How green was my shakshuka

I was looking for another savory breakfast food when I was reminded that for years I’ve thought about making the Middle Eastern egg and sauce dish called shakshuka.

There were no hard-to-find ingredients; it just never quite made the cut when I was looking for something new to try. Until this week.

Green shakshuka ingredients.

My now-beloved Cook It In Your Dutch Oven cookbook even had a recipe all ready for me. Sure, it’s a different take than the traditional — it has a green sauce rather than a red tomato-based one. But that sounded even better. I can always use more greens in my diet.

The recipe turned out fine, if not my favorite. It calls for adding herbs in at the end, though I think adding them to the base sauce and then again at the end would be better — so that more of their flavor seeps into the sauce but also has the fresh zip that their late addition adds. (I should add that my sweetie quite liked the dish so maybe I just don’t appreciate greens as much as I should.)

Other than that, be prepared to buy a lot of Swiss chard, and preferably the kind without red stems if you want it to look vibrant green rather than my brownish-green.

Look at all those beautiful herbs. Noms.

Here’s what I did, roughly following the recipe (though changing some proportions):

Ingredients 

  • 3 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed and reserved and leaves chopped
  • 12 oz. baby spinach
  • ¼ c. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 t. ground coriander
  • ½ c. vegetable broth
  • 1 c. frozen peas
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 8 eggs
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 T. chopped dill (I recommend more for sauce)
  • 2 T. fresh mint (I recommend a little more for sauce)
  • 1 t. dried Aleppo pepper, optional (I had on hand but it’s a mild crushed pepper so regular crushed pepper isn’t a good substitute unless you want to add a little spice)

Directions

Chop chard stems to yield 1 cup. Discard the rest or save for another use.

Heat Dutch oven on medium heat. Add 2 T. olive oil. Add the chard stems, onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook until softened and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and coriander, and cook for about another minute.

Add the chard leaves and spinach (I had to do it in batches so they would wilt down), and cook until wilted but still green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Here I’d recommend adding some herbs for more flavor, to taste. Remove the mixture from heat and add 1 to 1 ½ c. of the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth, about a minute. Stir the blended mix back into the Dutch oven.

Add lemon juice and peas, and stir.

Place back on heat, medium to medium-low. Make 4 indentations in the mix and crack 2 eggs into each indentation. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, if using, and more salt as desired. Cover the pot and cook until egg whites are just set, 5 to 10 minutes (You have to keep a close eye on it). Remove from heat and let sit, covered, until the whites are fully set, another 2 to 4 minutes.

Add the herbs, feta, and drizzle with more olive oil.

Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Ratatouille any which way

I’ve talked about my love of Ratatouille before, both the movie and the food item. The movie has the message of “Anyone can cook,” which is to say not everyone can do it but that one’s station in life — even as a rat — can’t dictate whether one is a great chef.

Ratatouille ingredients.

A great chef I am not but I take comfort in that, and many other, life lessons offered by the Pixar classic.

As I’ve come to love the French dish almost as much as the move, I’ve also come to realize it’s an appropriate recipe to highlight the movie’s message and theme. The dish is a humble stew that also can be made to be served at the top restaurant in Paris.

If anyone can can cook, ratatouille shows that simple ingredients can make for an impressive meal no matter which way you make it.

I found last year that I loved making this traditional stew-like dish as a tian on a sheet pan. But in making it in my Dutch oven this year, I was reminded that it also works really well in its stew-ish form. While it mirrors a hearty stew, it is still exclusively vegetables and herbs and spices, with a little bit of (OK, a lot of) olive oil, which makes it light even on a summer night. Also, it doesn’t need to cook for hours upon hours. It’s a half hour or so in front of a stove top, not bad in the air-conditioned house.

It’s practically perfect, especially for the upcoming Bastille Day!

So healthy and yet so scrumptious.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 5+ T. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant (1 1/2 to 2 medium), chopped
  • 2 medium zucchinis, chopped
  • 2 medium summer squash, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 T. thyme (the recipes often recommended whole sprigs to be removed; I just used dried)
  • 2 T. dried basil  (I’d prefer fresh but I had some dried on hand)
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • ½ T. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 4 to 5 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 T. tomato paste

Directions

Add about 2 T. of oil to a large Dutch oven on medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until beginning to turn translucent, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Add another about 2 T. of oil and the eggplant. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 to 10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add another about 2 T. of oil, the zucchini, summer squash, and bell pepper. Cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for another 5 to 10 minutes until the zucchini and squash are mostly cooked through. Add the tomatoes, herbs and spices, and tomato paste, and cook for another 5 minutes, covered, until all the vegetables are cooked through and the mixture looks stew-ish.

Let cool slightly (it stays hot for awhile), and enjoy with some fancy bread!

Who needs 11 herbs and spices?

With summer officially upon us, I wanted to make something perfect for picnics and staying (relatively) cool in the kitchen. Sure, fried chicken is fried, but it’s great with a summer salad and there’s no baking or hours of stirring on the stove top.

I found my recipe from my very helpful Cook It In Your Dutch Oven cookbook. While there was the traditional fried chicken, the Midwest gal in me couldn’t resist the ranch fried chicken.

Ranch fried chicken ingredients.

In this case, ranch mostly just meant more herbs and spices, a buttermilk coating, and serving it with a side of ranch. But that also meant that it was mostly just a flavor explosion. Both the buttermilk mixture and the flour coating had the same herbs (cilantro, dill, and chives) and a lot of them. I might have added more dill because I misread teaspoons for tablespoons, but it was a delightful error.

Aside from being relatively easy and perfect for the summer season, I also found ways of making it even quicker and easier.

The lazy person in me just served it with a side of pre-made ranch rather than putting it together myself. Plus, my packages of chicken (Bare) had 10 thighs that meant I didn’t have a lot of leftover buttermilk mixture to mix with mayo for the homemade ranch.

I also skipped the step of laying out the flour-dredged pieces on their own wire-covered baking sheet to have fewer dishes to do later. This did mean dredging twice toward the end but mostly it was fine to lay it on parchment paper and/or plates.

So much flavor. Even better dipped in ranch.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 5 T. fresh chives, minced, divided
  • 5 T. fresh cilantro, minced, divided
  • 2 T. fresh dill, minced, divided (as mentioned above, I used more than the recipe called for)
  • 2 t. white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ c. cornstarch
  • 1 ½ t. garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ~2 q. vegetable oil
  • 8 to 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (trimmed if needed), about 2 lbs.
  • Ranch dressing, for serving

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 c. buttermilk, 2 T. chives, 2 T. cilantro, 1 T. dill, white vinegar, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of cayenne.

In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, the cornstarch, the remaining chives, cilantro, and dill, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil (about 1 ½ inches high) to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, pat the chicken thighs dry. Dip the thighs individually into the buttermilk mixture before dredging in the flour mixture. Repeat with each thigh. As I mentioned above, the recipe recommends putting the dredged raw chicken on a wire rack on a sheet pan, but that sounded like a lot of extra dishes, so I placed them on a plate — I may have had to re-dredge some, but it was OK. Use whatever method you like best to hold the ready-to-fry chicken until the oil has heated.

Once the oil is heated (and try to maintain the temperature), add the chicken 3 to 4 pieces at a time and fry until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on either a wire rack on a paper towel-lined sheet pan, or just on a paper towel-lined plate, as you desire. Repeat the frying process as needed until all chicken is cooked through.

Serve with ranch dressing, maybe some coleslaw as desired, and enjoy!

Super simple chicken and dumplings

I was feeling a bit lazy this week. I knew what I wanted to make but I didn’t know how to make it and didn’t want to spend hours researching.

I just typed chicken and dumplings into the ol’ search engine and clicked on the first couple that popped up. The one that laid out the amount of prep time (25 minutes) and total time (just over an hour), won out. So, thanks Delish!

Chicken and dumpling ingredients.

Everything about it was simple, and that included making my own homemade dumplings. I’ll say it did take me a little longer than an hour total, probably like 1 hour and 20 minutes, but I’m not the most efficient person in the kitchen, and I care more about simplicity than speed.

I just fired up Good Omens (Yes, I am rewatching it often), and poured some wine, and it was all in all a pretty nice little weeknight meal.

Even better, it was also delicious. Despite heading into summer, it doesn’t feel terribly heavy. The dough is airy, the rest is mostly chicken. While that’s a little oversimplified, and there is plenty of creamy goodness throughout, it didn’t feel too hearty for the time of year.

*drool*

It was practically perfect for what I wanted.

Here’s what I did, practically perfectly following the recipe (sans the speed):

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 t. dried oregano
  • 2 t. dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 c. chicken or vegetable broth (I use homemade; if you don’t, try low sodium broth)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley for serving, optional

For the dumplings

  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 ½ t. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅔ to ¾ c. buttermilk
  • 2 T. melted butter

Directions

For soup

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add in the oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, and garlic, and stir together for about 1 minute.

Add the broth and the chicken, and bring the pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer covered until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Remove the chicken and shred using two forks.

For the dumplings

While the soup is simmering, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Whisk together with a fork until combined.

To bring together, and finish

Add the shredded chicken back to the Dutch oven, and add the heavy cream. Return to a simmer. Then, drop spoonfuls of dumpling mix into the pot. Cover, and cook on low until the dumplings are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Stir to mix up, add parsley to the pot (if using), and enjoy by the ladleful!

Slow cooked red beans and rice goodness

This week’s recipe is the perfect meal to make on a lazy weekend. It’s time consuming but also incredibly easy, relatively inexpensive, and not overly labor intensive.

The only problem with red beans and rice, really, is there’s enough chopping involved that it’s really helpful to have two working arms; at least if you’re used to using both and and heavily favor one.

Red beans and rice ingredients.

So, like an idiot, I managed to injure myself exercising, and the right arm I usually use was not as useful as I would have liked. I could tackle most things, as sausage and celery are relatively easy even with a weakened arm. I called in my sweetie and sometimes sous chef to help with the rest of the prep for the red beans and rice.

He did most of the stirring, actually.

But barring that, this was a simple delight that I really enjoyed eating, especially as leftovers.

I mostly followed the Serious Eats recipe, though I didn’t know how to easily and cheaply track down ethically made pork shoulder or ham hock. Instead, I replaced them with just a little 6 oz. slab of Beeler’s ham. It was perfectly fine, and less expensive.

I still sprung for my favorite D’Artagnan andouille sausage.

After 2 hours or so on the stove top and a lot of waiting semi-patiently, the wonderfully tasty and filling meal was ready, with plenty of spare to enjoy too!

Bubbling beans.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried red kidney beans
  • Salt, for dried beans
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. andouille sausage, cut into ½ inch disks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 ribs celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 t. ground sage
  • 2 t. dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste (I used about 1 ½ t.)
  • 6 to 8 oz. ham
  • 6 to 8 c. broth (water will work, but I liked having the extra heartiness)
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Cider vinegar, to taste
  • Cooked white rice, for serving

Directions

The night before you plan to make the meal, or the morning before, place the dried beans in a bowl with water, covering the beans by a couple inches, and add a few pinches of salt, stirring until it’s dissolved. Let stand for 8 to 16 hours, before draining and rinsing.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, and celery, and cook until the vegetables have softened and the onions are just starting to brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute or so.

Add the cayenne, sage, black pepper, and thyme. Stir to mix.

Add the beans and the broth (or water) until the liquid covers the beans by about 2 inches. Add in the ham and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the beans are completely tender for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove lid and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and turned creamy, 30 minutes to an hour. Season with hot sauce and cider vinegar, just before serving, and enjoy with prepared rice!

A little off beef stroganoff

Because of my family’s hatred of mushrooms, I had not had beef stroganoff until my sweetie introduced me to it. When he did, he made the mushrooms separate, and I had a not-quite-right stroganoff that I quite liked.

I took that not-quite-right recipe a step further off and made it into a casserole, roughly following a Rachel Ray recipe.

Beef stroganoff ingredients.

I liked that this recipe had more herbs than usual recipes, and I liked even more that it had a cheesy crunchy breadcrumb topping.

While it was otherwise mostly traditional, I found that the casserole form was on the dry end instead of the usual goopy sour creamy sauce that coats the egg noodles. So, I ended up making an extra sauce using the remaining sour cream, a little bit of cream, and of course, more Worcestershire sauce. With that addition, it was an amazing delight.

I even managed to make the mushrooms all right so that my sweetie could enjoy them mixed into his bowls of stroganoff.

Oooh carby goodness.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 12 to 16 oz. bag egg noodles
  • 7 T. butter, divided (3 for noodles, 4 for breadcrumbs)
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 ½ lb. ground beef
  • 3 T. Worcestershire sauce, plus more for extra sauce if desired
  • 3 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. white wine
  • 1 ½ c. stock (the original recipe says to use beef stock; we keep a homemade vegetable — sometimes with chicken — stock on hand so I just used that)
  • ¼ c. heavy cream, plus more for extra sauce if desired
  • ½ c. sour cream, plus more for extra sauce if desired
  • 2 c. homemade breadcrumbs (rye is recommended; I had french in the freezer ready so I used that instead)
  • 1 c. shredded gruyere (Swiss will do in a pinch)
  • 1 c. chopped herbs, divided (some mix of chives, dill, and parsley)
  • 3 T. dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 to 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced (definitely optional)

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, cook the egg noodles for 2 minutes less than package instructions (using Dutch oven if desired). Toss the noodles with 3 T. butter, half the herbs, salt, and pepper.

Heat the Dutch oven, add the olive oil, and cook the beef until browned. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. (If using mushrooms, you can add them now as well; or if you’re a split house like ours, you can cook the mushrooms separately with some oil while preparing the beef.)

Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until shallots are slightly softened. Add the wine and cook until mostly evaporated. Add the stock, and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Stir in the heavy cream and sour cream.

Mix the noodles into the beef mixture and set aside to quickly prepare the breadcrumbs.

Prepare the breadcrumbs by melting the remaining 4 T. butter, and then mixing it with the breadcrumbs, gruyere, and remaining herbs.

Top the beef and noodle mixture with the breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in the prepared oven for about 15 minutes until the breadcrumbs have browned, let cool slightly and enjoy!

(If the mixture is too dry, mix together about ½ c. sour cream, 2 T. cream, and 2 T. Worcestershire sauce, or to taste, and dollop on top of individual servings.)

The best rice casserole

I love the boxed Rice-A-Roni mixes as much as the next person who has little time and a desire for calories. But I love even more the absence of guilt when I home make a similar recipe.

This is how I came to create my own broccoli cheddar rice casserole.

Broccoli rice casserole ingredients.

Sure, recipes abound for throwing together cooked rice, a pre-made cheese sauce, and some microwaved broccoli, but with slightly more effort, you can enjoy baked, cheese, rice, and broccoli that doesn’t feel quite as bad for you.

Though it wasn’t hard to find either kind of recipe online, there was nothing I found that quite suited my tastes. So, I did what I usually do, I mixed and matched to make it suitable for my Dutch oven dreams.

All the recipes of any kind called for mushrooms but I just about refuse to eat them. If they’re tiny and hidden, I may be able to handle some. I can kind of do raw ones, sometimes, if I have to, but as much as I try to keep an open mind about foods, I just can’t do it with mushrooms. So, if you like them, feel free to remove one head of broccoli from my recipe and substitute with 8 oz. mushrooms, or do both and have an extra vegetable-y recipe.

With my changes, and thanks to mostly Southern Living and a little Serious Eats, and I had the perfect recipe, and even better, it came together quickly and deliciously. I loved it.

Nom nom noms.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 6 T. butter, divided
  • 1 c. panko
  • 2 c. cheddar, divided (I like extra sharp)
  • 1 c. Parmesan, divided
  • 3 c. broth (I used homemade; the recipe calls for chicken)
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 t. thyme
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 t. red pepper flakes (optional but I liked the kick)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ c. flour
  • 1 ½ c. uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 3 heads fresh broccoli florets, chopped to stems

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 2 T. butter, and combine it with the panko and ½ c. of the cheddar, and ½ c. of the Parmesan, and toss together. Set aside.

Melt remaining 4 T. in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the broccoli (and mushrooms if using), the salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until the broccoli has started to turn bright green. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the flour until combined.

Add the rice, and stir for another couple minutes. Stir in the broth and milk, and bring to a boil. Add the remaining cheeses, and the sour cream, and mix until well combined. Cover with Dutch oven lid or aluminum foil.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the rice is tender, the liquid is nearly absorbed, and the broccoli is cooked through. Add the panko mixture on top, and bake for another 10 minutes until the top is browned. Let cool slightly, and enjoy!

5 ingredients, 10 minutes prep, 1 hour till dinner

I’ve sung the praises many times before of Jamie Oliver’s “5 Ingredients” cookbook that my brother gifted me. I wasn’t expecting that it’d be super useful in this year of Dutch ovens. After all, how many things could you make in a Dutch oven with so few ingredients?

I should have known better than to doubt. It turns out, there’s plenty enough.

What caught my eye this week was his salami risotto.

Salami risotto ingredients.

Not just because I love salami and was looking for something without a lot of work. But also because I just needed two ingredients of the 5 (technically 8, because there’s also pantry items salt, pepper, and olive oil that I always have on hand) to make this meal happen.

With the salami and arborio rice acquired, I was ready to go.

I added more salami than called for, and probably same for the Parmesan and sour cream so it’s not quite as healthy as Jamie Oliver would like but meh. I also replaced the mascarpone with sour cream because I had it on hand and it wasn’t worth buying a tub of mascarpone for just one heaping tablespoon. It worked fine, and of course, it’s easy to boot.

Delightfully, even the chopping is easy, as it’s just cutting onions into wedges. I still cried, but it was short.

A short time on the stove-top later, the mix went into the oven and I didn’t think about it again until it was ready to eat. Ah-mazing.

salami, onions, cheese, perfection.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 3 oz. salami
  • 2 onions, wedged
  • 300 g. arborio rice
  • 1 heaping T. sour cream
  • ⅓ to ½ c. grated Parmesan
  • ~2 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1.2 L. boiling water

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the Dutch oven on high heat on the stove top.

Cook the onions on high heat for 3 to 5 minutes until browning. Add the oil, salami, salt and pepper, and arborio rice and cook for a minute more. Add the water, sour cream, and cheese.

Stir to combine, and then carefully place in the oven, uncovered.

Bake the risotto for 40 minutes. Add more olive oil, stir to combine, and then enjoy!

Even more artichokes, chicken, and pasta

When I was making my Grandma Crippes’ chicken cacciatore recipe, I was reminded of another of my favorite dishes. It involves many of the same ingredients, but it’s completely different.

This recipe was one of my favorites dating back to college, where I’d regularly order it at the student union. When I got out of college, I missed the rosemary chicken artichoke pasta so much that I decided to make it myself.

Rosemary chicken artichoke pasta ingredients.

Luckily as a pasta dish, and one that was literally put together in front of me for years, it was real easy to suss out the ingredients. As a young recent college grad, though, I still consulted with my mom and we came up with a recipe that I’ve been using ever since.

Mine never tasted exactly the same, but in fact, it was better. It was homemade and my artichokes are marinated. Plus, I may go a little overboard with rosemary, which suits my tastes even better.

It’s also incredibly easy to make, if not quite as instant as the student union dish. But if you boil the tortellini in the Dutch oven, it easily can be another one-pot pasta dish.

All in all, it’s perfect.

And I’ll work on making fewer pasta dishes here soon.

So pretty, and tasty too.

Here’s what I did:

Ingredients

  • 1 bag frozen cheese tortellini (I like the tri-colored stuff because it’s pretty), cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, chopped
  • 2 T. oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh rosemary, chopped, to taste
  • 1 (14 oz) large jar marinated quartered artichokes hearts, drained
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jar alfredo sauce (I get the one with garlic, but you can do traditional or whatever you like)

Directions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and chicken, and saute until the chicken is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Add in some of the rosemary (I like to add more as it nears completion too), and salt and pepper, as the chicken is cooking.

Once chicken is cooked, add in the artichokes and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, continuing to stir occasionally. Add in the tomatoes and cook another 1 to 2 minutes, until just warmed. Stir in the sauce and heat until boiling (it should happen quick with a good Dutch oven).

Add back in the pasta and more rosemary (if desired), stir to combine, and enjoy!

I made ghurma aloo and you can too

There’s nothing like traveling for a weekend to make me crave home-cooked, healthy fare. A weekend of eating fast food had me suddenly wishing for a big bowlful of vegetables.

But exhaustion from sleeping in unfamiliar environs and a late-night concert also meant I wanted something easy and stress-free.

Thankfully, I remembered the ghurma aloo recipe I came across sometime last year. Aloo is apparently Persian for potato, and ghurma is stew, so it’s definitely simple and easy with few ingredients.

Ghurma aloo ingredients.

However, I wanted a little more than potatoes — and tomatoes, onions, and spices. So, I added some peas and chickpeas, and skimped on a few of the potatoes. I served it over rice, and in all, it was ready in about the time it took to watch a “Psych” episode.

Aside from simple, it’s also just delicious.

If you cook Middle Eastern food at all, you’ll also have most of the spices on hand. The least likely is cumin seeds but we’ve kept those in our house for years. The others are turmeric, cayenne, and cilantro; plus, a little salt (and I threw in pepper).

It’s amazing what a handful of spices and time can do to vegetables.

So many wonderful veggies!

Here’s what I did, adapting a recipe on Epicurious:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. potatoes, cut into ½ inch cubes (I used Yukon Gold but any will work)
  • 2 T. canola oil
  • 2 T. cumin seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 t. ground turmeric
  • 1 t. salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne, to taste (I used about 2 t. and it was surprisingly spicy for my moderate palate)
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
  • 1 to 1 ½ c. frozen peas
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
  • Rice for serving, optional

Directions

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds and cook until they turn reddish brown, about 10 seconds. Add the potatoes, onion, and turmeric, and fry for about 5 minutes, until the onions and potatoes are lightly browned, stirring frequently.

Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and give it another quick stir to mix together. Add the water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, peas, and tomatoes, and cook covered for another 5 minutes until the peas are cooked through. Add the cilantro, and give the mixture another stir. Mash the potatoes slightly, if desired, and enjoy with rice!