When you slice pork tenderloin into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and pound them flat, they cook in less than two minutes, so you can dinner on the table in a hurry. In this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, the pork is simmered in a sauce of fennel, garlic, orange juice, olives and parsley. Tasty!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Be sure to use fresh orange juice, a stock with no additives (I use Imagine Organic brand) and olives with no chemicals added (I use President’s Choice garlic-stuffed olives).

Cut tenderloin into slices and pound flat

Sear the pork about 80 seconds on each side

Saute the fennel

The sauce cooks quickly

Sauteed Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Fennel and Green Olives in Orange Pan Sauce

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon (5 ml) table salt

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground black pepper

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound/500 g), silver skin removed, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) slices, each pounded to ¾ inch (1.9 cm) with flat side of chef’s knife blade

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

½ medium bulb fennel, sliced thin (about 1 cup/250 ml)

2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon/15 ml))

1/3 cup (75 ml) orange juice

1 teaspoon (5 ml) orange zest from 1 large orange

2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock or low-salt canned broth

¼ cup (50 ml) pitted green olives, sliced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) chopped fresh parsley leaves

Salt and ground black pepper

Preparation:

Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of pork slices. Heat oil until shimmering in heavy-bottomed pan, at least 10 inches (25 cm) across bottom, over medium-high heat, swirling pan to distribute oil. Working in batches of no more than six slices to avoid overcrowding, sear medallions without moving them until brown on one side, about 80 seconds (oil should sizzle, but not smoke). Turn medallions with tongs to avoid scraping off the sear; sear until meat is mostly opaque at sides, firm to the touch, and well browned, about 80 seconds. Transfer pork to plate.

Heat oil in pan in which pork was cooked over medium heat, swirling to distribute. Add fennel; sauté until softened and starting to color, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute more. Add juice; boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spatula to loosen browned bits, until liquid reduces to a glaze, about 2 ½ minutes. Increase heat to high and add stock or broth and any accumulated pork juices; boil until liquid reaches consistency of maple syrup, about 3 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium; return pork to pan with zest, olives, and parsley, turning meat to coat. Simmer to heat pork thoroughly and blend flavors, about 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer pork to serving plate and spoon sauce over meat. Serve immediately. Serves 3-4.

From Cook’s Illustrated

This delicious fish dish from Canadian Living’s The International Collection is delicious and colourful, thanks to the turmeric in the marinade. Bursting with flavour, the fish is served over vermicelli noodles, with a tangy sauce and pickled shallots.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your fish sauce does not contain MSG; I use Cock brand. Use turmeric with no colour or anti-caking agents added and fresh lime juice.

Marinate the fish in the fridge for about an hour

The fish is served with a tangy sauce and pickled shallots

Hanoi-style vermicelli noodles with fish

Ingredients:

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh dill

1 tbsp (15 ml) fish sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar

1 tbsp (15 ml) water

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) minced gingerroot

3/4 tsp (4 ml) ground turmeric

1/2 tsp (2 ml) pepper

1 lb (454 g) tilapia fillets

8 oz (227 g) rice vermicelli

2 cups (500 ml) bean sprouts

1 cup (250 ml) packed fresh coriander leaves

1/2 cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped unsalted peanuts

Noodle Sauce

2 tbsp (30 ml) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (60 ml) finely shredded carrot

2 tbsp (30 ml) fish sauce

2 tbsp (30 ml) lime juice

2 tsp (10 ml) white vinegar

1 Thai (bird’s-eye) chili pepper, minced

Pickled Shallots

3 shallots, thinly sliced in rings

1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar

1/4 tsp (1 ml) granulated sugar

Preparation:

Using mortar and pestle, mash shallots with garlic to make paste. (Or very finely chop with knife.) Stir in dill, fish sauce, vinegar, water, oil, ginger, turmeric and pepper; spread all over fish. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Noodle Sauce: Meanwhile, whisk sugar with 2/3 cup (150 ml) hot water until dissolved; let cool. Stir in carrot, fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar and chili pepper; set aside.

Pickled shallots: Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine shallots, vinegar and sugar; set aside.

Broil fish on greased broiler pan until nicely charred and flakes easily when tested with fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Cut into 4 portions.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions, about 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Drain well; shake. Set aside to air-dry.

Divide noodles among 4 large bowls. Top with bean sprouts, coriander, fish and pickled shallots; sprinkle with peanuts. Serve with noodle sauce, adding as desired and tossing to coat. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living’s International Collection

I love ravioli, but it is very hard to find ravioli that is paper thin and tender, instead of thick and chewy. So I thought I’d try to make it myself, using this recipe from Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book. I made this recipe in three stages: First, I made the filling, at about 10 a.m., because it takes four hours for the ricotta to drain. I finished the filling about 2 p.m. and refrigerated it. Then I made the sauce about 4 p.m. and refrigerated it. I put the eggs out to warm to room temperature around the same time. Finally, at around 5:30 p.m., I started the dough, using a food processor and then pasta making attachment for my stand mixer. Dinner was ready about two hours later, but it was well worth the time and effort!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano do not contain colour or preservatives.

Drain the ricotta for four hours

Lightly smash the garlic and saute in oil

Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes

I made the dough in a food processor

Knead the dough for 10 minutes

With a pasta machine, roll out the dough into long, thin sheets

Place the filling at regular intervals on one side of each sheet

Brush around filling with water, fold over, push out any air and seal the ravioli, when cut into squares

Boil for 3-5 minutes, then remove to a warm serving dish

Top with tomato sauce and cheese

Filling

2 cups (500 g) ricotta cheese

¾ cup (90 g) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus extra for serving)

2 large egg yolks

¼ to ½ tsp (1 to 2.5 ml) freshly grated nutmeg

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

To make the filling, place the ricotta in a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours to drain off as much excess moisture as possible. Discard the liquid and transfer the ricotta to a bowl. Add the grated cheese, egg yolks, nutmeg to taste, ¼ tsp (1 ml) sea salt, and pinch of pepper and mix until well blended and smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Simple tomato sauce

2.5 lbs (1.25 kg) fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded, or 1 28 oz. (875 g) can plum tomatoes.

1/3 cup (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

Fine sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

Handful of fresh basil, chopped (chop just before using)

Coarsely chop the tomatoes, place in a colander in the sink and let drain for 5 minutes. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté, pressing wit the back of a wooden spoon to release its juices, until it takes on a rich golden colour but has not yet turned brown, 1-2 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic and immediately add the tomatoes, ½ tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt, and season to taste with pepper.

Using a fork or potato masher, press down on the tomatoes to break them up until they are in fairly small pieces. Raise the heat to high and bring to tomatoes to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes form a thick sauce, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and use right away, or let cool, cover and refrigerate for up to three days. Makes 4 cups.

Pasta dough

3 cups unbleached all-purpose four, plus more as needed

½ tsp. fine sea salt

5 eggs, at room temperature

1 tbsp. olive oil

To make the dough with a food processor, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add all but ½ cup of the flour and the salt to the work bowl and pulse to mix. You will use the reserved ½ cup flour later to adjust the consistency of the dough.

Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and remove any stray shells. Add the olive oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the work bowl. Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more flour, 1 Tbs. at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky.

Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk.

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest longer or it will be too dry. Makes 1.25 lb. dough.

Roll out the pasta with a machine, to the thinnest setting. Lay the sheets out flat on a floured surface

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold lengthwise to make the centre, then unfold so it is flat again. Beginning about 2 inches (5 cm) from one of the short ends, place small spoonfuls of the filling at 2-inch (5-cm) intervals down the centre of one side of the fold. Dip a pastry brush in cool water and lightly brush around the filling; this acts as a glue that keeps the filling tightly sealed inside the pasta. Fold the dough over the filling. Using your fingers, mold the dough around the filling to eliminate any air pockets. Press the edges of the dough firmly together to seal. Using a fluted or straight pasta cutter or a chef’s knife, trim off about 1/8 inch (3 mm) from all sides of the pasta strip. Cut evenly between the mounds to make 2 to 2.5-inch (5- to 6-cm) square ravioli. Place the ravioli in a single layer on a floured rimmed backing sheet. Turn every few minutes to prevent ravioli from sticking. Do not let them sit too long or the filling will seep through the dough.

In a large pot, bring 5 quarts (5 litres) of water to a rapid boil.

Rewarm the tomato sauce, stirring in the basil as the last ingredient.

Add salt to the boiling water and gently drop in half of the ravioli, then cover the pot. When the water returns to a boil, uncover and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing the heat as needed to prevent the ravioli from knocking against one another and breaking. The total cooking time should be 3-5 minutes. Test a ravioli for doneness, then lift our with a large slotted spoon, allowing a little water to cling to them so they remain moist, and transfer to a large, warmed, shallow serving bowl; cover the bowl with foil to keep ravioli warm. Repeat with remaining ravioli. Spoon the tomato sauce over the ravioli and sprinkle with a little cheese. Serve right away. Pass extra cheese at the table. Serves 4.

From Williams-Sonoma The Pasta Book, by Julia della Croce

Tagliatelle is a long, flat egg noodle that looks like fettucine. In this recipe from Lucy Waverman, it is paired with a delicious meat sauce. It’s a perfect supper for a stormy January evening.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Unico tomatoes and tomato paste and Imagine brand organic chicken stock instead of the beef stock. Check the label on the mushrooms and cheese to ensure they are additive-free and do not contain colour. I used a red wine with a sulfite level lower than 10 parts per million.

Tagliatelle is a long, flat egg noodle

Brown the meat until no pink remains

Simmer the sauce

Tagliatelle with bolognese sauce

Ingredients:

½ cup (125 ml) dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup (250 ml) boiling water

One 796 mL can tomatoes

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil

1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped onion

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped carrots

½ cup (125 ml) finely chopped celery

1 tsp (5 ml) chopped garlic

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped parsley

12 oz (375 g) ground beef

12 oz (375 g) ground pork

Salt and freshly ground pepper

½ cup (125 ml) red wine

1 cup (250 ml) beef stock

1 tbsp (15 ml) tomato paste

¼ cup (60 ml) whipping cream

Pinch nutmeg

1 lb (500 g) tagliatelle

½ cup (125 ml) grated parmigiano Reggiano

Preparation:

Soak mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve mushrooms and liquid separately. Finely chop porcini mushrooms and reserve. Strain tomatoes and reserve juice for another use. Chop tomatoes and reserve.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook gently for 10 minutes or until vegetables are very soft and beginning to brown. Stir in garlic and parsley and cook for 3 minutes more.

Add beef and pork and sauté until meat looses its pinkness, about 5 minutes. Add reserved mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Add wine and boil until wine is mostly evaporated and mixture is saucy. Stir in stock, mushroom soaking water, tomato paste and tomatoes.

Bring to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour. Re-season and add whipping cream and nutmeg. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes longer or until flavours are combined.

While sauce is cooking add tagliatelle to a large pot of boiling salted water and boil for 5 minutes or until tagliatelle is al dente. Drain well.

Toss tagliatelle with sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman

Our dear friend and neighbour Denyse sent me this recipe from the New York Times last summer, and we recently all sat down together to enjoy it. The ingredient list is long, but the results are worth it. The preparation is in two parts, as the chicken is marinated in spiced yogurt for several hours. I served the chicken with basmati rice and Indian-spiced vegetables.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for yogurt, butter, canola oil and tomato paste without additives and use fresh lemon juice. Check the spices to be sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I use Imagine brand chicken stock.

You can marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours

Simmer for 30 minutes

Butter Chicken with rice and Indian-spiced vegetables

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups (375 ml) full-fat Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons (25 ml) ground turmeric

2 tablespoons (30 ml) garam masala

2 tablespoons (30 ml) ground cumin

3 pounds (1.5 kg) chicken thighs, on the bone

¼ pound (125 g) unsalted butter

4 teaspoons (20 ml) neutral oil, like vegetable or canola oil

2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

3 tablespoons (45 ml) fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

2 medium-size tomatoes, diced

2 red chiles, like Anaheim, or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced

Kosher salt to taste

2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock, low-sodium or homemade

1 ½ cups (375 ml) cream

1 ½ teaspoons (7 ml) tomato paste

3 tablespoons (45 ml) ground almonds, or finely chopped almonds

½ bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed.

Preparation:

Whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Put the chicken in, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate (for up to a day).

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown.

Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 30 minutes.

Stir in the cream and tomato paste, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the almonds, cook for an additional 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serves 6.

From the New York Times

This quick stir-fry from the January 2015 issue of Canadian Living is a great supper during the busy holiday season. Stir-fry pork and vegetables, mix in a tangy sauce and serve in Boston lettuce leaves. You can also serve it over steamed rice.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I make hoisin sauce from scratch – the recipe is below. Check the sesame seeds and cashews to make sure they are additive-free. I used Eden Organic red white vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, Eden toasted sesame oil and Tabasco original hot sauce in place of the Asian chili sauce.

Saute pork strips

Saute garlic, ginger and peppers

Return pork to pan and add sauce

Pork and Pepper Lettuce Cups

Ingredients:

Hoisin Sauce

4 tbsp. (60 ml) soy sauce

2 tbsp. (30 ml) peanut butter

1 tbsp. (15 ml) honey or molasses

2 tsp. (10 ml) white vinegar

Pinch garlic powder

2 tsp. sesame seed oil

1 tsp. (5 ml) Chinese-style hot sauce

Pinch pepper

Mix ingredients together

Stir-fry

4 tsp. (20 ml) vegetable oil

1 lb. (450 g) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in ½ inch (1 cm) wide strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp. (15 ml) grated fresh ginger

1 each red pepper and yellow pepper, sliced

3 tbsp. (45 ml) hoisin sauce

2 green onions, sliced

1 tbsp. (15 ml) sesame seeds, toasted

Pinch each salt and pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped cashews, toasted

½ tsp. (2.5 ml) sesame oil

1 tsp. (5 ml) white wine vinegar

1 tsp. (5 ml) Asian sweet chili sauce

12 leaves Boston lettuce

Preparation:

In wok or nonstick skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat: sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add red and yellow peppers; sauté until tender-crisp, about 4 minutes. Return pork and any juices to wok. Stir in 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the hoisin sauce and 2 tbsp (30 ml) water; cook until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, about 1 minute. Add green onions, sesame seeds, salt and pepper; sauté for 30 seconds. Remove from heat; stir in cashews and sesame oil. Scrape into clean bowl.

In small bowl, whisk together remaining hoisin sauce, the vinegar, chili sauce and 4 tsp (20 ml) water. Spoon pork mixture into lettuce leaves; serve with hoisin dressing. Serves. 4.

From the January 2015 issue of Canadian Living

This one-dish meal from Real Simple couldn’t be easier to make. Toss quartered plum tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil and thyme in a roasting dish. Then add chicken legs and roast for about 40 minutes. The chicken is tender with crispy skin, and the tomatoes, olives and garlic are caramelized. I used thighs and drums instead of whole legs, and 1 tsp (5ml) dried thyme instead of fresh.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use the garlic-stuffed green olives from President’s Choice, which are free of additives and preservatives.

Nestle the chicken legs into the mixture of tomatoes and olives

Roast about 45 minutes

Saucy baked chicken legs with olives and tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 pound (500 g) plum or small tomatoes, halved if large

½ cup (125 g) pitted green olives

8 cloves garlic, quartered

2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken legs

Kosher salt and black pepper

Bread, for serving

Preparation:

Heat oven to 425° F (218° C) with a rack in the highest position.

Toss the tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil, and thyme in a 3-quart (3 L) baking dish.

Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) pepper. Nestle the chicken, skin-side up, in the vegetables.

Bake until the chicken is browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest leg (avoiding the bone) registers 165° F (74° C), 40 to 45 minutes. Serve with the bread. Serves 4.

From the October 2014 issue of Real Simple

This recipe from the 2015 Milk Calendar is easy, tasty and can be made in less than an hour, so it’s a perfect weeknight supper. It’s made with ground chicken and all your favourite taco ingredients.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your butter and cheese do not contain colour, and that your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking ingredients. I used PC Blue Menu black beans, Green Giant frozen corn, President’s Choice white corn tortilla chips and homemade salsa.

Saute ground chicken with vegetables and spices

Place mixture in oven-proof dish and top with chips and cheese

Taco supper bake

Ingredients:

1 tbsp (15) butter

1 lb (450 g) ground chicken

½ small onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) chili powder

2 tsp (10 ml) dried oregano

½  tsp (2 ml) salt

19 oz (540 ml) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup (250) frozen corn

½  cup (125 ml) salsa

1 cup (250 ml) milk

2 tbsp (30 ml) all-purpose flour

2 cups (500 ml) grated Canadian Cheddar, divided

1 cup (250 ml) tortilla chips, barely crushed

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat; cook chicken with onion, red pepper, chili powder to taste, oregano and salt, using a fork to break up meat, for about 5 min or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in beans, corn and salsa. Whisk milk with flour. Gradually stir milk mixture into chicken mixture. Bring to a boil, then stir frequently for 2 min.

Remove from heat; stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of the cheese. Transfer into an 8-inch (2 L) square dish.

Sprinkle chicken with tortilla chips then remaining cheese. Bake for 10 min or just until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 min before serving. Scoop out into bowls. Serve with additional salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Serves 4-6.

From the 2015 Milk Calendar

You wouldn’t think these pork chops would cook in the amount of time suggested in this recipe from Canadian Chef Michael Smith, but they do. While they rest, whip up a quick sauce of orange juice, marmalade, mustard, spices and Worcestershire sauce and dinner is on the table in a jiffy.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use butter without colour and pure orange juice. I used Wilkin & Sons marmalade, Vilux organic grainy mustard and Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce.

Season the chops well

Sear the chops until brown on one side

Assemble your ingredients for the sauce

Make the sauce while the chops rest

Pork chops with marmalade mustard pan sauce

Ingredients:

4 pork chops, thick cut, approx 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick

1 tsp (5 ml) salt

generous amount black pepper

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) butter

½ cup (125 ml) orange juice

¼ cup (60 ml) marmalade

2 tbsp (30 ml) grainy or dijon mustard

1 tsp (5 ml) dried tarragon or thyme

1 tsp ( 5ml) Worcestershire sauce

Preparation:

Heat a heavy large skillet to medium high. Pat chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan then butter to oil, cook until melted, and slightly browned.

Add chops and sear until meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Flip, cover tightly and reduce heat to low. Cook for 3-4 minutes more. Remove chops to plate and tent with foil.

In the pork chop pan, return heat to medium high, add orange juice, and stir in marmalade, mustard, tarragon and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Spoon sauce over pork chops and enjoy! Serves 4.

From Family Meals in Minutes, by Michael Smith

Lucy Waverman recently published this recipe from Estonia in the Globe and Mail. She described it as a “powerful, full-flavoured but not spicy dish with the taste of the sun that we sorely need at this time of the year.” Estonia is in the Baltic region of northern Europe and Tallinn is its capital city. You can make this dish ahead, and serve it with rice or egg noodles. However to be truly Estonian, Lucy says to serve it with black rye bread.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices do not contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used nitrite-free bacon instead of pancetta and a red wine with a sulfite count of less than 10 parts per million. Unico tomatoes and Pilaros olives are additive-free.

Season the chicken thighs

Use only the white and pale green part of the leeks

Brown the chicken well and set aside

Bacon and parboiled garlic add flavour

Saute the bacon and vegetables

Add spinach and chicken and then bake

Chicken from Tallinn

Ingredients:

1 head garlic, separated into cloves

1 ½  lb (750 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs

½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground fennel

½ tsp (2.5 ml) chili flakes

1 tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried

Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup (125 ml) coarsely chopped pancetta

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

4 leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed

½ cup (125 ml) red wine

1 ½ cups (375 ml) drained canned tomatoes, chopped

1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock

½ cup (125 ml) Kalamata olives, pitted, halved

1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon or 1 tsp grated lemon zest

4 cups (1 L) packed baby spinach

4 caper berries

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 F (205 C).

Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Remove root end from garlic cloves and add to water. Boil for 2 minutes. Drain and peel garlic cloves. Reserve.

Cut thighs in half. Sprinkle with fennel, chili flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper. Slice leeks on a diagonal into ½-inch (1.27 cm) pieces.

Heat oil in a large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Brown chicken in batches, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and reserve.

Add pancetta to pan and cook for 1 minute. Reduce skillet heat to medium-low. Add garlic cloves and leeks, and sauté 5 to 7 minutes or until soft. Add red wine and bring to boil, reduce by half. Add tomatoes and stock, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add olives and preserved lemon and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in spinach. Return chicken to skillet.

Transfer to oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in centre. Sprinkle with parsley. Top each portion with a caper berry. Serves 4.

From Lucy Waverman

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