Coronation Chicken

Whoa, I haven’t been here in a while. It’s been busy and the month slipped away from me.

I don’t have a proper recipe to post, but I wanted to write this down before I forgot it, so I figured I’d share it with you. I really wanted to make Coronation Chicken, one version of which is basically curried chicken salad. I had about half of a leftover roast chicken to use up, so I read a bunch of recipes and then mashed them together as follows:

Cut up cooked chicken into small chunks. You can shred it too, but I like having the chunky bits of chicken. Some of the pieces wind up shredded anyway, depending on where they came off the chicken. As you can see, this is not an exact science. You can use rotisserie chicken if you have it on hand, or poached or baked chicken. I had about 2 cups total.

The key to the spice part is to cook the spices. Traditional Coronation Chicken calls for curry powder, because it’s a British dish, not an Indian one. If you have curry powder in your spice rack, this is the time to pull it out. I don’t, so I put together individual spices and garam masala.

Continue reading


Lemon chicken with orzo

This is an adaptation of a recipe by Regina Schrambling. I’ve made it different ways: exactly as written, with halibut instead of chicken, and now with different herbs, added capers, and no olives. It stands up well to tinkering, obviously! So feel free to change things around.


4 whole chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks) or 4-6 thighs
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole lemon cut into quarters
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence
1 Tbsp capers
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
3 cups chicken broth


Heat olive oil to almost smoking in a sauté pan or dutch oven. Lower heat to medium-high and brown chicken on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and deglaze pan with wine.

Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon, bay leaf, capers, and Herbs de Provence and stir to combine. Add the orzo and stir until the pasta is coated and has absorbed some of the liquid. Add the chicken broth and salt. Return the chicken to the pan, bring to a boil, and then turn heat down so that the liquid is simmering gently. Cover and cook for 30-35 minutes or until the orzo has absorbed most or all of the liquid.

Serve with a green salad or vegetable. Carrots, brussels sprouts, and broccoli all go well with this dish.


Yogurt rice with spices

I’m reposting recipes from my old blog so that I have them all in one place; this is one of them.

Indian restaurants rarely offer the kinds of dishes we cook at home, especially the vegetarian ones. This is a standard way of using up cooked rice. It is delicious served as a side dish with grilled meat, fish, or vegetables. Or just eat it on its own …

2 cups cooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt
1/2 tsp. black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. turmeric
pinch asafoetida
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 green serrano chile, seeded and minced
12 kari leaves
3 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp. canola oil

Heat oil in skillet, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, turn heat to low and add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Wait 30 seconds, then turn heat to medium-low and add onions and chile, sauté until onions are transparent and browned at the edges. Add turmeric, salt and kari leaves and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add rice and stir to incorporate all ingredients. Add yogurt, 2 Tbsp at a time, and mix thoroughly. Cover and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle cilantro over the rice and serve.

Curried Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s Pie is a staple around here in the colder months, when we eat a lot of one-dish meals. The other night we were feeling lazy and wanting comfort food, but we were low on fresh vegetables. There was a package of ground lamb in the freezer, along with a bag of mixed frozen vegetables, so I thought, why not make a slightly spicier version of the lamb mixture to offset the fact that frozen veg are usually blander and mushier? TheHusband agreed that it sounded like a worthwhile experiment, so we went to work. He made mashed potatoes while I put the curried lamb together.

For curried lamb:

1 lb. ground lamb
3 Tbsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped finely
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
5 whole cloves or 1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
2-3 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups chopped vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, sweet peppers, zucchini, etc.) or 1 bag frozen
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup grated cheese (cheddar, manchego, whatever)

Continue reading

Mendocino Fish Soup

Mendocino Fish Soup

This is based on a recipe which goes back decades in TheHusband’s family. Well, it’s based on two recipes. The family’s recipe was originally from the New York Times but the clipping was lost long ago. It’s a bit unusual in that it features green peppercorns, but we all like it a lot and it’s become a staple in the winter months.

With the advent of the NYT’s online archive, I decided to try and find the original recipe (I’d found my 1982 Stilton and Cheddar recipe, so why not?). I eventually found it but I couldn’t believe it was the right one, because it was so different. I could see the bones of the original recipe in my mother-in-law’s version, but there were more differences than similarities in the spicing. What follows is a hybrid of the two.

1 lb. cod or other white fish (haddock, tilapia, etc.)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and sliced into quarters lengthwise
1 medium or 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper or a mix of green, red, and/or yellow)
1 bay leaf
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or 16 oz. tinned tomatoes
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth + 1 cup water
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp green peppercorns (see note)
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 Tbsp capers, roughly chopped
2 tbsp butter
8-12 small potatoes, boiled and kept warm (optional)

Continue reading

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer


I’ve made this dish off and on over the years, with frozen and fresh spinach, and with uncooked and fried paneer. I like it best with fresh, relatively mature spinach and with fried paneer. I cheat and get the frozen fried paneer available in my international grocery store. You can also fry paneer yourself; for that matter, you can make paneer from scratch, but I’m happy with the store-bought stuff.

There are many ways to make palak paneer, including using a different type of greens, such as chard or mustard greens, in which case it is more properly called saag paneer. You can cook it quickly or for a long time, use fresh or tinned tomatoes (or no tomatoes at all), and of course you can vary the spices. This version tastes pretty close to the kind you get in north Indian restaurants, but it’s not as rich or greasy, and I don’t pulverize the spinach. I find that cooking it for a longer time gives me a similar consistency and flavor without having to drag out the food processor.

1 lb. fresh spinach (not baby spinach)
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp gresh ginger
1 hot green chile
1-2 plum or vine tomatoes, peeled
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
8 oz. fried paneer
3 Tbsp full fat yogurt or cream

Continue reading

RECIPE: Quadruple-C soup

It’s been seriously busy at Casa RWV the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t had time for much writing of any kind. But last night we made a spur of the moment soup that turned out really well. TheH insisted I write it down before I forgot it, so where better than here, where I said I would post recipes?

Both of us have had horrible head and chest colds so we’ve been craving soup. But the only things left in the fridge were a head of cabbage and some frozen chicken thighs. No carrots or celery to make chicken soup, but why not make a cabbage soup with chicken broth? We found a can of coconut milk in the pantry, and I always have garlic and ginger on hand.

You could probably substitute vegetable broth (or water) and tofu to make it vegetarian, and if you leave out the yogurt and add lemon juice you can make it vegan.


3-4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 small or 1/2 large head cabbage
4-6 scallions or 1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
3-4 slices and 2 Tbsp fresh ginger
1 serrano chile
1/4 cup cilantro or 12-18 curry leaves
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
3 Tbsp canola oil
6 peppercorns
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup yogurt
1 can coconut milk

Continue reading

RECIPE: Beef braised in wine

I love beef burgundy, but the original recipes take forever and have many steps. Luckily my favorite chef, Jacques Pépin, has a much simpler recipe which is delicious. I’ve tweaked a couple of things from his original directions, which you can find here. You do have to let the stew cook for a few hours, but it mostly just bubbles along by itself while you do other things. We made it many times this winter, and while we’ve mostly moved on to spring, this is perfect for those occasional cold and/or rainy days. [It’s raining as I write this, so that might be why it seemed like the perfect time to post the recipe.]


4 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs chuck roast or other inexpensive stew meat, cut into 2-inch chunks
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle red wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley (with stems)
2 slices bacon (or 1 slice thick-cut bacon)
12 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
12 cremini mushrooms, halved
3-4 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch rounds

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a dutch oven or other deep, ovenproof pan. Sear meat over medium-high heat in the olive oil. Do one layer of beef at a time, sprinkling the meat with salt and pepper as you sear the cubes. Remove each layer from pan and set aside. Add chopped garlic, onion, and bacon to pan and saute on medium-low heat. When onion is translucent, add bay leaves and thyme, stir and cook for 1-2 minutes.Return meat and its juices to pan and stir to combine. Sprinkle flour over meat and stir thoroughly until flour is fully integrated. Add wine gradually, stirring to mix with flour, then add broth, half the Italian parsley, and 1 tsp salt. The liquid should cover the meat. If it looks like too much, cut back the wine. If it’s too little, add water.

Continue reading