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Chili-stuffed Peppers

Chili-stuffed Peppers

Chili-stuffed Peppers

This is a really simple approach to chili that works with a variety of spices that you might have on-hand (as long as that includes chili powder!):

  1. Place a pound of seasoned 80/20 ground beef in a cold saucepan
  2. Put the saucepan on the stove at medium heat
  3. Allow the beef to cook, stirring every few minutes, until the water from the meat has evaporated
  4. Cook for a few more minutes to brown the meat, stirring a bit more regularly to avoid burning
  5. Add 1/2c of tomato sauce and 1/2c of water, reduce heat to a simmer (you could do 1c of tomato sauce, or water and tomato paste)
  6. Add a first round of spices, I used something like: 1t garlic powder, 1t smoked paprika, 1T chili powder, 1/2t clove powder
  7. Simmer for 30m, then add another round of spices. I used 1t smoked paprika, 1T chili powder, 1T cumin. You can also add a bit of lime juice or vinegar.
  8. Simmer for another 30-60m or so, adjusting liquid as necessary, until the beef is nice and tender and the desired thickness is achieved
  9. Do a final adjustment for spices and seasoning
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Chicken Curry (in a pinch)

Habanero chicken curry

Habanero chicken curry

Since I’m not in my main kitchen, I often find myself keeping fewer ingredients on hand. So when I have a couple key ingredients and an idea for a dish, I typically have to make some compromises with the rest. For this curry dish, I used frozen chicken breasts instead of something tasty like thighs, standard supermarket curry powder, and no cream or coconut milk. Not ideal, but it was quite tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts (thawed)
  • 1/3 head of cauliflower
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1-2 habanero peppers
  • 2-3t of curry powder
  • 1-2t chili powder
  • 2t cumin
  • 2t olive oil
  • 2T butter
  • 2-3t flour

Steps:

  1. Dice the onion and cook in a large pan on medium heat with olive oil and salt until translucent
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, finely diced habaneros, and spices, continue to cook
  3. In a separate pot, steam the cauliflower until almost fork-tender
  4. Add butter to the onions and tomatoes
  5. When the butter is melted, add the flour and continue to cook for a couple of minutes
  6. Cut the chicken breasts into even cubes
  7. Add the chicken, salt
  8. Adjust for liquid level: the chicken will release liquid while it’s cooking, but if the pan is too dry you can add a tablespoon or so of water at a time
  9. When the chicken is cooked and the desired thickness is reached, mix in the cauliflower and some chopped cilantro
  10. Taste and adjust for salt before serving

Braised Chicken with Cracklings

Braised Chicken and Cracklings

Braised Chicken and Cracklings

Braising is an easy way to get wonderfully tender chicken, but what about crispy skin? The braising liquid will prevent the skin from getting crispy in the oven, but luckily we can achieve it by adding one more step to the cooking process.

All that’s needed for this recipe is a whole chicken, a couple of sprigs each of rosemary and thyme, salt, pepper, and a braising vessel (I used a roasting pan covered with heavy-duty aluminum foil).

  1. Remove everything from the cavity (neck, liver, &c.)
  2. Salt and pepper the cavity generously
  3. Place the whole sprigs of herbs directly in the cavity
  4. Place the chicken in the braising vessel with 1/2c of water (the chicken will release some water as well)
  5. Cover and cook in a 350F oven for 20-25m/lb (2h for a 5lb chicken)
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven and collect the skin — it should come off easily
  7. Cover the chicken and allow it to rest while the cracklings are made:
  8. Chop the skin into small pieces
  9. Cook in a skillet at medium to medium-low heat for 20-30m until the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy. Rendering will take some time, so be patient and don’t allow the skin to brown too much early on. You can add a bit of oil or water at the beginning to get things started.

We don’t season the outside of the chicken like we normally would because the cracklings will be reduced in size quite a bit when we render them and we don’t want to over-salt — they can be seasoned while they are being made.

The cooking time is a bit more flexible for braising, so this is a good recipe if you don’t have a meat thermometer handy.

fries_supreme

Fries Supreme

Baked sweet potato fries, seasoned lentils, nutritional yeast, fresh salsa

Oats

I don’t often eat during the day, and this is a snack that I would make in the evening, but I was hungry this morning so here it is in traditional breakfast format:

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  • 1/2c steel-cut oats (Alberta-grown, organic)
  • 1/4c frozen raspberries (added when the oats were a few minutes away from being done)
  • 1/2tsp organic fair-trade cocoa powder (not enough! more next time)
  • 1 banana