This Indian classic is brimming with vegetables and wonderful spices.
- 6 cups fresh spinach, tightly packed, washed, and drained, or 2 cups frozen spinach, defrosted
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 green chilis, stemmed and finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste*
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1/2 salt or to taste
- 1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes or diced canned tomatoes
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaf (crushed to powder)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, optional
If using fresh spinach, blanch it for 1 minute in a large pot of boiling water, and then use a large strainer to transfer it to a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Squeeze out the excess water, place the spinach in a blender, and purée it; set aside. If using frozen spinach, once it has thawed, squeeze it gently to remove any excess liquid.
Heat a large skillet and, when it’s hot, add the butter and olive oil. Add cumin seeds, onion, and chilis and cook for 5 minutes or until the onions are light brown. Add ginger garlic paste, garam masala, cayenne, salt, and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook until firm and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes, flipping the pieces halfway through. Add the nutmeg and fenugreek and stir for 2 minutes, then add the puréed spinach and a cup of water, and cook for another 5 minutes. For a creamier sauce, add the heavy cream and cook 3 to 5 more minutes. Serve with naan or over basmati rice.
*To make your own ginger garlic paste, in a small food grinder process 2 ounces peeled garlic cloves, 1 ounce peeled fresh ginger, and 1 teaspoon olive oil to a paste consistency, adding water by the teaspoon if necessary.
Yields 4 to 6 servings
These cukes make a zesty side dish and a terrific addition to sandwiches, burgers, and salads. They’re ready in less than an hour, but the flavor will intensify the longer they marinate in the fridge (bring them back to room temperature before serving).
- 2 large cucumbers, trimmed, peel left on
- 1 large red onion
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 bell pepper, any color, cored and cut into thin rings
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons dill, minced
Use a mandoline or the thin slicing blade of your food processor to slice the cucumbers and red onions. Transfer them to a colander nestled in a large bowl and toss with the salt. Let sit for an hour to release some of their liquid. Rinse with cold water to remove extra salt and rinse out the bowl. Place the cucumbers and onions in the bowl along with the pepper rings. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and dill, and toss well. Allow the flavors to meld for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Yields 6 servings
Spicy or mild, chicken (or duck) sausages are a delicious change from the traditional pork. This dish also makes a great sandwich filling for a crusty baguette or roll.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces chicken sausages
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small squares
- 10 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and halved if large
- 1/4 cup Apple Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
Heat a large skillet or frying pan. When hot, add the olive oil and sauté the sausages, browning them well on all sides. Add the peppers and mushrooms, and sauté over medium heat until tender. Deglaze (see Quick Kitchen Nugget in this week’s newsletter) the pan with the vinegar, and then add the water, cover, and steam-cook for about 5 minutes more, depending on the size of the sausages (the internal temperature of the sausages should read 165°F with an instant-read thermometer).
Yields 4 servings
Shelled crabmeat is readily available at many markets, and this recipe is delicious whether you use claw meat or the more expensive lump crabmeat. Grating the onion on a box grater will separate out most of its liquid, making for a faster sauté.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 8 ounces cooked crabmeat
- 1 cup corn kernels, fresh, canned, or frozen
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Heat a medium saucepan. When hot, add the olive oil and onions. Sauté over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the onions are soft and any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar to the pan. When it starts to boil, sprinkle on the flour and whisk vigorously until you get a thick paste, about 3 minutes, allowing the flour to cook. Add the milk, 1/2 cup at a time, and continue to whisk vigorously, letting the mixture thicken before adding the next 1/2 cup. Add the half-and-half in the same way. Lower the heat to a simmer and fold in the crabmeat, corn kernels, thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat through, about 3 minutes. Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve.
Yields 4-6 servings