Posts Tagged 'oregano'

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

Red beans and rice is the quintessential Louisianan comfort food. Nothing satisfies like steaming bowl of tender flavorful beans over classic white rice.

1 pound dried red kidney beans, rinsed and sorted over
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup seeded and finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1/4 cup finely sliced celery (about 1 rib)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound smoked ham hock
1/2 pound smoked Andouille sausage, thinly sliced into rounds
10 cups water
6 cups cooked white rice, warm

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the ham hock and sausage and cook, stirring, to brown the ham hocks and sausage, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and water.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water while cooking if necessary.

Remove the ham hock from the pot and pull the meat from the bones. Roughly chop the meat and return it back to the pot of beans. Adjust seasonings as needed. Discard the bay leaves. Spoon over white rice to serve.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Add Tabasco® or your favorite hot sauce for a little heat.

Do-Ahead: Cooked red beans store very well in the refrigerator. Some even say they taste better the second day!

From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Pork Souvlaki

Pork Soulvaki6093

Pork Souvlaki

Easy to make and always delicious, kabobs are the perfect way to serve up a dinner hot off the grill. For a little something different, try the traditional Greek kabob pork souvlaki. In this recipe that is simpler than it sounds, a lemony marinade transforms ordinary pork tenderloin into a traditional Greek dish with a bright and fresh flavor that is truly delicious.

The classic Greek ingredients of oregano, lemon, and garlic give these grilled pork kabobs their signature flavor. Even though this marinade is made with simple ingredients, it infuses loads of flavor into the meat because of the large amount of acid from the lemon juice. Typically there is a general rule not to marinate meat with so much acid for too long, but from my experience, letting the pork marinate overnight just makes it all the more better. If short on time, you will still get delicious results by marinating the pork for less time. That said, allow the pork to marinate at least a minimum of one hour before cooking.

Kabobs make an easy weeknight meal since they can be prepared in advance and thrown on the grill when you are ready. As an added bonus, these smaller cuts of meat cook quickly. I prefer to use metal skewers when grilling kabobs because they are no fuss. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using to prevent the wood from burning.

Traditionally pork souvlaki is served wrapped in pita bread and then topped with a variety of condiments such as lettuce, tomato, onion, and tzatziki sauce. Instead of this classic pita sandwich version, I often serve these kabobs as a main course over a bed of basmati rice with a small Greek salad and some grilled pita on the side.

Cook them on an outdoor grill or indoors on a grill pan, depending on what’s easier for you.

Enjoy!

Pork Souvlaki

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetable oil, for the grates
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Skewers (if using bamboo, soak in water for 30 minutes)

In a shallow nonreactive dish just large enough to hold the pork in a single layer, combine the lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, oregano, and garlic. Place the pork in the marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover, place in the refrigerator, and marinate for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the pork from the marinade and shake off the excess. Discard the marinade. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Thread the pork cubes onto a skewer.

Place the skewers on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until they are well browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes total.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Tzatziki is a cucumber-yogurt sauce that is traditionally served alongside Greek dishes. To make this condiment, combine 2 cups plain Greek yogurt, 1 cup finely diced cucumber, 1 minced clove of garlic, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup copy

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken tortilla soup is the Southwestern cousin of mom’s chicken noodle soup, just with a little more kick and a crunchy topping. And, like it’s relative, it warms the soul and makes you feel good all over.

This quick, no-fuss soup has loads of flavor and uses ingredients that are typically on hand. The soup doesn’t take long to make. In fact, it can be on your table in less than 30 minutes. It’s also an ideal way to transform leftover chicken into a tasty and satisfying dish.  It has become a favorite in my house since my good friend Melissa Petersen of Edible Memphis shared this recipe with me.

Much healthier than it tastes, this broth based soup is loaded with tomatoes, lean chicken, and heart healthy avocado. The cumin and oregano add a richness and depth to the dish without any fat. If you want a little extra kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce.

I like to top mine with a few homemade corn tortilla strips, which are surprisingly easy to make. Just cut corn tortillas into thin strips and fry for about 1 minute in a skillet with vegetable oil. If short on time, use crushed tortilla chips instead. Baked tortilla chips would be a heart-healthy alternative.

Serve with a side salad or a slice of cornbread and you have a satisfying meal.

Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Vegetable oil, for frying the tortillas
4 small (4-inch) corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (28-oz.) diced tomatoes with juice
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

To prepare the tortilla strips, pour enough oil into a large stockpot so that you have a quarter-inch layer of oil. Warm the oil on medium-high heat until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. In batches, fry the tortilla strips until golden brown on both sides, about 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to lift the tortilla strips out of the pan, draining the excess oil as you do so. (The tortilla strips should be fairly stiff and crisp. If not, the oil is not hot enough.) Transfer the tortilla strips to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper while they are still warm.

In another large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, and shredded chicken. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the fried tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Do-Ahead: The soup can be made the night before or frozen in advance. Just be sure to add the garnishes (tortilla strips, cheese, and avocado) just before serving.

Freezes well.

 

Recipe from Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

Story excerpted from Jennifer Chandler’s bi-weeky Commercial Appeal newspaper column Dinner Tonight.

Photo and Food Styling by Jennifer Chandler.

 

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

Lemon Oregano Chicken_1126

 

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

A mixture of fresh herbs, lemon, and garlic tucked under the skin helps to make the chicken meat extra flavorful.

In this recipe I used lemon and oregano. But other citrus herb combinations like lime-cilantro and orange-sage are delicious too.  Basically, use your favorite flavor combination!

This recipe can also be prepared indoors on a grill pan or in the oven.

Lemon-Oregano Chicken

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
4 split, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for the grates

In a nonreactive dish (glass or ceramic) just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, garlic, and lemon zest. Add the chicken breasts to the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off the excess. Run your fingers between the chicken and the skin to loosen the skin (be careful not to remove the skin). Evenly spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the dry ingredients (the lemon zest, oregano, and garlic) from the marinade under the skin of each breast. Discard the rest of the marinade. Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Place the chicken on the grill. Close the lid and cook, turning once or twice, until no longer pink in the middle, 12 to 15 minutes per side. Serve warm.

Serves 4.

This recipe is from my book Simply Grilling.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Food styling by me!

Vegetarian Gumbo

veggie gumbo

Vegetarian Gumbo

“Vegetarian Gumbo with Beans?!” – You may question.  I did too … but my friend Justin Fox Burks insisted I give his recipe a try.

Well … as usual … Justin’s recipe was some darn good stuff.  His concoction of veggies and spices offers a tasty gumbo that had everyone at our table asking for seconds.

Justin and his wife Amy Lawrence are co-authors of the fabulous vegetarian recipe blog “The Chubby Vegetarian.”  Their blog has become my go-to for all things veggie.  It is a great resource for dishes so delicious and creative that you will never miss the meat. This recipe is also featured in their new book “The Southern Vegetarian” (May 2013, Thomas Nelson Publishers).  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy and am loving everything I have made so far. It’s a must for vegetarians and meat-eaters both!

Back to the gumbo … Justin’s recipe calls for liquid smoke. An ingredient I had never used before.  But since it was at Whole Foods I figured it was safe to eat! I used the Hickory smoke flavor. It gave the gumbo that depth that a smoked sausage adds a traditional gumbo.

Enjoy!

The Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo

Click here for the original recipe.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped tomato (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 medium)
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons creole mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon vinegar
10 dashes Tabasco
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 quart vegetable stock
4 cups sliced okra (1/4 inch slices, stem-end discarded)
1 1/2 cups red beans (1 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed or makes your own)
10 ounces crimini mushrooms (quartered)
1 1/2 cups diced zucchini (1 medium)
1 1/2 cups diced  green pepper (1 large)
1 1/2 cups diced red pepper (1 large)
1 cup thinly sliced celery (2 ribs)
4-5 cups cooked jasmine rice
1/2 cup sliced green onion (for garnish)
5-6 sprigs baby dill (for garnish)

To make the roux, place the canola oil and the flour into a medium-sized dutch oven. (This is the pot in which you will eventually make the gumbo, so using it now saves on dishes later. A heavy pot like this is essential when making a roux because of its ability to distribute heat evenly.) With the oil and flour in the cold dutch oven, turn the heat on medium. Whisk the mixture constantly until you notice that it has become nutty (it’ll kind of smell like — gasp! — fried chicken) and fragrant (both of which happen about five minutes into the process). At this point, turn the heat to low. Keep a close eye on your roux, and whisk the mixture about every minute so no part of the roux burns. Continue in this fashion for about another twenty minutes or until the roux has taken on the color of an old penny. Remove the pot from the heat. Congratulations — you just made your first roux!

Place the tomato, onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, vinegar, Tabasco, soy sauce, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika, nutmeg and oregano into the work bowl of your food processor. This is quite an unconventional method for making gumbo, but it works beautifully. Blend mixture until smooth. This is your flavoring agent for the whole dish. Now return the dutch oven with the roux still in it to a burner set to medium-high heat, and immediately add the mixture you just made in the food processor. Stir to incorporate. Continue cooking and stirring the resulting mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated, and it resembles a paste. Add the vegetable stock and stir. Once the mixture is heated through, turn the burner to medium-low. Add the okra, red beans, mushrooms, zucchini, green and red peppers, and celery to the pot. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until everything is heated through, but not mush.

To serve, ladle out some gumbo into a bowl and top with about 1/2 cup of rice, a few green onions, and a sprig of fresh dill. Have plenty of crusty french bread and butter on hand for sopping up the amazing broth.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: If you like okra but are not a fan of the sliminess that sometimes can occur with it, sauté the sliced okra in batches in one tablespoon of canola oil until lightly browned. Add the cooked okra to the gumbo. Problem solved.

Vegetable Beef Soup

I love soup.

On a cold day, not much else can warm you in the same way.

Vegetable Beef soup is one of my favorite one-dish meals.  It’s chockfull of vegetables, hearty thanks to the beef, and totally satisfying.

It’s also super easy to make.

You can always use fresh vegetables if you prefer, but I just love the ease of using frozen vegetables.  In addition to no chopping, there no need to thaw the frozen vegetables. They will thaw as they cook.

As an added bonus, did you know that some products in the frozen food section may even be healthier than the fresh variety? Several research studies show that freezing vegetables and fruits “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables that are often picked weeks before they make it to the grocery store aisles.

I always have several containers of this soup in my freezer.  It is my healthy “go-to” meal when I don’t have time to cook.  Think it may become the same for you!

Enjoy!

Vegetable Beef Soup
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1 pound beef chuck roast or stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
6 cups chicken stock

Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and generously season with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and reserve. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved meat, peas, green beans, corn, lima beans, carrots, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the flavors have melded, about 45 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve hot.

Cooking Tip: You can always use fresh vegetables if you prefer, but I just love the ease of using frozen vegetables.

Some products in the frozen food section may even be healthier than the fresh variety. Several research studies show that freezing vegetables and fruits “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables that are often picked weeks before they make it to the grocery store aisles.

Time-Saving Tip: No need to thaw the frozen vegetables. They will thaw as they cook.

Freezes well.

 

 

 

Creamy Tomato Soup

A steamy bowl of creamy tomato soup and a warm grilled cheese sandwich is a marriage made in heaven.  Nothing can satisfy me more on a cold, wintery day.

But you know, it is amazing to me how different tomato soup recipes can be.

For years I used a recipe that called for roasted Roma tomatoes as the base of the soup.  Supposedly, roasting the tomatoes intensified the tomato flavor of the soup.

Then one day, I was craving a bowl of tomato soup but only had canned tomatoes. I decided to give it a try with the ingredients I had on hand.  And guess what?!  It was just as delicious.  When you think about it, it makes since.  Canned tomatoes are picked and then canned at the peak of ripeness. The reason for roasting was to transform those bland winter tomatoes into tasty summer ones.

So glad I experimented with what was in my pantry.  Now I can make one of my favorite soups in 45 minutes less time than I did before! And now you can too!

Enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cans (28-ounce) whole tomatoes with juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the whole tomatoes, breaking them up with a spoon or fork. Add the oregano, thyme, and sugar and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the tomatoes have softened and the soup has thickened, about 30 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the soup until smooth. Whisk in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can easily puree this soup in a counter-top blender. Whenever pureeing hot liquid in a blender, remove the heat cap in the lid and cover with a towel to prevent the mixture from exploding all over you and your kitchen. Work in batches, only filling the blender half full. Also be sure to hold the lid down tightly while pureeing.

The granulated sugar in this recipe helps balance the acidity of the canned tomatoes.

Freezes well.

 


Jennifer Chandler

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