Shaker Gourmet: Family Faves

Inspired by SKM's post below, I thought I'd share some of our family's favorite dishes.

First up is one of my favorites and I made it for Liss, Iain, and Deeks this past January, who all gave it good reviews. This is not my own creation but one of my many finds browsing the FoodNetwork site (and is Rachael Ray's). Without further ado, here is delicious gummi liquid:
Smoky Sweet Potato Chicken Stoup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 ribs celery
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 chipotle chili in adobo, finely chopped, plus a spoon of sauce
from the can
Salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon dry thyme, eyeball it
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine, eyeball it
5 cups chicken stock
1 large sweet potato, peeled
3/4 to 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite size pieces
4 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, a generous handful, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sour cream, for garnish, optional

Heat a soup pot over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, about 2 turns of the pan.

While soup pot heats, chop carrots in half lengthwise then slice into thin half moons. Add the carrots to the pot while it heats, stirring to coat the carrots in the oil. Chop and drop in celery and onion, chopping as small as you can, but don't make yourself crazy. Cut the sweet potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then thinly slice into bite size pieces. Add to pot. Add in garlic, chipotle, and adobo sauce and stir to combine. Season the veggies with salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook the veggies together 1 minute. Add the wine and reduce a minute. Add the stock to the pot, cover the pot, and raise heat to high. Bring the stoup to a boil, remove the cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cut chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through. Turn the heat off and add the scallions and cilantro. Serve each portion of stoup with a dollop of sour cream on top.
I usually let it simmer a while after the chicken is supposed to be done--maybe another 10 minutes or so. I also thicken this with a typical cornstarch/broth mix after the chicken is cooked to make it more like a stew. The sour cream is very important! Mix it in before you start eating, too. I don't usually put in celery. Here is the original recipe

Another with awesome taste but an unfortunately silly name is this one that everyone in our family loves (the girl child is known to request thirds with this one!). It is a bit time intensive. This one is Guy Fieri's:
Taj Maholla! Chicken

For the Chicken:

* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1/2 cup minced garlic
* 1/4 cup minced ginger
* 2 teaspoons chili powder
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
* 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
* 2 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs

For the Butter Sauce:

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup diced red onion
* 1 teaspoon minced ginger
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
* 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
* 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In skillet, over medium heat, heat oil. Add garlic and ginger and slowly cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add chili powder, turmeric, Garam Masala and pomegranate juice. Let cool slightly. Rub chicken well with mixture and bake in a shallow baking pan for 25 minutes. Chicken will be three-quarters of the way cooked. When chicken is cool to the touch, remove bones and shred meat into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.

Meanwhile to make Butter Sauce: In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onions, ginger and garlic until light brown, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue sauteing until tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 5 minutes. Add spices and continue to cook 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. Return puree back to pan and add cream and butter. Bring to a simmer and reduce for 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and saute for 6 minutes more until chicken is cooked through. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with basmati rice, if desired.
Garam masala can be purchased at your local Indian grocer (or a well stocked spice area in a supermarket) or you can make it yourself.

And another of Rachael Ray's:
Chipotle Cashew Chicken

* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 large onion, 1/4 onion finely chopped, 3/4 thinly sliced
* 2 cups quick cooking brown rice
* 4 cups chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 pounds chicken meat: tenders, boneless, skinless breasts or boneless, skinless thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
* 2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning blend by McCormick)
* 2 to 3 tablespoons tamari dark soy sauce, eyeball it
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
* 10 to 12 water chestnuts, whole
* 1 cup frozen green peas
* 3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (2 peppers and their sauce), available in cans on the international foods aisle or substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons ground chipotle powder
* 1 tablespoon ground cumin, a palm full
* 2 to 3 tablespoons honey, 2 healthy drizzles
* 1/4 to 1/3 cup real maple syrup, eyeball it
* 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley leaves, your preference
* 1 cup raw cashews

In a medium pot over medium heat combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and 1 tablespoon butter. When butter melts into oil, add in the chopped onion, cook 2 minutes, then add rice and cook 3 minutes more. Add stock and cover the pot. Raise heat to bring stock to a rapid boil. Once the stock boils, reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, 17-18 minutes.

While rice cooks, make the chicken. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan, then the chicken. Season the chicken with grill seasoning. Brown the chicken on both sides, season with soy sauce then move off to one side of the pan. Add the remaining onions, garlic and peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes then add water chest nuts and green peas and mix vegetables and meat together. Add the chipotles and cumin. Toss to coat. Glaze the mixture with honey and maple syrup and turn off the heat. Add in the chopped cilantro or parsley and the cashew nuts.

Top rice with cashew chicken and serve.
I don't use water chestnuts--we don't like them and I don't think they really add much to the dish (made it with them the first time). I also don't use brown rice, I usually use basmati. I use cilantro and roasted cashews, not raw.

For easy, quick and relatively inexpensive, here's one from my childhood that I still love and my kids request (I could swear I've shared this one before but I couldn't find it!):
Beef Stroganoff

* 1 – 1.5 lbs sirloin or top round steak, cut into thin strips
* 2 T butter
* 1/2 lb mushrooms, rinsed & sliced (or more if you like)
* 1 10.5 oz can double strength beef broth (Campbells makes this)
* 2 T ketchup
* 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
* dash black pepper
* 1 cup sour cream
* 3 cups hot, cooked noodles

* 2 tsp cornstarch & water, mixed (for thickening)

—Quickly brown beef in butter in large skillet, not so much that's it's cooked through. Add garlic & mushrooms, sauté briefly. Add broth, pepper, and ketchup, mix well. Cover, let simmer on med-low for 15 minutes.

—Cook noodles. When noodles are about done, bring stroganoff to boil and thicken stroganoff with cornstarch & water. When thickened, take off heat and stir in sour cream. Mix well & serve over hot noodles.
If you have a Trader Joe's nearby, they sell a "quick cooking sirloin" that's perfect for this recipe.

Other family favorites that I've shared here before: Buffalo Chicken Pasta, Feta, Artichoke, & Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, Chicken-Fried-Chicken (and a french bread recipe is in that post too), Chicken Pot Pie, and some Herb Bread (and dipping oil) to go with just about any of these dishes!

If you'd like to participate in Shaker Gourmet, email me (and include your Shaker name) at: shakergourmet (at)

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