29 April 2010

Veal rump pot roast

Pot roasts are meant to be one-pot dishes where a bunch of veggies and meat are cooked over several hours in broth. This creates a very flavorful dish without the need for spices other than salt and pepper.
Serves 4

2-3 lb veal rump, it was held together in a net made out of butcher's twine
20-25 cremini mushrooms, most of them were small and medium sized, seperate stalks and heads and dust off dirt if any.
1 1/2 cups diced red onions
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and roughly diced
4 dried bay leaves
2 bunches wild leeks, sliced on a bias. Wild leeks are also called ramps and grow wild in the midwest and the east coast. They taste like spring onions and garlic and look like large spring onins as you can see in the image below. Give it try - they are in season!
1 carrot, peeled and cubed
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
generous bunch of bouquet garni - rosemary and thyme, tied with a twine
5-6 whole peppercorns
3 cups of beef broth
1 1/2 cups red wine
Salt to taste
  • Preheat oven to 325 deg.
  • Use a thick bottomed, oven proof pot - I used my cast iron Le Creuset pot. Heat a tbsp of peanut oil on medium high heat. Brown the veal rump on both sides. There will be smoke if ventilation isn't good, but don't worry about that. Crack open your windows. Make sure the veal is nicely browned on both sides. Remove and set aside.
  • Discard the oil and put in another tbsp of fresh oil. Again over medium high heat, put in onions, garlic, carrots, peppercorns and mushroom stalks. Sprinkle some salt and stir. Saute until onions are brown.
  • Add wine to gently scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the veal rump. Add enough broth to submerge the bottom half of the rump. Add a couple more tsps of salt, bouquet garni and bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and cover the pot with aluminum foil, depressed in the center so that the condensation rolls off the middle onto the meat instead around the sides of the pot. Aluminum foil also helps seal the pot well.

  • Cover and move the pot to the oven. Check in 10 mins, if the broth is furiously bubbling lower temperature to 300 deg. On the other hand if broth is not bubbling enough, increase heat to 350 deg. The idea is to have the broth bubbling gently.
  • Bake for 3 hours.
  • Insert a fork into the meat. If the meat is done, you should be able to do this easily. Gently remove the meat and set aside.
  • Strain and discard all the solids. At this point the veggies and herbs have already imparted all their flavor into the broth.
  • Bring the strained broth back to a slow simmer. Add potatoes, sliced wild leeks (I used half the green leaves as well) and mushroom heads. Place the meat back into pot. Cover pot with aluminum foil and the lid. Move it back into the oven.
  • Bake for another 30 mins.
  • Uncover the pot, leave it in the oven for another 30 mins and baste the meat every 10 mins. The meat forms a shiny coat and the sauce reduces considerably and becomes syrupy. Keeping the meat in the sauce while reducing it intensifies the flavor of the sauce.
  • When done. Remove the meat and set it on a cutting board to rest for atleast 5 mins before you cut into it. This allows its juices to get reabsorbed back into the meat instead of spilling out when you cut into it.
  • Ladle out sauce and veggies over the meat. Enjoy with caution - you might just end up stuffing yourself!

28 April 2010

Pinto bean chilli

Serves 4

1 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
4-5 whole peppercorns
1 can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cup of diced red onion
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 sliced thai chillies or green finger peppers
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 1/2 tbsp all purpose flour
Salt to taste
  1. Pressure cook pinto beans, 1 tsp of salt and peppercorns in 4 cups of water for 20 mins. Cook until beans are easily mashable with a wooden spoon.
  2. While the beans are cooking, heat a tbsp of olive oil in another pot. Add onion, garlic and cumin seeds. Cook over medium heat until onions are evenly browned.
  3. Add tomatoes, salt and chillies. Cook until half of the tomato juice has been cooked off. While cooking, keep crushing tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add cooked the contents of the pressure cooker into this onion-tomato mix. Simmer for 5 mins.
  5. In a small cup, combine flour with 4 tbsps of the liquid from the pot. Make sure there are no lumps.
  6. Add the flour paste and lime juice to the soup. Simmer for another 15 mins until the soup has thickened into a more sauce like consistency and the flour is completely cooked.
  7. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves. As you can see I didn't bother to garnish or take a better picture before I dove right in :)

24 April 2010

Kale chips

Friday was a good day! Kale chips turned out so good that I managed to polish off a whole bunch.
Serves 2 or 1?

1 large bunch of Kale
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
Sea salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.
  2. Trim the stems off. I kept the leaves more or less whole. Wash and dry. You can use a salad spinner. I resorted to paper napkins and kitchen towel. The idea is to dry them well.
  3. In a large bowl add olive oil to the leaves. Massage it in thorougly. Then add vinegar and do the same.
  4. Line baking trays with aluminum foil and spread the leaves on it in a single layer. I used 2 trays for 1 bunch.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove, add salt and let cool for a minute. Snack away!

Note: Once you put the Kale in the oven, check in about 5-6 mins to see if the leaves are searing. If they are, then they need to be in the oven only for another 30 seconds or so otherwise they will get burnt.

22 April 2010

Smoked salmon pasta

Serves 2

3 cups pasta, I mixed two kinds
4 oz. smoked salmon, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup cream
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh ground black pepper
  1. Throw the pasta into a pot of salted, boiling water until cooked al dente. Reserve a cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, dry roast pine nuts in a skillet until light brown. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in the skillet (large enough to hold the pasta later). Add onions and garlic with salt and cook until onions are soft and translucent.
  4. Add wine and lemon juice and let cook until sauce boils down by half. Add cream and boil for an additional minute.
  5. Toss in the cooked pasta, smoked pasta and pine nuts. Add a couple of tbsps of the pasta water if the sauce is too dry.
  6. Garnish with capers or parsley.

21 April 2010

Black chick-pea soup

Adpated from: Ismail Merchant's Passionate meals

Serves 4

1 cup black chick-peas, soaked over night
1 dried red chilli
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch ginger, grated
2 tomatoes, diced
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp chick-pea flour or besan
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Pressure cook chick-peas with 1 tsp of salt and 4 cups of water until tender. About 20 mins.
  2. In a saucepan, heat oil and fry the dried chilli for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add cumin. mustard seeds, garlic and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add ginger, tomatoes, 1 tsp salt and turmeric. Cook until tomatoes are well blended with the spices. I used a wooden spatula to gently press down on the tomatoes while cooking.
  5. Add chick-pea flour and stir to mix well. Cook for another 5-6 mins.
  6. Add this mixture to the chick-peas and the water it was cooked in. Stir well, add lime juice and cook for another 10 - 15 minutes on a slow simmer.
  7. The sauce will be thick. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and peas

... these are some of my favorite things..la la la...I was singing this for no apparent reason while cooking last night. Perhaps, happy to be back in the kitchen after a long hiatus.
Serves 4
1 head cauliflower, cut in florets
1 russet potato, peeled and cubed
2 smallish carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 onion, diced
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp grated ginger
3-4 cloves
1 cup of chopped cilantro
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
  1. Heat a tbsp of oil in a skillet. Add garlic, mustard and cumin seeds. Cook until garlic is lightly browned.
  2. Add onions with salt. Cook until golden, about 5-6 mins.
  3. Add tomatoes, ginger, red pepper, turmeric and salt. Cook until tomatoes are cooked through and most of the water is cooked off, about 10 mins.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots with a tbsp of water. Lower heat to medium, cover and let cook until potatoes are closer to done but not completely done.
  5. Add cauliflower with 1/4 cup of water. Stir to combine, lower heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook until cauliflower is cooked through. About 20 mins.
  6. Add peas and cilantro. Cook for another 5 mins.
  7. Enjoy!

12 April 2010

Dal Makhni - the Easy version

This hearty dal is easily my favorite lentil! Enjoy it with jeera rice.

Serves 4-6

1 cup split urad dal, soaked for 1 hour
1/4 cup rajma (red kidney) beans (I used a can)
1 tomato, pureed
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 green chilli, cut into pieces
1/4 tsp red chilli pwdr
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 cup milk (i used skim, but the heavier the better)
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp oil for tempering

In a pressure cooker, add the soaked urad dal, rajma, pureed tomato, ginger-garlic paste and the green chillies. Add the red chilli pwdr and cumin pwdrs to the dal, along with 2 cups water. Pressure cook everything for 15 minutes. When the steam has released, you can open the cooker and mash the dal to a smooth consistency. At this time, add the milk and butter, and bring to a low boil. Temper with a tadka of oil and cumin seeds. Serve hot.