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Persian Saffroned Lamb

This is a great recipe for lamb lovers! If you are not into lamb then use beef… The sauce is incredible! I plated this dish with the saffroned rice over which I put the lamb and lots of sauce. For a complete meal, steam some great snow peas. Use any leftover sauce over some pasta for another meal the next day. So…what to serve for dessert? How about a wonderful strawberry rhubarb pie ice cream??? Watch for this recipe NEXT WEEK….

Persian Saffron Lamb, Slow cooker Style

• 2 – 3 pound boneless leg of lamb, or an equal amount of lamb shanks cut in cubes.
• 1 onion
• 2 Tablespoons butter, ghee, or neutral cooking oil of choice
• 2-3 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice.
• 2 Tablespoons ground turmeric
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon coriander seed
• 2 Tablespoons saffron water (boil 1/4 cup water to the temperature you’d use to make tea. Add a pinch, approx. 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads to the water. Save the remaining water to add to whatever rice you choose to cook. I prefer Jasmine rice.
• 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and left whole (6 to 8 cloves)
• 2 15 oz. cans chopped Roma tomatoes
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove fat from lamb using a sharp knife.
2. Chop onion into half moons. In a large Dutch oven. cooking pot, or skillet, heat fat over a medium heat and add onion, stirring often.
3. Allow onion to cook about five minutes. As it cooks, salt and pepper the outside of the meat. Remove onion from the pan. Place meat in the pot and sear it for 2-3 minutes per side…enough to get a nice crust on it. Remove meat from the pan and place, carefully, on a heat-safe surface.
4. Place onion back in the pan and add all spices EXCEPT saffron. Stir often, and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you begin to catch the scent of the spices. Put onion into slow cooker immediately.
5. Add the whole garlic cloves.
6. To the slow cooker, add the lamb, canned tomatoes, saffron water, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper (you can always adjust salt and pepper later).
7. Cook on high setting for 30 minutes. Stir. Cook an additional 2.5 to 3 hours.. Once the meat is done, taste sauce, adjust seasoning accordingly, serve over saffroned rice, and enjoy!

Spanish Bean Soup (Potaje de Garbanzos)

Still got that hambone in the freezer since Christmas? I was keeping ours to make split pea and ham soup, since I really miss the Canadian brand, Habitant. Every store I checked never had split peas, so I decided to try canned garbanzos. The Internet turned up this recipe, which I modified as seen by the red lettering.

It was suggested on the site that one could go to Honey Baked Ham and get a bone if you don’t have one. I was thinking after, why not just buy a ham steak and chop it up?

Let me know how you like it…

Spanish Bean Soup (Potaje de garbanzos) adapted from www.thekitchn.com
1 pound dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (I used a can of garbanzos)
8 ounces good-quality bacon or salt pork, chopped
1 (6-8 ounce) leftover hambone or smoked ham hock OR one ham steak
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced (you can omit)
1 small onion, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped * I added a few more veggies like carrot and celery
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Chicken stock or water, to cover (or mix of both)
Pinch of saffron threads
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (canned will work)
Kosher salt and pepper
Wash garbanzo beans in cold water, discarding any beans with visible imperfections. Cover with 3 inches of salted water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly and set aside.
OR…use the canned ones to simplify your life and speed up the process
In a large Dutch oven, combine the bacon, ham bone, onion, tomato, green pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. Cover with two inches of chicken stock (or water) and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam as needed. Cover and lower heat to a gentle simmer.
Cook for 30 minutes, then add the reserved beans. Bring to a boil again, cover, and return to a simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in the saffron and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender but not overcooked. Remove the ham bones, shredding and returning any meat left on the bones.
Add the potatoes and season with salt. Cover and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, another 30 minutes or less if using canned potatoes Season to taste.

Shellfish Bouillabaisse

So what can I do for New Year’s Eve? This tried and true recipe is certain to impress your guests. Yeah, I know that seafood can be expensive, but what the heck? Buy cheaper wine…LOL. As always my changes are noted in red….if you follow the recipe it should feed 8 people…

Shellfish Bouillabaisse (Adapted from Food Network’s Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chorizo, cut into 1-inch pieces (if you can’t find this use a good Italian sausage)
  • 3 cups julienne onions
  • 2 cups diced potatoes, blanched
  • 1 cup julienned red peppers
  • 1 cup julienned yellow peppers
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • Essence, recipe follows or Old Bay Seasoning
  • 4 cups chopped peeled and seeded tomatoes or use 3 cans of chopped
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 pound lobster, split or (I bought four medium lobster tails and split them in half, leaving the shell on)
  • 2 pieces of a good white fish cut into chunks (optional)
  • 1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and tail on (I take the tails off)
  • 1/4 pound mussels or scallops (I used 8 and cut them in half as well)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Few threads of saffron
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Small loaf of crusty bread

Directions

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, render the sausage for 2 minutes. Remove the sausage and set aside. In a mixing bowl, toss all the vegetables with the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Place one third of the vegetables evenly on the bottom of the pot. Place one third of the tomatoes and 2 of the bay leaves on the vegetables. Lay the lobsters, meat side down and the soft-shells on top of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chorizo over the lobster. Layer 1/3 of the vegetables and tomatoes on top of the lobsters and chorizo. Season the shrimp with Essence. Lay the shrimp over the tomatoes. Layer the remaining 1/3 of the vegetables and tomatoes over the shrimp. Layer 1/2 of the chorizo over the shrimp. Lay the mussels or scallops over the tomatoes. Add the fish chunks. Add the wine, saffron and parsley. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Ladle the bouillabaisse in an over-sized platter. Garnish with the aioli, green onions and crusty bread.

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.  Yield about 2/3 cups.

Moroccan Chickpea and Lentil* Soup (Harira)

Thanks to Karen at Back Road Journal for this tasty recipe! backroadjournal.wordpress.com 

As we have been doing some travelling I had not tried this before returning home. Fortunately, another friend told me I could find harissa at a store near her! I was concerned that we had run out of lentils when I went to make it, but was equally happy with using pearl barley. I don’t think I would do this with rice, but that is my bias!

By the way, harissa is a paste composed of several spices. It is found in a small jar in the imported foods section of some grocery stores. If you have a Middle Eastern market near you check it out. It is spicy! Be sure to check Karen’s blog for other wonderful recipes and happenings in her life in New England!

Harira, A Moroccan Chickpea And Lentil Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  •  pinch of saffron (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 c. lentils or pearl barley
  • 1 c. cooked chickpeas (if canned, rinsed)
  • 2 c. stock (vegetable or chicken) Choosing vegetable broth would make this began I believe
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c. water or additional stock
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. or to taste harissa (optional)
  • lemon slices or wedges to serve alongside

Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat, add the onion and carrot and cook until soft. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute. Add the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the lentils, chickpeas, stock, tomatoes and water, stir and cook until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and harissa and simmer for a few minutes. Taste for additional seasoning. Ladle into bowls, garnish with cilantro and a lemon slice.