Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Slow Cooker Kielbasa, Potato and Sauerkraut Stew

     With the arrival of a new baby, I quickly realized time was going to be at a premium.  With a hungry new member of the house, we would likely be spending the first couple of weeks overwhelmed with parenting. I took advantage of a couple free hours to drag out the slow cookers and prep a few meals to carry us through the busy time. This take on sausage and kraut was one of them. The addition of a cream soup gave it a nice stew consistency. It was super easy, filling and tasty. I will certainly add this one to the rotation. As always, notes are in blue.

Slow Cooker Kielbasa, Potato
and Sauerkraut Stew

  • 2 kielbasa (about 1 pound)
  • 3 potatoes, cut into about 1" cubes
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) cream of celery soup
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) water
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard (Gulden's is always my go-to)
  • 1 pound prepared sauerkraut (we used from a jar. You can use canned or bagged or even make it from scratch if you're feeling particularly productive)
  1. Load all ingredients into a slow cooker. Stir to incorporate water and soup.
  2. Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or until potatoes are tender. 
Good times!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

     You can't ever go wrong with a nice bowl of gumbo. Unless, of course, you don't like okra, then you're screwed. Okra seems to be the main factor in people not eating gumbo. Problem solved. I found a recipe that doesn't use gumbo. Some of the purists might say that it's not real gumbo then. Those people are totally entitled to their opinions. I'm also totally entitled to ignore the shit out of them and carry on with my day. This recipe was a winner all the way. Granted, I changed it up a bit. It had plenty of flavor and enough heat to keep things interesting. Serve it over rice along side a few ice-cold beers and you're in business. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
via The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American

  • 1 pound sausage, browned (we used mild Italian sausage, though just about any sausage will do. Just make sure it's loose and not in the casing)
  • 1/2 cup peanut oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • 1 chicken, about 3 pounds, cut up (we used bone-in chicken breasts. Keep reading to see how we did it)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green sweet bell pepper, cored and chopped (since The Wife doesn't much like green peppers, we used a sweet red bell pepper)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2-1/2 quarts chicken stock (omitted. You'll see why)
  • 2 whole bay leaves (just remember: unattended bay leaves equal death)
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning (omitted)
  • pinch of ground cloves (omitted)
  • pinch of ground allspice (omitted)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 quarts Cajun-style tomatoes with liquid. (We can these ourselves. Basically you can make them with 2 quarts of canned, stewed tomatoes, then add 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning of your choice and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
  1. Brown the sausage in a frying pan (we used the enameled cast iron Dutch oven for the whole thing) with a small bit of the oil. Remove sausage and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the chicken until brown. Remove and set aside (we totally went off-book for this step. I boiled the bone-in chicken until cooked, then stripped the meat off the bone and set it aside. I kept the liquid to freeze as chicken stock for later use.)
  3. Add the flour to the pan and cook with the oil and pan drippings until you have a dark, rich roux, about the color of peanut butter. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to make sure nothing is sticking. Add the vegetables and garlic and saute until limp (the vegetables, not you. If you're limp, add Viagra)
  4. Place the vegetable roux in a 6-quart stockpot (if you're following my suggestions, you've already got it in a large Dutch oven, so you're good) and add the stock (or if you're doing it my way, here's where you put in your 2 quarts of Cajun tomatoes and liquid).
  5. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until the stock thickens (this didn't take but a couple of minutes for me). Add any other seasonings and simmer, covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Add the chicken and sausage to the stockpot and cook until the chicken is tender (I'm going to be honest and admit to throwing the meat in back during Step 4. No harm done)
  7. Serve over cooked rice.
Good times!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Curry Orange Chicken

     This here is a bit of a conundrum. I made this recipe a few weeks back. I started to write it up and never finishes. Now, for the life of me, I can't remember where I got the original recipe from! If anybody recognizes the original, please let me know and I will certainly give credit where credit is due. As for the actual recipe, I recall enjoying this immensely. Give it a try and see what you think. It's no Panda Express, but  I think you'll enjoy it. As always, notes and changes are in blue.

Orange Curry Chicken
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander (omitted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (omitted)
  • 2 tablespoons Hot Yellow Curry Powder from The Spice House
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I was a little heavy-handed here and used about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (we substituted reduced sodium soy sauce since I didn't fancy blowing up like a water balloon)
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (easy trick. Put them on a plate and microwave for a minute. Then give them 30 second bursts until toasty. If they catch fire, you left them in too long)
  • Slurry of 2 tablespoons corn starch and 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Bag of frozen broccoli, defrosted
  1. In a bowl, combine the coriander, cayenne, and some salt and pepper (I used the hot curry powder since it contains all of those as well as turmeric, coriander, ginger, white and black pepper, cinnamon, fenugreek, fennel, nutmeg, arrowroot and cloves!) Season the chicken with the mixture.  Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat with the vegetable oil. Add the chicken and cook it on each side for 5 to 6 minutes, or until cooked through (I decided to cube the chicken before I cooked it. I wanted more of a take-out feel that I wouldn't have gotten with whole breasts)
  2. While the chicken is cooking, zest the oranges and reserve the zest. Remove the peel and pith with a paring knife. Slice each orange into 1/4 inch thick discs and reserve (I just cut the orange sections into about 1/4 inch chunks.
  3. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add the ginger garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes, then add the chicken stock and tamari (or low-sodium soy)  and turn the heat to high. Cook until the liquid reduces by half. Add the reserved orange zest, orange pieces and scallions. Continue to cook for 1 minute to heat the orange and scallions (in a fit of laziness, I threw all everything from this step as well as the defrosted broccoli in right off the bat. I wasn't excited about big hunks of orange and wanted them to break down in cooking)
  4. Add the sesame oil and sesame seeds.
  5. If you're doing it as originally intended, serve whole chicken breasts over spicy noodles and top with sauce.
    If you're doing it my way: add the chicken and corn starch slurry and stir to fully mix. Turn the heat down and simmer until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.
Good times!