Archive for cook

Wild Rice & Chicken Soup

Posted in Cooking, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe, soup with tags , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by helenphillips
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From this.... (the raw condition)

Wild Rice (which is actually a grass) grows in abundance in Minnesota, so it is unsurprising that it is a favourite in local cuisine. I had my first taste several years ago when we first visited the Twin Cities as part relocation decision making process. We spent a day being taken around various residences by a Real Estate agent so that we could consider where we would like to be living, and importantly, what we needed to budget for. At lunch time, we were taken to Lucia’s in Uptown. Lucia’s is a small restaurant that changes it’s menu weekly in tune with seasonal produce. On this particular day I did not feel like a large lunch, and fortunately for me the Soup of the Day was Wild Rice Soup. Just delicious.

So, when we moved here, wild rice was one of the first store cupboard items I bought, but it’s taken me longer than planned to do anything with it. My husband likes to have soup to take to work for lunch, so I like to keep a stock of various flavours in the freezer – roasted tomato, lentil & tomato, chicken & sweetcorn.   The soup I had at Lucia’s was a creamy one, but here I have left out the cream. It makes a lovely chunky soup, so if you are feeling virtuous you can always omit the side of bread and still feel satisfied. This makes 2 portions suitable for lunch or even an evening meal appetizer.

  • 1/4 cup uncooked wild rice – this gives just under 2 cups when cooked
  • 1 chicken thigh, diced
  • 1 small onion (or large shallot) sliced
  • 5 mushroom – chopped into small pieces
  • 0.5L chicken stock
  • Seasoning

There are 2 ways you can go about this – cook the wild rice ahead, or bung it all in together. I went for the former, because having never cooked wild rice before, I didn’t really know exactly how much it would expand by. You need to use 4 x the amount of water, so in this case 1 cup. Slightly salt, bring to the boil and simmer for around 50 minutes until the rice is cooked and water is absorbed.

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...to this.... (cooked rice)

Using a non-stick pan, I cooked the chicken pieces over a medium heat until sealed. Next I added the onions, and cooked for a few minutes, before adding in the mushrooms. Once the vegetables were soft, I added seasoning, and then the stock. I briefly raised the temperature to bring the soup to the boil, and then reduced to a simmer before adding in the cooked rice. I left it simmering for about 20 minutes, before decanting into pots ready for my husband to pack away for his lunch.

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...to lunch (wild rice soup)

 

Getting your 5-a-Day!

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2010 by helenphillips

Today was a day of a few missed photo opportunities. This morning, I braved the chill to return to work after a 2 week break. Not fun. After scraping the ice of the car, I finally pulled off. And then stopped. I had noticed the temperature on the dashboard display. Minus 6.5 °C. I can imagine in some other countries you will scoff at this, but it’s the coldest reading I have ever seen here. I whipped out the camera, only to get the frustrating ‘change the batteries’ message. I suspect the poor little thing was objecting to the cold. The drive to work was atmospheric, with the area around work submerged in a good old-fashioned pea-souper. This cleared through the day, and blue skies emerged.  Then at around 4.15, I noticed a glow in the reflection of the building opposite. It seemed that a beautiful sunset was developing behind us. Of course, I still didn’t have any batteries, so did my best to ignore it.  The weather predicts 2 more weeks of the ‘deep freeze’, so I’m not too disappointed. I’m sure I’ll get another chance soon!

My own obsession is to take a Photo A Day, but no-one can have failed to notice the general obsession to eat 5 portions of fruit & veg each day. In fact, some advice now has been modified to 7 portions a day. Generally I don’t do 2 badly at this – today’s count consists of a banana, rocket salad with cherry tomatoes, 2 satsumas, 1 strawberry yoghurt, and tonight’s dinner, which was Tagliatelle al Ragu, aka Spag Bol.  If I had children who didn’t eat veg, then this dish is perfect for ‘stealth vegetables’. As it is, I don’t have children, let alone fussy ones, but enjoy using vegetables to bulk out the meat sauce. My recipe has evolved over the years – it’s still based on the recipe I used as a student, but now I get more vegetables use. My version uses mushrooms, red pepper and aubergines, as well as onion, garlic and tinned tomatoes. This is basically what I do, giving around 4 good portions.

  • 250g minced beef
  • 100g diced pancetta
  • 1 onion (white or red), diced
  • 1/2 large aubergine, diced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (a good glug, probably around a tablespoon)
  • Red or White Wine (again, a good glug! Maybe 3 or 4 tablespoons….)
  • 400g tinned tomatoes (preferably chopped)
  • Herbs & Seasoning

Dry fry the minced beef and pancetta in a non-stick pan until the beef is browned. Drain into a bowl through a colander to remove the fat.

Use the same pan to sauté the onion and aubergine for a couple of minutes, then add in the sliced pepper and sliced mushrooms.  Add the chopped or crushed garlic. Stir well, and cook for another few minutes until the vegetables start to soften. Stir in the tomato purée to coat the vegetables, then add in the L&P sauce, and then the wine (de-glaze the pan if necessary).  Bung in the meat, add the tinned tomatoes, refill the tin half-way with water to rinse, and then add to the pan. Bring to the boil, and use any seasoning or preferred herb (generally I use salt, pepper & basil).

Serve with Pasta of your choice – I prefer Tagliatelle or Penne – and top with grated Parmasan.

January 4th 2009 - Tagliatelle al Ragu

Chorizo, Chickpea and Potato Stew

Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Home Cooked Food, recipe with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2008 by helenphillips


This is a delicious dish, full of flavour, easy to prepare, and a firm favourite on a certain forum I use. We really don’t eat enough beans and pulses in our household, so this is a good way to include chickpeas.
This recipe should make enough 2, with some left over for lunch or to freeze (unless you’re really hungry!)

Potatoes – around 200g – any type suitable for boiling
1 small red onion
Chorizo sausage (chunks are better than the thin sliced stuff you can get, the one I used was 225g)
1 tsp paprika
1 tbspn red-wine vinegar
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas (400g)
Olive Oil

Peel and cube a handful of potatoes. Boil until they start to soften.
Chop the red onion, and sautee in a little oil until soft, and then add the chunks of chorizo, cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Add the chunks of potatoes, cook for another 2 minutes.
Sprinkle on the paprika, then add the vinegar, tomatoes and (drained) chickpeas.
Cover and simmer for around 10 minutes to allow the potatoes to finish cooking, and to allow the flavours to develop.