be done at this point. Remove chicken from heat and keep warm. Heat the rest of the oil and the butter and cook the carrots, bell pepper and onion for 5-6 minutes until they're soft. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add tomatoes, sugar and chicken/sausage and let the sauce simmer (no lid) for 12 minutes. Add the rest of the flour and the water to the sauce. Stir until sauce thickens (happened immediately to me).

Serve with pasta.

The Verdict
Tasty! But surprisingly rich! I think it was all the flour actually. It's very, very filling. This could serve 5 easily - six if you add bread and a nice salad. It would have been even better with a bit of grated cheese on top. Definitely worth a repeat... although I think DH would have preferred if I'd used tomatoes without chilli.

Cajun spice
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp thyme
0.5 tsp oregano
Mix and keep dry until use

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 37: Onion Soup

Be warned. This recipe takes FOREVER. It's a food of love thing. Worth it though.

The Recipe
1.5 tbsp butter
0.5 tbsp olive oil
About 350g thinly sliced yellow onions (that's about 3-4 decent sized)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1.5 tbsp flour
1 liter beef stock
1/2 c red or white wine (optional)
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp sage (optional)
Salt & pepper

Melt the butter with the oil in your casserole oven and add the sliced onions. Stir the onions to coat with butter. Cover the pan and cook over med. high heat 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and translucent. Then, uncover the pan, raise the heat closer to high, and stir in the salt and sugar. The sugar helps the onions to caramalize. Cook about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are deep golden brown. Watch out that they don't get too dark brown/black though - burnt onion isn't nice. Don't worry about the brown gunk building up on the bottom of the pan; it's called fond and it adds serious flavor to the soup. Heat up the bouillon in a separate pan.

Lower the head to medium/moderate and add the flour. Stir in the flour well. Add a bit more butter if the flour isn't all absorbed into a paste with the onions. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, to brown the flour. Remove from heat and pour about a cup of hot broth in and stir the heck out of it with a whisk, to blend the flour and broth together (you'll also scrape that marvelous fond off the bottom of the pan).

Put back on heat. Add the rest of the bouillon, the wine, bay, and sage, and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer slowly for 30 to 40 minutes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

The fancy way it's served in restaurants is to put a crusty slice of french bread in the bottom of a soup bowl or crock, cover with soup, then with slices of mozzarella cheese. Broil it for just long enough to melt and brown the cheese.

The Verdict
I wasn't completely sure about this recipe as I already have a very delicious and MUCH easier/quicker recipe for an onion soup that I'm absolutely crazy about. I was intrigued by the "love of food" thing though. I cut the recipe in half, and it was perfect for one, however I do think I ought to have adjusted some of the cooking times as well - I only left the onions to caramelize for 15-20 minutes, and they were almost turning black! I may not have been stirring often enough though, so that might have something to do with it as well.

Despite taking forever, the recipe is really easy and worth the effort. I'd say it's as good as my other recipe, but tastes more "high cuisine" somehow (the other is pretty much just onions with bouillon). I'll be making this again, but will be careful with ventilation next time - the entire flat smells like cooked onions now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 36: Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

The Recipe
2 steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 tsp thyme

Cook steaks until done. Remove and keep warm.
Add oil to pan. Add onion and garlic and stir for a couple of minutes picking up the brown steak bits from the bottom of the pan. Let it soften and brown. Add tomato paste, broth, wine and thyme. Whisk and reduce for 5 minutes. Return steaks, turning over to coat.

The Verdict
Well, steaks are always good, but I have to admit I prefer Bearnaise sauce to red wine sauce. Probably not something I can be bothered making again.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week 35: Asian Fish

The Recipe
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed
3/4 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot
2 firm-fleshed fish fillets (I used salmon)
Chili flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients, except fish, in a bowl. Add fish and leave in the fridge to marinate for about 1 hour. Transfer to ovenproof dish and cook at 200* for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Serve with brown rice.

The Verdict
I think I'll use more honey next time and possibly cook on a pan rather than in the oven next time, because most of the marinade ended up burned and stuck to the ovenproof dish. The fish itself was nice though, although I have other recipes involving salmon and honey that I like more.