Archive | Frozen Overs RSS feed for this section

Chicken in a Pot! (Poule au Pot Henri IV)

21 Oct

This recipe is from my favorite restaurant in Paris, which is “très sympa et on y mange bien” (very pleasant/nice and one eats well there).  This was the recommendation of the owners of an apartment I rented in the 1er, between the Louvre and Les Halles.  I will be in Paris in about 2 weeks, but I don’t think I’ll get to go there for a meal, unfortunately.  I don’t write French well at all, so if I made any mistakes, I apologize in advance.  I wanted to include the metric measurements since I had them and I’m sort of paraphrasing the original recipe at the same time because the ingredients were in a bizarre order.

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED:  Covered dutch oven, cheesecloth, kitchen twine

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 pound chicken (1 belle poule de 2 kg environ), cleaned and rinsed
  • 1 pork belly (1 demi poitrine du porc, demi-sel) – see my note below.
  • 1/2 pound ground veal (250 g de veau haché)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork (250 g de porc haché)
  • 1 egg yolk (1 jaune d’oeuf)
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, washed and minced (1 bouquet de persil, préalablement lavé et haché) – but the parsley bunches are bigger in the US, so I think 1/2 is fine
  • 2 large onions, 1 of which will be minced, the other peeled with 2 whole cloves stuck in it (2 gros oignons, dont 1 ciselé et l’autre piqué avec 2 clous de girofle)
  • 2# carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces (1 kg de carrottes)
  • 2# turnips, peeled and cut into large pieces (1 kg de navets)
  • 2 large leeks, cleaned and chopped into large pieces (2 gros poireaux)
  • 1 stalk of celery, rough chopped (1 branche de céleris) – I am confused as to whether this indicated a single stalk or an entire bunch.  I went with stalk.
  • 2# potatoes (1 kg pommes de terre)
  • 1 branch each of rosemary and fresh thyme (romarin et thym, laurier)
  • salt and pepper
  • mustard and cornichons, for serving (and please don’t skip these, as they really add to the flavor of the meal!)

Note:  It may be difficult for the American cook to find pork belly, especially the lightly-salted version that the French like to cook with.  Basically, it’s bacon – but I would not use American-style bacon as a substitute here.  If you can find fresh, unsalted pork belly at a butcher, you can soak it in brine for about 1 hour to make it ‘demi-sel’ (lightly salted).  If you cannot find it, I recommend using a small portion of pancetta (1/4 pound or so) and soak it in water while the chicken is cooking to remove much of the salt.  Chop it and add it.  It’s the closest thing you are likely to find to poitrine or lardons and don’t skip this as it adds a lot of flavor to the finished product!

Put the chicken in a large, covered pot, and fill about 3/4 with cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and let cook about 2 hours, skimming fat frequently.

Soak the pancetta if you are not using pork belly.

Meanwhile, combine pork, veal, minced onion, chopped parsley, egg yolk, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Mix well.  Note you should mince the onion very finely to make it easier to cut later – these onion pieces are too big!

Place on pieces of cheesecloth, roll up and secure with twine at ends and one or two place in the middle to secure the cheesecloth (making fresh pork/veal sausages).  Set aside.

After the chicken has cooked, add the vegetables EXCEPT the potatoes, the cheesecloth-cased sausages, the pork belly/pancetta, the rosemary and thyme.  Cook another 1 hour. Remove the meats and allow them to cool slightly.  Meanwhile, add the potatoes and let them cook another 20-30 minutes.

Remove the meat from the chicken and add back to the pot.  Slice the sausages and add back to the pot.  Slice the pork belly and add it back in as well.

Serve it steaming hot with a little pot of Dijon mustard and some cornichons.  Really.  Don’t skip the mustard, please!

This recipe makes enough for pretty much everyone you’ve ever met to have some.  Eat some now and freeze some for later – it’s such a yummy, flavorful chicken soup for a cold, rainy evening!

Frozen Overs – Curry

16 Oct

This started out as a strange Southern-style curry dish that involved ketchup.  I learned it while working at Susannah’s Gourmet Pantry in Jacksonville, Florida.  This recipe is my own take on that one that I made more times than I can count.  It’s definitely nothing like authentic curry, but it’s good comfort food and it’s something my husband often reaches for in the freezer when sent down to ‘pull something out’.  He loves it especially with roasted cauliflower, chick peas and green peas, which is how I have been making it lately.

Ingredients (makes enough for 5 square GladWare trays 8″ x 8″ plus fillings:

  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 stick butter (I said this was a Southern thing, didn’t I?)
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 5 T. curry powder (I used Penzey’s Maharajah)
  • 2 T. cumin
  • 1 T. crushed ginger
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 quart (4 c.) vegetable stock
  • 1/2 gallon of milk
  • salt to taste

If using chicken, you will use 8-10 breasts for this much sauce.  For cauliflower and chickpeas, use 1 head cauliflower, roasted and 1 can of chickpeas, drained.

Saute onion in butter.  Add dry ingredients and cook for several minutes, stirring constantly.  Add tomato paste and then slowly add vegetable broth and milk to make a smooth but thin sauce.  Cook until thickened, at least 15 minutes at simmering temperature, stirring frequently.

(The red bits in the sauce are saffron.)

While it is cooking, roast the cauliflower at 400F in the oven.  I toss it in some olive oil and Creole seasoning first.  DO NOT roast cauliflower in GladWare.  Use a sheet pan.  This is what it looks like after it has been cooked and portioned into the GladWare.

Portion the cauliflower and chick peas into freezer pans.  You can also freeze this sauce by itself or add some chopped cooked chicken.  It’s nice to freeze it by itself so you can add leftover bits and bobs to it on a busy night.  I use zip lock bags, stack them in a pan until they are frozen and then move the frozen flat bags to a freezer shelf.

Portion the sauce over each pan.

Or just toss it together if you are going to serve it right away.  Mr. U. really likes green peas in this.  I don’t freeze them in the sauce because then they’ll get lost and possibly lose color.  I add them, frozen, when I reheat the sauce and it makes for a very pretty dish.

My cousin’s husband said this sounded good but wondered if you could add different things to it instead, like instead of the cauliflower and chick peas!

Serve with a fun group of condiments if you like.  This is how we served it at Susannah’s, but with a good curry powder and the right add-ins, I don’t find I need the condiments any more.  It is fun to serve it with the condiments, though, and I even got my picky brother-in-law to eat it that way.  Pictured are:  cilantro, scallion, peanuts, dates, raisins, chutney and toasted coconut.

Frozen Overs – Moussaka

11 Jun

I know that Moussaka is supposed to be made with lamb and with Myzithra cheese, but I don’t cook with lamb much and I always have Parmesan cheese on hand, which works well enough as a substitute.  This recipe has way too many ingredients.  If I figure out how to fix that I’ll let you know.

Eggplant:

  • 4 pounds eggplant, cut into one inch cubes
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 450F.  Spray two large baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray.  Toss eggplant with oil and salt.  Distribute evenly over baking sheets and roast about 40 minutes until browned and cooked.  Set aside.

Meat Sauce:

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Cook beef in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up, until it is cooked through.  Drain well, reserving 2T of drippings.

Put drippings in the pan, add onion and cook until softened.  Add garlic and cinnamon and cook another minute or so.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to simmer and cook over low heat until filling has thickened and is no longer very wet, about 25 minutes.  Add additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Sauce:

  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. whole milk
  • 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch nutmeg

Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.  Add milk gradually.  Cook over low heat, simmering slightly, until sauce thickens and floury taste has disappeared.  Remove from heat, whisk in cheese and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Assembly:

I use 8×8 Glad OvenWare pans for this dish.  As you will see from the picture, I usually triple this recipe for freezer storage.  Place eggplant in the bottom of 2 pans, spread meat sauce over top and top with cream sauce.  Cover each with plastic wrap and put the lid on the top.  Freeze.

To serve, defrost overnight in refrigerator or in the microwave on 50% power for 15 minutes.  Heat in oven at 350F on a cookie sheet (if using OvenWare pans) for about 20-25 minutes until top is slightly browned and bubbly.

Frozen Overs – Eggplant Parmesan

31 May

My husband loves eggplant.  His mother used to make some sort of eggplant sandwich filling when he was a kid and he’s always loved it.  So I make a lot of eggplant parmesan, moussaka, and ratatouille for us, all of which freezes beautifully.  If you tell my husband to ‘just go pick something easy out of the freezer’, it’s almost always the eggplant Parmesan or moussaka that finds its way to the kitchen.  I always roast or grill the eggplant to avoid using a lot of oil and I never peel the eggplant. It’s not haute cuisine, but my husband loves it, so it works for a busy weeknight.

I buy square Glad OvenWare pans to store my Frozen Overs and I usually make up four pans at a time.  I only buy eggplant when the price is reasonable (should be under $1.50 each).  Late last summer, eggplant was $5.00 each and I just had to be patient and wait for the price to come down.  If I can spare the time to do a LOT of work, I can get a really good case price at Daisy Mae’s Market, my local produce company.  Be warned that a case of eggplant is a LOT of eggplant, so you need to be prepared to cook it all within a few days.  I also buy prepared marinara/pasta sauce when it is on sale and stock it for later use.  I have a special cabinet in the basement that’s just for these buy-ahead things like marinara and canned tomatoes. 

Eggplant Parmesan (makes four 8×8 OvenWare pans), each pan makes 4 servings

  • 5-6 medium eggplants, rinsed and sliced into 1/2″ thick steaks
  • 1 1/2 – 2 large jars marinara sauce
  • Shredded Mozzarella
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Cajun seasoning (if desired – this will add salt, but I do like the red pepper kick it gives this simple dish)If you are making this as a vegetarian dish, please check a list of cheeses for vegetarians. This is a permanent link in my blogroll to the right now. Cheeses made with rennet are not appropriate for vegetarians, but there are soy substitutes and also some brands making Parmesan (albeit not Parmagiano Reggiano) that give a similar flavor without the rennet.

To griddle:  Heat a large cast-iron griddle.  Spray the eggplant ‘steaks’ with olive oil spray (or lightly brush with olive oil), sprinkle with seasoning and grill until brown on the outside and semi-soft on the inside.

To roast:  Preheat oven to 450F.  Spray a baking pan with pan spray.  Place the eggplant in individual slices on the tray and brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.  Roast until browned and the inside is semi-soft.

While the eggplant is cooking, spoon a bit of sauce, just to coat, in the bottom of each OvenWare pan.  Put a single layer of eggplant on the top.  Top with more sauce and cheeses.  Continue cooking eggplant steaks and layering pans until each pan has about 3 layers of eggplant.  Finish with cheese on top.

To cook it – defrost on 50% power in the microwave for 15 minutes, then bake at 350 F on a cookie sheet until bubbly and browned.  The plastic pan requires a cookie sheet underneath.  If you used another type of casserole dish, you can skip the cookie sheet.  Alternatively, you should defrost this for at least 36 hours in the refrigerator before baking.

In our two-person household, a pan of Frozen Overs will make Loved Overs, but they are truly loved, and they don’t last long.

Frozen Overs – Smoky Almond Mole (with Chicken or Without)

27 May

This rich, flavorful recipe originated from Cooking Light (you can find the original recipe for Smokey Turkey Almond Mole at myrecipes.com).  I have adjusted it in several ways.  First, I use dried ancho chilies in place of the anaheim.  This is primarily because I stock ancho chilies in my pantry anyway, but there are some other good reasons I like them.  Anchos are a bit sweeter and typically a bit hotter than anaheim chilies.  Anaheims can range between 500-2,500 Scoville units, whereas anchos tend to stay reliably between 1,000 and 2,000, so I know what I’m getting.  Because I use a sweeter pepper and because I’m not much of a fan of adding sugar to things, I significantly reduce the sugar content in the recipe as well.  The first time I made this, I felt it was too sweet and not hot enough.  At the time, my brother-in-law was living with us and he liked it that way.  (Rude comment about brother-in-law’s palate deleted.)

A note on the heat level:  this dish is warm, not hot.  The chilies are so rich and flavorful that when you take a bite of this, you keep waiting for the afterburn and it never comes.  The heat you feel when you first taste it is exactly what you get.  It doesn’t sneak up on you.  If you are worried about the heat, leave out the chipotle pepper entirely.  Once you have completely finished the dish, you can add a bit of pureed chipotle or even just a little bit of the adobo sauce from the can, to suit your palate.

Finally, I never bother making something like this in a small batch.  If I have to pull out the food processor and make even a small mess, I’m going to make sure I have a full pot of sauce going and I will freeze some for another use.  Typically, I freeze some of this without any additions for use as a marinade/slop for grilling meats, or to offer as a condiment with any kind of Southwest meal.  The rest of it gets some poached chicken breast before it goes to the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz sliced almonds, roasted in the oven and processed in a food processor fitted with the knife blade until smooth.  Don’t bother cleaning the food processor, we’re going to use it again.
  • 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 6 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded.  The Cooking Light recipe says to chop them, but you’re going to puree them in a few minutes, so don’t bother chopping them.
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.  The Cooking Light recipe says a can, but then in the instructions says ‘use 1/2’.
  • 4 1/2 cups of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes.  A big can + a  small can.
  • 1 tsp sugar.  Per my quantities, the Cooking Light recipe would tell you to add 3 Tablespoons.  I say – start with a bit and add just a bit more to taste after you puree if you think you need it.
  • 1/2 T (1 1/2 tsp) ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces.  Most grocery store tortillas are made with vegetable shortening, but double-check if you are planning to serve this as a vegetarian/vegan meal.
  • 42 oz unsalted vegetable broth or stock
  • 3 T. white wine vinegar
  • Optional: about 4 pounds (2 kg) of poached, chopped or shredded chicken breast or cooked, chopped turkey breast (or about 6 cups of cooked vegetables and beans) if you are planning to freeze this as a main dish.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add chiles and saute until softened.  Add onion and garlic and saute 4 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. 

Add the remaining ingredients except almonds and vinegar and optional additional ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer approximately 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture into the food processor and process in batches.  Return the puree to the pot, add the almonds and vinegar and simmer until slightly thickened.  Adjust to taste with salt, pepper (and sugar, if needed).

At this point, you can pack it up for the freezer.  If adding chicken, I allow this to cool to room temperature before packing.  I almost always save a bit of the sauce out before adding chicken so that I can use this yummy sauce for another purpose.  I have not tried this as a vegetarian meal, but I am anxious to do so.  I will probably add cooked black beans and an assortment of vegetables instead of the chicken.  I expect that would work beautifully.

Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.  To reheat (if chicken or vegetables have been added), put it in a big pot with a little bit water (you can also do this while it is still frozen) and cook it over medium until it is hot.  While it is heating, I cook some rice and make a big salad to go with.

Note on Chipotle Peppers in Adobo SauceThese, smoky, wonderful peppers can be found in the Hispanic foods section of your local grocery store in little bitty cans.  They are hot (Scoville scale:  3,000 to 10,000), so go easy on them.  Because they are so hot, the issue of what to do with the rest of them comes up.  I can’t bear to waste the rest of the can.  I spoon them out, with a bit of their sauce, onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet (don’t use foil) and pop the tray in the freezer for a few hours.  When they are hard, I put them into a freezer bag and put them back in the freezer.  Then when I need one, I have one.

Husband’s Note on Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce:  No reason to leave these little beauties cooling their heels in the freezer waiting for some recipe to call for them.  Add them, chopped up, to scrambled eggs or omelettes, to canned soup, to macaroni and cheese, to chilis and other dishes like the one above, which clearly do not have enough heat to satisfy.

Reduced Quantities of This Version:

 

  • 2 oz sliced almonds, roasted in the oven and processed in a food processor fitted with the knife blade until smooth.  Don’t bother cleaning the food processor, we’re going to use it again.
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded.  The Cooking Light recipe says to chop them, but you’re going to puree them in a few minutes, so don’t bother chopping them.
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 ea. chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.  Use more for hotter, but it’s easier to add it later than take it out once it’s in. 
  • 1 1/2 cups of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. (14 1/2 oz can).
  • 1/4 tsp sugar.  Drastically reduced from original recipe.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces.
  • One 14 1/2 oz can unsalted vegetable broth or stock, or scant 2 cups if you have your own
  • 1 T. white wine vinegar
  • Optional: about 1 1/4 pounds (.75 kg) of poached, chopped or shredded chicken breast or cooked, chopped turkey breast (or about 2 cups of cooked vegetables and beans) if you are planning to freeze this as a main dish.
%d bloggers like this: