Chicken Dijon with Baby Dutch Potatoes and Crusty Bread

This recipe can be made in less than 30 minutes and imparts a complex flavor that tastes as though you’ve spent hours slaving away in the kitchen. A perfect meal for weeknights or unexpected guests, everyone will be impressed by the refined Dijon crème fraîche tarragon sauce.

If you don’t have drumsticks on hand, chicken thighs work well too. I also prefer the sweetness of sautéed shallots to onions which I think really add more depth to the sauce. I also bought a local crème fraîche from a dairy and the difference between local and store bought was night and day. It was heavier, creamier and really helped to elevate this sauce to another level.

I also added roasted baby Dutch potatoes, placed the chicken thigh on top, and then ladled the sauce on top, serving crusty French bread on the side.

Chicken Dijon

Food and Wine Magazine

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 medium chicken drumsticks (about 3 pounds)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream

2 teaspoons chopped tarragon

Crusty bread, for serving

In a large skillet, toast the coriander seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and let cool. Crush the seeds coarsely with a pestle.

In the same skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and crushed coriander and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the crème fraîche and tarragon. Whisk the mixture into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat. Serve the chicken with crusty bread.

Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup

I recently received the cookbook Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi and was very impressed by his refined vegetarian food. My goal is not to necessarily become a vegetarian, but I think we could all benefit from a couple of meatless meals a week. Not only does it help save money, but also it rounds out a person’s diet, helping him/her feel healthier. This recipe is simple, delicious and makes wonderful leftovers (just add the bread at the last minute). It is packed full of flavor and has a hearty edge that makes it a perfect soup for the summer to fall transition.

The cookbook itself is vibrant and full of colorful pictures. The casual style writing and excellent instructions help to draw the reader in, and Mr. Ottolenghi makes vegetarian food sound and look delicious.

Chickpea, Tomato and Bread Soup

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

By Yotam Ottolenghi

1 large onion, sliced

1 medium fennel, sliced

About ½ cup olive oil

1 large carrot, peeled, cut along the centre and sliced

3 sticks celery, sliced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup white wine

14 oz. Italian plum tomatoes

1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp picked fresh thyme leaves

2 tsp sugar

2 bay leaves

4-1/2 cups vegetable stock

Salt and black pepper

2 large slices stale sourdough bread (crust removed)

2-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

4 tbsp basil pesto
(see below)

1 handful fresh basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the onion and fennel in a big pot, add three tablespoons of oil and sauté on medium heat for four minutes. Add the carrot and celery, and cook for four minutes, just to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the wine and let it bubble away for a minute or two. Add the tomatoes and their juices, herbs, sugar, bay, stock and season. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes.

While you wait, break the bread into rough chunks with your hands, toss with two tablespoons of oil and some salt, scatter in a roasting tray and bake for 10 minutes, until dry. Remove from the oven and set aside.

About 10 minutes before you want to serve, put the chickpeas in a bowl and crush them a little with a potato masher or the end of a rolling pin – you want quite a rough texture, with some chickpeas left whole and others completely mashed. Add the chickpeas to the soup and leave to simmer for five minutes. Finally, stir in the toasted bread, and cook for another five minutes.

Taste the soup, and add salt and pepper liberally. Pour the hot soup into shallow soup bowls, place a spoonful of pesto in the centre, drizzle with plenty of olive oil and finish with a generous scattering of freshly shredded basil.

Basil

Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi

By Yotam Ottolenghi

1 cup basil leaves

1/3 cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmesan

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup olive oil

Blend basil through garlic cloves in a food processor until well blended. Slowly add the olive oil.

Speedy Ratatouille with Goat Cheese

As fall begins its chilly decent on the Pacific Northwest, I came across this recipe in Food and Wine Magazine. Always a fan of hearty ratatouilles I found myself drawn to this recipe for the short length of cooking time. Usually ratatouilles are synonymous with long, complex simmered sauces. This ratatouille however maintains the crispness of the vegetables, lending a hearty robust flavor to this classic dish. Always craving a spicy depth to dishes, I added red pepper flakes. I also prefer the salty tang of Parmigiano-Reggiano to goat cheese so I added a generous grating to top off my steaming bowl of ratatouille. Served with a simple French baguette, this meal is a perfect way to welcome the chilly nights of fall.

Speedy Ratatouille with Goat Cheese

Food and Wine Magazine

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice

5 large garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 pounds tomatoes, cored and finely chopped

1 cup loosely packed shredded basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup crumbled aged goat cheese

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggplant to a plate.

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the casserole along with the zucchini and yellow squash and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add another one-third of the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetables to the eggplant.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the casserole, along with the onion and bell pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, two-thirds of the basil and the reserved vegetables and cook over moderate heat until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Related articles

King Ranch Casserole

This recipe is well worth the effort. The homemade chicken stock is fragrant and rich. I used poblano chilies due to New Mexico chilies being out of season at my local grocer. They were a decent substitute. I left the seeds intact since my husband I prefer our Mexican food spicy. The cream sauce is heavenly and I can see this sauce being an excellent base in other Mexican casserole recipes. The sauce is a homemade, rich cream of mushroom crossed with a creamy tomato green chili sauce. It is utterly superb. I would add more salt and pepper to taste though.

My main recommendation for this dish would be to cover it with aluminum foil for 45 minutes and then remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. That way the top does not get too crispy. Another alternative would be to smother the entire top with cheese, which would likely mean calling for another 1-1/2 cups of Monterey/sharp cheddar blend.

This makes excellent leftovers!

King Ranch Casserole

From The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather.

Chicken and Stock:
1 whole stewing chicken
2 carrots, unpeeled, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
10 whole peppercorns
5 quarts water

Roasted Chiles:
3 New Mexican green chiles (Poblanos may be used as substitute)

Cream Sauce:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken stock (above)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
Roasted, diced New Mexican green chiles (above)

Casserole:
18 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

To prepare the chicken and stock: place the chicken, carrots, celery, and peppercorns in a large stockpot and add the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer the stock for 1 hour, uncovered. (The liquid level should drop by about 1 inch.) Turn the heat as low as possible and simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. Remove the chicken from the warm stock and refrigerate it. Use a large strainer to drain the chicken broth into a large container. Discard the vegetables and refrigerate the stock. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, discard the skin and pull the meat off the bones. Cut or shred it and set aside. Measure 3 1/2 cups of the stock for use in the recipe; save the remainder for another use.

To roast the chiles: Preheat the broiler. Broil the chiles about 2 minutes per side, until blackened on all sides. Remove from the broiler using tongs or oven mitts and enclose in a paper bag to sweat for 5 minutes. Remove the chiles from the bag and peel. Slice in half, and remove and discard the stems and seeds. (If you like your foods hot and spicy, keep some of the seeds.) Dice the chiles.

To make the cream sauce: Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and garlic. Sauté on medium-low heat about 7 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer. Sprinkle the flour in the pan, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until the white of the flour is no longer visible. Whisk in 3 cups of the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the cream and stir in the diced roasted chiles. Add the tomatoes. The cream sauce should be thick.

To make the casserole: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Place 1/2 cup of the stock in a bowl large enough to hold an unfolded tortilla. Stack the tortillas in the bowl, 6 at a time, until ready to layer in the baking pan. Make sure all of the tortillas are amply covered in stock. Line the bottom of the prepared pan with a layer of 6 tortillas, making sure each tortilla overlaps the previous one by about one-third. (A thick layer of tortillas will make it easier to cut the casserole once it’s cooked.) Cover the tortillas with half of the cream sauce. Add half of the chicken and sprinkle with one third of each kind of cheese. Add a second layer of 6 soaked tortillas, the remaining cream sauce and chicken, and another third of each kind of cheese. Top with the remaining 6 tortillas and the rest of the cheese.

Bake the casserole for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until hot, bubbling, and lightly browned on top. Remove the casserole from the oven and let sit about 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve. The cooked casserole can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 weeks.

Sweet Potato, Apple & Pancetta Hash

This recipe had come to my attention in Google Reader earlier this month. I printed it out and placed it haphazardly in my recipe drawer in anticipation of making breakfast one Sunday morning. As it so happened, this past Sunday my husband and I awoke and both wanted a hearty breakfast. Shuffling through my recipe drawer, I ran across this recipe again and thought I would try it.

This recipe is simply divine because the flavors create a depth that most hash lacks. The pancetta lends meatiness, the sweet Vidalia onion a caramelized taste, the apple is slightly crunchy, the sweet potatoes are hearty and the cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper lend a sophisticated taste to this simple dish. If you like your eggs over easy (my husband prefers his medium), the runniness of the yoke simply propels this dish into a breakfast galaxy all its own.

Sweet Potato, Apple & Pancetta Hash

a food + words original

2-3 tablespoons olive oil or butter for sautéing
1 quarter-inch thick slice pancetta, diced small (you can substitute about 2-3 pieces of bacon if you’d prefer)
1 medium Vidalia onion, diced small
1 medium granny smith apple, peeled and diced into cubes about 1/4″ wide
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into cubes about 1/2″ wide
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
kosher salt, to taste
freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1-2 large eggs

For the hash:

Place a large cast-iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Flick a few drops of water into the skillet to make sure it’s hot enough. If the droplets sizzle and dance across the surface of the skillet, you’re ready to cook! Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into the skillet and add the pancetta. cook until crisp, stirring often, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the skillet and allow it to drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the onion to the skillet and season with a small amount of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Sauté the onion, stirring often for 2-3 minutes, or until the diced onion is translucent. Add the diced apple and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Sauté the apple and onion for about 5 minutes or until the apple begins to brown slightly. Scrape the apple and onion mixture onto a plate and set aside.

Add a small amount of olive oil or butter to the skillet and add the diced sweet potato. Season lightly with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, stirring to coat. Arrange the diced sweet potato in a single layer in the pan and allow to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes undisturbed until they just begin to brown. Stir the pan and again arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer, cooking for another 2 minutes until brown on cooked side. Continue cooking the sweet potatoes until crisp, golden brown and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.

Return the pancetta, apples and onions to the pan, and add the fresh thyme. Stir to combine, and cook for another minute to ensure the hash is heated through.

Portion the hash onto plates and if desired, top each serving with a poached or fried egg and lots of hot sauce.

For the fried eggs:

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. It should be hot enough that when you flick a few drops of water on it, they sizzle and dance. If you have a nonstick skillet, even better. Spray the pan generously with nonstick cooking spray, or if you’re going all out, use butter. I find it easier to crack the egg into a small bowl first, then I gently slide it into the skillet. I cook it on one side for about 30 seconds, shaking the pan gently all the while to ensure none of the egg is sticking. Once the white is almost completely solid white, it’s time to flip. Tilt the pan forward and down, at about a 45 degree angle. With the flick of your wrist, launch the egg up and forwards, while keeping the pan underneath the egg. It might take a few tries, but definitely eat the imperfect ones. Once flipped, cook the egg 15 seconds, slide it on top of the hash, and season with kosher salt and pepper.

Trout with Lemons, Raisins and Pine Nuts

I have been searching for a delicious trout recipe. My husband recently went fishing and brought home 10 beautiful rainbow trout. I felt the need to find a recipe that honored this cherished, delicate ingredient.

This recipe has the flavors of Morocco – raisins, lemon and pine nuts. I changed two things about the recipe. The first is that I do not have easy access to preserved lemons so instead I submitted one medium lemon’s zest and juice. I also decreased the amount of water from 4 cups (which is more of a soup) to 2-1/2 cups. If you want a broth soup, I would recommend the addition of layered sliced roasted potatoes on the bottom of a bowl and then ladling the trout soup on top.

Overall, the flavors were delicious and really brought out the delicate taste and texture of the succulent trout. This is definitely a tried and true favorite.

If you have any trout recipes and would like to pass them along, please feel free to post them in the comments section.

Trout with Preserved Lemons, Raisins and Pine Nuts

Sliced Trout Fillets

By Paula Wolfert

Food and Wine

Two 8-ounce skinless trout fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons golden raisins

6 scallions, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/8 inch thick on the diagonal (1 cup)

2 medium carrots, sliced 1/8 inch thick on the diagonal

1 teaspoon honey

1 preserved lemon—pulp removed, peel rinsed and minced

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

In a shallow dish, season the fish with salt, black pepper and cayenne; spread in a single layer. Sprinkle the fish with 1 tablespoon of the cilantro. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the dish.

In a small bowl, cover the raisins with warm water and let stand until plump, about 10 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, combine the scallions and carrots with 4 cups of water and simmer the vegetables over moderate heat until the carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the honey, preserved lemon peel, raisins and pine nuts, season with salt and black pepper and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes longer.

Slip the trout into the broth, cover and simmer over moderately low heat until the fish is just barely cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drizzle the fish with the olive oil, garnish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro and serve.

Southern-Style Macaroni and Cheese My Way

Initially intrigued by Saveur’s Southern-Style Macaroni and Cheese, I was inspired to modernize this classic recipe with the addition of several sautéed vegetables. Perhaps it was not the desire to create my own recipe as much as it was the necessity to use the extra vegetables in my refrigerator. If someone desires to stay true to the Southern roots of this classic dish, then I applaud him/her. If you desire to add a few more healthy vegetables, then I recommend thinly sliced sautéed onion, julienned carrots, chopped zucchini and fresh-cut corn off the cob.

Overall, I felt the addition of the onion added flavor, the carrots a bit of crunch, the chopped zucchini lent the first tastes of fall and the sweet corn was a nice contrast to the hearty pasta.

SouthernStyle Macaroni and Cheese

by Saveur

1 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

8 oz. hollow pasta, preferably elbow macaroni

Butter, for greasing

7 oz. extra-sharp cheddar, cut into 1⁄2″ cubes (about 1 1⁄2 cups), plus 6 oz. grated (about 2 cups)

2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. flour

1 1⁄2 tsp. dry mustard

1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1⁄8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2⁄3 cup sour cream

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1⁄2 cups half-and-half

1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream

1⁄3 cup grated onion

1 tsp. Worcestershire

Heat oven to 350°. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and transfer to a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Stir in the cubed cheddar cheese and set aside. (See below additions.)

Combine 1 1⁄2 tsp. salt, flour, mustard, black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Add the sour cream and the eggs and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half, heavy cream, onions, and Worcestershire. Pour egg mixture over the reserved pasta mixture and stir to combine. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the surface. Bake until the pasta mixture is set around the edges but still a bit loose in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Additions

Saute 1 thinly sliced onion in olive oil with 3 julienned carrots until soft. Add 1 medium zucchini, diced with 2-1/2 cups fresh-cut corn off the cob for 2 more minutes. Mix in after adding the cubed cheddar cheese.

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