We have been experimenting with alternative pizza bases recently. I had already tried a root potato pizza base a few years ago and we did one again recently. Something else we've been trying is removing the bread altogether, putting the meat on the bottom with vegetables and cheese on top
We took a chicken breast, flattened it out then fried it. After that it was topped with tomato sauce, vegetables and cheese. Since the base and vegetables were pre-cooked, it only needed to go in the oven until the cheese had melted.
(Reposted from The Pizza Blog)
This recipe was Emma's idea. She suggested that a chicken Thai green curry might work well in a pie. I made a hot milk pastry, cooked a leek and a red pepper, opened a packet of sauce and chopped up some roast chicken.
It was a very good pie.
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This is just a quick recipe and not part of the December/Christmas series of recipes, unless you count it as a possible use of leftover turkey. I've made many risottos in the past but always in a pan on the stove top. Tonight I decided to try an oven baked version.
I had already softened an onion and a leek in a pan before I decided to do this, so I put the rice, vegetables, half the grated cheese, the cooked chicken and stock in a pyrex dish. I added a pinch of salt and some chopped herbs, covered the dish with foil then put it in the oven at gas mark 6.
It needed longer than the 18 minutes given in the recipe, closer to half an hour. I served it with the rest of the cheese and some freshly ground pepper.
The rice was well cooked but lacked the creamy texture which I normally get by stirring some soft cheese into the risotto right at the end (I didn't do that here because the pyrex dish wasn't big enough to safely mix it in without risking spilling). Next time I might try stirring some half-way through to see what it's like.
For this week's pizza night I decided to try a Stromboli pizza, a filled pizza which is often rolled up. The base was a normal bread/pizza base. For the filling I used vegetable chilli, chicken and cheese.
I started by rolling the base into an oval shape. Closer to rectangular would be better but oval works well enough. I spread the base with the vegetable chilli then sprinkled chopped cooked chicken over the top.
Next I added grated cheese.
The stromboli was rolled up and placed onto a hot pizza stone before being put into the centre of the oven at gas mark 6 for about 20 minutes.
Just before the end of cooking, I took the stromboli out of the oven and laid some sliced chilli cheese on top. I put it back in the oven just long enough to melt the cheese without letting it run all the way down the sides.
The final cooked product. It came out quite well although it had split along part of one side. I may have caused this by over-filling it or rolling it too tightly but that didn't detract from the eating.
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The inspiration for tonight's meal came from an episode of Man v. Food which we watched on TV earlier today, where they made a Hot Brown sandwich which contains turkey and mornay sauce, along with bacon. I decided to do a variation on chicken mornay and served it with courgette dumplings.
The mornay sauce contained a mixture of cheddar and pecorino cheese. The chicken breasts were flattened and fried in a little oil. These were topped with leeks, the sauce then finally capers. The courgette dumplings were made using grated courgette, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, finely chopped parsley, an egg, and seasoned with a little black pepper. These were baked in the oven until the outsides started to crisp off.
The filling was made by mixing cooked diced meat with stuffing - one pie used chicken, the other had pork and bacon. The pie shown here was chicken (with a 'C' on the lid). The pork and bacon pies had a 'P' on the lid so I could tell them apart after cooking.
The chicken pie was probably the better of the two. The stuffing helped hold the filling together and stopped the chicken from drying out. The meat in the pork and stuffing pie was slightly over-cooked and had gone a bit chewy but the pie was still ok.
We regularly buy a ginger and coriander marinated chicken from the supermarket but usually did it with fried rice and had kind of run out ideas for it. I did a bit of googling for recipe ideas and thought I'd have a go at Ginger Peanut Chicken Pasta. I did my usual thing of just reading through the ingredients then making up my own version.
I fried an onion and a couple of cloves of garlic, added 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp chilli flakes and a splash of lemon juice and soy sauce. I then mixed 1/2 cup of milk with a heaped tablespoon of peanut butter and a teaspoon of cornflour and stirred it to get it as smooth as possible. Meanwhile I cooked the chicken in the oven and boiled a pan of spaghetti. When the chicken was cooked I added the peanut/milk mixture to pan and heated until it had thickened. It worked out quite well.
This week's recipe was inspired by an episode of Man v. Food we watched last week. They were in Chicago and ate a traditional deep pan pizza. We decided to try one as part of our traditional weekly pizza night.
We started off with our normal pizza base recipe, using ¾ bread flour and ¼ yellow cornmeal. The dough was made in the usual manner and allowed to at least double in size. I then flattened it out, spread it with butter then folded it over a few times. I put the base in a 9 inch cake tin and pressed it into the edges and about an inch up the side.
One of the things mentioned in Man v. Food was that the deep pan pizzas are made upside down. The first thing on the base is the cheese. Here I used sliced mozarella.
The next things to go on were fried vegetables and cooked chicken. The veg were: roasted red and green peppers, diced and fried onion, leek and courgette.
The sauce then goes on top. I used a spicy tomato sauce which was based on the one from the Mexican Lasagne. I simmered a pan of passata and added crushed garlic, chilli flakes, cumin, paprika, salt, sugar and balsamic vinegar.
The pizza was nearly finished. I topped it with grated pecorino cheese then baked it in the oven, at gas mark 7, for about 20 minutes.
The pizza was full of flavour and unlike anything you normally get from a take-away or supermarket. It is definitely something worth doing again. The base would work well as a kind of 'tear and share', especially if made with garlic butter or a similar flavoured butter, possibly with grated cheese or diced mozzarella folded in too.
In the past we have cooked chicken in quite a lot of different ways and used yoghurt in recipes but I don't think I have actually cooked chicken in yoghurt. This recipe came about because I was trying to think of something to do this week and we had chicken breast and vegetables in the fridge so I looked up recipes. What I did was based on a number of different recipes, all of them had a similar mix of spices.
I didn't measure the quantities very accurately but I put about half a teaspoon of each of the following into a pyrex dish:
ginger, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, salt, chilli flakes, paprika and turmeric.
I added a few tablespoons of yoghurt and mixed everything together then tossed in some sliced chicken breast. This was put in the oven (gas mark 5) for about half an hour.
The vegetables (a mixture of onion, pepper, leek, courgette, garlic) were diced and fried, along with half a teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala. Half of the veg were blitzed in a food processor to make a sauce, similar to my usual curry sauce. I added a tin of chick peas.
The chicken was very tender and the spices were quite well balanced. Overall the meal was a success but the pyrex dish was a pain to wash afterwards.
I found these recipes while looking for something to do with the meat from a roast chicken. Kreplach appear to be a Jewish ravioli but folded into a triangle instead of made from two squares of pasta pressed together. I prepared the dough and filling yesterday to save time.
The dough was made by mixing together two cups of flour, a pinch of salt, two eggs, a quarter of a cup of oil and a couple of tablespoons of water (just enough water to bring everything together without making the dough too wet).
To make the filling, I minced two small onions and a clove of garlic and fried them in some oil before leaving them to cool. I shredded the chicken and mixed in the onion and garlic.
When I got home from work I started to assemble the Kreplach. I cut off a quarter of the dough and rolled it as thinly as possible. I cut out squares and put a spoonful of the meat in the middle of each. I folded one corner over to make a small pasty-shaped dumpling.
In the meantime I made a sauce out of red peppers, leeks and passata, with a small amount of chilli and parsley added for extra flavour. I simmered the kreplach for around 15-20 minutes.
Back in 2010, I attempted to cook a new recipe every week. I am going to try to do the same this year. I received a total of 5 recipe books for Christmas so I will have plenty of scope for finding ideas and inspiration.
My final recipe of 2012 was a turkey pie, made in the style of a pork pie. I first came across the idea a while ago but it was only last week when I finally got around to having a go at making them.
The filling was made using turkey mince, turkey bacon, a finely sliced leek, a pinch of salt and a pinch of mixed spice. I tried to cook the pies in the traditional pork pie fashion, based on the method in a recipe from the Great British Bake-Off. I used well oiled glass tumblers as the 'pie dollies'. Although the pastry didn't stick to the glass, it didn't slide off easily because it formed a vacuum at the base. Even after half an hour in the fridge, the pastry was very soft and it collapsed slightly while I was filling it.
The resulting cooked pies tasted very good. The pastry was a bit thick but had a good 'pastry' taste to it. The filling worked very well too. I'll try again sometime but might use a pie dish so the pies hold their shape a bit better.
24 hours later, the pastry crust had gone crispy on the outside and the pie tasted even better. Apart from their saggy appearance and the soft base, I would have to describe them as a very successful first attempt.
This week's Saturday night pizza took place on Sunday. One of the pizzas was inspired by a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, from his latest tv series 3 Good Things, which highlights simple recipes using 3 main ingredients. The recipe was originally for a pasta bake but I decided to have a go at using it as a pizza sauce.
I started by cooking the sliced courgettes in a little oil.
When the courgettes were cooked down, I added a splash of double cream (just enough to mix in to make a smooth sauce) and a handful of grated parmesan.
I spread the courgette mixture onto the pizza base
Topped it with sliced chicken.
Then added mozzarella and sprinkled with grated cheddar.
I was a bit worried that the final cooked pizza would be a bit soggy but it was fine. In the spirit of the original programme, I kept the toppings to a minimum but the courgette mixture was full of flavour and worked well on a pizza.
Saturday is our regular pizza night and we occasionally struggle to think of new toppings to try. This means we often get stuck in a rut and keep repeating ourselves with various combinations of chicken, vegetables and chilli. Last night we opened one of those Heinz 'fridge jars' of baked beans, which means we have to finish the pack within 5 days. We don't have baked beans very often but Emma suggested combining beans and pizza and replicate the baked bean pizza which was available back in the mid-90s.
I started off by spreading a few tablespoons of baked beans over the pizza base then added sliced chicken, chillies, mozarella and grated cheese.
This post also appears on the Pizza Blog
I cooked a couple of new recipes this week. The first was a Chicken and Paneer satay-style curry.
The sauce was equal volumes of milk and chicken stock to which I added:
- 1 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon each of curry powder and garam masala
- 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
I fried 2 chicken breast and one red onion and added them to the sauce, leaving them to simmer for a few minutes. Towards the end of the cooking, I diced the paneer and gently fried it in a small amount of oil, adding it to the pan just before serving.
The next recipe was a Cheese and Sausage Spatzle.
The Spatzle came from Lidl - we bought it because it was a bit different and we hadn't cooked with it before. While it was boiling, I fried a couple of red onions and a few sausages, and added a pinch each of salt, chilli flakes and thyme leaves. I also grated the cheese.
I placed half of the spatzle in the bottom of an oven-proof dish followed by a layer of the onion and sausage mixture, then a layer of cheese, then repeated the layers. I baked it in the oven for about 30 minutes at gas mark 4, until it had heated through and the cheese had melted.
It worked well for such a simple recipe. The rough texture of the spatzle would work better than a traditional italian pasta, which tends to be smoother, and wouldn't have held together as well.
Today is Pancake Day (or to be more traditional, Shrove Tuesday). Our pancake tea consists of Curried Chicken pancakes for main course followed by a couple of dessert pancakes which vary depending on what we have in the house but nearly always includes a traditional lemon juice and sugar pancake. This has been our tradition for at least the last 6 or 7 years.
The pancake recipe has varied but the one we usually do now came from Delia Smith's website (original link has gone off-line, this is similar) and is fairly reliable.
In the past we have often used a tin of chicken in white sauce and added some curry powder but this year I cooked it from scratch by finely chopping 2 chicken breasts and frying them in a little oil. I made a thick roux and added curry powder, cayenne pepper and a little turmeric before stirring in the cooked chicken. The pancakes were filled with a couple of tablespoons of the chicken curry mixture then sprinkled with grated cheese before being rolled up and rapidly eaten.
We shared three dessert pancakes this year. They were filled with chocolate coated raisins, traditional lemon juice and sugar, and golden syrup.