Tag Archives: crushed tomatoes

Pheasant Meatball Curry

This is a pretty quick and easy curry, unless you count all the work Missy did to find us the pheasants.

morepheasants

Aside from grinding the meat myself, which is really pretty quick, I cut corners by using prepared curry powder, ginger, and garlic. I already had roasted peppers and crushed tomatoes in the freezer, so it couldn’t have come together any easier. A little bag of shelled peas thrown in to simmer at the end finished it off.

You can use a smaller amount of tomato if you like more emphasis on the coconut milk and a less-pink sauce.

Pheasant Meatball Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Meatballs:

about 1 1/2 pounds ground pheasant breast

1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated ginger or ginger paste

1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste

Curry:

1 medium onion, diced

1 tablespoon (or more) curry powder

1 tablespoon grated ginger or ginger paste

1 tablespoon grated garlic or garlic paste

1/2-1 cup canned crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded, chopped

1 can coconut milk

1 cup fresh shelled peas, if available, or frozen peas

  1. Mix all the meatball ingredients lightly. I like to use a large meat fork with just two tines to mix lightly. There is no egg or breadcrumb filler in these meatballs, so it’s not hard to lightly mix. I like the shaggy look of the parsley sticking out all over these meatballs.
  2. Form into about 21 meatballs, slightly smaller than golf balls, setting aside until the curry is ready.
  3. In a large skillet with straight sides, sometimes called a chicken fryer, cook the diced onion in about 1 tablespoon cooking oil, such as canola or coconut, over medium heat until soft and translucent, but not browned.
  4. Stir in the garlic, ginger, and curry powder to release those flavors.
  5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and peppers.
  6. Stir in the coconut milk.
  7. Place the meatballs in one layer in the sauce. Don’t worry that they are not covered and don’t stir yet or you will break them up.
  8. Cover the pan and bring the sauce to a low boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for about 15 minutes, stirring to turn the meatballs over after 10 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle the peas, fresh or frozen, over the meatballs and sauce, and continue to simmer, covered, for about 5 more minutes. The meatballs should reach an internal temperature of about 140°.

Serve the meatballs and sauce over rice.

Roasted Ratatouille

no skillets were harmed in the making of this dish

I usually sauté a ratatouille in stages in a large skillet, adding the tomatoes at the end to bring it all together. Today, I’m going to roast it all in one big dish, even the bacon, still adding some crushed tomatoes at the end. I just wish a had more than a few garlic cloves to throw in, but those few will have to do. I’m going to try to keep all the vegetables cut to the same size, not too small, and use enough olive oil, keeping in mind that the bacon is going to add its own fat. I’m using a smoked, thick-sliced bacon from a local butcher, maybe just 2-3 slices, so it’s not overwhelming. My poor husband will be eating a ribeye and some roasted zucchini, because he has silly opinions of eggplant and mushrooms.

It’s a cold, winter day, so having the oven on is a bonus, one that I would prefer to standing at the stove on a Saturday. I used two old standby Pyrex dishes, the 3 and 4 quart oblong sizes, to fit in all the ingredients, sprinkling the bacon over the tops to brown up and drizzle their bacony goodness all over. The glass baking dishes were a real mess, but I’m giving the dishwasher a chance to redeem them.

Roasted Ratatouille

  • Servings: depends on if you share
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400°

1 medium-large eggplant

10 oz Baby Bella mushrooms

1 large onion

1 large red bell pepper

I medium-large zucchini

3-5 unpeeled cloves of garlic

3 slices thick bacon

6 oz crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

lots of olive oil

salt & pepper

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  1. Clean then cut all the vegetables in a large dice; I quartered the mushrooms and cut the zucchini in angled chunks. Toss each separately in olive oil to coat and place in glass baking dish. I kept each vegetable in a separate row in case any were done sooner than the others and needed to be removed—none did. I had too many to all go in one dish. The eggplant went in a dish of its own, topped with the unpeeled garlic cloves.
  2. Salt and pepper all the vegetables, then sprinkle diced bacon over the top. This allows you to see when the bacon is browned and to remove it, if needed.
  3. Roast at 400° for 45 mins. Remove from oven, but keep the oven on. Combine all the roasted vegetables in one dish.
  4. Press roasted garlic out of cloves and mix with tomatoes and herbs. Toss vegetables with the tomato mixture, mounding it in the center of the dish.
  5. Return to oven for about 5 minutes or until hot and a little bubbly.
  6. Serve with lots of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. I prefer this to mixing in the cheese, because it reheats better. Then you can always add the cheese in whatever way you are eating the ratatouille—with polenta or scrambled eggs, for example.

Spicy Braised Beef Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

I had in mind some fabulous beef tacos I had a few years ago in a restaurant called Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, near Cleveland, Ohio. A faculty member treated me for having helped her with some technology for her courses. It was more than a fair trade. I have no idea how the soft taco filling was actually made, but the memory was at least an inspiration for me.

I chose to braise the beef chuck roast on the stove, because I didn’t want to turn on the oven. I have my eye on a cast iron dutch oven for making such things on the grill, but while it’s still on my wish list, the stovetop will do. It’s a toss up as to whether the beef or the pesto was the hit of meal, or maybe it was the combination. Either way, I think these tacos are going on the menu of favorites.

Spicy Braised Beef Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

  • Servings: about 8 soft tacos
  • Difficulty: time-consuming
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Spicy Braised Beef

3 lb chuck roast

olive oil for browning

13 oz crushed tomatoes

up to 1/2 cup water or beef broth, as needed

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper (canned chipotle in adobo sauce would be good, too)

1/2 teaspoon salt for cooking sauce

salt & pepper for seasoning beef

  1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-high to high heat. Add 2-3 tablespoon olive oil, then brown the seasoned chuck roast on both sides.
  2. Add the garlic and spices to the pan next to the roast and stir for a few seconds, but watch that none of them burn.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes and as much water as you think you need to keep the sauce moist for about 3 hours of simmering. I suppose it depends on the quality of your crushed tomatoes. Some crushed tomatoes seem very watery or saucy, and some are very thick and full of tomato chunks. I needed about 1/2 cup of beef broth.
  4. Bring the sauce to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer for about 3 hours, until the meat pulls apart easily.
  5. Remove the meat to a platter or board, and pull apart. Strain out the tomatoes with a slotted spoon and add to the pulled beef.

Cilantro Pesto

2 bunches cilantro tops, cleaned and dried

1/2 cup parsley (I used my frozen, chopped parsley)

1 red onion, roasted on the grill

3 jalapeño peppers, roasted on the grill, peeled, and seeded

1 bulb roasted garlic

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup Cotija or Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

*Keep in mind that roasting garlic, onion, and jalapeño produces a milder taste than the fresh versions, which may be too strong for some tastes. If you aren’t going to roast them, you might adjust the amounts to your taste.

  1. I put everything but the oil into a food processor and processed until it was all finely blended.
  2. While the processor is running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is blended.
  3. Store in the refrigerator to serve with all kinds of meats, especially in tacos.
Putting the tacos together:

Soft taco shells

Shredded cabbage—red looks nice

Spicy braised beef

Cilantro pesto

Crumbled queso fresco

Build the tacos in the order above. That was easy.

Ratatouille

My husband is eating out all week with job candidates, so I’m taking the opportunity to eat eggplant.

The first ratatouille, or more specifically “Ratatouille Provençale,” I ever made was from my Joy of Cooking (1967, p. 278). When I was young, I didn’t know anything about eggplant, and was surprised to see so many recipes for it in this book. The only eggplant recipes I had seen on TV were the breaded and fried sliced variety, usually smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. That did not look appetizing to me, but more like the cooks were trying to cover up something that was either tasteless or bad-tasting. When I finally decided to try this casserole, I did feel like the flavors were exotic and rich, even spicy.

I have since learned that recipes vary, and while tonight’s is very close to that first one, I’m adding some mushrooms and bacon, but skipping the zucchini, and the peppers and onions were roasted on the grill last night, which should add a nice twist to the dish. Next time, I’ll try grilling all the ingredients and then doing a quick combine and simmer at the end. Parmesan cheese and olive oil will round out the flavors, but I will miss the parsley I lost in my recent freezer disaster. Some dried marjoram will fill in for the herb.

Ratatouille

  • Servings: 4 as main dish; 8 as a side
  • Difficulty: easy
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Basically a stew, but all the ingredients should be cooked until just done and not mushy. I cook each ingredient separately, and then combine at a simmer for just about 5 minutes, to keep the flavors distinctive. I would not use the 45 minute simmer mentioned in the recipe pictured above.

1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced

4 slices thick bacon, cooked to chewy doneness and roughly chopped

1 medium eggplant, cut in half inch dice, about 2 1/2-3 cups

1-2 small onions, roughly chopped

1-2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon garlic, grated or minced or roasted

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram

13 oz good quality crushed tomatoes, drained with liquid reserved (I used Cirio crushed tomatoes)

olive oil for sautéing

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated for garnish

salt and pepper to taste (I like to season each layer lightly)

As mentioned, my onions and peppers had been roasted on the grill, then the peppers were peeled and both were chopped; otherwise, I would cook them using the following process:

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and allow to heat for a minute. Add the sliced mushrooms and let sauté until brown without stirring. Stir for another minute or two, then remove to dish. I like to cook mushrooms first in a clean pan for most dishes, so they are allowed to brown and develop flavors without absorbing those of the other ingredients.
  2. Add the bacon slices to the same pan and cook over medium heat to desired doneness. I like chewy bacon, not crisp. remove to cutting board and chop.
  3. To pan with bacon drippings that is still over medium heat, add about 1 tablespoon more olive oil, then the diced eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. The eggplant will absorb all the fat and begin to appear translucent. Remove to a large bowl.
  4. Add 1-2 tablespoons more olive oil over medium heat, then the onions, peppers, and garlic. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes, or until done to your liking.
  5. Add back the eggplant and mushrooms. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the drained tomatoes and marjoram, adding any of the reserved tomato juice as needed for a moist but not soupy consistency. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes until heated through.
  6. Remove to serving dish and add cooked bacon and grated cheese.

Save some for topping your scrambled eggs in the morning.