Flavour boosting

Spaghetti and meatballs -
Spaghetti and meatballs -

Through teaching cooking classes I have learned that many of my students become bored with their daily offerings, simply because they are repetitive in what they cook. For example, they marinate meats with the same seasonings because when making their own "green seasoning" they use every herb available, and this is what is used for every type of meat they may cook. They attend my classes to give them fresh ideas on preparing their meals.

This is not a hard problem to solve. You just need to be more aware of the style of cooking for each meat, whether it’s chicken, lamb or beef. Then you build your flavours accordingly. Roasting a chicken for example, you would only need fresh French thyme, lots of minced garlic, smoked paprika would be a great addition together with salt, pepper and some butter to baste.

Lamb marries well with fresh rosemary, garlic, and tomatoes if you are braising. If roasting try olive oil, Dijon mustard, some red wine vinegar, rosemary or tarragon, salt and pepper.

If you are using pre-made bottled "green seasoning," try to make it yourself with only chive and garlic. This can be your base seasoning and you build your flavours by adding different herbs, in sync with your recipe. Use this with fish, chicken or beef if stewing or braising. The result will be deliciously different.

Zesty chicken meatballs

1 lb ground chicken

1 tbs fresh thyme

½ cup chopped parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

1 onion, minced

2 clove garlic, minced

2 tbs minced chives

½ cup soft breadcrumbs

¼ cup milk

1 egg

1 grated carrot

⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese

4 cups Italian tomato sauce

¼ cup vegetable oil

Soak the breadcrumbs in milk, add egg, combine with all other ingredients except sauce.

Form into balls and shallow fry until light golden.

Place in simmering sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Makes about 15 meat balls

Serve with tomato sauce and spaghetti.

Marinated grilled lamb in sesame, hoisin and garlic

Grilled lamb -

2 tbs hoisin sauce

1 tbs Chinese chili sauce

1 tsp rum

2 tbs ketchup

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbs soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs minced ginger

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 lbs lamb shoulder chops, loin chops or boneless lamb about 1 to 1½ inches thick

Combine all ingredients except lamb, in a mixing bowl.

Rub onto lamb pieces.

Cover and marinate for 4 hours.

Preheat grill or broiler, cook chops for about 6 minutes per side.

Baste with zesty barbecue sauce.

Serves 4 to 6

Zesty barbecue sauce

1 tbs vegetable oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, grated or minced

1 cup tomato ketchup

¼ cup brown sugar

2 tbs yellow mustard

2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp rum

1 tsp hot pepper sauce

Heat oil in a small saucepan, add onion and garlic and sauté until fragrant, add all other ingredients and cook until mixture begins to boil.

Remove and cool.

Makes about 1½ cups

West Indian curried chicken with ginger

1 3½ lb chicken cut into small pieces

2 tbs ground chives

1 tbs French thyme, ground

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbs wine vinegar or lime-juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tbs curry powder

1 small onion, sliced

2 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped

¼ cup water

2 tbs chopped chadon beni (optional)

Marinate chicken in herb paste, vinegar, salt and black pepper.

Heat oil in large sauté pan add ginger, garlic and onion.

Stir add hot pepper, sauté until fragrant and onion is tender.

Combine water with curry powder, stir.

Add curry paste to pot and let it cook, stirring well until most of the water has evaporated.

Now add the chicken pieces one at a time, making sure you stir well to cover the chicken with the curry.

Cover pot and let chicken release some water, stir if chicken appears to be sticking add only a small amount of water at a time to prevent sticking. Continue cooking in this manner for about 30 minutes. When your curry sauce in the pot seems to be slightly separating from the oil, your chicken is ready. this may not happen but after 30 minutes your chicken should be ready.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

Sprinkle with chadon beni, and serve.

Serves 4 to 6



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