Monthly Archives: February 2015

Cumin-Scented Rice with Peas

Rice_with_Peas (1 of 1)This flavorful rice dish can be eaten on its own with some naan or chapati as a light meal, or it can be served as part of an Indian meal. What make this great for me (aside of course, from the cumin!}, is the ghee (clarified butter). I’ve made clarified butter by cooking out the milk solids, and have used that in Indian cooking, but it is never the same as store-bought ghee. Ghee is what makes this rice dish Indian (to me, at least). For a few years now, I’ve made sure that I have it on-hand in the pantry — it seems to keep for quite a while!. Anyway, please give this dish a try, and let me know what you think. I made it this past weekend with lamb korma, another delicious recipe for which I’ll be blogging about soon!

15 oz long-grain rice
6 cups water, divided
1 Tbsp ghee
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small onion, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 tsp salt

Rinse rice well in cold water, changing the water until it is no longer cloudy.

Place rice and 4 cups cold water in a medium bowl and let stand 30 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, heat ghee in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and stir for a few seconds. Add onions and sauté 8 minutes, or until onions begin to brown. Stir in peas, rice and salt. Stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Stir in 2 cups cold water, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork. Cover, and let stand for at least 5 minutes. Serve as a component of an Indian meal.

Serves 6

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Braised, Shredded Pork from the state of Michoacán, Mexico (Carnitas)

Carnitas (1 of 1)This delicious dish is from the Pacific Coast state of Michoacán, although it is prepared throughout Mexico. It makes a lot of shredded pork, and it is very versatile — the first night you serve it on its own with a few sides, the next night you make tacos with it, etc., and it freezes well. The other day, I added it to a home-made ranchero sauce, and it was fantastic! Original versions seem to be full of fat. They typically call for pork shoulder or (aka Boston butt), which is a fatty part of the pig. I’ve made this a few times with center-cut pork loin, with all visible fat removed. After braising for three hours, it turns out moist, delicious, and it just falls apart like its counterpart does. I also replace the typical ton of lard with a couple tablespoons of olive oil — I realize that this probably changes the flavor and texture, but there is already so much flavor, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, in the photo, I serve it with a simple red cabbage coleslaw, corn sticks and slices of blood orange. Yum. I hope you’ll try this next Sunday!

1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups chicken stock
1 12-oz can cola
2 tsp oregano, toasted in a dry, medium-hot skilled
2 bay leaves, toasted in a dry, medium-hot skillet
8 whole allspice berries
2 2-inch cinnamon sticks
2 chipotle chilies en adobo, minced
2 Tbsp salt, divided
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 – 6 lbs boneless pork loin, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into fist-size chunks
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 small oranges

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large Dutch oven, add the onion, garlic, chicken stock, cola, oregano, bay leaves, allspice, cinnamon sticks, chipotle chilies, 5 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, and stir well.

Season pork with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes.

Bring the onion mixture to a boil. Add pork and oranges, cover so that the lid is ajar and place in oven.  Bake for about 3 hours, until pork is very tender. Remove pork from pan and shred with a couple of forks.

Remove the oranges, slice in half and squeeze juice back into pan. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks. Add shredded pork back to pan and stir well.

Increase heat to 425, place pork back into oven, uncovered. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and serve.

Serves 8.

American Black Bean Chili with IPA Beer

Black_Bean_Chili (1 of 1)Chili is a popular go-to comfort food in this household, especially when the snow is as deep as f#$^%$! and the temperature is constantly below f*^%k!. I have many recipes for chili, and this is a combination of the things I like the best about each. Additionally, I’ve added IPA (India Pale Ale Beer) and allspice, which I think help to create a fantastic depth of flavor for this version. I hope you’ll try it next time you are wanting comfort food!
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, very finely grated or minced
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 large green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3 – 5 dried Thai (or similar hot) chilies, cut with scissors into 1/8 pieces, seeds and all
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 28-oz whole peeled tomatoes, squeezed to a pulp in a bowl by hand
3 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-oz bottle beer (preferably IPA)
Sour cream for garnish
Grated white cheddar for garnish
Diced fresh tomato for garnish
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Tabasco sauce (optional) for garnish

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, beef and bell pepper. Cook for 8 minutes.

Stir in the next 8 ingredients (chili powder through ground black pepper) and cook 1 minute.

Stir in the beans, squeezed tomatoes and beer. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hour. Remove lid and simmer an additional 30 minutes, or until chili has thickened. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Adjust seasoning (I added an additional 2 1/2 tsp salt, which seemed good). Ladle into serving bowls, garnishing each with a dollop of sour cream, cheddar cheese, diced tomato, parsley and a few drops of Tabasco sauce. I like to serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Serves 6.