recipe

Indian Spiced Lamb Shanks

by Anne Maxfield on March 16, 2017

The Accidental Locavore came across these Indian lamb shanks searching for something else on the Internet.

Has that ever happened to you?

They looked like a nice switch from my usual way of doing lamb shanks and I had some nice ones from a local farm. Serves 2 or more depending on the size of your shanks. The lamb needs to marinate, so plan accordingly.

Indian Spiced Lamb Shanks

For the lamb:

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1” ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • Salt

Spices for lamb shanksFor the sauce:

  • 2” piece of cinnamon
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 2 large onions, finely sliced
  • 2 green chilies (serrano or jalapeno) slit lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • A small can of tomato sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro, finely chopped for garnish

Blend garlic, ginger, curry and ground coriander with a bit of water into a paste.

Season the lamb shanks with salt and cover with the spice paste. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight if possible.

Bring the lamb to room temperature.

In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and ghee on medium heat.

Coarsely crush the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns and add to the oil. Allow to sizzle on low heat for a few seconds before adding the sliced onions.
Sauté the onion till light brown and then add the slit chilies. Stir and continue to sauté till the onions turn dark brown.

Onions for lamb shanksAdd all the spices and the tomato puree. Sauté for another 2 minutes taking care that the spice mixture does not stick to the bottom.
Add the lamb shanks and the marinade to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes turning occasionally, Take care that the spice mixture does not burn.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt a little at a time to make a thick sauce.

Place the pan back on the heat and add 2 cups of water. Season with salt, mix well and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Remove the lid, add the grated nutmeg, stir and cook uncovered for another 20 minutes until the meat becomes really tender. The sauce will also thicken and develop a deep rich color.

Stir in the lemon juice, garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

My verdict: This was really good! We served it with basmati rice to soak up the sauce. The only issue we both had with it was that you kept biting down on bits of cinnamon, etc. which wasn’t terribly pleasant. Next time, I think I’ll make a little bundle with cheesecloth that I can remove at the end.

If you don’t have ghee floating around your kitchen, microwave some butter until it’s all melted, skim off the white stuff on the top and what’s left is clarified butter.

I just used one large jalapeno and it was a little spicy but probably could have been spicier.

There was lots of sauce left because our shanks were a little small, so I got some lamb for stew, browned it well, added it to the leftover sauce and it made dinner for another night later in the week. If you’re not a fan of lamb shanks (congrats for reading this far), a couple of pounds of lamb or beef stew meat would work well.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Greek Egg-Lemon Soup: Avgolemono

by Anne Maxfield on February 23, 2017

Accidental Locavore Egg-Lemon SoupEgg-Lemon Soup is my go-to soup when I’m not feeling well.

To me, it’s more interesting than most chicken noodle soups and if you’re making your own, much quicker.

Egg-lemon soup also has the advantage that you know exactly what’s in it (all five ingredients), unlike canned soups.

So, I pull out that classic from the 1980’s The Silver Palate Cookbook (still available if you never got a copy) and have soup in 30 minutes. Makes 6 cups.

Greek Egg-Lemon Soup:

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice or more to taste
  • salt and white pepper to taste

Pour the broth into a pot, and bring it to a boil.

Add the rice, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 25 minutes until the rice is just tender.

While the rice is cooking, whisk the egg yolks and the lemon juice together in a small bowl until well combined.

When the rice is done, remove soup from the heat, and slowly ladle 2 cups of hot broth into the lemon/egg mixture. Whisk to combine, and pour back into the pot. Stir.

Return the soup to medium heat, and cook until soup is just steaming. Do not let it reach a boil. Season to taste. Serve and enjoy!

Eggs for Egg-Lemon SoupMy verdict: As I said in the intro, it’s my go-to when I’m sick. You’ve usually got all the ingredients on hand, it’s easy and tastes great!

I often leave the pepper out, but if you’re going to use it, try to use white pepper, it just looks better.

Some chicken diced up would add protein and you often see this made with little lamb meatballs, but that’s beyond my pay-grade when I’m sick.

And if this doesn’t work, there’s always albondigas.

What’s your go-to cold remedy?

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

by Anne Maxfield on February 9, 2017

Accidental Locavore Sour Cream Coffee CakeSour cream coffee cake is definitely a throwback to another era.

It’s comfort food and seems to be making a comeback.

For whatever reason, it’s been on the Accidental Locavore’s radar for a while now.

But there were all those apple cakes.

And then, today, it seemed like the right time.

Months ago, I found the recipe my friend Alan’s mom gave me way back when.

She made the best coffee cake and she finally gave me the recipe (after I swore that the little cactus I gave Alan was in fact a cactus and not a marijuana plant).

This is easy and quick to put together and will always make you feel better.

Accidental Locavore Coffee Cake RecipeSour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter (or from the original recipe, margarine)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Topping

  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an angle food pan or 9×9” baking dish.

Cream together sugars, butter, salt, eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda until well combined.

Add the sour cream and then the flour mixture to the creamed ingredients and beat at a slow speed until very smooth.

In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts for the toppling.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and sprinkle half the topping evenly over it.

Pour the rest of the batter into the pan and top with the remaining topping.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve and enjoy!Accidental Locavore Coffee Cake Swirl

My verdict:

Almost as good as I remembered it! I’d like more topping and more swirl but that’s easily fixed with more sugar and maybe some butter – like a streusel topping. Going back to the apples, they’d make a good topping too (but I’d cut them into smaller cubes).

Since nuts are no longer part of my culinary vocabulary, I used dark brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkled some maple sugar balls on the top.

And if you’re feeling blue about whatever, it’s a great start to the day!

 

 

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