Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pan Seared Chicken with Shallot and Carrots

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrated it! I had a great day sharing a meal with my family. After cooking and eating a ton, I am going to make something quick and easy.

Lets gather up our ingredients!

You need some carrots, thinly sliced.

Some beautiful shallots, also thinly sliced.

Some flour.

Some bone-in chicken thighs, my favorite! I had some already seasoned thighs from a grill pack so I just went with those. Make sure you season yours with at least some salt and pepper.

Sprinkle them with the flour.

Pop them in a pan on medium low heat, skin side down, for about 8-10 minutes.

While those cook grab some parsley if you are going to use it as a garnish.

Turn the chicken over and scoot it to one side of the pan and add in your veggies with some salt and pepper. I added a bit of olive oil too as there wasn't much fat coming out of the chicken.

Let it cook for 10-12 minutes and you are ready to eat.

The veggies were my favorite thing on the plate, but it was all very tasty, very easy and very inexpensive. The trifecta! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Slow Cooker Moroccan Turkey Stew

I am not going to do a Thanksgiving post because fortunately, this will be one day a year when I will have company when I eat. I will focus on something that I love, being CHEAP! I love deals and I am guilty of buying things just because they are on sale. Well, you know what goes on sale right around Thanksgiving, turkey, of course. This stew is a perfect way to use up Turkey legs and thighs. I used chicken in this recipe because I made it a while ago, and chicken thighs and legs always seem to be on sale so they are a perfect substitute.

This is a recipe for a slow cooker, one of my favorite things in my kitchen. This is a full serving recipe, not cut down for one. You will definitely want leftovers of this, trust me.

Lets gather some ingredients and start prepping!


Mix the allspice with some kosher salt, this will be the main seasoning for the stew.

You need some squash. If someone has a trick to peeling one of these things, I would be in debt to you forever if you could email me diningaloneblog at gmail dot com. I labored through it, and if someone gives me a great peeling tip I will make something else with it and share it with you all.

You want to scoop out all the seeds and discard them.

Then chop it up.

You need some carrots also, those are very easy to peel.

Some red onion is needed also, the colors of this stew are so pretty once you put everything together.

Look at all those gorgeous veggies! You just need a rough chop on them so you have bite sized pieces.

You also need some garbanzo beans (aka chick peas), dried apricots, raisins, diced tomatoes and cumin. Now that we have everything prepped lets get it all in the crock pot.

Put your poultry in the bottom of the crock pot and season with half the salt and allspice mix.

Put the veggies in a bowl with the apricots, raisins, canned tomatoes, the garbanzo beans, and the remainder of the salt mix. You can also throw in some dried chiles if you want.

Stir it all up, your hands work great for this step.

Pour it over the chicken or turkey.

Pop on the lid and forget about it for about 7 hours. Go read a book, go to the park, go do some holiday shopping, OR go to work...but only if you HAVE to!

When you are just about to eat you can make a little sauce to drizzle over the stew. It is so simple.

Olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, parsley, cilantro, garlic and some salt.

Zap it together in your food processor and you are ready to serve!

When you pull that lid off you are going to want to dive right into the crock pot. I just filled my bowl with the veggies and broth then went straight after the meat. It literally just falls off the bones, so incredible.

I think I have said this about 10 times since I started this blog, but this is one of the best things I have ever had, I can't believe I made it myself and it was SO easy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Soupe Au Vin from the Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook

It is definitely soup weather, and for me, it is red wine weather. Why not combine the two and make a delicious and flavorful soup?

You get the bonus of that smiling face being in your kitchen with you for this meal.

One thing you will learn about if you read this wonderful cookbook is to prepare your 'Mise En Place'. This literally translates to 'Put In Place' but its just a french cooking term that means get everything set and ready to go before you start cooking. It is how chefs prepare their station before they start for the day. I have mentioned this many times on the blog, just haven't used the french term for it. I can't tell you how much it helps. So lets get started by gathering our ingredients.


This is one of the ironic parts of the meal. If you know anything about Anthony Bourdain you know he has a rather strong distaste for Ms. Ray. So I got a chuckle when I realized this is the chicken stock I pulled out of the fridge for the soup. Sorry Mr. Bourdain :)

Here is something he can agree with, BACON!

And the second ironic thing about my french Soupe Au Vin, the vin aint French. But it is tasty and that is all that matters. USE DECENT WINE here people, it is the main component of this meal so don't use anything that comes in a bottle with a handle.

You need bay leaves and some other herbs to prepare your Bouquet Garni. If you are giving me the WTF look right now, keep reading.

A bouquet garni is simply herbs wrapped up and tied together with string or placed into netting of some kind and then submerged in your soup. You can put them in a tea strainer as well. I just put mine on some cheese cloth and then tie it all up.

You will be removing at the end of the meal, so do yourself a favor and anchor it to the handle of your pot so you don't have to go on a fishing expedition later to retrieve it.

Next you need some beautiful leeks.

Cut the leafy green part off and discard it or save it if you like to make your own stock.

Leeks are sand filled buggers, and you don't want sandy gritty soup. I soak mine in a nice big bowl of water once they are cut to get any sand and grit out.

Cut them up as small as you want, I like big chunky bites in my soups, some people do not. That is one of the benefits of cooking for me, I can make it how I like it!

I didn't get slab bacon, but this works just as well.

Cut it up into nice little cubes.

Measure out your flower.

Chop your shallots and toss those in with the leeks. Don't they look gorgeous?

Get your wine going on the stove because we are ready to cook...(remember to reserve a bit of wine for when you serve the soup)

We have Mise En Place!

Start melting your butter in the dutch oven.

Add in the bacon. If you have a dog, count the seconds it takes before he or she starts drooling at your feet.

I wish you could smell this...check your wine, you want it to boil for about 5 minutes then get it off the stove.

Stir in the shallots and leeks and let them hang out for about 10 minutes.

They will start to soften and its going to smell amazing in your kitchen.

Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of more minutes and then whisk in the wine, chicken stock and throw the bouquet garni in there. Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for about 45 minutes.

After it has cooked season with salt and pepper and remove the bouquet garni.

Splash some raw wine on top and you are ready to eat. I loved this soup. Serve it with a nice chunk of crusty baquette and enjoy!