Pot to Pot or Crock to Roast

beef pot roastI have a great way to make pot roast, and I have only changed it in a minor way by transferring the process to the slow cooker.

I don’t even claim that the process is easier, but on occasion it just might fit your daily routine better. People are less willing to leave an oven unattended for three hours than they are to leave a slow cooker plugged in unattended for eight. I’m not sure why one is safer than the other, but the slow cooker was invented in part so that people could start dinner at breakfast, go to work and return to a ready meal.

This makes every bit as good a pot roast as my signature dish, and it gives a lot more broth for use in the gravy making which is a huge plus.

I continue to cook my onions and carrots by way of roasting on a cookie sheet until seared and caramelized sweet, and continue to make mashed potatoes instead of the those cooked along with the pot roast.

You could of course, add the veggies to the slow cooker a couple of hours before dinner and save the extra steps. Here is the basic recipe for just the meat.

INGREDIENTS:

  • A 3-4 lb beef pot roast (chuck roast or other similar one)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 c red wine
  • 2 c stock (chicken or beef is fine)
  • clove of garlic sliced
  • 1/4 of onion, sliced thinly
  • a few old mushrooms chopped
  • 2 tsps of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat up a tbsp of canola oil in a saute pan. Salt and pepper the meat after drying it carefully with paper towels.
  2. Sear in the saute pan until it naturally releases, turn and do the other side, and then hold with tongs to sear the edges.
  3. Place all the other ingredients in the slow cooker.
  4. Lay the seared meat in the slow cooker.
  5. Cook at low-medium for 4-6 hours.
  6. Remove to a platter and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Use the stock as the base of your gravy
  8. Serve with roasted onions and carrots and mashed potatoes.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You can as I said add the veggies to the meat, but do no do this initially or they will be mush by the time you eat. Remove all to a platter and make your gravy as usual. For directions on how to roast the veggies see the main pot roast recipe linked to above.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

 

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A Whiff of India Tandoori Chicken

tandooriYou cannot claim an authentic tandoori chicken recipe when you don’t have a tandoori oven, but you can approximate it certainly.

I’ve tried several, and found most rather awful, but this one seemed to work pretty darn well. The flavorings were clear but not overpowering.

I think a grill works great as an alternative to a tandoori oven, although still you can’t approximate the temperatures needed.

While the spice list is daunting (I had everything on hand myself), an alternative of Garam Masala would work as a substitute–it’s basically the same spices just already mixed.

I did alter the recipe myself substituting greek yogurt for the coconut milk which is not authentic anyway and was a way to create a dairy-free substitute.

The longer you marinate, the better it will be.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp greek yogurt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a medium (10-inch) skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, and all the spices (including the salt) and stir well to combine. Turn the heat to low and cook until the onion is translucent, about ten minutes.

  2. Combine the onion mixture, yogurt, and lime juice in a blender or small food processor. Blend for a full minute until smooth. You should have about 1/2 cup of marinade.

  3. Cover the chicken with the marinade and transfer to the refrigerator for at least  30 minutes or longer.Actually several hours is best, even over night. Slit through the skin if using chicken pieces with skin. This will allow the marinade to get deeper into the meat.  In the meantime, preheat a grill or broiler.

  4. Grill or broil the chicken until cooked through, 8-10 minutes per side for breasts and 3-4 minutes per side for thighs. Serve immediately. Go for as high a heat as you can.

    SERVES: 4

    NOTES: Use garam masala in place of the herbs. Substitute regular yogurt or coconut milk for the liquid. This is supposed to be a paste. I place my chicken in a plastic bag, spoon in the marinade and then shut and massage the pieces until they are well covered.

    SOURCE: Serious Eats as adapted by Sherry Peyton

Never Say Die Pie Crust

Pie-Crust-Recipe-1Pie crust used to be my friend, but ever since we moved to a higher elevation, I’ve had terrible troubles. My old standby no longer works, and I’ve went through a couple of others looking for the perfect one. Even the much touted vodka pastry dough didn’t work, though I plan to give it another shot before discarding it.

This one does work, but I was forced to alter it somewhat to make it work. That may be a function of the elevation or not, I’m unable to tell, so I’m going to give you the alternative recipe in parentheses.

Why all this matters is that I love pies and fighting with pie crust makes one not want to make pies, which creates a dilemma does it not?

This one worked for me, in the all important roll out without breaking or tearing. So if you are having trouble do try this one.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 2/3 c of flour (3 c)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of sugar if you are making a sweet recipe. Otherwise omit
  • 3 sticks of butter, cubed
  • 1 c sour cream, full fat (3/4 c)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk the flour and salt and sugar if using.
  2. Put the butter in the flour, and cut in with fingers or with pastry cutter until pea-sized scrabble.
  3. Add the sour cream, using a fork to bring it together and then hands to knead into balls.
  4. Divide into 2 balls, flatten and wrap in plastic. {I found that 3 c made really enough for three pieces of pie crust, so freeze the third disk for later use}
  5. Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes and a couple of hours if you can.
  6. If you leave it longer than 30 minutes then let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before rolling out.
  7. Roll out and use as you normally would.

SERVES: 2 2/3 c will give you 2 very generous pie crusts for a top and bottom. 3 cups of flour will give you enough for three crusts.

NOTES: Really, you have to play with his a bit. If your dough won’t stay together–wants to fall apart, add a bit more sour cream or a few drops of water until it does. If it is too wet, then add some flour. As you roll out, if it sticks to the pin, dust with more flour. What this dough did do was roll without splitting all up, breaking and be unwilling to roll around the pin to transfer to the baking dish. It all held together nicely and I didn’t have any patching to do.

SOURCE: Simply Recipes

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

chickennoodleAs homemade soups go, this is one of the more time consuming only because it is so simple in ingredients and thus each part must be the best possible. If you spend the time to make the stock and the noodles, then this recipe shines. If you used canned stock and bagged noodles, well, hey it’s marginally better than Campbell’s I guess.

The good news is the stock can be made well in advance and frozen and the noodles as well. So make them when you have the time, and then the rest is fast and simple.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 rib of celery, sliced thin
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • one recipe of egg noodles

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Brown the thighs in a stock pot on both sides, in a tablespoon of olive oil, remove
  2. Add the carrots, celery and onion, until onion is softened and translucent.
  3. Add the thighs back to the pot and add the stock.
  4. Bring to a low simmer, cover and cook until chicken is done, about 1 hour.
  5. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool.
  6. Turn off the stock.
  7. Once the chicken is cooled, remove from bone and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Return to the stock, and bring back to a rolling boil. Add salt and pepper to taste
  9. Add the noodles and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally until noodles are done, about 12 minutes or so.
  10. Add the parsley.
  11. Add a bit more stock (commercial is fine at this point) if the noodles suck up too much of the broth. Salt and pepper to taste

SERVES: 6

NOTES: You could fix dumplings but this would be a bit much.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

ELicious Egg Noodles

Homemade-Egg-NoodlesOkay, I don’t make egg noodles all the time. The commercial variety are just fine most of the time.

Except when I go to the trouble of making homemade chicken noodle soup. Then everything must be from scratch otherwise, well, they make it canned ya know?

This does take some time, but not as much as you think, and you will be gloriously rewarded. Everyone on the planet can tell a homemade noodle from a commercial one, so the admiration of friends and family will be worth the effort. Not to mention the taste!

So do indulge yourself once in a while and cook the way your grandma did. Most of the recipes are similar but this one was one of the best and turned out some great noodles.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c flour
  • 3 egg yolks + one whole egg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/4- 1/2 c water (add until dough is the correct consistency)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. With a fork, push flour into the eggs and stir until well distributed.
  3. Add the water a bit at a time, stirring well each time. Use your fingers to squeeze and see when the dough hangs together. The dough needs to be just past being sticky. You should be able to knead it without it clinging to your hands.
  4. Either knead by hand for 10 minutes, or place in a heavy-duty mixer with dough hook and knead for 5. You want the dough elastic, not sticky, smooth.
  5. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll out each one until as thin as you would like, as much as a rectangle as you can. You should be able to lift the dough and see you hand through it–at least that thin. Then sprinkle the top with flour, and smooth around, roll the dough very loosely from the long side until you have it rolled up. Then cut it into strips with a knife or pizza cutter.
  7. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a towel,  sprinkled with flour. Unroll each piece and then loosely place on the baking sheet. They don’t need to be not touching, and you can put them a bit on top of each other. Just not a glob, so the air can circulate. Don’t worry if some break. They are homemade after all!
  8. Let it sit out for a couple of hours to dry. This is not essential but will help them when you put them in to cook from clumping.
  9. Place in boiling, salted water or broth and stir occasionally until done, about 12-15 minutes.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: If serving separately, I use a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together in the serving bowl and add a tablespoon of fresh parsley, chives, cilantro or other herb that you wish. You can also spritz with a squeeze or two of lemon or lime depending on the menu.

SOURCE: Food.com (Kind Cook)

 

Easy Perfect Chicken Stock

pressure-cooker-chicken-stock-1Now, I know I’m losing some of you already. Why mess with making homemade stock when you can get very good stock in the grocery store. I agree, you can, and I do use it all the time.

I use way more stock than I could ever make unless I made stock every week, and I’m not going to do that.

But and it’s a big BUT, a particular dish cries for it, and it is homemade chicken noodle soup. It is so worth it for that dish and that dish alone.

So, when I am using a whole chicken, I cut out the backbone and place it in a little freezer bag and throw it in the freezer. And when I do wings, I cut off all the tips and do the same. And after a few months, I have a couple of pounds of this stuff which is perfect for stock making. The rest is a piece of cake.

You should have at least two pounds, but 3-4 would be better. Two pounds will get you about 3 cups, and you probably want about 5 cups for your soup. So save!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-4 lbs of chicken bones, backs and wing tips, ribs if you filet a bone in breast.
  • 1/2 lg onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • bouquet garni composed of parsley, thyme, oregano, rosemary (all fresh please)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10 peppercorns, smashed

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Take a cleaver and smack all your bones, cutting into them or cutting them into smaller pieces. The more surface area of bone that is broken open, the better. Throw in a large pot.
  2. Quarter the onion, chunk up the carrot and celery. All this will be thrown out so don’t worry about size.
  3. Throw in the bouquet garni (if you don’t have fresh, then add 1/2 tsp dried of any you don’t have)
  4. Add the salt and peppercorns.
  5. Add enough water to just cover the stuff. Place a smaller plate and then a weight on top of it to keep everything submerged.
  6. Cover and bring to low boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
  7. Simmer a couple of hours. You can tell when you have extracted all the goodness from the bones when the bones start to disintegrate when you press one hard with the back of a spoon.
  8. Strain and cool and refrigerate or continue with your recipe. You can chill and  skim the fat that will congeal at the top if you like.

SERVES: 2-3 cups

NOTES: You can freeze this in a variety of ways. By the cup in freezer bags laid flat works nicely. Also in the ice-cube trays (which I find a waste of time). It will store in the fridge for a few days.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

 

Medallions of Succulent Pork

baconwrappedporkThis is one of those really simple but so satisfying recipes. I like pork tenderloin well enough, but it can seem rather dry and unappealing sometimes no matter how much you season it outside.

This recipe seems to just make the most succulent, juicy tenderloin with plenty of flavor as well. It takes almost no time, and is adaptable to grill or stove top.

This is just the way I like it. You may vary the seasonings as you wish.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 of a pork tenderloin, sliced in 1 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
  • A rub of your choice: I used salt, pepper, lemon pepper, oregano, a pinch of finely chopped rosemary, cayenne, paprika, granulated garlic.
  • a slice of bacon for each tenderloin piece

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Dry all your meat well with paper towelling.
  2. Mix up your spice mix–mixing it first allows for a more even distribution.
  3. Press the meat into the seasonings and around sides.
  4. Wrap a piece of bacon around each piece and secure with a toothpick.
  5. Place in fridge uncovered  for about thirty minutes to further dry the surface.
  6. Place on the cool side of the grill (off direct heat) and cook until about 140°, or until nearly done.
  7. Then place directly over the heat and sear well on each side.
  8. Remove to a platter and cover lightly and let rest for 15 minutes.

SERVES: 4

NOTES: If you are doing indoors. Sear the meat first in a saute pan with a small bit of olive oil. Then transfer to a rack over a baking dish and roast at 425° for 20 minutes (check with a thermometer – 145° is your target. Take out at 140°) Let rest as usual.  You might also like to use a pat of garlic butter on the top of each to melt over.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton