Meatballs and eggs

Tava Kyabab, meatballs and eggs

This is a quick and easy dish from Azerbaijan, the type of recipe that makes you wonder how good it can be if made with the best ingredients, not the ones I get from the supermarket.

  • 500 g minced beef
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 eggs
  1. Mix meat and onions, season with salt and pepper and make 6 meatballs.
  2. Add two tablespoons of vegetable of oil to the pot and brown meatballs on both sides over medium heat, around 5 minutes per side.
  3. Beat eggs and add to the pot. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook until set.

Serve it with a tart salad and good bread and you’ll be in heaven.

Autumn Shackshucka

Autumn Shakshouka

Since Yottam Ottolenghi praised this recipe in his book Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi (just Google for it before and after the date of publication), the world seems to have discovered a dish that has been very popular in its many different variations despite celebrity chefs (just to name a few regional variations: Spanish huevos guisados, Azerbaijani  pomidor gayganagy, and Georgian chirbuli).

He includes it again in his book Jerusalem: A Cookbook, saying that the recipe changes depending on what’s in season. Wise words: you cannot make anything tasty (well, what I consider tasty) with tomatoes during the winter. So this is the recipe with potatoes.

  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons tomate paste
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • Salt and olive oil
  1. Sauté pepper, chili and potatoes until almost done over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic and cumin. Keep cooking until cumin releases its aroma.
  3. Add tomato paste disolved in some water. Adjust seasoning, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Make four holes with a spoon and place one egg in each. Cover and cook to your liking.
  5. Serve with plenty of bread.
meatballs and potatoes

Meatballs and Potatoes

This is my one pot take on a dish from my mother’s repertoire. She browns the meatballs, then adds the sauce ingredients, and finishes the dish with fry potatoes. Her dish looks better, by my version tastes as well and it’s a lot leaner (as in lean manufacturing.)

  • 2 potatoes, cut in small cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Minced veal (around 500 g)
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Parsley, finely chopped
  • Breadcrumbs, soaked in milk or water
  • 1 large egg
  • Flour
  • Saffron
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Mix meat, garlic, parsely and egg. Squeeze as much water as you can out of the breadcrumbs and add to the previous mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Make small meatballs (you get the the ideal size when you need two happy bites to eat one) and sprinkle with some flour.
  3. Fry the potato cubes in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until brown.
  4. Add onions and fry for 1 minute.
  5. Make room for the meatballs and cook shaking the pot occasionally.
  6. Add saffron, salt and pepper and 1/4 of water. Put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Done.
Spanish Fabada Recipe

Spanish Fabada

A truly one pot wonder and easy recipe from the Northern Spanish region of Asturias.

  • Butter beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 chorizo
  • 1 blood pudding
  • 1 piece of salted pork belly, soaked overnight
  1. Put beans in the pot and add enough water to cover them by two fingers. Boil for one and a half hour and keep a relaxed eye on the beans to add some cold water if they need more to be covered (not by two fingers now, but just covered).
  2. Prick the chorizo and blood pudding and add to the pot along with the salted pork. Cook until beans are tender.
  3. Add salt to taste and save for tomorrow. It will improve.

Tips&Tricks:

  • Blood pudding must contain onions to achieve the authentic Asturian flavor.
  • Use Spanish chorizo or Portuguese chouriço.
  • Eat the next day. This should be mandatory.

It freezes well.

stuffed-potatoes-1024

Stuffed Potatoes

This dish brings fond memories from my childhood. Curiously, I had never done it before despite being so easy.

Once cooked, the filling has an unsofisticated porcini mushroom shape, but I thinks it’s very neat.

  • 6 Potatoes
  • Veal or beef, minced
  • 3 cloves galic
  • 1 egg
  • Parsley
  • Saffron
  1. Mix minced meat, finely chopped garlic and parsely, and egg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Peel potatoes and make holes as you can being careful not to break the potatoes.
  3. Fill potatoes with meat mixture.
  4. Add some oil to the pot and place filled potatoes.
  5. Mix saffron with 1/4 cup of water and add to the pot.
  6. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are done.

This dish does not freeze well because of the potatoes.

Lamb with pomegranate

Lamb with Pomegranate

This dish uses almost the same ingredients as lamb with chestnuts but instead of sautéing you directly boil the meat and onions without stirring. It’s a good example of how combining the same ingredients but using different techniques produces different flavors and textures.

  • 1 kg of lamb, cut in small pieces
  • 4 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 or 2 pomegranates
  1. Put lamb and onions in the pot.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of water and cook until the meat is tender. Do not stir.
  3. Add turmeric and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add pomegranate seeds and serve.
An Ugly Fish Soup

An Ugly Fish Soup

The original recipe calls for sturgeon, a fish I cannot find where I live. At first monkfish was the substitute of choice because of its robust texture but then I saw a conger eel that looked perfect.

Nature has been kind enough to give ugly fishes fantastic flavor. Lamprey, monkish, scorpion fish and conger eel are delicious and among my favorite. Sturgeon must follow this rule for sure. So while at the fishmonger, aim for the grotesque.

  • Four pieces of ugly fish
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 10 allspice peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • a generous bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • Chilli powder
  1. Bring 3 liters of to a rolling boil and add onions, allspice, bay leaves, parsley and salt. Boil for 30 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste, chilli and fish and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Whisk egg yolk and flour. Add 1/4 cup of cooking broth. Remove pot from heat and egg and flour mixture, stirring until the soup thickens and serve.
Lamb with Chestnuts

Lamb with Chestnuts

A simple combination of meat, onions and time that creates a warm and profound dish.

  • 1 kg lamb, cut in small pieces
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • Chestnuts
  • Vegetable oil and salt.
  1. Brown the meat over medium heat, stirring once in a while.
  2. Add onions and keep cooking over medium-low heat until meat is tender and onions have melted into a rich brown sauce.
  3. Add chestnuts and keep cooking for 15 minutes. Done.

This dish freezes very well.

Autumn Pot Roast

Autumn Pork Pot Roast

I love autumn. It’s my favorite time of the year both in the kitchen and outdoors. There are not many things I enjoy more than an afternoon walk on the woods looking for mushrooms and end the day by a fireplace.

  • A generous pork shoulder or 3 pork shanks
  • A large bottle of cider
  • 2 quince
  • Chestnuts
  • French onions
  1. Cover the meat with cider and stew uncovered over low heat.
  2. When the liquid has reduced to a third of its original volume, add the rest of the ingredients and keep cooking until it’s becomes sticky and shinny. Serve with mashed root vegetables.

Tips&Tricks:

  • Pork shanks are great. After proper cooking, their flesh is giving and flavorful and it gives a wonderful glaze to the dish.
Almond and Yogurt Chicken Curry

Almond and Yogurt Chicken Curry

The picture looks awful but it is a rich curry worth trying. It’s loosely based on a traditional dish called murgh badami.

  • One chicken (or four chicken thighs) cut in pieces.
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 slice of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 25 chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • Ghee or butter
  • Salt
  1. Brown onions in ghee or butter.
  2. Add chicken, garlic, ginger, salt, chili powder and turmeric, and cook over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
  3. Add garam masala and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add yogurt and keep cooking for a minute.
  5. Add chopped almonds, put the lid on and keep cooking until chicken is tender.

Tips&Tricks:

  • This dish will look a lot better using ground almonds.
  • You can finish it adding some cream but I believe it’s already quite rich.