Tuna and Sweet Corn Blender Pie

Any of you who follow my blog will know that I love simple recipes. Not because I don’t like the challenge of a complex recipe, but because I do a lot of my cooking and baking during the week and I don’t often have a lot of time to labor over complex recipes. When I cook or bake, I like to make something that I can easily repeat during the week. Most complicated and laborious recipes I will leave for the weekend and even if they are exquisite I will usually make them once and then forget to make them again.

One of my go-to recipes during the week is a blender pie that is really quick and easy to put together and uses any kind of filling you have available in the house. The batter takes about 5 minutes to make and the filling often doesn’t take longer than 10 to 15 minutes.

Brazilians love blender pies and they come with all different fillings from chicken to tuna to vegetable medleys. Whatever can make for a tasty pie is bound to, one day, end up in a blender pie.

Usually I make an escarole and sausage blender pie (find the recipe HERE). But, we have stopped growing escarole on the farm, so I needed to find a new filling. I came across this recipe for a tuna and sweet corn pie sometime ago and absolutely loved it. I prefer this batter to my previous blender pie recipe and the filling is so tasty that this pie is a meal on its own!

TUNA AND SWEETCORN BLENDER PIE

For the Filling:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped into small pieces or grated
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1 can of sweet corn
1-2 cans of tunafish

For the batter:
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of white flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp of baking powder

The Filling: In a large frying pan add a little bit of olive oil and heat. Add the onion and sautee for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and continue sauteeing until just tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato, sweet corn and tuna fish. Leave on the heat, stirring regularly, for another 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

The Batter: Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 355F/180C. In a rectangular glass dish add a thin layer of the batter. Add the filling. Cover the filling with the remaining batter. Bake in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked through and lightly brown on top.

Serve with rice, beans and collards.

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Brazilian Style Grits (Quirera)

Quirera com costelinhaI have never been much of a grits fan. I always found them weird and tasteless. So, when I lived in the USA I never ate them. But, about two weeks ago I was introduced to the Brazilian style grits and I absolutely fell in love with them. So much so, that two days after first trying them I made a HUGE pot at home!!!!!

In Brazil, grits are called quirera and are commonly made into a dish with pork ribs or chicken. It is only lightly seasoned with onions, garlic, pepper and parsley, and for the rest all of the flavor comes from the meat.

This is a perfect recipe for a colder day. But, can just as easily be eaten during the summer.

Enjoy!

Brazilian Style Grits (Quirera)

Quirera com costelinha1kg/2.2lbs of pork ribs or chicken drumsticks
500g/1.1lbs of grits (quirera de milho)
1 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
Parsley
Salt
Pepper

Boil the ribs or chicken in a pressure cooker until well cooked.

In a large pan sautee the onions for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ribs or chicken and fry until just beginning to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. Add  5 cups of the broth from the ribs or chicken. Add the grits and, stirring constantly, bring to a simmer. If needed add more water, making sure to maintain a soup-like consistency. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the grits are cooked through. Season with salt, pepper and parsley.

Serve hot.

Pumpkin and chicken stew (Frango na Moranga)

The last few weeks on the farm have been extremely busy and I have barely had any time to write-up some of the wonderful things I have surprisingly found the time to make. Although I have been busy with farm work, I have managed to squeeze in some time in the kitchen to try out some new recipes. Hopefully I will manage to get those recipes written and posted within the next few weeks.

But, today I want to share a recipe that I made a couple of weeks ago and just haven’t gotten around to posting. This is a recipe that I have been wanting to do for a long time, but traditionally it is made with shrimp, and I rarely buy shrimp, so, I never really had the possibility of making this. But, to my surprise and great joy a little while ago I came across a youtube video (if you speak portuguese you can WATCH IT HERE) of this dish being made with chicken. After watching the video I ran to my freezer to see whether I had chicken and to my delight I DID! All the other ingredients I had, so I went ahead and made it.

Frango na morangaThis is a beautifully simple recipe and has such amazing taste. What I love about this dish is that if you are careful when scooping out the pumpkin, you can use the shell of the pumpkin as a serving dish for the stew. This makes for a beautiful center piece and definitely a great way to impress your family and friends!

If you do not have chicken or would prefer to make this dish with shrimp, you can simply go ahead and substitute the chicken for shrimp!

PUMPKIN AND CHICKEN STEW

600g chicken, cubed
1 small onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsps of parsley finely chopped
1 pumpkin, approximately 3kg or 6-7lbs
1 cup of cream cheese (optional)
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
Salt to taste

STEP 1: Wash the pumpkin well and cook in the microwave for 15 minutes on high or in the oven at 200C/390F for approximately 1 hour, until soft, but not mushy.

STEP 2: When the pumpkin is cooked, cut out the top in a circle and put aside. Remove the seeds from inside the pumpkin and remove the pulp from the sides. If you plan to use the pumpkin as a serving dish do not remove the pulp from the bottom. Cut the pumpkin into cubes and set aside.

STEP 3: Lightly stir fry the cubed chicken in a wok or deep pan together with some oil, onions, garlic and parsley. Add the pumpkin, the cream cheese and coconut milk. Bring to a light boil and leave for approximately 6-7 minutes until the mixture becomes creamy. Season with the chilli flakes, nutmeg and salt.

STEP 4: Spoon the stew into the pumpkin, place the top on and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes at 200C/390F. Serve hot with rice!

Chicken Stew With Peas

Chicken stew with peasIt has been a month since my last post and definitely time for a new recipe. This past month has been busy with lots of farm work and a wonderful visit from my parents. We are coming to the end of our summer here and slowly our work is beginning to decrease just a little bit. Unfortunately though, a lot of our work is being disrupted because of relentless rains. Everyday for the past months we have been getting torrential rain storms that release tons of water on top of us and have turned everything into a mud bath. To top things off these storms are usually accompanied by thunder and lightning which tend to cause power outages….so, no peace for us!

But, rain and work aside, let me share with you this delicious recipe I stumbled across last week.

So, last week, amid lots of farm work and delays in all of our transplanting because of rain, I needed to find something to cook one evening. I had taken a kilo of chicken already out of the freezer and at 5pm wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to make with it. I pulled out one of my favorite recipe books (O Brasil À Mesa by Heloisa Bacellar) and began leafing through it. There were several chicken recipes, but this one caught my eye, frango ensopado com ervilha or in english, chicken stew with peas. I quickly read through the recipe and was hooked. Chicken, bacon, onions, garlic, tomato and peas, what could be better? Plus, this was a recipe where you throw everything into a pot and just let it boil. Quick and simple, not much to go wrong!

I whipped everything together, making some adjustments to the recipe because I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and then I let everything boil on the stove for almost 2 hours. The recipe called for approximately 45 minutes of boiling, but I decided to stretch it to increase the flavours and tenderness of the chicken.

The result? Perfection! The chicken was super tender and rich with flavour. This was by far one of the best chicken dishes I had made.

Without further distraction here is the recipe. This is a MUST TRY and a recipe that nothing can go wrong with. You can easily substitute ingredients and if you don’t want to boil this for very long you could easily throw everything into a pressure cook and boil for approximately 30 minutes!

ENJOY!

CHICKEN STEW WITH PEAS
serves 4

Chicken stew with peas1kg of chicken thighs, with or without skin
100g of bacon, cubed
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp of sugar
1 cup of dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup of green peas
1/4 cup of parsley, finely chopped
Oil
Salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of your pot with oil, heat, and quickly brown the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan and reserve on a plate. Sautee the bacon in the same pot, add the onion and, mixing continuously, cook until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and sautee for one more minute. Add the sugar and leave to caramelize. Add the wine and mix well, making sure to loosen everything from the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken to the pot, add the bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the tomato sauce and cook on a low heat, with the lid half-on for approximately 40 – 60 minutes (you can boil for up to 2 hours if you wish). Boil until the meat becomes very soft and the sauce has thickened. Add the peas and leave to cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper, add the parsley and serve with white rice!

Changes that I made:
1. Instead of using bacon I used smoked sausage chopped very finely.
2. I did not have white wine for cooking, so instead just used water.
3. I also didn’t have bay leaves, so instead seasoned with a little bit of thyme.
4. I did not add the sugar as I do not like to put sugar in a lot of my dishes.
5. The parsley I was fully prepared to add in at the last-minute, but ended up forgetting it completely. The dish was still wonderful without it:)!
6. I did not measure the peas, instead I just threw in a whole can.

English-Style Pork Pie

English-Style Pork PieI absolutely love pies. I have always liked making them, but I especially like eating them. Pies have never really been a cooking strong point for me, but they are one thing in the kitchen that I have never given-up on making. For me, the biggest challenge has always been the crust, either the crust is too flakey or is too tough, or it doesn’t roll out properly! Whatever the problem, pie crust has always been something that I have struggled with, until I learnt about hot water pastry. This was a pie crust life-saver for me. Firstly, it is easy to make and a beautiful pastry to work with (while still warm). Secondly, it is perfect for meat pies or any pie that is chocked full of delicious ingredients. It is a recipe that every pie lover should have in their recipe arsenal!

A little while ago I wanted to make an english style pork pie. I had been watching some english cooking show and they mentioned some deep dish meat pies, immediately I was taken by this idea and began researching different english style pork pies. Along with the deep dish meat pies I learnt about hot water pastry. I knew that I needed to try both of these and as soon as I came across some good recipes I tried it out.

The pie was really easy to make and turned out beautiful. I loved the idea of cooking the meat in the pie (not pre-cooking) and using boiled eggs in the center of the pie! The hot water pastry was a success. The pie crust turned out perfect, the pastry was easy to use, it did not break from the weight of the meat and held the deep pie shape perfectly once removed from the tin!

For the pie I used my own pork and made a gelatin broth by boiling one pigs foot for approximately 60 – 90 minutes with onion, garlic and carrots. I did not use any sausage (as indicated in the recipe) instead I just used pernil or pork leg, keeping any fat on the meat!

Today I am sharing the original recipe that I used, but I for the pie that I made I did not use the same meats as indicated in the recipe. I think you can use any kind of pork meat for this pie, just make sure to include a little bit of fat as this will give extra flavor to the pie.

This recipe is for one large pork pie, but you can also use this same recipe to make small individual pies. I haven’t yet made the individual pies, but plan to make some in the near future so that I can freeze them and just pull them out of the freezer when I want a quick meal! If making small pies, use quail eggs instead of chicken eggs:)!

English-Style Pork PieENGLISH-STYLE PORK PIE

For the filling

300g/10½oz good-quality sausages, such as Lincolnshire, skins removed
300g/10½oz pork mince
150g/5½oz cooked ham hock, cut into roughly 1.5cm/½in pieces
2 banana shallots, finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
salt and white pepper
1 chicken stock cube (optional)
150ml/5fl oz boiling water (optional)
2 leaves gelatine (optional)

For the hot water crust pastry

450g/1lb plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g/3½oz strong white flour
75g/2½oz unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1cm/½in cubes
½ tsp salt
100g/3½oz lard, plus extra for greasing
1 free-range egg yolk, beaten

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Grease a 1kg/2lb 4oz loaf tin (measuring about 10x20cm/4x8in across the base) with lard, then cut one long strip of baking parchment, the width of the tin, and place it in the tin so that there’s an overhang of parchment at each end, which will help you remove the pie later.

  2. First make the filling. Put all the ingredients, except the hard-boiled eggs, into a large bowl and season lightly with salt and white pepper. Mix together thoroughly using your hands. Cook a little nugget of the mixture in a frying pan and taste it to check the seasoning. Add more seasoning, as necessary, to the remaining filling. Put the mixture in the fridge while you make the pastry.

  3. To make the pastry, combine the flours in a bowl, add the butter and rub in lightly with your fingertips. Heat 200ml/7fl oz water, the salt and lard in a saucepan until just boiling. Pour the mixture onto the flour and mix together with a spoon. Once cool enough to handle, tip onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth dough.

  4. Working as quickly as you can (the pastry will become more crumbly as it cools), roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use it to line the prepared tin, leaving any excess hanging over the edges.

  5. Press half of the meat filling into the pastry-lined tin. Take a thin slice off the top and bottom of each boiled egg (this helps them sit next to each other and makes slicing the pie easier), then place the eggs lengthways down the middle of the pie. Add the remaining meat filling and pat it down.

  6. Brush the overhanging pastry edge with egg yolk. Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid and place over the pie. Pinch the pastry edges together to seal and trim the edges neatly. Make three steam holes in the top of the pie and brush with more egg yolk.

  7. Bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and bake for a further hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

  8. When the pie is cooked, set aside to cool for 10 minutes. If making the jelly, dissolve the stock cube in the boiling water. Soak the gelatine in a little cold water until soft then squeeze out excess water and whisk into the warm chicken stock.

  9. Pour the gelatine mixture into the hole in the top of the pie until the hollow cavity within the pie is filled. Allow the pies to set in the fridge overnight.

 

Recipe taken from:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/raised_pork_and_egg_pie_32033
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/small_pork_pies_with_11074