December 24, 2010

Chicken Etouffe and Mulled Cider

Merry Christmas!  This was our Christmas Eve dinner, thanks to The Husband for finding the cookbook.  Usually you expect Shrimp Etouffe, but I am not a shrimp fan, so chicken it is.


Brown Sauce

2 c beef stock
Burgundy wine to taste
Beef base
brown roux (flour, butter/margarine blend)

Combine first three ingredients in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 30-60 minutes.  While this is simmering, make the roux by melting 1 c of the butter blend and adding 1 c of flour to the melted butter.  Whisk constantly to ensure that the roux doesn't burn.  If the roux burns, throw it out and start over.  Continue whisking and cooking the butter and flour (adding more flour as needed) until the roux darkens to a reddish milk-chocolate color.  At this point, remove roux from heat and continue to stir.  Add a little bit of stock to the roux to help cool it down (be careful!).  Remove stock from burner and begin whisking in the roux until the sauce thickens, a little at a time.  Adjust consistency with more roux or more wine.  Simmer for another hour to blend flavors.


1/4 c butter
1 T garlic
1/2 T parsley
1 c diced celery
1 c green onions
1 c chicken stock
1 c diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 t hot pepper sauce
2 t thyme
2 T garlic
black pepper
1 c brown sauce
1 chicken breast, cut into slices

Melt butter with garlic and parsley.  Add in celery and onions and simmer until celery is half cooked.  Add stock, tomatoes, bay leaves, hot pepper sauce, thyme, garlic, and pepper and reduce heat to simmer until sauce thickens.  Remove bay leaves and add brown sauce.

Meanwhile, brown the chicken in a skillet with salt and pepper.  Add to the sauce and cook until chicken is done.

Serve over rice.

Mulled Cider

In a crockpot, combine cider with 2 sticks cinnamon, 1/4 c cranberries, 1 orange (sliced and studded with cloves), and a dash of ginger and cayenne.  Cook on low for several hours.

December 20, 2010

Cuban Pork

Every year our school hosts a "Multicultural Day."  This is basically an excuse for the kids to wear something other than their uniforms and for lots of food to be eaten.  Each classroom holds their own luncheon, with food brought in by students.  Since I am not a classroom teacher, I get to wander around and sample all the food.  This year, the best dish by far was the Cuban pork.  I had to try my hand at it!  This takes a few days, but the active prep is very short.  I got the basic recipe from Foodie with Family.  I'm not sold on the sauce, but it's a good start!


1 pork butt 
olive oil 
1 T black pepper
1 T cumin
1 T oregano
2 t salt
1 t crushed red pepper
8 garlic cloves
1/3 c lime juice
1/2 c orange juice

Drizzle the pork with the oil.  Place in crockpot, fat side up.  Toss everything else in, put the lid on, and cook on high for an hour.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 12-14 hours (this is great to do overnight).  Once it is done cooking, remove the crockpot insert and refrigerate for several hours - DON'T SKIP THIS STEP.

After 6-8 hours in the fridge, pull out the crockpot.  The fat should have congealed, remove as much of this as you can and discard.  Place the pork on a cutting board (careful, it's ready to fall apart!) and strain the juices into a sauce pan.

Add to the juices a little lime juice (2 T), a dash of garlic, mustard powder, and crushed red peppers.  Simmer until it has reduced by half to 2/3s.

While the sauce is reducing, shred the pork using your fingers or two forks.  You will find a lot more fat - discard as much of this as you can without wasting meat.  Seriously, I had almost two cups of the stuff!

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spread the shredded pork in an oven-safe container.  Pour the reduced sauce over and cover with a lid or tinfoil.  Heat for 30-40 minutes.

The Cat appreciates the pork!

December 5, 2010

Beer Batter Bonanza

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!  Ours was tons of fun.  I didn't do anything this year that I haven't already posted, so you'll have to forgive me for forgetting to take pictures.  Instead, I have other delicious things for you.

I was having sort of a bad day the other day, so I decided to fry some food.  I used this beer batter for halibut, jalapeno peppers, and french fries.  It's absolutely fantastic!  Make sure your oil is at the right temperature, though, and don't overload your pot, no matter how tempting it is!  Also, if your husband decides that it would be a good idea to cool down the hot oil by throwing ice cubes in it, DO NOT LET HIM.  Trust me.


1/4 c flour
2 t baking soda
1 egg
1/2 bottle beer (drink the other half!)
seasoned flour (salt and pepper, plus any other herbs you'd like.  Oregano is good, as is cayenne.)

Mix all but the seasoned flour together.  The batter should be about the consistency of heavy cream - use the beer to adjust the consistency.

For french fries, after cutting the potato, store them in water to keep them from discoloring.  Halibut is great in bite sized chunks or longer strips.  Jalapenos should be sliced into coins.

Heat oil to 350.  Dip halibut and jalapenos into flour, then coat with batter and carefully place in the oil.  French fries can just be dipped right into the batter.  Cook approximately 2 minutes on a side.