Sunday, December 28, 2008

Savory Fruited Chicken Stew

Goodness knows where this came from. I was walking through the grocery store and started getting instructions from some spirit on what to buy and what to make. This sounded so weird but was delicious! I suspect it is adapted from something in the middle ages!! I kept seeing castles in my head when I made it!

1 1/2 lbs bing cherries, pitted and stemmed
4 large or 8 small pears, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet vidalia or other sweet onion cut into bite sized pieces
1 whole head of garlic, peeled and minced

1 - 1 1/2 lbs chicken (either thighs or breasts, boneless and skinless)

1 can chicken stock (actually you only use about 3/4)
olive oil
1/2 cup butter, melted
+ 3 T butter
fresh or dried thyme... if using fresh, about 5 T
if using dried, about 2 T

Any cooked grain or couscous, or if you want to make risotta, you need:
2 C rice
2 T butter
2 cans chicken broth
extra broth from stew.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the cherries, pears, onion, and garlic in a big bowl. Pour 1/2 c melted butter over top, then liberally salt, pepper and add half the thyme. Sounds weird but it'll be good. Roast for 20 minutes and then take out.

Meanwhile, on medium high, heat 3 T butter and olive oil to coat the bottom of a pan big enough to hold chicken breasts or thighs. Add other half of the thyme and carefully place chicken in. Liberally salt and pepper. Cook at least 5 minute per side till done. Remove off the heat, remove chicken to a platter, and cut into bite sized pieces. If its fatty, remove the fat.

Put the remains back over medium heat. Add about 4 T butter or so and mix to make a roux (thickening agent). Add 1/2 can of chicken stock and dump in roasted fruit mixture. Let simmer and scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot and mix in well (flavor!). Add chicken pieces and let simmer. You can add more broth if its too thick for your tastes.

What I did is dump all the broth in. Then I heated 2 extra cans of chicken stock and made risotto with that, 2 cups of rice, and the extra broth...basically, I heated 2 T butter over medium high and stirred in 2 c dry rice till it got toasted a little. Then I added the chicken broth, about 1/2 cup at a time stirring constantly. As it dries up you add more broth. Eventually you'll get all the chicken broth in, then you start ladelling in extra liquid from the stew pot. Keep it up for 21 minutes, stirring and adding liquid when dry till the risotta is creamy and nice to eat. If you get stuck with not enough liquid, add some water. Its not magic. You just want it to be creamy and not soggy. Then I served the stew over the risotta and sank into bliss!

You could also serve over any grain or couscous.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ann's Leftover Turkey Enchiladas

8-10 small corn tortillas
2 c leftover turkey, shredded
1 4-oz can chiles (of desired hotness)
1/4 c sour cream
1 med can of enchilada sauce
1 t cumin or taco seasoning

3/4 c shredded cheddar
For garnish: shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream

A couple tablespoons of oil for softening tortillas is also used.

In a small bowl, mix the leftover turkey, chiles, sour cream, and cumin or taco seasoning.

Now heat a few T of oil in a large skillet. Heat one or two small corn torillas at a time. This makes them pliable. Leave them there (over med heat) for about 30 seconds. They shouldbe good & soft now. Now, put one to two heaping tablespoons of filling into each tortilla, roll it up and squish it next to other filled tortillas in a small glass dish - I used 8x8". You can double the recipe and fill up a 9x 13" dish and it works just as well. Keep it up till you run out of either filling or tortillas.

Pour enchilada sauce over it all, and sprinkle with shredded cheddar. Bake for about 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 350!, till hot, bubbly and cheese is very melted. If the cheese browns too early, you can cover w/foil.

Serve with heated refried beans, chips & salsa, and garnish plate with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and a dallop of sour cream.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ann's Homemade Pork Tamales

These were a hit last year - not sure if I'll find time this year but everyone loves them. The ingredients are not an exact science - get creative!

6-8 lbs pork shoulder boneless ‘spareribs’ or other lean pork meat
4 T olive oil
2 T oregano
2 T garlic powder
2 T cumin
3 large onions
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo
salt, pepper
a few small cans of diced mild green chiles
corn husks
masa for tamales - about 6 cups
lard - 2 cup

1. Get a large pot of water boiling. Put in pork, bring to boil, then simmer till tender, about 2 hrs.

2. Fill the sink with water and soak the corn husks

3. Slice the onions and saute in 2 T olive oil till carmeleized completely. Remove from heat and chop finely.

4. Chop about 4 of the cipotles as well and set aside

5. When meat is done, remove fat and shred finely. SAVE The broth!! Saute in 2 T of olive oil till it browns up a bit. Add cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste, as well as onions & chipotles. If you like more flavor, consider adding a few cans of mild green chiles. This is your filling.
5. Make up the masa dough by thoroughly mixing masa, lard, and about 2 1/2 to 2 c broth from the meat till it ispongy but not mushy. If necessary add more ingredients. (proportions are about 2/3 c lard to 2 c masa to 1-1 1/2 c broth). Add salt to taste.
6. To make tamales, pat a few of the corn husks with a towel to lightly dry. Spread masa mix on 2/3 of the husk, leaving 1/3 of the side and the smaller end without masa. Add a few T of the filling and roll up, starting with the full side. Fold bottom end over and set aside. Keep this up till they’re all rolled.

7. Put them in a steamer, folded side down. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 1 1/2 hrs. Take on out and let sit for five minutes. Masa should easily fall away from the husk when unwrapped. If not cook a bit more and test again.

8. When done use tongs to remove tamales, and let them dry on a cookie cooling rack. Put 6 to a small zip lock baggie and freeze.

I also made an alternative filling with cooked corn, black beans, diced mild green chiles, some chipotles, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper, and 3 medium onions caramelized. OR you can make desert tamales by using a crushed pineapple filling with raisins and cinnamon and sugar over the masa. Still wrap and steam as usual.