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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Roast Chicken with Vegetable Pan Sauce

Succulent, moist, tender  are words that often people can not relate with when they cook chicken.
Not any more!   This recipe can help you achieve all these, leaving you and your guests craving more.  A truly simple technique for cooking a whole chicken all done with some simple preparation, the right temperature and cooking time.  Follow this recipe for the ULTIMATE roast chicken....

 *** PRE HEAT OVEN TO 500 * F.

You will need one 2 1/2 -3 lb. chicken.

Fresh rosemary                                                       
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
Mix these ingredients in a small bowl and set aside .

Cut chicken across the back and force open.  Rub liberally with marinade on all sides.

2 carrots peeled and chopped                  
2 celery stalks  cleaned and chopped
3 green onions finely chopped
1 white onion peeled and quartered
1 lemon 6-7 slices but do not cut through
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Place veggies in a roasting pan with lemon in center.

Place chicken on veggies carefully wrapping            
over the lemon containing it to the cavity of the bird.

*** REDUCE HEAT TO 400 * F 

Place uncovered in the oven  for for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Once cooked, remove chicken from pan and set aside.

To make pan sauce, remove lemon from pan and discard.  Take all veggies and pass through a food mill or blender and add back to pan.

Place pan on stove top on high heat.

Add 2 Tbsp of  all purpose flour to veggies and stir repeatedly until mixed  and it begins to brown ( approx. 5 minutes ).  Now add 11/2 cups of chicken broth to pan, scraping all the bits of flour and veggies off the bottom.
Once the sauce is brown and thick like gravy, remove from heat.

Carefully slice chicken and plate, smothering with pan sauce.

The initial high temperature helps create a crispy skin and when reduced, cooks the chicken to perfection.
Serve with your favorite salad or rice.

Prep time: 20 minutes.
Total cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus 15 minutes for sauce.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pan Seared lamb chops with creamy mushroom barley(orzo)

I love the versatility of barley. Barley can be used in soups, minestrone, cold fresh summer salads or in this case in the style of a risotto. I compare this to a risotto because the barley manages to keep its firm texture on the inside but gets creamy and smooth on the outside.
This is a fairly simple preparation with the barley being pre-boiled to lessen the cooking time. Matched with some wonderful mushrooms the earthy flavors go great with some fresh lamb.


8 lamb loin chops
1 tbsp. dry rosemary
1 tbsp. dry oregano
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 onion diced
2 oz. brandy
1/4 cup dry porcini mushrooms
1 cup pearl barley(orzo)
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmigiano cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Boil 1 cup of barley for 30 minutes, drain and set aside.
Soak porcini in 1/2 cup warm water for 20 minutes, strain and reserve liquid.
In a hot  pan add onion , garlic and saute for 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms and reserved liquid to pan , stir for 1 min.
Add cooked barley to pan and toss well . Stir in vegetable stock and cook 5 minutes.
Add cream and parmigiano cheese and warm through.
Sprinkle lamb with rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper .
In a very hot pan add some olive oil . Sear lamb  for 2 minutes on each side then add brandy and cook for 1 more minute.
Serve barley with lamb immediately .

Beautifully seared lamb chops go great with this Risotto style barley....enjoy!Prep. time 10 minutes
Cooking time 45 minutes

Monday, March 15, 2010

Championship Chili

Chili is one of those comfort foods that is great any time of the year.  Whether you are coming in from the cold or a scorching hot sunny day it just makes you feel good.  In the middle of winter it can warm you up and in the summer it can make you sweat and cool you off.  I enjoy a boldly flavored Chili but not one that is overly spicy.
The mix of spices I use in my Chili are bold but not so hot as to burn a hole in your tongue.  It has a well balanced flavor and is thick and rich enough to leave everyone satisfied.

It's sweet, it's hot! and it's fantastic!


3 lbs. ground beef
5 cups tomato puree or sauce
1 cup water
1 bottle of your favorite beer
3 peppers , diced ( any colours)
1 large white or spanish onion, diced
4 green onions, diced
1 can red kidney beans (liquids removed)
1 can white kidney beans (liquids removed)
1 cup grated aged Canadian cheddar cheese

-Spice mix:
4 tbsp cumin
4 tbsp chili powder
4 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ancho chili powder
1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
Salt and pepper

In a large pot on stove top add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and saute peppers and onions on high heat for approx 7 minutes
Add ground beef and saute until browned approx. 10 minutes
Add spices  and mix well.
Add tomato puree, water, beer and bring to a quick boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove lid and add beans (red and white) and cook an additional 45 minutes uncovered..
Add grated cheddar cheese, mix well and serve hot!
Serve with various types of crackers or garlic bread.  Enjoy!

Prep. time 10 minutes
Cooking time  1 hour and 45 minutes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Asiago and Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

Chicken breast can be prepared a million ways.  Most people tend to over cook it until it becomes dry and unpleasant to eat. This recipe requires a little preperation and results in juicy, tender, succulent breast with a crispy coating and a nice punch of flavor from Asiago cheese.   There are obviously many ingredients that can be used in a stuffed breast but I found this to be a  great combination with both mild and bold flavors.

8 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/2 cup Basil pesto ( fresh or store bought)
1 Roasted red pepper, cut into strips
1 cup Bread crumbs
3 Eggs
1/2 cup Chicken stock
1/2 cup White wine
Salt and Pepper
Dry oregano
1/4 cup Grated parmigiano cheese

Pound chicken breasts with mallot until flat.
In center of each breast add 1 Tbsp. Asiago, 1 tsp. Pesto, 1 tsp. bread crumbs and a piece of roasted pepper.
Carefully roll breast and seal with toothpicks.
Beat eggs in a bowl and dip rolled breast in, making sure they are entirely coated.
In a seperate bowl add remaining bread crumbs, parmigiano cheese, some dry oregano, salt and pepper.
Dip each rolled breast in bread crumb mixture until coated.
Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry breasts until golden brown on all sides (approx 10 minutes) then place in an ovenproof baking dish.
Add chicken stock and wine to baking dish, cover with foil and place in a 400*f oven for 1/2 hour.
 Can be served over rice or with a fresh salad.

 Prep. time 20 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lamb Stew

Ontario, Canada produces some of the best lamb I have ever tasted.  It is wonderfully mild tasting without the gaminess you find in most imported lamb.
For this reason I choose Ontario lamb above all others.  Flavors are easily infused resulting in succulent lamb without the harsh taste or smell.
Various cuts of lamb can be used for this dish including shanks, loin chops, shoulder, rib and sirloin chops.
I find the variety of cuts give this stew differing textures with every bite although a single cut can be used.
This is another dish I find at the top of my list for truly savoury and comforting foods. It is a fairly simple recipe that just requires a bit of preparation and the results are always fantastic.
These are the standard ingredients I use for my stew but this lamb can be cooked with just about anything else you prefer .

3 lbs various cuts of  Ontario lamb
2 carrots chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup white wine
1 cup beef or veal stock
1 cup cannellini beans
Salt and pepper
All purpose flour for dredging
Extra virgin olive oil

Lightly dredge lamb pieces in flour and place in a hot pan with some olive oil.  Cook for 5 minutes on each side or until nicely browned.
Remove lamb and set aside.  In the same pan add onion, celery and carrots an saute for 5 minutes until veggies are soft.  Now add tomato sauce, beans, stock and white wine and cook an additional 5 minutes until well blended and warmed through.
Place lamb in a baking dish, cover and place in a 400*f oven for 1 1/2 hours.

The stew can now be plated on its own or served over a bed of arborio or white rice.

Prep time 20 minutes
Total cooking time 1 h 40 minutes.

Classic Osso Buco

Italian food?  Pizza, pasta, we are all familiar with these dishes but Osso buco may unfamiliar territory for some.  For myself, it doesn't get more Italian than this.  Veal shanks or veal leg cut across the bone slowly braised to perfection has long been one of my favorites.  Classic Italian flavors of tomatoes, carrots, celery and onion all simmering together in a wine bath....
Aside from the super tender fall off the bone meat in osso buco the appeal is the bone itself. The bone contains the marrow which when cooked this way creates something indescribably magical.  The texture of the marrow is soft and it becomes infused with all the flavors of the dish but also gives great flavor in return.
Some people may get turned off by thought of eating the marrow ( always try something once) but you can just eat the meat .
The result from this recipe is meat that melts in your mouth surrounded by succulent veggies all swimming in a wonderful sauce.  A simple recipe that creates a real symphony of Italian flavor!

4-6 veal shank steaks approx 1 inch thick
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
3 carrots diced
2 potatoes diced
2 celery stalks diced
1 large onion diced
3 bay leaves
all purpose flour for dredging meat
salt and pepper

Pre heat oven to 350*f

Dredge shanks lightly with flour and fry in olive oil until browned on both sides, place in a roasting pan.
Saute all veggies in same pan until slightly soft approx 8 minutes.  Add sauce and wine and cook an additional 5 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour veggies over veal shanks in roasting pan and add the bay leaves.
Cover and place in oven for approx. 1 hour.
Remove cover and roast for 25 minutes.
The osso buco should be fork tender with a thick sauce and tender veggies.
This dish can be eaten on its own , with plain white rice added to the sauce  or a risotto milanese. Enjoy!

prep time 10 minutes
total cooking time  1 hour 45 minutes


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