Posts Tagged Cilantro

Slow Cooker Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb vindaloo with Basmati RiceAnother amazing Indian food here, this time made in a slow cooker. I have to tell you that I think a slow cooker (or crock pot or whatever you want to call it) is an essential kitchen item, and I have just posted this in my Kitchen Essentials section.

Vindaloo, whether it be with lamb, pork, chicken or beef, is one of the hottest dishes in all of Indian cooking. Not only does this recipe call for cayenne pepper, but it also calls for six Chipotle chili peppers. These are essentially Jalapenos that have been smoked. This dish is not for the weak willed, but it is so delicious. It should be served over Basmati rice.

For those who may not have an adventurous palate where “heat” is concerned, I am also providing a recipe at the end for a yogurt sauce that can be used to “cool” the dish when serving. The combination of the rice and the yogurt sauce should make it tolerable for even the weakest palate.

Ingredients

1 boneless leg of lamb, 4-5 lbs, trimmed of fat and cut in bite-sized pieces

3 medium red potatoes, washed and cut in bite-sized pieces

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 large Vidalia onions, chopped and divided

1.5 cups of frozen petite peas, defrosted

10 garlic cloves, crushed

6 Chipotle chili peppers, reconstituted and scraped (see Directions)

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

2 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1 tbsp cornstarch plus 1 tbsp water

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled, trimmed and seeds removed

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste; for the yogurt-cucumber sauce)

Directions

The first order of business is to prepare the Chipotle chili peppers. Reconstitute the peppers by soaking them in boiling water for 30 minutes. Once they have cooled, cut them open and scrape the chili meat from the skin and set aside.

In a food processor, take half the onion, the garlic, the Chipotle chili peppers, the cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, paprika, ginger paste and two tablespoons of the olive oil and pureé into a paste. Put it into a bowl and add the lamb pieces. Stir to coat the lamb thoroughly and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day heat the balance of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the marinated lamb. You may need to do this in batches, but you do not need to cook the lamb through. Place in a slow cooker along with the beef broth, the salt, the sugar, the tomatoes, the potatoes, and the bay leaves. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before the vindaloo is done, add the peas, then mix the tablespoon of cornstarch and the tablespoon of water and add it to the slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. The cornstarch-water mix will help to thicken the stew.

Serve over Basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.

Turning Down the Heat

Yogurt is a great way to temper the heat of this dish. Take the cup of plain Greek yogurt and the cucumber and put it in a food processor. Pureé until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Put in bowl and refrigerate until you serve the Lamb Vindaloo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spicy Spanish Spaghetti Squash

spaghetti squash with chorizoSpaghetti squash is delicious, and I’ve already posted one recipe on this site that is an Italian version. This particular recipe for spaghetti squash is a more spicy Spanish version made with Chorizo. I recently made as a side dish when serving Paella.

The recipe also incorporates Manchego cheese, a sheep-milk cheese that also happens to be the most popular and tastiest of Spanish cheeses. It is made in the La Mancha region of Spain.

Many people cut and remove the seeds prior to baking spaghetti squash. However, I prefer to bake the spaghetti squash whole, removing the seeds once the squash is cooked.

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash

6 oz of chorizo, diced

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

3/4 cup Manchego cheese, shredded

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

2 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper (to taste)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pierce the spaghetti squash all over with a fork or a knife. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. You will know when it’s done because a fork will slide easily into the flesh. Do not be concerned if the outside of the squash becomes browned during the baking. You’re not going to use the skin.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes. If you’re going to add the red pepper flakes (and I, of course, would not skip this), this is a good place to do it. Add your chorizo and garlic and continue to sauté. Add your salt and pepper to taste.

The squash should now be cool enough to handle. Cut off the top close to the stem, then cut the squash down the middle. Scrape out the seeds and discard. Take a fork and scrape the squash away from the skin and into the skillet. It will separate easily into long, spaghetti-like strands (hence, the name). Your squash is already completely cooked, so this is all about mixing the ingredients together, not about cooking the squash.

Add the chopped cilantro and the Manchego cheese. Stir completely and remove from the heat. Again, I urge you to taste the dish and adjust the flavor as you wish. If you think it needs more Manchego, feel free to add it. (Then again, I am admittedly a cheese-o-holic.)

Garnish with a touch of shredded Manchego on top.

This is a delicious side dish, but it can also serve as a great main dish with some bread, a salad, and some good wine.

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South-of-the-Border Shredded Beef

Mexican shredded-beefThis is an easy yet incredibly flavorful recipe. It’s ideal for Tacos, Mexican pizza, or Enchiladas. The key to this dish is the use of a slow cooker, and a combination of the right spices. If you don’t want to use taco shells or flour tortillas, you can simply serve this beef on shredded lettuce, with accompaniments like sour cream, guacamole, salsa, and Queso Blanco on the side.

The best cut of beef for this recipe is a chuck roast, about 2.5 to 3 lbs. It’s best to cut it into 3 or 4 pieces before embarking on your flavorful journey, and trimming off any large pieces of fat that may be present.

Ingredients

2.5 to 3 lb chuck roast

2 tbsp olive oil

14 oz beef broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 tbsp dried cilantro

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp coriander

3 oz tomato paste

1 tbsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Directions

Cut the chuck roast into four pieces, trimming any large pieces of fat off the meat. This will help the spices reach every area of the meat. Season with salt and pepper, and sear the meat in a skillet on high until all surfaces of the beef are browned.

Place the beef broth, tomato paste, onion, Jalapeno pepper, and the spices in the crock pot and give it a stir. Submerge the meat in the liquid.

Set the slow cooker to high and cook for four hours, then lower the temperature to “low” and cook for an additional hour or so. It’s important that at least 2-3 inches of liquid is in the crock pot throughout the cooking process. This should not be a problem with a slow cooker.

Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. By now the slow cooker should automatically move to the “warm” setting. Return the beef to the liquid until ready for use.

Remove with tongs and place it on your serving tray. All I can say is “Yum!”

 

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Chicken and White Bean Chili

chicken and white bean chiliIt’s getting pretty chilly outside, and it is definitely “soup weather.” But in our house, it’s also chili weather. This is not what you’d expect for “chili” because it’s made with white beans and chicken, both ground and chicken pieces. However, it is a nice change from the traditional chili (which I also love).

Some of the spices are different. Some are the same as traditional chili. I use a combination of ground chicken and chicken thighs, so there is a variation in consistency that makes this dish very yummy.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in bite-sized pieces

1 lb ground chicken

2 15 oz cans Cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

3 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

1 yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp coriander

1 tsp salt, plus more for final seasoning

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tbsp ancho chili powder

3 tbsp garlic, minced

2 cups frozen corn, thawed

4 cups low-sodium chicken stock, divided

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

3 tbsp flour

Fresh-ground black pepper (for seasoning)

Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack Cheese (for serving)

Fresh cilantro sprigs (for garnish)

Directions

Add the olive oil to a large pan or Dutch oven and heat on medium. Then, add the ground chicken, chicken thigh pieces, yellow and orange bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions become soft.

Then add about a half cup of the chicken stock, along with the ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, and flour. Turn the heat down a bit and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring a few times..

Add the rest of the chicken stock and the rinsed and drained beans, along with the cilantro. Stir to mix everything together.

You could, of course, have this dish completed in about 45 minutes if you cook this on medium-high. However, I recommend that you turn the heat to low and allow the chili to simmer for about one and a half to two hours to really allow the flavors to take hold. About 35 minutes before your chili is done, add the corn so that it heats through.

Serve the chili topped with shredded Queso Fresco or Monterey Jack Cheese. A side of white corn chips adds a nice texture!

Please remember to check the chili while it is cooking and adjust the seasonings to suit your taste!

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Chicken Marengo

boneless-skinless-chicken-thighs1You know, there are always “stories” surrounding food. With this dish, rumor has it that Napoleon Bonaparte’s chef made this dish for him after the battle of Marengo. I don’t necessarily know if this story is true, because I’ve always thought of this as a Spanish dish. What I do know that this is utterly delicious. What makes it utterly delicious are the many layers of flavor.

Most of the Chicken Marengo recipes out there call for boneless breast of chicken. Again, I prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs simply because the meat is so moist. However, you will see that I have given you the option when you get to the recipe portion of this post.

I have served this over white rice, and over noodles. However, I recommend you try it over Israeli Couscous. Aside from salting the couscous, there isn’t any flavor you really need to add to it. There is plenty of flavor in the Chicken Marengo itself.

Ingredients

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 3 large boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes, drained (I love to use the Del Monte with mild chilis in this dish)

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced

1/2 large red pepper, seeds removed and cut in strips

1 cup Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and cut in strips

1 cup frozen petite peas

3 cloves garlic, crushed

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tsp Kosher or sea salt

1 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

1/4 cup fresh thyme, removed from stems

2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp capers

Directions

Put the olive oil in a deep skillet and add the onion and red pepper strips, cooking until the onions are just translucent. Then add the chicken. If you’re using thighs, put them in whole. These will be easy to break up in to pieces a bit later in the cooking process. If using chicken breast, make sure you have cut them into bite-sized pieces. Cook the chicken on until slightly browned.

Once the chicken has browned, add the diced tomatoes, chicken stock, wine, salt and pepper, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes.

While this is cooking, put the butter, lemon and mushrooms in a smaller skillet, and sauté the mushrooms until just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside. You can also measure out the frozen petite peas and set them aside.

After about 45 minutes, break up the chicken thighs. Add the mushrooms, peas, cilantro and capers. Give it a stir. Cook for about another 12-15 minutes, or until the peas are just tender.

Remove the bay leaf, and serve over Israeli couscous (my preference), rice or wide noodles.

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