Big Flavor, Fast

I don’t know about anyone else’s family, but we go through food-fan episodes. Over the past couple of weeks we’ve eaten a lot of stir-fry, miso, and Oriental greens. Sometimes all in the same meal. I’m officially over soy sauce and sesame oil for a little while.

We haven’t had time to plan our weekly menus, but we have managed to keep the house stocked with items that, for us, are staples. We’re pretty imaginative cooks, for example one night several years ago Jon and I actually found a recipe that used cabbage, brown rice and peanut butter (all on-hand). The bonus was that it was actually pretty darned good.

So, back to the present…we all love Indian food. Most days I’d plan ahead and make all my own sauces, etc., but yesterday was not one of those days. On hand was a jar of Patak’s Korma Simmer Sauce, a pound of ground turkey, a small butternut squash and some baby portabello mushrooms. Flash of inspiration…and, voilà, dinner.

Turkey Meatball Korma with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

For the meatballs, combine the following and form into 1″ balls

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large or x-large egg
  • 1 good sized clove of garlic, minced or put through a crusher
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs (or panko)
  • salt & pepper

You will also need:

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced down to approx 3/4″ thick half-moon slices  (you could substitute with yams)
  • 8 oz, give or take, mushrooms (cleaned, stemmed, halved)
  • 1 jar Patak’s Korma Simmer Sauce
  • 1 cup broth, divided (chicken or veggie or use water)
  • nonstick spray
  • neutral flavored oil like canola

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, spray with nonstick, and add oil. In batches, brown the meatballs and set aside temporarily.

Deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of the broth, scraping up the brown bits. Add the squash, mushrooms and meatballs back to the pan. Pour the Korma sauce over the contents of the pan and use the remaining 1/2 cup of broth to get the last bit of goodness out of the jar.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is tender but not quite done. Remove the lid and reduce the sauce to thicken it. By that time the squash should be cooked through but not mushy.

Serve over rice, couscous, quinoa or just in a bowl. Garnish with cilantro and grated, unsweetened coconut if desired.

Dinner Last Night: Potato & Kale Soup with Sausage

This is based on a traditional Portuguese soup that uses Chorizo. We use a package of ground turkey, seasoned with Penzey’s Italian Sausage Seasoning. Vegetarian Chorizo would work, if you don’t want to use the pork stuff.

Amounts are rough, but if you are a stickler for measurements, try this version at Epicurious.com.

In a 6-8 quart pan, sautee the following in olive oil:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

When the onion is translucent, add:

  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock / broth (low sodium)
  • 4 cups water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add:

  • 3/4 – 1 lb. cooked turkey italian sausage
  • 2 T dried parsley
  • several grinds of fresh pepper

Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  Using a stiff ladle, mash up some of the potatoes in the pan to add a creamy appearance to the soup.  Add 4-6 cups chopped kale. Let simmer a few minutes longer until the greens ‘collapse’.

Taste for seasoning and serve with crusty bread and a salad.  Pass the hot pepper flakes to anyone that wants a little zing to the soup.


Passover Dinner Tonight and Recipe Recommendations

Taking it easy tonight…Jon made his special chicken soup with matzo balls! His secret is adding dill as a seasoning. Fresh or dried works well, here.

For dessert – still have coconut cake left over, so that takes care of it.

I baked Passover rolls today and was very happy with the result. They are great for sandwichs and the like. If you want a little something sweet with your coffee, and you’re sick of Passover Cake, give these Sweet Cinnamon Passover Rolls a try from Cooking Light.  I’m intrigued by their Herbed Passover Rolls, but with the end of the holdiay so close at hand, they will have to wait for next year’s baking!

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