What’s Cooking

Rachel Roddy contributes from A Kitchen in Rome to The Guardian Lifestyles section regularly. Often the recipes reflect the size and equipment of her typical Italian apartment kitchen: limited storage space, a half-size refrigerator, a small oven and four elements on a stove top. They also reflect the seasonality and availability of fresh produce and the proximity of a butcher. This recipe was the result of chicken thighs she found at the butcher’s downstairs from her apartment.

It’s one pan, it’s tasty and all the ingredients should be readily available.

Baked Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon and Rosemary
From Rachel Roddy at A Kitchen in Rome
Serves: 4 as a main course or 8 at a buffet
Prep Time: 50 minutes (including 45 minutes marinating)
Cooking Time: 55 minutes

1.2 kgs chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
5 potatoes peeled and quartered
1 large lemon or two small ones
150 ml olive oil
4 cloves of garlic sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tsp oregano
salt to taste
Splash of white wine

Put the chicken and potatoes in a large bowl, squeeze over the lemon juice and add the olive oil, garlic, the needles from one sprig of rosemary and other whole sprig, salt and oregano, and toss really well. Cut the empty lemon skins into wedges, add to the bowl, toss again and leave to sit for 45 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 425ºF
Put the potatoes and chicken skin side down in a *baking tray that accommodates them in more or less a single layer, making sure to scrape in all the marinade, then roast for 45 minutes, turning the chicken midway, so it is now skin side up. Lift the chicken on to a platter, return potatoes and lemon bits to the oven, and turn it up for about 10 minutes, so the potatoes turn golden.
Transfer the potatoes and lemon to the chicken platter, put the tray on a medium flame and add a little white wine to the juices. Scrape the bottom of the tray with a wooden spoon to dislodge any bits, let the juices bubble away for a minute or so, then pour over the chicken and potatoes and serve.

*A heavy duty baking tray with high sides always works best with these one-pan recipes. I recently bought a Nordicware half tray and it works beautifully with this, and other, recipes

The word for January 22nd is:
Thigh thī: [noun]
1.1 The portion of the human leg between the hip and the knee.
1.2 The corresponding part of the hind leg of a quadruped or other vertebrate animal.
1.3 The second segment of a bird’s leg, containing the tibia and fibula.
Old English þeoh, þeh, from Proto-Germanic *theuham literally “the thick or fat part of the leg.”

What’s Cooking

It seems that now matter the size of the ham or the size of the crowd around the table there are always leftovers. And there are always lots of recipes for left over ham besides thick cut sandwiches. I found this one from the leftovers from our New Year’s Day dinner. A warming soup just right for a grey, cold, and dismal day.

Ham and Potato Soup
From Chef John at Food Wishes
Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
2 cups smoked ham, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth (preferably unsalted)
2 cups of water
1 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped chives (optional)

Melt butter over medium high heat in a stockpot or dutch oven.
When it becomes golden brown stir in the carrot, onion, celery, ham and garlic; cook and stir for 5-6 minutes until the vegetables are soften and the onions are translucent
Stir in flour; cook for about 3 minutes to get rid of the raw taste.
Stir in the chicken stock 1 cup at a time stirring well after each addition.
Add water and stir to combine.
Bring to a simmer on high heat; Simmer on medium-low for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Taste the soup for salt and add more if necessary.*
Stir in potatoes; cook for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender.
With a potato masher, mash the soup seven or eight times to break up a few of the potatoes and release the starch. This will thicken the soup.
Season with salt and pepper to taste; add the cayenne if using.
Add the cream and stir to combine.
Serve garnished with chives if using.

*Notice that salt is not added until this point as ham can be very salty so it is best to wait to see if it is needed.

Though I am still not eating solids Laurent has been my official taster for spicing etc as well as the guinea pig for new recipes. He assures me that without bias it is very good.

The word for January 3rd is:
Bias bī′əs: [noun]
1.1 A line going diagonally across the grain of fabric.
1.2 preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.
1.3 An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.
French biais, slant, from Provençal, perhaps ultimately from Greek epikarsios, slanted.

What’s Cooking?

Tender, fall off the bone, pork ribs basted in a sweet-sour-spicy sauce. There’s nothing like a rack of ribs fresh off the BBQ to call our minds back to the days of summer. Let’s admit it they just don’t taste the same when you try to replicate them in the oven during the winter months.

So what’s an alternative? Well my friend CC came up with a recipe for a spare rib casserole that’s become a favourite chez Beaulieu-Hobbs. And even better: it’s one casserole pan, and quick and easy.

She couldn’t give me the amount of ribs but we figure that the sauce will work with two racks of ribs. If you have more than that just double the recipe. What you don’t use will keep for three days in the fridge and is great as a basting sauce for baked chicken.

Spare Rib Bake
From my friend CC
Servings: will depend on the size of the ribs
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours

Rack(s) of spare ribs

1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp pepper
salt  to taste
1 tbsp french`s mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup water

Vegetables of your choice cut into serving size pieces: potatoes, carrots, onions etc. Laurent throws in Brussel sprouts for the last 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º.
Mix sauce ingredients until completely combined.
Place ribs and vegetables in a casserole.
Pour sauce over.
Cover and bake for 2 hours basting 3 or 4 times.
For the last 1/2 hour remove cover, flip the ribs and baste.
(Both CC and Laurent have left the cover on until the end and find the result very good – there’s just a lack of colour.)

The word for November 15th is:
Brussel Sprouts brŭs′əlz-sprout: [noun]
1.1 A plant (Brassica oleracea gemmifera) related to the cabbage and cauliflower that is cultivated for its edible small roundish green buds which are borne on its stem and resemble miniature cabbages.
1.2 Any of the edible green buds that are borne on the stems of brussels sprouts, consist of tightly overlapping immature leaves, and are typically cooked as a vegetable.
The plant has been grown in and around the Belgian city of Brussels since the early 11th century and the name was first applied in 1796.

What’s Cooking

Some how or other – rank stupidity on my part – this was posted by mistake yesterday. I made a few changes and represent it today.

Last winter my friend Fiona was bemoaning the lack of a curry sauce to match the one they served in her local chippie in Belfast*. Belfast? Like in Northern Ireland? Yep! Irish Curry Sauce???? Surprise! The most popular condiment in chip shops throughout Ireland – North and South – and also in the UK is curry sauce.

As well as a tasty dipping sauce this is a great sauce for morsels of chicken thighs or breast.

From Irish American Mom
Service: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 large onion peeled and diced
1 large apple peeled and diced
1 teaspoon garlic minced
1 teaspoon ginger minced
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock use vegetable stock for a vegetarian curry sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato purée
⅛ teaspoon salt to taste
⅛ teaspoon pepper to taste
¼ cup golden raisins optional

Prepare the spice blend by mixing the curry powder, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander seeds and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute for 4 minutes over medium heat. Add the diced apple and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the minced ginger and garlic and stir.
Add the spice blend to the onion mixture and stir constantly as it cooks for 2 more minutes.
Add the flour and stir constantly as it cooks for 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent burning.
Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
Add Worcestershire sauce, sugar, tomato puree and stir. Season with salt and pepper.Bring the sauce to boiling point, stirring constantly.
Then reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off, and allow the sauce to cool slightly before blending. When cool enough add the sauce to a blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
Return the sauce to the pan over medium heat. Add golden raisins if desired.

*When I sent her this recipe Fiona admitted that in many cases the chippies don’t make their own but get it from a local Indian restaurant or – gasp! – a bottle.

The word for November 4 th is:
Morsel \môr′səl\: [noun]
1.1 A small piece of food.
1.2 A tasty delicacy; a tidbit.
1.3 A small amount; a piece.
From Middle English morsel, from Old French morsel, from Medieval Latin morsellum (“a bit, a little piece”), diminutive. of Latin morsum (“a bit”), neuter of morsus, past participle of mordere (“to bite”).

What’s Cooking

Enough of the sweet stuff it’s time to get serious about vegetables. The vegetable in question being spaghetti squash and the recipe being another quick and easy one. Laurent tells me this is good warmed over for lunch the next day.

Spaghetti Squash with garlic
From Chef Buck
Serves 4
Baking time: 35-40 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 spaghetti squash
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped fine – or more if you like garlic
1-2 tbsp butter
red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 lemon zested and juiced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºf.
Cut squash in half cross wise and scoop out seeds.
Place halves cut side down in shallow water in a roasting pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. You want it with a bit of crunch not mushy.
Remove squash from the oven and carefully turn halves over to check for doneness. The water will be hot and steam will be trapped under the squash, so be cautious.
Allow squash to sit 5-10 minutes to cool slightly for easier handling.
Insert a fork and twist out strands of “spaghetti”. Once the fork has done its job, use a spoon to scrape out the remaining squash.
Heat a skillet with olive oil on medium heat.
Add finely chopped garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until it begins to colour up. If you like a bit of heat with your dish, add some red pepper flakes.
Add butter and spaghetti squash and saute until heated through.
Add lemon juice, zest and salt and pepper.
Turn off the heat and add a dash of olive oil.
A sprinkling of Parmesan is also an option at this point.

Some toasted pine nuts could also add a bit of crunch but I’m told you have to mortgage your first born to buy them so …….

The word for October 27th is:
Spaghetti \spə-gĕt′ē\: [noun]
1.1 Pasta in long, often thick strands.
1.2 A slender tube of insulating material that covers bare wire.
1.3 A kind of Italian macaroni made in the form of cords smaller than ordinary macaroni, but several times larger than the threads of vermicelli.
Italian, pl. diminutive of spago, cord, from Late Latin spācum, of unknown origin.]

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