You can use the bag baby spinach, sold in 5-ounce packages in most supermarkets. If you prefer bunched baby spinach, make sure to wash and dry the leaves well.
- 5 ounces baby spinach (about 6 cups)
- 2 slices bacon (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion , minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Place spinach in large bowl. Fry bacon in small skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel–lined plate, leaving fat in skillet. Return skillet to medium heat and add oil, onion, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar; swirl to incorporate. Pour warm dressing over spinach and toss gently to wilt. Sprinkle bacon over spinach; serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a first course
This recipe requires a 3 1/2- to 4-quart saucepan about 8 inches in diameter. Do not use a large, wide Dutch oven, as it will adversely affect both the layering of the dish and the final cooking times. Begin simmering the spices in the water prior to preparing the remaining ingredients; the more time the spices have to infuse the water (up to half an hour), the more flavor they will give to the rice. Biryani is traditionally served with a cooling yogurt sauce; ideally, you should make it before starting the biryani to allow the flavors in the sauce to meld.
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
- 2 tablespoons mint, minced
- 10 cardamom pods, preferably green, smashed with chef’s knife
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into 1/2 inch thick coins and smashed with chef’s knife
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 3 quarts water
- table salt
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 lbs), trimmed of excess skin and fat and patted dry with paper towels
- ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium onions, sliced thin (about 4 cups)
- 2 medium jalapeños, one seeded and both chopped fine
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 1 1/4 cups basmati rice
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crumbled
- 1/4 cup dried currants or raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- Wrap cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, ginger, and cumin seed in a small piece of cheesecloth and secure with kitchen twine. In 3 1/2 to 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan about 8 inches in diameter, bring water, spice bundle, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to boil over medium-high heat; reduce to medium and simmer, partially covered, until spices have infused water, at least 15 minutes (but not longer than 30 minutes).
- Meanwhile, season both sides of chicken thighs with salt and pepper and set aside. Heat butter in 12-inch nonstick skilet over medium-high heat until foaming subsides; add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and dark brown about edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer onion mixture to bowl, season lightly with salt, and set aside. Wipe out skillet with paper towels, return heat to medium-high, and place chicken thighs skin-side down in skillet; cook, without moving chicken, until well browned, about five minutes. Flip chicked and brown second side, 4 to 5 minutes longer; transfer chicken to plate and remove and discard skin. Tent with foil to keep warm.
- If necessary, return spice-infused water to boil over high heat; stir in rice and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain rice through fine-mesh strainer, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid; discard spice bundle. Transfer rice to medium bowl; stir in saffron and currants (rice will turn splotchy yellow). Spread half of rice evenly in bottom of now-empty saucepan using rubber spatula. Scatter half of onion mixture over rice, then place chicken thighs, skinned-side up, on top of onions; add any accumulated chicken juices. Evenly sprinkle with cilantro and mint, scatter remaining onions over herbs, then cover with remaining rice; pour reserved cooking liquid evenly over rice.
- Cover saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes (if large amount of steam is escaping from pot, reduce heat to low). Run heatproof rubber spatula around inside the rim of saucepan to loosen any affixed rice; usind large serving spoon, spoon biryani into individual bowls, scooping from bottom of pot and serving 1 chicken thigh per person. Hit with Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 cups water ( or stock if you cooked your own chicken, shrimp, etc…)
- 1 pound boneless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch chunks (rotisserie chicken works good)
- 1 teaspoon Tony’s, Joe’s Stuff, or equivalent. .. (cajun seasoning mix: cayenne, paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, thyme)
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1 tablespoon filé powder (ground sassafras)
- Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat. Stirring slowly and constantly for 30 to 40 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate. Get a beer or two, because this takes forever, but it’s well worth the patience.
- Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water 1 cup at a time, stirring in between. Stir until the roux mixture and water are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
- Season the chicken with the Tony’s and add to the pot. Simmer for 2 hours.
- Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, green onions, and file powder.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve in deep bowls.
Yield: 4 servings
NOTE: If you want to replace the chicken for seafood, make the roux a little less dark, more of a caramel color.
NOTE: 2 cans cannellini beans can be substituted for the below preparation.
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 lb white navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 quarts water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 thin pork chops, cut in half (4-5 oz each)
- 1 lb smoked sausage (andouille, kilbasaa) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb roasted duck or chicken meat, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon Rustic Rub or(Joe’s, etc.)
- 3/4 cup dried fine bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tsp Rustic Rub
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Preparation For Beans
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over high heat and sauté the onions and celery for 3 to 4 minutes, or until slightly wildted. Add the beans, salt, cayenne, water, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the beans are tender and most of the water is absorbed, about 2 hours. If beans are prepared ahead of time, refrigerate until ready to use.
Preparation For Meat
- Combine the flour and oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly and slowly, make a medium-brown roux, the color of peanut butter. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, carrot, salt, and cayenne. Cook, stirring constantly, 3-4 minutes or until slightly wilted.
- Lay pork chops on top of roux and vegetable mixture and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Add the sausage and cook for 2 more minutes, turning several times. Add the broth and stir until the roux and broth are combined and the mixture thickens. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Bring to a boil.
- Season the duck/chicken pieces with the rub. Add the fowl and the cooked beans to the vegetable and meat mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450℉. Make the gratin.
Preparation for Gratin
- Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, rub, and olive oil in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
- When the bean and meat mixture is cooked, spoon the gratin mixture evenly over the top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Serve immediately
4 poblano chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 tomatillos, shelled and halved
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large potatoes, diced into cubes
1 carrot, chopped
3 large cloves garlic
2 cups whole hominy, canned or cooked
2 cups white corn kernels
1 qt chk or veg stock
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp whole cumin seed, roasted and ground
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp mexican oregano
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup cilantro, chopped
2 roma tomatoes
- Cook chicken in skillet w/ olive oil, salt, pepper, dash cumin, etc. Set aside to cool, then shred with hands.
- Place poblanos and tomatillos in broiler until skin blisters. Let poblanos sweat in closed container. Set tomatillos aside to cool. Remove poblano skins. In blender, place poblanos, tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic, 3/4 cup cilantro, 1 cup stock, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Puree and set aside.
- In big pot, heat olive oil to med high. Add onion, celery, bay leaf and sautee for 5 min. Add remaining stock and the puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 more minutes. Add potatoes, carrots, corn, hominy and red bell pepper and cook another 20 minutes. All ingredients should be tender. Don’t over cook. Stir in milk and butter and cook 5 more minutes. Add chicken. Garnish with tomato and cilantro.