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Azeri Chicken and Quince Stew

Quince has a hard flesh that makes it very suitable for slow stews because it doesn’t fall apart.

  • A chicken, cut in pieces
  • 2 onions
  • 2 quinces
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  1. Put everything but turmeric in the pot, cover and stew over low heat until chicken is tender
  2. Add turmeric and squeeze lemon over the stew, stir and cook for a few more minutes. That’s it.

It freezes well.

Azeri Beef Stew With Dried Plums Recipe

Bozartma: Azeri Beef Stew with Tomatoes and Dried Plums

I find stews with red sauce particularly appealing, as the one below. Don’t be shy with the oil, as it gives the dish the depth it asks for. Balance the richness with a side dish of fresh vegetables and pickles.

  • 1 kg beef shank cut in medium pieces
  • 2 onions, chopped as finely as you can
  • 2 tablespoons tomate paste
  • A handful of dried plums
  • 4 potatoes, cut in medium cubes
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  1. Sauté meat and onions in vegetable oil for 10-15 minutes. Then add 3 glasses of water and cook until meat is tender.
  2. Add tomato paste, potatoes and plums and cook until potatoes are done.
  3. Give the dish the final touch with turmeric and salt to taste. Serve.

Tips&Tricks: To freeze it, do it before putting in the potatoes and plums and add when reheating the stew.

Rabbit and Rice recope

Rabbit and Rice

This dish celebrates the fact that rabbit and rice were created for each other. Aim for a soupy consistency, the one that makes you doubt about using a fork.

  • A rabbit, cut in smallish pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 3 cups of water or chicken broth
  1. Sauté rabbit, onion and garlic in a generous amount of olive or vegetable oil over medium heat until you get a brown layer sticked to the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and keep cooking until it darkens a bit more.
  2. Add half a cup of water or broth and you’ll witness a marvelous transformation as the layer disappears and gives way to a brown sauce that makes rabbit look much more appetizing.
  3. Let it reduce, add rice and stir well.
  4. Add water or broth and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Cover with a lid and let rest. Check every five minutes for the desired consistency. Serve.
Rabbit and Potatoes

Rabbit and Potatoes

My grandmother used to make this every Sunday with rabbits she raised herself. I know I’ll never achieve the perfection that comes from repetition.

  • 3 Rabbit thighs or a whole rabbit cut in pieces
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Potatoes
  • Bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  1. Put everything in the pot with a pinch of salt and cook over medium-low heat. Stir once in a while, scraping the bottom of the pot.
  2. After 10 minutes, cover with a lid and cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Tips&Tricks:

  • As many stews, it tastes better the day after.
  • If you have any leftovers you want to freeze, eat all the potatoes, then freeze.
Azeri Lemon and Leek Chicken Stew

Azeri Chicken with Leeks and Lemons

I cannot travel much nowadays. Even the shortest breakaway drains our stamina because of all the attention our two babies need, so we’ve decided to wait a little longer until our next trip. Instead, I let my imagination do the work through cooking books. The latest arrival was The Food and Art of Azerbaijan, with many one pot dishes like this one, which is called “Toyug-Límon Buglamasy” (Google cannot find anything by those words, by the way.)

Reading the simple everyday recipes the book is filled with paints a perfect picture of an ordinary Azeri family kitchen and that’s why I love it. This humble chicken stew is a perfect example.

  • 1 chicken
  • 3 medium leeks
  • 3 small lemons
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cut the chicken in medium size pieces.
  2. Finely chop leeks.
  3. Cut lemons in half.
  4. Put all the ingredients in the pot, add salt and pepper to taste, cover with a lid and stew for 45 minutes. Serve with a green salad.

I’ve made it with stuff from the supermarket, but I will try next spring with home raised chicken, and leeks and lemons from a Mayka’s garden.

Oxtail Braised in Red Wine

Oxtail Braised in Red Wine

It couldn’t get simpler than this. This dish all it basically needs is time.

Don’t confuse fat with gelatin. Oxtail contains a lot of the latter. You’ll be rewarded with tender and unctuous meat that asks for yet another glass of wine.

  • Oxtail, cut in pieces
  • a chopped medium onion
  • two cloves of garlic, chopped
  • bay leave
  • a bottle of good red wine
  • butter or vegetable oil
  • salt and pepper.
  1. Brown onion and garlic in some butter or oil.
  2. Add meat and enough wine to cover it.
  3. Let it simmer for 2-3 hours over very low heat until meat is done, dark and bright.

Best eaten with rich mashed potatoes or parsnips.

long beans and pumpkin in coconut milk

Pumpkin and Green Beans in Coconut Milk

This recipe comes from Wendy Hutton’s book “Singapore Food”, which I bought when stopping for a week in this city-state on my way to a wedding in Adelaide. I gained 4 kilos because the food was so good.

  • 6 shallots
  • 2 large red chillies
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (or 4 salted anchovies)
  • 1 tablespoon soaked dried prawns (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 400 g pumpkin, cut into small cubes
  • 200 g long beans, cut up in medium pieces
  • Oil and salt
  1. Finely chop shallots and chillies.
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and fry shallots, chillies and shrimp paste over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the prawns, stir-fry for another couple of minutes and then add the coconut milk.
  4. Add long beans and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Add pumpkin and cut for another five.
  6. Season with salt, make sure the vegetables are cooked to your liking and serve with steamed rice.

It doesn’t freeze very well.

Salted cod with chickpeas

Salted Cod with Chickpeas

I know salted cod is an acquired taste, but it’s well worth the effort of learning to love it. When, as a kid, I was asked what foods I didn’t like I would answer “everything but salted cod”. Not anymore.

If you cannot find good salted cod, do it yourself.

  • 500g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • A small onion, chopped
  • 500g  salted cod, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • Bay leaf
  • Olive oil
  1. Gently sauté the onions with some olive oil.
  2. Add drained chickpeas and gently boil until tender. Do not use much water and add a bit more if necessary. You can either make a soup or a stew, depending on the amount of water you use. I like it on the soup side because salted cod skin has so much gelatin you’ll end up with a silky broth to die for.
  3. Add paprika and a good splash of olive oil.
  4. Add cod, cover the pot and turn off the heat.
  5. Serve.

I’ve just had three serving of this soupy stew today for lunch. My wife, two. I was going to freeze some, but I guess I will have to start over…

Ribs, sausages and fideos

Pork ribs, sausages and noodles

If we judged a region’s cuisine by what we see on restaurant menus, people meals would be horrible monotonous. There is always a family cooking style rarely by the ocasional visitor. This recipe belongs to this type of cooking.

It comes from Spain, in case you were wondering.

  • 0.250-0.500 kg of pork ribs cut in pieces
  • 0.250-0.500 kg pork sausages (chipolata or a similar type), cut in pieces
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • A generous splash of white wine
  • 1 chopped tomato (use the canned ones when out of season)
  • 3/4 cup of fideos (or broken thin spaghetti) or short-grain rice.
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • Chopped parsely (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  1. Brown ribs and sausages.
  2. Add onions and garlic and stir for 5 minutes scrapping the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add tomate and cook for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add wine and reduce it.
  5. Add pasta (or rice) and stir until it is shiny and well covered with the juices from the pan.
  6. Add parsley and broth (or water) and let it cook uncovered for 10 minutes over medium heat. Cover, let it rest for another 5-10 minutes and serve.

Try varying the amount of broth until you achieve the consistency you like. I enjoy it on the saucy side so I tend to add more broth, but be careful as it’ll be easier to overcook pasta or rice.

You can freeze the base for this dish (up to step 4) to have a quick meal in minutes just adding the frozen block to the pot, heating it up and then following steps 5 and 6.

Tomato and yogurt chicken curry

Tomato and Yogurt Chicken Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 3 choped cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
  • A generous handful of chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons of garam masala (or the curry powder of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 chopped tomatoes (I use canned ones)
  • 2 large chicken things, cut in 4 or 5 pieces each.
  • Gee, butter or vegetable oil
  • Salt
  1.  Gently fry the onions, garlic, ginger and mint in a ghee for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garam masala and turmeric and stir a little bit.
  3. Add yogurt and tomatoes and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken and cook until it’s tender. If the sauce is too watery (not all tomatoes and yogurt have the same water content), let it simmer uncovered until it thickens.
  5. Serve with rice, chapatis or dinner rolls.

This recipe tastes much better the day after.