Chicken pot pie

Adapted from smitten kitchen & One Dad’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs and drumsticks are ideal)
  • 1 to 2 glugs olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, diced small
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (no need to defrost)
  • 2 large carrots, diced small (about 1 cup carrots)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 pie crust

Directions:

  1. Generously season all sides of the chicken parts with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If your chicken breasts are particularly large, I find that halving them can ensure they cook at the same pace at the other parts.
  2. Heat first glug of olive oil over medium-high heat in the bottom of a large Dutch oven (minimum of 4 quarts; mine is 5). Brown chicken in two parts, cooking until golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and repeat with second half of chicken. Set aside.
  3. Heat second glug of olive oil in the same pot. Add onions and leeks, season with salt and pepper, and saute them until softened, about 7 minutes. If using, pour in sherry and use it to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer until mostly cooked off.
  4. Add milk or cream, chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.
  5. Nestle the browned chicken and any accumulated juices into the pot. Cover and gently simmer to 30 minutes, after which the chicken should be fully cooked and tender.
  6. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool slightly. Discard the bay leaves. Allow the sauce to settle for a few minutes, then skim the fat from the surface using a wide spoon; reserve it for another use, or this:
  7. In a medium bowl, mash butter (feel free to replace any part of it with skimmed chicken fat) and flour together with a fork until a paste forms and no flour is still visibly dry.
  8. Pour one ladleful of filling over it, and whisk until smooth. Add a second ladleful, whisking again.
  9. Return this butter-flour-filling mixture to the larger pot, stir to combine, and bring mixture back to a simmer for 10 minutes. The broth base should thicken to a gravy-like consistency. Adjust seasonings, if needed.
  10. Add carrots and peas to stew and simmer for 3 minutes, until firm-tender. Shred or dice the chicken, discarding the bones and skin or saving it for another use. Return chicken to stew and re-simmer for 1 minute. Stir in parsley.
  11. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  12. Roll the dough up, and unroll it over the baking dish, so it rests evenly on top of the filling. Fold the edges under and crimp the edges. Poke the tip of a knife through the crust to create 3 vent holes near the center.
  13. Egg wash (optional): Whisk the egg with a teaspoon of cold water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the entire crust with egg wash. Place the pie pan or baking dish on a cookie sheet, and place it in the oven.
  14. Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake the pie for 25 to 30 minutes more, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling through the vents. Let the pie rest for 10 minutes before serving.

We had tried that super easy sausage pie from before, and so had one pie crust left over (it was a 2 pack from Pillsbury). We both really like chicken pot pie, and had never attempted it before. Jesse thus felt obliged to attempt it (with delightfully fresh marjoram, thyme, rosemary from our “garden”), despite the fact that it was more work than our usual one-pot-meals. We didn’t have small “pot pie” dishes or any tarragon, so we used the filling ingredients from smitten kitchen, but then followed the heating instructions from the NYTimes “Julia Child” recipe, which was for just one big (normal) pot pie.

~Jessica

Gordon Ramsay’s scrambled eggs and smoked salmon

Adapted from Gordon Ramsey and Goodto

Ingredients:

  • 4 butter croissants
  • 300g smoked salmon slices
  • 12 eggs (3 per person)
  • 4 tbsp double cream
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1–2 tbsp snipped chives (or scallions in a pinch)

Directions:

  1. Trim off the ends of the croissants, then slice each one into 4 or 6 thick rounds and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Break the eggs into a cold heavy-based non-stick saucepan; do not season. Place the pan over a low heat and add a few knobs of butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir the eggs frequently but not constantly, just to combine the yolks and whites.
  3. As the eggs start to scramble, take the pan off the heat and use a spatula to scrape the egg from the sides and base of the pan. Return to the heat and keep stirring and scraping the pan until the overall texture of the eggs is like soft curds. This should take 5–6 minutes. Don’t overcook the mixture – it should be moist and soft.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the croissants on each side for 1–2 minutes until golden. Place the toasted slices on individual plates.
  5. When the eggs are nearing the end of cooking, take the pan off the heat, add another knob of butter and then season well. Return to the heat and stir in the cream. Once the butter has melted, remove from the heat and fold through the chives.
  6. Drape the slices of smoked salmon on top of the toasted croissants, spoon the scrambled eggs over, and serve immediately.

I had some extra lox in the fridge, and a fresh carton of eggs. After practicing it all week, I felt ready to make it for a larger audience (Jesse’s family). It was a success. I could not find chives (not the season?), so subbed with scallions chopped extra fine.

~Jessica

Zucchini pepper soup

Adapted from Stella Cooks and the spring vegetable puree

perfect with a grilled cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1 zucchini, washed and chopped
  • 2 bell pepper, washed and chopped (red is good)
  • 1 bunch of Korean leeks (Hmart)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin
  • ½ cup of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, warm the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, then throw in the leeks (or onions if you have) and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and soft, stirring constantly.
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to skillet and saute for about ten minutes, or until they just begin to brown.
  3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except the dairy) into the soup pot, including the vegetable broth, and heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool a bit (to avoid heat splashing in the blender). Remove the soup, in batches if necessary, into a blender or large food processor and puree to desired thickness (I usually prefer smooth soups). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Taste. Stir in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Make sure the soup is well mixed and heated throughout, then ladle out into serving bowls. Sprinkle some scallions or leeks greens on the top, add the cream (milk), and finish with a light dash of paprika. Serve immediately.

I used whole milk instead of heavy cream, but it was delicious before that. I also threw in a handful of pistachios and pancetta to clean out my cupboard (road trip coming up!), but this recipe would have been just as superb without them. I have perfected this soup, and the grilled cheese that complements it. Hooray!

~Jessica

Purée of spring vegetable soup

Adapted from Lisa KleypasDevil’s Daughter

Ingredients:

  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2 small summer squash
  • 2 carrots (I had not)
  • 1 red / yellow bell pepper (green was cheaper)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cups (chicken) broth
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14 oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
  • pinch (tsp.) of salt
  • pinch of ground black pepper
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of oregano
  • ½ cup of heavy cream (or half and half)

Directions:

  1. Chop vegetables into ½ inch pieces, to cook evenly.
  2. Melt the butter in large pot, on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, then vegetables. Sauté 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomato paste, beans, seasonings, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until tender.
  4. Blend with a hand immersion blender (I have not, so I did it in batches).
  5. Add the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with buttered croutons, or a grilled cheese.

I had not carrots, but not a big enough pot anyhow. I had 3 on-the-vine tomatoes, so I used that instead of the tomato paste. I ran out of thyme! One of my favorite herbs! I think this is my favorite in the Ravenels series, but this recipe was extra sumptuous, and I had just collected the ingredients for ratatouille, thinking to make a pan satué version (baking is so hot in my apartment, and I haven’t a real baking dish in fact). I loved the description in the book where this dish was served. Can you imagine a 12 course meal? Now if I only had the makings for a grilled cheese…

~Jessie

Palak paneer (aka saag paneer)

Adapted from Spice Cravings and Kitchen of Debjani

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (ghee / coconut oil blend)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup onion (1 medium onion, chopped)
  • 1 green chili (optional: Habanero)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (thought I had it, but it was actually milder Madras curry powder)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder (I used paprika!)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach (2 boxes of organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 100 ml. fresh cream
  • 10 oz. paneer, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (I couldn’t find)

Directions:

  1. Heat a deep sauce pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add oil and cumin seeds (I used black mustard seeds instead). When the seeds begin to sizzle, add crushed ginger and garlic.  Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato.
  3. Add salt, spices and stir well. Then, add 3/4 cup water, stir, cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Open the lid and add 1/2 the baby spinach and stir to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and wilt for around 2 minutes. Sauté for another minute. Turn off the heat.
  5. Using a hand blender puree the spinach mix.  Add a little water if needed. Add 1/2 the cream.
  6. Turn the heat back on to medium, add paneer cubes and simmer for 1 min, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn off the heat. Stir in butter and the other 1/2 cream, this adds a silky smooth finish to the sauce, and gives it a gorgeous shine.
  7. Serve hot with cumin basmati rice or naan. Enjoy!

No Insta Pot here, I’m afraid. We made na’an to go with it! Baking adventures. It was an adventure finding a Pakistani store on the day before Puerto Rican Independence Day, to find frozen paneer. Also since we had less spinach, we added a couple of parboiled potatoes, so… palak aloo paneer! Coming up next: the na’an recipe.

~Jessica

Penne alla vodka

Adapted from hapa nom nom

Ingredients:

  • 5 large tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut a shallow ‘X’ in the bottom of each tomato. Prepare a bowl of ice water. Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then transfer the tomatoes to the ice water. Peel the skins off and slice the cooled tomatoes in half. Dice the tomatoes small, and let drain over a colander. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add the vodka, and return the pan to medium heat. Cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of crushed red peppers, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  2. Generously salt a large pot of boiling water. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain well and immediately add the pasta to the sauce. Add the cream and stir until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Divide among bowls, sprinkle with parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!

My sister and I first made this back when I was in graduate school, and she had started working in the city. It was a blast, we got tipsy, and it tasted wonderful. I tried recreating it again on my own, and it tasted nothing like I remembered, and not very good at that. Ten years later, I suggested we try to recreate it again. If only I had had the presence of mind to snap a shot of when the my sister, ever so carefully, set the pan en flambé. ^_^ The guests loved it.

~Jessica

Tex-Mex chicken burrito (bowl)

Adapted from Mexican Please and My Latina Table

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup pico de gallo or fresh salsa (I chopped a Roma tomato and Vidalia onion to make one quick)
  • 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6-7 chicken thighs, seasoned, baked, shredded
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
  • 1 1/3 cups cooked white rice, warmed
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese (I used mozzarella and cheddar)
  • Guacamole, for serving (whenever possible)
  • sour cream

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  • 3 Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Onion (white)
  • 2 cloves garlic (large)
  • 1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 cup Chicken Stock
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 juice of 1 lime (about 3 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 white onion, sliced (substituted from jalapeno — baby can’t handle too spicy)
  • 6-7 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (I used peanut oil)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup pico de gallo and peppers if you have on hand (we didn’t); cook until the mixture starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. Add the beans and 3/4 cup water; bring to a low boil, then stir in the chicken and cook until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas as the label directs. Arrange the rice horizontally in the lower half of each tortilla, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border on all sides. Top evenly with the cheese, chicken mixture, sour cream and the remaining pico de gallo.
  3. Fold the bottom edge of each tortilla snugly over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll up tightly. Cut the burritos in half and serve with guacamole.

For the Guajillo Salsa:

  1. Roast the tomatoes, onions, and garlic together on a frying pan until slightly browned. 
  2. Put the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender with the spices, the chicken stock, and the whipping cream and blend until smooth. (No blender, hence the orange sauce with tomato and onion you see in the photo — great topping for leftovers!)

For the baked Mexican chicken:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, cilantro and sliced onions.
  2. Place chicken thighs in the bowl and toss marinade over thighs. Mix well together. Let the chicken marinade in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or overnight. (We did it promptly.)
  3. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat coconut oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken thighs skin side down and cook until skin begins to get crispy and slightly light brown, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Flip thighs over, transfer skillet to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper to taste and garnish with more cilantro and onion slices if desired.

My sister Jennifer likes easy to make meals, as a mother of two. She had some chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge, ready to go, so I tried to go extra authentic Mexican on this Tex-Mex favorite. I used the spice mixture from Isabel Eats to bake the chicken 35 minutes. Next time I’ll make the arroz rojo properly. To make the Goya black beans, I followed the back of the can recipe. So really this was three separate recipes: the baked Mexican chicken, the Guajillo salsa, and the black beans. Not bad for Spring Break full on meal.

~Jessica

Fettucine con sugo di Mafalda

IMG_20171014_200636.jpg

Adapted from Lidia’s Italy

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb. pasta (I had farfalle)
  • 10 basil leaves, freshly shredded (I had parsley)
  • 1/2 cup Grana Padano, grated

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile… Saute 1/2 chopped red onion, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 minced carrot, 1/2 chopped gray zucchini in the saucepan.
  3. Bring the tomatoes to a simmer.
  4. Stir in the heavy cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Slip the pasta into boiling water. When the pasta is al dente (15 minutes) and sauce is ready, drop the pasta directly into the sauce. If some pasta water gets in there, all the better!
  6. Add the shredded basil (parsley), then toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in the grated cheese, and serve immediately.

I never knew this sauce had a name, but I have added cream to tomato sauce many a time for a variant on plain ol’ marinara. Not for the lactose-intolerant, of course, but adds some extra fat to a tasty vegetarian meal!

~Jessica

Farfalle al salmone

IMG_20171008_220954.jpgAdapted from Cucinaconoi and Mediterranealicious

Ingredients, For 4 portions:

  • 500 g of fresh tagliolini (or 360 g dried pasta)
  • 500 g of fresh salmon
  • 300-350 g of heavy cream
  • 2 spoonfuls of grated parmesan cheese
  • 40 g of brandy (optional — I had sherry)
  • 15 g of minced shallot (I had red onion)
  • 40 g of butter
  • 1 beefsteak tomato (Roma would have been better)
  • 1/2 zucchini
  • a little branch of dill (I used parsley)
  • a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions for the salmon:

  1. Clean the salmon, removing the skin. Then slice the fish into strips or cubes.
  2. Add the butter to the saute pan, add a spoonful of EVOO and the chopped shallot and let it pan-fry at a very low heat.
  3. Then add the salmon and let it sear, stirring to evenly cook. If you have brandy, pour over the fish. 
  4. When the brandy has evaporated, I added some chopped tomatoes and diced zucchini and let that saute a bit.
  5. Then add the cream, then salt and pepper, and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Directions for the pasta:

  1. Set a pot of water on high heat for the pasta. Once the pot is boiling, salt the pasta water.
  2. Cook the farfalle for 15 minutes or until al dente.
  3. When the pasta is ready, add it directly into the pan with a sieve; then add in half a ladle of the pasta water to bind the sauce.
  4. Sprinkle on some chopped parsley, some salt if necessary and let it pan fry for a bit, stirring. Switch off the stove, add some freshly grated parmesan. Garnish with some parsley as desired. Serve.

This YouTube video is a fresh salmon tagliolini recipe, an alternative to the classic pasta with smoked salmon; if you want, you can use 100-120 g. of smoked salmon instead of fresh. I couldn’t find a good price on smoked salmon, so I picked up 1 lb. of fresh salmon from Trader Joe’s. Enough for 3 generous portions, or 4 modest ones.

~Jessica

Colcannon

imag0898Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Salt
  • 30 g unsalted butter (with more butter for serving)
  • 180 g of chopped cabbage (or kale or other leafy green)
  • 3 green onions, minced
  • 120 mL milk or cream

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes 15-20 minutes in salted water.
  2. Saute cabbage in butter until browning a bit.
  3. Add scallions and cook for a minute.
  4. Pour in the milk/cream, mix well, add potatoes and mash together.
  5. Add salt and butter to taste. Serve.

~Jessica