Month: October 2019

Roast chicken with corn and chickpeas

Roast chicken with corn and chickpeas

This is one of our favorite recipes, made throughout late summer and early autumn. With the beautiful Indian summer we’ve been having this October, I was happy to make it with the last fresh corn from the Farmer’s market. Like a farewell to the bright…

Minced lamb with chickpeas

Minced lamb with chickpeas

The original recipe is called Keema Chole and is Indian, belonging to Punjabi cuisine. It exists in many traditional versions, but this is not one of them. I prefer a somewhat drier and faster version by Mark Bittman that I saw on NYT Cooking, made…

Grassfed beef  with borlotti beans

Grassfed beef with borlotti beans

It’s funny how borlotti or cranberry beans also have two names in Greek: chandres (beads) or barbounia (red mullet, yes really). They are so beautiful that I almost feel sad when I see them lose their color cooked. Their slightly sweet and hearty tasty, quickly compensates us. We also like buying them fresh from the farmers’ market and podding them together with the kids.

In this traditional recipe they are combined with grassfed beef and slow baked in a clay pot. Lamb also suits them. When making casseroles, I prefer to saute the meat and vegetables first before braising, as it makes for a tastier and more presentable dish. Which is why I usually prefer the cast-iron pots that let you start cooking on the hob finishing off in the oven. The clay pot though is much more forgiving, as it seems to magically impart flavor to everything inside it, even when its just thrown in and allowed to gently cook with no supervision.

I love this dish for two reasons. Firstly, it’s really great for very busy days. Days when you have only have 10 ‘-15’ prep time and still want to have something delicious and comforting for dinner.

The second and equally important reason is that you can, in this particular recipe, prepare it with the children and let them feel the pride of preparing a whole meal from scratch. As you understand, you should allow for a little more prep time in this case. Kids can easily pod and wash the beans. They can chop the onions in a food processor. They, can also cut the carrots, too, if they’re not using a knife yet. You only need to peel and chop the sweet potatoes, as their so hard. I added them because their taste reminds me of chestnuts. Borlotti beans go very nicely with chestnuts for a vegetarian dish, but this is a recipe for another day.

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 kg grassfed beef, in portions
  • 2-3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary or sage
  • 200 ml wine or tomato juice if you’re serving in children
  • 800 gr. podded fresh borlotti beans
  • 750 ml homemade broth or water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: 3 white sweet potatoes, cut into large pieces

Scatter the onions and carrots around the bottom of a clay pot and place the beef on top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season. Add the rosemary and the wine or juice. Layer the beans on top with enough broth to just cover them. If you are using the sweet potatoes, place them on top with rest of the olive oil. They will cook in the steam of the sauce.

Cover and place the pot in a cold oven setting the temperature to 220C for about 30 minutes so the stew comes to the boil. Lower to 160C for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a fork that the meat is cooked through and very soft. The fork should go right through it. If the vegetables have released a lot of juice, let the casserole cook uncovered in the oven to reduce 10 minutes and allow to rest uncovered for another 10 minutes on the kitchen counter.

Free-range chicken with runner beans

Free-range chicken with runner beans

At home we prefer traditional or free range chickens. Their taste is incredible, the rearing conditions are humane and their nutritional value is higher. Even though the difference in cost might seem high, 2 large 3 kg hens with proper management, can provide at least…

Greek “Briam” traditional veggie traybake with sausage

Greek “Briam” traditional veggie traybake with sausage

This is a classic summer dish that I keep making well into October as the produce and the weather is still so summery. A little bit of sausage goes a long way in persuading my kids to happily down this trayful of veggie goodness. As…