it’s november, so of course we need soup…french onion mushroom soup….

I have a slight obsession with French Onion Soup. I’ve written about it before and my quest to find and develop a recipe I really liked and I think that was in 2015. I have been fiddling and fiddling with the way I make it, and I think this is the best batch so far.

My friend Karen‘s mother made the best French Onion Soup I’ve ever had anywhere. It was even better than the H.A. Winston soup that we all loved growing up. But I’ve kind of developed my own now which isn’t bad if I do say so myself. But I definitely have a memory of being in Karen‘s mother’s kitchen when she had that soup cooking. The aroma and the fragrance of it just filled the room.

I start my soup the day before with roasting my beef bones in the oven for beef stock. Then I throw everything into a stockpot with wine, water, and a 32 oz. container of low salt beef broth. To that I had a couple of carrots, celery or Celeriac (celery root), onion, fresh herbs, and that’s how I make my beef broth. This time I made my beef bone broth with Celeriac, because that is what I had. I cook this for a few hours. I let it simmer and cook down and condense. If I do it in the instant pot it takes a lot less time for the broth component.

I prepare the beef bone broth the day before because I like to fish the bones out of the broth and dispose of them, and then put the broth in the refrigerator overnight because then as you can see from the photo I shared above, I can skim the fat off the top very easily. This bone broth I made this time was truly gorgeous. This morning it was totally gelatinous like a consommé. That’s what you want.

Also, people always ask me how many beef bones I use. Honestly? It varies and this time I had 10 beef bones.

I line a big sheet pan with aluminum foil. Then I sprinkle them with just a smidge of olive oil and add salt pepper, Herbes de Provence, and garlic. When I roast them I do it at a 375° oven. I just keep an eye on the oven I think they were roasted through in about 35 to 40 minutes. Then I just turned the oven off and let everything cool down a bit before I bring them out of the oven and throw them into the stockpot as indicated above.

These bones were actually a surprise I did not know I still had in the bottom of our chest freezer they had come with a meat order from our local butcher, Worrell’s. Truthfully, you really do have to go to a local farmers market meat purveyor, or a local butcher shop to get good bones. And ask before you want to make the soup, because it’s not like the good old days and they don’t always have the bones.

The next day I start with caramelizing my onions, and today’s onions are the last I will ever get at Pete’s Produce Farm in Westtown which makes me sad. I use a combination of red and white onions. I add a little salt, a couple of tablespoons of butter, and a couple of dashes of balsamic vinegar to the bottom of the pot. You do want to caramelize your onions, but pay attention or they will burn. I almost killed them today because I was on the phone when I was doing this.

I also add mushrooms now to my recipe and that is pretty much because my husband loves mushrooms. The mushrooms, Cremini, came from Pete’s as well. I am so going to miss the produce and that store because these mushrooms were the prettiest I’ve had all year to cook with. But I have to admit that adding mushrooms especially this kind to soup add another layer of flavor that is just wonderful.

When I’m putting it all together after the onions have cooked down and caramelized, if I feel there is not enough liquid, then I will use a little additional bone broth or Better Than Bouillon to help it along. And you also cannot forget your healthy dash of Flavor Master’s Gravy Master. Why? Because that is something they put in the H.A. Winston soup when they were making it.

Today I did add an 8 ounce container additionally of bone broth. I also added a good half a bottle of wine

I wish I had a more exact and proportionate recipe written down, but I don’t a lot of times I cook things by the way I think they feel.

I will serve my French onion soup in a few minutes with a little shredded Gruyère on top but I don’t do the whole thing with the big hunk of bread and put it in the broiler. That’s too much work for me. The soup is work enough on its own. Besides it’s something I always eat around French onion soup when I get it at a restaurant, anyway.

We are also having an arugula and spinach salad with elite seasoning tomato and a honey mustard vinaigrette.

Bon appétit 👩‍🍳

a september soup tale

Soup. It’s just one of those things that once in a while you just want. There’s no rhyme or reason. Today was one of those days. This is a soup tale, not necessarily a traditional soup recipe, because I just made it up and you’ll have to follow along.

I save leftover chicken and actually bones and carcasses from roast chickens and freeze them to make bone broth . I also freeze necks and giblet that come inside a roast chicken when you purchase it from the store.

Today I also had acorn squash left over from a farm box, some fresh onions, garlic, a couple of hot peppers from my garden, and a big container of beautiful local mushrooms. So to me it said “don’t let anything go bad, make soup.”

First I got out my small instant pot and I added all my chicken bits. Then I added a sprinkle or two of kosher salt, fresh sage rosemary and thyme, a healthy dose of Lebanese Za’atar spice blend, Shawarma spice blend, and Persian Advieh.

I know, I know I have a weakness for exotic spice blends and different kinds of paprika. Paprika however was not in this recipe.

So I hit the broth setting on my instant pot after covering up my chicken parts and spices with water, leaving a gap of about an inch to an inch and a half at the top inside. After I cooked it all on the broth setting which is about 40 minutes, I added an extra five.

Meanwhile, I took out a cookie sheet pan and made a large tinfoil pouch and put inside of the pouch the acorn squash quartered, four medium to small size carrots cut into little circles, one large fresh onion chunked, and finally I added a small head of garlic, cloves peeled. I drizzled olive oil on top, tossed in a little bit of salt, folded everything up into a package and put it into a 400° oven for about 40 minutes. When the vegetables were done I turned off the oven and set it on the stove top as I waited for the broth to cool down.

When the vegetables were cool enough to handle, I scooped the squash from its skin and put it and the other roasted vegetables into a soup pot with fresh sage, thyme, rosemary. Not a lot just a little bit more, and a couple of dashes of Sherry vinegar.

After the broth had cooled down enough, I drained the broth through a strainer into my soup pot. I put the chicken parts and bits that I had used to create the broth in a metal mixing bowl to cool further. I used a hand blender and emulsified everything, adding to that believe it or not, 2/3 of a cup of creamy peanut butter.

I know peanut butter sounds odd, but when I was a kid and we first went to Historic Williamsburg one of the historic taverns in Williamsburg served a peanut soup, and it was a chicken stock base with peanut butter and it was amazing. It’s a flavor profile that I like. It doesn’t taste like a Reesie’s cup or anything like that but you do have that undertone of peanut butter flavor. Of course, if you’re allergic to nuts you can’t do this.

So what was my next step? I turned the stove on low underneath the soup. I added back the chicken I picked off the bones of the chicken I used to make the broth with. Then I sliced up all the beautiful mushrooms (baby Bella) I had, and tossed them into the soup pot, followed by two additional carrots and one apple grated. Finally, I had about a half a cup of Minnesota wild rice left over from last year, and since it only has a shelf life of so long, into the pot it went!

I have pretty much pre-cooked the soup and I will turn it off and just let it cook away in the pot with the lid on. I will let it come to room temperature and by that time it will be close to dinner, and I can then heat it up. And allowing this soup to sit hot like this will also help the wild rice cook because if you’ve ever cooked with wild rice you know it takes literally twice as long as any other kind of rice. I prefer wild rice in soup because it holds up very well.

For a made up soup of leftovers essentially, it is not bad. Sometimes I am like the kitchen sink cook, and it’s whatever is around goes in something. In this case it has worked out really well and I have to tell you the flavor profile of the soup is wonderful and emulsifying the vegetables and the broth with the peanut butter gives it a creamy texture without adding any dairy products.

Given inflation, food prices, and the economy, perhaps being a kitchen sink home cook is not so bad? I literally bought nothing special for this recipe I used everything I had around the house or in the garden.

The kitchen smells really good right now. Thanks for stopping by.

summer salads: tabbouleh with a twist

One of the things I like about summer, are summer foods. One of my favorites is tabbouleh. Essentially tabbouleh at its core is a parsley salad flavored with bulgur, mint, scallions, tomatoes, and a bright lemony dressing. It’s quick, fresh, easy, and totally yummy.

Tabbouleh is something I’ve always made in the summer, but as an adult in my own house I essentially make it only for myself unless we’re having company because no one else seems to eat it. Another problem in my house is while I work for myself and can set my own hours, my husband has a corporate job, and corporate jobs seem to have expanded their hours since the onset of COVID19, and the days of traditional 9 to 5 hour days seem to no longer exist. So he works a lot. Often he comes home from the office and works hours more in our home office and eats later. I don’t like to eat late, so tabbouleh the way I make it that I’m sharing with you today, is something I can eat for a quick summer dinner . I don’t even necessarily need to make meat or chicken to accompany it, I can just eat that “as is.”

Yes, there is a young adult living with us, but he’s kind of allergic to vegetables most days and eating with the other people in his house, so he will grab dinner and go sit in front of his computer screen and play video games. Often I will make the two of them something to eat and just leave it on the stove. No it is not my favorite thing to do as I don’t like eating by myself but life is what it is. So I have decided that I’m going to make things that I enjoy more in the summer to have if I am going to be eating early and by myself.

You will note when I share my recipe that I don’t have tomatoes in it, and I added chickpeas. The reason I didn’t add tomatoes is I don’t have any in the house and the ones I am growing in my garden are just plants at this point. I’ve also discovered that the salad stays a little more fresh if I don’t store it with tomatoes added. So if I make this with tomatoes I will often dress the top of the bowl with tomatoes that are diced and I will remove the tomatoes off of the top to put away.

Another thing about tabbouleh is you can indeed make it with couscous if you don’t have bulgar wheat.

This is a great summer salad and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! To follow is the recipe.

1 3/4 cups bulgar wheat

Juice of 4 large lemons (maybe more – depends on you!)

A couple of dashes of apple cider vinegar

Olive oil

1 large bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley

1 bunch fresh parsley

Salt, pepper, dash of garlic powder, ground cumin

One large regular cucumber peeled, seeds removed, diced. Or one English hothouse cucumber peeled and diced.

1 sweet or red onion diced, or two bunches of scallions cut up small.

A 15 ounce can of chickpeas drained

Get out a large mixing bowl and to it add dry bulgar wheat, a little salt, a little pepper, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, and a teaspoon of ground cumin.

To that add about 1 1/2 cups boiling water, and toss. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and put to the side.

In another mixing bowl, add your chickpeas, onion or scallions, parsley and mint chopped fine, and the cucumber. Add salt to taste. Toss it together and if you think it needs more salt add a little more. I add the salt slowly because you don’t want to over salt this.

And a small bowl add your lemon juice, cumin, small dash of garlic powder, salt, eyeball the olive oil and whisk together briskly. Give it a taste and you may want to add a couple of dashes of apple cider vinegar as well.

Bulgar wheat takes nothing to reconstitute with a little hot water so by now you should be fine and remove the aluminum foil from the bowl and give it another stir to fluff.

Add the vegetables and chickpeas and mint and parsley to the large mixing bowl with the bulgar wheat in it. Give that all a mix together and then whisk the olive oil lemon juice and apple cider vinegar mixture again and pour it evenly over everything in the large mixing bowl and toss together.

At this point you can taste test to see if you want more salt or ground pepper. Cover the mixing bowl and put in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly.

Leftovers are good for a few days. Keep refrigerated.

goat cheese, ham, and scallion frittata

I love a good frittata. True story is one of my frittatas is actually published in an Epicurious cookbook. It’s called The Kitchen Sink Frittata, and it was published in Epicurious Cookbook in 2012. Amusingly enough Nancy Fuller (Food Network personality) has an identically named recipe on Food Network’s website. My recipe I think is better.

But this? This is a new recipe and I thought of it this morning based upon what I was looking at in my refrigerator this morning.

So here it is and I hope you enjoy it!

Preheat oven to 400°

Take 4 tablespoons of butter and put in a baking dish. I use my vintage 12” French copper gratin pan.

Take eight eggs out of the refrigerator, one bunch of thin fresh scallions, about 6 to 7 ounces of deli ham, 1 4oz log of fresh goat cheese. The goat cheese I’m using today had bits of fig in it – it was what I had on hand.

Thinly slice the scallions and include some of the green tops. Maybe about 3 inches if they are in good shape. Chop up the ham. Also if you have it thinly slice one Roma tomato, also known as a plum tomato. But only use a fresh one.

If you’re using a pan like my gratin pan you can heat it up on the stove as well. I wouldn’t recommend using a glass baking dish, so please don’t . But you can also make a frittata in a cast-iron pan, for example. I also use a cast iron pan to make frittatas, and I have an oven safe fry pan from Great Jones cookware I also use.

When the butter is melted quickly sauté the scallions and the ham. Add to that the thinly sliced tomato. Don’t swish it around in the pan too much you don’t want things to break up. Next add a little freshly cracked pepper, and some dill weed. You can either chop up some fresh dill or use dried dill. Turn off the stove, and let that sit while you move onto whisking the eggs.

Briskly whisk eight eggs with a couple dashes of hot sauce, a little bit of salt not a lot, and about three or 4 tablespoons of buttermilk. Please remember not to use more than a little pinch of salt because you are cooking with ham which is already salty.

When the eggs are whisked up and frothy pour them slowly over the ham and vegetables in the pan evenly. Next crumble up your log of goat cheese and spread evenly over the top and add a couple of more dashes of fresh cracked pepper.

Place in your 400° oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Depending on your oven —-you need to keep an eye on it, so nothing burns. Take it out let it sit for a few minutes slice up and serve. It makes a wonderful weekend breakfast or brunch.

portuguese influence: cod stew

When I was little we knew this wonderful Portuguese lady named Belmira. Sometimes she would cook us these amazing Portuguese dishes. She lived somewhere in Philadelphia’s Olney section which had a big Portuguese section in the early 1970s, the time when we knew her.

One of the things she made was a codfish stew. Belmira used bacalao which is dried and salted cod. She would soak it a couple of days in milk. I loved her codfish stew but she is the only one who I have ever known to make the bacalao palatable. My mother tried but it was always too salty.

Yesterday I was wondering what to make for dinner. I had gotten yet more potatoes in my vegetable box. (We always seem to get so many kinds of potatoes this time of year.) I also had a bunch (a little over two pounds total) of flash frozen cod in the freezer my husband had bought. Ash Wednesday was the other day, and I randomly remembered Belmira would make codfish stew.

I couldn’t find quite the right recipe. I looked at a couple of recipes, but then decided to wing it. Codfish stew is essentially tomatoes, cod, potatoes, onions, bell or sweet peppers, herbs, spices and white wine.

I decided I would make the stew part of it without the cod at first. I remember when you’re doing fish stews you only add things in like the last 20 minutes or so you’re cooking it so it doesn’t get over cooked. Cod is a great fish for soups and stews because it holds up and doesn’t disintegrate.

First I sliced thin a red onion and a white onion. I decided it would be prettier sliced than chopped. I put that into the bottom of a big pot with olive oil, five cloves of garlic sliced very thin, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning. To that I added a cup of white wine.

All the onions and garlic were starting to do their thing and white wine I also took two red bell peppers I had. I sliced them into thin rings. I also had three zucchini which I sliced into thin discs, and about six medium red bliss potatoes as well. I did not peel the potatoes. Finally I had a bag of spinach in the refrigerator so I cleaned that and drained it.

I added all of the other vegetables to the onions and garlic and white wine and started to let it cook down. then I added two 14 ounce cans of Mutti Baby Roma tomatoes. They are small, a little bit larger than the grape tomatoes you can buy in the supermarket. I just opened the cans and put them in juice and all. If you can’t find these tomatoes, you can use a regular 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes but you will have to break up the tomatoes because they will be too big. These Baby Romas are little so they just sort of pop open as they cook and they aren’t too large.

To this I added a little more salt, sweet Spanish paprika, basil, a little more Italian seasoning blend. The blend I use contains no salt, by the way.

I added another half cup I believe of white wine, a few tablespoons of tomato paste (maybe four), and then I just kept an eye on everything and let it cook on a low flame until the vegetables were tender and the flavors were right I don’t know how else to describe it.

About 20 minutes to half an hour before serving, I chunked up in two rather large chunks of the thawed codfish. I added it to the stew and bought the heat slightly. When the fish was cooked and flaking slightly at the chunk corners, I served it. It was really good!

I would say that you might have to add a little more liquid if you didn’t add spinach. And spinach as well as zucchini wasn’t part of what Belmira cooked when I was a child. I just had them to use up.

I will make this again. I imagine I could use other meaty white fish and even add shrimp to this dish. Alternately, the dish without the fish would make a good vegan dish. If I made it vegan, I might add capers.

Happy Saturday!

winter cooking & what’s cooking in my kitchen…read and discover

It’s a cold, crisp winter day, and we even had snow flurries this morning. So it’s time for some winter cooking.

My vegetable box this week had some really nice potatoes, mushrooms, and carrots. I had four good size slices of beef shin in my freezer that I had been thawing this week. So that’s basically what dinner is tonight: beef shins in red wine, garlic, beef broth, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, and some herbs and spices.

The spices are used in addition to garlic, salt and pepper are Herbes de Provence and an Ethiopian spice mix called Berbere. I also added a few sprigs of rosemary from my greenhouse. My greenhouse isn’t heated so I am thrilled it’s still alive.

I started with searing the beef shins in my big Dutch oven. Before I added the meat I had put into the pan some olive oil, a couple of dashes of teriyaki sauce, Berbere, and garlic powder. The beef shins had been drenched in flour and salted a little bit. I added a little red wine and let that cook off as I was searing.

After the beef shins were seared I moved them to a big metal bowl and deglazed my pan with some more red wine. I then added my chopped carrots, onion, celery, and mushrooms. I seasoned them just a smidge added a little bit of Herbes de Provence. I let the vegetables cook down a bit and then it was time for the final step before putting them in the oven. The oven had been preheating at 300°F.

Before I added the beef shins back to the Dutch oven I added two small cans of tomatoes. The tomatoes were chopped and 14 ounce cans. The brand is Mutti. I also had a can of Campbell’s beef consommé sitting in my cupboard and then I added two more cups of beef broth.

I added back the beef shins and I actually had to pull out 2 cups of liquid for the time being and put it in a measuring cup because the Dutch oven was just so full. I added the two sprigs of rosemary. Everything is now covered and doing the low and slow dance for a few hours in my 300° preheated oven.

I will serve with smashed red bliss potatoes.

People always ask what cookware I use besides my vintage Dansk. I use cookware from a really awesome female owned company called Great Jones. I saw them a few years ago on a segment on cooking by the Today Show, tried them and have been using them ever since. I really like them. The Dutch oven is 6.75 quarts and solid cast iron and it’s called the Duchess. I will warn you the one thing I don’t like about it is how heavy it is but it’s great to cook with especially for a recipe like this.

Please note I am not compensated by Great Jones to write about their cookware. I just happened to own it and love it.

This isn’t a recipe that I have written down anywhere. It just sort of came together in my head this morning when I was thinking about what I was going to do with the beef shins. The mushrooms I like to use are the baby Bella. I am just not a white mushroom person unless it’s a salad. And seriously it’s so easy to throw things together. You don’t always need a set in stone recipe, just wing it.

What’s cooking in your kitchen on this winter’s day?

a new cookbook

I don’t just make up recipes I actually follow recipes and read cookbooks. I will admit I have a lot of cookbooks, as I love cookbooks and gardening books. One of my favorites over the years has been The New York Times cookbook.

I bought my copy of The New York Times cookbook in either 1990 or 1991. It was done by Craig Claiborne. I also have a copy of the 1961 original cookbook. You can find them all over. My copy of the 1961 edition came from a fair book tent years ago – an impulse buy. My 1990s version I splurged for, and some of the pages are stained and the cover has been taped back together.

For 2022 I just bought the updated and revised edition by Amanda Hesser. I think there was another one from 2010 but I don’t have that edition. That one is also by Amanda Hesser.

Apparently the edition we can now find in 2022 I think it was supposed to come out in late 2019 or early 2020. Thank La vida COVID for that I think.

The author/editor Amanda Hesser, is a former New York Times food critic and successful author who is also the co-founder of the Food 52 website, which is a favorite of mine.

One of her best known books is Cooking for Mr. Latte written a bunch of years ago. It also lives in my library and is actually kind of special to those of us who went to Shipley. You see it was kind of written about her husband and their courtship. He was a year ahead of me at Shipley and is in his own right an incredibly accomplished author and writer for The New Yorker, Tad Friend. I also have one of his books in my library and understand he has a new book due out this spring.

But back to the cookbooks of it all. The New York Times Cookbook is one of the essentials that every home chef should have in his or her personal library. And maybe I am just old school, and although you can find almost any recipe you want on the Internet, there’s nothing like cracking open a book.

Treat yourself to the new and updated and expanded New York Times cookbook. It’s still maintains a lot of your favorite old recipes that you know from the New York Times cookbook, but as I’ve been swimming through it I see lots of new recipes. And the thing about this book is it’s not complicated or intimidating the recipes are things that you can do.

Please note I am not being compensated in anyway shape or form for writing about this. I love books, I love cookbooks and I love to cook. Maybe someday I will have my own little self-published cookbook, but I can’t hold a candle to an updated classic like this! In the meantime I will continue to wish for occasional help cleaning up the kitchen in my house! It’s fun most of the time being chief cook and bottle washer, but sometimes I just wish I didn’t have dishpan hands.

Thanks for stopping by- I am actually going to make chicken chili this afternoon. Yes my own recipe, no one famous.

my golden mushroom soup

Mushroom soup is definitely a Chester County thing. And I have tried tons of different recipes and read about different recipes and nothing quite was what I wanted.

Above is the soup I came up with. It has shredded chicken in it and I only use baby Bella mushrooms. And I use a chicken broth base. Specifically I make bone broth.

No real recipe exists BUT what I do is I make bone broth in my small instant pot (3 qt or 2.8 liters.)

I have boneless skinless chicken breast in my freezer in individual serving sizes. I used 5 portions this time that I just poach simply and then the broth comes from poaching them eventually also goes into the big pot when I get to that point. When the chicken has cooled I shred it to be added back into the soup later.

But before I do any adding back, I sauté three large onions (red and white), two shallots, two packages of baby Bella mushrooms (2 10 oz packages), Herbes de Provence and salt in butter. Just a few tablespoons of butter (maybe 5?). When the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender I’ll use a couple shakes of the Wondra gravy making flour (very fine flour for those not familiar) and stir around until it cooks in the pot.

Then I add in the shredded chicken. Then I add the bone broth (strained). I will also note that I cut up the carrots I used in the making of the bone broth into little pieces and add that as well.Then I cook down on low for a few hours and add a few tablespoons of ricotta and 2 tablespoons of cream cheese. I stir that in let it cook some more and serve. Before I serve it I add a little fresh ground cracked pepper and stir that in as well.

The soup is not clear but it’s not heavy creamy.

Note that people act like bone broth is so complicated. And it’s not. When you roast a chicken save the carcass and freeze it. When you buy a chicken to roast save the gizzards, liver, and neck and wing tips and freeze them. To that you add water, celery, carrots, onion, white wine, and spices and salt of your choice and set the pot on soup/broth. It’s that simple.

I like this soup. And I like it because it’s not quite clear and it’s not super dense creamy. Super dense creamy soups look wonderful but they are hard on the digestion. And I think with this soup you also get the great flavor of the baby Bella mushrooms.

Anyway that’s kind of how I make it and I hope it works for you.

new year, new quiche

So we had a ham for Christmas. I decided to use some of the leftovers on a quiche.

I was tired after all of the cooking and baking I have done this holiday season, so I used a refrigerated Pillsbury Pie Crust – the kind that come rolled two to a package so I could use my own pie plate.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Here are your ingredients:

1 pie crust

1 cup chopped ham

1 cup shredded (or grated) Swiss cheese

1/3 cup shredded (or grated) extra sharp Cheddar cheese

1 grated (yes grated) small onion (I prefer a red onion)

5-6 eggs beaten

1 1/2 cups half and half

5 tablespoons whole milk Ricotta (drained)

Salt and pepper (not a lot truthfully – maybe 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

A couple of dashes of hot sauce (a light hand, not heavy)

Chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill.

Sauté ham and onion in a tablespoon of butter do not let stick to pan keep stirring. Onion should become translucent and then remove from heat.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs with half and half and Ricotta. Add dill, hot sauce, salt & pepper.

Line pie plate (I use a deeper dish pie plate) with crust. Rub bottom of crust lined in pan with just a smidge of very soft butter.

Place ham in crust as first layer. Second layer is shredded (grated) Swiss and cheddar. Slowly pour in egg mixture.

Cover crust with a pie shield or foil to keep edges of crust from burning. I use a silicone one – it’s adjustable.

Place quiche on a cookie sheet and put in oven and bake for 15 minutes at 425° F.

Then lower heat to 325° F and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes depending upon your oven. You will have to occasionally check it once it hits the 30 minute mark and keep checking it to see when a knife edge comes out clean.

Quiche should sit a good 20 minutes before slicing.

New year, new quiche and the secret to how fluffy it will seem is the ricotta.

Enjoy!

a spin on chicken sauce piquant

A friend from Baton Rouge, Louisiana phoned the other day and some how we got on the topic of Cajun/ Cajun inspired food. He gave me his Chicken Sauce Piquant recipe. I have modified it to suit what I was doing so here it is (my version):

1 cut up whole chicken
2 onions – one red. One white
4 red hatch chiles sliced
2 Italian green sweet long peppers sliced
3 stalks of celery diced (like 2/3 cup)
Salt & Pepper
Garlic
Cajun seasoning
2 Tuscanini Italian Tomato Sauce, Premium Italian Passata, 17 oz (amazing and I hate prepared sauce)
1 small package of andouille sausage sliced into thin rounds (about 8 oz is the package I used)
Wine to deglaze pan after removing chicken to start vegetables

Rice on the side.

Now here are my friend’s recipe notes that I based this off of:

Ingredients

1 chicken cut in pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
tomato sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch
Salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Directions:

Heavily season chicken with salt, peppers, and garlic powder.

Brown chicken using oil in Dutch oven pot on medium high heat, then remove chicken from pot.

Sauté onions until clear on medium to medium low heat, then add tomato sauce.

On medium low heat, stir onion-tomato sauce gravy for 5 minutes or until sauce turns darker.

Add chicken back to pot stirring gravy and chicken to blend and cover the chicken.
With heat on medium low, cover pot and cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Mix corn starch with 2 tablespoons of water, then pour into chicken sauce stirring well. Let sauce simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve over rice

I dredged my chicken in flour with Cajun spices and garlic powder before browning, so I omitted corn starch and deglazed the pan before sautéing vegetables. I omitted the Cayenne pepper because I used my own home grown peppers. I will note I caused the smoke detector to go off when I deglazed the pan.

Everything simmered on the stove a good couple of hours (I didn’t time it, sorry). Really good. Spicy but not burn the inside of your mouth out spicy…just good spicy. And the tomato sauce/gravy was a wonderful not too thick but thick enough consistency.

Mmmmmm