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Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls

12 Oct

Every time the seasons change, I start hunting for new recipes. Anything I can toss in the slow cooker in the morning and have ready for dinner in the evening shoots straight to the top of my to-try list. When I came across a burrito bowl recipe from The Kitchn, I was pretty sure it was going to be a hit. It’s healthy, it uses ingredients I have in the house already and appeals to the adults and the foodNURDling. We topped the tender chicken, fluffy rice and kernels of corn and black beans with shredded cheese, avocado and hot sauce. You could also add sour cream, salsa and/or cilantro. I let everything cook for 6 hours, but you could certainly go 8 hours if that’s the timing that works for you. Cook up some rice on the stove, top with all the burrito-y goodness and you’re set!

Makes a lot. Unless you’re feeding a football team, you’ll have leftovers.

Ingredients

1-1 1/2lbs chicken thighs or breasts
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c chicken stock (plus more for rice)
2 ts chili powder
2 ts salt
1 ts cumin
1 ts pepper
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
1 c corn
2 c rice
Optional: sliced avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce

Directions
1. Place the chicken, diced tomatoes, stock, chili powder, salt, cumin & pepper in the slow cooker. Ensure the chicken is immersed in the stock/liquid from the tomatoes. Add more stock (or water!) if necessary. Cook on low for 5 1/2 – 7 1/2 hours.
2. When the timer goes off, add in the black beans and corn. Stir everything let it cook for half an hour.
3. In the meantime, cook up the 2 cups of rice (I used jasmine rice, but you can use whatever you have in your kitchen). If you’ve got extra stock, use that instead of water. It’s much more flavourful.
4. When the 30 minutes are up (or are close enough to up) remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with a couple of forks, taking care to remove any small bones. Toss the chicken back into the slow cooker and stir.
5. Grab some bowls and spoon in some rice, then the chicken, beans and corn with a good helping of the sauce. Top with whatever appeals to you and enjoy!

IMG_1037

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Braised Pork Stew

27 Jan

Because I just can’t stop buying cookbooks, Michael Smith’s latest, Family Meals, has appeared on my shelf. I’ve always liked Smith: he was my gateway into cooking fish for the first time and his recipes (while sometimes a bit short on the salt for my taste) never fail me. I like his philosophy that a recipe is simply somewhere to start, a thing to be played with, an idea upon which to expound. I feel the same way: when I come across a new recipe, I’ll generally leave the fundamentals alone but will alter things like seasoning and heat levels to suit my taste.

This particular book has some fantastic slow cooker recipes and quite a few vegetarian recipes that look enticing. I tried out the slow-cooked pork shoulder stew this weekend it’s a keeper. We added a few dashes of hot sauce to our bowls but kept it out of the main pot to avoid burning foodNURDling’s little tongue. It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients. It’s hearty, filling and healthy. This recipe also makes a TON so you will definitely have leftovers. Cook once, eat many times. Works for me.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3lb pork shoulder, halved
salt & pepper
2 tb vegetable oil
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 ts dried thyme and/or rosemary
2 ts salt
7c water
1c white wine (or, if you don’t want to use alcohol, skip it and add 8 cups of water instead of splitting it)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 300F.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pan (a Dutch oven is perfect) to medium-high heat. Add the oil and watch for it become shimmery. Season the pork generously with salt & pepper and the two pieces of pork to the pan, searing on all sides until nicely browned.
3. Add in the celery, potatoes, carrots, onions, herbs, salt and liquid. Bring to a simmer. Cover with  a tightly-fitting lid and place in the oven for 3-4 hours.
4. Remove the pot from the oven. The pork will now be fork-tender; shred or cube the meat. Serve and enjoy!

Roast Chicken & Smashed Kimchi Potatoes

13 May

In the mood for something easy, something reliable, but with a twist? Try this recipe from Bon Appétit! I had it whipped up in about 40 minutes from the time I turned on the oven to plating. You can find kimchi in most large grocery stores but I got mine at the Lisa Marie market and it was quite tasty. You could also head on over to Koreatown and have fun going through the markets there!

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1.5 lb small potatoes (new, fingerling, whatever you’ve got)
vegetable oil
salt & pepper
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 jar kimchi (roughly a cup) plus 1/4 c liquid
1 tb rice wine vinegar
4 c greens

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 450. Toss the potatoes with 1 tb of vegetable oil on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes, turning once.
2. Rub the chicken thighs with garlic and season with salt & pepper. Heat 1 tb of oil in a pan to medium-high. Place the chicken skin-side down in the pan and cook until the skin is browned and crisp, 10 minutes.
3. Place the chicken skin-side up on the baking sheet and cook for another 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through.
4. With a large spoon, gently smash the potatoes. Spoon the kimchi over and roast until warmed through, no more than 5 minutes.
5. In the meantime, combine the reserved kimchi liquid, 2 tb of vegetable oil and rice wine vinegar in  a small bowl.
6. Scatter the greens over the chicken and potatoes, drizzle half of the dressing and toss gently. Plate and finish with the rest of the dressing.

chicken kimchi

Lemon Curry Chicken

25 Jun

I have a seriously awesome husband. Since we found out that we’re expecting a little foodNURDling in December my moods and energy have fluctuated a lot and he’s rolled with the punches (metaphorical punches, to be clear…my mood swings aren’t that intense!). I’m often too tired to cook, to clean, to make it past 9:30pm without a nap. So, to thank him for picking up the slack, I headed off to Kensington to pick up some delicious, fresh ingredients for a yummy dinner! This is Tyler Florence’s recipe, as is the mango-basmati rice with which it’s served. This recipe calls for a chicken in 10 pieces: if you go to the butcher, they will be happy to do this for you! You can also get chickens broken down at the grocery store…or you can try it at home yourself.

Ingredients

1 3lb chicken,  cut into 10 pieces
2 c plain yogurt
2 tb curry powder
1 lemon, zest & juice
1 tb sesame oil
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Rinse and pat chicken dry.
2. Stir together the yogurt, curry powder, lemon zest and juice, sesame oil and salt & pepper in a big bowl.
3. Add the chicken and toss gently with the yogurt marinade.

Prepped & read to go in the oven

4. Place chicken on a baking sheet and roast, basting twice with the remaining marinade as it cooks. (Roughly 45 minutes.)


5. Serve with Mango Basmati Rice.

Glazed Pork Loin with Pineapple Chutney

1 May

Surfing around the internets, I landed on this recipe and was enticed by two of my favourite ingredients: pork ‘n’ pineapple. I added a little more cayenne to the chutney as I like things a little spicier. Also, if you’re a bit short on time, you can skip buying a whole pineapple and cutting it up, you could get one that has already been peeled. I wouldn’t recommend getting the canned stuff, but that’s a personal preference and will certainly do in a pinch. Start this baby about 3 hours before you want to eat as it needs some time to marinate. It’s time well spent!

Ingredients

2 large cloves garlic
Kosher salt
1 tb extra virgin olive oil
2 ts finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2  ts ground coriander
1 3lb boneless pork loin roast
1 medium fresh pineapple (about 3-1/2 lb.)
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tb sherry vinegar
1 large shallot, minced
Pinch ground cayenne  -or more to taste
1 large scallion, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
3 tb chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

1. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and mash it into a paste with the side of your knife. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the oil, lemon zest, coriander & 1 tb salt.
2. Put the pork on a large rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet, pat dry with paper towels, and rub all over with the salt mixture. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, no more than 2.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 130°F, roughly 50 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, peel and core the pineapple. Cut half into small dice and roughly chop the other half. Purée the roughly chopped pineapple in a blender, then strain it through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids with a spoon. This should give you about 3/4 cup juice which goes into a small saucepan with the maple syrup. Cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. (The liquid will become very bubbly as it reduces; lower the heat as necessary so nothing burns.)
5. Set aside all but 2 tb of the reduced liquid as this will be your glaze. Add the vinegar, shallot, cayenne, and a pinch of salt to the 2 tb liquid remaining in the saucepan and cook over medium heat just until the shallot begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the diced pineapple and scallion whites. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pineapple softens and releases some of its juice, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
6. When the pork reaches 130°F, brush it with some of the glaze and continue to roast, brushing with more glaze every 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast reads 145°F, about 15-20 minutes more. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
7. When ready to serve, stir the scallion greens and cilantro into the chutney. Slice the pork into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and serve with the chutney.

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Crispy-Skinned, Juicy Roast Chicken

15 Apr

I took a friend on her inaugural visit to the St. Lawrence Market the other day and, while there, figured I ought to pick up something for dinner. I didn’t want to do anything too complicated as J and I had plans later that night so I stopped by De Liso’s and grabbed a whole chicken. I had already picked up some herbs and cippolini onions so, after picking up the bird, I was good to go.

I so love roasting chickens and am always on the look out for tricks to make this simple dish even better. I saw someone make one up, carve it in the pan in which it was cooked with carrots, potatoes, onions and celery and then he mixed it all together in the same roasting pan. I thought that was kind of genius as the elements in the pan soak up all the delicious juices released by the bird. Though I didn’t use most of those aromatics, I did have the onions and I also tossed in some garlic. It came out fabulously and I’ll likely be making my chickens this way from now on.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 4lb chicken
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt & fresh black pepper
3-4 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
8-12 cippolini onions
6 garlic cloves

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 500F. Rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat the chicken dry, placing it on top of the onions and four of the garlic cloves in a roasting pan.
2. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub over the skin, coating it completely but not heavily. Liberally salt and pepper, including inside the cavity.
3. Place the herbs and the remaining garlic cloves into the cavity.
4. Wrap a little bit of tinfoil around the wing tips so they don’t burn.
5. Place the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350F. Cook for roughly 70 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. You can also tell if it’s done if the juices run clear.
6. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes once it’s cooked. Carefully carve the chicken in the roasting pan and mix the pieces in with the onions, garlic and juices that have accumulated. (You can also cut the bird on a cutting board and then return the meat to the pan if you’re not comfortable doing it in the pan itself.)
 *Note – the skin should be nice and crispy and you don’t want to lose that by soaking it in the pan juices. Reserve the skin off the breast and leg meat, adding it back when you’ve plated.

NYT Project: Malaysian-Inspired Pork Stew

13 Feb

Winter has finally hit our fair city. We’ve lucked out this winter, being spoiled with double-digit temperatures and little snow. The last few days, however, have brought with them a cold front and even some actual snow! Since winter decided to show up, I decided to combat the chills with some Malaysian-inspired pork stew from the NYT Cookbook.

The aromas from this lovely dish permeated the house as they simmered away on the stove for an hour or so. The spicy rub for the pork was balanced out nicely with the coconut milk and the herb and lime juice garnish. Lots of great texture and taste in this one. An instant classic at our place.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

Spice Rub

3 tb minced garlic
3 tb curry powder
2 tb ground cumin
1 tb paprika
1 tb cayenne pepper (less if you don’t want a lot of heat)

2 pounds boneless Boston butt or picnic shoulders, cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stew

5 tb olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
3 tb minced fresh ginger
3 plum tomatoes, cored & diced
¼ c soy sauce
1-1/2 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 c dry white wine

Garnish

¼ c roughly chopped basil¼ cup roughly chopped mint
¼ c roughly chopped cilantro
½ c roughly chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
1 lime, juiced
5 dashes hot sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Directions

1. In a large bowl, mix together the spice rub ingredients.
2. Pat the cubed pork dry with a paper towel, season with salt & pepper and then put in the bowl with the rub. Toss to coat.

Pork's been all rubbed up....

3. Heat 3tb oil in a heavy-bottomed pan til the oil shimmers but does not smoke. Add in the meat in an even layer and brown on all sides, roughly 10 minutes. (You may need to do the meat in batches in order to avoid overcrowding your pan.)   Remove the meat from pan and place on a platter.
4.  Heat the remaining 2tb of oil to medium heat. Toss in the onions and sauté for 13-15 minutes.
5. Add in the ginger & tomatoes. Stir and cook 2 minutes.

Onions, tomatoes & ginger into the pan...

6. Add the pork back into the pan along with the soy sauce, wine & coconut milk.  Bring to a simmer and skim off any fat that comes to the surface.

Everyone into the pool!

7. Cover and lower heat. Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
9. When the pork is tender, serve on a bed of rice and top with the garnish as listed above.

Garnish of fresh herbs, peanuts, hot sauce & brown sugar.

Faceplant-inducing.

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