Monthly Archives: January 2012

Lentil Dal

Matthew:  In addition to making stews, I like to make lentil dishes in the winter.  One of my favorites is Lentil Dal, an Indian dish seasoned with cumin, chili powder, turmeric, and curry powder.  The spiciness of the lentils is nicely complemented with yogurt and cilantro.  I would recommend turning on your stove exhaust fan before you add the spices to the hot oil.  I waited until they had been in the oil for a bit and my apartment was engulfed in a haze of spice that stuck around for several days.  It was worth it for how good the lentils were.

Advertisements

Chicken Parmesan Pockets

Katie:  I’ve thought about making calzones, but have been intimidated by the amount of prep work required just to prepare the pizza dough.  So when I spotted this recipe for Chicken Parmesan Wraps from Can You Stay for Dinner?, I was excited at the possibility of a quicker version of calzones.  Rather than using homemade or even store-bought pizza dough, Andie used egg roll wrappers.  Great idea!

I prepared the pockets as written, except I cooked the chicken breasts in a panini grill.  I made a few adjustments to the marinara sauce, including adding balsamic vinegar, which really enhanced the flavor.  The sauce took a little while to simmer, but otherwise these were pretty simple to prepare.  The pockets were crispy and tasted great with the flavorful marinara sauce.  These would probably be great with other fillings too, like mushrooms or ricotta cheese.  Now I just need to decide what to make with the leftover egg roll wrappers!

Chicken Parmesan Pockets (slightly adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?)

makes 6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 6 egg roll wrappers (each 7 inches squared)
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Sauce:

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add one tablespoon olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and saute, stirred frequently, for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned.  Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the onion and garlic from burning.

Add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining sauce ingredients (Italian herbs through balsamic vinegar), stir, and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Lower the heat to the lowest setting, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the bottom does not burn.

Chicken Parmesan Pockets:

Cook the chicken in a panini press or pan until lightly brown and thoroughly cooked.  Let cool, and then shred with two forks (or your fingers), pulling against the grain of the meat.  Mix the shredded chicken with one cup of the marinara sauce in a small bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Cover a cooking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay the egg roll wrappers on a clean work surface.  Layer each with a few leaves of spinach, then the chicken mixture, and top with the cheeses.

Lightly brush two adjacent sides of the wrapper with water and fold the upper left corner downward, covering the filling and forming a triangle, and press to seal on the bottom right corner. Press to seal each of the sides. Repeat with remaining wraps.

Place all 6 filled wraps on the baking sheet without touching each other, brush lightly with the remaining tablespoon olive oil, and bake for about 12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

Peanut Stew

Matthew:  After the great beef stew, it was time to try something a little different.  Erika recommended this recipe for Inner Warmth Peanut Stew, from Matt Moyer, executive chef at The Great Dane.  The list of ingredients might seem a little strange–butternut squash, tomatoes, peanut butter, garlic, and ginger–but the combination really tastes good.  I was a little hesitant to add 1/2 cup of ginger, but I went for it.  I really enjoyed this stew.  It made quite a bit and I ended up freezing half of it, but after I finished the first half I thawed the other half to eat right away.  I highly recommend this recipe if you are tired of the more traditional winter soups and stews, but still want something warm and filling.  Two small changes I made were to use chunky peanut butter and to add some cinnamon.

Irish Beef Stew

Matthew:  Even though the weather has been unusually warm, I’ve been busy making lots of winter foods, especially stews.  I love making stews because everything goes in one pot and once you get them simmering, you are practically done.  I found this recipe for Irish beef stew and the result was very good.  It uses Guinness and red wine, making it extra flavorful.  I found some nice grass-fed organic beef and beef stock concentrate at the co-op to use in the stew.  The end result was delicious and I could have eaten it every day for weeks.  I’ll have to make some more soon!