Archive for the Category ◊ Main Dish ◊

03 Jun 2019 Filipino Chicken Barbecue (Skewers)

I know nothing about Filipino cooking, but my daughter organized a Boodle Fight for one of our cookbook club meetings. Knowing nothing, and needing to know something fast, I researched cookbooks and ordered one that sounded good, landing on “I Am A Filipino: And This Is How We Cook” by Nicole Ponseca. I made several recipes, Chicken Barbecue, Banana Ketchup Ribs, Pancit, Coconut Flan.  Two recipes were keepers, as is, no changes…, Chicken Barbecue and Banana Ketchup BBQ Ribs.

Good news, Epicurious is going all out on promoting this recipe, too, it’s a keeper! Can you see the chicken on the skewers in the picture above?  Look at all that food! A Boodle Fight is a GREAT idea! If you can’t do all of it, start with the Chicken Barbecue Skewers.

You’ll need some Banana Ketchup, which is ketchup made from bananas, not tomatoes, but tastes nothing like bananas, and is still a vibrant red color! I bought my first bottle of Banana Ketchup on Amazon.  It cost 4 times the amount of my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th bottle of Banana Ketchup.  If you have a Filipino market close by, a bottle of Banana Ketchup will cost less than two dollars, if you order it off of Amazon it will cost over eight dollars. Do what you have to do, get a bottle of Banana Ketchup and make the Chicken Barbecue on Skewers.

Filipino Chicken Barbecue (Skewers)

  • 2 1/4 cups (540 ml) banana ketchup
  • 1 cup (240 ml) 7UP or Sprite
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) white sugarcane vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (110 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) minced garlic
  • 3 pounds (1.4 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Cooking spray or vegetable oil, for greasing
  • Wooden skewers
  1. Stir together the banana ketchup, 7UP/Sprite, lemon juice, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic, keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and toss. Cover the bowl or pour mixture into a Ziplok bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and preferably overnight.
  3. When you are ready to cook the meat, heat a grill pan over high heat or heat a charcoal or gas grill to medium.
  4. Reserving the marinade, thread 3 or 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer, letting the pieces touch slightly, and set them on a plate or baking sheet.
  5. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes; set it aside.
  6. Spray the pan or grill grate lightly with cooking spray. Place the skewers on the grill pan or grill and cook, turning them and basting them often with the heated marinade, until they are cooked through or the center of a piece of chicken registers 165°F (75°C) on an instant-read thermometer. This should take between 8 and 15 minutes, depending on your cooking surface (discard any leftover marinade).
  7. Transfer to a platter. Serve and share.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

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04 May 2019 Sweet Chili-Citrus Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas

Not every published recipe works, and that’s a pet peeve of mine. Recently my Cookbook Club received the galley proofs for a soon-to-be-published cookbook. We cooked 19 recipes from the cookbook. Not one worked as written! Not one! Quantities didn’t fit into the stated pans, the oven temperatures were too low, cooking times were too short, methods were inconsistent, steps were missing, and some recipes simply didn’t work or were just plain weird… Jicama Fries anyone? Cauliflower with red wine?

I think the author had some good ideas, but I don’t think any recipe was tested outside of her kitchen or by anyone other than herself.  Badly written (or just plain wrong) recipes are a pet peeve of mine. I think some people end up thinking they are bad cooks just because they have had a couple of run-ins with bad recipes. Gr-r-r-r. It’s all about the recipe, folks (which was the name of my second “cookbook”, that I had passed out to my friends on my 50th birthday).

That all being said, this recipe, from the cookbook we reviewed, has become a favorite. It’s a sheet pan recipe! A ‘new trend’, which is really an old one rehashed, but whatev! After living six decades I have seen trends come, go, and come back again. Anyway, back to the recipe. I had to make some adjustments to methods and oven temperatures, and add in the rice component and now this recipe is one of the quickest, company-worthy, restaurant quality dinners I have on file. The picture above doesn’t do it justice. The shrimp are much more saucy and colorful. The picture below is a bit better, but I only had half the quantity of snap peas and I really should have removed the tails from the shrimp before cooking them. So, on with the recipe, because it’s a good one.

Note: I have been going back and forth about crediting this recipe to the cookbook author referenced above. After much thought I decided not to because I said so many negative (but truthful) things about her cookbook.

To make this you’ll need TWO large sheet pans, and some cooked rice. Either serve the dish in three different bowls, a bowl of rice, a bowl of peas, and a bowl of shrimp, OR layered in one 9×13 serving dish.

Sweet Chili-Lime Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas

1/2 cup orange marmalade (heated slightly to make pour-able and mixable)

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (usually 2 limes)

2 teaspoons Thai Chili Garlic Paste (It’s red, and sold in jars in Asian section of most grocery stores)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 lbs shrimp, defrosted if necessary, with shells and tails removed (I like the frozen shrimp from Costco)

1 pound sugar snap peas

2 cups hot prepared rice

2 tablespoons olive oil

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2.  Combine marmalade, soy sauce, lime juice, chili-garlic paste and ground ginger.
  3.  Place the prepared shrimp into a large bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour marmalade mixture over shrimp and toss to coat.
  4. Pour the shrimp and all the marinade onto a sheet pan.
  5. Rinse and dry the sugar snap peas, and then toss with the olive oil.
  6. Pour the sugar snap peas onto another sheet pan.
  7. Place both sheet pans into hot 400 degree oven.
  8. Remove the snap peas after 5-7 minutes. Peas should be shiny and crisp.
  9. Let the shrimp cook for an additional minute or two. Remove from the oven when fully cooked, the shrimp should be totally opaque and curled into a “C” shape.
  10. Either serve the dish in three different bowls, a bowl of rice, a bowl of peas, and a bowl of shrimp, OR, as I do now, in one 9×13 serving dish with rice on the bottom, peas in the next layer, and the shrimp and sauce poured on top. The sauce eventually meets the rice and…, yum-m-m…, heaven!
  11. Serve and share 🙂

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

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13 Mar 2018 British Pork Pie

Finally!  A Pork Pie recipe that is pretty darn good (and not that hard to produce)! My Dad, a traditional Yorkshire-man, loved pork pies. I really, really wish he were still here to taste my version. To my mind, this Pork Pie favorably rivals the famous Melton Mowbry Pork Pies, but that might just be a braggadocious assertion 🙂

I have modified a recipe by new wave British chef, Richard Bertinet, for my version of Pork Pie. I have used Chef Bertinet’s version of hot-water crust pastry, unchanged (hot-water crust pastry is only used for making savory pies that are eaten cold). I made some substantial changes to his filling recipe though. First, I changed the meats and the ratios.  Then I added onion (which is so not traditional). I upped the spices and added a few different ones. I added eight hard boiled eggs (which are optional) and, to the “jelly”, I added a good shot of bourbon, which has been in no recipe I’ve ever seen, but I did it for my Dad and, in my mind, it will remain the magical addition to this very tasty version of a British Pork Pie.

Pork Pie is a traditional picnic, quick meal, or bar snack in England. It’s a firm solid pie, nothing drips out of a Pork Pie.  Instead of gravy moistening the meat, there’s a jelly-like substance. Don’t be afraid of it! It’s delicious. In my version the “jelly” is broth, bourbon and a little unflavored gelatin (see recipe for notes on making the broth).

This recipe requires a 9″ Springform pan. You will also need a meat grinder or a food processor. Have neither? You can still do this, just chop everything very, very finely. A food syringe would be wonderful to have, too, but not to worry if you don’t have one. Above all, you will also need a plan! The recipe has three components: hot water crust pastry, pork filling, and a broth based “jelly”. Cooking time will be approximately 2 ½ hours. Before baking, the pastry will need approximately 90 minutes to “rest”. The filling can be made while the pastry is resting. Make Pork Pie at least one day before serving. The meat and jelly need at least 8 hours to settle, set, and chill before serving.

The British like to spread condiments on their pork pies, so serve your pork pie with a jar of Branston’s Pickle*, Piccalilli Relish*, Mango Chutney or coarse mustard (*available on Amazon, some Indian markets and some supermarkets with large international sections).

Polly’s English Pork Pie

For the Hot-water Crust Pastry:

  • 175g/ 6 oz lard (or, if you can afford it/find it, use goose or duck fat like Richard Bertinet suggests)
  • 175ml/6 fluid oz. water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 450g/16 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg , lightly beaten with a fork
  1. Put the lard, water, salt and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring as the lard melts. When it comes to a boil, count to 30 seconds and immediately take the pan off the heat.
  2. While the lard is melting, put the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and stir in the beaten egg.
  3. Pour the hot liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
  4. When the mixture forms quite a dough, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let rest and cool for 1 hour.
  5. While the dough is resting, make the filling.

For the Three Porks Filling

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed OR use the oil from the can of anchovies
  • 1 small can (2 oz) anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  1. Heat oil in a medium frying pan. Add in chopped onion, and sauté until soft and translucent.
  2. Add in green onion and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Do not let garlic darken.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in diced anchovies. Set mixture aside to cool.
  • 1 ¼ lbs pork chops, with some fat (pork shoulder or country style pork ribs can be used, too)
  • 8 oz diced pancetta
  • 8 oz bacon, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 whole nutmeg, grated OR approximately 2 teaspoons of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • 8 hard-boiled eggs, shelled (the eggs just need to be softly hard boiled, the eggs will have additional cooking time in the oven) – optional
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Prepare meat for food processor (large chunks) or meat grinder (long strips). Include some fat! Take your time to season each piece of meat with salt and pepper (heavy on the pepper), crumbled sage, mace, and freshly grated nutmeg.
  2. Combine seasoned pork with diced pancetta, diced bacon, and the reserved onion mixture. Make sure everything is well combined.
  3. Grind the three pork and onion mixture with a meat grinder on a coarse setting or briefly process with short burst in food processor (do not over process, you don’t want a paste, you want chopped meat).
  4. Set ground meat aside and turn attention to pastry now.

To Fill Pie

  1. Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface.
  2. Roll pastry into a rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds by taking one side into the center and then bringing the opposite side over the top. Flatten the dough into a rough oblong shape. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes (or longer, if needed)
  3. Prepare 9″ springform pan by lightly greasing and flouring bottom and sides.
  4. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove pastry from refrigerator.
  6. Cut off ¼ of pastry and set aside for top.
  7. Roll remaining ¾ pastry into a large circle to fit along the bottom and up the sides of the 9″ springform pan. Be careful with the rolling out.  Pastry should be thick, and equally thick throughout, the sheet (this pie needs a thick, firm shell on the bottom, sides, and top).
  8. Gently fold pastry to lift into prepared pan. Place pastry in center of pan and ensure it covers all the way up all the sides of the pan. Patch any holes or tears.
  9. Place 1/3 of filling in bottom of pastry case. (If you choose not to use eggs, place all the filling in the pastry case.)
  10. Place shelled hard-boiled eggs in a ring on top of filling in bottom of pan, optional.
  11. Lightly spoon remaining filling over the ring of eggs. Be sure eggs are completely covered and the top is evenly smoothed.
  12. Roll out remaining pasty into circle to fit on top of filling.
  13. Firmly adhere top to side pastry. Trim excess crust.
  14. If you have any excess pastry, make decorations for top of pie, if desired.
  15. Beat egg lightly, then brush over top of pastry.
  16. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make several holes into top of pastry (for steam to escape). Be careful where you poke. Don’t pierce a hard-boiled egg!
  17. Place pie in oven. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes.
  18. Reduce heat to 325°, bake for an additional 90 minutes.
  19. Meanwhile, make the “jelly”

For the “jelly”

  • 7 oz really good quality pork or chicken stock (I make my own. If your pork came with bones, boil the bones with a bit of extra meat, even throw in an extra pork chop, if you have one. Add in some diced veggies for taste. I like onions, carrots, celery and a bay leaf, simmer for at least an hour. Taste the broth, it should taste good and rich. If you don’t say “mmmm”, keep simmering until you do. Add salt and pepper if needed. If you have more meat, bones, or veggies, add them too. If you have homemade chicken stock, use that. If you have only canned stock, jazz it up a bit. Pour broth into a pan and add in a piece of chicken or some chicken bones if you have them, and any veggies you have on hand plus a bay leaf. Simmer and taste. Once you get a really good taste, strain, throw out the veggies, bones, etc. retain the broth).
  • 4 oz bourbon
  • 1 pkt unflavored gelatin
  1. About 15 minutes before pie is done, put 2 tablespoons of cold broth or water in a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin on top, and let sit until gelatin is soft.
  2. Meanwhile, heat broth to a light simmer. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in softened gelatin and 4 oz bourbon.
  4. When cooked, remove pie from oven.
  5. If you have a baking syringe, fill it with the gelatin mixture and inject pie with stock mixture, avoiding eggs, all over the top of the pie. If you don’t have a syringe, with wooden spoon, re-punch holes in pastry and punch 3-5 additional holes (avoiding the eggs, of course). Pour gelatin mixture into all the holes. Let mixture settle, then add more liquid. Keep doing this until all the gelatin has been added.
  6. When pie has cooled, cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight but for at least 8 hours.
  7. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before serving. Serve in wedges with jars of Branston Pickle, Piccalilli, Mango Chutney, and whole grain mustard on the side.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

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26 Jan 2018 Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)
potatoes-baked-in-cream-with-abby

Did the name of the recipe entice you click on this?! Well then, that makes us friends forever!

When my friends from Southern France were staying with us, they offered to make a side dish for dinner.  They didn’t use a recipe. They sliced up a few potatoes, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, poured a carton of cream over the top, and put the whole thing in the oven. Sixty minutes later my family’s love affair with Potatoes Baked in Cream began.

Last year I found an actual written down recipe, one that I can pass on, one with precise quantities and directions.  The recipe is from David Tanis’ cookbook, “Market Cooking”. I made one change to Chef Tanis’ recipe, I cut out an additional four tablespoons of butter! Chef Tanis calls his recipe “Classic Potato Gratin”, but to me and my family it will always be “Potatoes Baked in Cream”.

I think you will be surprised at how delicious this very simple dish is. I certainly was. Sublime. After you taste Potatoes Bake in Cream, that will be your word of the day. Sublime.

An important note:  Leftovers don’t reheat well, so make sure you eat all of the potatoes in one sitting (invite friends over, take the dish to a potluck, serve these potatoes for a holiday meal…). I haven’t tried reheating leftovers in the oven, so that might work (see David Tanis’ *note below). I have tried reheating leftovers in the microwave.  Don’t do it on 100% power!  I had so-so results reheating on 50% power. I wouldn’t serve them to anyone else, but I was able to eat them!  I have also had so-so results from throwing a handful of diced ham into a hot frying pan, dicing up a serving of leftover casserole, and reheating over medium heat. It made for a good breakfast, but nothing-nothing-like the original casserole served hot from the oven.

Another important note: The potatoes need to be sliced thinly and evenly. 1/8th inch or 3/16ths an inch is about right. You can do this with a very sharp knife and by working slowly and carefully, like my French friends did. I use a mandolin to slice the potatoes. If you don’t have one, I’d suggest getting one.  I bought mine on Amazon after looking at all the reviews and selecting the highest rated one. Later I started seeing mandolins at Savers/Goodwill for about $6.  I bought used mandolins for my daughters. Go to Savers.

Potatoes Baked in Cream (Potato Gratin)

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • butter to coat the baking dish (Chef Tanis uses 4 more tablespoons butter to dot top of casserole, I don’t)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2½ cups heavy whipping cream (don’t even think about substituting anything for the cream, such as half and half or whole milk, it just won’t work!)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Peel the potatoes and put them in cold water (to prevent them from turning brown while you finish the prep work. Slice only one layer of potatoes as a time. Keep the other potatoes in the cold water. The browning happens fast when the potatoes are so thinly cut).
  2. Smear a baking dish thickly with butter. (I use a 9×13 dish but I am looking for a dish that’s the same size and a bit shallower since the quantity of potatoes only come half way up the sides of the 9×13 pan. The waste of space bothers me a bit as I’d like to have a dedicated Potatoes Baked in Cream pan because, after all, this is a dish I will be making over and over! That being said, I’ve been using the same 9×13 pan for a few years now, so it’s really not a problem.)
  3. Drain and dry one peeled potato at a time. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice one potatoes at a time as thinly as possible. Quickly lay the potato slices in the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping them just slightly to make a “roof tile” style pattern. Sprinkle each layer of potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. Slice more potatoes and make another layer. Continue in this fashion, seasoning each layer, until all the potatoes are used. You should have at least 3, but no more than 4 layers.
  4. Pour the cream over the potatoes and tilt the pan to distribute well. With your hands, push down on the top layer to even out the pile (I don’t do this, but Chef Tanis says to). The cream should just barely cover the potatoes; add a little more if necessary.
  5. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 375°.
  6. After 30 minutes remove the foil from the casserole, and return to the oven for another 30-35 minutes to finish cooking the potatoes and turn the top of the gratin to a crispy, deep golden brown.
  7. Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes before serving.

*Note from David Tanis: The gratin can also be cooled and left at room temperature for several hours, then reheated in a moderate oven. (I haven’t tested this)

Thank you for stopping by my kitchen today, what is cooking for tomorrow, hmmmm…. Pork and Tomatillo Stew?

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