Sunday, February 16, 2014

Indian Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Rem and I discovered the original recipe for this stew when we started experimenting with Indian recipes at home a few years ago.  Indian is one of our favorite cuisines and we love to try new Indian recipes!  If you're not the adventurous type or think you don't like Indian cuisine, this stew might be a good stepping stone for you because the flavors are sweet and warming but not too overpowering.  

The original recipe is a vegetarian stew, but we like meat in all of our meals, so we added chicken to the mix.  We also subbed chicken stock for some of the water, replaced the red potatoes with sweet potatoes, and added peas.  I can imagine many other meat/vegetable substitutions would be great as well! Just keep that onion, garlic, and spice mixture! 

This is a great recipe to make for a big group OR if you want to have a lot of leftovers because it makes a LOT.  We never have enough leftover to freeze, but it would freeze well!  

Indian Chicken and Vegetable Stew

(Makes 10-12 generous servings)
Adapted from Eating Well

2 lbs. chicken thighs, baked with cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt, pepper

2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
10 good grinds black pepper

2 c unsalted chicken stock (I used Kitchen Basics brand)
2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
3 cups baby carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups frozen peas
2 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 15 oz. cans fire roasted diced tomatoes

3/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped

whole milk, plain Greek yogurt for topping

The day before (or earlier in the day): bake chicken thighs then cut into bite-sized pieces.  Save for later use in the soup.  (You could also just use any kind of leftover chicken).  

To prep: Cut the onions (place in dutch oven), cut the sweet potatoes (leave on cutting board), and mix together the spices in a small bowl.  

Saute onions in large dutch oven or stockpot over medium high heat.  Cook until the onions begin to brown just a little.  Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes.  Add all of the spices and saute 1 min longer.  

Next add the sweet potatoes, 2 c chicken stock and 2 c water.  Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.

Then add the carrots, frozen peas, garbanzo beans, and tomatoes.  The pot will be very full at this point.  Cover the pot again and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until the carrots and sweet potatoes are cooked through.  

When ready to serve, stir in the cilantro.  This is great served with plain Greek yogurt on top too!  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Paleo Moussaka

When I studied abroad in Greece, I discovered an amazing dish called Moussaka. Traditionally, this casserole is made with spiced ground lamb, eggplant, potatoes, and a creamy milk and flour based bechamel sauce on top.  It is hearty and homey like a good lasagna but with a more "exotic" flavor set.  A few weeks ago, Rem discovered a recipe for a paleo moussaka on the blog Real Food Forager.  We adapted it slightly to make a LOT more and to use ingredients we had on hand.  We've actually made it twice in the past few weeks and it turned out fantastic both times.  The bechamel sauce is unreal. As you can see in the pictures, broiling the moussaka for the last few minutes gives the bechamel that crusty, delicious brown on top which is reminiscent of broiled cheese.  There is still some in the fridge that I may need to go eat right now...  By the way, this tastes great cold as well as piping hot.  Is it weird that I tend to eat all of my leftovers cold?  Does anyone else do that?

Before baking.

After baking.  Mmmm....

Paleo Moussaka

Slightly adapted from Grassfed Girl via Real Food Forager

2 T coconut oil
2 small onions of 1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper
2 lb. antibiotic and hormone-free ground turkey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 6 oz. can organic tomato paste
1 15 oz. can organic no salt added tomato sauce
2 medium eggplants, skin peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces

2 cans full fat coconut milk
1/2 c arrowroot powder (I buy Bob'd Red Mill brand, which I have found at Kroger, Earth Fare, and Meijer)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Melt coconut oil in large saute pan.  Add onions and garlic, saute 5 minutes. Add the ground turkey, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Cook, breaking up turkey, until ground turkey is cooked through. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, and 1/2 can of water.  Stir and cook this for about 5 minutes more.
Meanwhile, grease 2 13x9 inch pans with coconut oil.  Peel and chop the eggplant into bite-sized pieces.  Place 1/2 of the eggplant pieces into each pan.  Then pour the meat mixture on top of the eggplant in each pan, splitting the amount evenly between the 2 pans.  

To make the bechamel sauce, mix 1 can of coconut milk with the 1/2 c arrowroot powder.  Pour of other can of coconut milk into a large sauce pan and heat until it starts to bubble (but not a full blown boil).  At this point, add the coconut milk/arrowroot powder mixture and whisk continuously until the sauce is very thick. Then remove the sauce from the heat, crack the 2 eggs into it, and whisk until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Pour the bechamel sauce over the meat mixture in each pan, splitting the amount evenly between the 2 pans.  

Bake both pans, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, remove the pans from the oven, move the oven rack up one slot, and set the oven to BROIL.  Put the pans back in the oven and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the bechamel starts to brown (but not until it gets burnt).  Makes 8-12 servings.

Serve hot!  This also makes great leftovers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Roasted Kabocha Squash

On this lovely Ohio snow day (Our 7th this year- what?!  At first I enjoyed these snow days but they're beginning to stress me out.  There is too much to teach and learn, and so little time!  Anyway, I digress...), as I was browsing through photos I've taken of recipes for this blog, I discovered some photos I had taken of kabocha squash and realized I never posted them!

A few years ago we were buying squash at Meijer when we discovered a type we had never seen before- kabocha.  It looks like a small, green pumpkin.  We took it home, looked up some ideas for preparing it online, and proceeded to make the BEST squash we had ever eaten.  When roasted in the way I will describe below, it is salty, rich, creamy, and downright addicting.  Be careful not to eat too much though... although the skin is perfectly edible, I have found out the hard way that eating too much of it is rather rough on the digestive system.  Just sayin'. 
Kabocha Squash

I've noticed that every kabocha squash I make has a slightly different flavor, and some turn out a bit drier than others, some creamier than others, and so on.  However, every time it has turned out DELICIOUS!

Roasted Kabocha Squash

1 kabocha squash (I can reliably find it at Meijer)
2 T coconut oil (or olive oil)
coarse salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with foil.  
Wash the squash.  Cut the stem end off.  Cut the squash in half down the middle.  Scoop out and discard the seeds and pulp.  Cut the squash into moon shaped pieces (approx. 1 in thick on the skin side, as pictured above).  
Melt the coconut oil on a heatproof plate (or just pour olive oil onto a plate). Rub one slice of squash in the oil, then rub another piece of squash onto the first to distribute the oil onto both pieces.  I know this sounds strange, but this is the method I've used since I starting make this squash and it works really well!  Really, just get some oil on the squash however you want!  
Place the squash slices onto the foil lined baking sheets and sprinkle with salt.  
Roast at 400 degrees for 20 min., then remove from oven, flip the squash, and bake for about 15 min. longer. When it's done, the squash should be soft enough to easily cut or pierce with a fork.  Enjoy!  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  In my opinion, it's just as good cold as it is freshly roasted!