Eggplant and Garbanzos

Happy New Year, wherever in the world you might be this day! Start the year off with this wonderful vegan dish of eggplant and garbanzos (sometimes known as chick peas). I am not a fan of ratatouille, so this came as a surprise from Greece! It seems like a lot of ingredients,but many of them are flavourful spices which really enhance the taste of the dish. Hope you will enjoy it!

Eggplant and Garbanzos Greek Style

1.5 lb eggplant, cut into cubes

Kosher salt

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, diced

1 carrot, chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

2 dry bay leaves

1 to 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika OR smoked paprika

1 tsp organic ground coriander

1 tsp dry oregano

3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp organic ground turmeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 28-oz can chopped tomato

2 15-oz cans chickpeas, reserve the canning liquid

Fresh herbs such as parsley and mint for garnish

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Place eggplant cubes in a colander over a large bowl or directly over your sink, and sprinkle with salt. Set aside for 20 minutes or so to allow eggplant to “sweat out” any bitterness. Rinse with water and pat dry.

3. In a large braiser, heat 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions, peppers, and chopped carrot. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add garlic, bay leaf, spices, and a dash of salt. Cook another minute, stirring until fragrant.

4. Now add eggplant, chopped tomato, chickpeas, and reserved chickpea liquid. Stir to combine.

5. Bring to a rolling boil for 10 minutes or so. Stir often. Remove from stove top, cover and transfer to oven.

6. Cook in oven for 45 minutes until eggplant is fully cooked through to very tender. (While eggplant is braising, be sure to check once or twice to see if more liquid is needed. If so, remove from oven briefly and stir in about 1/2 cup of water at a time.)

7. When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and add a generous drizzle of EVOO, garnish with fresh herbs (parsley or mint). Serve hot or at room temperature with a side of Greek yogurt or even Tzatziki sauce and pita bread.

Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Paprika Sauce

Hope you will love this recipe as much as we did! Our spinach was not looking good, so I needed to cook it up! Pinterest to the rescue AGAIN! Fortuitously, we had purchased some smoked paprika when we were in Budapest years back and I had never used it. Since I only had chicken breasts I used them and it turned out fine. as you can see below. I cooked up some wonderful Parmesan and garlic green beans with pine nuts to accompany the dish.

Chicken and Spinach in Creamy Paprika Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 Chicken Breasts (boneless & skinless)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika (for seasoning chicken)
  • 1/4 tsp Salt and Pepper (each for seasoning chicken)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

Creamy Paprika Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp flour (sifted)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth (sodium free)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice (juice of squeezed lemon)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp paprika

1. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and paprika, rubbing it evenly over both sides.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet (I used cast iron skillet) over medium high heat and cook on the first side for about 3 minutes. Flip, and turn the heat down to medium and cook for another three minutes. Remove and set chicken aside on separate plate.

Making Creamy Sauce:

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the now empty skillet. Add garlic and cook stirring frequently about 2 minutes. Add flour using a sifter until well mixed. Add wine next and cook for 1-2 minutes to allow alcohol to evaporate.

 Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream and lemon juice. Add salt and paprika. Mix well. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning (if necessary) at this point.

Spinach:

Add in the spinach and cook for additional 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted.

Return the chicken to the skillet and cook covered for 2-3 minutes if your chicken breasts are thin; or for 5-7 minutes, if they are thick.

Serve immediately.

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Too many Argentinian chorizos…My best friend, Pinterest, shared this recipe! Fortunately I had some chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and black olives…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

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Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Traybake

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 1 white onion cut into wedges
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped chorizo
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F)
  2. In a large pyrex baking dish add the chopped bell peppers, onions, cherry, chorizo, tomatoes and olive.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the veggies and toss with your hands to ensure everything is well coated. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and brush with the remaining sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove from the oven half way through cooking and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and veggies before returning back to the oven to bake.
  5. Check the chicken to ensure it’s no longer pink. Sprinkle the veggies with chopped parsley before serving.

Slow Roasted Ribs

Sadly, my Maple Chipotle Rub being sent from Canada seems to have gotten lost along the way. In desperation I sought out another rub recipe on Pinterest as I bought some lovely boneless beef ribs at Costco. The recipe was posted from inthekitchenwithkath.com. (It had been adapted from Mark Bittmans How to Cook Everything the basics). It can be used on beef, pork or poultry. Below are the instructions with the recipe for Southern Barbecue Rub below that. The rub will keep in the fridge…

Slow Roasted Ribs (one 3 or 4 lb. rack)

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 250˚F*
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. This is easily done by loosening an end with a knife and then grabbing the piece with a clean paper towel and pulling it off.
  3. Place the ribs on a large rimmed baking sheet, meaty side down. Rub a generous amount of the barbecue rub on both sides of the rack.
  4. With the ribs bone-side down, put the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for 2 hours.
  5. Turn the ribs over and roast for another hour.
  6. Turn the ribs over so they are again bone-side down and roast for one more hour, or until the ribs are fork-tender and practically falling off the bone.
  7. Cut the ribs into serving pieces and enjoy!

*NOTE Because my ribs were boneless I was able to reduce the cooking time! I cooked them first for 1 hour at 300 degrees F  and then turned them over to cook for another half hour, reducing the heat to 250 F. They were done, but you should check them before turning off the oven, depending on the thickness of the boneless ribs.

*Southern Barbecue Rub (Adapted from a recipe in Joy of Cooking)

 Ingredients

  • ¼ cup sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (You could use smoked paprika instead.)
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional) I used this

Roasted Corn and Sweet Pepper Toss

Summertime in southern Ontario means sweet corn is plentiful. Try something a little different and use it in a fresh salad, as my daughter did. It is an awesome side salad and worth the effort.

6 cobs of corn (or used a good quality canned corn)
1 T olive oil
2 red peppers
2 orange peppers
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice
3 T cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove of garlic minced
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1’2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 cups arugula leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove husks from the corn and brush the cobs with oil. Place on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet. Cut the peppers into quarters and add to the corn. Roast for 45 minutes or until corn and peppers are golden. Leave to cool.

Scrape the kernels from the corn into a large bowl. Chop the peppers into bite sized pieces and add to the corn.

Whisk together the lime juice and zest, vinegar, paprika, garlic sugar and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, whisking constantly. Pour the dressing over the corn and peppers and toss to coat. Add green onion and cilantro and toss again. Place arugula on a platter and pour corn mixture on top. Chill for 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you are an arugula lover, I would add chopped arugula to the salad and toss it all together.

Serves 6 to 8 people.