Tag Archives: rice

Spiced Mediterranean Squash

In the Mediterranean, particularly Syria and Lebanon, stuffed squash is a very popular dish. Called koosa, it is a staple of family meals throughout the Mediterranean Middle East. It is usually served with hummus, pita, and a green salad. However, it is often difficult to find squash large enough to stuff. Other times you just don’t want to go through all the work of hollowing out and stuffing those squash  So I often make this simple alternative that contains all of the flavor with just a fraction of the work. You will need the following ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups of uncooked rice

One 15 ounce can of tomato sauce

One 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes

Three yellow squash, sliced

One tablespoon of McCormick Greek seasoning

Two teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, ground allspice, and tumeric

2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large dutch oven heat the oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is translucent. Stir often to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the ground beef and brown until the meat is cooked completely. Add the Greek seasoning while you are browning the meat. Once the meat is cooked through add the squash, salt, and pepper and mix until everything is fully incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.

 

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Continental Chicken

Coq au vin is a very traditional French dish that is made by stewing chicken in red wine along with onions, mushrooms, olives, and tomatoes. I had it as a child and really enjoyed it but never made it as an adult because I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and don’t believe in consuming alcohol. Last year I moved and I have slowly been unpacking boxes and stumbled across a cookbook that I had bought at a thrift store a few years ago. It had a book mark in it and I wasn’t sure why and so I decided to make the recipe to find out why I had marked it. Well the recipe turned out to be a non-alcohol based version of coq au vin called continental chicken. Needless to say I was quite happy with the results.

To make continental chicken you will need the following ingredients:

Eight bone-in chicken thighs

two tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

One medium onion, sliced*

One clove of garlic, sliced

One 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes

One 16 ounce can of sliced mushrooms

One 16 ounce can of medium black olives

One 8 ounce can of tomato paste

One half cup soy sauce

Three cups cooked white rice

In a large Dutch oven heat the oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions start to brown slightly. Add the chicken to the pot, skin side down, and brown on each side (about five minutes per side). Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rice, and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the rice according to package directions. Serve the cooked chicken and sauce over the rice.

*If you can find them try using spring or BBQ onions instead of  regular onions. You’ll need three to replace one medium yellow onion but they have a milder taste and give the sauce a wonderful flavor and texture.

 

Simple but Amazing

The other day I had a bunch of leftover rice that I needed to use so I decided that I would try and do something creative with it. Looking through my cupboards I realized that it was close to payday so I didn’t have much to work with. But what I did have were some of my favorite flavors of Asia and the Middle East so I decided to see what I could make with them. The result was a delicious vegetarian rice porridge that could easily become vegan with just the change of one ingredient.

To start with you need two cups of cooked rice. Like I said before, I was using leftover rice but you could easily just cook some just for this recipe. Add four cups of chicken stock to the rice in a large pot. To make this vegan simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock. It is that simple.

Next mix in one tablespoon of curry powder, one teaspoon of five spice powder, on half of an onion finely sliced, and a fourth cup of soy sauce. Finally stir in one can of garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas. Bring this mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the beans have softened and the rice is soft and creamy. Serve it in bowls; this should make about four to six servings.

You can also add any meat or veggies that you would like to add some more flavors. For example, through some chicken thighs in and cook them with the rice mixture for chicken and rice curry. Tomatoes, peas, and squash would also make good mix-ins. You could even add shrimp and shellfish if you are so inclined.

 

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