Asian lemongrass coq au vin

Fresh, sliced lemongrass, shiitake mushrooms and a whole tablespoon of chopped garlic make this dish lighter and brighter-tasting than the traditional coq au vin. It’s Cat Cora’s sublime makeover and you will adore it

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Serves 4-6

1 Organic Free-Range Chicken, 4lbs, skinned and cut into 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 legs and 2 thighs)
Salt & coarsely-ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus about 3 1/2 tbsp softened unsalted butter, if thickening the sauce
1 1/2 cups shallots, chopped
5 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, quartered
4 to 5 stalks fresh lemongrass
1 tbsp garlic, minced
3 cups dry vermouth
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, if thickening the sauce

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry, then season each piece with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a large skillet with a lid, heat 2 tbsp of the oil and the 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re soft and golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate and set aside.
Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and another 1/2 tbsp oil if necessary and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the shallots. Add another 2 tbsp oil to the pan and brown the chicken in batches, taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Transfer the pieces to a separate plate when they are fully browned.

Meanwhile, cut the bottom third from each stalk of lemongrass, peel off any outer fibrous skin, and finely mince the tender portion inside; you should have about 1/4 cup minced lemongrass (don’t worry if it’s a little more or a little less). Cut the remaining upper two thirds of the stalks into 2-inch lengths and set aside.

Turn the heat to low, add the minced lemongrass and the garlic to the pan, and cook for 10 to 25 seconds, until they release an aroma but are not browned. Turn the heat to high, add the vermouth, and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Boil until reduced by about a quarter, 8 to 10 minutes.
Return the chicken to the pan and add the stock. Scatter the 2-inch pieces of lemongrass around the chicken, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and discard the pieces of lemongrass.

If you want to thicken the sauce (I often don’t), knead the remaining 3 & 1/2 tbsp butter with the flour until thoroughly mixed and whisk into the pan juices. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the floury taste is gone and the liquid is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
If it’s not thick enough, knead together an additional 2 teaspoons flour and 1/2 tbsp butter and whisk it in, simmering until the liquid has thickened.
Add the chicken, mushrooms, and shallots to the pan, lower the heat, and baste with the sauce. Cook until the chicken pieces are heated through, about 10 minutes, and serve.

** Don’t make this dish unless your supermarket has fat, fresh-looking lemongrass stalks; pass up stalks that look discolored, dry, or wooden. You can freeze lemongrass, so when you find good fresh stalks, wrap them tightly in plastic and place in the freezer for up to a month. Let them thaw for 24 hours in your refrigerator before attempting to slice them.

Garlic noodles with mushrooms and miso butter

This is a wonderfully simple recipe from the food blog, “Steamy Kitchen” It’s worth signing up to them, as they have some super recipes with those lovely Asian flavors.
Use either Chinese egg noodles or thin spaghetti noodles.

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Serves 4
1/2 pound dry pasta or noodles of your choice
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 green onions (scallions), chopped
12 ounces fresh mushrooms of your choice
2 tablespoons Miso & Easy (or 1 tablespoon regular miso paste)
2 teaspoons Maggi Sauce (or 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add the butter, garlic and green onion. Cook for 1 minute or until very fragrant, making sure to keep an eye on the heat so that the garlic does not burn. Add in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the miso, Maggi Sauce (or oyster sauce) and stir.
Add in the cooked pasta and toss well.

Mushroom and Marsala Pasta Bake

What a lovely idea to have the benefits of Chicken Marsala but with pasta instead of chicken. This is such a silky, comforting and tasty dish to make and can be all done in a 3 to 5 qt heavy stove-to-oven braiser, depending if you’re doubling the recipe for more people. This recipe is credited to “Smitten Kitchen” food blog.

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Serves 4

8 oz of a robust pasta of your choice, such as a ziti
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb fresh mushroom, sliced
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry Marsala wine
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (not pre-grated)
6 ounces mozzarella, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cook the pasta. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes before perfect doneness. Drain and set aside.

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Make the sauce:
Reheat your empty pasta pot over high heat. Add the oil and once it is hot, add the mushrooms and cook until they’ve begun to brown and glisten, but have not yet released their liquid. Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the onions, salt and pepper and saute together until the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated.
Add the Marsala and cook the mixture, stirring, until it has almost or fully evaporated (depending on your preference).
Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the flour and stir until all has been dampened and absorbed. Add the broth, a very small splash at a time, stirring the whole time with a spoon. Make sure each splash has been fully mixed into the butter/flour/mushroom mixture, scraping from the bottom of the pan and all around, before adding the next splash.
Repeat until all the broth has been added. Let the mixture simmer together for 2 minutes, stirring frequently; the sauce will thicken. Remove the pan from heat.

Assemble and bake the dish:
Add the cooked pasta and stir until combined. Stir in half the parmesan, all of the mozzarella and two tablespoons of the parsley until evenly mixed. Sprinkle the top with the remaining parmesan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until edges of pasta are golden brown and irresistible. Sprinkle with reserved parsley and serve hot. Reheat as needed.

Chicken Dijon with mushrooms

I have posted several versions of this chicken dish and this is another simple beauty, this time with the emphasis on the mustard sauce, which we love. All you need with this is some rice to soak up that velvety sauce and a green salad.

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Serves 4 but can easily be augmented for a larger dinner party

4 chicken breasts
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 onion, sliced
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped plus extra for the gaarnish
17 fl oz white wine
A splash of brandy

In a pan, heat a glug of olive oil. Season the 4 chicken breasts, then fry, skin-side down, until golden. Turn over and sear, then set aside. Fry the mushrooms in the same pan until golden.
Add 1 garlic clove and the onion then cook until soft. Stir in the Dijon mustard and chopped fresh tarragon. Add the white wine and a splash of brandy, then bubble for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, skin-side up, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring now and then.
Garnish with fresh tarragon and serve with some steamed rice and a green salad

Chicken with mustard and mascarpone Marsala sauce

This is a winner and is lovely served over the fettuccine. I get asked so often for recipes for boneless, skinless chicken, so here goes! This is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

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Serves 4 to 6.

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs for garnish
12 oz dried fettuccine

Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy, large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 5 mins per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.
While the chicken cools, melt 2 tbsp of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes.
Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3 inch-thick slices. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium- low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 mins.
Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss the fettuccini with 3 tbsp of butter, season to taste with salt and pepper. Swirl the fettuccine onto the serving plates. Spoon the chicken mixture over the top.
Garnish with parsley and serve.

Oven baked parcels of fish with scallions, mushrooms, ginger and sesame oil

This is one of our most favorite, light and extremely tasty fish dishes, steamed to perfection, snuggled cozily in their own aluminum foil packets. All you need to serve with it is steamed white rice, as the juices from these parcels are divine.

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Serves 2
2 x 6oz fillets of Chilean sea bass, cod or halibut
6 scallions, sliced on the diagonal in 1″ pieces
1 large clove of garlic crushed
1 & 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated finely or chopped very finely.
1 tbsp  toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
6 good sized mushrooms, or shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 can baby corn pieces, drained  (optional
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a small bowl, add the soy sauce, sesame oil, sliced scallions, ginger, garlic,red pepper flakes, mushrooms, baby corn, if using, and ground pepper.
Mix well and set aside.
Get two large pieces of aluminum foil and in the middle of each piece, place a piece of fish. Bring up all the sides of the foil, so the liquid won’t run out, and tip 1/2 of the mixture in the medium bowl over each piece of fish.
Gather up and seal the packages really well.

Screen shot 2014-07-18 at 6.00.56 PMPlace in a small roasting tin and bake at 400 F for about 15 mins max.
To test, open one of the packages and put a sharp knife into the fish to see if comes away easily.
Place the fish over a pile of simple steamed white rice in a bowl, and pour over all the sauce and vegetables.


Polenta with mushrooms and truffle oil

This recipe is from the incomparable Yotam Ottolenghi and his book “Jerusalem” is one of my 5 “desert island” recipe books.
So easy and with such bold, earthy flavors. All that needs to be served with this is a simple salad.



Serves 2  (but can easily be augmented)
4 tbsp olive oil
¾ lb mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp truffle oil
1 pint ( 16 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
3 oz polenta (instant or traditional)
3 oz Parmesan, grated
2 – 3 tbsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped chervil
4 oz Taleggio cheese (rind removed), cut into 1/4” slices
salt and black pepper

* There are two types of polenta meal (or cornmeal) available – a quick or instant variety and the traditional, slow-cooking one. For most purposes the quick polenta is good enough. Either one can be used for this dish.
Heat up half the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes; with traditional polenta it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).
Preheat the grill (broiler) to high. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the Taleggio. Place under the grill until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the grill for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining chervil.

Tom Kha Gai. The world’s best soup!

This is one of my “desert island” foods. I am absolutely addicted to this soup and these flavors. The bright, clean taste of lime, ginger and cilantro and the exotic coconut milk and red curry paste is divine.
Red curry paste is available online on Amazon and this particular brand is the best and will keep in the fridge for months. They also have green and yellow pastes. I have all three on the go all the time.
If you don’t have the Keffir lime leaves, then use lime zest, but I highly recommend you go out and buy a Keffir lime tree and keep it in a pot. There is nothing like the flavor of those leaves.

1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 stalk lemon grass (pound the white ends to release the flavor)
2 tsp or more, of red curry paste
4 cups chicken broth
3 tbsp Thai fish sauce (Asian section in supermarket)
1 tbsp coconut or palm sugar. (Brown will do if you can’t find the other)
3 (13.5 oz ) cans coconut milk
1lb chicken breast sliced thin
1/2 lb fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Keffir lime leaves, very finely chopped, or the zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Saute the chicken pieces till done, add the ginger, lemongrass and curry paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Stop,    inhale,    the aroma!
Slowly pour the chicken broth over the mixture, stirring cnstantly.
Stir in the fish sauce and coconut sugar and simmer for 15 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms and cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, abut 5 mins.
Stir in the lime juice, and zest or finely sliced (julienned) Keffir lime leaves.
Season with salt, garnish with cilantro.


Eggplant and buckwheat (soba) noodle salad

I just LOVE soba noodles and Asian flavors. I think I have some other recipes on this blog for soba noodle salads, but this is another variation and is a very quick meal to make

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 oz dried shitake mushrooms
3/4 lb buckwheat (soba) noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 Japanese eggplants, cut into very thin strips
2 carrots, julienned
10 scallions, cut diagonally
6 fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water for 10 minutes.
Drain, reserving the liquid.
Discard the woody stems and finely slice the caps.

Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender.
Rinse under cold water, then toss with 1 tsp of the sesame oil.

Combine the tahini, light and dark soy sauces, honey, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of the reserved mushrom liquid and the remaining sesame oil in a food processor until smooth.

Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, turning often, for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft and golden.
Drain on paper towels.

Heat the remaining oil.
Add the carrots, scallions and fresh and dried mushrooms.
Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until just softened.
Remove from the heat and toss with the noodles, eggplant and dressing.

Garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds

Chicken “Gloria"

There is something about this dish. I always hesitate before putting recipes on my blog with any form of tinned soup in them, but this is just way too good not to and it’s “gloriously” delicious and comforting.

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and filleted in half lengthways
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 8oz container of fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sherry
1 small can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup whole milk
6 slices of Muenster cheese
3 tbsp chopped fresh italian parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides, dredge lightly in flour to coat both sisdes. Shake off the excess.
Add oil to a frying pan and brown the chicken in batches on both sides. You don’t need to cook the chicken completely. It will finish cooking in the oven.
Transfer the chicken to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Add the butter to the frying pan and let it melt over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and brown them until golden. Then add the sherry and cook for another minutes or two.
Add the creamy mushroom soup and milk and mix well.

Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts, cover with foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top each piece of chicken with one slice of Muenster cheese. You can fold the cheese in half if it is too wide for the breast.

Place the chicken back in the oven, uncovered and broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese.
Remove from the oven, top with the chopped fresh parsley and serve.