Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mexican Chicken Meatballs and Rice Stew

I love to experiment with meatballs. The possibilities are endless. Today I wanted to see what I could do with some ground chicken and Mexican spices. I thought this would end up more of a soup. But, as it is with most things in my life, if a little is good, a lot is better. So I kept adding rice.....and you guessed it, it ended up more of a a chicken meatball and rice jambalaya. So, decrease the rice to 1 cup if you want this dish more like a soup and use the full 3 cups if you want it thick and casseroley. Is that a word? Anyway, here's my recipe.

For the stew:
48 oz. Chicken broth
1 - 28 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 - 10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro
1 envelope McCormick white chicken chili seasoning
1 - 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
28 oz. water
2 or 3 cups rice (depending on how thick you want the stew)

For the meatballs:
2 lbs. ground chicken
1 small yellow onion, minced
1/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 T. chopped cilantro
½ t. ground cumin
½.t. chili powder
1 t. salt
1 t. granulated garlic
Lime flavored tortilla chips, crushed in food processor to equal ½ cup fine crumbs

In a large Dutch oven, mix first six ingredients and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. While liquids are simmering, make the meatballs.

In a large bowl, mix the meatballs ingredients lightly with a fork. Shape into 1" inch meatballs. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Brown meatballs in batches. Do not crowd meatballs or they won’t brown properly. When each batch of meatballs have a nice browned crust, add them to the simmering liquid. Continue until all meatballs are browned.

Let simmer on low heat for 30 - 45 minutes and then add uncooked rice. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until rice is soft. Top with shredded cheese, chopped cilantro and/or sour cream.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Culinary Quote of the Week

The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook. --- Julia Child

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Amuse Bouche - Lemony Shrimp & Asparagus

What is amuse bouche you may ask? It’s simply a little flavorful bite to amuse your palate, a French term pronounced “uh-MYUZ-boosh.” Yeah, it’s fun to say. Amuse bouche should be served as the first course. They even make special spoons for this course. I found these on e-bay and absolutely love them.

Lemony Shrimp and Asparagus
Serves 2

2 asparagus pencil size, 2-inches, steamed, drained
6 salad shrimp, cooked
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons Italian Dressing

Slice asparagus tips 1/4-inch thick on the bias; combine in a small bowl with shrimp, lemon zest and Italian Dressing; place on spoons and serve.

From www.finedinings.com

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Crawfish Pies

I've combined several recipes to make this one my own. These little pies are addictive. Try them and see for yourself!

1 stick unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 oz. chicken broth
2 pounds crawfish meat
1 - 1 1/2 t. Creole Seasoning
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
Few drops of Worcestershire sauce
4 green onions, tops and bottoms, finely chopped
16 mini-pie crusts

Use heavy iron pot. Melt butter over low heat and add flour. Cook and stir over low heat for 10 minutes or longer, but do not allow to brown. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes or so. Add crawfish, chicken broth, cayenne pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions. Cover pot and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring often to make sure mixture doesn't stick. You want most of the liquid to have cooked down. Check seasonings and add some hot sauce if you want a little heat. Let crawfish mixture cool for 15 minutes or so.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cook pie crusts for 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill with crawfish mixture. Return to oven for 15-18 minutes.

Watch carefully...you don't want those pie crusts to burn!

Mardi Gras

We celebrated the 2010 Mardi Gras Season last night with Harold's mom, siblings and spouses. Fiestaware took center stage with decorating. The purple, green and deep yellow make for a very festive table, don't you think?
Purple stands for justice, green for faith and gold for power.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Cassoulet

A cassoulet is a rich, slowed cooked, traditional French dish originating in the 14th Century. The ingredients contain pork, chicken and white beans. The main ingredients are cooked separately and then combined to have a slower cooking time together in a deep Dutch oven. It is then topped with buttered bread crumbs to make a delicious crust.

1 pound dried white beans, rinsed, sorted and soaked for 1 hour in cold water
1 t. salt
¼ t. ground black pepper
1 pound bacon strips, diced into 1 inch pieces
1 large white onions, peeled, halved and sliced into thin strips
1 lb. ground sausage
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound chicken legs
1 cup dry white wine (you may substitute chicken stock)
1 bouquet garni**
3 gloves garlic, chopped
1 T. tomato paste
¾ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
2 carrots, peel and cut crosswise into ¼ inch slices
½ cup bread crumbs
1 t. finely chopped fresh thyme
4 t. melted butter

**a bouquet garni is simply a few sprigs of thyme, 3 or 4 sprigs of parsley and a bay leaf tied together with twine

Place the soaked beans in a large Dutch oven and cover them with fresh cold water. Bring the beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook them until they begin to become tender. This will take about an hour or so. Add 1 t. salt and ¼ t. ground black pepper to the beans and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about half an hour. Remove the beans from the heat, drain carefully to discard any additional liquid and set the beans aside.

In a large skillet, over medium to medium-high heat, cook the bacon pieces until they are just beginning to turn brown. Transfer them to a plate. 

Add the sliced onions to the pan and sauté them for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so all the slices will brown nice and even. Let them do their thing until they get a light golden brown. Remove the onion slices to the plate with the bacon to keep it company for awhile. 

Next you’re going to crumble up the sausage and brown it until done and then transfer it to a separate bowl.

Preheat your oven to 350°. Carefully drain all but about 4 T. of fat from the skillet. Add the chicken breast pieces and brown them over medium-high heat. The chicken does not have to cook through because it will spend a lot of time in the oven. You just want a nice brown color. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the sausage. Now brown the chicken legs and when browned, move them to the bowl as well.

Combine the bacon, onions, sausage, chicken pieces, tomatoes, wine, chicken stock, bouquet garni, tomato paste, ¾ t. salt and ¼ t. ground black pepper in a large Dutch oven. Cover with the lid (or heavy duty foil) and bake for 25 minutes. 

Remove from oven, stir gently and add the carrots. Replace the lid and return to the oven for about 20 more minutes. By this time your kitchen will smell heavenly. Trust me.

Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, add the white beans you cooked earlier and gently stir them in. In a separate, small bowl, toss the bread crumbs, parsley and thyme with the melted butter. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the casserole and bake it uncovered this time for 1 hour. 

And here it is right out of the oven.

Discard the bouquet garni and serve the cassoulet piping hot. Slice some thick French bread and top with lots of butter. It’s okay…you don’t get to eat like this every day.

Adapted from About.Com French Food

Culinary Quote of the Week

“My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future. I don't like to say that my kitchen is a religious place, but I would say that if I were a voodoo priestess, I would conduct my rituals there.” Pearl Bailey

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Welcome to Fleur de Lolly

Soon there will be recipes, pictures, helpful hints and random thoughts. Probably a lot of random thoughts.