Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gulyasleves (Hungarian Goulash)


Gulyasleves
(Hungarian Goulash)
makes 6 servings
(Hungary)

Just as there are  as many recipes for "Italian Gravy", tomato sauce to you non-Italians, so are there as many recipes for Goulash as there are Austro-Hungarian families.  This is a recipe I derived from combining the "best" of several "genuine" family Goulash recipes.  The secret to this or any other Goulash (or any stew recipe for that matter) is to cook the stew slow and low for a very long time  until the beef is "fall apart" tender.

Ingredients

2 pound  beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon. salt
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons lard or shortening
3 tablespoons imported sweet paprika (use real Hungarian paprika for the best flavour)
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 quart of  beef broth
4 peeled and diced potatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

dumpling batter:

1 egg
6 tablespoon  flour
1/8 teaspoon of Kosher or sea salt 

Preparation

1.  In a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat sautĂ© the chopped onions in the shortening until they browned.  Add the cubed beef sprinkling it  with 1/2  teaspoon of salt and continue cooking the beef until it  browns and is nicely caramelized.  Sprinkle the caramelized beef with the paprika and flour, stir.

2.  Stir in the 2 cans of tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste,  the bay leaves, the black  pepper, and the red wine vinegar.  Reduce the heat to produce a slow simmer. Let beef simmer, uncovered  for 1 hour.

3.  Add the beef broth, the diced potatoes and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and simmer until potatoes are done and meat is tender. Prepare egg dumpling batter as follows:

4.  Mix together the  flour,  the  egg (unbeaten), and salt.  Let the batter stand for 1/2 hour

5.  Drop the batter, by the teaspoonful, into Goulash. After the  dumplings rise to surface, cover the pot and simmer 5 minutes until the dumplings are fully cooked.  Serve hot accompanied by sour cream to add in dollops to the goulash.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thai Peanut Chicken Breasts


Thai Peanut Chicken Breasts 
(Thailand)
serves 4

This spicy Thai chicken dish can be made with either boneless, skinless chicken breasts (my personal favourite) or with bone in, skin on chicken pieces.  You may want to consider increasing the sauce ingredients to insure plenty of sauce to serve as an accompaniment and if you like your Thai food really spicy, add the cayenne pepper.

Ingredients

4   skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8-ounces  of  cream  of coconut mixed with 8-ounces water
1/4  cup  creamy peanut butter
1/3  cup  chicken broth
2  tablespoons  soy sauce
2  tablespoons  rice vinegar
1  tablespoon  packed brown sugar
1  tablespoon  toasted sesame oil
1 or 2  teaspoons of Sambal Oelek (fresh  chili paste), depending  on  personal preference
1  teaspoon  fresh ginger, micro-planed
1  clove  garlic, micro-planed
1/8  to 1/4 teaspoon  cayenne pepper, optional if you like it really spicy
1/2  cup  all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  ground black pepper
2  tablespoons  vegetable oil
2  tablespoons  snipped fresh cilantro
2  cups  hot cooked rice
2 tablespoons of corn starch slurry (1 tablespoon corn starch thoroughly mixed with 1 tablespoon of COLD water)

Preparation

1.  Preheat your oven to 300° F.

2.  Combine flour, salt, and black pepper in a 1 gallon re-sealable plastic bag, add the chicken breasts, one at a time, to flour mixture, shaking to coat and remove to a plate.

3.  In a large skillet, cook chicken, half at a time, in hot oil until brown, turning occasionally. Transfer chicken to an ungreased 3-quart rectangular baking dish.

4.  Whisk together the thinned coconut cream and peanut butter  in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until smooth, add the broth, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, chili  paste, ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.  To complete the sauce, raise the temperature under the sauce pan to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat to low simmer and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5.  Pour peanut butter sauce over the breasts, cover loosely with foil and bake the breasts for 1 hour, basting occasionally with the sauce during the hour.  Uncover and continue baking, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes more or until the chicken is very tender.

6. Transfer chicken to a serving platter for a family style service or to individual service plates over a bed of rice for individual service.

7.  Prepare the sauce for service by transferring it to a medium sauce pan and bring  to a boil over high heat; when the gravy comes to a boil add the slurry while constantly stirring until the gravy forms  a thickened sauce.  Transfer the sauce to a gravy boat, spoon some of the sauce over the chicken breasts and sprinkle each breast with some of the cilantro. Serve accompanied by the  remaining sauce, hot cooked, white rice and additional chopped cilantro.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hot Brown Sandwich


Hot Brown Sandwich
Serves 4
(America)
The hot brown sandwich was created at the Brown Hotel of Louisville, Kentucky in 1926, basically it’s an open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich covered in Mornay sauce which is broiled until the sauce begins to brown.   Alternatives to the classic includes using a combination of both shaved ham and shaved turkey, substituting sliced tomato for the pimentos, and using cheddar (sometimes called a Devonshire) or American cheese for the sauce.

Ingredients

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, room temperature and beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup prepared whipped cream
8 slices toasted white bread, crust trimmed off
1 pound cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
8 slices of shaved brown sugar bake ham
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained
8 bacon slices, fried crisp

Preparation

1.  Create a roux by melting  butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and gradually adding  the flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps.

2.  Using the roux as a base create a white sauce base by gradually stirring  in milk until  the mixture comes to a gentle boil; remove the saucepan from the heat and add  the Parmesan cheese  stirring constantly until the cheese is melted and well blended.

3.  In a small bowl, beat the egg.  Temper the egg by gradually adding 1 cup of  the hot white sauce/parmesan mixture, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly.  Continue  the Mornay sauce by  gradually adding  the egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste. Finally fold in the whipped cream to complete the sauce .

4.  Construct the Brown Sandwiches by placing two slices of toasted bread  next to each other on  metal or ovenproof  dishes to be used for service and placing  2 slices of  ham and a liberal amount of turkey on each of the toasted slices then continue by pouring a generous amount of the Mornay sauce over the turkey and finally sprinkling additional Parmesan cheese over that. 

5.  Complete the sandwiches by placing the entire dish(es) under the  broiler  of your oven until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced pimientos, cross two pieces of cooked  bacon over the top, and serve immediately. 

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