It’s good to share ….

Two things have inspired my blog today. One is SUNSHINE meaning I want to be out in the garden, tidying up from the winter and planning this year’s planting – so I don’t want to be inside cooking all day (much as you know I love it). The second was that The Husband went to visit an old friend yesterday (Hello, Joan!) and took with him some casserole for her to just heat up as she is having a new kitchen and without one at the moment.

Thus, I’m looking at casseroles – so I can make ahead and be outside whilst its simmering – and, also, I think it’s about time you were not just cooking for one – but to share. I’m sure you will know someone who for some reason can’t/won’t cook at the moment – let us be kind and have a share week. If you really don’t have anyone to share with – you can always freeze a portion for another time when you are out and about/being busy/or just can’t put that good book down!

Chicken thighs with Garlic and Lemon (this will definitely keep the vampires away!)

  • 500ml chicken stock (cube will do)
  • 10 – 15 garlic cloves (yes, really!)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 dessertspoon of olive oil
  • 4 – 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 lemon, peeled and pith removed and sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoon plain flour
  • 150 ml of water or white wine (small glass for the cook)
  • salt and pepper

Put the stock in a pan and bring to the boil.  Add the garlic cloves, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.  Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and fry gently on all sides until golden.  Transfer to an ovenproof  dish.

Heat the oven to 190oC.  Strain the garlic stock and reserve.  Put the cooked garlics and sliced lemons into the dish with chicken.  Add the flour to the fat in the pan (from frying the chicken) and cook for a minute.  Gradually add the wine or leftover garlic stock (or a mixture), stirring all the time till thickened and smooth.  Pour over the chicken, cover and cook in the oven for 40 – 45 minutes, taking the cover off about 10 minutes before the end to brown.  Scatter over chopped parsley or basil and serve with new potatoes and a crisp salad.

CHILLI CON CARNE (looks like this may be complicated because of  number of ingredients but I promise it isn’t)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chopped onion
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 500 grams minced beef
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 1- 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 1- 2 red chillies/dried chilli flakes or to taste (don’t forget you can buy chilli, garlic and ginger frozen so you don’t have to buy a load and then not use)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 stick cinnamon (optional)
  • good shake of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • can of red kidney beans
  • some fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 3 squares dark chocolate (secret ingredient )

Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the mince, cooking quickly till browned.  Pour in the red wine  and boil for 2 – 3 minutes (have one for yourself whilst you are waiting).Stir in the tinned tomatoes, puree, chilli, cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, Worcester sauce and Tomato sauce and crumble in the stock cube.  Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook gently for about 40 minutes. If the mixture still looks wet, I then cook it more fiercely until rich and thickened.  Add the chocolate and beans and fresh coriander. Serve with lime wedges, guacamole, rice and/or crusty bread/baked potatoes/salad/

Spicy Lamb and Bean Casserole

  • 500g lean lamb – cubed and tossed in seasoned flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions
  • 250g mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 250g dried apricots
  • 500ml stock
  • tin of beans – kidney/cannellini/flageolet – your choice

Slice the onions and chop the garlic. Roughly chop the apricots. Add 1 tablespoon the oil to a frying pan and quickly brown the meat. Remove to a large casserole dish. Add little oil and brown the mushrooms – add to meat. Add remaining oil and saute the onions and garlic till soft. Add the garam masala, and the stock and bring to the boil. Add to the casserole. Drain the beans and add with the apricots. Cover dish and cook 165oC for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Baked potatoes alongside the dish would be perfect!

3 thoughts on “It’s good to share ….

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