Tag Archives: Hearty

West African Peanut Stew

14 Feb

Old Man Winter, you bastard.

Cold ears. Dry skin. Static-y hair. Runny noses. Short days. Long sleeves. Slush.

I’m having a mild bout of winter blahs. I’ve been busy watching the Olympics and not motivated to do much extra, such as cooking interesting things and writing about it. I’m afraid the ole’ blog has suffered!

I’m sorry.  I’ll be better.

I hope this post makes up for it, because it is the perfect antidote for a cold winter night.

Don’t get me wrong, I love chili, I really really do. Everyone should have a killer recipe (like this one!) in their repertoire (arsenal? I can’t decide). But let’s face it, sometimes its boring. Like stir fry. I could make it blindfolded.

May I suggest something to shake things up? How about this spicy and hearty peanut stew? Try it out! It was seriously satisfying.

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West African a Peanut Stew
(Serves 4-5. Time: 1 hour. Adapted from Saveur) 

  • 6-8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 fresh red chilis
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cilantro, to garnish
  • Fresh lemon

Directions
1) Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large pot and brown chicken drumsticks over medium high heat until browned on all sides (approx 10 minutes). Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, prep onions, garlic, ginger and 1 chilli and add to hot pot once chicken is removed. Sautée with a more oil until soft and fragrant (about 5 minutes).
3) Add spices (turmeric, cinnamon, pepper, coriander, cumin, cloves) and fry for about one minute.
4) Add tomato paste and cook until slightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Add peanut butter. Stir until melted and incorporated.
5) Return chicken to pot along with stock (or water) and tomatoes. Bring to a boil.
6) Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 25 minutes.
7) Add sweet potato and cook until tender, about another 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
8) Season with salt and add roasted peanuts and second chopped fresh chilli. Finish with squeeze of fresh lemon juice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Yum. This stew is really filling, and made great leftovers. The chicken was fall-off-the-bone tender, but I’m sure it would still be great vegan-ized with tofu. I liked the crunch of the peanuts.

I served it over couscous (aka the lazy-man’s rice) with salad. The next day we had it with sautéed balsamic mushrooms, salad and flatbreads.

Note: my peppers were not extremely spicy, so I did not de-seed them. Proceed with caution if you think yours may be hotter. Also, if you think the stew is too thick, add one more cup of liquid.

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What are your favourite winter recipes? How do you stay sane at this time of year? Let me know below!

Thanks for reading.

M

Thanksgiving Guyanese Essequibo Chicken

17 Oct

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I got this recipe from this hilarious cookbook called Don’t Stop the Cook!  that my mum brought me back from a vacation to Jamaica. It inexplicably has a rather earnest-looking (white)  pirate on the cover,  features many, many Caribbean recipes and contains zero photos.

It’s my new favourite cookbook. This recipe was amazing.

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I made this in lieu of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey because…I didn’t feel like turkey.  I was originally going to make Jerk spiced ribs, but I left it too late and all the butcher shops were closed.

Plan B!  I still wanted to use this book, so I decided to try out the Essequibo. It was amazing! The flavours were super rich and full bodied. The sauce reminded me of a French ratatouille, which might make sense considering that France at one point colonized Guyana.20131017-191623.jpg

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He liked it!

Guyanese Essequibo Chicken (serves 4)

  • 8 chicken thighs (or drumsticks would work well too)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • 1 onion (red or yellow) chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • coconut or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  1. In a large pan (I had to use two medium sized ones) heat oil over medium heat. When hot, sprinkle sugar over oil and let bubble (do not burn)
  2. Add chicken to sugar/oil and fry until browned evenly. Add red or yellow onion and garlic and fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add celery salt, garlic salt and green onions, thyme, red pepper, tomato and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes or so,
  4. Add tomato paste and water. Simmer on low heat for one hour, skimming the fat off the top of the sauce with a teaspoon.
  5. Combine cornstarch with about two tablespoons of water and quickly stir into sauce mixture to thicken.
  6. Mix well and season with pepper and more fresh thyme.

Serve on top of rice and beans with salad!

Fun (?) fact: “Essequibo (Dutch: Essequebo) was a Dutch colony on the Essequibo River in the Guiana region on the north coast of South America from 1616 to 1814. The colony formed a part of the colonies that are known under the collective name of Dutch Guiana”

Classic Chicken-Noodle Soup for the Sneezing Soul

8 Oct

Everyone in the world seems to be sick right now. Including me. I was feeling sorry for myself and craving a hearty bowl of chicken soup. The result was this blog post, and a first for me. This was the first time I’ve made chicken stock from scratch. Ever.  It is a bit time consuming, but if you’re sick at home and have nothing but, why not?

I had a frozen chicken carcass in the freezer from a previous roast that I had been meaning to make a stock out of for ages. I threw it in a pot with some carrots, onions, garlic, celery, rosemary and thyme, salt, peppercorns and bay leaves and simmered for 3 hours ( although I fell asleep watching The Hunger Games and simmered it a bit too vigorously, seriously harming my yield. However, not an entirely futile exercise… I managed to salvage roughly 2 cups worth)

It turned out tasting beautifully.

Stock is great to have on hand, and you can freeze it in cubes and add it to enhance sauces, rice and soups. I’m a convert.

Tip: save on food waste by keeping a ziplock bag of future stock items such as chicken bones and the ends of onions, celery, carrots, root veggies, random garlic cloves and unused herbs in the freezer, and add to it until the next time!

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Part One: Homemade Chicken Stock

  • 3 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Peppercorns (about 20)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  •  carcass of a leftover roast chicken
  • Water to cover
  1. Add all items to a large stockpot and cover with water. Bring to a vigorous boil for about 10 minutes, and then a low simmer for about 3 hours, skimming any fat off the top as needed. Your house will smell amazing the entire time.
  2. Once reduced to about half, cool and filter through a sieve, reserving only the liquid. Discard the rest.
  3. Keep stock in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for indefinite future use.
  4. Congratulate self on becoming Domestic Goddess

Part 2: Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

  • 2 cups condensed chicken stock (homemade or boxed)
  • 2-3 cups water (or per package instructions)
  • 3 chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley (or whatever you fancy)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (again, whatever you fancy. Spicy helps with decongestion!
  • Chopped Celery
  • Chopped Carrots
  • 1 cup fusilli ( or egg noodles, or those adorable orzo things)
  • Fresh thyme

1) Sauté celery, carrots and onions until soft with oil
2) Add garlic until fragrant
3) Add water, stock and bring to a boil
4) Add chicken, bay leaves, peppercorns, chili flakes, parsley, salt and pepper and bring to medium simmer for about 15 minutes
5 ) Remove chicken, which should be cooked through, and remove meat from bones. Add chicken meat back to the pot (save bones for future stock!) and add pasta
6) Cook another 6-8 minutes until pasta is almost done and add fresh lemon juice and thyme.

The lemon juice and chili peppers remind me of the soup my mum used to make for me when I was feeling under the weather. Great for colds!

Now cozy up and enjoy while watching a highly anticipated new release (hopefully for you its not This is the End. Way too long)

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OMG I almost forgot. I served this with this awesome sweet potato chutney and crackers. The chutney was dead easy and soo tasty. Tangy, sweet, salty and savory all at once.

Part 3: Sweet Potato Chutney

1 sweet potato, cooked and mashed
1/3 red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pure vanilla powder or mango powder to taste.

Combine. Let sit for 2 hours before serving for best flavour result. I originally made it to accompany some failed samosas. Also fantastic with cheese and crackers.

This is my 50th post on Food, Mostly! A small milestone, in terms of blogging.

Thanks so much for following!

M

Shakshuka: aka Middle Eastern Inspired Deliciousness in a Pan

7 Jan

Peppers, tomatoes, herbs, spices and baked eggs, with still-runny yolks set in the middle. I saw this recipe on martetatin and it looked so beautiful I had to try recreating it for myself! Two breakfast posts in a row? Don’t mind if I do…

It may look just like your basic stir fry, but the spices and herbs set this dish apart. Food 473

Food 459Food 462Shakshuka

(Serves 2)

  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 small yellow onions, finely sliced
  • 1 red and 1 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 3 small bay leaves
  • 8 (or so) sprigs of fresh thyme, plucked (?)
  • 4 small ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or less, or more, depending on your penchant for spice)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 10-12 small cooked baby potatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh basil to garnish   ( I was missing cilantro, which would have been my first choice, but I certainly don’t turn my nose up at fresh basil in any situation!)
  • Note: I  threw in some roasted carrots and the baby potatoes from the night before. This dish is a good way to use up leftovers, however, the potato added a lovey hearty-ness that I would hesitate to skip in the future!
  1. In a large pan dry roast the cumin over medium high heat until fragrant (about 2 minutes) add the oil and onions and sauté for 5 minutes or so.
  2. Add the honey, herbs, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes and continue to cook over a high heat for another 10 minutes, until reduced somewhat.
  3. Over lower heat, add saffron, paprika  cayenne, salt and pepper and tomato paste. Continue cooking another 15 minutes, slowly adding water as needed to give the mixture a saucy consistency, like a pasta sauce.
  4. Heat two smaller frying pans to medium and divide the pepper mix between them, removing the bay leaves.
  5. Make a space in the middle and carefully crack 2 eggs into the pan, not breaking the yolks.
  6. Sprinkle eggs with more salt and pepper and cover the pans. Cook at a low heat for 10-12 minutes, until the eggs are just set. Garnish with fresh basil or cilantro and serve piping hot.

Almost nothing repulses me more than a sweet and sugary breakfast. So I’m excited to have discovered Shakshuka which is so savory and satisfying! Make this on your next lazy Monday Sunday and tell me how it turns out!

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Hearty and Spicy Potato Leek Soup

2 Jan

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Christmas and New Years was a whirlwind. From December 23rd to the 2nd of January, my feet barely stepped foot in my own apartment, let alone the kitchen. Today was specifically planned to be a day with no plans. Sleep in, watch some episodes of Misfits (check it out), head to my favourite neighbourhood lunch spot (Zocalo at Bloor and Dundas West) and stock up on some groceries. Scheduling, obligations and rules of any kind were strictly forbidden today. We even skipped yoga.

Pure heaven.

Scott’s parents own a catering business and as a result, we inherited lots of leftover perishables, including  a 10 lb bag of potatoes (!) a 10 lb bag of onions (!!)  and another 10+ lb bag of carrots (!!!). So tonight we made big batches of caramelized onions, carrot ginger soup and potato leek soup.

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The potato leek soup was the stand out winner here (unless eating fork-fulls of pure caramelized onions counts, but it doesn’t). It was the first time I’ve ever made it, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. It turned out to be really fast, with great depth of flavour. This recipe is pretty healthy, being free of cream, and yet is still nice and creamy (and also happens to be vegan and gluten free).  So hearty and satisfying!

Spicy Potato Leek Soup

  • 1 large leek, rinsed and finely chopped (white and tender pale green parts only)
  • 8-10 medium sized potatoes (lost count, sorry)
  • 1 medium sized white onion, sliced finely
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • Water (about 6 cups, or just enough to cover the potatoes in a large pot)
  • 1 cube vegetarian bouillon
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh pressed olive oil
  • 2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 tablespoon dried hot red pepper flakes
  • black pepper to taste
  1. Wash and chop potatoes into medium sized cubes and add to large pot. Fill pot with water just to cover and bring to a boil
  2. Add bay leaves, veggie stock and salt to water. Boil until potatoes are soft.
  3. Meanwhile, in frying pan,  sauté leeks with garlic, onion and white wine until browned, soft and fragrant.
  4. When potatoes are cooked, add leeks, garlic and onion to pot with potatoes.
  5. Remove the bay leaves, and puree mixture until creamy and well incorporated.
  6. Add almond milk (can also use regular dairy)  until desired consistency is reached. Add olive oil and blend well.
  7. Add parsley, black pepper and hot pepper flakes.
  8. Heat gently (do not boil) for a few more minutes, until heated through.
  9. Garnish with caramelized onions, croutons, cheese, or all of the above!

I picked up a spice mixture of peperoncino, aglio (garlic) and Italian parsley (prezzemolo) in a Roman market during my recent foray to Italy, and threw it in at the last minute. I’m glad I did, as the hot peppers added a nice, subtle kick and the parsley some colour. It really enhanced the recipe!

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Tell me, what would you do with 10 lbs of potatoes?? (I’m asking because… there are still quite a few left over)

My Moroccan Feast

21 Mar

Its not often when a meal works together so completely. Layers of textures and flavours that all taste wonderful when eaten one on top of the other, in different combinations. That rare and perfect meal, where you wouldn’t change a thing (this is especially true if you are the cook).

Vegetarian Moroccan stew, couscous with mint and raisins,  fattoush salad, tzatziki with cucumbers, and warm pita.  It reminded me of the “falafel plate”‘ from Ali Baba’s. (Brainwave- must include these next time!)

Tzatziki with Cucumbers

I mostly followed this recipe that I found on About.com

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 3.5  medium cloves of crushed garlic (two regular sized, two small! Just use 3)
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cucumber finely chopped
  • cracked black pepper

Very simple, but the cool garlicy-ness added a lot to the meal when spooned over the stew. This makes quite a lot, but it is even better the next day.  I also realize that Tzatziki is not Moroccan…but we had a lot of yogurt)

Fattoush Salad

  • 1.5 cups of  chopped cabbage
  • 1/2  red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 hand fulls of mixed greens
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • roughly torn fresh mint to taste

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbs honey
  1. Mix

This recipe traditionally calls for fried pita “croutons” , which I imagine would be quite delicious. I opted against it only because we were already having pita with the tzatziki and I only had two.

Next time!

Ok, ok.  That other stuff is great, no doubt. But the real star of the show here is the Moroccan Stew. I can’t tell you how quick, healthy and easy this was to make. Hearty, spicy and flavourful. Not only that, but you can throw in almost any veggie that is lying around the kitchen and it would come out delicious every time. It recipe is definitely going into my  repertoire.

Vegetarian Moroccan Stew 

This recipe from allrecipes.com was my guideline for the spices.

  • 1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

I added

  •  1 cup shredded kale
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can red beans ( I was reaching for lentils but ended up with these- were great!)
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1.5 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup water
  1.  Saute onion in pot or pan with coconut oil until transparent- about 8-10 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, assemble spice mixture and set aside
  3. Shred kale and saute with the onions until soft. Add spices at this point and turn heat to medium. Fry spices until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  4. Add tomato, beans and chopped sweet potato and water. Bring to boil and then simmer on medium to low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until potato is soft. 
  5. Serve over cous cous and garnish with fresh parsley and yogurt. 

Warm and spicy. Yum!  I made couscous and mixed in olive oil, raisins and torn fresh mint.  When combined, the  sweetness of the raisins was so tasty and the mint added nice dimension.  If I wasn’t serving the stew with the couscous, I would make sure to add raisins or chopped dried apricots directly to the stew. The sweetness is a must!
I’m sorry to brag, but this was fantastic.  For my birthday I recently received a beautiful bright red tagine.  It is a self contained cone shaped pot that  keeps all the moisture in, resulting in tender meat.  I can’t wait to try it out.  The next time I have a dinner party, you’re invited. Be forewarned, the theme will be Moroccan.
Immy May

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