Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recipe: Linguini with Chourico and Red Pepper Sauce

It's no secret that I am a fan of the spicy portuguese sausage known as "chourico". Why I am a fan of chourico is no mystery either, it's because chourico is a ubiquitous ingredient in the cuisine of my hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts (where the word chourico is pronounced something like: "SURE-dEESE"). Fall River has a large Azorean Portuguese community and that means we have great Portuguese food. From what I hear, Portuguese people on the island of Saint Michael now consider Fall River the tenth Azorean island. I like that.

So, like I said, chourico is a ubiquitous ingredient in our local cuisine. It is in sandwiches, pies, paired with seafood, a pizza topping, a breakfast side, it is served as an appetizer, a main, it can be used with or in a variety of things. It has even penetrated the most American of feasts: Thanksgiving, where our local variety of turkey stuffing has a good deal of chourico in it. Hell, one of my friends even eats it dipped in chocolate. I prefer to cook mine in a flaming bath of Portuguese moonshine.

That's why, I can't even consider a collection of personal Italian recipes that doesn't include one that uses chourico. This is probably the oldest of the chourico sauce recipes I have. I've been preparing something like this since around 1980. In those days the recipe was basically a marinara with ground chourico in it. I've refined it now and I also add some sweet and crunchy red pepper that works great against the spicy chourico.

If you don't have chourico where you live, I've included a link below where you can get some of the best. Don't be afraid to try a different kind of spicy sausage with this dish. Italian, Cajun or Brazilian sausage will work fine, and while I haven't tried it with Mexican or Spanish chorizo, I'm sure that would work as well.

Linguini with Chourico and Red Pepper Sauce

2 TBS olive oil
3 large links (about 1.5 lbs.) of chourico cut into 1/4" slices
1 large leek (white part only) chopped (substitute onions if you like)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
2 bay leaves
2 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 TBS dried basil
1 healthy pinch of dried oregano
2 cups of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large red pepper (cut into matchstick sized pieces)
Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (grated)

While you are preparing the sauce as outlined below, cook your linguini the normal way.

Place a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan.

When the oil begins to shimmer, add the leeks, bay leaves and chourico and sauté stirring regularly until the leeks get translucent and the chourcio begins to cook and brown a little.

Add the garlic and continue to cook stirring frequently for 1 to 2 minutes. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC!

Raise the heat to high and deglaze the pan by adding the two cups of chicken broth to the mix. Stir well and be sure to scrape up and hard bits from the pan.

Allow the chicken stock to reduce. When it does, add the two cans of ground tomatoes, the tomato sauce, the basil and the oregano and bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat to a low simmer and cook like this for 20 to 30 minutes.

Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.

2-3 minutes before you are ready to serve the sauce, add the red pepper and stir in well. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE RED PEPPER. You want it to remain a little crunchy.

Serve the sauce over your linguini with a generous sprinkle of parmesan-reggiano cheese.

Recipe: Linguini with Chourico and Red Pepper Sauce from Chop Onions, Boil Water - World Food at Home by Henry Krauzyk http://www.choponionsboilwater.com

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Recipe: Fall River Style Boneless Buffalo Wings

When you think about it, buffalo wings have become a phenomenon. If my sources are correct, they were first served by Teressa and Frank Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York on October 3rd, 1964. Since that historic and important date time they have spread internationally and spawned thousands of regional variations.

My favorite regional variation is from my hometown. Unlike more complex versions the local one is simple, as it calls for just one extra ingredient. It differs most from the original Buffalo Wings in that it isn't a chicken wing or drumstick at all but rather it is made from chicken tenders or slices of chicken breast.

This recipe was among my favorites at a restaurant I used to visit almost every night. In fact I met my wife there and made many friends during the time I spent there. Things change however, and that restaurant has faded into history. Its former glory now only a memory for the patrons that used to love it.

Now, if you read all my little stories above the recipes you're in for a special bonus treat here. My friend Sandy used to bartend at this same restaurant and one night when I was ordering the boneless wings, she insisted that I add some barbecue sauce to the prepared dish and then wrap the whole thing up in a tortilla. Well I did and it was great and it became one of my favorite sandwiches/wraps for a few years. If you try it I think you'll enjoy it as well! The schlubs who don't read these stories will never know that! So to honor it's creator I will call this recipe "Sandy's Super-Secret Boneless Barbecued Buffalo Wing Wrap." Try it, you'll like it.

Fall River Style Boneless Buffalo Wings

1/2 cup of Frank's Red Hot© Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/8 lb. salt pork
1-2 lbs of chicken tenders or breast strips
Clam fry batter
Celery sticks
Carrot sticks
Your favorite bleu cheese salad dressing

Combine the Frank's Red Hot© Sauce, salt pork and butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until salt pork is well rendered. Set heat to low to keep sauce warm while you prepare the chicken.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 375°F.

Dredge chicken tenders in clam fry batter and deep fry until done.

Drain the chicken of excess oil and then toss it in the hot sauce mixture until well coated.

Plate it and serve with the celery sticks, carrot sticks and bleu cheese dressing.

Crack open an ice cold beer and enjoy!

Recipe: Fall River Style Boneless Buffalo Wings from Chop Onions, Boil Water - World Food at Home by Henry Krauzyk

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Recipe: Romesco Sauce

Long overlooked, Spain is finally gaining world wide recognition for its amazing food. In my home I prepare a number of Spanish dishes including paella, pinchos mouros, batatas bravas and others. Among my favorites is salsa romesco from Tarragona, in Spain's northeast region of Catalonia.

As with many popular foods, the variations of romesco are limitless, but at its core are some standard ingredients. Among these are nuts, garlic, red peppers, tomatoes and wine vinegar. Often other ingredients are added to better match the romesco with the food that it is to be served with. Among these other ingredients are things like dried or smoked chillies or herbs like fennel or mint.

My introduction to romesco sauce came in the form of a condiment on a turkey sandwich that I ordered at a popular soup and sandwich chain. I loved romesco immediately. The complexities and interaction of the nuts, red peppers, tomatoes and red wine vinegar result in a delicious and versatile sauce that enhances the flavors of many other foods.

Traditionally, romesco was most often served with seafood. Today romesco sauce is used in a wide variety of other dishes. I've used it with great success not only as a condiment on sandwiches and grilled chicken and beef, but also as a dip, pasta sauce, baked potato topping and a host of other things. My children love Israeli couscous mixed with a dollop of romesco. sauce. I'm looking forward to trying it on hot dogs and hamburgers. Like I said: I love it!

For my version below I opted to use several different varieties of nuts for a more complex flavor. I also roasted the red peppers and tomatoes for a sauce with a richer flavor. This recipe also makes a good amount of romesco sauce. It is easier and economical to make it in larger quantities and then portion it out and freeze it so that you'll always have some on hand when you need/want it.

Romesco Sauce

1 ancho chile
1 cup of almonds
1/3 cup of peanuts
1/3 cup of pistachios
1/3 cup cashews
6-8 cloves of garlic
4 plum tomatoes
2 large or 4 small red peppers
2-1/2 tsp sea salt
3 tsp paprika (Spanish sweet preferred)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
Olive oil

Soak the ancho chile in water for 4 hours or overnight. Carefully remove the stem and seeds and cut the ancho chile peppers up into small pieces. Set aside.

Set the oven to 450°F allow it time to heat. Place all the nuts, garlic and bread cubes into an ovenproof skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and allow the nuts, garlic to roast and the bread to toast. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to burn anything. Remove from oven, place in a bowl to cool and set aside.

Set your oven to broil. Place the tomatoes and red peppers in the skillet and place under the broiler. Turn the peppers as each side blackens. When mostly black remove from broiler and place in a paper bag to cool. Roast the tomatoes until the surfaces blister and soften. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Remove roasted pepper from bag and carefully remove blackened skins, stems and seeds. Cut the peppers into large pieces and set aside.

Take the tomatoes and remove the stems. Cut into large pieces and set aside.

Place the nuts, garlic and bread together in a food processor and chop until the pieces are uniform and well blended.

Add the tomatoes, red peppers, ancho chile, sea salt, paprika, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar to the nut blend and chop and blend until almost paste-like.

While the food processor is running SLOWLY add a fine stream of olive oil to the mix until you achieve your desired consistency. For pastas you'll want a smoother sauce, for dips or for use on sandwiches you'll want something a little thicker.
Recipe: Romesco Sauce from Chop Onions, Boil Water - World Food at Home by Henry Krauzyk http://www.choponionsboilwater.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Recipe: Thai Beef Curry with Red Pepper and Snow Peas

Today's world food that you can prepare at home is a Thai Beef Curry with crunchy red peppers and snow peas. As Thai food goes, this is one of the spicier recipes that you will find on Chop Onions, Boil Water. It's good though and it is even better the next day as a leftover!

My own introduction to Thai cuisine came in the early 1980's when I was invited to join some friends for dinner at a newly opened (and rare at that time) Thai restaurant. My friends had spent a great deal of time in Thailand and one, Al, had fallen in love with and married a Thai girl named "Tim". They were all excited to finally be able to get their favorite Thai dishes so close to home. It was a long time ago, but I remember how happy Tim was to be able to speak her native language to the wait staff and she insisted on ordering for everyone in her native tongue. It was a great night of food, friends and fun (the three F's) and I experienced a number of firsts that night. Thai beer, spicy squid curry and mango with sweet rice were among them.

After that night, I always used to talk to Al about all the different foods, vegetables and fruits he had tried in Thailand. His descriptions of many things were the first accounts I had heard about those foods. Things like fish sauce, durian, mangosteen, phad thai and some dishes of raw pork with extremely spicy chilies are among the ones I can recall. Though common and well known now, they were all very foreign and exotic to me at that time. This was before the internet kiddies and lots of things took trips to the bookstore or library to research in the old days!

Suffice to say, that introduction to Thai food all those years ago turned me into a fan. Subsequently, it also turned my wife and kids into Thai food fans. Barely a week goes by that I don't prepare something Thai for dinner. We eat Thai so often that when I put rice out for any dinner be it Italian, Mexican, Portuguese, etc. my 4-year old daughter will always ask "Is it sticky rice daddy?" You cannot imagine her disappointment when it is not. You also can't imagine how much she talks about sticky rice and why she likes it better than whatever rice we may be eating during that dinner. Yup, from the beginning to the end of dinner... "Daddy, I like sticky rice because it's good and fun...", "This rice is red....", "When are we having sticky rice again?" I remember when I was a kid and we got one kind of rice: Minute Rice! At least some things have changed for the better!

Again, this dish is very spicy. If you're looking to tame it down, back off on the red curry paste or use a milder type of curry paste. You can also curb the ginger a little bit to take the heat down. Me? I like it spicy and hot. I just use more sticky rice* to temper the heat. Al and Tim taught me that over twenty years ago!

Thai Beef Curry with Red Pepper and Snow Peas

2 TBS peanut oil
2-2.5 lbs. sirloin tips
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup fresh ginger (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
3-4 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
2 TBS fish sauce
4 ozs. snow peas
1 large red bell pepper (cut into matchstick-sized pieces)
1 lime (zest grated and then the fruit cut into wedges)
1/3 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1/4 cup basil (julienned)
Rice or noodles

Prepare the rice (I use Thai sticky rice*) or noodles (I use udon) while you do the following:

Season the sirloin tips with salt and pepper to taste. Cook them in your broiler to desired doneness. Remove from the broiler. Allow them to cool about 10 minutes and then cut them into 1-1/2" pieces and set aside in a covered plate (reserve any juices).

Place a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the peanut oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and cook until just tender and lightly browned

Add the ginger and continue cooking, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds.

Stir in half of the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Add half the coconut milk, stirring until the curry paste has blended in completely.

Stir in the remaining coconut milk and chicken broth. Add the fish sauce and simmer stirring frequently for about 5 minutes.

Add the sirloin tips (and any collected juices), snow peas and the red pepper and cook stirring frequently for about 3-5 minutes. You want the snow peas and red pepper to remain slightly crunchy and the meat to just reheat.

Portion rice*/noodles into individual bowls and ladle the beef curry over it. Sprinkle with the cilantro and basil and serve with the lime wedges.

*If using sticky rice serve it as a side dish. Roll the rice into balls and dip into the curry.

Recipe: Thai Beef Curry with Red Pepper and Snow Peas from Chop Onions, Boil Water - World Food at Home by Henry Krauzyk http://www.choponionsboilwater.com

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recipe: Henry's Mexican-Style Rice

This is a rice dish I prepare when I'm serving Mexican food. I'm not sure how authentic it is because it is my own creation based on a variety of rice dishes I've had on both coasts of Mexico. I do know that my wife, kids and friends love it because it always goes, and its flavor blends well with the Mexican dishes I serve it with. I love to heap chunky guacamole and salsa fresca on this and shovel it into my mouth until the pleasure center in my brain flips into overload. That's comfort food baby! My wife loves it with a good dollop of sour cream.

You do what you like with it, I don't think you're going to be disappointed! It comes together quickly and is easy enough to prepare that I ALWAYS, ALWAYS (written twice for dramatic effect in case you didn't notice), serve it ANYTIME, ANYTIME (yes, again), that I serve Mexican food in my home.

You'll notice that I've listed Goya® Sofrito among the ingredients. I make it with both homemade and store bought sofrito. That depends on the time I have and the ingredients I have on hand. I don't think any American readers will have a problem finding the Goya stuff in the local market (BUY THE FROZEN STUFF!). If you're one of my non-American readers or a hands-on American reader you can find your own sofrito recipe online.

Henry's Mexican-Style Rice

2 Tbs peanut oil
2 Tbs Goya© Sofrito (frozen kind)
1 red pepper (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 6 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 cups of steamed rice
1/2-3/4 cup of cooked peas
1/4 - 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

Heat a large dutch oven over a medium-high flame.

Add peanut oil.

When oil begins to shimmer, add the sofrito, red pepper and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes being careful not to burn it.

Add the tomato sauce and blend well.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lower heat. Add the steamed rice and blend well.

Stir in the cooked peas.

Remove from heat and add cilantro, fluffing the rice as you mix.

Recipe: Henry's Mexican-Style Rice from Chop Onions, Boil Water - World Food at Home by Henry Krauzyk http://www.choponionsboilwater.com