Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Again, here I am wondering where the heck the time went, and why I can never remember to take pictures of the process when I’m inventing things in the kitchen (or just plain cooking up a storm). Two new cakes at the weekend, and a completely new Chicken Thing, and do I have any photographic evidence? I do not.

On the other hand, I’m not sure there’s any way to make the Chicken Thing look attractive, so perhaps that’s just as well.

Delicious though. Warming, tasty, filling, and (special bonus) incredibly easy. I’ve been seeing recipes for Chicken & Chickpea this and that go floating by, and decided just to make one up. Amusingly, I think I’ve reinvented the wheel – but no matter – dinner was needed, and this definitely hit the spot on a miserably rainy day.

Ingredients:
400g boneless chicken chunks
1 can chickpeas
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 cups (ish) soffrito (chopped carrots, celery, onion – I cheated and used a pre-prepared bag from Waitrose)
2 cloves garlic, crushed (or a tsp of garlic powder)
2 tsp Baharat spice*
salt & pepper
a splosh of cooking oil

Method:
* In a large pan, heat up the oil and fry the chicken chunks. Try to sear them golden on all sides, more or less. Take them out and set them aside.
* Add the soffrito to the chickeny oil and fry for a few minutes, til the veg starts to go soft and translucent
* Add the chicken back in, and the spices, and stir it all together
* Add the (drained) chickpeas and the can of tomatoes
* Fill the empty tomato can with water and pour that in too
* Stir well, bring to a low boil then turn the heat down and pop a lid on the pan
* simmer for as long as you can stand it. I let mine seethe away for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally. You could probably also do this in a low oven.

It doesn’t really need any accompaniment, to be honest – the dense chicken and the earthy chickpeas and the veggy background are sort of complete. Even the favoured Crusty Bread would be a bit redundant. But, as you please.

* Baharat is a middle eastern spice blend. You can probably find it in most large supermarkets (mine’s the Bart version) or fake it by using a mixture of cinnamon, cumin, coriander and paprika. It’s fantastically aromatic and a bit hot. The house smells amazing!

 

 

August: Awesome Pie

Ok, so this technically isn’t a new recipe for me. But several people have asked for it and in order to get myself back on track as far as monthly posts go, I’m going to go with this – because, well, at one point it was new, and I do have a TARDIS.

This recipe has been in my family for years. Two years to be precise, when I found it on teh intarwebz and adapted it for my own world dominating needs.

Ingredients
Cow bits, some. I usually go for rump steak… possibly about 1.5kg, cut in to chunks
Flour, enough to coat the cow bits
Salt and pepper for seasoning
shallots, about 10 medium sized ones, peeled and chopped in to quarters
button mushrooms
carrots, peeled and cut in to chunks.
garlic puree, 1 tblsp
tomato puree, 2 tblsp
Dark ale or stout, 500ml
Beef stock, 500ml
Fresh thyme, about 3 sprigs
button mushrooms
puff pastry (I get the prerolled stuff from the supermarket)
egg, beaten

1. Mix the salt and pepper in to the flour, then add in the beef and mix it up until the beef is thoroughly coated.

2. In a large hot pan (one that has a lid), brown the beef in batches and set on the side.

3. Add some more oil and add the shallots and carrots and stir for a few minutes. Add the garlic puree and tomato puree. Add the ale. Enjoy the bubbles.

4. Turn the heat down and return the meat to the pan, mixing everything together thoroughly. Add the beef stock and stir some more.

5. Add the thyme and button mushrooms. Cover and simmer for 2 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 170C (or whatever your pastry instructions suggest). Transfer to pie dish and top with pastry. Brush egg over pastry to glaze.

7. Put in oven for about 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Pork & Apple Pie

Chilly grey weather means PIE!

Actually, what happened was that I had pork shoulder in the fridge, and no desire to make chili. (Makes a change!) So I improvised, rummaged in the fridge, found some things, and made up a pie.

Ingredients:
500g diced pork shoulder
2 large carrots
1 large onion
1 medium Bramley apple
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 pint ham stock (I used a cube -feel free to use homemade pork stock if you have it!)
couple tbls flour
salt & pepper
1 package pastry for pie crust (or make your own, if so inclined). I used shortcrust but puff would be good too.

Method:
* Peel and chop carrots into large chunks
* Peel, core and chop apple into small dice

* Peel and chop onion
* Sort diced pork and cut into same-sized chunks
* Pop the flour, salt and pepper into a big ziploc bag (or similar). Add the pork and shake it all about to coat the pork thoroughly.

* In a large saucepan with a fitting lid, heat a little oil and fry the pork – in batches if necessary – until browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

* Add a little more oil to the pan if required and fry the onion til translucent.
* Add the apple and carrots and fry a couple more minutes
* Add in the pork and stock and stir well.

* Lay the herb sprigs on the top, put the lid on the saucepan and turn down the heat.
* Let simmer for half an hour, then take out the herbs and stir well.
* Continue to simmer for another 1.5 hours or so, stirring every so often to make sure nothing burns.
* At this point you can a) nom this as a stew, b) let cool and freeze portions, c) make a PIE!

To pie-ficate:
* Put the nommy meat mixture in a pie dish
* Cover with a pastry lid
* Cook accordingly (usually about 25 mins at 190C or so)

Pie, but not as we know it.

OK so it looks like hell, but you know what? It was delicious.

I also had pastry left over, so I made a couple of little ham and gruyere pockets. Perfect.


Nom.

Chili and Rice

As I attempt to recreate the nommiest of my fellow Nom Bloggers dishes, I am shocked at how I never attempted this before.

Ingredients:

Red and Orange Pepper
Tomato Paste
Can of Mixed Pulses
Basmati Rice
Oregano
Garlic
Jar of Pasta Sauce
Chicken Stock Cube
Carrots
Celery
Tin of Sweetcorn
Tabasco Sauce
Red Onion
Cumin Seeds
Steak Mince
Butter
Oil

Rice:

* Measure 2 cups of rice into a sieve and rinse well, really well.  Allow to drain.
* Boil the kettle
* Put a knob of butter in your rice pan, crumble your stock cube into it as it melts, stirring it all in.
* Dump your now clean rice and stir well until it’s all gleaming with buttery-stock goodness.
* Keep stirring and frying for a few moments.
* Add 2 and a half cups of hot water to the rice and stir it all around well, ensuring none is sticking to bottom or sides of the pan.
* Taste the liquid for salt and add if necessary. When it’s boiling, put on the lid and move to lowest heat. Leave it alone for 25 minutes. Alone, I said!
* Have a peek and sneak some out and try it. If it crunches, put the lid back down and leave for another 5 minutes and then check again.

Red Chili:

* Chop all your veg, fairly small.
* Open the tins of mixed beans, drain of the icky stuff, fill with water and shake and rinse the beans. Then rinse again and again.
* One more time for luck. In your chili pan, blob some oil in and throw in the onion, carrots and celery, frying until translucent.
* Add the mince, stirring it to break it up until browned.
* Add a squeeze of tomato paste, stirring it into the meat.
* Add your garlic and stir.
* Add your herbs, spices and tabasco sauce now and stir again.  Be careful! Add a little, stir well and then taste. Only after that add more if you think it needs it!
* Add the jar of sauce and mix well.
* Add the beans and rest of the vegetables and stir.
* Bring back to the boil and give a good stir.
* Turn the heat down and let simmer for at least half an hour, keeping an eye on it to make sure doesn’t dry up.

Dish up the rice, slop some of the chili on top and add some grated cheese to finish!

June: How to get the husband to eat fish

So, the husband hates fish. Hates it. Unless he’s stabbed it himself whilst diving – in which case it’s just about fresh enough to be tolerable. Unfortunately I don’t dive and am more likely to stab myself than whatever I’m aiming at if given a sharp implement. So I paid some men to stab a fish for me and cooked it on the same day. The hubby said he’d at least try whatever I cooked up…

Ingredients
1 extremely large cod fillet, cut down to 2 nice sized steaks.
1 chili
3 spring onions
2 stalks of lemongrass
2 tblsp creme fraiche
1 lime

1. Preheat oven to 170C

2. Chop the chili and spring onions and put in a bowl. Add the juice and zest of the lime and mix thoroughly.

3. Make a small foil parcel for each fish steak. Add a lemongrass stalk to each and then place the steaks on top.

4. Add the creme fraiche to the chili mixture, stir well, then divide between the parcels.

5. Cook in oven for about 20 minutes.

6. Serve with vegetables and stuff.

And, in the end, hubby not only ate it, but said it was lovely 🙂

May, no really it is: Beef and Brocolli Pasta Thing

This is a great one for when quick and easy but nommy food is needed. It only takes about 15 minutes total.

Ingredients
Pasta (100-150g per person)
rump steak
brocolli
Boursin (the peppery one works particularly well)

1. Put the water on to heat for the pasta.

2. Slice steak in to thin strips. Chop brocolli in to small pieces.

3. When the water is boiling, put the pasta on to cook.

4. Put some oil in another pan. Once hot, add the beef and stir fry until just starting to brown. Add the brocolli. Stir fry for a couple of minutes then add the boursin. Stir until boursin is melted.

5. Drain pasta and then add to beef and brocolli.

6. Mix thoroughly and serve.

7. Nom!

Italian Style Pork Stew

The ingredients appearing in this dish are:

5 Pork steaks – diced quite large
1 Courgette – diced
1/3 Marrow – diced
2 Sticks of Celery – diced
4 Baby Sweet Orange Peppers – diced
1 Red Pepper – diced
3 Cloves of Garlic – crushed
1 Large Jar of Pasta Sauce – I used a tomato and chargrilled vegetable one
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

      

Having prepared our guest stars, I poured some olive oil in a large casserole dish, chucked in the squished cloves and added some salt and pepper.  Then I introduced the pork to the dish and made sure all the chunks were coated in the oil and because that was so much fun, I did the same with the vegetables.  It smelled wonderful and looked very pretty.

Unfortunately, the prettiness did not last long as the jar of sauce was added and everything was giving a stir, trying very hard not to slop things out the dish. I went a bit mad with the water, thinking that there wasn’t enough sauce.

A rather horrible problem occurred at this stage.  Apparently, the lid we had was not the lid for this dish so we cracked on using tin foil.

And into the preheated oven, the dish went.  Approximately 170 degrees which caused another panic until I found what gas mark that was!  It stayed in for almost two hours with me occasionally panicking and having a poke and a stir.

This, like the ugly duckling in the story, turned into a swan.  A particularly tasty swan.

It was served with crusty bread, mashed potato with cheddar and mashed swede, carrot and sweet potato.

Lessons learned:

Buy more sauce!
Don’t panic and use lots of water.
Make sure you can find the right lid.

Great things about this dish:

It seems like you could get away with whatever vegetables you wanted.
Really easy to do – chop, mix and leave.
Really tasty!

Would serve four hungry people easily.

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