Sunday, 24 June 2007

Chicken Stuffed Capsicum

NAME: _Chicken Stuffed Capsicum

About three meaty chicken frames from making stock (see notes 1)
500ml strong chicken stock. (From the above, perhaps...)
half teaspoon turmeric
half teaspoon powdered fennel or assafoetida
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 small brown onion
1 clove garlic
1 parsnip
5 large red capsicums (or 4 large red capsicums and 1 large sweet chilli)
1 tablespoon of olive oil

I'll assume you've recently made chicken stock and have the frames reserved and about 200g - 300g of meat on them, otherwise you need to find around 200g - 300g of chicken meat and simmer it tender in about 500ml of the chicken stock. If you have the frames, pick the meat off and then dispose of the bones. Try and avoid sloppy bits and skin or fat, stick with lean meat. Pieces should be fairly small, nothing thicker than 0.5cm or longer than about 4cm, shred or cut if necessary.

Cut the onion into thin crescent wedges and place with oil into frypan and start heating. When onion starts going glassy add meat and the garlic clove (minced) and a bit of salt (about half a teaspoon) and fry over medium heat for up to ten minutes, when things should start to colour slightly. At this stage add the rice, the one red capsicum (or sweet chilli) trimmed seeded and cut into 1cm squares, add the turmeric and fennel, let all fry for another few minutes, stirring all the while, then add 1 - 2 cups of chicken stock. (Use the stock you poached the chicken in if you did that.) Bring to boil then reduce to a very slow simmer and leave for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally or use a simmer spacer to keep rice from burning. Use less to begin and add stock/water if the rice is not tender after 30 minutes.

Peel and grate the parsnip quite finely, add to the mixture, stir through, and remove from heat. Rice should have absorbed all liquid, if not simmer a bit longer.

Prepare capsicums by removing tops (which you trim to quite thin and retain) and scooping out, then either placing in oven at medium heat for 30 minutes or microwaving for 3 - 10 minutes to soften. You can do this while the stuffing mixture is simmering, save time.

Alternative: Cut capsicums in half lengthways and scoop out, trim the inside of the stalk end to quite thin, proceed as above.

When stuffing mixture has cooled enough to handle, fill each capsicum to the brim, place in a baking tray covered with foil or a lid and bake at medium heat (around 170) for an hour. If you cut the tops off, replace them before serving.

Serve as a full meal with something like steamed buttered garden vegetables and some nice sweet pickled gherkins or similar, or else as part of a larger meal. There are four meal sized capsicums if you just top them and eight side dish sized halves if you did the lengthways thing... Just sayin'...

Also - a few drops of some chilli such as harissa or Tabasco on top of each serving is delicious. Depends on tastes though.

1: I generally find a butcher that has chicken frames with a bit of meat still left on, and generally trim the thin stomach/chest wall skin away, then pick the best and most solid remnants of meat from around breast and thigh and neck. If your butcher leaves nothing on the frames then the bones aren't going to make much flavour either. One last thing, if your butcher's chickens are slow grown (i.e. free range and organic) then they will give a much better flavour.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Not noted, as this dish can vary considerably depending on the meat.
FATS:____ CARBS:____ FIBRE:____
Remember, Active ingredients are an approximate "average per meal" allowance for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Chimichurri - something different

NAME: _Chimichurri

1.5 cups Spanish olive oil
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1.5 cups finely chopped fresh parsley
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 shallots, minced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
(please note alternative to above chopping in method, see below)
Salt to taste
pepper to taste

Method 1
Mix ingredients very well into oil, season with salt and pepper, and use immediately. For this to work you need to really chop ingredients very fine, also see Notes for some tips and hints.

Method 2
I tend to rough chop the ingredients, pour the oil and lime juice in a blender, then add ingredients a bit at a time while whizzing it all up. The flavours are way better, it's easier, and shoot me, I'm lazy...

Marinate meat in this for any time between 2 and 48 hours, the longer you leave it the better it penetrates, then grill fry bake roast the meat as you normally would. Chimichurri is excellent on beef, and not bad on pork lamb or poultry either.

If you're going to marinate for a long time do store it in a covered container in the refrigerator. Also, a plastic bag makes a good marinating container, but don't trust it - still put the whole lot on a deep plate in case the plastic develops a hole, and cover with plastic wrap.

Cut about a kilo of flank steak across the grain into three pieces, place them in a flat dish and pour half of the chimichurri over it. Turn to coat; cover and marinate in the refrigerator. Let the steak come to room temperature before grilling, seasoned with salt and pepper. Grill one side until browned, turn, and grill the other side. About 4 to 5 minutes per side makes a medium rare, adjust times to suit. Let the meat sit for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing it across the grain again into thinner slices, and serve with a bit more chimichurri as a dip sauce. You can also do this on the BBQ, in which case I'd part boil a few potatoes, cut in half and brush with olive oil and put them on the BBQ at the same time as the steak, by the time the steak is done the potatoes should be too.

Ribs South America
I've also marinated a belt of beef ribs, cut it in half and placed on a roasting tray covered with aluminium foil and baked for an hour followed by basting with a bit more chimichurri and then roasting uncovered until it looks appetisingly browned, and served with white rice and some cooked greens.

Firstly, adding 1/4 cup of water makes the mixture mix and blend more easily, and also allows it to cover the meat better.

Secondly, if you refrigerate the chimichurri for a day it allows the flavours to blend better and infuse into the oil, also the olive oil will set a little and that makes it easier to cover the meat in marinade.

Thirdly, once having marinated the meat you need to control the flavour by the time you let it marinate. Two hours is good, 48 is very strong. If roasting the meet though, it is better to have the marinade on for longer as the browning process will convert a lot of the strong flavours to milder ones.

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: No ingredients list because this is just decadent...

Monday, 4 June 2007

Sauer"roo"laden - Australia meets Austria

NAME: _ ROOladen (kangaroo roulades in tomato/celery casserole)

500g kangaroo, preferably in one piece.
dozen or so tiny pickles
dozen or so olives black or green, no stone
two garlic cloves peeled
one small brown onion
one large potato
150g celery tips
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
several tabelspoonfuls of olive oil
double ended toothpicks

Slice the meat into 1/2cm thick slices with a sharp knife. Partially freezing meat allows this to be easily done. Each slice needs to be about 6cm - 10cm by 4cm - 6cm. Use the dimpled side of a meat tenderising mallet to further flatten the slices out.

Slice the pickles in half lenghtways, ditto the olives, and cut the garlic cloves into thin slivers about juliennne thickness. The best pickles are the ones you get at Continental delikatessen and are about 2cm - 4cm long and about the thickness of a pencil or smaller. They have a tart taste and crisp texture. If you use larger gherkins cut and sliver them to a similar size as above.

Roll meat roulades with a piece of pickle, piece of olive, and piece of garlic. Secure at each end with half a toothpick. Aim to get about 15 - 30 roulades from your piece of meat. Don't worry if you have pickles olives and garlic left over - in fact the aim is to have about a dessertspoon of each left over.

Put the olive oil in the frypan and when it is hot enough to sizzle the meat, place the roulades into the oil and reduce the heat to about half. Allow to slowly reduce away the liquid from the meat and then increase heat again.

In the meanwhile, finely (very finely!) dice the onion, the left over garlic olive and pickle slivers, then remove the browned roulades from the pan and set aside to drain, drain away most of the excess oil in the pan (carefully) and then brown the diced mix for about five minutes or so. Peel and dice the potato into 1cm cubes, set aside.

Allow the fried herbs to cool, and using whatever you like, blend to a puree. Return to the pan, add a tablespoon of tomato paste, the chicken stock, and the potato cubes. Salt to taste, pepper if you like it. Allow to simmer over very low heat for about 30 - 45 minutes.

Place the roulades in the bottom of a glass or ceramic baking dish, pour the potatoes and sauce over, place the lid on the baking dish casserols style, and allow to cook in a 180 degree oven for around another hour or until the potatoes are "fall apart" tender.

Serve as is or with additional pasta or bread or small spaetzle dumplings. Should serve four people as a main.

Okay okay you can do this with beef but kangaroo is almost zero cholesterol zero fat guiltless meat, very healthy for you.

FATS:__1__ CARBS:__1__ FIBRE:__0.5__
Remember, Active ingredients are approximate average per meal allowances for an average person, when served in the serving sizes suggested and are very rough guides only.


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