Category Archives: Main Dish

Jerk Chicken with Coconut Saffron Rice and Black Beans

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The best jerk recipe I have ever tasted, delighted the senses, as it was fragrant, fiery hot and smoky all at once.The original recipe was developed by Paul Chung, an adventurous self-taught cook who grew up in Jamaica and has sampled jerk from just about every corner of the island. Making a few adjustments, I added  fresh ginger, dark brown sugar and apple cider vinegar to the marinade. For best results and maximum flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

As side dishes goes, this saffron rice recipe cooks up pretty quickly, making it a great dish if you are in a hurry. Another added bonus is that is one of those rare dishes that gluten free and vegan. However, if you are allergic to coconut milk, soy milk is a suitable substitute.

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Chicken:
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 medium scallions, chopped
2-3 Scotch bonnet chili peppers, stems removed, chopped (or Habaneros)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
1 tablespoon allspice berries, coarsely ground
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Two 3 1/2- to 4-pound chickens, quartered

For the Saffron Coconut Rice and Beans:
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon plain water,at room temperature
2 cups uncooked white basmati rice (or any long grain rice)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
2 cups water
1 teaspoon agave nectar, (or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
a pinch of ground nutmeg
One 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
Lime wedges, for garnish

Special Equipment:
Latex gloves for handling the chilis and massaging the marinade under the chicken skin.

Directions:
For the chicken start preparing it a day or two ahead of actual cooking.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels.In a food processor, combine the onion, scallions, chiles, ginger, garlic, five-spice powder, allspice, black pepper, thyme, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar; process to a coarse paste. With the machine on, add the the soy sauce and oil in a steady stream. Put on latex gloves and pour the marinade into a large, shallow dish. Slather the marinade all over chicken, including under skin, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring the chicken to room temperature before cooking and lightly sprinkle with more salt and ground allspice, before proceeding.

Prepare a charcoal grill: Clean and oil grates.Light a grill and preheat to medium heat using one chimney of charcoal. The temperature can start as high as 300°F. For best results, coals should be at least 12 inches away from chicken. If necessary, push coals to one side of grill to create indirect heat. Add two large handfuls of soaked pimento (allspice) wood sticks and chips (See Cook’s Notes) or other aromatic wood chips to coals, then close grill. When thick white smoke billows from grill, place chicken on grate, skin side up, and cover. Let cook undisturbed for 35 to 45 minutes.

Uncover the grill. The chicken will be golden and mahogany in some spots. Chicken thighs may already be cooked through. For other cuts, turn chicken over and add more wood chips, and charcoal as needed. Cover and continue cooking, checking and turning every 10 minutes. Jerk chicken is done when skin is burnished brown and chicken juices are completely clear, with no pink near the bone. For large pieces, this can take up to an hour.

While chicken is cooking, begin to prepare the rice.

In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in the water, at room temperature, for 5 minutes and set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat peanut oil over a medium heat until it begins to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped shallot and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in rice, mixing with a wooden spoon until all of the grains are coated with peanut oil. Fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly.Gently stir in the coconut milk, water, saffron mixture, agave or sugar, turmeric, cumin taking care as the oil will splatter. Season with salt, and gently stir, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom while everything comes to a boil.

Once liquid achieves a boil, reduce heat to low. Place lid on pot, slightly askew to allow some steam to escape. Stir occasionally to make sure rice does not stick to bottom of pan and the sugar in the coconut milk does not burn. Allow to simmer *very* gently for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Stir in the black beans and cook for a few minutes more until hot. Remove from heat and cover the saucepan. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork when you are ready to serve.

When the chicken is done, transfer to a platter.Garnish with lime wedges and serve with the rice.

Cook’s Notes:
Pimento wood sticks and chips are available at www.pimentowood.com.

Alternatively you bake the chicken in the oven if a grill is not readily available.After marinating and you are ready to cook the chicken, heat oven to 350°F and bake chicken for 45-55 minutes, until done.

Also, if time is of the essence, you can first bake the chicken at 300°F in the oven then finished off on the grill. This will result in crispy skin, with perfect texture and flavor.

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Crustless Ham, Potato & Spinach Quiche

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Adapted from Shannah Coe
My Suburban Kitchen
October 2017

A perfectly protein packed dish that can be served  any time of the day that you desire.  Serve for breakfast, brunch or even for  a light dinner with a mixed  greens side salad.  It is fast and easy to prepare and so delicious!

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
8 ounces cooked ham, diced
6 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon Madras curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 package of commercially prepared refrigerated Southwestern shredded potatoes
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375° F.  Lightly grease a 9- inch pie pan and line  with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add in ham, cream chili powder, curry powder and cumin. Stir in potatoes and 3/4 cup cheese. Stir in spinach, bell pepper and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheese.

Cover with foil and bake in the  preheated oven for 25 minutes. Increase heat to
400°F, remove foil and bake for an additional 10- 15 minutes or until the middle of  the quiche is set.

Cook’s Notes:
You can easily use Swiss cheese to replace the Gruyere and use kale in place of the spinach. Any type of commercially prepared shredded potatoes can also take the place of the Southwestern  seasoned version. The combination of the mild spices from the Southwestern potatoes give and extra punch of flavor to the fresh spinach used in this dish.

Pappardelle and Tagliatelle with Shrimp, Bell Peppers, Asparagus and Basil

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Normally, I would make this dish with fettuccine, but looking in the pantry, there was none to be had. However, using up all the odds and ends of pappardelle and tagliatelle to make a full serving for four, there was enough of these two types of pasta to make this dish. Also note that red and yellow bell peppers aren’t just a colorful addition to a meal. They have a milder taste than their green counterparts, making them instantly more appealing to kids—and adults alike. A little asparagus and basil added just enough touch of green to the pasta. Serve this pasta dish the next time you’re in the mood for seafood.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
½  pound  fettuccine (or whatever pasta you have on hand)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 small red bell peppers, cut into ¼ inch strips
2 small yellow bell peppers, cut into ¼ inch strips
1 bunch of think stalk asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces on the diagonal
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ¼ pound medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, butterflied
¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add a pinch of salt. Add pasta and stir with tongs to prevent the pasta from sticking.Test the pasta by tasting it
Follow the cooking time on the package, but always taste pasta before draining to make sure the texture is right Pasta cooked properly should be al dente (to the tooth)—just a little chewy.

Drain cooked pasta well in a colander. Set aside.

In a saute pan or skillet large enough to hold all the pasta after it has been cooked, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat for 1 minute.

Add the bell peppers and asparagus. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover the pan and cook for 2 more minutes to soften the vegetables.

Add the onion, garlic and shrimp to the saute pan. Cook and stir for 3 – 4 minutes, or until the shrimp just begin to turn pink (the shrimp should be barely done).

Add the red pepper flakes.Add the pasta to the saute pan with the peppers and shrimp.Cook and stir for 1 minute to heat through and incorporate the flavors. Add the basil and serve hot immediately.

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Sesame Crusted Mahi Mahi

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This recipe takes on an Asian flair with a coating of sesame seeds and furikake on the tuna and a dressed salad of  soba noodles with bell peppers and green garden vegetables tossed in a yuzu and soy sauce vinaigrette.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Mahi Mahi:
Four 8-ounce Mahi Mahi Tuna steaks
2 egg whites
1 cup white sesame seeds
1 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup furikake dry Japanese rice seasoning
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Yuzu Soy Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Yuzu juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Soba Noodles:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 cup sake
2 tablespoons ginger, grated
1/4 cup Yuzu juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon chili oil
1 pound soda noodles
4 shiso leaves , julienned
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, picked
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
3 scallions, thinly cut on the bias

Vegetable Garnish:
1/4 bunch thin asparagus
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup snow peas
1 cup English peas, in pod
Salt, taste
Dash Chili Oil
Squirt lemon juice
2 scallions, cut thinly on the bias

Directions:
For the Crusted Tuna:
In a shallow bowl, mix white and black sesame seeds and  the furikake in a shallow pan. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the tuna with egg white on all sides. Dip the tuna in the sesame mixture on all sides, pressing the seed coating into the fish.

Heat oil in a cast iron skill over medium high heat.

Add in the tuna gently and cook for approximately 30 seconds on each side. Use a spoon to baste the tuna with the hot oil to cook it evenly on each side.

Gently remove the tuna from the skillet and it let rest. Slice the tuna and set aside.

For the Yuzu Vinaigrette and Noodles:
In a small bowl, which together the yuzu, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the noodles, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the soba noodles and cook for three minutes.

Using a clean paper towel, wipe the large cast iron skillet used to cook the fish. Return the skillet to the stove and heat oil until shimmering add the bell peppers and season with salt and pepper, cooking until softened, Add the ginger. Add sake and flambe. Stir mixture until a syrup like consistency is reached.

Add in yuzu, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. Reduce the mixture until thickened. Finish with lime zest, lime juice and chili oil.

Drain noodles and add them to a large bowl. Toss noodles with the Yuzu vinaigrette.

For the Vegetable Garnish:
In a medium saucepan, add water and a pinch of salt Bring the salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus, peas and blanch them in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately remove the vegetables and shock them in a bowl of cold ice water to stop the cooking process. Remove vegetables from the ice water bath and dry with clean paper towels. Cut the asparagus on a bias, cut the snow peas on a bias, cut the sugar snap peas and the English peas lengthwise. Toss the vegetables with a bit of chili oil, lemon juice and salt to taste.

To serve, add the noodles to the center of the plate. Arrange the sliced tuna over the noodles. Scatter the vegetable garnish randomly over the tuna and noodles. Add a touch of cilantro and mint leaves, if desired.

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Vegetable Frittata

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Photo Credit: © 2017 GIANT LLC All Rights Reserved.

Frittatas just happened to be one of those dishes that you can use up a whole lot of random leftover vegetables and turn them into a savory meal for brunch or dinner. We like to serve this classic egg dish with fruit for breakfast or with Italian bread and a small mixed greens side salad for a light dinner.

Adapted from Giant LLC
Savory Magazine
September 2017

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
One 8-10 ounce bag baby spinach leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 cups baby Yukon gold potatoes
2 medium tomatoes, diced
8 large eggs
½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach to the skillet and cover; allow to cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic salt and cover again for another 5 minutes; remove from heat and allow to cool. Place the spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Roll the towel up and squeeze the moisture from the spinach. Remove the spinach from the towel and place in a bowl and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into quarters. Heat the remaining olive oil in a 10-inch nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Arrange the spinach over the potatoes. Scatter the tomatoes over the spinach, then pour the eggs over the vegetables. Sprinkle with the cheese. Cook until the edges are set, about 3 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 12 minutes, or until the eggs are completely set in the center.

To serve, slide the frittata out of the skillet and onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice it into wedges and serve warm with a fresh fruit for brunch or with a small side salad of mixed greens for a light lunch or dinner.

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Avocado and Tomato Salad

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Photo Credit: GimmeDeliciousFood.com, 2017

Buy Local and Eat Fresh, with this yummy  Avocado and Tomato Salad. Avocados, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro lightly dressed with fresh lime juice and a drizzle of olive oil makes this quick an easy salad  the perfectly healthy lunch or a side dish to accompany a roasted chicken or a grilled steak.

Life is beautiful and life is simple when you eat fresh….Enjoy!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped tomatoes, about ½ inch dice
3 fresh avocados, large dice
¼ cup minced cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Directions:
In a large salad bowl, place the tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.

Drizzle with olive oil, lime juice, and add the crushed red pepper flakes,salt and pepper to taste. Gently toss.

Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap in fridge for up to 2 hours.

 

Cook’s Notes:
You can substitute the chopped tomatoes, with 2 large diced Heirloom or 5 medium Roma tomatoes. If you prefer a for meatier, tastier tomato, then the Roma tomatoes are for you! Cherry or grape tomatoes work in a pinch as well. Just slice them lengthwise to save time on dicing them.

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Sopa seca de Fideo y Camarones

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Fideos (vermicelli) are much loved in Mexico, where they form the basis of thick, delicious soups. Usually the soups are served as a first course, but our hearty shrimp version is a meal in a bowl.

The name “sopa seca de fideo” translates to “dry soup with noodles”. It’s not soup, it’s called a “dry soup” because the noodles absorb all of the wonderful rich stock, making the noodles taste more delicious than you can possibly imagine.

Although it can be made with straight noodles, I have found if easier to make fideo with the twirled angel hair nests. It’s pretty, and easier to serve that way, one nest per individual  serving.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 dried ancho or pasilla chiles*
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. dried angel hair nests or vemicelli
1/4 cup olive  oil
One medium yellow onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 quart chicken broth
1 pound (30 to 35 per lb.) peeled, deveined shrimp, tails left intact
Kosher salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

For Serving:
1/2 cup sour cream
Queso Fresco
Diced avocado

Directions:
Break stems off chiles and shake out seeds. In a small bowl, cover chiles with hot water and let stand until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and coarsely chop.

Brown the angle hair nests: Choose a frying pan with a lid in which the angel hair nests will all tightly fit in a single layer (about 9 or 10-inches wide, depending on the brand of angel hair nests you use). In the pan, heat the oil until shimmering hot. Working in batches, fry the vermicelli angel hair nests on both sides in the hot oil until golden brown in color. Remove from pan.

Sauté onions and garlic, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in chiles. Add tomatoes, cumin seeds and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat to a simmer and cook angel hair nests in the broth. When broth is simmering, place the browned angel hair nests or vermicelli in a single layer in the pan, nestled into the broth. The nests should cover the whole pan. Turn them over in the broth so that they get moistened on all sides. Cover and cook until the vermicelli has soaked up the liquid, about 5 minutes.

If after 5 minutes the top of the vermicelli is dry, flip over the individual angel hair nests and cook a minute longer. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon soup into wide, shallow bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and some avocado, if you like, and sprinkle with cilantro.

Cook’s Notes:
Vermicelli usually comes in 1 pound packages, so about 1/2 a package can be used for this recipe. If you cannot find angel hair nests at the market, you can make fideo with straight vermicelli pasta. Just break up the pasta in 3 to 4 inch long segments and cook the same way as you would the nests, browning them first in hot oil.

*Good dried chiles are soft, flexible, and smell a bit like prunes. Avoid hard, brittle specimens—they’re old and less flavorful.

How Hot Is Your Chile? To assess a chile’s heat, slice off its top through the ribs and seeds, where the heat-producing compound capsaicin is concentrated. Touch the slice to your tongue. If you want your food to be milder, split the chile and scrape out all or some of the ribs and seeds. If your skin is sensitive, wear kitchen gloves or hold the chiles with a fork—and don’t touch your eyes.

The trick to a great sopa seca de fideo is the chicken broth. If you do not have the time to make your own homemade chicken stock, you can easily use bouillon, boxed broth, and canned chicken stock. While bouillon and the boxes work in a pinch, nothing beats homemade stock for this recipe. It brings a richness that can’t be had any other way. So if you try it, I strongly urge you to use homemade stock!

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Thai Chicken Satay

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If you like Thai food and it amazing combination of  flavors, then you are going to love this recipe for Thai Chicken Satay. And the best part about this recipe is that the chicken can be BAKED OR GRILLED and we have  included instructions for baking or indoor/outdoor grilling so you can make this recipe year round – because you will want to make this recipe year round. I am specifically posting it RIGHT NOW. Not only will it be a showstopping main dish for a backyard barbecue, but you will want to have it for a special occasion or a holiday meal, later on in the year, like for Christmas or New Year’s. And to get even more mileage out this recipe, simple use chicken wings to make a fantastic appetizer!

Serve 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
2 cups low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
1 cup prepared Thai peanut sauce, extra  for serving
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
1 tablespoon chopped unsalted peanuts, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
Cooked Jasmine Rice, for serving

Directions:
In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, ground coriander, curry powder, fish sauce,  chili oil and peanut sauce. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight for best results.

Line a baking sheet with foil and add marinated chicken, discarding excess yogurt. Bake for 18–20 minutes or until an internal thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Set broiler to high. Place chicken under broiler for 4 minutes until golden brown.

Transfer the chicken  to a serving plate, and garnish with  cilantro and peanuts. Serve with limes,  peanut sauce for dipping and jasmine rice for a main course.

Cook’s Notes:
One 14-ounce can of coconut milk can be used as substitute for the yogurt.

TO GRILL: Grease an indoor or outdoor grill and heat to medium heat. Once hot, grill chicken approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165 º F).

Add reserved Sauce to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat then stir in 1/2 cup peanut butter until completely combined. If you prefer a thinner sauce, stir in water 1 tablespoon at a time. Taste and add additional chili sauce if desired for a spicier sauce.

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Italian Sausages with Bell Peppers and Polenta

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This dish  offers the classic Italian-American combination of sausage and peppers on a bed of polenta enriched with Parmesan cheese. By putting the emphasis on the peppers and onions, it makes an indulgent meal a healthy one, as well, with 34 grams of protein and just 31 grams of fat.

Serves 2

Ingredients:
½ cup polenta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 mild pork sausages
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2-3 Italian frying peppers, sliced, seeds discarded
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2-3 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, torn

Directions:
To cook the polenta,  add 4 cups of water to a 2-quart sauce pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and let the water return to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta thickens and absorbs most of the water, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
While the polenta cooks, prepare the sausage and peppers.

In a 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil until hot but not smoking. Add the sausages and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. Do not wipe out the pan.

In the same pan used to cook the sausage, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until the onions begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the peppers, garlic, and rosemary, and continue cooking until the peppers start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup wine, if using and cook until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the tomato paste and 1½ cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook until the liquid has thickened, about 5 minutes. Slice the sausages and add them to the pan, turning once or twice until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, transfer the polenta to serving bowls and top with the sausage and peppers. Garnish with torn fresh basil.

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The F Word Weekly Challenge

Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Basil Sauce, Mozzarella, Spaghetti, & Broccoli Rabe.

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Gordon’s Recipe:

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