Monday, January 23, 2012

Turkey Sausage with braised cabbage,onions and carrots

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When I moved to White Rock more than 10 years ago, It took a bit of time to discover where the best places were to buy food. I came across a place on King George Hwy, only about 10 minutes from my place, called:
The Turkey House.
It's half butcher shop, half deli. In the last 10 years I think I have tried almost all of their products. Everything is consistently fresh, and I love the variety. When I started Weight Watchers in 2007, and went on to lose 40 pounds, The Turkey House was a fabulous place to get many of my favorite products, but lighter. Turkey is considered a lean protein, and they have everything from roasts to sausages, to turkey deli meats.(Their turkey European wieners are YUMMY!) Today's recipe is one of my favorites. It's made with 2 kinds of turkey sausage: Italian and parsley and onion. Both are moist and flavourful, with much less fat and calories than traditional pork sausages. Hope you can make it out to the Turkey House...and hope you will try this recipe!

Turkey Sausages with braised cabbage, onions, and carrots

12 assorted turkey sausages
1/2 large head of white cabbage, sliced
2 large white onions, sliced
4 medium carrots cut into matchsticks
olive oil to grease the pan, and some to drizzle over the top
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper

Slice the cabbage with a knife, or use a mandoline. Slice the onion in 1/2 moon shapes, as thick or thin as you like. I sliced the cabbage and onion about the same thickness. Cut the carrots into matchsticks if you like the dish to be pretty. If you are in a rush, grate the carrot on a box grater on the coarse side, or thinly slice with the mandoline. Grease the casserole dish and layer the cabbage,onion and carrot, salt and pepper, Herbes de Provence, and dot each layer with 1 Tbsp of butter. Continue this process until the vegetables are all used up, then lay the sausages on top, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, and put into a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. After 2 hours check to make sure the vegetables are tender, and serve with brown or white rice, or more traditionally, potatoes. This dish keeps in the fridge for at least a week, and gets more and more flavourful each day. It's a real peasant dish. Although I've served it to company, and people always tell me how much they enjoyed it.
Hope you like it...Leave me a comment...and remember to share!

The Turkey House
1433 King George Hwy
Surrey, BC

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce

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I love chicken thighs. Plump little dark meat beauties. Last week I had a craving for Chinese food. I had a look online, and came across a recipe for chicken with black bean sauce. I modified it,and it was really tasty. A winner! I will definitely make this again. Hope you'll give it a try. It came together so quickly, it's great for a week night.

Chicken and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce- (adapted from Canadian Living- Chicken with black bean sauce)

1 large bunch of red chard, Leaves and stems separated. Leaves roughly chopped, stems finely sliced
1 large onion,chopped
2 large carrots, sliced thinly on the diagonal
4 chicken thighs- bone in-skin removed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp grated ginger- with skin
2 tbsp black bean sauce
2 tbsp rice wine-unseasoned
2 tsp apple cider vinegar.
1/2 cup chicken stock- I used a cube
1 tbsp cornstarch

In a large nonstick pan heat canola oil over medium high heat and brown chicken thighs.Transfer to a plate, turn heat down to medium and add the ginger,chard stems and carrot. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the black bean sauce,rice wine and vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock and 1/2 cup of water,bring to a boil and add the chicken back to the pan. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer until chicken is cooked, approximately 20 minutes(adding the chard leaves for the last 5 minutes of cooking) In a small bowl mix the cornstarch with the same amount of water, push chicken vegetable mixture to one side add cornstarch mixture to pan, and stir until thickened. Once thickened, stir everything together, and serve immediately over brown rice or noodles. You don't need to add salt, as the black bean sauce is already salty. The rice wine and the vinegar give the dish a pleasant tang.  From start to finish it took about 45 minutes to make. If you pre-chopped the vegetables and threw them all in a bag together,with the chard leaves on top, you could be eating in under 30 minutes!

Hope you'll try this...It's WAY better than takeout

Leave me a comment...let me know.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Chicken barley soup with red chard

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It was kind of a lazy weekend for the P-Man and I. He did some work on the computer, but I mostly cooked and cleaned, and answered e-mails and tried to be witty on facebook and twitter. I made a roast chicken a week or so ago, and as I am not much of a gravy person, I always scrape whatever is left on the bottom of the roaster into a container and freeze it. I refer to this as 'soup base'. I had a container of  the 'base' and an odd cup of vegetable stock in the refrigerator left over from a previous recipe, and I had a crisper full of nice fresh vegetables, courtesy of SPUD. I decided to make some soup. It turned out extremely tasty. When the P-Man dragged himself away from the computer bemoaning the fact that I PROMISED to make spaghetti and meatballs...I gave him a bowl. After a few minutes of slurping, he said: "Did you actually make this right now... 'like' from scratch?" I nodded, and his gaze said it all...I am freaking amazing...and the soup was good too!

Here's' like' the recipe:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg onion, chopped
1 large, or 2 medium carrots, chopped
1 lg bunch of red chard-stems chopped fine and leaves sliced 1 inch thick
handful of herbes de provence
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken soup base- you can also use store bought but will have to add a bit more seasoning
8 cups water
1 cup pearl or pot barley- I think pot barley has more fibre
2 medium sweet potatoes chopped- I used the orange ones-yams?
1 Tbsp soy sauce- adds depth of flavour

Put a large soup pot on medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add the oil, the chard stems, onion,carrot,salt and pepper. Turn veggies in the oil, and turn heat down to medium and cook until veggies are softened, stirring often. Add the soup base or broth, bay leaves, herbes de provence, water, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, add barley, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes or so until the barley is tender. Add the sliced chard leaves and turn off the heat. After the chard has wilted, and soup has cooled a bit, check seasoning, and adjust.
I like my soup thick and hearty...but feel free to add more water if you like something more 'brothy'. I ate this soup for lunch today, and it was just as flavourful. I just added a bit of water and microwaved it. Delicious!
Hope you like it too!
Leave me a comment...flattery will get you everywhere!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Slightly Pretentious Pork Chops-ala James Barber

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I believe that James Barber was being cheeky when he called these pork chops 'pretentious'. Nothing fancy about a $7.30 package of sirloin cut pork chops that would feed 3 people very comfortably. I made these pork chops in between Christmas and New Years. After we had returned from the Okanagan, and before I had gotten any groceries. I had almost given up on pork chops. It was like I had lost my pork chop 'mojo'. The last few attempts at a quick and easy meal had resulted in dry tasteless chops. I changed a few things this time around. I used thicker chops, and I let them simmer in the sauce for a little more than 45 minutes. They were incredible! So tender I could cut them with a fork. The P-Man blew me kisses in between bites...We ate a chop each the day I made them, and then split the last chop the next day for lunch. I kept the leftover sauce and used it over baked cabbage rolls, and even just over brown rice, with a fried egg for breakfast! What can I say...I was so happy I could have let out an 'oink' of joy! (Sorry pig lovers...)

This recipe is adapted from a recipe of the same name found in a cookbook called:
"James Barber's Immodest but Honest Good Eating Cookbook."
written by James Barber.
I modified it, of course...

2 each pork chops ( I used 3 bone-in sirloin pork chops) trimmed a bit
olive oil for frying
dry white wine ( I used about 1/4 cup of Sauvingnon Blanc)
1/4 tsp pepper ( I like pepper-Telicherry- I used a bit more)
1/2 tsp mustard ( I used 1 tsp coarse grain and 1/2 tsp Dijon)
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp butter ( I used 2 Tbsp- slathering pork with butter...inconceivable, but tasty!)
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 bay leaf
1 large onion, finely chopped
(I also added a 14 oz can of 1/2 the salt niblets corn and a 14 oz can of Italian stewed tomatoes)
chopped fresh parsley- (I used about a 1/4 cup)

Trim the pork and make a paste with the salt, pepper, mustard(s),Oregano, and butter. Spread the paste on the chops, both sides, and let them sit on the counter while you finely chop an onion. Fry the onion in about a Tbsp of olive oil until it looks translucent. Add the pork chops and fry to a golden brown, both sides and add the wine. (I had trouble browning the meat because the onions were all over the bottom of the pan, but I did cook them a bit on both sides, then added the wine to de glaze). Simmer, lid on for 45 minutes. (After the wine, I added the corn, the tomatoes, and  bay leaf, and continued to simmer. I had no lid, but covered the pan with aluminum foil, and as I faith in pork chops has been restored. I sprinkled the parsley on top of the chops and served them with brown rice and baked acorn squash.)
Pretentious? More like Perfect!