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Chicken goulash with biscuit dumplings

Chicken goulash with biscuit topping in a white bowl.

If you want to make something so fulfilling, creamy, and dreamy, make this dish. The flour coating of the chicken, which I normally don’t do (too fattening) and the sour cream in the dough and the sauce (also fattening) makes this so rich and satisfying. Combine all that softness with the crispness of the biscuits and the spiciness of the sauce — so so good.

This is more of a weekend dinner as it’s a bit more time consuming. And with another possible snow storm on the way, this is perfect cold weather food. You know you made a good dinner when your husband rolls over in bed the next morning and the first thing he says is, “That was a damn good dinner last night!”

Alright!

So here you go – this recipe is based on a recipe from Food and Wine magazine, but I have altered it. Their recipe calls for 2 tbs. of hot paprika. Well I made it like that the first time and we were all oozing sweat from the top of our heads!! I thought for sure it must be a typo but apparently not, as they just reprinted it as a favorite recipe in the recent March issue. Along with that, I have made other changes as well. Don’t be frightened by the dough – it’s really easy. Enjoy!

CHICKEN GOULASH WITH BISCUIT DUMPLINGS
- serves 4

2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, (about 4 or 5) trimmed of all fat
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
5 tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup sour cream, divided
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs. hot Hungarian paprika
1 tbs. sweet paprika
3/4 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 425°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. In a deep skillet, melt 1 tbs. of the butter in the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Pulse in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle the 1/2 cup of the stock and the 1/2 cup of the sour cream over the dry ingredients; pulse until a dough forms.

Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the paprika and caraway seeds and cook for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of sour cream and stir until smooth. Sprinkle the thyme over everything and bring to a boil.

Scoop twelve 3-tablespoon-size mounds of biscuit dough over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the biscuits are cooked. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. Serve the goulash in bowls, spooning the biscuits on top.

Lunch with Nora

I was having lunch at the office today, by myself, in the conference room, reading this article by Nora Ephron that my friend Marie sent to me. Well, I was literally laughing so hard I was crying and not a sound was coming out!

Do you know that kind of hard, teary, unstoppable laugh? You can read the article here and you too can laugh your socks off. http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Nora-Ephron-on-Maintenance-Remembering-Nora-Ephron

I never met her … but I miss her. She was one great lady!

Ever since her book came out on I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, I have been obsessed about my neck. I remember first hearing about this book on the radio, while I was in the shower, shaving my legs. They said she talks about you having to shave less as you get older and I thought, great! But then, I have to thank Nora for spending hundreds of dollars on special neck creams and doing awful looking neck exercises in front of the mirror at night before going to bed. I’m not sure if they’re doing anything, but I’m sure as hell putting in the effort.

Now on to my lunch. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about lunch. I actually like to and do bring my lunch to work everyday, including my husband’s, unless I have a lunch date set up with a client or a friend. Of course, many of our clients are friends, so that does double duty.

This all started with the great recession/ depression descending upon us several years ago now. I figured we could save at least 20 bucks a day for the two of us – that’s one hundred a week, four hundred a month! (I can do the math!) But now, I also love to intimately know what I’m putting in to my body. I care about that – and you should too. I love my lunches. They’re clean, healthy and delicious and I know everything about them because I made them. My husband usually has dinner leftovers – he calls it “gourmet fast food” and I love my salads. I think it’s very important to eat some raw food everyday. One probably gets more vitamins and minerals out of them that way, and seeds are good too – sunflower or pepita (remember Euell Gibbons?) are great as garnishes. I’ll tell you what – I feel great every day and have a tremendous amount of energy. And now here’s a funny thing. When my extended family is all together at my one brother’s house in Vermont and they’re all eating sandwiches, hot dogs, chips and dips, on the side, I make my own salad and you know what? They all drool over it, because it looks so delicious, and they’re eating crap. You choose!Red leaf lettuce salad with tomatoes, red peppers, tomatias, cucumber and roasted pork tenderloin.

I love warm meat on a salad – great protein and staying power to take you through the day. And when the warm meat juices mix with the cool lettuce and dressing, it’s nice. Here is red leaf lettuce, radishes, cucumber, red peppers, grape tomatoes, tomatillo wedges and warmed leftover rosemary roasted pork tenderloin with sauteed onions and apples.

Friday night super food!

Sauteed shrimp on a white plate.

Sauteed shrimp on top of kale, turnips and red pepper

I put together this dish last night. I needed to use up an unusual combination of vegetables – turnips and kale, and I had a red pepper and one plum tomato begging to be used as it’s the end of the week. (You’re probably saying, “Yuck!”) I shop once a week for all fruits and vegetables and fill in on fish and meat from my specialty shops – Esposito’s Pork Shop and Sea Breeze Fish Market near my office. I had bought some beautiful, large, fresh Florida shrimp.

So what to do? I just thought about what would taste good for each and cooked accordingly, and hoped for the best. I always warn my husband when I’m starting to do this sort of thing, winging it, to hopefully lower expectations.

I roasted the turnips together with the red pepper tossed with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. This roasting made the turnips sweet little chunks. While that was roasting, I slowly sautéed the garlic first, then added the kale and chicken stock and cooked them until they were very tender. At the end, I sautéed the shrimp in softened shallots and dry vermouth. Dry vermouth to me, is wonderous. Unlike just a plain dry white wine, it makes anything taste like fine French food. Really. Off heat to finish, I swirled in a bit of butter, to keep the French thing going. You can do this sort of thing with chicken too and it will taste amazing. Notice, no carbs, (I could do that because Zach was not eating with us), and we didn’t miss that starch. This turned out awesome!! My husband had 4 helpings of the kale and usually he is not a big kale fan. I think he doesn’t like it when it’s not cooked tender enough.

This makes enough to serve 4, although it was just the two of us last night. But then Zach and his girlfriend finished up everything when they came home at 3:30 am. The dirty dishes were in the sink this morning. (At least they make it to the sink!)

SAUTEED SHRIMP WITH KALE, TURNIPS AND RED PEPPERS
- serves 4

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

2 good-sized turnips, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 red pepper, stem and seeds removed, cut into ½” strips and then each strip cut into half lengthwise.
2 tbs. olive oil
salt & pepper

Toss all together and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until turnips are fork tender and a little browned. Keep warm in a microwave (not turned on) or a warming drawer

1.5 tbs. olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 large bunch of kale, washed thoroughly, stems removed and chopped into 1” strips
1/3 cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper
Some extra water or broth if you need it

Warm the olive oil and sauté the garlic for 10 – 15 minutes to soften. Do not let it brown. Add your kale and chicken broth, toss to combine and cover. Watch and toss often. Add more water or broth if you need to. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until kale is very tender. It will turn dark.

1.5 tbs. olive oil
2 shallots thinly sliced
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1.5 lbs. shrimp, shells removed, tails left on. Wash 3 times, dry, and salt and pepper one side of the shrimp
1 plum tomato, cut into ½” pieces
1 scant tbs. unsalted butter

Warm the olive oil and sauté the shallots on low heat for 10 minutes or longer. Do not let them brown. Turn heat up, add vermouth and let it bubble for a minute. Add the shrimp and tomato and toss and stir until the shrimp turn pink. This will take about 3 minutes. When shrimp are done, remove pan from the heat and swirl in the butter until melted.

Add the roasted turnips and red peppers with all their sauce to the kale mixture and combine. Place a mound of the kale and turnip mixture in the middle of the plate and mound a serving of shrimp in the center of the kale. Drizzle some shrimp juices on the shrimp and kale.

Enjoy!!

Football snacks

This past week, we had some dear friends over for cocktails and appetizers and then had dinner together at the Red Rooster restaurant, just open a year now, but famed and always crowded. It’s nice!

Charlie Rose was at the table next to ours, (poor guy, he spilled wine all over himself) and the star chef/owner Marcus Samuelsson stopped by and chatted with us. As usual, the Swedish meatballs and fried chicken (yardbird) were great!

I’ve mentioned before, I don’t think I do appetizers well and this opportunity of only having to serve just that and not a whole dinner, was unusual for me. So I wanted to make them different, not too filling, (because I knew dinner would be), and fresh. I think I achieved that.

Crackers, nuts, vegetables, and creamy dip.

I relied on my friend Margaret’s recipe for tonnato, a really creamy, bursting with flavor dip. Combining tuna, anchovies, capers and mayo and you can’t go wrong. Throw in parboiled green beans, fresh fennel and red pepper sticks and you’ve got a delicious combo. I also included a marvelous true English cheddar from Todd English’s Food Court at the Plaza Hotel, some crackers, pistachios (Susan loves) and corn nuts.

It worked out great and I think this would also be great for game watching today. Let me know what you think!

TONNATO
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 olive oil
8 oz Italian tuna in oil, drained (or use 1 ½ cans of water packed white albacore tuna, drained – I actually think this is better!)
5 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, at room temperature, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
3 tbs. lemon juice or a bit more to taste
2 tbs. capers, drained
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth and voila, you’ve got one tasty dip! Do taste before you add any salt and pepper as you may not need any salt at all.

For the green beans, trim the one end, drop in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately put in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Pat dry and let air dry. When dry, wrap in a paper towel and place in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator to chill.

Fennel and red pepper strips should just be raw. You could also use carrot, celery or cucumber strips too.