Simple and Good Braised Chicken

Simple and Good Braised Chicken

This is such a simple chicken recipe, that it risked being called “Chicken With No Name.” It is endlessly adaptable, depending on available ingredients, personal preferences, time and circumstances. I have made it several times over the past few weeks, and it is always a hit.

Ingredients:

1 chicken cut in parts, skinned

Optional: leave skin on and sear the chicken pieces until browned for added flavor

2 -3 carrots, sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 celery stalks with leaves, cut in 1″ pieces

Optional: 1-2 parsnips, or other vegetables. Don’t add too many vegetables, or else the chicken will be overwhelmed. The more simple, the better the outcome.

Salt, to taste. Add the salt sparingly after it is cooked. Kosher chicken tends to be salty, and too much salt ruins the flavor.

1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: paprika adds a nice flavor and color

2 bay leaves (I love bay leaves, so I like to add more)

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed, near the end

1/2 cup water Optional: use chicken broth, or wine

Optional: 1 can crushed tomatoes or tomato paste for a thicker broth

Optional: 3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

Optional: Thicken broth with 1-2 tablespoons of flour or starch. I usually dissolve the starch in a small amount of broth, and then add it to the dish and simmer until thickened.

Optional: If you REALLY want to be fancy, brown the starch or flour in fat, and then gradually add the liquid and stir or whisk until desired thickness. This takes a bit of time and skill, so I don’t recommend it if you are time challenged. It is something I do only for special occasions and for the right audience. My family does not like thicken sauce, and I find that it makes the leftovers “gloppy.”

Instructions 

Place carrots, onions, and celery in the bottom of the pot. If you have the time, you could saute the vegetables until browned, however, I did not. Add the chicken pieces on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder, and if using, paprika or other desired spices. Then add the liquid, and, the (optional) tomato puree or paste.

I place the chicken on top of the vegetables so that the stock almost steams or roasts the chicken.

The secret is to cook the chicken with only a minimal amount of liquid or stock. And, only add a minimal amount of salt after it is cooked. Too much salt, or liquid, and the taste is altered. I also only add crushed fresh garlic at the end. In general, less is more with this chicken recipe. The beauty is in its simplicity.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

In pressure cooker: 7 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done. Add crushed garlic, salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work. I forgot to take a picture of it in the crockpot. So, I only have pictures when I made it on the stove top.

Here are the pictures:

Layered in the pot before cooking. I see I added parsnips too.


The first time around, my husband ate straight from the pot!


Another live action shot of Jay eating from the pot.


Everyone was soooooo happy! Raizel said, “I am obsessed with this chicken. It is scary good!”  My husband said, “This chicken is killer!” It is one of the few times that there were actually no leftovers.

It is fast, easy, all natural and simple — cooking for the time challenged at its best.

Enjoy!

North African Meatball Stew 

 

North African Meatball Stew

We are slowly digging out from under with our boxes. I have yet to fully unpack and comfortably organize the kitchen.

In addition, the move has brought up many emotions in my family. 

Last week, I found myself writing more on my non-food blog, coffeeklatchinsight.wordpress.com.

So, if anyone is interested in knowing how my week was last week, please stop by and visit!

I am open to feedback: I periodically think I should only have blog. But, my understanding of blogging rules is that a blog is best suited to one subject. Many readers find it too disconcerting to keep switching gears.

What is other people’s experience?

In the meantime, my cooking is even more rudimentary than before the move.

I am slowly getting up to speed, much to my family’s delight.

This is a dish that was inspired by Mona at healthyindiancooking.wordpress.com’s recipe on Easy Meatball Stew. The link is here for anyone who would like to see the original:

https://healthyindiankitchen.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/easy-meatball-stew/

It is a wonderful blog, full of my favorite food. I highly recommend  that you stop by for a visit!

However, although I love the original recipe, I had already packed up most of my spices. What was left were my spice mixes and the very basic spices. So, I combined Mona’s recipe with my previously posted North African Meatballs recipe. I am happy to say that this version is much better. “The potatoes and carrots give more flavor and texture to the sauce,” according to Raizel, my budding gourmet.

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground meat

1 tablespoon North African Spice Mix, or to taste

1 clove garlic crushed 

North African Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon salt, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder 

2 tablespoons paprika 

1/2 teaspoon pepper, cayenne, cloves 

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

Sauce

1 onion, chopped 

3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters

4 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal. I prefer to keep slices on the larger side.

3 cups water or broth 

1 can diced tomatoes 

3 oz. tomato paste

Alternative: I have only used 6 oz. tomato paste, with success. It all depends on what I have available.

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

Optional: chopped fresh parsley and/or cilantro 

Instructions 

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. I usually add the crushed garlic at the end.

Blend all ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls and place in sauce.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add crushed garlic and adjust seasonings to taste.

Crockpot. Cook on low until done. Less water is required.

In pressure cooker: 4 minutes to pressure and then use the quick release method by running cold water over the lid when done.

This week, I made it in the crockpot overnight. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work.

Fresh herbs always add a gourmet touch, but I am not up to that yet.

Here are the pictures:

 

all set and ready to go in the crockpot


voila! the final product.

Everyone was soooooo happy!

I made it for this past Shabbat, and everyone wanted to have some. It was a hit!

Thank you Mona at healthyindiancooking.wordpress.com! 

And thank you to all my fellow bloggers for sharing your wonderful recipes. I feel like I am able to have a virtual glimpse of the kitchens of so many, all over the world!

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit

Roasted Chicken With Dried Fruit

My life is a little hectic. 

The countdown to Passover has begun. We are also going to be moving soon. So, even more than before, I am particularly time challenged.

Passover is the time of year when we eliminate all leavened products from our home. Practically, this means I try to clean out my pantry and freezer.

I still have leftover hamentashen filling. So I thought that I would try to make roasted chicken and use the hamentashen filling as a glaze.

Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut up

Mom’s Chicken Spice Rub

1 Tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, ginger, mustard powder

Plus, additional cinnamon to the chicken.

Raisin-Date- Apricot Filling for Hamentashen

2 cups pitted dates (approximately)
1 box (15 oz.) sultana raisins
1 cup dried apricots (approximately)

1 lemon zested and juiced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 
1/2 cup water (approximately)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional, but I thought it made it taste better)


Instructions
 

Boil all ingredients in a pot until soft. For the hamentashen, the filling needs to be slightly thick, so it is important not to add too much water. 

As a glaze for chicken,more liquid and more cinnamon is needed.

Instructions 

Place chicken in large pan. Season chicken with Mom’s Spice Rub, and then add the hamentashen filling on top. If possible, let marinate prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 425*F.

Roast in oven for 1.5 hours, or until cooked, turning over for last 30 minutes.

Here are the pictures:

Spiced:

  
 

With the hamentashen filling. 

After I started cooking, I realized it was too thick. So, I added more filling, with a thinner consistency when I turned the chicken over. I also added more cinnamon.

 

The final product:
  

This was a definite hit. Raizel ate the chicken legs right out of the oven (you can see where the leg was on the plate) and declared “this is killer!”

Enjoy!

North African Meatballs 

This is something that I made for the first time last night. Raizel is in love with cumin, so this is my attempt to satisfy her growing gourmet tastebuds.

Ingredients 

Meatballs:

2 lbs. ground meat

1/2 cup oatmeal 

1 egg

1 tablespoon North African Spice Mix, or to taste

1 clove garlic crushed 

North African Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon salt, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, garlic powder 

2 tablespoons paprika 

1/2 teaspoon pepper, cayenne, cloves 

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 

Sauce

1 onion, chopped 

3 cups water or broth 

1 can diced tomatoes 

3 oz tomatoe paste

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, or to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

Optional: chopped fresh parsley and/or cilantro 

Instructions 

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. I usually add the crushed garlic at the end.

Blend all ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls and place in sauce.

In a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer until done. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Last night, I cooked the meatballs in a crockpot on low. I adjusted the seasonings when I got up this morning before going to work.

Fresh herbs always add a gourmet touch, but I did not use any.

Here are the pictures:

  

 

  
Raizel tasted it and promptly ate some for breakfast. She said, “this is good!” 

Even Yaffa said, “the meatballs are so good, Mommy!” That is a true vote of confidence!

Enjoy!

Lentil Soup

This past Saturday, we were supposed to go away to visit friends. However, due to the anticipated snow storm, we ended up staying home for Shabbat. Instead of cholent, I made lentil soup.

Ingredients:

1 lbs lentils

1 lbs stew meat

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

3 potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper,  to taste

1 teaspoon cumin

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Water to cover. If using the pressure cooker, use 3:1 ratio of water:lentils

Optional: add chopped fresh parsley or cilantro before serving

Instructions

Sauté onions, carrots, celery and parsnips. Then add the spices, meat and lentils and continue to sauté until fragrant. Add potatoes, bay leaves and water.

Stove top: bring to boil and let simmer until done. Add garlic and adjust seasoning.

Pressure Cooker: 7 minutes to pressure and then release the pressure quickly by running cold water over the lid when done.

Crockpot: Cook on low until done. When using a crockpot, less water is required.

Before serving, adding chopped cilantro or parsley adds a nice gourmet touch.

This week, as I was time challenged, I just added all the ingredients into the crockpot and let it simmer all day. When I got home I adjusted the seasoning.

This can easily be made vegetarian by omitting the meat.

Yaffa could hardly wait to have it, and ate it for a snack!

Frankly, it came out great, but, Raizel is visiting my mother, so, I do not have any robust eaters at home.

Enjoy!

Silver Tip Roast

Since this is my husband’s birthday week, I made a silver tip roast for Shabbat dinner. This is fast, easy, all natural and delicious!

Ingredients 

1 Silver tip roast, 2.5 lbs.

3 onions, sliced

2 carrots, sliced 

Meat spice rub

2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

1-2 bay leaves

1/2 cup broth, wine or water, but I used water

Salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Instructions 

Marinate meat with spice rub and crushed fresh garlic.

Sauté onions, until carmalized. Add carrots, and then meat.

Add water, bay leaves.

Bring to pressure, 35 minutes, and then use quick release method.

Simmer and adjust seasonings.

This can also be made in a crockpot, on top of the stove, or in the oven.

Stove top: bring to a boil and then simmer until done.

Oven: bake in covered pan at 350*F for 1-11/2 hours.

Crockpot: If desired, sauté onions and carrots and place in crockpot. 

Place meat, and bay leaves over onions and add broth/water. 

Reserve some of the onions and place on top of meat, for added flavor.

Once cooked, adjust seasonings, usually with just salt, pepper and possibly paprika and additional fresh garlic.

Here are the pictures:

Marinating with spices:

  

After initial cooking in pressure cooker:

  
 

Final product:

 

My husband, who is a meat lover said, “this is a little taste of the world to come!”

It’s a good thing I took a picture right away, because there were no leftovers!

Enjoy!

Schwarma Spice Blend Hamburger  & The Attack By The Burger Intruder 

This title was suggested by Raizel. She has confessed to being our very own Burger Intruder. 

Recently, I have been experimenting with different spice blends. Most of my recipes are low fat, all natural and fast and easy. Therefore, I find the best way to add pizazz to a dish is by interesting and balanced seasoning. 

Last week, I thought I would try making schwarma hamburgers.

Ingredients 

1 lbs. ground meat

1 tablespoon schwarma spice blend, approximately 

1 teaspoon meat spice blend (posted earlier on blog)

Schwarma Spice Blend

Blend together:

1 tablespoon cumin, coriander and garlic 

1/2 tablespoon paprika 

1 teaspoon turmeric, and pepper 

1/2 teaspoon cloves, cinnamon and cayenne pepper 

Store in covered jar.

Instructions for hamburgers:

Blend spices and meat together. Shape into patties.

The secret to making these burgers great is to not over crowd them in the pan.  This way they become grilled and not steamed.

 Here are the pictures:

In the pan:

   

Half eaten, before I could get a picture:

  
Caught by the Burger Intruder!

  

Raizel said, “It was so good and I had to get my hands on it. I don’t know why. It is so addicting?!”

It’s a funny story, so I thought I would share it on the blog.

Enjoy!

Brisket 

For me, vegetables are a work of art. I spend a lot of time and attention cooking them.

My meat and chicken recipes, however, tend to be very simple. Brisket is something that I make usually for holidays and other special occasions.

My friend Francis however, asked if I had a recipe for brisket without sugar or alcohol, so I thought I would post it here now.

For slightly different reasons, my sister and I both do not like to cook with wine. My sister, Raizel (both she and my daughter are named after the same person) says that wine has too strong a flavor, especially if something is cooked for a long time.  She only likes to add wine, if necessary, near the end of cooking.

I find that wine gives a slightly sour taste and the food doesn’t last as long.  Plus, I call the juice from cooking, “liquid gold” and I like to use it again, to give a richer flavor to other dishes. When wine is added, I find that I can’t do that.

Francis was concerned that without wine, the meat would be too tough. Although I am not a meat connoisseur, with a pressure cooker, I do not find this to be the case. My husband, who is a bona fide  carnivore also loves brisket best cooked in the pressure cooker.

Sorry, no picture is available. If and when I make it again, I will add it later.

Ingredients 

2-3 lbs. brisket, second cut is best

2-3 onions, sliced

2-3 carrots, cut on diagonal

2 stalks of celery, sliced

2 parsnips cut on diagonal

Optional 3-4 potatoes, cut in quarters

Meat spice blend: salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, paprika and mustard if desired

salt, pepper and paprika to taste

2 bay leaves

2 cloves of garlic, crushed near the end

1 cup, or more water or broth depending on cooking method

Instructions 

Sprinkle spices on the meat before cooking.

Sauté onions and vegetables. Add meat, bay leaves, potatoes (if using) and liquid.

My sister recommends sautéing the onions, and placing the meat on top and reserving some of the onions for the top of the meat.

Brisket is a versatile meat, that can be cooked in the pressure cooker, crockpot, stove top or oven.  A definite time saver!

I like brisket best when cooked in the pressure cooker, and cook it for 30-35 minutes to pressure. If using the pressure cooker, unless I am in a rush, I do not add the potatoes. If I really want potatoes, I cook the meat for 25 minutes, break the pressure and then bring to pressure again for 7-10 more minutes (depends on the size of the potatoes) to complete the cooking.

Another alternative is to add potatoes, and let the meat simmer until done. If not, the potatoes become over cooked and too soft. Potatoes, however, add a richness to the broth.

Stove top: bring to a boil and then simmer until done.

Oven: bake in covered pan at 350*F for 1-11/2 hours.

Crockpot: If desired, sauté onions and other vegetables and place in crockpot. Put meat, spices inside and pour broth/water over the top.  Reserve some of the onions and place on top of meat, for added flavor.

Once cooked, adjust seasonings, usually with just salt, pepper and paprika and add fresh garlic.

Enjoy!

Unstuffed Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls 

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Rolls are a very traditional and favorite dish.

During this time of year, it is customary to eat foods that are wrapped as our fate is concealed. We pray that God will overlook our errors and grant us forgiveness.

On Rosh Hashanah, it is also traditional to eat sweet foods, for a sweet new year.

For a time challenged person, this recipe has the same flavor and is much faster than the more traditional cabbage rolls.

Raizel, however, says that “the meat tastes better when wrapped in the cabbage rather than cooked with the cabbage.” But, since everyone in my family always picks out the meat, and leaves the cabbage behind, unstuffed cabbage meatballs are on the menu for now.

Instructions on the bottom are to make this as sweet and sour cabbage rolls or sweet and sour cabbage borscht.

Ingredients

Cabbage Base:

1 head of cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced

2 onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup sugar, or to taste

½ cup lemon juice

Sour salt (citric acid) to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

12 oz. tomato paste

Water to cover

Meatballs

2 lbs. ground meat

1 egg

1/3 cup oatmeal

1 clove garlic, crushed, or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder, pepper, salt

Instructions:

Place ingredients for cabbage base in bottom of pot.

Blend together the ingredients for the meatballs.

Shape meatballs and place in pot.

Add water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until done. Adjust seasoning.

This can easily be made in a crock pot.

Alternative options:

To make cabbage rolls: Freeze whole head of cabbage and then thaw so that cabbage leaves are soft and easy to work with. Or, steam or parboil cabbage leaves until slightly wilted.

Place a few cabbage leaves on the bottom of the pot. Take a small amount of meat and place on cabbage leaf. Wrap to enclose the meat. Place in pot . Mix tomato paste, sugar, lemon juice and water and pour over cabbage rolls.

Bring to a boil and simmer until done. Adjust seasoning.

Sweet and Sour Cabbage Borscht

Rather than making meatballs, boil 2 lbs. of flanken with 2 bay leaves and then add cabbage, onions, tomato paste, sugar, lemon juice and sour salt (citric acid), salt, pepper, garlic.

All can be made easily in the crockpot, pressure cooker or conventionally on top of the stove.

I have also made cabbage rolls in the oven in a covered roasting pan at 350* F or 375* F oven for 1 hour, or until done.

Here is a picture:

  

Enjoy!

Italian Meatballs 

This is an all time favorite in our house, and this recipe is full of memories. 

When my daughters were young there was a blackout across the whole eastern seaboard of North America. 

For some reason, where we lived did not loose power. And, this was the day that my good friend Carol was moving to town. 

Just as they signed the contract, the power went out. Their house was sold and they were all packed up with no where to go. Since the traffic lights were not working, traveling was difficult. The movers couldn’t move their stuff, and the situation was unnerving.

Carol asked if they could stay with us until the power came back and they could move the things.

Of course we said “yes” and we all had a marvelous time. I served these meatballs and Carol has thought of them fondly ever since. 

Later, when she was undergoing chemotherapy, they were a special request that I made for her and her family weekly.

Ingredients 

Meat balls:

2 lbs ground meat

1 egg

1/3 cup oatmeal 

1/2 teaspoon oregano, basil, pepper, garlic, onion powder, salt

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Sauce:

2 14 oz cans of diced tomatoes 

1 6 oz can of tomato paste 

1 onion chopped 

3 cloves of garlic 

1/2 teaspoon oregano, basil, pepper, garlic, onion powder, 

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions 

Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a pot. I usually add the crushed garlic at the end.

Blend all ingredients for the meatballs together. Shape into balls and place in sauce.

In a pot, bring to a boil and then simmer until done.

Today I cooked the meatballs in a crockpot on low.  I adjusted the seasonings when I got home.

Here are the pictures:

The sauce:

   
Meatballs:


Before cooking:
   
The final product:

 

Yaffa was very excited and ate 6!

Enjoy!