Today we planned two delicious dishes (chicken with balsamic sauce and zucchini parmesan), but I needed one side dish more for some carbs. Checking my pantry I saw some millet which I found perfect for a quick side dish!
In order to make it easy I opted for some ready fried onions and for a special test some preserved lemons from the jar which I prepared last year.
For this preparation I use a double wall saucepot, which retains the heat and I can even turn out the heat, but in general it’s sufficient to use a big pot with will prevent dripping out the liquid while boiling. The cover is necessary!
Here is my choux recipe which I’m keeping since years.
I was used to prepare the sweet variation, but now I used them for a savory recipe using them at the place of “vol aux vents” cases with my vol au vent recipe for a Valentine Day suggestion. In this case I omitted the mushrooms and I used instead some diced parley root, but both would work fine!
For this special day I suggest to use either only one piece as entree or 3-4 pieces as main dish. Adapt the quantity of the filling to the needed portions as the empty choux can be kept for a few days or for other preparations.
For decoration I used carrots cut outs with cookies cutters (boil 3 minutes in salted water) and a few drops cream of balsamic shaped with a toothpick to hearth!
Read the procedure before starting to prepare the dough. The flour should be at room temperature!
In a saucepan combine water, butter, salt and sugar. Bring to boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour: it’s very important to the flour all at once!
Immediately stir using a wooden spoon (I use the spoon with the “hole”) and stir until you get a homogeneous mass.
Bring back to medium heat and continue to stir until it pulls away from the walls (this takes about 2-4 minutes).
Now remove from the heat and let cool down under 56°C before adding the eggs (this will prevent denaturation of the proteins of the eggs). For this step add the eggs one while incorporating them using the hand mixer. The dough now should be shiny, smooth and thick enough that it will keep the shape after piping (not running!).
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
For baking I use a silicon mat, but a parchment foil would be great as well.
You can drop the dough using the spoon on the parchment foil, but for this Valentine suggestion you either spoon it into a piping bag to pipe into heart shapes, or press gently into a heart shaped cookie cutter, or repeat until all the dough is used up. You may also correct the shape with a wet finger.
Bake for 15 minutes at 220°C until risen and golden (don’t open the door).
Then cook for other 20 minutes at 150°C opening shortly (2 seconds) the oven for a few centimeter from time to time so that the steam will escape.
Switch off the heat. Turn the choux upside down and let them to cool down in the oven. For this step the door should stay lightly open (I use my wooden spoon to prevent closing again of the door)
You can fill this to your taste or keep them in an air tight container until needed.
I confess I did not create this recipe, but I’ve adapted several recipes to this one with a great success.
At the beginning I was planning to prepare this with green lentils, but as I noticed I did not have them at home I looked for a valid substitute. In the pantry I had red lentils, but I also found something better: a wonderful colored mixture of pulses!
The recipe begun with the preparation of the Ethiopian spice mixture: the Berbere Spice Blend!
This was needed for the pulses and for the chicken!
The following steps were very easy and this main dish is also a very much appreciated combination had been created!
100 g sourdough starter (substitute: 1/4 cup water + 1/3 cup flour + 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast)
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt to taste (about 1/2 tablespoon)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (instant flour)
The evening before combine starter with water and flour. Stir well, cover loosely and set in a warm place to ferment.
The next morning add 2 cups of water 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of spelt flour, stir well, cover loosely and let ferment.
When the batter is well fermented and bubbling add salt and the additional 1/2 cup of flour, if you think it is not ready, wait until next day or add instant flour or some baking powder, My dough was perfectly spongy and I added simple all-purpose flour. Stir well.
After about one hour stir well and place a non-sticky skillet on the stove to heat at medium temperature.
Don’t use oil, place a ladle of batter in the center of the skillet and with the back of the ladle distribute the batter in the pan. Cover immediately.
Check from time to time and when the batter does not appear wet and it is set remove the bread form the skillet and place it on a plate. In general it is not necessary to bake this on the other side.
It’s always a big advantage havening at home many delicious ingredients ready to be used for surprising good preparation as this salad or side dish with a preserved lemon dressing. I know that this can be hardly be found in your shop, but you can easily prepare some or better than nothing for this recipe use simply a mixture of lemon juice, lemon zest and salt.
For the preparation I used the ingredients listed below, but you can use any vegetables who would fit to be roasted in the oven. I served the dish warmfebeta from the oven, but it can be served lukewarm or cold as salad as well.
Suggestion: prepare more dressing and serve it with grilled chicken breasts.
Lentils with tomatoes sauce and smoked speck or “zampone” (Pork sausage foot) are a very traditional North Italian dish. Try this Moroccan recipe very similar to the Italian one but enriched with a lot of spices and a delicious yogurt sauce.
The quantity of spices can be adapted to your taste; I know, I tend to use a lot of them!
This serves 4-6 persons, but if you have leftovers, you will see that the lentils are even better the day after.
The cooking time depends on the lentils, mines needed about 40 minutes.
In a wide pot (about 4 liters size) roast the merguez with the oil on oil sides until lightly browned. Pinch them while cooking to that they will release the fat and liquid. If you like add little water to help releasing the fat. Continue to cook until water is evaporated. At this point you will see the released fat which will be needed to fry the vegetables. If you want you may reduce the fat by discarding part of the fat.
Set merguez aside in a warm place (wrapped with foil) and fry the vegetables in the oil until onion are translucent.
Add spices and fry for a few more minutes.
Add lentils, canned tomatoes and the first “can” of water, season with salt and pepper. Let simmer until water is almost adsorbed. Add gradually more water until lentil are soft but not mush. Season again and stir in the fresh coriander.
While the lentils are cooking prepare the yogurt sauce combining the ingredients best do this just after adding the lentils to the pot so that the yogurt sauce will have time to rest and develop the flavors.
The merguez may be cooked with the lentils, or reheated by placing them over the ready lentils before serving.