(Happy-Go-Lucky Memoirs of a Foodie and her Husband)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Miscellaneous Chicken Dinner

Tonight I decided to concoct a totally random meal employing my fun and much-loved method of "what's around and needs to be used up or is leftover from other recipes?"  Having no idea what to call it, because I am guessing it's pretty unique, we'll just go with: Miscellaneous Chicken Dinner.

This will be a quick and dirty post, listing my steps as pictures, with what I was doing in the photo captions.  It was pretty straightforward and took about a half hour total.  Here we go....

First I minced 4 cloves of garlic, sliced a half of a large onion, and chopped about 6
or 7 dates.  I put it all in a pan with probably a tablespoon of safflower oil,
and some salt and pepper.  Then I started to cook it down over a medium flame.

Next, I tossed in a mostly full container of pre-sliced baby bella mushrooms,
and let it continue to cook down.

Then I took out the veggies, added another half tablespoon or so of oil,
and put in 6 chicken thighs.

I browned the thighs on both sides.

Now comes the wine, which had been sitting around in the fridge for a bit.

As you can see, by now the pan could use some serious deglazing.....

....which I accomplished by bringing the wine to a boil
and scraping the bottom of the pan with a whisk.

Once the pan was deglazed, I put the chicken back in....

....and dumped the previously cooked veggie right on top of the chicken.

Finally, I decided, why not throw in a sliced apple?

I stirred it in and let the whole thing simmer for somewhere around
10-15 minutes, until the chicken was cooked through,
at which point I uncovered the pan and let the sauce thicken a tad.

This is what it looked like all plated up on a bed of white rice.
It was pretty gosh darn yummy, although, I do think I could have used a bit more salt and pepper.  I will probably add that when I eat the leftovers for lunch later this week.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sayonara, February -- Dominican style!

February really kind of sucked for us.  Due to the insane amounts of snow we got (we are currently sitting just 3-4" away from the all-time tally, with February in particular being the snowiest on record ever), we weren't able to attend our weekly potluck dinner for four weeks in a row.  In addition to that, on February 18th, one of our cats died after a very long battle with cancer.  =(

RIP, you big goof.  <3
Fortunately, however, we finished off the month by taking an amazing trip, with awesome people, to the Dominican Republic.  Therefore, today's blog is dedicated to two Dominican specialties that we prepared for tonight's much-anticipated and long-awaited return to the weekly potluck -- Chivo Guisado (a traditional braised goat dish) and Mangú (mashed plantains).  Mangú is usually served as a breakfast food, but I say we can eat it anytime.

The original recipes that we worked from can be found by clicking on the links above, but really, we only strayed slightly from them.  We altered the Chivo Guisado recipe for crock pot cooking due to us not having as much time for meat marinating as we would have liked, plus we had to make one ingredient substitution.  We also doubled everything so there would be enough to go around at dinner.  The Mangú recipe we stuck to exactly, except again, for doubling it up.  Here they are....

Chivo Guisado

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 lbs of cubed goat meat, bone-in
  • The juice of 2 large (or 6 small) sour oranges - we couldn't find these, so thanks to some research at The Cook's Thesaurus, we substituted in 2 large regular oranges plus 2 limes.
  • 4 Tbs of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 bay leaves, cut in half
  • 2 large white onions
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 2 bunches of green onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbs of dried oregano 
  • 4 Tbs of oil
  • 2 Tbs of light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbs of tomato paste
DIRECTIONS:

1.  Chop up the green onions, cilantro and white onions.

2.  Ground the garlic, oregano and salt into a paste-like state (we used the food processor for this, but you can also use a mortar and pestle).

3.  Mix together the citrus juice, green onions, cilantro, white onions, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, oregano/salt/garlic paste plus an extra teaspoon of salt.

4.  Add the goat meat pieces, cover and let it rest for a few hours to overnight.  (We only had about three hours to let this sit, so here is where the recipe will veer into Crock Pot territory for flavor maximization.)

5.  After the meat is marinated, in a heavy skillet, heat up the oil and cook the sugar until it turns a caramel color but not burnt.

6.  Sear the goat pieces, reserving any marinate that falls off in the process.

7.  While you are searing the meat cubes, add the tomato paste to the remaining marinade and stir to combine.

8.  Add the seared meat and the entirety of the marinade/tomato paste mixture to your Crock Pot.  Stir to combine.

9.  Pour in a pint of water, and cook on low for about 6 hours (we let ours cook overnight while we slept).

10.  Remove the meat chunks, then pour everything else left in the Crock Pot (liquid, leftover marinade) back into the same pan you used to sear the meat chunks before.  Bring it to a boil and reduce it down until it starts to look like a paste.

Reducing the sauce - start.

Reducing the sauce -middle.

Reducing the sauce -finished.
 11.  Pour the paste over the meat and stir gently to coat.


Cooked meat chunks - before adding the reduced sauce.
Cooked meat chunks - after stirring in the reduced sauce.
That's it.  It's done.  And it's delicious!!!

Mangú

INGREDIENTS:
  • 8 plantains
  • 1 Tbs Salt
  • 10 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup of room temperature water (this isn't the water for boiling, but for mixing into the mash later)
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced fairly thinly
  • 2 Tbs fruit vinegar (we found Raspberry Wine Vinegar at Wegmans, so that's what we used)
DIRECTIONS:

1.  Cut the plantains lengthwise, remove the seeds, peel, and cut the flesh into chunks.

2.  Boil the plantains in water (with the 1 Tbs of salt added) until they are very tender.

3.  Remove from the water and mash them (we used a regular old potato masher).  Add 8 Tbs of the olive oil and mix.  Then add the 1 cup of room temperature water and keep mashing until it's all a pretty smooth puree.

4.  Move the plantain mash into a serving bowl.

5.  Heat the remaining 2 Tbs of olive oil in a pan.  Add the onions and cook on low-to-medium heat until they become transparent.  Then add the vinegar and a little salt to taste, and cook a few minutes more until the onions absorb the vinegar.

6.  Spoon the cooked onions on top of the plantains in the serving bowl, and you're done!


Ready to eat.
We hope you will enjoy trying out these recipes.  We certainly have loved just the few test tastes we've had so far, and can't wait until potluck tonight to really dig in.  And I'll tell ya -- sleeping all night with those wonderful smells permeating the house was a challenge.  =)