Spanish Paella

PaellaSo how can you have a week dedicated to rice and not touch on paella? Originating in the Valencia region on the east coast of Spain, paella is widely regarded as Spain’s national dish, as well as the identifying symbol of the Valencians. The three best known types of paella are Valencian paella, seafood paella, and mixed paella, but there are many others as well. Valencian paella is believed to be the original recipe and consists of white rice, green beans, meat (chicken and rabbit), white beans, snails, and seasoning such as saffron and rosemary. Another very common but seasonal ingredient is artichoke. Seafood paella replaces meats with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of land animals, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes beans.

The dish earned it’s name from the pan in which it is prepared. Derived from the Old French word paelle for pan, which in turn comes from the Latin word patella for pan as well. Valencians use the word paella for all pans, including the specialized shallow pan used for cooking paellas. Paelleras are traditionally round, shallow and made of polished steel with two handles. As most North American home kitchens don’t have paelleras hanging around, a large, oven proof skillet will do as a replacement.

The recipe below is a bit of a twist on a traditional paella, as there is chicken and sausage, but no fish or shellfish. A key ingredient that is present though is saffron. It adds an essential taste and colour to the dish that is a must! Due to the high cost of saffron, you can use Mexican saffron rather than Spanish or European, as it tends to be cheaper. Just note that you need to use a bit more, as the flavours are not as intense. If you can’t find kosher chorizo sausage, you can use a substitute such as a smoked paprika or spiced sausage. The recipe below will serve 8 very happy people.

Ingredients:

Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
salt and black pepper to taste
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch pieces

Rice:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
1 large pinch saffron threads
1 bay leaf
½ bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped*
1 litre chicken stock
1 (398ml) can of diced tomatoes
2 lemons, zested**

Sausage & Vegetables:
½ tablespoon olive oil
1 pound chorizo sausage, casings removed and sliced/diced
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
½ cup frozen green peas

* Click here to learn how to properly clean parsley.
** Click here for tips on zesting.

Directions:

In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, paprika, oregano, and salt and pepper. Stir in chicken pieces to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or paella pan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, and rice. Cook, stirring, to coat rice with oil, about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron threads, bay leaf, parsley, chicken stock, diced tomatoes and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the cut up sausage to the skillet and saute until the fat begins to render from the meat. Once the sausage is cooked/heated through, using a slotted spoon, remove it from the pan, but keep the majority of the fat/drippings in the pan. Return the pan to the heat, and add the marinated chicken and onion, cooking for 5-7 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Once the chicken is almost fully cooked, return the sausage to the skillet, along with the peas, and mix to incorporate.

Combine the meat/vegetable mixture with the semi-cooked rice, and place in the preheated oven for 10-20 minutes, until the rice has completely finished cooking and has begun to get a bit crispy. Serve hot!

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Dirty Rice

Dirty RiceNo, before you get all worried, I’m not suggesting you eat the rice that you swept up as part of your Passover cleaning! Dirty rice is a traditional Creole dish made from white rice which gets a “dirty” colour from being cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, green bell pepper, celery, and onion, and spiced with cayenne and black pepper. Parsley and/or chopped green onions are common garnishes. Dirty rice is most common in the Creole regions of southern Louisiana; however, it can also be found in other areas of the American South. This recipe will serve 6 as a side dish, and 4 as a main.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked rice
4 cups chicken stock
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium/large onions, diced (about 1½ cups total)
2 medium green bell peppers, diced (about 1 cup total)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1 cup total)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ pound ground beef
½ pound chicken giblets or livers**
2 bunches green onions, chopped*

* Click here to learn how to clean green onions.
** If you are using livers instead of giblets, please ensure to following the directions found in this article on how to Kasher your raw liver.

Directions:

If using Giblets:
Place the giblets in a pot, and cover with water, bring to a simmer for 30 minutes with 1 bunch of green onions, salt and pepper.

If using Liver:
If using raw liver, please Kasher it according to the instructions provided in the link above. Once the liver is cooked (either purchased cooked or cooked through the Kashering process), follow the same steps as the giblets, however only simmer until warmed through, not for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a colander, rinse rice several times until water runs clear. Place rice in a large pot and add chicken stock. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not overcook.

In a pan, sauté the garlic, onions, bell peppers and celery in vegetable oil until soft for about 10-15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne and add to rice. Cook the ground beef in a sauté pan and add to rice.

Finally, let the giblets cool enough to chop into small dice then add to rice mixture. Mix rice well and let simmer on lowest heat for an additional 30 minutes, stirring continuously, until flavors meld. Serve hot garnished with the second bunch of green onions.

Spicy Black Beans and Yellow Rice

beans and riceIngredients:

For Beans:
2 cups (about 1 pound) dried black beans, picked over, soaked overnight
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For Rice:
2 cups long-grain rice
4 cups water
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf

Directions:

For the beans:
In a large pot, soak beans overnight covered in water by 2 inches. Drain and set aside.

In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, and bay leaf and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and cover with water by about 1-inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are tender. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper.

For the rice:
Put all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot, stir well, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook over low heat until the rice has absorbed the water, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Discard the garlic and bay leaf, fluff with a fork, and serve.

Sauce 4 – Basic Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce 1This is a traditional tomato sauce that I have adjusted to reflect a kosher kitchen: meaning that the salt pork and ham bone have been removed, and substituted with an equal amount of olive oil and the use of a beef marrow bone. Should you wish to make the sauce pareve, or vegetarian, you can leave out the bone all together. This recipe will make about 4 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups onions, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (796ml) cans crushed tomatoes
4 cups veal or chicken stock
1 beef marrow bone
Kosher salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems
8-10 black peppercorns, crushed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°F. Tie the sachet ingredients into a cheesecloth sack using a piece of kitchen twine. In a heavy, oven-safe Dutch oven, bring the olive oil up to temperature. Add the carrots, celery, onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes, the beef bone (if using), the stock and the sachet. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer the pot to the oven. Simmer in the oven, partially covered, for two hours. Remove from oven. Remove sachet and bone and purée sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Season to taste with Kosher salt and a small amount of sugar — just enough to cut the acid edge of the tomatoes. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Creole SauceCreole Sauce

Creole sauce, also referred to as creole tomato sauce, and sauce piquant in New Orleans, is a Creole cuisine, Bahamian cuisine and New Orleans cuisine sauce made by sautéeing vegetables in butter and olive oil. It is used in the American south and in Bahamas. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce (see recipe above)
¾ cup chopped onions
¾ cup chopped celery
½ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of 1 lemon*
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf, oregano and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf, season with the salt, pepper and cayenne and serve right away.

* click here for my tips on zesting lemons and other citrus.

spanish sauceSpanish Tomato Sauce

This tomato sauce with a spanish flair can also be refered to as a sofrito – which in Spanish cuisine, consists of garlic, onion, paprika, peppers, and tomatoes cooked in olive oil. While there is no paprika in this recipe, the additions of the the mushrooms and olives add a nice earthy and salty kick. This sauce is great on meats and poultry, or even just over pasta. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups tomato sauce
½ cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup diced green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Tabasco sauce (or another hot pepper sauce), to taste
½ cup olives (black or green), sliced

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sauté the onions, green pepper and garlic until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms are soft. Add the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with the salt, pepper, Tabasco and olives, then serve right away.

Sauce 3 – Espagnole Sauce

Please note that these recipes call for the use of butter and “brown stock” aka beef stock. Kosher regulations would not permit this, as we cannot mix dairy and meat together. The alternatives in this case are to either use margarine in place of the butter or to use imitation beef stock, which is pareve, and is not considered to be meat.

espagnole sauceEspagnole Sauce

In cooking, Espagnole sauce is one of Auguste Escoffier’s five mother sauces that are the basis of sauce-making in classic French cooking. These types of sauces were already gathered in different Spanish cooking handbooks of the late 19th century. Escoffier popularized the recipe, which is still followed today. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

½ cup onions, diced
¼ cup carrots, diced
¼ cup celery, diced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups brown stock
2 tablespoons tomato purée
——– For Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat until it becomes frothy. Add the mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery) and sauté for a few minutes until it’s lightly browned. Don’t let it burn, though. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the mirepoix a little bit at a time, until it is fully incorporated and forms a thick paste or roux. Lower the heat and cook the roux for another five minutes or so, until it’s light brown. Don’t let it burn! The roux will have a slightly nutty aroma at this point.

Using a wire whisk, slowly add the stock and tomato purée to the roux, whisking vigorously to make sure it’s free of lumps. Bring to a boil, lower heat, add the sachet and simmer for about 50 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about one-third, stirring frequently to make sure the sauce doesn’t scorch at the bottom of the pan. Use a ladle to skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. Remove the sauce from the heat and retrieve the sachet. For an extra smooth consistency, carefully pour the sauce through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth. Serve hot. If not serving the sauce right away, keep it covered and warm until you’re ready to use it.

Demi-GlaceDemi-Glace Recipe

Demi-glace (pronounced “demi-GLASS”) is a rich and deeply flavorful sauce that is traditionally served with red meats. Demi-glace is made by reducing a mixture of half basic brown sauce and half brown stock. Demi-glace is also the starting point for many so-called “small sauces” that are derived from the espagnole. For more flavor, you can add a sachet d’epices while reducing the demi-glace, but this is strictly optional. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

2 cups brown stock
2 cups brown sauce (espagnole)
——– For Optional Sachet: ——–
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon dried thyme
3-4 fresh parsley stems

Directions:

Combine the brown sauce and the brown stock in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat to a simmer, add the sachet and reduce for about 45 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by half. Remove pan from heat and retrieve the sachet. Carefully pour the demi-glace through a wire mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth.

Bordelaise SauceBordelaise Sauce

Rich and flavorful, it takes just a small drizzle of this bordelaise sauce recipe to perk up a simple, grilled steak or slow-roasted beef. The tangy, savory red wine sauce is also a great accompaniment to roasted potatoes. This recipe will make about 1 ¼ cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

¾ cup dry red wine
2 shallots, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon cold butter or margarine

Directions:

Add the red wine, shallots, thyme, and bay leaf to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce it to half its original volume. Add the beef stock to the pan and bring the mixture to a boil, again. Skim and discard any foam that appears on top of the sauce. Continue cooking the bordelaise until it has thickened enough to coat a spoon. Pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, to taste. Use the sauce immediately or, if you are holding the sauce for later, lightly rub the cold butter across the hot surface of the sauce, to prevent a skin from forming.

Madeira SauceMadeira Sauce

The Madeira Sauce is a classic sauce made by adding Madeira wine to a basic demi-glace. The Madeira sauce is an excellent accompaniment for roasts and steaks. Making this sauce is easy enough — it’s simply a matter of stirring some Madeira wine and butter into a demi-glace. It’s making the demi-glace itself that’s the time-consuming part. This recipe will make about 1 pint of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 pint demi-glace
¼ cup Madeira wine*
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the demi-glace to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes. Stir in the Madeira wine and swirl in the butter. Serve right away.

* If you can’t find kosher Madeira wine, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the ¼ cup called for in this recipe with either 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar or about an equal amount of dry red wine or stock.

Mushroom SauceMushroom Sauce

This classic mushroom sauce can be served with all kinds of roasted or grilled meat dishes, including steaks. It’s made with sautéed mushrooms, shallots and just a splash of sherry, and simmered in a basic demi-glace. This recipe will make about 2 cups of sauce.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
½ cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 tablespoons sherry**
2 cups demi-glace
Lemon juice, to taste

Directions:

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until it’s frothy. Add the mushrooms and shallots and sauté until the mushrooms are soft and the shallots are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the demi-glace, bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 10 minutes. Stir in the sherry, season to taste with lemon juice and serve right away.

** If you can’t find kosher Sherry, or prefer not to use it, you can substitute the 2 tablespoons called for in this recipe with either 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or 2 tablespoons of either orange or pineapple juice.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

Now while I don’t know any Jewish wedding that this amount of soup would fit the bill for, you can feed about 8-10 people with it as a nice starter. Think of it as an Italian chicken soup, but with meatballs instead of matzo balls! Not that the edition of matzo balls would be a bad idea… hmm…

Ingredients:

Meatballs:

1 pound lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ teaspoon salt, or to taste
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Soup:

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
⅓ cup coarsely chopped onion
⅓ cup coarsely chopped carrot
⅓ cup coarsely chopped celery
1 teaspoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 ½ quarts chicken broth
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt to taste
1 cup seashell pasta (or other small-shaped noodle)
2 cups spinach – packed, rinsed* and thinly sliced

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the beef, eggs, bread crumbs, basil, parsley, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined, but do not over mix. Shape the meat into ¾ inch balls, and set aside. In a large stockpot, on medium-high heat, add the oil and sauté the onion, carrot and celery until the onion becomes slightly translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic, and let cook a few minutes more until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add the broth, bay leaf and peppercorns and any salt that is desired, bringing the broth to a boil. You may wish to put the bay leaf and peppercorns in a little cheesecloth bundle, to make for easy removal later, but you can skip this step, and simply fish them out later. Once boiling, slowly drop in the meatballs and pasta. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for about 10 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the meatballs are no longer pink inside. At the last minute add the spinach and wilt it into the soup. Serve hot with crusty bread and enjoy!

* click here to check out how to clean spinach properly.

Moroccan Spicy Lentil Soup

Spicy Lentil Soup

The recipe for this soup was passed around the office with rave reviews! It was originally published in the Toronto Star many moons ago, but has since become a staple in many of the houses of my co-workers. When they heard I was doing a Moroccan Week, it became a no brainer that I include this recipe! I hope you all enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions minced
1 clove garlic minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 cinnamon stick, about 2-3 inches in length
1 cup dried red lentils
5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
796ml can diced tomatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
540ml can chick peas, rinsed and drained
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:

In a large pot, heat oil over a medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring every 3-5 minutes, until the onion has softened, but has not browned. Stir in the paprika, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Stir in the lentils, and mix until they are well coated. Stir in 5 cups of stock, tomatoes, salt, pepper and the bay leaf. Raise the heat to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Add the remaining cup of stock and stir in the chickpeas, parsley and lemon juice. Simmer uncovered for a minute or so. Discard the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Adjust the flavour as desired, adding more salt, pepper or lemon, then serve hot. Enjoy!

Psarosoupa Avgolemono (Egg-Lemon Fish Soup)

Lemon-Egg Fish Soup

Ingredients:

10 cups water
3 lbs. firm fish, cut into big chunks
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
8 New potatoes or 2 regular, coarsely chopped
½ cup white rice or orzo
3 large eggs
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt and Pepper
Lemon wedges, to serve

Directions:

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Carefully, add the fish, bay leaf, thyme, oregano and olive oil. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is tender. Remove the fish from the broth and set aside. Raise the heat slightly to medium-high, and add the vegetables to the stock. Simmer for 15-20, or until tender. Discard the bay leaf, and then remove about a third of the vegetables from the broth, and puree the vegetables, along with a little broth, in a blender or food processor. This pureeing step is optional, as you can just leave all of the vegetables whole. If you pureed the vegetables, add them back into the pot, and then bring the broth to a boil. Add the rice/pasta, and cook, partly covered, over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and lemon juice until foamy and slowly add about 1 cup of the warm broth, a bit at a time, to heat the eggs. Pour the egg-lemon mixture into the pot, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens slightly and turns yellow. Return the fish pieces to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with lemon wedges. This soup will serve about 8 people and is great with crusty bread and butter.

Small beans – רוביא—לוביא

Small beans in Hebrew is רוביא or לוביא and is related to the words, רב—many, and לב—heart. So we eat these symbolic beans and ask the following request:

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה’ אֱלֹהינוּ וֵאלֵֹהי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, שֶׁיִּרְבּוּ זָכִיּוֹתֵינוּ וּתְלַבְּבֵנוּ

May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that our merits shall increase and that You hearten us.

So to be heart healthy this year, here are two recipes involving beans that you can serve up to your guests!

Texas Caviar

Texas Caviar

Ingredients:

½ red onion, finely diced
½ green bell pepper, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch green onions, diced*
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered or 2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 15oz. can corn niblets, drained
1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar
¼ teaspoons garlic powder
½ bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)*

Directions:

In a very large bowl, mix together the coriander, vinegar, oil, sugar and garlic powder. Once combined, add all of the vegetables and beans to the dressing, mixing well to make sure everything is coated. Be sure to mix well, but lightly so that you don’t crush the beans. If using cilantro, chop it finely and toss in with the salad. Let the salad sit in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavours meld. Take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before serving so that it is not ice cold. *See the produce cleaning guide on how to inspect green onions  and cilantro.

 

Black Eyed Peas

Deep Fried Black Eyed Peas

Ingredients:

1 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed
1 onion, cut into large dice
2 bay leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
Canola oil for frying
2 teaspoons of your favourite seasoning blend (I suggest a Creole/Cajun type)
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Place the black-eyed peas into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the peas. Pour in enough water to cover the peas by 3-inches, then stir in the onion, bay leaves, and jalapeno pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the peas are tender but not mushy, 40 to 50 minutes. Add more water if needed to keep the peas covered while cooking. Drain the peas in a colander set in the sink, and spread them onto a baking sheet lined with paper towels or dish towels to drain. Discard bay leaves, and refrigerate the peas until ready to fry.

WARNING: The peas need to be dry before you drop them in the oil. Excess water will cause the oil to splash up and potentially cause a nasty burn!

Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Use a thermometer, or here’s a neat tip: Take a wooden mixing spoon hold it standing up with the handle submerged in the oil and the wood touching the bottom of your saucepan. If bubbles start to rise from the tip of the handle, your oil is ready! If you don’t have a thermometer or a wooden spoon, you can always test a few peas first by dropping them in. They should immediately start to bubble, but not burn. Adjust your temperature as needed. Carefully pour about 1 ½ cups of peas into the hot oil per batch, and fry until crisp, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove the peas, drain on paper towels, and toss the hot peas in a bowl with your seasoning blend and kosher salt. Serve hot.

Slow Cooked Pot Roast

Pot Roast

This recipe will serve 8 to 10 people, depending on how much your guests like their meat! The recipe calls for fresh thyme and parsley. I’ve noted the equivalent in the ingredient list for dried thyme, but for the parsley, it is slightly different. Because you are using half the parsley on the vegetables and half in the gravy, you would need the equivalent of 2 tablespoons dried on the vegetables and 2 tablespoons dried in the gravy. If you wish to use fresh herbs, please refer to the vegetable checking page to learn how to properly clean them.

Ingredients:

One 4-pound beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for coating
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into ½ inch wedges
3 cloves garlic, mashed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
3 cups low-sodium beef/chicken/vegetable broth
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, chopped

Directions:

Sprinkle the roast all over with 2 ½ teaspoons salt and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper. Coat in flour and shake off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the roast to the skillet and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer the roast to the insert of a 6-quart slow cooker, along with the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet over medium heat. Add the tomato paste and stir until the oil begins to turn brick-red, about 1 minute. Add the flour and wine and whisk until thick (it’s OK if there are some lumps). Add the beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, allspice, ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a simmer, whisking, until the gravy is smooth and thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Pour the gravy into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The roast and vegetables should be tender. Remove the roast and let rest for a few minutes. Discard the thyme stems and strain the vegetables, reserving the gravy. Toss the vegetables with half the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Stir the remaining parsley into the gravy and season with salt and pepper. Slice the roast against the grain. Serve the meat and vegetables on a platter, moistening them with some of the gravy; serve the remaining gravy on the side.

If you want to make this ahead of time, follow all the same steps, browning the meat and creating the gravy, but allow them to cool. Slice up your vegetables, and add everything (minus the parsley) to a large gallon sized freezer bag. When you wish to actually cook your roast, let it defrost in your fridge first, then add it the crock pot and follow the remainder of the above instructions. It may take a while for the roast to defrost, even overnight. I suggest having a drip pan underneath it in the fridge so that you don’t have to worry about any errant juices.