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.

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Sausage & Chicken Jambalaya

Sausage & Chicken JambalayaThis one dish meal is great for a weeknight, and can be made as spicy or mild as you like. You can use any type of sausage that you like, though if using a raw one, I suggest either completely removing it from the casing and cooking it up like ground meat, or cooking it whole with the casing still on, then slicing it up thick and adding it to the pot later. Just be careful when stirring the dish later that if you’ve cut up the sausage that it doesn’t crumble and break up too much! This recipe will makes 6 servings.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
¾ pound sausage, sliced into rounds
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (398ml) can crushed Italian tomatoes
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 ¼ cups uncooked white rice
3 cups chicken broth

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. Season the sausage and chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning. Sauté sausage until browned. Remove with slotted spoon, and set aside. A lot of oil will naturally render when you are cooking the sausage, so you can use this very flavourful oil to now cook the chicken pieces in. If you find that you don’t have enough oil from cooking the sausages, you can always add a bit more oil to the pan. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and sauté them until lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

In the same pot, sauté onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender. Stir in crushed tomatoes, and season with red pepper, black pepper, salt, hot pepper sauce, thyme, basil and oregano. Stir in chicken and sausage. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Serve hot!

Fajita Spice Mix

Fajita SeasoningA fajita is a term found in Tex-Mex cuisine, commonly referring to any grilled meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The term originally referred to the cut of beef used in the dish which is known as skirt steak. Popular meats today also include chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef. In restaurants, the meat is often cooked with onions and bell peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, and tomato. The northern Mexican variant of the dish name is Arrachera.

So I call this a Fajita seasoning mix, but it can be used with tacos, chilies or anything that you want to give a south western flair to. You will notice the addition of two ingredients that may seem a bit out of place. First, there is the cocoa powder; you won’t taste it in the finished product, but the subtle chocolate flavour helps round out the other spices and notes of the blend. The second it the starch. I add this to help thicken, ever so slightly, the sauce/gravy that is created when using this blend, especially in fajitas or tacos. When it comes time to using the blend, other than as a dry rub, I suggest adding 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice (more to taste), 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water. This will give you the slight saucy consistency you want.

This recipe will make about a cup of spice mix.

Ingredients:

¼ cup chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon corn starch/potato starch/flour

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container. Can be kept for one to six months (depending on how airtight your container is).

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.