Chicken and asparagus in cream sauce

Ready for another lazy o< cuisine blog post? Let’s do this – today we’re making chicken and asparagus.

Start by pre-cooking asparagus to your preferred level of doneness. I steam them for 20 minutes – works pretty well for me. Let them cool for a while if needed, and cut them into 2-3cm pieces.

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You can do that first, or while you’re preparing the rest – there’s no time or temperature constraint here.

Heat a pan, get some oil in it, chop an onion, dump it in.

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Cut some chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the browning onion, let everything cook for a while – until the chicken browns as well. Add salt before you forget.

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Open a bottle of white wine, check it’s drinkable. And that you didn’t accidentally open sweet wine, because that wouldn’t work. And yes, I could have done with a brush in my hair this morning. Eh.

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Pour some in the pan, scratch the bottom of the pan with your spatula to get whatever’s sticking in there despite the nonstick coating (might have wanted to do that in a non-nonstick pan, actually). Let it bubble for a while.

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Add the asparagus to the pan, let them re-heat for a few dozen of seconds; make sure the chicken is cooked through.

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Add cream, stir together.IMG_20200322_124653

Add parmesan, stir again.

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Add some pepper, stir.

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Serve, eat, enjoy.

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And since everything is bite-sized, you don’t need a knife to eat and you can eat in a bowl 🙂

Basic beef stew

Okay, I have an urge to write, and to put content out there that’s not strictly related to the current situation, so let’s do that. This is not going to be a fancy blog post with amazing pictures (I shot these with my phone and under crap lights) and a precise recipe, just some stream-of-consciousness narrative on how to get a hard-to-mess-up-completely beef stew. If you want the high-effort, but actually worth it, version, there’s one here: Bœuf bourguignon.

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Get some stew beef – typically the cheap cuts, that may be more or less tough and have more or less fat/weird parts. For this round I got one piece of « meager stew beef » (which would be tougher without the long cooking) and one piece of « mixed stew beef » – which is typically fattier and has more squishy parts. Cut it in large cubes (okay, some kind of approximately 6-faced polyhedrons) – I like something along the lines of 3-5cm side, I think. Try to keep them roughly equal, but don’t fret.

Get your largest pot – mine happens to be my cast iron dutch oven, and there’s something very satisfying in cooking anything in that, but any pot ends up working – this dutch oven is a fairly recent addition to my cookware, but I’ve been making stew for as long as I’ve had my own kitchen. Put some fat at the bottom – oil, butter, lard, whatever floats your boat, and brown all the pieces of meat. You probably want to do several batches, in order to not crowd the pot – I had roughly 2kg of meat and it took me 4 batches. You might want to dust the meat with flour – it tends to brown better, and it eventually helps with the thickness of the sauce, but it also tends to stick more to the bottom of the pan, which makes it a bit more stressful. I couldn’t decide between putting flour or not putting flour, so I put just a little, which meant that my meat was stickier to the bottom of the pan and the sauce didn’t really thicken. Win-win.

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Once all the meat is browned, you may want to add a bit more fat to the pan if it’s all out, and then throw in a few onions. Add some bacon too, because bacon makes everything better.

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Throw in some mushrooms while you’re at it. You could also add a carrot or two there – always a popular choice.

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Let everything in there soften and brown for a bit. Then add back the beef.

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Stir everything together, and that’s when you can add liquid. I started with a cup of chicken broth that was in my freezer (I made broth two months ago, and I’m very happy I did). Don’t worry if you don’t have any – it’s probably helping for the overall taste, but it’s not critical. You can also add (on top of or instead of) herbs, typically a bouquet garni, or whatever aromatics you think would work (thyme, laurel, rosemary, garlic – all of these would probably work).

Once you have a bit of liquid in the pot, scratch the bottom of the pot with a spatula – should help liberate all the tasty bits that gathered in there while browning everything (and have them in the final sauce).

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Open a bottle of red wine and check that it is appropriate. Rule of thumb: don’t cook with something you wouldn’t drink. First of all, it’s going to be less tasty; second of all, if you have some left, you’re going to drink it anyway with the meal, soooo.

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The second point was not much of an issue for me, because I ended up needing the whole bottle in there. Cover the content of the pot with liquid – if you don’t have enough red wine, add some more broth or water. Bring to a boil.

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Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat below, add a lid to the pot, and let it simmer for a couple of hours (or more). Double check at the beginning of the cooking that it’s not boiling too heavily (since there’s a lid on, this typically happens at lower heat on the stove!), and let it be for a while.

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A few hours later, you have a very tasty dinner, and probably a fair amount of leftovers (unless you’re cooking for 10+ people). If you’d like a thicker sauce (the one I had was fairly thin, you can strain everything out of it and reduce it on high heat for a while. I was definitely too lazy (and it was getting late) to do that yesterday.

Once cooled down, transfer to freeze-ready containers, add a label on it, and stick them in the freezer for a later day.

Don’t be me when doing that: I tried to spare time by tipping the pot over my containers to get some sauce in it, and I ended up having to clean a sauce flooding in my kitchen, that was annoying.

More annoying even is that on that evening I ended up having to clean a SECOND flood in my kitchen. When I went to put my stew boxes in the freezer, I realized that one of my chicken broth bags had leaked – it was probably not sealed correctly 😦 Hence, more mess to clean. So I picked the drawer, emptied it and put it in the sink to clean it. At some point I went « WAIT, WHAT, WHERE IS ALL THAT WATER COMING FROM?? » – turns out, my freezer drawer are not watertight (the facade is clipped on them). Which means: second kitchen flooding in one evening.

But at least I have tasty stew for comfort 😀

Tarte au chocolat et au dulce de leche / Chocolate-dulce de leche tart

English version interleaved in italics

Alors il se trouve qu’il y a environ 5 mois, c’était mon anniversaire. Pour mon anniversaire, comme c’est la tradition chez nous, je fais du gâteau et je l’amène au bureau. Et quand je fais du gâteau, je fais des photos et je prévois un billet de blog. Et là, il se passe 5 mois avant que je finisse par me bouger à écrire ledit billet de blog. Mais je vous promets, celui-là, il en vaut la peine 😉

It so happens that approximately 5 months ago, it was my birthday. For my birthday, as the tradition requires, I make cake and bring it to the office. And when I make cake, I take pictures, and I plan a blog post. And then, 5 months later, I finally kick myself and write said blog post. But I promise you, this one is worth it 😉

Aujourd’hui donc on va causer de tarte au chocolat et au dulce de leche – tarte que j’ai d’ailleurs refaite un peu avant Noël et qui a atteint le même succès (mérité) qu’au bureau. La recette vient du My Paris Kitchen de David Lebovitz – un bouquin que je n’ai pas encore assez exploré à mon goût mais il faudrait 😉

So today, let’s talk about chocolate and dulce de leche tart – which, by the way, I made again a bit before Christmas and got the same (deserved) success as in the office. The recipe comes from My Paris Kitchen from David Lebovitz – a book I didn’t explore enough yet, but I should 😉

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Lire la suite

Curry de bœuf / Beef curry

English version interleaved in italics

J’ai, en termes de photos (prises, à défaut d’éditées), de quoi écrire 3 billets ici, et je n’en ai pas encore écrit un seul – rectifions donc cela immédiatement. J’ai invité des amis il y a quinze jours pour un combo « déjeuner et Scythe » (Scythe est un jeu qui a fait pas mal de bruit à sa sortie mais auquel on n’avait pas encore joué), et à cette occasion j’ai re-plongé dans mon The Food of India – parce que finalement le concept de curry qui mijote c’est plutôt un bon plan quand on reçoit. Après pas mal d’hésitation, j’ai fini par choisir la recette de « Goan Beef Curry » – curry de bœuf de Goa, donc, que j’ai servi avec du « riz » de chou-fleur.

I have enough, photo-wise (well, taken, if not edited yet), to write 3 posts here, and I didn’t write a single one yet – so let’s fix that now. I invited friends two weeks ago for a « lunch and Scythe » combo (Scythe is a board game that’s been fairly hyped when it came out, but which we hadn’t played yet) and, for that occasion, I went back to my  The Food of India – because, well, the concept of simmering curry is pretty neat when you have people over. After some pondering, I finally chose the « Goan Beef Curry » recipe, that I served with cauliflower « rice ».

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La recette elle-même n’est pas très compliquée, mais la liste d’ingrédients peut intimider.

The recipe itself isn’t that complicated, but the list of ingredients can seem daunting.

Pour 6 personnes / For 6 people

  • les graines de 8 gousses de cardamome / the seeds from 8 cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon de grains de fenouil / 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 8 clous de girofle / 8 cloves
  • un bâton de cannelle de 10cm / a 10-cm cinnamon stick
  • ½ teaspoon de graines de fenugrec, que j’ai remplacées par un peu plus de fenouil et de cumin, à défaut / ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, which I replaced by a bit more fennel and cumin
  • ½ teaspoon de poivre noir moulu / ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons de graines de coriandre / 3 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 teaspoons de graines de cumin / 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 125 mL d’huile / 125 mL oil
  • 2 oignons / 2 oignons
  • 6 gousses d’ail / 6 garlic cloves
  • un morceau de 10cm de gingembre / 10cm of ginger
  • 1kg de bœuf à braiser, découpé en cubes de 2.5cm / 1kg stewing beef, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • ½ teaspoon de curcuma / ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons de piment en poudre / 2 teaspoons powdered chili
  • 310mL de lait de coco / 310 mL coconut milk

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Je ne résiste pas à montrer le contenu du mortier de plus près.

I can’t resist showing the content of my mortar from up close.

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Mortier qui a d’ailleurs bien travaillé : la première étape est de réduire en poudre toutes les épices qui ne le sont pas encore (toutes sauf le poivre, le curcuma et le piment, donc). J’avoue que ma poudre pourrait être plus fine ; il arrive un moment où on décide que c’est suffisant 😉

That mortar was put to great use: the first step is to reduce to powder all the spices that aren’t yet (all of them except the pepper, turmeric and chili). I must admit my powder could be finer: at some point you have to decide it’s good enough 😉

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Découper l’oignon et l’ail en petits dés, râper le gingembre.

Dice the onion and garlic, grate the ginger.

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Faire chauffer l’huile dans une casserole épaisse et y faire revenir à feu moyen l’oignon, le gingembre et l’ail jusqu’à ce qu’ils commencent à dorer.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and fry the onion, ginger and garlic over medium heat until they start to brown.

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Ajouter la viande, et faire dorer de tous les côtés.

Add the meat, brown it on all sides.

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Lorsque la viande est dorée, ajouter toutes les épices (celles du mortier, le poivre, le curcuma et le piment), et laisser dorer pendant une minute.

When the meat is browned, add all the spices (the ones in the mortar, the pepper, the turmeric, and the chili), and let it brown for another minute.

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Ajouter le lait de coco, réduire la puissance du feu et laisser mijoter pendant une bonne heure.

Add the coconut milk, reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour or more.

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Pour le riz de chou-fleur, c’est un truc que je fais beaucoup plus souvent, alors la recette est forcément un peu plus floue, parce que c’est de l’automatique 😉 On s’y prend 30-45 minutes avant de manger, et il faut, heu, du chou-fleur (je compte ~300g par personne, cru), un corps gras quelconque (j’utilise de l’huile de coco), éventuellement un oignon ou deux, et ce qui passe par la tête pour épicer (cette fois c’était du cumin je crois).

The cauliflower rice is something I cook way more often, so the recipe is somewhat more vague, because it’s so automatic 😉 Start 30-45 minutes before eating and you’ll need, err, cauliflower (I count ~300g per person, uncooked), some fat (I use coconut oil), optionally an onion or two, and whatever strikes your fancy in terms of seasoning (I think that time it was some cumin.)

Faire revenir les oignons coupés en morceaux dans l’huile de coco.

Fry the diced onions in some coconut oil.

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Passer le chou-fleur au robot – suivant la lame utilisées, ça ressemble plus à, au choix, du riz, de la semoule, ou parfois à des mini-pâtes 😉

Shred the cauliflower in a food processor – depending on the disk you use, it looks more like rice, couscous, or sometimes small pasta 😉

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Faire cuire le chou-fleur à feu doux-moyen – d’abord avec un couvercle le temps que le chou-fleur cuise à peu près, puis retirer le couvercle pour la fin de la cuisson pour l' »assécher ». Ajouter sel, poivre, épices suivant l’inspiration et l’accompagnement.

Cook the cauliflower on medium heat – first with a lid on so that the cauliflower gets somewhat soft, then remove the lid for the end of the cooking so that it dries off a bit. Add salt, pepper and spices depending on the mood and what you’re serving it with.

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Quand le chou-fleur est cuit, servir et manger 🙂

When the cauliflower is cooked, serve and eat 🙂

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Verdict : c’était pas mal, mais je crois que le bœuf aurait mérité d’être cuit plus longtemps. Mon piment était ptêt un peu violent aussi, ça avait un peu tendance à écraser le reste. Mais tout le monde s’est resservi, alors… 😉

Verdict: it was okay, but I think the beef could have benefited from a somewhat longer cooking. The chili was maybe a bit overpowering too. But then everybody went for seconds, so… 🙂

Tags recettes.de : curry, bœuf, inde, chou-fleur