One of the hardest parts about giving up six main food groups and items for baby A (she has protein digestion issues so I’m not eating dairy, wheat, eggs, fish, soy or peanuts) is finding quick, easy weeknight meals. Through a lot of trial and error, J and I have learned that some meals that look easy aren’t and some that look time-consuming are actually simple. This is a simple one. We’d put off making Lamb Tagine with Potatoes and Chickpeas from Williams Sonoma because it looked complicated. We were throughly surprised to learn it was easy and perfect for a busy weeknight.
In a small fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a spice grinder, add the peppercorns, paprika, ginger and the 2 tsp. salt and grind until well combined. Set aside. If using ground, skip the grinding step and just combine in a small bowl. Mix with a fork.
In a tagine over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until almost smoking. Working in batches, brown the lamb on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. If you don't have a tagine, we used our most favorite pasta pot.
Add the remaining oil and the onion to the tagine or pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and the spice mixture, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is caramelized, about 2 more minutes.
Add the lamb, water, potatoes and the 1/4 cup cilantro and bring to a simmer.
Cover the tagine or pot and adjust the heat so the mixture gently simmers.
Cook for 45 minutes, then add the chickpeas and lemon juice.
Continue cooking until the lamb is tender, about 45 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
Garnish with cilantro and serve. Accompany with couscous or rice.
My opinion: I LOVE this dish. It’s flavorful and warming and just delicious. It’s as good cold as it is right from the stove.
During the last few months of my pregnancy, I had to increase my protein intake. Lucky for me, J found several recipes that tasted good, included several servings of vegetables and had lots of protein. This one from Tori Avey with a few modifications quickly became one of our favorites.
You can modify the spice level based on your tastes. If you want to add more eggs, feel free! It’s just as good the next morning on toast like huevos rancheros.
Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium (we use our cast iron skillet for this).
Heat olive oil in the pan.
Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.
Add garlic and continue to sauté until mixture is fragrant.
Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until softened.
Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir to blend.
Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for another 5 to 7 minutes until it starts to reduce.
Taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences.
At a minimum, add salt and pepper to taste.
You can also add more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka.
Sprinkle the feta over the dish, or mix it in if you like.
Then crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. In our cast iron skillet, we can get about five eggs around the outer edge and one in the center.
The eggs will cook over easy on top of the tomato sauce. If you prefer more done eggs, you can heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook in the oven until set (when the skillet is jiggled, the eggs don't jiggle back).
We leave the mixture uncovered and let simmer for between 5 and 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced.
Be careful at this point, because the mixture can go from reducing to burning quickly.
Serve in a bowl alone, over rice or with some french bread.
This dish is delicious hot or cold. With sides or alone. It’s easy, filling and perfect for a late fall evening.
p.s. Summer 2016 update: without the cayenne pepper and the chili powder, our toddler loves this dish. We just add the extra spices onto our own plates.
These aren’t actually cheesy pants (obviously). When J and I were putting together our Thanksgiving menu, I misread the Cheesy Papillons from this Serious Eats recipe as cheesy pantelones and after laughing until I couldn’t breathe, the name stuck.
Cheesy Papillons are simple, delicious and perfect appetizers. While best right out of the oven, they are just as tasty after they’ve cooled.
2 puff pastry sheets (17 ounces total) (We found this hidden in the freezer isle!)
Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon or fleur de sel)
2 cups grated Gruyère (about 6 ounces. My new favorite cheese!)
1/4 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (since we don’t have this glorious spice, we used a substitute of half paprika and half cayenne)
Follow the package directions for defrosting the puff pastry. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Dust the countertop (or the cutting board) with some flour. Unfold the puff pastry, dock lightly with a fork and season with a generous pinch of sea salt. Scatter 1 cup of cheese evenly over the top and use a rolling pin to gently press it into the pastry (this is important to keep the cheese from falling off as you roll). Top with half of the piment d’Espelette. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry and the remaining ingredients.
Use a ravioli cutter (we just used the pizza cutter) to slice the pastry in strips about 1-inch by 3 inches. Twist each strip in the middle to form a bowtie (a bowtie meant the cheese fell out for us, so we rolled into crescents with the cheese on the inside.).
Place strips, spaced out, on a parchment-lined baking sheet (you may need to do this in two batches). Bake until puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
So wonderful. I’m glad we had friends over to help me eat these because I would have eaten the whole batch myself.
In college, J and I practically lived on jambalaya and coffee. Of course, it was the boxed version and after eating it for two years, we got pretty burned out. Which was sad because jambalaya is so tasty and easy and perfect for a chilly evening. Luckily, J found this jambalaya recipe and with a few tweaks cured the burnout.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
1 (14 ounce) package andouille sausage, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 large celery ribs, chopped (we left them in half moons)
3 tbs garlic, minced (we eyeballed this as we like garlic)
1 bunch scallion, chopped
1 (32 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
about 15 ounces chicken stock
1 1/4 cups long grain rice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon Tony Chacere’s creole seasoning (as the original recipe states, there is absolutely no substitute for Tony’s)
cracked black pepper (to taste)
Cook sliced sausage over medium high heat in a 6 quart stock pot until slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper, onion, celery, garlic and scallions and cook until softened but not translucent, about 4 minutes. Add cubed chicken breast and Worcestershire sauce and cook just until you can no longer see pink. Add the bay leaves, basil, oregano, sage, paprika, Tony Chacere’s, salt, black pepper, tomatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add rice, bring back up to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 30 minutes. The jambalaya should still be wet, but not soupy. Remove the bay leaves. Enjoy!
We’ll be adding this back to our regular dinner rotation. It was super easy to make and make more than enough to freeze half for a later meal.
Before the current big hullabaloo over this restaurant, J and I decided to figure out how to recreate our favorite chicken sandwich at home. Mostly because the nearest restaurant to us is more than an hour and a half away. This recipe is so close! With a bag of Oreda waffle fries, it’s almost like you’re there.
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Dill Pickle Juice (we bought the hamburger slices and just used the juice)
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Flour
1 tablespoon Powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Celery salt
1/4 teaspoon Dried basil
Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until about 1/2 inch thick all around. Cut into four pieces, as even as possible. Marinate in the pickle juice and Tabasco Sauce for 30 minutes. Beat the egg with the milk in a bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in a zip lock bag. Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then place in the bag and shake. Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep) to about 345-350, or use a deep fryer (that’s what we did). Remove the chicken from the flour mixture and tap off the excess. Place in the oil. Fry each cutlet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. If using a fryer, it takes about 5 minutes total. Be sure to check the first couple to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Blot on paper and serve on toasted buns with pickle slices.
So good. It’s very, very close to the original. It just needed to be a touch sweeter, so next time we’ll use a bit more powdered sugar and a touch less pickle juice.