Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Home Sweet Home!

Finally! My blog has been dequarantined by Google, thank god, and I've got a lot to catch up on, not least my adventures in the US at the ever-awesome GABF, on which I'll be doing a separate post in the next few days.

But, before that, I just wanted to share something I made for dinner this evening that was not only healthy but like a hug in a bowl.

You see I really needed something comforting and cuddly, I've had jetlag like hell today but after a week and a bit of serious overindulgence, I needed something that would nurture my body a bit as well as lift my spirits and soothe my travel-weary soul - which this most certainly did.

The beer match I would suggest for the below would be something like a Vienna-style lager or even a crystal wheat or Belgian-style but nothing too dark and heavy or, conversely, very bitter as there is some very subtle and pretty spice notes in the dish that I feel would be overwhelmed

So, here goes my Oxymoronic One Pot Wonder (or slightly bastardised tagine recipe if you like!)

Serves 4 (with quite a good bit of bulgur wheat and veg left over for salads)

Sorry picture isn't great, I was hungry!
Toasted spice mix:
Half a cinnamon stick
3 tbsp Ras-el-Hanout (Moroccan spice mix)
2tbsp cumin seeds
1tbsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp chilli flakes

Dressing & Sprinkly Bits!
Finely chopped mint leaves
Two garlic cloves
Lime - juice & rind (juice of two if it's not very juicy)
Half an inch ginger very finely grated
Small pot of natural yoghurt
Pomegranate seeds
Pomegranate molasses
Toasted sesame seeds & chopped pistachios

Main ingredients:
8 x chicken thighs
1 x medium butternut squash chopped into inch cubes
1 x large aubergine chopped into inch cubes
4 x large garlic cloves smashed
1 x onion finely chopped
1tsp harissa
600gms bulgur wheat
Ready-to-eat prunes & dried apricots
Chai tea bags (optional to replace with a spiced Winter Ale, porter or mild)
1 x tin of chickpeas
1tbsp Harissa (or a slightly smokey not super-hot chilli paste)
1x bottle spicy ginger beer (I used Wychwood Ginger Beard, see brief review at end)
Small splash of groundnut oil

  1. Soak your dried fruit *childish snigger* in the chai tea or one of the mentioned beers
  2. Pop a dry pan on the hob to heat up
  3. Whilst it's doing that, pop salt & garlic in a pestle & mortar and pulp
  4. Add lime rind & juice + mint leaves & ginger - leave to macerate
  5. By now pan should be nice and hot, add spices from spice mix list, turn heat down and toast spices carefully, don't burn and then set aside
  6. Heat a large pot or hob-friendly tagine (I can't recommend Emile Henry highly enough)
  7. Add oil and quickly brown chicken thighs, add half the toasted spices, then add onions and cook until they go translucent then add aubergines & butternut squash for four or five minutes, then the chickpeas and then add garlic, some seasoning & harissa, then add rest of spices
  8. A minute after the garlic is added deglaze with a bit of water before adding any beer you're using
  9. Add the bulgur wheat and stir everything together carefully, keep an eye on the liquid levels every five minutes, it's not an exact science
  10. Whilst it's cooking add your mushed garlic, mint, lime etc. into your natural yoghurt
  11. Then just give your spice pan a wipe & toast the sesame seeds & pistachios in that
  12. To serve: test for seasoning then pile into bowls, drizzle over yoghurt and a bit of pomegranate molasses and sprinkle with some more chopped mint, sesame seeds, pistachios and pomegranate seeds - serve!
  13. Drink beer with it! 
Wychwood Ginger Beard
A name I've seen before in a Firkin pub but a very different beer Ginger Beard is initially a little sweet but ends off with a decent fiery Ginger Kick. Personally, I find this kind of ginger beer a little one-dimensional but that's probably because I came to ginger as a flavour a little later in life, the OH who loves Old Jamaica in the summer declared it would be 'really nice ice cold in summer as a thirst quencher' - so what do I know?! : )

1 comment:

Leigh said...

Now this looks good, Melissa! One-Pot cooking is one of my favourite ways to cook; simply due to ease and depth of flavour when done right. This looks well tasty...and yes, a beer would be wonderful. Dubbel for me, please!