Main Course Recipes

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Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Chorizo and Cheese

Accidental Locavore Peppers Stuffed With ChorizoOne of the best parts of being in a CSA (besides the farm-fresh veggies) is the chance to try different veggies. Not that poblano peppers are so “weird,” but on an average day  I’d probably only pick up a couple for a specific dish. When they were part of our share a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was time to see what I could do with them.

Stuffing them seemed like the thing to do and this interesting recipe from Rick Bayliss—his take on chile rellenos – was my starting point. Serves 4.

Accidental Locavore Peppers Stuffed and FinishedStuffed Poblano Peppers with Chorizo and Cheese

For the peppers:

  • 4 large poblano peppers, as smooth as possible
  • 1 pound chorizo
  • 2 cups onion, diced
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces goat cheese

For the topping: 

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Make the peppers: 

Accidental Locavore Peppers for RoastingRoast the chiles directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4” below a very hot broiler, turning regularly to make sure all the surfaces are well blackened and blistered.

Place in a bowl, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

Rub the skins off the peppers and then cut a slit starting ½” from the top and going to the tip of the pepper. At the top, make a ½” cut on either side of the opening.

Open up the chiles and remove the seeds. Rinse the insides and place them cut side down on a paper towel to drain.

Remove the chorizo from the casings and crumble into a 12” non-stick skillet over high heat. Cook for 5 minutes, using a spoon to break up any large chunks, until the sausage is nicely browned.

Lower the temperature to medium, add the onions and salt. Stir to combine, then cover and cook until the onion is soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Once cooled, crumble the goat cheese over the mixture and stir to combine.

Stuff each pepper with ¼ of the mixture. Fold the chile around the stuffing, leaving a gap in the center (see top photo).

Place the stuffed chiles in a 13×9” casserole and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

To bake the chiles, heat the oven to 375°. Place the foil covered dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Make the topping:

Heat the olive oil in a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bread crumbs and nuts. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring until the mixture is golden brown. Remove from heat, add the cilantro and set aside.

When the chiles are cooked, remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle the topping over the dish, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Peppers PlatedMy verdict: These were good, but not great and I’m not sure why. It could have been that I was too cautious about the potential for heat from the peppers and the chorizo and neither of them were hot at all.

The poblanos I got from the farm were small, so I used 9 of them and had some filling left. We had some lovely Argentinian chorizo from Barb’s Butchery and it was good with the goat cheese. The original recipe called for chayote or zucchini to be cooked with the onion, but we didn’t have any, so I left it out.

What’s good about this recipe is that you can stuff the peppers and make the breadcrumb mix ahead of time and bake them at your convenience, which is what I did.

While the chiles were baking, I made a batch of green rice to serve with them. When I had them as leftovers the next day for lunch, I chopped up the peppers and mixed them in with the rice and liked that just as much as the original dish.

 

 

 

 

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Herbs, Insta-Pot Version

Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot Lamb Shank With HerbsThese lamb shanks have become my favorite way to do lamb shanks.

The original recipe from the NY Times Cooking feeds 6-8. I’ve adapted it to use my Insta-Pot and made it to serve 2-3.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 lamb shanks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cup chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens or arugula
  • 3/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint or dill or a combination
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • About 1/2 cup chicken or lamb stock, or water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed (optional)

In a large bowl (or Ziploc bag) large enough to hold the lamb, mix together salt, paprika and pepper. Add shanks and rub all over with spice mix. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.

Hear a splash of olive oil in the Insta-Pot set to “Sauté.” Sear the lamb, adding more oil as needed. Take your time with this, making sure to brown the lamb all over. Transfer browned lamb to a plate.

When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to Insta-Pot and cook it in the lamb drippings (adding a more oil if pan looks dry) until limp and lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander, cayenne and allspice and cook until the garlic is very fragrant and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pot. Let mixture simmer until thickened and reduced by about a third (about 5 minutes). Add lamb back to pan and coat with the mixture.

Accidental Locavore Herbs for Insta-Pot Lamb ShankIn a bowl, toss together scallions, spicy greens, and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving, add chicken stock. Cover Insta-Pot and turn to “Slow Cook” and cook until meat is falling off the bones, about 6 hours.  If the bottom of the pan starts to dry out before lamb is done, add a few tablespoons of the stock or water to moisten it.

When shanks are tender, transfer to a heated serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you like, at this point you can tear the meat off the bones, or serve the shanks bone-in.

Turn Insta-Pot to “Sauté.” If pan is dry, add remaining stock or water and bring to a simmer. (If drippings in pan seem very fatty, spoon off some of the fat.) Bring drippings to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.

Once the liquid is reduced to a thin glaze, add butter to pot along with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining herbs (save those for garnish). Whisk sauce until smooth, then taste and add lemon juice as needed. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shanks in Insta-PotMy verdict: As I said in the intro, this might be my new favorite way to do lamb shanks! The shanks were so tender and the combination of cooked down and fresh herbs was delicious.

Doing it in the Insta-Pot has its advantages: you can brown the shanks without covering your stove in grease, and there’s only one pot to deal with. I just let them cook away on the counter all afternoon and finished them off before we ate. If I was braver, using the pressure cooker setting would probably save hours of time, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

I served it over some sliced potatoes I tossed in olive oil, microwaved for 4 minutes and then tossed in with the lamb, but orzo, couscous, polenta or rice would work well.

 

 

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Flamiche aux Poireaux: Leek Tart

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart SliceA friend of mine posted on Facebook that her husband (who happens to be a professional cook) was making her favorite tart, a Flamiche aux Poireaux from Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking.

Since I trust her taste and happened to have the book and the leeks, why not give it a try?*

I took my time and made it in stages. Serves about 4 happily.

For the Pâte Brisée:

  • 1-1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water

Place 1 cup of the flour, the butter and salt into the work bowl of a food processor. Process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds.

Add the ice water and pulse about 6-8 times, until the pastry just begins to come together. Do not let it form a ball.

Transfer to a piece of waxed paper and flatten the dough into a disk. If the dough seems too sticky, sprinkle it with a little flour, incorporating it 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart Pre BakeFor the Leek Tart:

  • 1 batch Pâte Brisée
  • 3 pounds of leeks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • 4 slices, about 3 ounces, Parma ham, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup, about 3 ounces, Gruyere cheese, grated

Prepare the tart shell. Roll out the dough to line a 10 1/2” tart pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the pan. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Prepare the filling. Trim the leeks at the roots. Cut off and discard, or save for another use, the tough dark green portion. Split the leeks lengthwise for easier cleaning and rinse well in cold water. Coarsely chop the leeks.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over low heat. Add the leeks, salt and pepper, and cook, covered, until the leeks are very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes. If the leeks have given up a lot of liquid, drain them into a colander.

Combine the eggs and crème fraiche in a medium-sized bowl until well blended. Mix in the leeks. Reserve ¼ cup of the ham and the cheese to sprinkle on top. Add the rest into the leek mixture and mix well.

Pour the leek mixture into the pastry shell. Sprinkle with the reserved ham and the cheese. Season generously with black pepper.

Bake until nicely browned, about 40-45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Leek Tart BakedMy verdict: Delicious! Glad I held on to my copy of Bistro Cooking! The crust was flaky on the sides and the filling was wonderful. I used crème fraiche, as my container of heavy cream was a little past its prime.

I used Plugra unsalted butter for my tart crust and it came together beautifully. I was a little surprised that the recipe didn’t call for the shell to be blind baked, and might try doing that for a few minutes the next time, just to give the bottom of the tart a better chance to stay crisp.

I almost substituted some smoked lobster I’d picked up in Maine for the ham but used some Italian Copa that we had in the house. Crabmeat would probably also be lovely with the leeks.

 

*Okay, possibly one (or ten) too many episodes of the Great British Baking Show, convinced me that Pâte Brisée, was well within my capabilities, even though it’s been ages since I made anything resembling a pie crust. Osmosis?

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Insta-Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

Accidental Locavore Insta-Pot Short RibsShort ribs are a great winter food and I’ve worked and eaten my way through a lot of short rib recipes.

This one from Gordon Hammersley’s Bistro Cooking at Home has become my go-to recipe and I recently decided to use my Insta-Pot for it.

Use 1-2 short ribs per person depending on size. This is scaled down for 2 people.

Insta-Pot Short Ribs Braised in Guinness

  • 2-4 beef short ribs (depending on size and appetite)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 slices bacon cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 medium sized red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ rounds (cut across the onion to make rings)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (if you buy it in a tube it costs more, but you always have it for weird amounts like this)
  • 1 bottle Guinness
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Generously salt and pepper the short ribs.

Turn your Insta-Pot to “Sauté”. Add the oil and when it’s shimmering, sear the ribs until brown on all sides.

Remove the ribs from the pan, and pour off the excess oil, but don’t clean the Insta-Pot.

Add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes.

Add the onions and cook until lightly browned, about 6 minutes (don’t worry if the onions start to fall apart–they will).

Stir the tomato paste in and cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes.

Add the beer, vinegar, beef stock, and the ribs. Bring the liquid to a boil.

Cover the Insta-Pot and put it on “Slow Cook” for 6-8 hours until the short ribs are fork tender.

When you’re ready to serve, remove the ribs and onions from the pot and set aside.

Put the Insta-Pot back on “Sauté” and bring the liquid to a boil. Cook until it’s reduced by at least a third (or as thick you want the sauce). Skim fat off.

Taste and check for seasoning. Add the ribs and onions back to the sauce, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Searing Short Ribs In Insta-Pot

My verdict: This has become our favorite short rib recipe. I serve them with mashed potatoes, usually with horseradish added. It really brings out the flavor and helps to cut some of the richness.

While this is equally as good made in the oven or in a slow cooker, the Insta-Pot advantage is that you can do it all in one pot and the high sides of the Insta-Pot keep the fat from spattering all over your stove when you sear the ribs.

Figure on 1-2 ribs per person, depending on the size (and whether you want leftovers).

Like most braised meats, these are even better the next day (and you can get a lot more of the fat off).

Click here for the original recipe.

 

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Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good

accidental-locavore-stuffed-pumpkinsThere are certain recipes you just don’t mess with.

Pumpkin stuffed with everything good is not one of them.

It actually begs to be messed with.

And is a great way to use up some of those bits of leftovers in the fridge.

It’s from Dorrie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (where you can find the original recipe) and this is my recent riff on it for 2 people:

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-stuffingPumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good

  • 2 small pumpkins
  • A handful of croutons
  • 2 cooked Italian sausage, sliced
  • 3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup thinly sliced leeks (green tops fine)
  • ¼ pound any cheese cut into ¼” cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment and set aside

Carefully cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (like you were carving a Halloween pumpkin), clean off the bottom edge and set aside.

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-for-stuffingClean out the seeds and guts of the pumpkin. If you want to roast the pumpkin seeds just put all the stuff in a bowl for later. Salt and pepper the insides of the pumpkins.

Toss everything except the heavy cream and nutmeg in a bowl and toss.

Pack the mix into the pumpkins. They should be well filled because some of the stuffing will condense when it’s cooked.

Mix the cream and nutmeg together and pour into the pumpkins. You don’t want the stuffing to be drowned in cream, but you want it be moist.

Put the caps back on and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove the caps and back for an additional 20-30 minutes. The pumpkins should be tender and easily pierced by the tip of a knife.

Serve and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-finished-pumpkinMy verdict: This is a great way to use up leftovers and it tastes great! You can use a single (larger) pumpkin and either serve it in wedges or just bring the whole thing to the table and let everyone scoop out a serving (much more impressive). It takes time to cook and a little prep time to clean the pumpkin, but that can be done ahead of time.

Let me know if you try it and what you put into it.

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushrooms RisottoDon’t you have some dishes that you love to eat and rarely cook?

Risotto is one of them for me. It’s really easy, just requires a bit of a commitment and you have a delicious dinner.

When I came upon an incredible bunch of chanterelles at the farm recently, I knew immediately what they were destined for.

This is tweaked from Fine Cooking and serves 2:

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade; more if needed
  • 1 handful dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup warm water; mushrooms roughly chopped, soaking liquid strained and reserved
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan, add the chicken broth and the reserved strained porcini soaking liquid and cook over medium heat. When the broth starts to simmer lower the heat and keep in on a slow simmer.

In a medium, heavy-gauge saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Stir in the rice, toasting just until it starts to sizzle and pop, about 1 minute. It should not color. Stir the porcini, the wild mushrooms and the wine into the rice.

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushroom RisottoWhen almost all the liquid has disappeared, after about 2 minutes, add just enough hot broth to cover the rice. Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer; stir occasionally. When the broth is almost gone, add enough to cover the rice, along with a pinch of salt. Check on the risotto every 3 or 4 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding just enough broth to cover the rice when the liquid has almost disappeared.

Continue this way until the rice is just al dente, about 20 minutes total cooking time. Bite into a grain; you should see a white pin-dot in the center. Take the risotto off the heat. Add the remaining butter and stir vigorously for a few seconds. Add the parsley, cheese and more salt, if needed. The risotto should be moist and creamy, not runny. Stir in more broth to loosen the risotto, if you like. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 My verdict: Great! Need to make risotto more often. I was lucky to have good rice, homemade chicken broth, fresh and dried mushrooms. I like this recipe because the addition of the soaking water for the mushrooms gives it a great depth of flavor. Just make sure to strain it before using it as sometimes dried mushrooms can be gritty.

I was worried that the chanterelles wouldn’t last, so I sautéed them in butter with a little garlic and salt. Because they were pre-cooked, I waited until the rice had been cooking for about 15 minutes before adding them in. They were delicious!

So, pull out some arborio rice, and a chair and make yourself some risotto. 30 minutes later you’ll be happy.

 

 

 

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Eggplant Parmesan My Way

Accidental Locavore Striped EggplantSince I first posted this, it’s become my go-to recipe for eggplant Parmesan. It’s lighter (but still no diet dish) than traditional and I do it in stages when we get a couple of cooler hours in a day. It’s inspired from Mark Bitman’s How to Cook Everything and really good because it’s dredged in flour, not heavily breaded. Serves about 4.

Eggplant Parmesan My Way

  • 3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 cup of flour (for dredging)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella grated (about 2/3 of a fresh ball)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • About 30 basil leaves (or a mix of oregano and basil)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. While the olive oil is heating, pour the flour, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour and shake off the excess. Saute the slices in the olive oil until golden brown. You’re going to need to do this in batches, and don’t crowd the pan! Let the cooked slices drain on paper towels while you saute the rest. You’ll need to keep adding olive oil to the pan, and it will seem like a lot; it is, but this is not a low-fat dinner.

Accidental Locavore Eggplant Parm My WayWhen you’ve finished sauteing the eggplant, take a gratin pan, or several small ones, and lightly grease with olive oil. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, a layer of eggplant slices, a sprinkling of mozzarella, a sprinkling of Parmesan, and a few basil leaves. Keep repeating until you reach the end  of the eggplant. On top of your last layer of eggplant, more tomato sauce, the rest of the mozzarella, a good sprinkle of Parmesan, and your best looking basil leaves (style points). Bake for about 20 minutes until it’s warm all the way through and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Frank paid this the ultimate compliment last night, when he said I did for eggplant what Bill (the former chef at Rancho la Puerta) did for salmon. In other words, made him love something he’s not generally fond of. This recipe works well because the eggplant is thinly sliced and not heavily breaded. Since sautéing the eggplant, is what takes time, I often do it ahead of time and just pull it out when I’m ready to bake it. We thought, last night, that some Italian sausage might be a nice addition to this, so maybe next time.

Update: This is my go-to way of making eggplant Parm. I generally do add some Italian sausage, crumbled, into the layers. Frank loves this and now looks forward to having eggplants from our CSA share. I ususally find a cool morning to fry up the eggplant and try to do a big batch, as it freezes and reheats well. If it’s going to be hot out, I’ll just carefully bag the cooked eggplant, and wait for a cooler day to assemble and bake.

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Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti with CrabIf you raided my freezer you’d find a stash of crabmeat I’ve brought back from Maine, waiting to be made into crab cakes, a crab roll, or in this case, dinner. Fed 2 happily.

Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

  • 8 ounces picked crab
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1 medium summer squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut in slivers
  • 6 ounces thick spaghetti or bucatini
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Accidental Locavore Crab MixCook your pasta al dente. We like to use the FastaPasta gadget in the microwave, but feel free to do it the traditional way. Save 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, combine the crab and jalapeño in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Chop half the mint and add that to the crab. Mix well and set aside.

Sliver the remaining mint and put that in a second, larger bowl. Cut the ends off the squash, then julienne or grate it, stopping when you reach the seedy core (save for another use). Add the squash to the bowl with the slivered mint. Add the remaining oil, vinegar, and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Accidental Locavore Squash for Crab SpaghettiHeat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated crab and zucchini and the basil. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and the pasta. Heat everything together, tossing to mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Crab and Spaghetti CookingMy verdict: Super easy and delicious! A good use for all the zucchini and summer squash you may be bringing home from your CSA or farm share.

The difference in textures, especially with the squash and spaghetti made this a winner. The summer squash stayed a little bit crunchy which was a nice contrast with the pasta and crab. If you wanted to add even more texture, you might try adding some fresh breadcrumbs to the crab and jalapeño mixture and sautéing them together. Since our jalapeño wasn’t terribly spicy, I used the whole thing and could have added a bit more.

The original recipe was to serve 4-6. We ended up with a generous amount of sauce for 2 greedy people. If you wanted to stretch it out, just cook more pasta and julienne another squash.

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Easy Pork with Bok Choy

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy CutWe had some beautiful bok choy from the first CSA pickup of the season and a recipe from the NY Times inspired this recipe:

  • 1 head of bok choy (or 3 or 4 heads of baby bok choy)
  • 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2” piece)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
  • Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
  • Black vinegar, for serving

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy and PorkTrim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; thinly slice stems and slice tops into 2” strips.

Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.

Add remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar into the pan. Cook until just warmed through.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil, herbs, ginger matchsticks and a splash of black vinegar. Serve over cooked jasmine rice and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy FinishedMy verdict: This was so good, Frank picked up another bunch of bok choy the week after! It’s a recipe that you can easily do variations of. The original recipe called for it to be served with rice noodles, which is probably great, but we had rice in the house so used that. In my quest to eat down the contents of the freezer (yes, again) I had some red curry lamb sausage that I removed from the casing and crumbled up instead of the ground pork. Hot Italian sausage would work well too.

If you don’t have black vinegar, you could easily forget it, or use a mix of balsamic and rice wine vinegars.

 

 

 

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Lemon Chicken Thighs

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs With LemonI love chicken thighs and this recipe from bon appétit looked easy and delicious. Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and size of thighs.

• 4 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
• Salt & pepper
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 2 lemons, halved
• 1 ½ teaspoons honey
• ½ teaspoon Aleppo style pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pat chicken thighs dry and season well with salt and black pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add vinegar. Seal bag and gently massage chicken to ensure all thighs are coated in vinegar. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Remove chicken thighs from bag and pat dry with paper towels; the drier the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down, in a dry large cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until they easily release from the pan, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, moving chicken around occasionally to ensure the skin is cooking evenly, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Transfer chicken and garlic to a plate.
Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook lemons, cut side down, until edges are deeply charred (they should be almost black), about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken and garlic and let cool slightly.
Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl; add garlic, honey, and Aleppo-style pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.
Drizzle half of vinaigrette on a platter and set chicken on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lemons for Chicken ThighsMy verdict: This was good, tasty, but not one of the best (or easiest) chicken thigh recipes I’ve made. One of the major issues I had was that you’ve got a pan full of great browned chicken bits (fond, if you want to get technical) and there’s no call to do anything with them.
I couldn’t let all that great flavor go to waste so after cooking the lemons, I deglazed the pan with a little white wine (chicken stock or water would work fine), scraping up the browned bits. Once that was done, I added the vinaigrette, let it cook down a bit (smashing up the garlic as it cooked) and served that as a sauce over the chicken.
The other problem came juicing the lemons. They were slippery from being in a greasy pan and I ended up picking countless pits out of the bowl, so using a juicer or reamer might be a better idea than just juicing them into a bowl.
I’m thinking this might be just as good (and easier) done on a sheet pan in a 400° oven and roasting the lemons and garlic along with the chicken. What do you think?

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