Entree dishes are sometimes the most challenging in the kitchen. Because most cooks tend to go with the familiar instead of stepping out of their boundaries. It’s understandable because the whole meal is built around the entrée. Most Trinis will tend to stew or curry their meat, and occasionally grill or barbecue. Ground beef is used with spaghetti or in a Shepherd’s pie. Ground lamb and goat are also available for you to try, they both make splendid meatballs when spiced up the Middle Eastern way. Chicken can change its skin when livened up with a puckering Cuban mojo marinade. Shrimp becomes an auxiliary ingredient when it rubs shoulders with curry-flavoured rice noodles, vegetables, egg, peppers and cilantro. Try something new this weekend, step outside of your boundary in the kitchen, you will be surprised at what awaits you on the other side!
Oven-roasted chicken in Cuban mojo
2 lbs chicken thighs or leg and thighs, separated, washed
1 orange cut into 8 wedges
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch chadon beni
1/3 cup fresh orange juice, preferably sour
1 tbs orange zest
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbs minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp salt
Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels.
Place all the ingredients for the marinade into a blender or food processor and process.
Pour marinade over chicken and cover well. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400F
Place chicken skin side down in shallow baking dish, add remaining marinade and orange wedges.
Roast for 30 minutes. Turn chicken, spoon drippings over, continue roasting for another 20 minutes. Chicken should be dark golden in colour.
Serves 4 to 5
Lamb meatballs in yogurt sauce with fresh herbs
1 lb ground lamb
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped parsley
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 tbs full cream plain yogurt
1 medium onion, chopped
4 sprigs fresh French thyme
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbs olive oil
1 cup Guiltless Full Cream plain yogurt
¼ cup chopped mint, dill and tarragon
½ tsp salt
Place lamb, 2 chopped onions, parsley, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, one tbs yogurt ,salt and pepper.
Process until mixture comes together.
Form the lamb into about 12 to 15 1-½ inch meatballs.
Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan, pan fry meatballs until brown and cooked, drain on paper towels.
If there is an excess of oil in the pot, pour off most of it.
Place pan on heat, add the chopped onion, and thyme, cook for a few minutes stirring well until onion is lightly browned and translucent, add stock, bring to a boil, cook for a few minutes.
Add the meat balls back to the pot, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Combine yogurt with fresh herbs and salt.
Spoon yogurt onto meatballs when serving.
Hot and spicy Singapore noodles
1 lb small shrimp, cleaned
3/4 lb rice noodles, soaked in hot water for 20 mins.
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 cl garlic, chopped
½ hot pepper seeded and chopped
3/4 cup chopped chives
½ cup chopped onion
1 cup bean sprouts, or shredded cabbage
1/4 cup chopped chadon beni
1 tsp salt
2 tbs curry powder
½ cup water
4 tbs Chinese oyster sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients and set aside
Drain noodles and set aside
Season shrimp with salt and 2 cloves chopped garlic.
Heat 1 tbs oil in wok, stir fry shrimp until curled and pink, remove, clean wok.
Dry wok and heat 1 tbs oil, add egg, cook until golden, flip, remove and slice egg.
Add the rest of the oil, add garlic, onion, and fry for a few seconds, add pepper, and bean sprouts, stir-fry for a few more seconds, add egg to pot and shrimp,
Now add the sauce, stir-fry for a few more seconds.
Add the noodles and toss with sauce, cook until thick.
Add fresh herbs, toss and remove.
Serves 4 to 6