Arroz Con Pollo

Well, we had our few weeks of summer, then fall hit with a vengeance.  It is strange how quickly it came this year – although, what I think really happened was that summer was just not long enough.  Usually by this time I am happy for the clouds to come back, but this year was an exception.  I would have been happy with a couple more weeks of sun – shhhh – don’t tell anyone, I constantly tell people I hate the sun, which is why I love it here so much…

I am hoping that this will be the week I can catch up on stuff – things have gotten so out of control, I am even off schedule on my blog postings.  I just know I will get back to normal soon (let me keep dreaming).  I feel like all I have been doing is baking recently, so I am happy to post something different for a change.  Chicken and rice, a staple in my house – especially when fall arrives.  I love changing things up a bit though, and this recipe definitely did just that.  I found it in the Sunday Pacific NW Magazine by Greg Atkinson – which I adapted to suit the needs of my family, who do not necessarily love very spicy food.  This was delicious, and the kids loved it – especially the sausage.  I will definitely make this again…knowing that I have many more cloudy days ahead of me before summer comes again.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage links, cut into 1/2-inch discs
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice such as jasmine or basmati
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 generous pinch saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 cups green peas, fresh shelled or frozen
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley

Preparation

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the sausage pieces in the olive oil until they are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, lift the sausage out of the oil and keep nearby.

Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and brown them in the oil left in the pan, turning once to brown evenly on both sides, about 5 minutes in all.

Lift the chicken out of the pan, and in the oil left behind, sauté the onion and pepper until the vegetables are soft and the onion is beginning to brown. Stir in the rice, garlic and smoked paprika, then pour in the beer, the fire-roasted tomatoes, the water and the saffron threads. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Put the sausage and chicken pieces back in the pot, reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer until the rice has absorbed the cooking liquid and the chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Five minutes before serving, stir in the peas and the parsley, cover the pan and let the finished dish rest undisturbed until the peas are heated through.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Arroz Con Pollo

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Classic Coleslaw

The good old classic coleslaw, it almost goes synonymous with a summer holiday weekend.  Coleslaw goes with anything, especially anything that has been grilled.  This summer in NYC, we visited one of my favorite delis, the one that brings a big metal bowl of pickles and one of coleslaw to every table.  I couldn’t even wait for my corned beef sandwich to come, I just had to dig right in.  Fortunately there were six of us, so they brought us a few bowls of coleslaw, because I plowed through one of them pretty quickly.  By the time my sandwich came, I had to dig into the second bowl.  Their coleslaw is amazing, there is no mayonnaise, just a vinegar dressing that the cabbage has been soaking in for probably days.  It is crunchy and absolutely addicting – by itself, or in between a sandwich that is already bigger than your mouth.  Oh wait, and did I tell you about the chocolate soda they bring around after your meal?  Just classic.

I decided to make some coleslaw to go with our BBQ, and I searched for a recipe that would be good, and I just couldn’t find anything that appealed to me – until I found this on Epicurious (from Bon Appetit).  I figured since it was called Classic Coleslaw, I couldn’t go wrong.  Really what sold me on the recipe was the fact that it had diced dill pickles and pickle juice in the dressing.  I decided to change the recipe slightly though, and added radicchio instead of purple cabbage, for a nice twist.  I was glad I did, I liked the slight bitterness with the tangy dressing.  So – it still didn’t hold a candle to the deli coleslaw, but it was still classic in its own way.  Look at that picture, is that classic coleslaw or what?

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced dill pickle plus 2  tablespoons pickle brine
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white  vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared white  horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black  pepper
  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 3 cups shredded radicchio

Preparation

Whisk the first 9 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend.

DO  AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Toss the cabbage, carrots and raddichio together in a large serving bowl.  Add the dressing, and mix to coat.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Classic Coleslaw

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Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

My family loves meat – I am very fortunate that both my daughters love their meat, as well as my carnivorous husband.  Even though when my husband goes away – I am happy as a clam to eat just a big salad with lots of fresh veges, I also love meat, and pretty much any kind.  I love going to the meat counter and looking at all the different cuts, thinking about all the different ways I can cook it up for dinner.  It is not very often though that I come home feeling like a meat department – until I decided to make the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya that was printed in Bon Appetit.  Jambalaya is usually made with shrimp, which is why I pretty much stayed away from it all my life.  Things were about to change though – this recipe had no shrimp – just LOTS and LOTS of meat.

It didn’t really sink in as to how much meat the recipe had until I added it all up, and realized I was about to cook over 4 1/2  pounds worth.  I immediately went to the phone and started calling our neighbors – I was about to make enough Jambalaya to feed a small army.

Well – that’s exactly what I did.  I decided to use my favorite Le Crueset pot – one that I have never come close to filling – but I have also never cooked 4 1/2 pounds of meat in one casserole dish.  Everything seemed fine until I added the rice, and boy was it looking like it was going to overflow.  It ended up being just the perfect sized pot – the rice came nicely to the top, but did not cook out.  The final product?  Amazing!!  Lots of flavor – lots of meat – a nice kick, and a one pot meal that the whole family enjoyed.  It was a little spicy for the girls, but the rice mellowed it out a bit (and I also didn’t add all the cayenne pepper).  I highly recommend this if you are cooking for a crowd – and if not, prepare for a lot of leftovers…but even leftover, it is awesome.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, diced
  • 1  1/2 pounds smoked fully cooked sausage (such as linguiça), halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick semi-circles
  • 1 pound andouille sausages, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pound tasso or smoked ham (such as Black Forest), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 pounds onions, chopped (4 to 5 cups)
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 8- to 10-ounce red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 8- to 10-ounce green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • 3 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes and green chiles
  • 2 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 3 cups (19 to 20 ounces) long-grain white rice
  • 8 green onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley

Preparation

Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Cook bacon in very large pot over medium-high heat until brown but not yet crisp, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Add smoked sausage, andouille, and tasso. Sauté until meats start to brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add onions, celery, and bell peppers. Cook until vegetables begin to soften, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Mix in chicken. Cook until outside of chicken turns white, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in paprika, thyme, chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes with chiles and broth; stir to blend well. Add more cayenne, if desired. Mix in rice.

Bring jambalaya to boil. Cover pot. Place in oven and bake until rice is tender and liquids are absorbed, 45 to 48 minutes. Uncover pot. Mix chopped green onions into jambalaya; sprinkle jambalaya with chopped parsley and serve.

Serves 8-10

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

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Swedish Meatballs

I have never been to Sweden – it is on my list – but I haven’t made it there yet.  Of course whenever I travel, I focus on the food. Sweden is one place that I don’t have a good sense as to the food theyeat – I know they eat a lot of fish (herring) – and some really good pastries (based on some Swedish bakeries I have been to), but as far as other items, Swedish Meatballs is the only thing that comes to mind.  I remember going to IKEA once and noticing the restaurant – and they definitely had Swedish Meatballs on the menu, but nothing else sticks with me.

I have tried a lot of Swedish meatballs over the years, but none as good as this recipe from The Big Book of Casseroles.  I love how all the flavors melt together and form a delicious ball of goodness. Unfortunately I didn’t have any beef broth in the house when I made these, so I used chicken broth instead.  The sauce was not as dark as it usually is, but they still tasted amazing.  The kids love them, and just keep popping more in their mouth.  It is a really easy dish to make for a hot appetizer, or for a meal – served with noodles or rice.

Someday I will make it to Sweden, and since I can’t eat fish, at least I can count on eating some Swedish Meatballs – and hopefully lots of other delicious goodies – with the flavor combinations in these meatballs, I have a feeling that Swedish food is pretty darn scrumptious.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound bulk sausage or ground veal
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup Beef Stock or canned beef broth
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream

Preparation

In a large bowl, mix meats and onion. Add eggs, bread crumbs, milk, and seasonings. Mix well with a large spoon or your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour for easier handling. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Shape meat mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on a baking sheet with a rim. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer meatballs along with juices and beef stock to a 2-1/2-quart casserole dish lightly coated with cooking spray or oil.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Cover and bake meatballs until heated through, about 30 minutes. Stir in sour cream and bake, uncovered, until heated through once again, 10 minutes longer.

Note:
For an hors d’oeuvre, transfer meatballs to a chafing dish and serve with toothpicks.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Swedish Meatballs

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