Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sausage Shrimp Dressing (Stuffing)

     I had my Christmas meal planned in advance.  It included a turkey, greens, candied yams and a ham.  I purposely left out the dressing (stuffing) because I seem to be the only one in my family that eats it.  My hubby and daughter just didn't like dressing and my gluten free son couldn't eat it if he wanted to.  However, around 10 a.m. I decided that I just had to have some dressing (stuffing) even if I was the only one to eat it.  Only one problem, well two I guess:  1) I didn't plan for it so I didn't have all of my ingredients and 2) I now live in Portugal so the trusted grocery store down the road with Christmas hours just wasn't happening.  Okay, to be fair, there may have been one open, but I was almost positive I wasn't going to find exactly what I needed for my usual recipe i.e. Jiffy Cornbread Mix. 
     "What to do", I thought?  I immediately took inventory of what I had on hand.  I had crackers that were very similar to Saltines, shrimp, duck broth (yes you read right), celery, onions, bell peppers and eggs.  I then grabbed my daughter and off we went to the nearest gas station.  There I found brioche bread and Portuguese chouriço.  Chouriço is similar to Spanish chorizo and can be used interchangeably.  Not that I've ever used chorizo in dressing, but hey, I also never used shrimp or duck broth either so what did I have to lose?  Plus, I figured I'd be the only one eating it anyway.  How wrong I turned out to be!  This was a total hit.  I hope you try it or some variation of this yummy make shift dressing. 
(note)  Recipe as is, is not gluten, dairy or egg free.  Perhaps substitutions can be made to make it that way, but I cannot vouch for the taste as I have not experimented with substitutions yet.  

Sausage Shrimp Dressing (Stuffing)

 9 slices of brioche bread (or white bread), toasted and broken into 1" pieces
100 gm (3.5 oz) Portuguese chouriço, Spanish chorizo or andouillie, chopped
250 gm (9 oz) shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp rubbed sage
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups duck broth or chicken broth (my homemade broth was salted to taste)
36 unsalted saltine crackers, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter 9 x 9 casserole and set aside.

1.  Over medium heat brown the sausage in a frying pan.  Remove sausage from the pan and pour off oil but reserving about 2 tbsp in the pan for sauteing the vegetables. 

2.  Add two tbsp of butter to the pan.  Saute onions, celery, bell pepper and dried herbs over medium heat until soft.  This will take around 8 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside. 

3.  Lightly salt and pepper the chopped shrimp.  (about 1/2 tsp salt)

4.  In a large bowl toss together bread, crackers, sausage, eggs, sauteed vegetables and broth, until well combined. 

5.  Pour into casserole dish and bake 45 minutes or until cooked through. 

Garliky Oven Baked Chicken Wings

     Chicken wings are a special treat at our house.  We don't enjoy them too often, but when we do, we gather around the coffee table with a good Friday night movie.  These are not hot wings, but if you want them a little spicy, add your favorite pepper sauce at the very end.  At some point, I will go ahead and post my Trinidad Hot Wings recipe, but for now, enjoy these garlicky goodies!

Garlicy Oven Baked Wings

40 chicken wing drummettes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp minced FRESH garlic
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

(optional) 2 tbsp of your favorite pepper sauce such as Pepperplant Habanero Extra Hot California Style Hot Pepper Sauce.

1.  Place wing drummettes in a large bowl.  Drizzle with the olive oil.  Add spices.  Do not add the garlic yet.  Toss well to coat.  Set aside while oven preheats to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2.  Place wings in one layer on baking sheet.  Bake 20 minutes.  Turn each wing over and bake an additional 15 minutes. 

3.  While the wings bake, mince the garlic and chop the cilantro if you haven't done so already. 

4.  Remove wings from the oven.  Place wings in a large bowl discarding the oil that remains in the baking sheet.  Add garlic, cilantro and pepper sauce if using, to the bowl and toss chicken will to coat.

5.  At this point, it will be very difficult not to taste test because the garlic becomes very fragrant as soon as it comes into contact with the chicken. 

Serve and enjoy! 


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When the Butternut Met the Stew

It's that wonderful time of year when the butternut squash is plentiful.  Most people either love it or hate it.  Although it is pretty good baked then mashed with butter and salt, and used as a side dish, this is a great way to make it into a one pot meal.  One of the best features of this recipe is that it can be prepped in under 20 minutes!  After which time you can put it into the fridge to be cooked later or straight into the oven.  Keep in mind however that it takes about 2 hours in the oven.  Have fun!     

Hearty Butternut Squash and Pork Stew

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
1.5 to 2 lbs pork shoulder roast trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1 inch thick rounds
1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 habanero pepper, minced and seeds removed (or keep if you like it hot)
3 cups of chicken broth
1.5 cups coconut milk, divided
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2.  Put butternut squash, carrots, pork shoulder, onions, rosemary, garlic, habanero pepper, and spices into a large bowl.  Stir to distribute spices evenly.  Spread evenly into a 9x13 casserole dish.  Mix 1 cup of coconut milk with the chicken broth and pour into casserole dish or dutch oven.  Cover tightly and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours. 

3.  Remove stew from oven.  Pour or spoon stew into a large strainer over a large bowl separating the liquid from the solids.  Pour the liquid into a blender and add about 1.5 cups of the butternut squash and carrot pieces.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  If you have an immersion blender, you can simply blend in the bowl.  Return the stew into the casserole dish and serve. 

I would love to hear your comments.  I know my fellow foodies out there always have their wheels turning on how to make recipes better or put little twists on them.