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Lamb Tagine with Apricots

by Anne Maxfield on December 4, 2017

Accidental Locavore Lamb TagineThis lamb tagine came about because a recent special from Barb’s Butchery landed us with a nice package of lamb stew. Turned out to be beautiful meat–tender and flavorful and made this a terrific dish.

  • 4 pounds bone-in lamb-shoulder or neck, or 2 1/4 pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 large Spanish onions, peeled and quartered
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, each 2 inches long
  • Large pinch crumbled saffron
  • 1 ¼ cups dried apricots, sliced
  • 1 cup cracked green olives, pitted and sliced if desired
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter
  • ⅓ cup sliced almonds
  • Cooked couscous, for serving
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 325°.

Trim excess fat from lamb. Put meat in a deep Dutch oven with the garlic, salt, black pepper, paprika, ginger and cumin. Rub spices and garlic evenly all over meat.

Thinly slice onions, then mince enough of them to yield 1/2 cup. Add minced onion to pot with lamb; reserve onion slices.

Accidental Locavore Lamb for TaginePlace pot over high heat and let cook, turning meat on all sides, until spices release their scent, about 3 minutes. Meat does not need to be browned. Add 3 cups water to pot (it should come 3/4 of the way up lamb), along with cinnamon and saffron. Bring to a simmer, then cover pot and transfer to oven. Let braise for 45 minutes.

Turn meat, then top with onion slices. Cover pot and braise for another 45 minutes to an hour, or until lamb is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl, leaving broth and onions in pot.

Place pot on stove over high heat and add 3/4 cup apricots and the olives. Simmer broth until it reduces by a third and thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return lamb to pot and keep warm until serving.

To serve, chop remaining 1/2 cup apricot slices. In a small skillet, melt butter. Add almonds and cook until well browned and toasted, about 2 minutes. Put couscous in a serving bowl and top with almonds and butter and chopped apricots. Pile tagine in center of couscous and garnish with herbs. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb TagineMy verdict: Well Frank’s actually, “this is one of the best tagines you’ve ever made”. The lamb made this dish—tender and flavorful, it melted in your mouth. I swapped pine nuts for the almonds and that was fine. Next time, maybe fewer apricots and some preserved lemon, sliced into slivers.

I used Castelvetrano olives and they might have been a little too subtle for the dish. The green olives looked good, but any combo of black and green would work fine. This is probably a way of saying that the dish needed salt, or in Frank’s case, harissa.

You can make this ahead of time and just finish it while the couscous is cooking.

 

 

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Barbecued Pork Skewers Filipino Style

by Anne Maxfield on October 23, 2017

Accidental Locavore Pork Skewers on GrillWhile it’s still warm enough out to keep the grill going, you owe it to yourself to make these pork skewers. They’re easy to toss together and just require a little marinating time.

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder cut into 1” cubes

For the marinade and glaze: 

  • 1 garlic clove finely minced
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup lime or lemon juice
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 1 cup ginger ale (divided use)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, mix the garlic, soy sauce lime juice, ketchup, ½ cup ginger ale, salt and pepper.

Set aside ½ cup of the marinade and refrigerate.

Add the pork to the bowl with the marinade, toss to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight (in the refrigerator).

When you’re ready to cook, remove the pork and preheat your grill to medium-high.

Take the extra ½ cup marinade from the refrigerator add the ½ cup ginger ale and the brown sugar. Mix well and set aside to glaze the skewers.

If you’re using bamboo skewers, soak them for about 20 minutes.

Skewer the pork and grill for about 12 minutes a side or about 30 minutes total.

Baste the pork every few minutes with the reserved marinade.

Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Pork SkewersMy verdict:

My friend Jasmine gave me the recipe, telling me it was like pork candy and she was right! We served it over some rice (jasmine or basmati) and it was delicious!

Originally, I didn’t know what we were going to do with the pork, so I ended up buying a big piece of pork shoulder and we had tons of skewers (but not for long).
I used some of the More Good ginger ale syrup, mixed with some seltzer, because it’s a little healthier and we didn’t have any ginger ale on hand. You could probably substitute some grated ginger and a little sugar or simple syrup.

If you want to add heat to it, a shot of sriracha or some finely minced chiles would be good.

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Short Ribs With Thai Chili Sauce

by Anne Maxfield on April 20, 2017

I wanted to take my Insta-Pot through some of its paces and short ribs seemed like the way to go.

This time, I was looking for something different than my usual short ribs with bacon and Guinness.

I had my Thai Chili Sauce from booYah and some ribs, so went to work.

This feeds about 4:

Short Ribs With Thai Chili Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds small bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 small fresh hot red chiles, such as Thai bird, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, quartered
  • 1 3” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 Thai chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart stovetop-safe slow cooker insert (or in a 12-inch skillet) over medium heat. Add half of the short ribs and brown really well about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the remaining short ribs.

Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chiles, garlic, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the Thai chili sauce.

Fit the insert into the slow cooker, or if using a skillet put its contents into the slow cooker.

Stir in the broth and soy sauce. Nestle the short ribs into the sauce, pouring in any juice from the bowl.

Cover and cook until very tender, 5 to 6 hours on high or 9 hours on low.

Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: This recipe is for a regular slow-cooker. If you use an Insta-Pot, check the directions for searing and slow cooking.

These were really good! The Insta-pot made searing the short ribs easy and there was no grease-spattered stove to clean up. We had them with some jasmine rice and broccoli. While, I’m not sure they’ll replace the beer-braised ribs, it’s good to switch things up now and then.

I used the booYah Thai sauce and then remembered how easy it was to make your own. Either would be great. The chili sauce is also great tossed into some sautéed shrimp (with or without some asparagus).

What would you use it on?

 

 

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Chicken Thighs With the Crispiest Skin Ever!

by Anne Maxfield on March 2, 2017

I know that saying this recipe gives you the crispiest chicken skin ever is going to be controversial.

Wait until you try it!

The Accidental Locavore cooked this recipe for Golden Chicken Thighs with Charred-Lemon Salsa Verde from Food and Wine last week for dinner. Feeds 6-8.

You need a little time for it to marinate, so plan ahead.

Chicken Thighs With the Crispiest Skin Ever!

Chicken:

  • 12 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 24 sage leaves
  • 16 garlic cloves—6 cut into 4 slices each, the rest gently smashed and peeled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 slices
  • Strips of zest from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 fresh bay leaves (optional) 

Salsa Verde: 

  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Run your fingers under the skin of each chicken thigh to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with 2 sage leaves, 2 slices of garlic and 1 slice of butter. Transfer the stuffed thighs to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest strips with the smashed garlic, olive oil, chopped herbs and crushed red pepper. Pour the mixture over the thighs and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a small baking sheet or oven proof dish, toss the lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the lemon slices in an even layer and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until charred on the bottom. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop the slices into 1/4“ pieces and set aside.

Leave the oven on.

In a mortar, or mini-chopper, mash the oregano and mint with the chopped garlic, anchovy, capers and 1 teaspoon of salt until a smooth paste forms. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Stir in the chopped lemon a little at a time, to taste.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet, big enough to put the chicken in a single layer (or do it in batches) over medium heat. Season the thighs evenly with salt; remove the lemon zest and smashed garlic from the marinade and set aside. Arrange the chicken thighs skin-side down in the skillet. Cover it with another large pan or pot weighted down with a few heavy cans. Cook over moderate heat until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Remove the weight and turn the chicken. Scatter the chicken with the reserved lemon zest, garlic and the bay leaves, if using. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken to a platter, serve with the salsa verde and enjoy!

 

My verdict: As I said in the intro, we were shocked by how crispy the chicken skin was! I’m definitely going to try this the next time I make a roast chicken.

I used half the chicken (6 thighs), half the sage, garlic, butter and lemon zest but made the whole recipe for the marinade and salsa. Rosemary would work well under the chicken skin too.

I left out the parsley and the bay leaves and don’t think either of them was missed (not sure what would happen with dried bay leaves).  I also left out the thyme because I forgot to buy it – that would have been a nice addition. And I zested the lemon on my microplane rather than zesting it into strips.

In three months, all of these herbs will be growing in my garden, so this will definitely get made again (maybe on the grill).

Because the chicken was so good on its own, the salsa verde was a nice but unnecessary addition and might actually be better on some lamb or fish. I’d slice the lemons thinner next time and if I was doing it on the grill would definitely grill them.

 

 

 

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