Category Archives: Meat Dishes

Tajine: Chicken with Harissa and Apricots

Moroccan flavors favor the spices used in Indian cooking like coriander, saffron, and cumin. I love these aromatic spices and the heavenly aroma.  I own a beautiful clay tagine bought from a friend who carried it from Morocco,  It makes such a beautiful presentation and keeps the dish juicy and moist.

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A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The pot has a unique conical shape which helps make your dish moist by letting the steam rise, condense and trickle back down into the shallow base.

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I used my tagine right on the burner but have experimented with putting it directly in the oven at 300 degrees F. Of course then you can’t see the beautiful pot simmering on your stove 🙂

Onions are a must in a tagine using them as a bed for the chicken, also layer in cut carrots and fresh cut fennel. Chicken thighs and leg are the best pieces to use to keep it all moist and juicy

The spices are simple, ground coriander, cumin, fennel,  cayenne and some ras-el-hanout if you have it.

Watch this 20 sec video to get the real cooking experience of using a tagine.

Tajine: Chicken i

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a beautifully slow cooked chicken immersed in fragrant spices

Ingredients

  • 10 pieces of chicken legs and thighs
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • ½ tsp saffron, bloomed in a little warm water
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 2 carrots chopped in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb chopped in large pieces
  • 5 – 10 pieces of dried apricots
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
  • About 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • Pink salt

Directions

  • Marinate the chicken pieces for a couple of hours ( overnight is best) in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tbsp fennel powder, 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp garlic, and salt.
  • Lightly brown the chicken pieces in olive oil and set aside
  • Heat a tagine on low/medium heat.
  • Add 2-3 tbsp oil, ghee and then the onions. Let the onions sweat for about 5 mins.
  • Add the remaining crushed garlic and ginger and  then add the turmeric and harissa paste and ras-el-hanout
  • Add chicken pieces and pour in the saffron
  • Put the tajine on a diffuser ( I used a small baking pan) and turn down the heat to low-medium
  • Cover and let it cook at low for about 2 hrs. Adjust the salt as you go.
  • In the last 20 mins or so add the apricots.
  • Add lemon juice and serve sprinkled with parsley with a side of rice or bread
  • It tastes even better the next day!

Sharing at  Angie’s Fiesta Friday where our co-hosts this week are Lizet @ Chipa by the dozen and Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook.

Za’atar Roasted Chicken and Cauliflower

We are waiting for spring on the east coast so patiently but it keeps testing our patience. The first day of spring has come and gone bringing beautiful snow with it…..cold days, blossoms annoyed to be out in this cold and leaves struggling to show their faces.. I am trying to brighten up the “almost spring” spirit with some amazing fresh ingredients and flavorful spices like Za’atar.

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Za’atar is a blend of herbs and seeds often used in the Middle Eastern cooking. I bought my Za’atar mix from a local middle eastern store but you can always make it at home and use your variations of this herb and spice blend. Typically, za’atar is a blend of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and salt. Mine also included roasted flour.IMG_8849-1

The lemon zest is a key ingredient enhancing the flavors so beautifully so don’t skip that.

The chicken comes out tender and juicy, and you can prep this recipe a day or 2 ahead on time, keeping it in the fridge until you are ready to roast

 

IMG_8845-1The cauliflower steak is also as simple as it can be, sliced, sprinkled with the spice blend and roasted until brown. It is a delicious, healthy and gluten-free side for any occasion.

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I do tend to make and store a lot of fermented foods so served it with a side of grated Daikon radish pickle.  You can find some of my pickle recipes on my blog

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Za’atar Roasted Chicken and Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A spice and lemon roasted chicken, tender and juicy accompanied by roasted cauliflower .

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • I whole chicken skin on cut up in pieces
  • 2 tablespoon Za’atar spice blend
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon crushed fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Pink Himalayan salt – to taste
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil

Cauliflower:

  • 1 head of organic cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon Za’atar
  • 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
  • Pink salt to taste

Directions

  • Make some knife incisions or cuts in the chicken pieces for the marinade to get in. Pat dry.
  • Mix all the ingredient together for the chicken and rub it in the chicken pieces thoroughly.
  • Store overnight or longer
  • Roast at 400 degrees for 45 -55 minutes until golden brown
  • Slice the cauliflower like large steak pieces
  • Sprinkle with the Zataar spice and some grapeseed oil on both sides.
  • Roast at 400 degrees for 30 mins or until browned  slightly
  • Serve beautifully

You can serve this with a salad or pickles. I have here some Diakon Pickle with fresh radishes and an arugula walnut pesto ( will post the recipe soon).

This is a fun week for another reason. There is a fab party at Angie’s Fiesta Friday and I am co-hosting with Petra. Petra’s blog has one of the most creative recipes with fresh ingredients that I have seen and so do check it out!

Meatballs with Eggplant puree and Radish pesto

After a hectic week I unwind with experimentation of ingredients and spices. Weekends that have nothing to do with my technology work are a way to meditate, unwind and reconnect with living a simple life with natural clean organic cooking.

IAS_0627The weekend is always a time for me to center my energy. Some music, some reading , some quality grounded time with my soul mate and some poetry. Here is my Rumi inspiration from the weekend

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.

Don’t go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill

where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open.

Don’t go back to sleep.

 

——Rumi

With some ground lamb  and free range turkey from the local market I found flavors that yet again favor Mediterranean and Indian spices. My food always needs to be kicked up with some tang and some spice 🙂

For vegetarians, this can totally be made with veggie or lentil meatballs – try black lentils and zucchini.

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Summer is also a time to play with you dips and chutney. The beautiful red radishes sprouted in my garden and are a base for this amazing pesto.

IMG_6112Ah and the bread, the bread. So the very creative and inspiring Suzanne posted this pita recipe promising it to be super easy. And easy it was!!  I have made it twice already. Thanks Suzanne 🙂 Please do check out her blog and the recipe here.

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  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

a true fusion dish with lebanese and indian flavors

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  ln turkey
  • Combine the minced lamb and turkey
  • Add 1 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2  tablespoon gluten free pancake mix ( secret ingredient)
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)

Eggplant puree

  • 3 Japanese eggplant
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 4 cloves whole garlic
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • Himalayan salt to taste

Radish Almond pesto

  • 2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 fresh red radish with leaves
  • Handful of chives
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup soaked and peeled almonds
  • 1 cup walnut or olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Grated peel of 1 lime.

Directions

Meatballs

  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil, pancake mix and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside

Eggplant puree

  • Roast the eggplant over an open fire or on a broiler setting in your over until it is charred and the skin breaks.
  • Let is sit for a few minutes and remove the charred skin by hand collecting the pulp in a bowl
  • In a pan add butter or oil on medium heat and add the garlic and green chili.
  • In about 1 minute add the cumin and let the spices roast for about 2 minutes
  • Add the eggplant pulp and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add chopped cilantro and remove from heat.
  • Blend this with the tahini and add any additional water needed to make a paste.
  • Set aside

Pesto

  • Blend the ingredients together with salt to taste and set aside

Plating

  • In a large plate, spread the eggplant puree and top it with the meatballs
  • Pour the pesto and some extra glugs of olive oil
  • I topped it with chives, my homemade Hibiscus spice mix with a side of Pita and some extra pesto

For the perfect Pita recipe, check out my friend Suzanne’s blog.

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I am bringing this to Angie’s Fiesta Friday. Co hosts this week are Monika, Everyday Healthy Recipes, and Juhls, The Not So Creative Cook.

Tagine: Chicken and Zucchini

Moroccan flavors favor the spices used in Indian cooking like coriander, saffron  and cumin. I love these aromatic spices and the heavenly aroma.  I own a beautiful clay tagine bought from a friend who carried it from Morocco,  It makes such a beautiful presentation and keeps the dish juicy and moist.

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A tajine or tagine is a Maghrebi dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. The pot has a unique  conical shape which helps make your dish moist by letting the steam rise, condense and trickle back down into the shallow base.

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I used my tagine right on the burner but have experimented with putting it directly in the oven at 300 degree F. Of course then you can’t see the beautiful pot simmering on your stove 🙂

 

The spices are simple, ground coriander, cumin, cayenne and some ras-el-hanout if you have it.

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Onions are a must in a tagine using them as a bed for the chicken. I have used organic chicken breasts here but bone-in chicken would be more moist.

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If you don’t have the preserved lemons, you can skip them. The marinated olive gives this dish enough tanginess.

 

Tagine: Chicken and Zucchini

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
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a beautiful spring inspired quinoa salad

Ingredients

  • 3 organic free range chicken breasts ( or 6 chicken thighs)
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly slicedIAS_0269
  • 2 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp fresh ground ginger
  • ½ tsp saffron, bloomed in a little warm water
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ras-el-hanout
  • 2 Green Zucchini cut in rounds
  • 2 small preserved lemons
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley or cilantro
  • 5-7 Whole green olives in and couple of tablespoons of the juice
  • Pink salt

Directions

  • Marinate the chicken breasts for a couple of hours in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp fennel powder, 1 tsp garlic and salt.
  • Heat the tagine shallow bowl on low/medium heat.
  • Add 2 tbsp oil and then the onions. Let the onions sweat for about 5 mins.
  • Add the crushed garlic and ginger and then add the chicken breast and brown them 5 mins on each side.
  • Add the remaining spices ( cumin, coriander, fennel, ras-el-hanout, saffron)
  • Add Olives and olive juice, and coarsely chopped pulp of one preserved lemon and the rind of both, cut into slivers.
  • Add cut zucchini
  • It should be moist enough that no additional water is needed.
  • Cover  with the dome and let it cook at low for 1 hr.
  • Serve sprinkled with parsley with a side of rice or bread
  • This is perfect for a weekend dinner party

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I am taking this to  Fiesta Friday #172  with Angie and our cohosts  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Su @ Su’s Healthy Living

saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

This is a true fusion dish blending the flavors of Kashmir with Persian cooking. The fennel and dried ginger in the meatballs is so delicate yet intense. Good minced lamb is best but you can use any combination of lamb, beef and veal. I added a 1/2 amount ground turkey to make it lighter but you can make it all lamb.

Persian cooking gives us Kalam Polo which is a hearty meal made with white cabbage, beef meatballs and rice.  I have been inspired by this and the spices used in Kashmiri cuisine to make this dish.

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For readers who follow my blog you know I love saffron and often think of the fields in Kashmir that grow this beautifully purple flower harvested just within a few weeks for its incredible color and flavor. Check out Kashmir Box if you need to buy this right from the fields.

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Use white cabbage in this dish to absorb the golden saffron color, you will not miss the rice so this version is carb free. Cut the cabbage finely so it cooks quickly and evenly. The turmeric and saffron with give it the beautiful color and flavor.

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saffron infused lamb meatballs and cabbage

  • Servings: many
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a fusion dish inspired by kashmiri and persian cooking

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1/2 lb lamb
  • 1/2  lb turkey
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp hing ( asafetida)
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Pink Salt to taste

Cabbage

  • 1/2  head of white cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp saffron blooming in a tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of mustard oil ( or olive oil)
  • Chopped Parsley and Mint for garnish
  • Pink salt to taste

Directions

  • Squeeze the water out of the grated onion through a muslin cloth or a colander
  • Combine the lamb and turkey and mix in the onion and ground spices with your hands. Add the oil and crack in the egg. Combine well.
  • With wet hands make the meatballs the size of golf balls and line them on a baking tray
  • Bake at 375 F for 20-25 mins. Remove from oven and set aside
  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of mustard oil. Let it get to smoking hot temperature.
  • Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they barely get brown.
  • Add the cabbage and cook for about 10 mins until tender
  • Add the blooming saffron and the turmeric and continue to cook for 5 mins.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Add the meatballs and combine until heated through.
  • Garnish with chopped Parsley and Mint

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Sharing this at the fiesta at Angie’s with co-hosts Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Elaine @ Foodbod

Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

Spicy tangy flavors seem to make everything better for me….the sense of the spice, the heat and the sour is a dance on the taste buds.

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In a quest to make gluten free tostadas I have experimented with flours quite a bit which have resulted in as many fails as successes. A combination of coconut flour with some almond flour added in seems to hold it’s own for me. I have seen people add xanthan gum so the dough becomes pliable but I did not have any so went without.

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There are layers of flavors in this recipe.

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With the dough in place, I started with grated beets and carrots and marinated them with lemon juice and salt for 5 mins.

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The steak is grass fed organic and turns out just amazing

The Cilantro sauce is a staple in my kitchen and I have used it as a marinade and topping. You can find the recipe below and another version here.

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CilantroChutney-5702Now to the fermented red cabbage….just delicious and so good for you. This add the right amount of tanginess and crunch.

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This dish is topped with fresh watercress and a sprinkle of goat cheese.

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Coconut Flour Tostadas with Cilantro Steak

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

a gluten free tostada layered with steak and fermented vegetables

Ingredients

Tostadas

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Cold water for the dough

Beet and carrot salad

  • 1 beet and 1 carrot – grated
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • Pink salt

Steak

  • 1-2 portions of organic grass fed steak

Cilantro Sauce

  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ( 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 serrano chilies
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Watercress leaves and goat cheese for garnish

Cabbage Pickle: Recipe can be found here

Directions

  • Blend the ingredients for the Cilantro sauce adjusting the salt to taste
  • Marinate the steak in the cilantro sauce for an hour or overnight if you have the time.
  • Combine the ingredients for the beet and carrot salad and set aside
  • For the tostadas, combine the flour, oil salt, pepper and eggs. Add water in small increments, just enough for the dough to come together. It will be crumbly.
  • Using a tortilla press between plastic wrap, press the tostadas out gently. You have to be careful as the dough is crumbly with the gluten and it may take a couple of tries.
  • Pan fry in olive oil until both sides are browned.
  • Grill the steak, 5 mins on each side and let it rest for 5 mins. Slice in  2 inch pieces.
  • Using the tostadas as a base, top with the beet mixture, steak pieces, red cabbage pickle, cilantro sauce and watercress
  • Top with goat cheese or any other cheese you prefer.
  • Serve with a side of the cilantro sauce.

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Jhuls is the solo cohost this week at Fiesta Friday. Do check out her blog at  Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook
Also linking up on Saucy Saturdays

Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad

Thai cooking has always been a passion, with fresh aromatic ingredients like lemon grass, cilantro, chilies and ginger, the possibilities of creating dishes is endless. This cuisine brings to the world  the 5 flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter and hot. The  subtle variation in proportions of ingredients used highlights these flavors.

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I am fortunate to have a store within a mile that carries fresh Thai ingredients ( except for Kaffir lime leaves). Kaffir lime leaves are essential flavoring in Thai cooking and I found a wonderful online store for a bag of dried leaves. The smell is heavenly.

Lemon Grass ( or Takrai) is widely available and sold in bunches. The edible portion is about 4-6 inches from the root. The rest can be used for flavoring broths.

lemongrass-chickenI am using fresh mushrooms but If you have dried shiitake mushrooms just soak them in warm water until they are soft and use the broth in cooking as well.

Continue reading Lemon Grass Chicken with Jicama Salad