Archive for December, 2023

This one-pot meal from NYT Cooking combines chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, carrots, leeks and dates with spices, lemon, ginger, orange juice and dill. Marinate the chicken briefly while you chop and combine the sweet potatoes, carrots, dates and spices. Brown the chicken and set aside. Cook the leeks, then layer the chicken and vegetable mixture in the pot. Add orange juice and cook for 55-70 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro or dill before serving.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check to spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Parnoosh dates are additive-free.

Braised chicken thighs with sweet potatoes and dates


2 ½ pounds (1.13 kg) boneless, skinless chicken thighs

2 teaspoons (10 ml) kosher salt, more as needed

1 ½ teaspoons (7.5 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cumin

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper

1 ¼ pounds (566 g) sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch (1.25-cm) chunks

1 pound (454 g) carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch (0.62-cm) thick coins

1 cup (250 ml) dates or prunes, diced (or substitute other dried fruit)

1 teaspoon (5 ml) finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon (5 ml) grated or minced fresh ginger (optional)

1 (2-inch-/5-cm-long) cinnamon stick

1 large pinch ground cayenne or red-pepper flakes

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed

1 large leek, trimmed, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons

½ cup (125 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

¾ cup (187.5 ml) chopped fresh cilantro or dill


Heat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). In a large bowl, combine chicken thighs, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt, coriander, cumin and pepper, tossing well. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.

In another large bowl, add the sweet potato, carrot, dates or prunes, lemon zest, grated ginger if you like, cinnamon stick, cayenne and remaining 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt. Stir to combine.

In a 5- to 7-quart (5-7 litre) Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Add as many pieces of chicken as comfortably fit in the bottom of the pan without crowding and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a plate as they brown. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding more oil as needed.

Add leeks, a pinch of salt and more olive oil to the pan if it looks dry. Sauté leeks until golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

Place half of the chicken in 1 layer on top of the leeks. Top with half of the sweet potato mixture, spreading it out evenly over the chicken. Repeat layering with the remaining chicken and sweet potato mixture. Pour orange juice into the pan.

Cover pot and transfer to the oven. Braise, covered, until the chicken and vegetables are tender, for about 55 to 70 minutes, stirring the mixture after 30 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and serve. Serves 6-8.

From NYT Cooking

This recipe from Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients Mediterranean stuffs roasted onions with a savoury mixture of sausage meat and feta. The stuffed onions cook with tomatoes and rice for a tasty one-pot meal.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used President’s Choice Free From hot Italian sausages, Krinos feta and Blue Menu tomatoes.

Stuffed onions


4 large onions, yellow, white or red

6 sausages (about 1 lb/454 g)

2 oz (57 g) feta cheese

1 14-oz (414 ml) can plum tomatoes

1 1/3 cups (333 ml) basmati rice


Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C). Peel the onions and halve widthways across the middle, then place in a large shallow casserole pan. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle over 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, then roast for 30 minutes. Remove the sausage casings and squeeze the sausage meat into a bowl. Mix in most of the feta and set aside.

Transfer the cooked onions to a board. Carefully remove and coarsely chop the cores, then add just the chopped onion to the pan and place over medium heat. Scrunch in the tomatoes through clean hands and more in 1 can of water. Bring to a simmer, then add the rice and mix together well.

Separate the onions into rings and divide the sausage mixture among the rings. Arrange on top of the rice, squashing them right in. Drizzle with 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, then roast for 20 minutes or until golden on top and the sausage and rice are cooked through. Crumble the remaining feta over and serve. Serves 4.

From 5 Ingredients Mediterranean

We enjoyed this Food and Drink recipe for turkey drumsticks so much at Thanksgiving we decided to reprise it for Christmas dinner. Brown the drumsticks and set aside in a roasting dish. Cook garlic for a few minutes and then add the wine and stock. Scatter herbs over the drumsticks, pour the stock overtop, cover the pan with foil and roast for two hours. Remove the foil and roast for another 45-55 minutes. Let the drumsticks rest on a platter while you strain the liquid. Melt butter in a saucepan and add flour. Whisk in 2 ½ cups (625 ml) of the liquid and cook for 5-7 minutes. Stir in honey and check seasoning. Pour half the sauce over the turkey and garnish with fresh herbs and figs. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used a wine from Frogpond Farm that has a sulphite level below 10 parts per million. I used Better than Bouillon chicken paste for the stock. Use butter that does not contain colour, unbleached flour and pure honey.

Sear the drumsticks

Add fresh herbs and stock and roast the drumsticks

Serve with sauce and garnish with fresh herbs and figs


6 turkey drumsticks, about 6 ½ lbs (2.94 kg) total

Salt to taste

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

1 head garlic, cloves peeled, crushed

1 ½ cups (375 ml) dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

3 cups (750 ml) no-salt-added turkey or chicken broth

3 large thyme sprigs, plus extra to garnish

2 large rosemary sprigs, plus extra to garnish

2 bay leaves

1 tsp (5 ml) black peppercorns

3 tbsp (45 ml) salted butter

2 tbsp (30 ml) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5 ml) honey

6 ripe black figs, stems trimmed, quartered


Position rack in centre of oven. Preheat to 325°F (163°C).

Pat turkey dry with paper towel. Season with salt. Heat oil a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add turkey, two drumsticks at a time. Cook, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a 12 x 16-inch (30 x 40-cm) roasting dish. Repeat with remaining turkey.

Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in wine. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in broth until warmed through, 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Scatter thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and peppercorns among turkey drumsticks in roasting pan. Pour broth mixture overtop, ensuring garlic is evenly distributed throughout. Cover tightly with foil, then transfer to centre of oven. Cook until turkey is just tender, about 2 hours. Carefully remove foil. Continue cooking until turkey is golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes.

Transfer drumsticks to a large platter. Cover loosely with foil. Carefully strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard solids. Transfer liquid to a large measuring pitcher. Skim and discard fat. Reserve 2 ½ cups (625 ml) liquid, saving rest for another use (like sauces, soups or even risotto).

To make sauce, melt butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Whisk in reserved liquid and continue cooking, until sauce is very lightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Whisk in honey. Adjust seasoning, if needed.

Pour half of sauce over turkey. Scatter with figs. Garnish with thyme and rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately with remaining sauce on side. Serves 6.

From Food and Drink

I’m not much of a baker, but when I saw this pie recipe from NYT Cooking I had to try it. Make an all-butter single pie crust (or use your favourite pie crust recipe), place it in a pie plate, poke holes in the bottom of the dough, fill with pie weights and bake the crust. Combine lemon, sugar and cranberries in pan and boil for about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture. Combine cornstarch, water and egg yolks in the pan and return the strained cranberry mixture. Boil for about 5 minutes and then add lemon juice and cold butter. Pour the mixture into the cooled pie shell. Before serving, make the meringue and pile on the centre of the pie filling. Use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue or bake for about 10 minutes. Cook’s note: I used an immersion blender on the cranberry mixture before putting put it through a sieve. I didn’t want to use raw egg whites, so I used ½ cup (125 ml) pasteurized egg whites and they whipped up beautifully.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use unbleached flour and make sure the butter does not contain colour.

Cranberry lemon meringue pie


For the pie crust

1/3 cup (85) grams ice-cold water

2 teaspoons (10 ml) distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons (10 ml) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon (5 ml) fine sea or table salt

1 cup (228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½ -inch (1.25-cm) cubes

2 ½ cups (330 grams) all-purpose flour

For the pie

1 disk all-butter pie crust

All-purpose flour, for rolling

1 cup (211 grams) granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) fine sea or table salt

2 medium lemons

3 cups (343 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch

4 large eggs, separated

3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) cream of tartar

½ cup (70 grams) confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)


For the pie crust

Stir together the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until the sugar and salt dissolve. Put in the freezer until ready to use.

To make the dough in a stand mixer, toss the butter with the flour in the mixer bowl until evenly coated. Beat with the paddle on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. It’s OK if there are a few pea-size clumps, but there shouldn’t be many. Add the water solution all at once and beat on low speed until the mixture forms large clumps and no floury bits remain.

To make the dough in a food processor, pulse the butter and flour until coarse crumbs form. Add the water solution all at once and pulse until the mixture forms large clumps.

To make the dough by hand, toss the butter with the flour in a large bowl until evenly coated. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut or smoosh the butter and rub it into the flour until coarse crumbs form. It’s OK if there are some almond-size pieces, but there shouldn’t be many. Add the water solution all at once and stir with a fork or your hand until the dough comes together.

Whichever method you used, gather the dough into a large mass (about 5 cups/660 grams total). If making single-crust or regular double-crust pies, divide the dough in half to form 2 disks (2.5 cups/330 grams each). For a lattice pie, form a little more than a third of the dough into a disk for the bottom, then split the remaining in half to form 2 disks for the top.

Wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and preferably 1 day. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

For the pie

If the dough has been refrigerated for more than an hour, let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a 12½-inch (31.75-cm) round. Roll the dough up onto the pin, then unroll it over a standard (not deep-dish) 9-inch (23-cm) pie plate, centring it. Gently tuck and press it into the bottom and sides of the plate without stretching the dough. Fold the overhang of the dough under itself along the rim so that the dough is flush with the edge of the plate. If you’d like, crimp the edges of the dough.

If the dough has softened, refrigerate or freeze it until firm, about 30 minutes in the refrigerator or 10 minutes in the freezer. While the dough chills, position a rack in the lowest position in the oven and heat to 375 degrees F (190 C).

Use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the dough without piercing all the way through, if possible. Line the dough with a sheet of crumpled parchment paper (crumpling helps it lie flat against the dough.) Fill the lined dough to the top with pie weights, such as dried beans.

Bake on the bottom rack until the edges are light golden brown, the sides look dry and the bottom looks almost dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights with the parchment and return the empty shell to the bottom rack. Bake until the bottom is golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Place the sugar and salt in a large saucepan and zest the lemons directly over it. Gently rub the zest into the sugar. Into a small bowl, squeeze a scant ½ cup (125 ml) juice from the lemons; set aside. Add the cranberries and 1¼ cups (312 ml) water to the saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil until all of the cranberries have popped and collapsed and the liquid is red, syrupy and filled with cranberry seeds, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour the cranberry mixture through a sieve, pressing on the berries to extract all their juice and scraping everything off the underside of the sieve. (You should have 2 cups (500 ml); discard the solids inside the sieve.) Add the cornstarch to the empty saucepan (no need to wash) and whisk in 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water until smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth, then use a spatula to stir in the strained cranberry mixture.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously, then continue to boil while stirring until very thick, 3 to 5 minutes. The mixture should be boiling hard with big bubbles. Turn off the heat and stir in the cold butter and reserved lemon juice until the butter melts. Pour into the cooled pie shell and spread evenly. (At this point, the pie can be cooled completely, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring back to room temperature before topping with the meringue.)

Whisk the egg whites with an electric hand or stand mixer on medium-high speed until foamy on top. Add the cream of tartar and continue whisking until soft peaks form. When you lift the whisk from the mixture, the top will droop back down. Add the confectioners’ sugar, sifting it if it’s at all lumpy. Whisk on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. When you lift the whisk from the mixture, the top should stand up and just the tip will have a curlicue.

Pile the meringue in the centre of the warm pie filling, leaving a 1- to 2-inch (2.54- 5-cm) rim of filling if you’d like. (If covering the filling, spread the meringue over the crust.) Use a kitchen blowtorch to brown the meringue all over or, bake at 375 degrees F (190 C) until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool the pie at room temperature until the filling is set very firm. If the meringue weeps moisture onto the filling, dab it away with a paper towel. Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) pie.

From NYT Cooking

I usually shy away from “5-ingredient” recipes, but after reading a review of Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients Mediterranean I decided to give it a try. This recipe for simple steamed fish was quick, easy, colourful and tasty. While cooking the peppers and leek, make a quick dressing of oregano, orange juice, red wine vinegar and oil (olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar are considered pantry staples and are not counted toward the five ingredients). Nestle the fish into the cooked vegetables and steam until cooked through. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Eden Organic red wine vinegar.

Put peppers and leek in shallow pan

Cook for about 15 minutes

Make dressing while vegetables cook

Nestle fish on top and steam until cooked through

Simple steamed fish


4 x 5 oz (150 g) white fish fillets (I used branzino fillets)

3 mixed-colour peppers

1 large leek

½ a bunch of oregano (0.5 oz/10 g)

1 large juicy orange


Put a large shallow casserole pan on a medium heat. Chop the peppers into 0.8-inch (2-cm) chunks, discarding the seeds and stalks, adding them to the pan as you go with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil.

Quarter the leek lengthways and wash, then slice 0.8-inch (2-cm) thick. Add to the pan, season with salt and black pepper, and cook for 15 minutes, or until sweet and lightly golden, stirring regularly and adding splashes of water, if needed.

Strip the oregano leaves into a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and pound into a paste. Squeeze in half the orange juice, then add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of red wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of extra virgin olive oil and muddle together.

Rinse the fish and pat dry with kitchen paper. Nestle the fish into the veg, squeeze in the remaining orange juice and add ½ cup (125 ml) of water, then cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for 7 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked. drizzle the orange dressing over the fish and veg and serve. Serves 4.

From 5 Ingredients Mediterranean