Friday, January 31, 2014

Spanish Saffron and Capers Chicken


I simply love saffron, the color and flavor it imparts is uniquely it's own. It is referred to as the most expensive spice in the world and it is easy to see why. The tiny little threads that make up the saffron come from the purple crocus flower. Can you believe that one acre yields only one pound of these beautiful fiery red threads? Speaking of saffron, I was thinking about the last time I was in Spain, and my mom's friend, Nena, served us this dish that was infused with the flavors of Spain, hot smoked paprika, capers and saffron.  It was absolute heaven. Whats more it was so easy to make and it's a dish you can make in about 30 minutes. She served it with my very favorite crusty Spanish bread ... perfect for sopping up the warm spicy sauce.

Serves 2-4

1 pound chicken breast*, chopped into medium chunks, salt & pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions sliced
4 garlic cloves minced
1/4 cup white wine
1-2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2"
1  15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 generous teaspoon saffron threads
2 teaspoons capers
1 1/2  teaspoons caper brine
1  teaspoons hot smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon salt, divided in half
2 laurel leaves
Black pepper to taste

Heat up large skillet over medium heat, add  oil followed by the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté onions over medium low heat for 8 -10 minutes, till lightly browned. Add garlic, cooking an additional 3 minutes. Remove onions from pan and set aside.

Working in batches lightly brown chicken breasts chunks on all sides. Add wine to deglaze pan, scraping bottom of pan to release flavor bits. Add chicken back to the pan and all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil for one minute then lower heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or till fork easily splits potatoes. Remove laurel leaves before serving.

Serve with crusty bread or fluffy white rice, a light tomato and cucumber salad with a simple olive oil and white wine vinegar dressing and a glass of dry white wine. Enjoy!

*Recipe Notes:
Whenever I have the opportunity to brine chicken breast, you better believe I take it. So, yes, I did brine this chicken breast. If you have time take advantage of what brining can do  by adding juicy tenderness to your chicken breast. Click here to read more on brining.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Eryka's Sopa de Chicharos - Cuban Split Pea Soup

A few years ago I went to a local restaurant here in the Miami area called La Carreta. It is a major Cuban food chain down here and I have noticed people either really like it or dislike it. I personally like it. plus I have some good memories there with old friends. So a few years ago I went to this restaurant with my best friend on a Saturday. We were about 19 years old, broke, hungry but didn't want fast food. We had heard they have daily specials that were affordable and so on that Saturday night they had Chicharos for $3.95 a bowl. I was in heaven. I fell in love with the dish. When I got home that night I told my mom about it, which of course she had heard of, but she also told me how my grandmother used to make it for me when I was a baby. I embarked on a mission to recreate this delicious soup, aside from Broccoli Cheese Soup, this is my favorite soup. It is a meal, it is homey, it is comforting... all the things I represent in my culinary point of view! I searched for many different recipes, tried different ones, experimented and voila have come up with the recipe I am sharing with you today. I serve this with white rice but you can certainly eat this alone or with some nice bread or crackers. I personally puree the soup at the end because I like the smooth finish but you can definitely go rustic! I hope your enjoy this remarkable soup!

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped into small bits
2 celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz dried split peas (green or yellow)
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash of cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 pork bone, ham bone or ham shank
2 cups cubed ham
7 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
2-3 potatoes chopped

1. In a large stock pot, heat oil on meidum-high heat and add the onion, carrots and celery. Cook until carrots are crisp and onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook together for about 2 minutes.

2. Add the peas, bay leaf, paprika, cumin and salt. Cook together with the vegetables so that the peas become fragrant, about 2 minutes. After that, add the pork bone, cubed ham, stock and wine. Stir everything together and make room to add the potatoes; add the potatoes.

3. Bring the soup to a boil then lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer for about an hour, checking it occasionally. When the potatoes are fork tender the soup is done. Discard the bone and bay leaf. You can either puree the soup or leave it as is. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Citrus-Cumin Chicken


Yesterday I was in the mood for something citrusy for dinner but I wanted a little warmth to it too. Before leaving for my morning run, I left eight pieces of bone-in thighs and drumsticks, that I had defrosted overnight, in a simple brining solution of salt and brown sugar. For more information on brining, check out my post  "To Brine or Not to Brine? That Shouldn't Even Be a Question". Six hours later it was time to get cooking. 

Citrus-Cumin Chicken

Serves 4

8 pieces chicken: 4 drumsticks, 4 thighs, skin removed
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup white wine  
1 cup citrus juice:
    2 oranges, zest grated & juiced. 
    2 limes, zest grated & juiced.
    1 lemon, zest grated & juiced.
  1 tablespoon flour

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cuban Meat & Potato Stew - Carne con Papa

Meat Stew Cuban Potato Carne con Papa

There are so many beef stew recipes out there it is sometimes hard to keep up not to mention it can be overwhelming to choose a recipe. Do a Google search on beef stew and the results are endless. There are many renditions of it, but today I'd like to offer the Cuban version of it and it is my personal favorite. My grandma used to make this when I was growing up but sadly I don't remember what it tastes like and also I never learned the recipe from her... that lady could cook up a storm! According to my mother, this carne con papa recipe is exactly how my grandmother used to make it. To me that is a huge compliment that it does, because this meal and another famous Cuban meal called Picadillo reminds me of her. I'm not sure if it's the paprika, the tomato sauce, the wine that makes this particular beef stew rich in flavor and much added depth,but what I am sure of is how much my family enjoys it whenever I make it. The recipe calls for potatoes but I used sweet potatoes for my boyfriend (pictured) and yes it does work the same!

Serves 4

1 1/2 - 2 lbs beef stew meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green or red pepper, chopped
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
2 or 3 large potatoes, chopped in medium cubes

1. In a large skillet, brown the stew meat until browned on all sides with the oil. When the meat is browned add the salt, paprika, pepper, bay leaf, onion, garlic and green pepper.

2. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes or until the onions are wilted and somewhat translucent. Add the tomato sauce, wine and water. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, covered.

3. After 10 minutes add the chopped potatoes, stir together and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Weekly Recipe Round-up January 13-17, 2014

Temperatures really dipped in South Florida this week, low 40s and high 30s in my neck of the woods.  I covered up all veggies and pepper plants because I've put a lot of work into that garden and I sure wasn't going to let a little frost ruin my beautiful crops. I was able to get out on the pavement and run about 8-9 miles this week and that really felt good, cold and all and after each run a really good meal was waiting for me when I got home.  I just LOVE my slow cooker. This was perfect soup and comfort food weather and that's what we featured this week at The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon.

This week's Recipe of the Week was Lemon & Paprika Infused Parchment Roasted Grouper.  It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's a look back at what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.

Featured on Monday:

One of my favorite way to cook fish is in parchment. If you have never tried it ... you are in for a treat! Why cook in parchment? First, it guarantees a super moist and delicious fish. Second, there is virtually no clean-up of pans. The infusion of paprika, lemon and garlic is one of my favorites for many recipes but with fish it is simply divine.

Featured on Wednesdays with Eryka:

It's Wednesday with Eryka at +The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon and today we are featuring *Juicy Soy Sauce Dinner Burger Patties*. These dinner patties are bursting with flavor and most importantly super juicy!

Featured on Friday:

Hearty Red Bean & Ham Soup is loaded with lots of onions, peppers, garlic,rich stock and ham as it simmers away in the slow cooker.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Slow Cooker Hearty Red Beans and Ham Soup

Slow Cooker Red Beans Ham Soup

Right when the weather starts to really cool in South Florida, and by that I mean low 40s, I start thinking soup. One soup
that I tend to make mostly in January and February is this Hearty Red Bean and Ham Soup.  It's a two step process BUT you can work on step one a few days ahead of time or even weeks if you go the route of the freezer. I love how rich, thick and flavorful the bean broth gets and the beans get very creamy in texture.  The best part is you let the beans cook away in your slow cooker while you are at work and you get home to a yummy, warm meal.  All you need is a little toasted bread to sop up the broth as you chow down.

Serves 4

1 pound red beans*, soaked overnight
4 large onions; 2 quartered, 2 rough chopped
2 large green peppers; 1 quartered, 1 rough chopped
1 head of garlic, unpeeled, sliced in half
3 cups of water
2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 slices center cut or turkey bacon, chopped, cooked in the microwave till just crispy
1 pound lean ham or turkey ham, cubed
1 smoked  ham shank or smoked turkey "hocks"
4 cups of beef stock or ham stock
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
1/2 - 1 teaspoon salt

To par-cook the beans after soaking, add  beans, 2 quartered onion, 1 quartered bell pepper, 1 head of garlic, 3 cups of water to a deep pot. Bring to rolling boil, and allow to boil for 30 minutes, lid off. After 30 minutes, turn off heat and allow to sit for 1 1/2 hours lid on. This can portion can be done the day before or even over the weekend and stored in the fridge till you are ready to make them. You can even freeze them to leave for another day.

To make the beans, place the par-cooked beans and liquid in the slow cooker. scoop out the garlic and large pieces of onions or bell pepper.  Add all the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the salt  (see my post "Salt Will Keep Your Beans from Softening" for more info on bean cookery). Salt only once the beans are completely softened. Set slow cooker on hi for 4-5 hours or low for 8-9 hours.  You can make this stove top and first bring to a boil, allow to boil for 5 minutes then cover and simmer 2-3 hours or until the beans have softened.

Serve into deep bowls by itself or over rice and lots of toasted bread to soak up the juices.

Recipe Notes:
*I use Central American red beans.  They are tiny but have an incredibly deep rich red color and the flavor is amazing.  They are creamier in texture once softened then regular red beans.  Check your local Hispanic market for Central American red beans or use regular red beans if you can't find them.
You'll notice that I say to use either ham or turkey products, the choice is up to you.  Either is delicious.  If you want to cut on some calories use the turkey products.

Juicy Soy Sauce Dinner Burger Patties

I have made this recipe for years. I made this for the first time for my parents when I was in high school experimenting with cooking. It was a hit that night and has been since even with my boyfriend. As usual, in keeping with the theme of easy meals, it is exactly that, a simple, fast, delicious meal! It will cook up rather quickly so make sure you do not walk away from the pan. The patties come out very juicy and one thing that is very important to me is that it does not dry out. A secret I have is that I do not physically minced the onion myself rather I run it through a my small food processor because it releases the onion juices that add a lot more moisture to the meat thus less likely for it to dry out. For the cheese you can use whatever cheese makes your day. I personally like swiss but my boyfriend likes American so I used both. This meal can be made into a burger or you can do what I did and pair it with vegetables; other options are orzo, rice pilaf, brown rice or even white rice. It will please your taste buds and your family how delicious these burgers are. Enjoy!

1lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 dashes Worschteshire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 slices cheese of your choice
1 tablespoon red wine (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and leave it marinating in the refrigerator for about an hour.

2. Remove from refrigerator and form the ground beef mixture into four round patties. On one side of the patty, use your thumb to make an indentation, this will keep the patty in it's perfect round shape.

3. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, spray some non-stick spray and place patties in the pan. Cook for about 6-7 minutes per side (times vary depending on how your stove top).

4. Splash in the red wine, if you'd like, to deglaze the pan and add extra flavor to the patty. Once the patties are done place the cheese on top of each patty and turn off the heat. The cheese will melt with the heat from the meat. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lemon & Paprika Infused Parchment Roasted Grouper

One of my favorite way to cook fish is in parchment. If you have never tried it ... you are in for a treat! Why cook in parchment? First, and foremost, it guarantees a super moist and delicious fish. Second, there is virtually no clean-up of pans. I really don't like washing pans, and no I don't have a dishwasher, I never have. I have a small kitchen and a dishwasher uses precious space that I'd rather use for more kitchen stuff.
Anyway, back to the fish! The infusion of paprika, lemon and garlic is one of my favorites for many recipes but with fish it is simply divine.  I like to soak the shallot rings in it to take any bitterness out and even slightly soften the shallots, so that you aren't biting into a raw shallot once the fish is cooked. The small amount of honey, yes honey, rounds and evens out the flavors of the other ingredients. The fun part is cutting into the parchment and before you taste it, you get the yummy aroma wafting up into the air. Did I just write "wafting"? That's too funny, clearly I am getting carried away! But that just shows how enthusiastic I am about this recipe. Simply put, it's just damn good! It has the Hubs seal of approval, in fact, between bites or should I say when he would come up for air, he was quite complimentary.

Serves 4

1/8 cup of olive oil
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika (sweet or hot your choice)
4 fish fillets* - use your favorite firm whitefish -  I used grouper
3-4 shallots*, sliced into rings

Place the first 5 ingredients into a medium bowl. Whisk together until ingredients are incorporated. Add the sliced shallots rings. Let sit for 15 minutes or a few hours.

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees F

Cut four sheets of parchment*. Pat fish dry. Salt and pepper both sides to taste and place in the bottom half of the sheet. Place shallots ring atop each fish fillets and spoon marinade over each fillet. Like you would for an empanada or hand-pie make a pouch with the parchment to enclose the fish.  Place pouches on a lipped baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or 15 minutes per inch of thickness if you are using a thicker cut of fish.

Serve with steamed vegetables and your favorite glass or two of wine for a light meal. Enjoy!

Recipes Notes:
Type of firm white fish I recommend are grouper, snapper, orange roughy or mahi-mahi. But this method is great with just about any fish.
If you don't have shallots use small red or yellow onions or even leeks.
If you don't have parchment, you can use foil.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekly Recipe Round-Up January 6 - 10, 2014

Finally, life back to normal, or at least as close to normal as possible! I hope you had a great first full week of the new year.  We got back to our regular posting schedule, including Wednesdays with Eryka. For me it was easing back into a routine and even welcoming back some of our favorites shows that had been on hiatus during the holidays. And while I haven't gotten back to running, the weather was just horrible here in South Florida, nothing like that polar vortex the northern states got hit with, just a lot of rain and few days of "cold". It was just impossible to get out there and jog a few miles. But there is always next week or I  may head out tomorrow morning for a quick run, weather permitting.

This week's Recipe of the Week was Savory Meatballs in Mushroom Cream Sauce.  It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's a look back at what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.

Featured on Monday:

Savory Meatballs in Mushroom Cream Sauce

The sauce in this recipe is just as delicious with the meatballs as it is on its own ladled over pasta or egg noodles. Letting the onions and mushrooms cook together brings about a depth a flavor that only slow and low cooking can bring about.

Featured on Wednesdays with Eryka:

Super Cheesy Baked Penne

Ground beef, pork and Italian sausage are simmered in wine, stock and spices and one of the spices may surprise you..One pound of cheese make this pasta this pasta dish super cheesy and yummy!

Featured on Friday:

Bacon & Ham Braised Greens
Now I know what you are thinking, ugh... greens, right?  Nooooo, I promise, no ughs here!  We are using smokey bacon, ham, ham hocks and shanks, rich stock, and letting them all braise with your greens of choice for hours in a slow cooker. What you get is smokey-bacon-ham-y goodness that you can eat alone or over pasta, beans, legumes or my favorite with a loaf of toasted french bread and white wine.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bacon & Ham Braised Greens


I became enamored of braised greens several years ago on a trip to Georgia, when I visited my niece, Aylin, and her husband, Danny.  Gracious hosts that they were, we were treated to a true southern meal at a local diner, Home Spun, and from that day on, I was hooked on greens! When I got back home, I started trying to reproduce the collard greens I had at that little diner and, it took some time to get it right and eventually I did!  Now I know what you are thinking, ugh... greens, right?  Nooooo, I promise, no ughs here!  We are using smokey bacon, ham, ham hocks and shanks, rich stock, and letting them all braise with your greens of choice for hours in a slow cooker. What you get is smokey-bacon-ham-y goodness that you can eat alone or over pasta, beans, legumes or my favorite with a loaf of toasted french bread and white wine. Yes, I admit it! I will eat a whole loaf of bread with these braised greens and (sheepishly) a whole bottle of white wine, it's that good! Okay, so have I convinced you to give greens a chance? I hope so!

Serves 4 (or 2 if it's a meal)

Half a package of smoked center cut bacon (or turkey bacon if you want to save on fat)
1 pound of greens (collards, turnips, mustard, kale or a combination of all)
2 ham hocks, scored
1 large smoked ham shank
8 oz slice of ham, cut into cubes
4 cups chicken or ham stock
4-5 shakes of liquid smoke
2-3 grates of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste (add at the end of cooking time)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F  

Place bacon slices on a parchment lined baking sheet. Do not overlap. Bake 15-20 minutes for regular center cut bacon or 5-7 minutes for turkey bacon. Allow to cool and cut into large dice.
Place all ingredients into slow cooker, except salt & pepper (and yes, add in a few tablespoons of the bacon drippings). Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Taste for seasoning. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve as a side dish, or over pasta, rice, grains or cooked legumes such as; lentils or beans such as; great northern white or chick peas. The possibilities are endless. Or my favorite ... toasted french bread and white wine. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Super Cheesy Baked Penne

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year (all late!) from Wednesdays with Eryka! I'm back for the new year and ready to share more delicious recipes with you. This past holiday season Christmas and New Year's both landed on Wednesday so I have been MIA. So as the holiday season rolled in I noticed countless recipes for turkey, ham and roasts, but since this year I was hosting a small Christmas day dinner I decided to change it up a bit by making one of my favorite things in the whole world... pasta! Why not? Not only is it pretty simple to make, it is a crowd pleaser and it usually makes a lot so you're not worried about under feeding your guests. What makes this pasta slightly different from your everyday pasta with red sauce is the added spice of cinnamon. Yes, you read right, cinnamon! It adds a warmth to the dish and leaves an excellent after taste that, for me personally, makes you want to eat more. It was perfect for the holidays. Now you can take out the cinnamon but you'd be missing out! For those of you who like to plan meal ahead of time, you can make this sauce a few days ahead, whether it's for your own family dinner or a get together, because the longer the sauce sits the more the flavors mingle, become best friends then become best friends with your taste buds. In short, the sauce will taste better the longer it sits. My favorite part is the gooey, melted cheese top layered coming out of the oven; that paired with the hint of cinnamon is a delicious culinary experience. I hope you enjoy this recipe and use it for a future holiday dinner or even for a cold winter night with your family. Enjoy!

Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 lb pancetta, chopped
1/2 lb ground hot Italian sausage
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
2 32-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil, fresh
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper, to taste
2 lb penne, cooked
2 8-ounce mozzarella bricks, grated

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, bay leaf, and pancetta. Brown all together for about 1 minute. Add all the meats and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.

2. Add the carrot, celery and onion into the meat mixture. Cook together for about 5 minutes then add the red wine. Cook for about 1 minute; add stock, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and brown sugar.

3. Stir in the cinnamon, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce to medium low and cook for 20-25 minutes (At this point you can either serve it with pasta as indicated in the next step or store the sauce in the refrigerator/freezer until ready to use.)

4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven safe casserole dish, toss the sauce with the pasta; stir to make sure it is all distributed evenly. Layer the shredded mozzarella cheese all over the top. Place in the oven until cheese is gooey (I also placed it under the broiler for a few minutes with the oven door open to slightly brown the cheese). Enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Savory Meatballs in Mushroom Cream Sauce


This is my favorite "go to" weeknight meals.  I like to make my meatballs in bulk, cook, freeze and store them in zip bags in my freezer.  This way I know what goes into my meatballs (not excess or extra "fillers") and I always have a a quick meal almost at the ready.  When I first put this recipe together years ago, I did so on a whim and because it was my day to cook (my mom and I took turns).  The results were better than good, it very quickly became one of my moms' and my daughters' favorite meal. In fact, it was heavily requested. My mom was an excellent home chef, but for some reason she never got the hang of how to make this dish, or so she said. Personally, I always thought she preferred that I cook this particular meal.  Whatever the reason was, I was always thrilled that she liked it so much, and it was one those meals where she actually might have seconds.
The sauce in this recipe is just as delicious with the meatballs as it is on its own ladled over pasta or egg noodles. Letting the onions and mushrooms cook together brings about a depth a flavor that only slow and low cooking can bring about.  The onions caramelize just slightly and the mushrooms produce a warm, earthy flavor as they cook down. The white wine provides an acidic balance, while the beef stock rounds outs the overall flavors. Used with meatballs or on it's own I think you will be pleased with the versatility of the recipe.

Serves 4

For the Meatballs:
------Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
1 pound ground chuck*
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 small onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 slice of bread, crust removed and soak in 6 tablespoons of half & half.
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Course grind of black pepper

Mix all the ingredients together. Do not compact the meat. Incorporate the ingredients into the meat by running your fingers through it by gently rubbing your thumb against the pads of your fingers. I find this keeps the meat "light and airy". Make 18 - 2" balls. Instead of rolling the meat in your hands, which makes the meatball dense, flip the meat back and forth between the palms of your hands. Doing this will create a round meatball without having to squeeze or roll it. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes.

For the Mushroom Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups fresh sliced cremini mushrooms*
1 large yellow onion, sliced into half moons
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups beef broth/stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound of cooked meatballs
1 cup cream* (heavy or light, your choice)

Heat a stainless steel pan over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onions and mushrooms. Saute, stirring frequently 10-15 minutes or until onions/mushrooms a deep golden color.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions/mushrooms, stir to mix in well. Add Worcestershire sauce, salt pepper, stock, wine and meatballs. Stir until it starts to simmer lightly and slightly thicken. Reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream, stir and allow to warm through. Take off heat and add butter, stir until butter melts.

Serve over rice, egg noodles or mashed potatoes or with a salad and bread.  Enjoy!

*Recipe Notes:
Use a variety of ground meats such as pork, chicken, turkey to change up the recipe.
Use any variety of  or combination of mushrooms, that you like.
You can substitute cream with  half & half, fat free half & half, or milk of choice.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Weekly Recipe Round-Up December 30, 2013 - January 3, 2014

It's time for the Weekly Recipe Round-Up at the Fork Ran Away with the Spoon!
This was an odd week, with a break right smack in the middle for New Years, and then back to work for the rest of the week.  It really threw me off, I couldn't seem to get into the swing of things. The first official full week of the new year, will see me back to running 3 - 4 times a week (I miss my running) and lot more meal planning.  The holidays just ran right over me and at one point I just gave up on everything! It's time to get back on track.

This week's Recipe of the Week was Creamy Turkey & Spinach Stuffed Crepes.  It had the most shares and likes by our awesome followers and for that we Thank You!  Here's what was cooking in the kitchens of The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon this past week.

Featured on Monday:

Creamy Turkey & Spinach Stuffed Crepes

The ingredients for the stuffing, turkey, cream cheese greens, are fairly straightforward but when put together they create a creamy, luscious meal that your family will want often. The use of ground turkey really lightens up the crepes and keeps the meal feeling light. Pair it with a light salad, a glass of white wine and you have a well-rounded and satisfying meal.

Featured on Tuesday:

The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon's "Top 7 Most Viewed, Liked and Shared Recipes of 2013". Why seven? Simple it's my favorite number and let's face it everyone else will be doing top 10 or 13. Click to see which recipe got over 5,000 pageviews in one day!

Featured on Friday:

This classic Cuban recipe, Monteria, uses left over Cuban roast pork, and is cooked in onion, peppers, garlic, seasoned with oregano and cumin. It is then simmered with raisin, olives, capers and a tomato-y "vino seco" sauce. It's absolutely delicious and the aroma will having you wanting to dig in ASAP!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Monteria Cubana - Roast Pork in Cuban Criollo Sauce


Monteria ( pronounced "moan-teh-ree-ah") is a dish from the area of Cuba known as Camaguey.  It's east of the town my mom grew up in, Camajuani. Monteria is Cuban country food, farmer's food, peasant food, whatever you want to call it. Traditionally, this is made on December 25 and January 1st, the days after Christmas and New Year's Eve, when, again, traditionally a whole roast pig is made to celebrate. The day after the celebration all the remaining parts of the pig, (head, feet, visceral parts, skin etc) are used to make Monteria. Now, hold on, don't click off the page, we aren't using pig head or feet for this recipe, I am just sharing the origins.  What we are using is left over Cuban roast pork, that is cooked in onion, peppers, garlic, seasoned with oregano and cumin. It is then simmered with raisin, olives, capers and a tomato-y "vino seco" sauce.  The results are out of this world delicious. This is how my mom made it and one of the dishes The Hub always looked forward to after the holidays.  He would always ask my mom if she was going to make it, he could never remember the name but she knew exactly what dish he was describing. For many years after my mom passed away, I never made it, then one year after the holidays, I had a good amount of roast pork left over and I surprised The Hub by making it just for him.  He, of course, gobbled it down, and he loved it because it reminded him of all the times she would make it just for him. My mom spoiled my husband (a.k.a. The Hub) rotten... seriously she did! If he wanted a particular meal all he had to do was half mention it and the next day she was at the door, meal in hand. They had a great relationship, something I know is pretty rare, and I am always thankful for. And because of this, I am dedicating this recipe to my mom and the Hub.  Cheers!

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds of cooked Cuban roast pork, medium dice
1 tablespoon olive oil or pork lard
2 large onions, medium dice
2 bells peppers (any color) medium dice
1/4 cup minced garlic
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 to 1 cup juice from pork roast*
1 generous teaspoon cumin
1 generous teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 - 1/2 cup green olives, plus 2 tablespoons brine
1/4 cup non-perils capers
1 cup vino seco* (no salt added)
2 tablespoons sour orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1 generous palm full Italian parsley, chopped

Heat pan over medium heat, add oil or lard, onions, peppers and garlic. Saute, stirring often for 5 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Stir in tomato paste and once incorporated into vegetable mixture, gently stir in roast pork. Pour in pork juices, stir gently and then add remaining ingredients, except parsley. Allow to come to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Before serving stir in parsley.

Serve over white rice, along with sweet fried plantains. Enjoy!

*Recipe Notes:
If you don't have pork juices from the roast, you can use chicken stock or if you have it ... pork stock.
Vino Seco is a Cuban cooking wine.  Normally I never use cooking wine but there is something that Vino Seco adds to the flavor that just can't be duplicated by white wine.  I buy the Spanish brand Artañan because they make a "no salt" version  It's a bit pricey but I think worth it. However, if you can't find it at your local grocery store, then by all means use a dry white wine or sherry.