Tag Archives: garam masala

Pheasant Breasts—Butter Chicken Style

Of all the dishes I’ve done with pheasant, I don’t think I’ve tried any slow cooker recipes, so here’s my first (and I finally added a Slow Cooker category). It cooks rather quickly, even in a slow cooker, at just 3-5 hours on low; I wouldn’t try it for one of those all-day recipes where you start it in the morning and go to work. I fear the tender little breasts would be tasteless and dry by the end of an entire day.

Thanks, Missy.

There are lots of recipes out there for butter chicken, but just a few elements tie them together:

  • Butter—there is no substitute for this, or you have to call the dish something else
  • Something creamy—yogurt, cream, or coconut milk
  • Tomato—fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, or thick tomato sauce
  • Spices—garam masala, curry powder or paste, ginger, chili powder, cumin

Easy and really tasty.

Pheasant Breasts—Butter Chicken Style

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
  • 2 lbs pheasant breasts, cut in large cubes
  • 1 large or two medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 tablespoons butter; more for serving
  • 2 cups thick tomato sauce (see my roasted tomato sauce here)
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used full fat)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, mixed with a little of the coconut milk
  • Spices:
    • 2 teaspoons garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon red curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 teaspoons garlic paste or roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste or 2 inches fresh ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Optional: cilantro, if you like it, for serving or stirred into the sauce
Preparation
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet and saute onions until translucent.
  2. Stir in spices, salt and pepper, garlic, and ginger, cooking until fragrant.
  3. Stir in tomato sauce, coconut milk and cornstarch/coconut milk mixture. Simmer until slightly thickened.
  4. Pour sauce over cubed pheasant in slow cooker. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, but not longer than 5 hours.

Serve with brown basmati rice and warm naan. Place a pat of butter on each serving for a little decadence.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples

Happy Winter Solstice! I made something homey and satisfying for the shortest day of the year.

Pretty easy to make, pork tenderloins lend themselves to a variety of dishes. I particularly like slicing them for a stir fry, but I like eating thick slices from the whole tenderloin best. I just don’t care for the splattering oil during the browning process. It gets on everything—my glasses, shirts, hands and arms, the stove and floor, and I think it travels in the air to places I’m not thinking of. Aprons don’t help my sleeves, but they do prevent those annoying stains on the front of a black or navy t-shirt that you don’t see until it comes out of the dryer, all set in. I spend a lot of time fighting those stains before the shirt becomes a new fishing t-shirt. I guess I should be embroidering over the stains. Anyway, back to the recipe.

I’m marinating the whole tenderloins for a few hours in a simple marinade of garlic, garam masala, and olive oil. Garam masala, with its cinnamon, is a nice compliment to both the pork and the apples I’ll be sautéing with it. For a side dish, I’m baking sweet potatoes and then mashing them. There is no added sugar in any of these dishes, as we tend to appreciate the natural sweetness of things like apples and sweet potatoes, without adding to them.

Here’s a quick video on how to trim a pork tenderloin:

The following recipe is for one tenderloin, even though I clearly made two in my photo.

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Sautéed Apples

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and connective tissue

2 cloves grated garlic

1 tablespoon garam masala

1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon for browning meat

3-4 medium apples, peeled and cored, cut in slices, rings, or small chunks (I like chunks, but my husband says they look too much like potatoes that way)

2 tablespoons butter

  • Marinate tenderloin in mixture of garlic, garam masala, and 1/4 cup olive oil in a plastic bag or shallow dish in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to a few hours. Remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat oven to 400°-425°

  • In large sauté pan, preferably one you can also put in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Season marinated pork tenderloin with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Place pan in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 145°-150°. Take pan from oven and remove tenderloin to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes while you sauté the apples.
  • Place pan in which you cooked the meat over medium high heat and add the butter and apples. I kept my apples in a bowl of acidulated water, so they carried over enough moisture after draining to deglaze the pan. Sauté until any moisture evaporates and apples are tender and a little browned. The apples pick up the flavorings from the cooked meat, but you could add a little more garam masala, if desired.
  • Slice the tenderloin in 1-1 1/2 inch slices. The meat should be a little pink. Serve with the apples.

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies are my favorite cookie, hands down. I made these this weekend, but was too lazy to write it out and then when I looked today, there were only five left, so I snapped a photo of a couple before they were gone.

They are not my husband’s favorite cookie, but that doesn’t stop him from eating them. It’s just that he would prefer chocolate chip cookies, but I don’t really care for chocolate unless it is buried deep in other flavors. Someday, I will make them again.

For a twist, I decided to make these cookies with some garam masala, in addition to cinnamon, and 100% whole wheat flour. They came out as a broad, flat cookie, but very chewy, even three days later. If you don’t like a cookie dough that spreads this much, experiment with the amount of flour and butter. I would suggest using less than the two sticks of butter, maybe even doing a half butter, half solid shortening mix. A little more flour or maybe a small addition of white flour might also help. Still, these are delicious as is, and they stay chewy, which is more important to me than that they stay rounded.

Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • Servings: about 30 3.5-inch cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 375°; line cookie sheets with parchment paper

Beat butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Add dry ingredients to butter-sugar-egg mixture and blend until incorporated.

1 1/4 cups King Arthur® 100% whole wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir in walnuts, oats, and raisins until well distributed in the dough.

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

2 cups old-fashioned oats, such as Old Wessex Ltd.™ Scottish-Style Porridge Oats

1 cup raisins

Scoop the dough with a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, placing the balls about 2 inches apart to allow room for spreading. I only put nine scoops on each cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool on rack for about 10 minutes, as the dough is quite pliable when hot and will be hard to lift off. When cool enough to move, place on rack to completely cool.

If you use a smaller scoop for cookies or change the amounts of flour or butter, check the cookies after 10 minutes in the oven. Whole wheat cookies are darker than those made with white flour, but you don’t want to burn them.

Chicken Coconut Curry

I haven’t made a curry in a long while, but when I picked up coconut milk for the 4th of July coconut cream pie, I accidentally picked up one can of the lite version with one can of the regular—who would use light coconut milk? Ended up going to a different store for the Goya® brand I wanted, so I bought two, which left me with two cans, one regular and one light. Hence, the curry.

My Chicken Coconut Curry is a version of this recipe—http://allrecipes.com/recipe/indian-chicken-curry-ii/—but I’m iffy on the yogurt and lemon as being too tangy, and I would like more vegetables in the curry, maybe snow peas. Let’s see what looks good at the grocery store.

Snow peas it is! I made a number of other changes to the recipe including adding garam masala, instead of the called-for cinnamon, along with the regular curry powder and cooking the dish in layers. Cooking in layers instead of throwing everything together at once, is probably a change I am most likely to make to recipes that I adapt. I like building flavors separately before combining them in the final step.

Other than my changes to the ingredients list, the browning of the chicken makes the biggest change. The recipe calls for dumping everything, raw chicken and all, into the sauce, and I don’t really like the image of the gray chicken that would result. Maybe I’m not a curry purist, but browned chicken adds much more flavor, including from the browned bits in the bottom of the pan, in which the onions are cooked. This step, plus the addition of chicken stock instead of yogurt, might make the sauce lean toward being more of a gravy, but we loved it.

Chicken Coconut Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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4-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 small onions, small dice

3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1.5 tablespoons regular curry (hotter if you like that)

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 teaspoon paprika (mine was smoked)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 13 oz. can coconut milk, unsweetened

1-3 cups chicken broth or bouillon—I used Better Than Bouillon® chicken base, using two cups for the rice and one for the curry

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half-inch cubes

1.5-2 cups whole snow peas, cleaned with any strings removed

Rice—I had arborio and made it in a rice cooker

It looks like a lot of ingredients, but most of them are spices and aromatics. The dish goes together more quickly than you might think. These initial preparation steps might take 15 minutes:

  1. Begin the rice—mine cooked in less than 30 minutes, but you should plan for your type of rice and method of cooking
  2. Dice and grate the aromatics
  3. Mix the spices and seasonings together
  4. Clean the snow peas and set aside
  5. Brown the chicken in 4 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside—do not overcook, as the chicken will be added to the sauce for another 10-15 minutes

In the pan where you browned the chicken, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, bay leaf, and spices. Stir over heat for a minute or two to release spice oils and distribute the tomato paste. Add coconut milk and 1 cup of chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the browned chicken to the sauce, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Confession: I thickened the sauce after adding the chicken with a little cornstarch/water mixture. This is probably not a traditional curry step (I don’t know), but I liked the result.

Sprinkle the snow peas over all, cover and simmer for about 5 more minutes or until snow peas are crisp tender. I add these last to avoid overcooking the snow peas.

Serve over rice. *The recipe would serve four if my husband is not one of them and allowed to fill his own plate.

Update 2/6/14: I made this again yesterday with a few changes:

  1. For the chicken broth, I substituted 1 cup of sour cream. That meant I did not have to thicken the sauce, and it added a nice creaminess.
  2. I added one thinly sliced carrot to the onion-garlic step. The carrot adds both color and sweetness. I omitted the snow peas.
  3. I substituted one thinly sliced leek for one of the onions, mainly because I bought too many leeks the other day, but it was a good addition.