Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chicken Sofrito with 25 Cloves of Garlic and...My Favorite Yotam Ottolenghi Recipes

Sometimes simple cooking is best.  You know the recipes I'm talking about.  Plain old black and white pages.  No color photos.  Just a handful of ingredients.  Nothing flashy whatsoever. Just everyday common ingredients that are classic and comforting.  

For weeks Ottolenghi's Chicken Sofrito called to me from it's rather boring black and white pages. The promise of this quote kept going through my mind,  "This chicken sofrito requires slow cooking the meat in a pot on the stove top for a long time, in it's own juices, resulting in a very tender texture with a very distinguishably comforting flavor." 

If the description of tender meat cooked in it's own juices didn't win me over than the idea of adding 25 glorious cloves of garlic surely did.  Believe me when I tell you that this recipe didn't disappoint.  It was fabulous.  These few simple ingredients cooked slow over the stovetop combine to make one sexy little dish.  The chicken is fall apart tender, the potatoes are caramelized in the most heavenly way, and the entire dish is laced with the intoxicating flavor of roasted garlic.  It is simply mouthwatering.  We picked the entire chicken clean, leaving only the bones behind.  

Chicken Sofrito
Adapted from Jerusalem
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 4

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small chicken, about 3-1/4 pounds, butterflied
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2-1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
canola oil, for frying
1-2/3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, washed, and cut into 3/4" dice
25 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
salt and pepper to taste

Pour the oil into a large shallow pan (I prefer cast iron) or Dutch oven and put over medium heat.  Place the chicken flat in the pan, skin side down, and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Season all over with the paprika, turmeric, sugar, scant 1/4 teaspoon salt, a good grind of black pepper, and 1-1/2 tablespoons of the lemon juice.  Turn the chicken over so that the skin faces up, add the onion to the pan, and cover with a lid.  Decrease the heat to low and cook for a total of about 1-1/2 hours; this includes the time the chicken is cooked with the potatoes.  Lift the lid every now and then to check the amount of liquid in the bottom of the pan.  The idea is for the chicken to cook and steam in its own juices, but you may need to add a little bit of boiling water, just so that there is always 1/4 inch/5mm of liquid at the bottom of the pan.

After the chicken has been cooking for about 30 minutes, pour canola oil into a medium saucepan to a depth of 1-1/4 inches and place over medium high heat.  Fry the potatoes and garlic together in a few batches over medium-high heat. Fry the potatoes and garlic together in a few batches for about 6 minutes per batch, until they take on some color and crisp up.  Use a slotted spoon to lift each batch away form the oil and onto paper towels, then sprinkle with salt.

After the chicken has been cooking for 1 hour, lift it from the pan and spoon in the fried potatoes and garlic, stirring them with the cooking juices,  Return the chicken to the pan, placing it on top of the potatoes for the remainder of the cooking time, that is, 30 minutes.  The chicken should be falling off the bone and the potatoes should be soaked in the cooking liquid and completely soft.  Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice when serving.

Over at I Heart Cooking Clubs we are saying goodbye to Chef Yotam OttolenghiOh Ottolenghi, I love you so!  I Heart Cooking Clubs has been around for four years now and Yotam Ottolenghi has easily been my favorite chef to cook with.  I love the unique style of his recipes, the crazy flavor combinations, all the components in his recipes, and the way he plays with texture combinations.  I love his dedication to vegetables.  Goodness knows, that man does very sexy things with vegetables.  I also love the stories and history behind his recipes.  I see myself cooking his recipes for years to come and would encourage you to do the same.  He will definitely help you to open up your cooking repertoire and expand your knowledge base.  

There are so many more Ottolenghi recipes I want to try, all in time I suppose!


(If you click on the recipe name you will be directed to my original post and recipe)

As far as I'm concerned, Ottolenghi's Hummus Kwarma (Hummus with Sauteed Lamb, Lemon Sauce, and Buttered and Toasted Pine Nuts) is pretty much the best thing you could ever put in your mouth!  I think I could eat it every single day of my life and not get tired of it! If hummus is your thing you need this in your life!

Another top favorite were these super flavorful and very satisfying Fava Bean Burgers.  Even the meat lovers in my house loved these!  Do yourself a favor and seek out canned fava beans.  They have a wonderful flavor and are different than any other bean out there.

Ottolenghi's Falafel on pita bread with his Spiced Chickpea & Veggie Salad was mouthwatering and delicious.  If you're in the mood for a kitchen project I definitely recommend it!

Of course, this Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie is out of this world delicious too!  Not only is it brimming with my favorite green veggie, it is also packed with blue cheese, and a lip smackin' mustard sauce.  Throw all that on some puff pastry and you will make your mouth very happy.

If you're looking to make a stunning loaf of bread and/or you need a good host/hostess gift then please consider Ottolenghi's Cheese, Garlic, Veggie and Herb Bread.  Customize it as you wish.  You simply can't go wrong.

These Mini Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Creamy Sumac Sauce are pretty much a dream come true.  These are pretty much tender, juicy, flavorful bite-sized nuggets of happiness.

I've been thinking about Ottolenghi's recipe for Marinated Buffalo Mozzarella with Tomato ever since the day I first made it.  If you still have fresh tomatoes in your garden then you should make this now!  This was a fun twist on a classic.  I can't seem to get it out of my mind!

If you are a salad fan, please consider trying Ottolenghi's Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds.  This was an extremely popular recipe during our six months with Ottolenghi and I'm pretty sure everyone raved about it!  There are several different components in this salad and they all go together perfectly.  If you can't locate fresh dates then sub out dried cherries or cranberries. 

This recipe for Crispy Couscous with Tomato and Shallots was really fun.  Essentially it's a very flavorful couscous cake.  I see this being a great side dish to practically everything.  We pretty much inhaled it!

These Sweet Potato Cakes were the very first Ottolenghi recipe I tried.  I made them six months ago and I'm still thinking about them. Crispy exterior, creamy interior, tangy sauce, great flavor.  Do yourself a favor and give them a try this fall/winter.

And, last but certainly not least, was this gorgeously caramelized Surprise Tatin.  I can sum this one up in three words: puff pastry, potatoes, and cheese.

Theme: Oh Ottolenghi!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree

This dish seems all high maintenance and complicated.  It's really not.  It's just a matter of putting together three easy components for one incredible end result.  This Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree is one of the most pleasantly surprising dishes I've ever made.  I was expecting it to be good.  I just wasn't expecting it to be so darn good!

Every component in this dish compliments the other perfectly.  The lemon brodetto is the epitome of bright fresh flavor, the pea puree is incredibly smooth and velveety, and the salmon brings it all together with it's rich meaty texture and satisfying flavor.  The presentation looks gorgeous and fancy and you will feel rather proud presenting the final dish. Your first bite will be all dainty and polite.  Then all bets are off.  We pretty much inhaled this.

Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree
Adapted from Giada's Kitchen
by Giada De Laurentiis
Serves 4

Lemon Brodetto:
 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, diced
2 lemons, one zested and both juiced
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

Pea Puree:
2 cups frozen peas, thawed (about 10 ounces)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil
4 (4-6 ounce salmon filets) 
salt and pepper to taste

To make the lemon brodetto: Warm the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute until tender, about 7 minutes.  Add the lemon zest and juice, and the broth.  Bring to a simmer, cover and keep warm over low heat. 

To make the pea puree: Combine the peas, mint, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor and puree.  With the machine running, add the extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle.  Transfer the pea puree to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan.  Set aside.

To make the salmon: Warm the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat.  Season the salmon pieces with salt and pepper to taste.  Sear the salmon on one side until a golden crust forms, 4 - 5 minutes.  Flip the fish and continue cooking until medium-rare, about 2 minutes more depending on the thickness of the fish.

To assemble the dish: Stir the tablespoon of chopped mint into the lemon brodetto and divide among 4 shallow bowls.  Place a large spoonful of pea puree in the center of each bowl.  Place a salmon piece atop each mound of pea puree and serve immediately.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Mayo

Please don't think of these as regular everyday sweet potato fries.  They are so much more than that!  These sweet potato wedges are mixed with a very lively combination of coriander (lots of it) and red chile pepper.  All that spicy flavor makes for a very savory and mouthwatering crust on the sweet potato wedges.  These wedges are delicious all on their own, but they pair very well with this bright and fresh lemongrass mayo.  I thought these wedges were very satisfying and comforting without weighing you down.  I'm absolutely addicted to them and can't wait to make them again!

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Mayo
Adapted from Plenty
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 4

3 medium sweet potatoes  (about 2 pounds)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh red chile, finely diced

 Lemongrass Mayo

1/2 lemongrass stalk
1/2 cup mayo
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Wash the sweet potatoes but don't peel them. Cut each lengthways in half.  Cut again lengthways into quarters and then once more in the same way so you are left with eight long wedges.

Place them on a roasting pan that has been lined with parchment paper and brushed lightly with some of the oil.  (Note: I didn't use the parchment paper and my wedges stuck slightly.  I worry that the parchment would impede the browning/caramelizing process so I would fore-go it next time as well. Toss the wedges with the remaining oil and sprinkle with a mixture of the ground coriander, finely diced red chile, and salt.  Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

To make the dipping sauce:
Very finely chop the lemongrass or grind finely in a spice grinder.  (Note: I found a jar of sliced lemongrass in the Asian section of my supermarket.) Whisk with all of the other ingredients for the dipping sauce and set aside. When ready to serve, place the wedges on a large, flat serving dish. Serve with the sauce on the side.
Theme: You Made Me Love You!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie

You know those recipes that feel like they were written specifically for you?  This Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie is one of those recipes for me.  This pie is packed with everything I crave on a regular basis: flaky buttery pastry, loads of broccoli, robust Gorgonzola cheese, and a luscious creamy mustard sauce.  My friend, Michelle of Ms. enPlace, shared this pie last week and I've craved it ever since. It's total heaven!

Funny enough, I put off making this pie for two reasons. The biggest reason being that no one else in the house cares for broccoli, mustard, or blue cheese.  

Translation: Mom will have to eat the entire pie herself! 
 Danger: Mom will eat the entire pie herself!

Secondly, I'm a complete novice when it comes to puff pastry. 

 Confession: Pastry dough is my least favorite task in the kitchen.

However, last week I had the pleasure of using puff pastry for the very first time and would you believe it....I actually enjoyed it! I always figured puff pastry would be difficult to work with, but it is as simple as opening the package, thawing out the dough, and rolling/shaping it to the desired size.  There's simply nothing to it!  The puff pastry doesn't fall apart or tear and it's not even difficult to transfer or move around. I can honestly say I don't mind working with puff pastry at all.  In fact, I look forward to the next time!

As for this pie....I did end up eating it all by myself.  Every single delicious bite.  It was worth every single calorie.

Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie
Adapted from Plenty
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 6

One sheet of puff pastry
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup chopped scallions
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
1 egg, beaten

Note: I did make quite a few changes to this pie to lighten it up.  The original recipe calls for two sheets of puff pastry and a whole lot more cheese, which I'm sure is quite delicious.  That recipe can be found here

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Roll out the puff pastry until it is 1/8" thick and large enough to line a 10-inch loose bottomed tart pan.  Line the tart pan with the puff pastry and trim off the excess pastry (reserve excess pastry to decorate the top of the pie).  Place tart pan (with the puff pastry inside of it) in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill.  

Remove the tart pan from the freezer.  Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill it with baking beans.  Bake blind for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light brown.  Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven to bake for about 5 minutes, or until the bottom of the shell is golden  Leave to cool down.

While the tart shell is baking, prepare the filling.  I steamed my broccoli, but you can cook the broccoli florets in a large pan of boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until tender but still firm.  Drain in a colander, rinse well with cold water and leave to dry. 

Melt the butter in a pan and fry the shallots on gentle heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft but not colored.  Add the cream, water, scallions, mustard, salt and some black pepper.  Cook over low heat until mixture thickens and then remove from heat.  

To assemble, spread the shallot mixture over the bottom of the pastry case.  Scatter the broccoli on top and gently press into the shallot mix.  Dot with Gorgonzola.  Decorate the top of the pie with the remaining pieces of puff pastry.  Feel free to cut out shapes or strips.  I just cut my leftover pastry into squares and the placed the squares on top. 

If you wish, glaze the decorative puff pastry with a little beaten egg and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.  Allow to cool a little before removing from the pan.

Theme: New To Me!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Surprise Tatin

I chose to make this Surprise Tatin because it represents my week perfectly. My week was full of surprises.  Injuries on bicycles, rashes, stuffed noses and sore throats, spilled milk, lost permission slips, last minute school projects, broken air conditioners, and broken bones.  It was just one surprise after another.

It seemed very fitting to make Ottolenghi's Surprise Tatin.  After all, you wouldn't expect potatoes to be the star of a tatin, would you? 

This is really a carb lover's type of dish.  Caramelized onions, oven-roasted tomatoes, sliced new potatoes, and slices of goat cheese get layered into a cake pan with a layer of puff pastry on top.  As the tatin bakes it becomes very caramelized.  The real magic happens when you invert the tatin onto a serving plate and reveal the dark caramel color.  This is a very comforting and savory tartin and calls for a crisp green salad on the side.  It's definitely perfect for those days when you just need the comfort of carbs!

Surprise Tatin
Adapted from Plenty
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Serves 4

1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling tomatoes
salt and black pepper
1 lb new potatoes (skin on)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon butter
3 oregano springs
5 ounces aged goat cheese, sliced
1 puff pastry sheet, rolled thinly

Preheat the oven to 275F.  Halve the tomatoes and place them skin-side down on a baking sheet.  Drizzle over some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven to dry for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 25 minutes.  Drain and let cool.  Trim off a bit of the top and bottom of each potato, then cut into 1-inch tick disks.

Saute the onion with the oil and some salt for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once you've prepared all the vegetables, brush a 9-inch cake pan with oil and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.  In a small pan cook the sugar and butter on a high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, to get a semi-dark caramel.  Pour the caramel evenly over the bottom.  Pick the oregano leaves, tear and scatter on the caramel.

Lay the potato slices close together, cut-side down, on the bottom of the pan.  Gently press onion and tomatoes into the gaps and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Spread the slices of goat cheese evenly over the potatoes.  Cut a puff pastry disc that is 1 inch larger in diameter than the pan.  Lay the pastry lid over the tart filling and gently tuck the edges down around the potatoes inside the pan.  (At this stage you can chill the tart for up to 24 hours).

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Bake the tart for 25 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350F and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is thoroughly cooked.  Remove from the oven and let settle for 2 minutes only.  Hold an inverted plate firmly on top of the pan and carefully but briskly turn them over together, then lift off the pan.  Serve the tart hot or warm.  


Theme: Pies & Tarts