My mom and I absolutely love Greek avgolemono soup. Recently, I made this meatball version when she was visiting. Springtime in a bowl! Light, bright and fresh.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used homemade stock and modified the method.
Yield: Serves 4
1 pound ground chicken, ground turkey, or beef, very cold
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill or parsley, plus more for garnish, divided
1/2 cup grated yellow onion (from about 1 small onion)
1/4 cup grated carrot (from about 1 carrot)
1/4 cup uncooked long-grain rice, such as Basmati or Carolina, well rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, finely grated, pushed through a garlic press, or minced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
6 cups chicken stock (I used 4 cups homemade turkey stock + 2 cups chicken stock)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
freshly grated nutmeg, for serving, optional
In a large mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, 1/4 cup dill, onion, carrot, rice, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Gently mix with your hands until well combined.
Gently form the mixture into 24 to 30 meatballs, each about 1 1/4 inches in diameter, placing them on a plate or baking pan. (I used a cookie scoop to evenly ration the meat mixture.)
Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes or up to 24 hours. This helps the meatballs keep their shape while cooking.
In a large pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and use a slotted spoon to carefully add meatballs to the pot. The broth should cover the tops of the meatballs by about 1/2 inch. If not, add a little water. Simmer gently, adjusting the heat so the broth doesn’t boil, until meatballs are cooked through and rice is tender, 25 to 35 minutes. (You can break open a meatball to test it.) Remove pot from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until just mixed. Slowly add a ladle of warm broth to egg-lemon mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk in another two ladles of broth to temper the egg mixture.
Slowly drizzle the egg-lemon mixture back into the pot with the meatballs, stirring gently so you don’t break apart the meatballs.
Return the pot to medium-low heat until it just starts to simmer. (Wait for a bubble or two to appear, but don’t let the pot boil.) The broth should be silky.
Remove from heat, stir in remaining 1/2 cup dill. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. (It may need quite a bit of salt if you are starting with unsalted broth.)
Garnish with nutmeg, if you like, and dill, and serve.
My father-in-law makes jambalaya year round. I always enjoy it! I typically make it once a year after finding a new version to try for our celebratory Mardi Gras meal.
I was drawn to this recipe because it utilizes a slow cooker- and mine is underutilized. I learned that I should stick with my typical cooking methods! I significantly extended the cooking time for the rice, probably because I didn’t use parboiled rice. Oops. It was a little bit of a struggle. In the end, the rice did absorb all of the wonderful flavors of the dish. It was worth the wait!
The recipe was adapted from food52.com, contributed by Kristina Vanni. I used kielbasa instead of andouille sausage, chicken thigh instead of chicken breast meat, and modified the method and proportions. I loved that this version incorporated chicken, sausage, and shrimp.
We ended the feast with our annual King Cake, a family favorite.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 T tomato paste
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 T Creole seasoning (I used Slap ya Mama)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (12 ounce) package andouille or kielbasa sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/4-inch half-moons
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice, preferably parboiled (I used Basmati)
1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 21-25 count per pound)
sliced scallions, for garnish
Louisiana-style hot sauce, optional, for serving
In a large skillet or sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and celery. Cook until the vegetables are softened. (Alternatively, set the slow cooker to the sauté setting and complete these steps.)
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste, fresh thyme, Creole seasoning, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and transfer to the slow cooker.
In the same pan over medium to medium-high heat, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the sliced sausage and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the cubed chicken to the skillet and cook until lightly browned; transfer to the slow cooker.
Add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or on high for 2 to 3 hours. (I cooked the dish on high for 3 hours.)
If cooking on high and using long grain white rice that is not parboiled, add the rice to the pot after 1 1/2 hours. (I used Basmati rice and it took 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours on high to be fully cooked.)(If using parboiled rice, add it to the pot 20 to 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time.)
Once the rice is tender, add the shrimp to the slow cooker, stir, and cook on high for 2 to 5 minutes more, stirring once or twice, until the shrimp are pink throughout and are fully cooked.
To serve, top with chopped scallions for garnish. Serve with Louisiana hot sauce for additional heat, as desired.
In Swahili, wali ya mboga translates to “rice and vegetables.” This upscale version incorporated chicken as well. This dish was similar to a biryani with layered rice with greens, caramelized onions, and yogurt-marinaded chicken in tomato curry sauce. To serve, each serving was also topped with pickled onions, called kachumbar, and salted creamy yogurt. Beyond full-flavored.
I must mention that I really browned my tomato paste during the cooking process. Recently, I have read about the importance of letting tomato paste darken for optimal flavor- apparently, I took this advice to heart! The sauce in my finished dish was much deeper in color than in the original recipe.
The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I modified the proportions and method. I boiled the rice as instructed in the original recipe but struggled with the method- and wasn’t completely thrilled with the resulting texture. Next time, I would cook the rice using a traditional method or use a much larger pot to boil the rice.
Yield: 6 servings
For the Dish:
1 2/3 cups good-quality white basmati rice (such as Shahzada)
1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek) (I used whole milk cream-top plain yogurt)
one 1″ piece ginger, scrubbed, finely grated (about 1 T)
8 large garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press, divided
2 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 3/4 tsp Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (not Greek) (I used whole milk cream-top plain yogurt)
To Make the Dish:
Place rice in a medium bowl and pour in cold water to cover. Agitate rice with your hands until water is cloudy. Drain and repeat until water is almost clear (about 3 times). Pour in water to cover rice by 2″; soak at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
Stir yogurt, ginger, half of garlic, 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp turmeric in a medium bowl to combine. Season with pepper. Add chicken thighs, turning to coat. Let sit at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron pot.)
Add onion and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is frizzled and deeply browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer onion to a plate and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in same skillet (still over medium to medium-high).
Working in batches if necessary, remove chicken from marinade and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second side. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving oil behind.
Add tomato paste, coriander, cumin, chile powder, remaining half of garlic, remaining 1 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp Morton kosher salt, and remaining 1/4 tsp turmeric to skillet. Cook over medium to medium-high, stirring often, until tomato paste turns a shade darker in color, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low, stir in 1 cup water, and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until flavors come together and sauce has thickened, 10–12 minutes.
Return chicken to pan and stir to coat in sauce. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm. (I placed the pan in a warming drawer.)
Drain rice and cook in a very large pot of boiling generously salted water 10 to 15 minutes, until tender. (Alternatively, the rice can be cooked traditionally using a 1:2 ratio with boiling water. Cook, covered, over low heat for 15 minutes.)
Stir the Swiss chard, kale or spinach into the rice.
Continue to cook until rice is tender and greens are wilted and bright green, about 1 to 3 minutes more.
Drain in a colander and let sit 10 minutes to allow moisture to steam off.
To Assemble and To Serve:
While the rice rests, combine onion, lemon juice, chiles, tomatoes, and 1/4 tsp Diamond Crystal or 1/8 tsp Morton kosher salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to combine, breaking up the onion slices. Let kachumbar sit 5 minutes.
Stir yogurt and remaining salt in another small bowl.
To serve, fluff rice with a fork, making sure the greens are evenly distributed; transfer to a platter.
Scatter reserved caramelized onions over and arrange chicken on top. (Or for a more casual look, return rice to pot and gently stir in chicken and onion.)
My friend who shared her bounty of homegrown eggplant also shared mini bell peppers from her garden. Loved it! Lucky me. 🙂 I searched for a special way to use them. These stuffed peppers were a complete success- everyone in my family enjoyed them.
This recipe was originally intended to be a vegetarian main dish using full-size red bell peppers. I used these mini peppers instead and served them as a side dish with sautéed kabocha squash and rotisserie chicken.
This dish was full-flavored and delicious. The recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Emilee and Jere Gettle. Absolutely wonderful.
Yield: approximately 10 mini bell peppers or 4 full-size bell peppers
10 mini bell peppers or 4 large bell peppers (any color)
2 T unsalted butter or grapeseed oil
2 medium shallots, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup long-grain white rice (I used Basmati)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1 large jalapeño, finely chopped with or without seeds, as desired (I ribbed and seeded the chile)
8 oz cremini or oyster mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups chopped spinach (I used baby spinach)
1/4 cup chopped basil, preferably Thai, plus more for garnish (I used Italian basil)
freshly squeezed juice from half of a large lemon
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Slice the tops off the peppers and cut the tops into 1/4-inch dice; discard the cores and stems.
Boil the hollowed out peppers until just tender, about 3 minutes for mini peppers or 4 minutes for full size peppers. Using tongs, carefully transfer the peppers to paper towels to drain, cut side down. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking water.
Mince the shallots and garlic in a mini food processor, if desired; remove and set aside.
Dice the jalapeno and pepper tops in the food processor. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and garlic, season with salt and cook over moderate heat until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring, until toasted, 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk, ginger, curry paste and the 1 1/2 cups of reserved pepper water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the liquid is absorbed, 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°, preferably on convection.
In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the diced bell pepper tops and the jalapeño and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until tender, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until tender, 5 minutes.
Uncover and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are browned, 4 minutes longer.
Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the vegetable mixture to the rice and stir in the basil and lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.
Fill the peppers with the rice mixture and set them in a shallow glass, ceramic baking dish, or rimmed baking sheet. (I used a cookie scoop.)
Tent with foil and bake for about 22 to 25 minutes for mini peppers or up to 45 minutes for full size peppers, until the rice filling is steaming and heated through.
This full-flavored weeknight dish was healthy and delicious. The yogurt sauce was an essential element for my family. Any combination of greens could be used in this dish- I used the ingredients that had just arrived in my CSA box. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I incorporated sautéed collard greens, bok choy, and leeks. I served the chicken and greens over brown Basmati rice drizzled with pan juices. We also had warm naan on the side. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Chicken:
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used 7 thighs)
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large garlic cloves, finely grated, minced or passed through a press
1 T finely chopped fresh thyme and/or oregano leaves (I used 1/2 T each) (can substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano)
large pinch of red-pepper flakes
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut lengthwise into 8 thin wedges
For the Garlicky Greens:
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of collard greens, ribs removed, halved lengthwise
2 baby bok choy
1-2 leeks (I used 1 1/2 large leeks), sliced into 1/4-inch half moons and soaked
5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
large pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 T sherry vinegar
For the Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup plain Greek or other strained, thick yogurt (or substitute labneh or sour cream) (I used 2% Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup coarsely grated seedless cucumber, such as Persian or hothouse cucumbers
1 large garlic clove, finely grated, minced or passed through a press
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, parsley, and/or cilantro, for garnish
brown Basmati rice, for serving
warm flatbread, such as naan, for serving, optional
To Prep & Roast the Chicken:
Heat oven to 425 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with the salt and pepper.
In a large bowl, combine 4 of the grated garlic cloves, thyme and/or oregano, red-pepper flakes, and olive oil.
Add chicken and lemon wedges, and toss until well coated. (If you want to work ahead, you can refrigerate the chicken for up to 12 hours before roasting.) (I marinated the chicken in the refrigerator for 6 hours prior to cooking.)
To Prep the Greens: Cut the ribbed collards into 1/4-inch ribbons. Slice ribbons in half; set aside. Cut the leafy portion of the bok choy into 1/2-inch ribbons. Rinse and dry the collards and leafy bok choy. Cut the bok choy stems into 1/8-inch pieces, cutting larger pieces in half to make relatively equal-sized pieces. Soak separately from the leafy greens to clean; rinse, dry, and set aside.
Arrange chicken and lemons on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan in a single layer.
Roast until chicken is cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes in a convection oven, or up to 27 to 35 minutes in a standard oven. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
After placing the chicken in the oven, cook the rice, the greens, and make the sauce. (see below)
To Cook the Garlicky Greens:
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high. Add the soaked and strained leeks, sliced garlic, and chopped bok choy stems. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the washed leafy greens, 1 to 2 handfuls at a time, and stir until wilted. Continue until all of the greens have been added to the pan. Cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
Season with the sherry vinegar as well as salt and pepper, to taste.
To Make the Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce:
Stir together yogurt, grated cucumber and clove of minced garlic in a small bowl.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Layer the sautéed greens over the rice on a platter or other serving dish.
Top with the roasted chicken. Squeeze roasted lemon wedges all over chicken, and sprinkle with mint/parsley/cilantro and more red-pepper flakes, if desired.
Drizzle some of the accumulated pan juices over the top of everything.
Serve chicken accompanied by cucumber-yogurt sauce and warm flatbread.
Every fall, black swallowtail caterpillars takeover my backyard basil plants. I needed to make this basil-loaded dish before sharing my plants with them.
This risotto was rich, creamy, and hearty. The absolute highlight of the finished dish was the crispy garlic and pan-toasted pine nut topping. Loved it.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christian Reynoso. I adapted the original recipe to prepare it in a pressure cooker. Easy and elegant.
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
4 T unsalted butter, divided
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
5 to 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (4 T) raw pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves (from 1 large bunch), torn into 1″ pieces
shaved or finely grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Parmesan rind, optional
juice of 1/2 large lemon
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 5 or 7 quart pressure cooker over medium heat.
Add the rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until grains are partially translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Add 2 cloves of garlic slices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add all of the unheated stock; stir.
Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat.
Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. (I used a quick release method.)
Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam. The stock should be almost completely absorbed but the rice will be covered with a thick layer of milky broth. (more stock can be added at this point if the risotto appears too thick)
Meanwhile, cook the remaining 6 cloves of garlic slices, olive oil, and pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic starts to turn golden around edges. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until pine nuts and garlic are golden, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in turmeric and season with pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan rind, if using, into the risotto. Season with salt, to taste.
Stir the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the risotto and add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Stir basil into risotto.
Ladle risotto, discarding the Parmesan rind, into shallow bowls. Top with garlic–pine nut oil and Parmesan. Serve.
This dish is a wonderful one-pot summer dinner. Creamy rice topped with fresh summer corn, backyard basil, and shrimp. Delicious.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Samantha Seneviratne. I modified the cooking times. I loved the fresh lime juice squeezed over the top. I may consider adding garlic next time- although it really was perfect as-is!
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
1 small jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups white rice, such as jasmine rice (I used Basmati rice)
1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp (I used tail-on, 21-25 count per pound)
fresh corn kernels from 2 cobs (about 1 1/2 cups kernels), can substitute frozen
1 lime, zested, then sliced into wedges for serving
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chiffonade, plus more for garnish
In a large, heavy pot (with a lid), heat coconut oil over medium. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the onion, ginger and jalapeño and season with the 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and sauté for another minute.
Then stir in the coconut milk and 1 1/4 cups water. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer but avoid scorching.
Stir in the corn kernels and an additional 1/4 cup of water, cover again, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender, about 10 minutes. (Add more water by 1/4 to 1/2 cups throughout cooking as needed if the water has been absorbed, but the rice is still too firm.)
When the rice is tender, add the shrimp, stir and recover. Continue to cook over low heat for and additional 2 to 4 minutes, or until shrimp is pink and fully cooked.
Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest and basil; season to taste with salt.
Serve immediately with lime wedges and topped with more basil.