Tag Archives: sauce

Lamb Chops with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushrooms

17 Aug

In order to enjoy this recipe, you will need to love three things: 1) Lamb, 2) Bourbon, and 3) Mushrooms.  I know a lot of people who do not care for at least one of the items on this list, which is why I decided to make it just for myself.  As it turned out, it was for the best because I loved the sauce so much that I practically LICKED MY PLATE CLEAN.

Bourbon cream sauce = boozy magical elixir.

This recipe is easy and fast to make, with the added bonus that this is a one-pan meal.  When cooking lamb in a skillet, it’s important to know that it can get a little bit smoky in the kitchen.  So, I’d highly recommend making this dish on a night when you can throw open the windows or you run the risk of your kitchen looking like the CC Club, c. 1995.

Now, let’s talk for a minute about lamb chops.  There are all kinds of lamb chops.  My favorite is the rib chop, cut about an inch in thickness, Frenched (that means with the bone, cleaned up a bit so that there is little or no meat on the bone).  If you’re going to grill chops, some people like them a little thicker.  Others prefer to have the chops butterflied, with no handle-like bone.  Sometimes your butcher will give you options, sometimes they are already cut and you just have to decide that the cut available is the one you wanted.  This recipe is based on my favorite cut of chop, with about 3 oz. of meat on each one and that estimate is generous.  After cooking, each chop provides about 3-4 bites of lamb.  Really, tasty, awesome bites.

I served this dish with a side of farfalle and peas.  It would be excellent with anything that can soak up some sauce, like garlic mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles, spaetzle, gnocchi, a big slab of Texas Toast.  Texas Toast probably doesn’t actually count as a side, but it sure would make a nice edible squeegee for your plate.

Lamb Chops with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushrooms
Serving size: 2 chops, sauce and mushrooms
Serves: 4

3-4 lbs lamb rib chops (approx. 8 chops, 3 oz. of meat/chop)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb. button mushrooms, quartered
2/3 c. bourbon
1 c. stock (lamb, chicken, or beef)
1/4 c. soy creamer
1 T. fresh thyme leaves

Sprinkle the lamb chops with salt and pepper.  Set at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, add lamb chops.  Cook partially covered for about 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove chops from the pan, set on a plate and cover.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion and garlic, then cook for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add bourbon and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Cook for a few minutes and add the stock.  Bring to a low simmer, adjusting the heat as needed.  Cook until the liquid has reduced and has thickened slightly.  Turn off the heat, and stir in creamer and thyme.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon mushrooms over chops and drizzle with sauce to serve.

Estimated calories:  595 cal/serving

Print it: Lamb Chops with Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushrooms

– In this recipe, dairy cream can be used instead of the non-dairy soy version used here
– Use your favorite bourbon or whiskey, this time I used Maker’s Mark and it gave the sauce great flavor

Turkish Manti

24 Feb

About a decade ago, I received a Turkish cookbook from my friend Sevda’s mother, Mrs. Bulut. The cookbook is filled with loads of information about Turkish foods, traditions, and ways of serving guests. Reading through it recently, it made me feel a bit nostalgic for my own trip to Turkey, now almost twenty years ago. On that trip I met up with Sevda and her family, who took me around their home in Adana and in nearby towns. It was a wonderful trip, and was able to see places and experience new kinds of foods for the first time. Safely transported and guided by my hosts, this was the smooth part of my trip.

Just before joining up with the Buluts, I spent a few days on my own in Istanbul. This was the not smooth part of my trip. My plan was one of a young college student in pre-Internet times (translation: poorly planned, poorly connected). In my mind, the plan was so simple – arrive in Istanbul and meet up with a friend I had met while studying in Italy. In a letter, I had sent information a few weeks ahead about my plans and arrival date. And here’s where problems one and two come in: 1. my friend was not there to meet me, 2. so I found an inexpensive hotel in which to stay until I could find him. A hotel so sketchy that I used my backpack as a pillow, and that backpack had been placed on every pigeon poop covered piazza in Europe.

Even if you have never been to Istanbul, you may know this – it is one of the largest cities in the world. Having only my friend’s first and last name (no street address, no phone number, no idea what his parent’s names were), I figured I would walk to the post office, find a phone book, and start calling. In English. With this fine plan in mind, my first step was to buy a map so I could locate a post office. On the street and looking for a map, I walked past a rug shop and several men called me inside take a look at the rugs. Sure, I thought, why not. I’M 21 YEARS OLD AND I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM AND NO ONE ELSE DOES EITHER, WHAT COULD GO WRONG (please note: the all caps is my adult-self shouting retrospectively at my young-woman-self).

I entered the rug shop and the men started showing me some rugs. They asked me how I was enjoying Istanbul, and why I was travelling all alone, a young American woman. Sure, I thought, why not tell them the whole story. Beans spilled to perfect strangers, they were shocked and appalled that my friend had not come to pick me up, and decided that it was unacceptable. They called to have tea brought in from next door, rounded up their cousins from a neighboring shop, and set out to call every Parmaksiz in Istanbul. AND THEY FOUND HIM. AND MADE HIM COME PICK ME UP RIGHT THAT MINUTE. In the meantime, I bought a rug. From the most helpful rug salesman in Istanbul.

Turns out, making manti is easier than tracking down a lost friend in Istanbul, but does take just about as many steps. Before we get into the details, I should state that I have NO idea how authentic this recipe actually is. There are many variations on manti, and I made a few non-traditional adjustments to the recipe to accommodate the tastes and food requirements of our household. They turned out to be really delicious, but it is very likely that they are different than those you might find in Turkey.

Manti are very much like other kinds of stuffed pasta found around the world. Similar in form to pot stickers, ravioli, or tortellini, manti are made with fresh pasta, filled, folded, cooked, and topped with sauce. Sometimes they are dropped in boiling water like their Italian counterparts, other times they baked. I opted for the baked version because I felt like they would be less likely to fall apart, which can sometimes happen when filled pasta is dropped in boiling water.

Since this process is somewhat labor intensive, I prepped some of the ingredients in the morning. Part of this recipe includes baking the manti in a pan filled with broth, and I wanted to be sure that the broth was great. I decided to start out by making stock out of beef shank, then using the beef from the shank as part of the filling. With the broth made and the filling in the refrigerator, Sophie and I set out to make the dough and assemble the manti together. My original thought was to use the pasta roller to create the pasta squares, but found that the dough did not hold up well that way. A rolling-pin on a lightly floured surface proved to be the most simple and fastest way to crank out the squares we needed. Sophie took on the task of filling and folding the manti. She’s a pro.

After the manti are shaped and placed in the pan they are baked until they are slightly hardened and start to turn color.  Then, the oven temperature is increased, the pan is filled with hot broth, and returned to the oven to bake until most of the liquid had been absorbed.  The result was a combination of chewy, crunchy textures and perfectly cooked outsides.  While the manti were soaking up all that delicious broth, we made a simple sauce using garlic, non-dairy yogurt, tomato paste, and broth.  A light pink sauce, this flavorful sauce would be delicious on any pasta or served over chicken.  I’ll definitely make that part again.

Turkish Manti
Serving size: 4 pieces + 1/4 c. sauce
Serves: 4

1 T. olive oil
1 lb. beef shank
1/2 onion, cut into big chunks
1/2 c. baby carrots
2 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into big chunks
8 c. water
Salt and pepper

1 c. reserved beef shank, chopped into tiny bits
2 T. onion, finely chopped
1/4 c. reserved beef stock
Salt and pepper

2 c. flour
3 eggs
2-4 T. water
1/2 t. Kosher salt

2 t. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T. tomato paste
3/4 c. reserved beef stock
1/2 c. plain soy yogurt
1/8-1/4 t. cayenne or crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper
Dried mint

In a stock pot, heat 1 T. oil over medium high heat. Add beef shank and brown on both sides. Add onion, carrots, and celery, cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 c. water and stir up browned bits. Add remaining water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for one hour. Remove the beef shank and set aside. Strain and discard solids, reserve the liquid. When the beef has cooled, remove the fat and bone, cut remaining beef into tiny bits. Combine meat with the rest of the meat filling ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, stir, and refrigerate until ready to make manti.

In a large bowl, mix together the dough ingredients by hand adding water until a dough forms. Knead on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until the dough is well mixed, but not so long that the dough becomes tough and overworked. Cut into four pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface until it is as thin as you can get it. Cut the dough into 2-3” squares and set aside.

Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray. If the reserved beef stock is not already warm, heat the stock. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place about 1 t. of the meat filling in the center of each square. Bring the corners together to the middle and pinch the sides together to form a sealed X shape at the top. Some of the dough may not be exactly that shape, just be sure that all of the seams are pinched together tightly. Place the manti in the casserole dish so that they are close together but not touching if you can help it.

Bake the manti for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and increase heat to 400 degrees F. Pour hot stock over the manti so that they are almost fully covered. Return to oven and cook for 30-40 minutes or until almost all of the broth has been absorbed.

In the last few minutes of cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomato paste, 3/4 c. reserved beef stock, soy yogurt, and cayenne pepper. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

Divide manti between four bowls, spoon sauce over the top, and sprinkle top with dried mint.

Estimated calories: 420 cal/serving

Print it: Turkish Manti

– You could make this an easier dish to prepare by using pre-made broth instead of making your own. And if you’re skipping that step, any cooked beef would be a fine substitute for the beef shank.
– Although I didn’t try it, I bet wonton wrappers would make a decent substitute for the pasta, but the cooking time would definitely be different.
– If you eat dairy, Greek yogurt would be really good in place of the non-dairy version we used
– If I were making this for just myself, I’d also add more cayenne than I used here.

Apple Chutney

4 Oct

Last week we ate at The White Horse and had the most delicious samosas.  They were served with a mango chutney on the side which was so good that I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Knowing I had a big bag of apples sitting at home, I decided to try to make a chutney that had some similar flavors to the one I loved so much from The White Horse.  The main problem – I hadn’t paid very close attention to all of the flavors in the mango chutney.  Also, I didn’t have any mangoes.  So, like many of my recipe ideas, I pretty much substituted out so many of the ingredients and flavors in the original that the one I ended up with was nothing at all like the one that inspired the idea in the first place.  The only resemblance is that it is still a chutney.  I love the way this one turned out, but I’m definitely going to have to go back to The White Horse for another round of samosas.

This chutney has a nice blend of sweet, sour, spice, and variety of textures.  It would be excellent served with pork, as a topping for roasted vegetables, or with some bread and cheese.  It can be served at any temperature, but I prefer to bring it to room temperature before serving.  It was very easy to make, and has a nice mild flavor.   Since I was making this for some people who prefer foods on the mild side, I cooked a hot chile in oil to give it a touch of heat then discarded the pepper.  I also used a pretty mild curry which gave it good flavor with only a little bit of heat.  I’ll definitely make it again, and it might be soon because I have a feeling the jars I made will go pretty quickly.

Apple Chutney
Makes 4 pints
Serving Size: 1/4 c.

3 T. vegetable oil
1 hot chile, whole
1 c. onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 T. ginger, minced
4 lbs apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 c. water
1/2 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. curry powder
1 t. cardamom, crushed and ground
1 c. raisins
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add hot chile and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove the chile and discard. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, bell pepper, and ginger and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add apples, and cook for one minute.

In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, brown sugar, curry powder, and cardamom. Add to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and add raisins. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and fill four pint jars. Place caps on tightly, and process in canner for 20 minutes. Remove from canner and set aside to cool.

Estimated Calories: 68 cal/serving

Print it: Apple Chutney

– If you like things on the spicy side, skip the chile step and just add some crushed red pepper.  You could also increase the amount or the heat of the curry you use.
– It is super important to crush the cardamom so you don’t end up with any whole bits, don’t skip this step.
– If you don’t want to can these, you could just add them to jars and refrigerate.  I don’t know how long they will last though, so you might want to use them up fairly quickly.

Apple Banana Butter

16 Sep

This week my mom dropped off a bag of apples that she’d picked from the tree in their backyard.  Unlike apples purchased at a store or orchard, these apples would not win any apple beauty contests.  They look like a team of rejects – holes in some, dents in others, all sorts of sizes, mottled skin.  But, when it comes to flavor they are exactly the way I like them – tart, a bit sweet, crunchy, and not at all mushy.  They are delicious.  With a big pile of these flavorful but slightly haggard looking apples on hand, I decided to make a batch of apple butter. 

Traditionally, apple butter usually contains one or more of the following spices – allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg.  These spices are a bit on the strong side for my kids, so I decided just to use only cinnamon.  In my continuous efforts to cut back on the sugar the kids eat and the calories I consume, I used about half of the sugar that is usually used in apple butter.  I was kind of worried that by cutting out so much sugar I might end up with a batch of super tart applesauce and wondered if I was making a mistake.  And then it hit me, I had the perfect solution to add a bit more sweetness without all the sugar:

Super ripe frozen bananas.  My freezer is full of them.  Whenever bananas reach full ripeness, no one at my house wants to eat them.  I stick them in the freezer and then add them later to smoothies, banana bread, and now apple banana butter.  To use the super ripe bananas, I pull them out of the freezer and set them on the counter to thaw.  When they are no longer solid, I cut off one end and squeeze the banana guts out of the peel.  It does not look good, but they are perfectly ripe and already smooshy, which means they are excellent for all of the uses above.  If you don’t have a pile of black frozen bananas in your freezer, any ripe banana will do in this recipe.  Just peel it and throw it in with the rest.

Apple butter is super easy to make.  The hardest part is peeling, coring and dicing some apples.  In this recipe I used 4 lbs of apples, and it took me under 15 minutes to prep them.  All of the ingredients are placed in a crockpot, then they cook all day.  You can stir it occasionally if you’re around, but if not, it is fine just sitting and cooking on its own.  Some recipes call for placing the apple butter in jars and then putting them in the freezer.  I wanted to be able to give away some of these jars, so I decided to can them instead.  You can place the apple banana butter in any size jar you’d like, I picked half pint.

There are two types of Half Pints:

The one on the left requires a rugged good-natured fiddle player named Pa and a handsome husband named Manly.  For this recipe, you’ll need the one on the right, and you’ll need about eight of them.

Apple Banana Butter

Makes: 8 half pints
Serving size: 1 T.

4 lbs apples, peeled, cored, and diced
4 ripe bananas
2 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. kosher salt

Place all the ingredients in a crock pot and turn to low.  Cook for 10-11 hours.  Stir occasionally if you’re available.  You’ll know the recipe is done when everything is mushy and has turned a warm brown-red color.

Fill canning pot with water and bring to a boil.  In a large bowl filled with very hot water, place jars and lids.  Remove hot jar, wipe dry and fill with apple banana butter leaving about ½” empty at the top.  Place lid on top and secure very tightly with band.  Repeat with remaining jars.  Place in canning pot and be sure that they are all completely covered in water.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove jars from canning pot and set aside to cool.

Estimated Calories:  23 cal/serving

Print it: Apple Banana Butter

– A little apple banana butter goes a long way.  A single serving is enough for a thin layer on two pieces of toast, or a nice thick dollop on top of an english muffin.
– Great on all kinds of breads or crackers, especially tasty with peanut butter.
– Try it with pork chops or tenderloin, it lends some tasty sweetness. 
– Some people add this to banana bread or muffins, which I bet would be good, but I have not tried it.