Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Trip to Morocco

As I'm sure you've noticed by now, we like food from other countries. One of our new favorites is Moroccan food. I found this recipe on Rachael Ray's site and it was so good. I highly recommend making the yummy couscous to go with it.

Moroccan Spiced Lamb or Chicken

2 pounds boneless leg of lamb or chicken, diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper
flour for dredging
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 red chili peppers seeded and chopped (I think I just used bell peppers)
2 onions chopped (I just did one)
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp orange or lemon zest with juice of said fruit

Sprinkle the meat with the cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and pepper then dredge in the flour. Heat the oil in a pan and when it starts to smoke, add the meat and brown all over. Remove it to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat a bit and add a bit more oil, chili peppers, onions and bay leaves. Cook 6-7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, stock, zest and juice. Once the liquid comes to a boil, add the meat back in. Reduce heat and thicken it a little.

I love it when web sites give you what to serve something with. Sure we could have gone with plain couscous but there was a link to this one right on the other recipe. What's a girl to do?

Pistachio, Garlic and Mint Couscous

1/3 cup shelled pistachios
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups couscous
salt and pepper
1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed

Toast the nuts in a saucepan suitable for rice. Remove to a food processor and finely chop (or just a cutting board and chop well). Add the oil and garlic to the pot and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the stock and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pulse-chop (or use that handy cutting board and knife again) the mint in a food processor very fine. Stir the mint and nuts into the couscous as you fluff with a fork.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Orange Chicken

I was perusing Pioneer Woman for dinner recipes one day and jumped over to another food website that she recommended. The recipes there were totally amazing. I printed off two recipes, this orange chicken and a brushetta chicken. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of it or how I got there, so going back and getting more recipes is difficult. (I'm currently searching for a chile relleno recipe.) If anyone knows or finds out what website I got this off of, let me know.

This orange chicken is as good as or maybe better than Panda Express.

Orange Chicken

Serves 4

2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about a lb., but you could do more, there's lots of sauce.)
1/4 c. cornstarch
salt and pepper
1 c. orange juice
1 c. water
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
3 strips orange zest--1" wide by 2" tall (or the equivalent in small ones that you're likely to get.)
1/2 c. lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 whole dried red chilies, broken in half (I used a few shakes of red pepper flakes.)
2 Tbsp cornstarch, for the slurry
2 Tbsp. water, for the slurry

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat about an inch of vegetable or canola oil to about 375F. Heat the oven to 250F.
In a large zip top bag combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add the chicken chunks and seal the bag. Toss to coat completely. (As an alternate method, I salted and peppered the chicken, and tossed it in a bowl with the cornstarch.)
Add the coated chicken to the hot oil in two or three batches. Cook until lightly golden and the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160F. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Hold the chicken in the oven. (You could skip the oven and just warm up the chicken in the sauce right before you serve it, or make the sauce first, then the chicken and put it in warm.)
In a sauce pan, combine the water, orange, lime and lemon juices, vinegar, orange zest, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and dry chilies. Stir to combine. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce reduce by 1/3.
In a small bowl, prepare the slurry by combining the cornstarch and water until smooth. Pour the mixture into the sauce and whisk until the sauce thickens. Take the sauce off the heat. Take out the orange zest. Stir in the chicken pieces.

I was thinking that you could also just saute the chicken and skip the frying. Also, don't leave out the orange zest. I'm pretty sure that's the difference between just okay orange chicken and really great orange chicken.

The recipe also has instructions for fried rice, but I haven't tried it yet. Some people in my house refuse to eat any rice that isn't white and covered in soy sauce. Let me know if you want me to post it.