Friday, December 15, 2017

Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules (Rice with Pigeon Peas)

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

2 1/2 cups long grain white rice (washed and rinsed well)
3 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons Recaito
1/4 cup chopped pork salt
1/4 cup chopped bacon
2 tablespoons Spanish olives
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (15 oz.) can green pigeon peas, drained
1 envelope sazon with culantro and achiote
1/2 teaspoon ground oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground comino (cumin)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon

Start by heating the oil in a pot at high heat, and when the oil is nice and hot, add the salt pork.

When the salt pork is cooked but not crisp, add the bacon. 

Once browned, add Recaito, (a unique cilantro-based seasoning base that enhances the flavor) onions and garlic, olives, capers, comino (cumin), oregano, black pepper and envelope of sazon. Stir fry all together for about 1 minute.

Add pigeon peas, tomato paste, then add the water and bring to boil.

Wash rice under cold running water until water is clear and drain. Add rice to pot, chicken boullion and stir.


Once the liquid has began to boil and most of the water has cooked off, lower heat to lowest setting, and stir 1 more time, top with bay leaves, then cover with tight lid.

Let this cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat setting, remove cover and bay leaves, turn rice, and continue to cook at low heat for another 15 minutes until the rice is tender. Enjoy!

Tip:  Do not stir, but turn the rice with a large serving spoon. For a variation, add some cubed ham when adding the sofrito. The best part of this rice is the crust which forms on the bottom, called the pegao!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Nuevo Leon Enchiladas

Nuevo Leon is a state in Mexico and this is one of their traditional Enchiladas recipes. The Ancho Sauce in this recipe can also be used for other recipes.
Tip: Read instructions completely before cooking.
16 Corn Tortillas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken, preferably dark meat, such as thighs
2 cups (10 oz.) Queso Fresco
1 cup white onion, chopped
2 cups of Ancho Tortilla Dipping Sauce  (Click for recipe)

Heat a 9" or 10" heavy bottomed skillet and add the 1/2 cup oil.  Heat on medium high. One by one, using a pair of tongs, dip the tortillas in the hot oil until soft, should only take about 4 seconds, lay on a plate and continue until all the tortillas are dipped. See photo.

Heat the ancho sauce in a pan until warm. One by one, using a pair of tongs, dip the softened tortillas in the ancho sauce and lay on a plate. See photo.

In a large baking dish, I use 2, 2 quart rectangular baking dishes, lay a tortilla and add some shredded chicken, a little onion and some cheese. Then add 1 teaspoon of the ancho sauce, roll up, set aside in pan. Continue until you have eight in each pan. Pour the remaining sauce over the 2 dishes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and onions on the dishes. See photo.

Heat the oven to 375 degree and bake for 25 minutes.

Serves 8, 2 Enchiladas each. Can be served by themselves or with rice, beans or any side dish you would like.

Tip: Queso fresco is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking. The firm-textured fresh white cheese. Its name translates as "fresh cheese" and is slightly salty, with a mild, tangy taste similar to farmer's cheese. Like other fresh cheeses, queso fresco is lower in fat and sodium, despite its salty flavor, than aged cheeses. It's easily crumbled to sprinkle on dishes like enchiladas and tamales, as well as soups like black bean and tortilla. It also makes a tasty addition to cold vegetable salads. And although it softens, it does not melt when heated; queso fresco is classically used in the filling for chile relleños and quesadillas. For a snack, heat some on corn tortillas and top with a dollop of salsa.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Irish Sheppard's Beef Pie

Tip:  Read directions completely before preparing.

3 cups mashed potatoes
1 pound lean ground beef (93/7)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons Kerrygold Softer Butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons browning and seasoning sauce
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
1/4 cup peas
1/4 cup carrots, finely diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Crumble the ground beef into a large skillet over medium heat, cook meat until no longer pink.

Add onion, garlic, thyme, peas and carrots and cook another 3 minutes, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Over medium heat, melt the Kerrygold butter in a skillet.  Stir in the flour and cook and until light brown in color, about 5 minutes.

Let cool off a bit then gradually stir in the broth, ketchup and browning sauce until smooth.  Set over medium heat and simmer until thick.

Stir the sauce into the ground beef and transfer to a casserole dish.

Top with mashed potatoes.

Sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes.

Place dish in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until potatoes are toasted and cheese is melted.  Enjoy!

Tip:  Truly traditional Irish Sheppard's Pie uses ground lamb instead of ground beef.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pork Stuffed Turkey Breast

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

1 lb fresh ground pork
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons capers
1 tablespoon pimento stuffed olives, chopped
1/4 cup Achiote Oil (Click for Recipe)
2 .5 - 3 pound whole turkey breast meat, deboned and butterfly
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 large Reynolds oven bag
1 tablespoon flour

See if your grocer butcher will butterfly the turkey breast for you. If not, place the turkey breast meat, skin side down, between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound it with a mallet to flatten it to about 1/2 inch thick. If you do not have a mallet, use a heavy bottomed flat skillet. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap. Season the turkey breast liberally with some of the Achiote oil.

In a large mixing bowl, add pork, onion, cilantro, garlic, capers, olives and 2 tablespoons of the Achiote oil.

Spread the pork meat mixture evenly across the top of the turkey.

Starting at one of the long sides, roll up the turkey, tucking the ends in, to create a rolled roast.

Tie with kitchen twine in several places to secure the filling, then brush with more of the Achiote oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Open the Reynolds large oven bag and add flour. Place bag in a baking pan with opening toward wide side of pan. Use pan at least 2 inches deep.  Place the prepared breast in bag and close bag with Nylon tie. Cut 4, about 1/2 inch slits on top of bag for air to escape.  Tuck ends of bag in pan. Place pan in oven, allowing room for bag to expand during cooking without touching heating elements, walls, or racks.  

Bake for 2 hours or until internal temperature is 170 degree. 

To serve, carefully cut open top of oven bag. Don't cut too far to the end of the bag, or the sauce can run out. Fold back the open pieces of the bag. Lift the breast out and stir any sauce left in the bag until smooth. Always support bag with pan.

Discard the twine and cut the turkey into 1/2- to 3/4-inch slices. To serve, arrange the slices on a platter.  Serve hot, warm or cold.

Tip: Achiote seeds, which are also referred to as annatto seeds, from the Annatto tree. A deep brick red in color, it has a intensely rich flavor. Achiote is available at Latin American markets and on the international aisle of some larger grocery stores.