Peanut Free

Azerbaijani Cornish Hen

As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. Photos by Matt Boutet.

Serves: 10 with many other dishes present, 6 as a main dish
Cooking Time: 1 hr
Note:
Perfect with:
Azerbaijani yellow rice, fresh vegetable platter, pickled vegetable platter

Ingredients

  • 1 cornish hen
  • 2 onions
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tomato
  • 8 eggs
  • pinch citric acid (optional)

Instructions

1. Remove any parts from the cavity of the cornish hen. Cut hen into bone-in pieces: wings, legs, breasts, thigh. Trim off any excess fat and the very wing tips and discard. Slice each breast piece across twice so you have three smaller pieces, about the size of a leg or wing. Place in a large soup pot on high with about 1/4 cup water.

2. Slice the onions into 1/4" thick moons, and add to pot with 1/2 cup ghee, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper. Lower heat to 8 out of 10, and cover with lid.

3. Let cook, stirring once in a while, until onions are almost disintegrated. Turn down heat or add a little water if contents threaten to burn. Cut off tomato skin with paring knife, cut out and discard stem, dice flesh and add to pot. Let cook ten minutes more.

4. Scramble 8 eggs in separate bowl. Stir in a pinch of citric acid if you wish (it's super sour, literally a pinch will do), and then pour eggs into the pot with the chicken. Stir and let cook just until egg solidifies. Spoon hen and egg mixture into a serving dish and serve with platter of yellow rice. You may warn guests that there are bones in the cornish hen dish.

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Albanian/Greek Chicken Pie

Kotopita

As Bill Dilios, from Politsani, Albania (formerly part of Greece), taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, ME.

Serves: 10 for dinner, 20 as an appetizer or side
Cooking Time: 2 hours plus thawing overnight

Ingredients

  • 1 box phyllo dough
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large yellow or sweet onions, medium dice
  • 1 stick butter, cut into 1/2" chunks + 1 stick butter
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubs
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 boullion cube, 1 tsp boullion paste, or 1 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

Equipment

  • cutting board
  • chef knife
  • mixing spoon
  • large soup pot 
  • large mixing bowl
  • medium bowl
  • pastry brush
  • Bill's special kotopita pan [link to store]:
  • or 3 pie plates
  • or 2 9x12, 2-inch deep baking dishes 

Instructions

1. Thaw phyllo dough. The day before you want to make kotopita, transfer the phyllo dough box from the freezer to the fridge to thaw it. Then an hour before you want to start cooking, take the phyllo box out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature on the counter. If you forget to take the phyllo out of the freezer the night before, you can thaw it on the counter in 2-3 hours. 

2. Make the filling. Saute onions with 2 Tbsp oil and 1 stick butter (cut into chunks) until onions are soft, 5-10 minutes. Cut the chicken pieces into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the onions. Wash all surfaces that raw chicken touched.  When chicken is half-cooked (opaque on the outside but still translucent in the center), add rice and saute for 2 minutes without browning anything. Add chicken stock so that the rice is just floating in liquid, about 3 cups. Add crushed bouillon cube, bouillon paste, or salt as desired and incorporate. Saute, stirring frequently, until the liquid disappears and you have a thick mass of chicken and rice with no runny liquid. Remove from stove and let cool. Mix in three eggs.

3. Preheat oven to 395. 

4. Assemble the pie. See how he did it in this video. You melt a stick of butter in cereal bowl and get a pastry brush out. Bill made one awesome, giant pie in a what looked like an extra-large, deep-dish pizza pan. Alternatively you can use three pie dishes or 2 9x12 baking dishes. Brush the bottom and sides of the baking dish with olive oil. Layer whole phyllo sheets over the bottom of baking dish, overlapping the edges of the pan by roughly 2 inches. (No folding, cutting or fussing!). 

Now be like Jackson Pollock with the butter brush dripping melted butter on the phyllo. You don't need to brush the butter around - just drip enough butter so that it looks like it's starting to rain on a sidewalk. Make another layer of phyllo overlapping the edges again. Drizzle butter again. Layer phyllo again. Drizzle butter again. When you have about five layers of phyllo, make a layer of chicken filling about 1/2" inch deep. Cover with two more layers of phyllo/butter drips. Add another layer of filling about 1/2" deep. Do five more layers of phyllo. Fold all the draped edges of phyllo on top of the pie. Brush butter over the dry edges of phyllo, folding them down onto the pie. 

If you are using multiple pies, when you complete one pie, just follow the same process and make another one in another dish. 

5. Bake for about 40 minutes, turning the temp down to 385 after ten minutes. When the entire pie is golden brown, remove from oven and let the pie cool for 10-20 minutes. 

Bill Dilios teaches how to cook his favorite dish from Politsani, Albania.

6. Serve. A cool trick for cutting the pie: place a large cutting board (one that is bigger than the pie itself) over the top of the pie. Holding the pan and the cutting board together, flip them over so that the pan ends up upside down on top of the cutting board. Now just lift the pan off the pie. Use a serrated bread knife to pie into squares or wedges, depending on what look you want.

Once pie is cool, store leftover pie in tinfoil in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree oven or toaster oven.

 

 

Azerbaijani Yellow Rice

Pilaf

As Zemfira Ahmadov, from Baku, Azerbaijan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, ME.

Serves: 10
Cooking Time: 1/2 hour active, 2 hours total
Note: The rice has a wonderful scent, flavor, and texture - individualized and firm - not soft or mushy. 
Perfect with: meat dishes such as Azerbaijani cornish hen, or Azerbaijani beef.

Ingredients

  • 3 c. basmati rice
  • large tortilla or potato sliced into 1/4 inch planks
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/3 c. ghee (a little less than a stick of butter's worth)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Equipment

  • large pot with tightly fitting lid
  • clean cloth towel
  • strainer
  • small plate
  • large serving platter

Instruction

1. Cover rice generously with water in a large bowl and massage rice to aid rinsing off white powder. Strain. Boil rice as you would pasta, for 8 minutes, and strain. It should be slightly uncooked and not yet fragrant or flavorful. Strain and let dry for 5-10 min.

2. Melt ghee in microwave or stovetop. Oil the bottom of a large pot and fit large tortilla in the bottom of the pot. With a small bowl or dessert plate take some of the rice out of the strainer and sprinkle it into the tortilla. Repeat, making a mountain of fluffed rice in the tortilla with the mountain peak in the middle of the pot.

3. Once you have a mountain of fluffed rice in the pot, sprinkle turmeric all over the top like the mountain is dusted with yellow snow.

4. Pour melted ghee in a small stream over the surface area of the rice mountain with a small drizzle as possible.

5. Cover the opening of the pot with two layers of paper towels or a clean cloth towel. Seal the lid over the towel, which keeps condensation from dripping back down into the rice. Fold edges of towel on top of lid so they don't dangle by any fire. Cook on low, setting 4 out of 10, for 1 1/2 hours.

6. Use a small dessert or salad plate to lift the rice out of the pot and toss the rice lightly onto a platter. The goal is for the rice to be fluffed onto the platter. 

 

 

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Afghani Lamb

Kourmet

(Pronounced like "gourmet" with a "K")

As a woman from Haret, Afghanistan, taught Lindsay Sterling in Maine. 

Serves: 6-8
Cooking time: 30min-1 hr
Active time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 yellow onions sliced into crescent moons
  • 3 pounds deboned lamb shoulder or leg, cut into 3" chunks
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp Doordooah spice mixture (equal parts black cardamon, turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon, blended in a spice grinder) 
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • enough flexible flatbread, such as naan, chapati, or pita for everyone eating

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker or soup pot
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices  
  • can opener
  • small empty jar with lid to hold extra spice mixture 
  • measuring cups and spoons (or just eyeball it)
  • serving dish for stew
  • serving platter for bread
  • serving spoon

Instructions

Blend all Doordooah spices in a spice blender (a.k.a. a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices). You'll make more than you need for this dish. Store the extra in spice jar and this recipe will be even easier next time. 

Cut onions into crescent moons and put in a large soup pot or pressure cooker. 

Cut the lamb you have into 3" chunks (if the butcher hasn't done this already for you). Rinse lamb with cold water and put in pot. Wash cutting board, hands, and knife and anything else that touched raw meat with soapy water. 

Add oil, turmeric, Doordooah spice, salt, and one half cup water. Cover and cook on medium high until onions have disintegrated into a thick stew and the lamb is tender. If you are using a regular soup pot, add more water as necessary so that your lamb ends up tender with a sauce of disintegrated onions among it. This will take about an hour for lamb leg, longer for shoulder meat.  In a pressure cooker, this should take about 20 minutes under pressure. 

Shave tomato into thin wedges and add tomato pieces to pot. Stir in tomato paste, cover and cook another 5 minutes more. She said you can also add cooked chickpeas and potato chunks here if you like, but we both liked the dish just meat and sauce.

In Afghanistan the dish is served without silverware and guests use pieces of flatbread to scoop up bites. Flatbreads like Tandor, Nan and Iraqi bread would be closest to what's served in Afghanistan. If you'd rather use silverware, serve in a bowl as you would a stew with bread on the side.

 

 

 

Congolese Orange-Ginger Energy Drink

As Constance Kabaziga's daughter, from Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, ME. Photo by Ted Axelrod

Note: This awesome energy drink cleanses and burns in a reviving way. It wakes you up with flavor!

Makes: 10 servings
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 quart of orange juice
  • 6-inch stalk of ginger
  • Sweetener (optional)
  • Pineapple juice (optional)

Instructions

1. Peel and cut ginger into chunks.

2. Blend ginger in blender with orange juice. Pour juice through a mesh strainer to strain out the ginger fibers.  

3. Serve the strained ginger-orange juice straight as a refreshing and healthy energy drink. Add sweetener or fresh pineapple juice if you wish.

Chinese Potstickers

As shown to Lindsay Sterling by Rattana Sherman, from Bankok, Thailand, in Durham, ME. Photography by David Holman.

Note: You can make these in advance so that all that’s left to do is step 6 - sauteeing. After step five, freeze them on the cooling tray, then transfer to an airtight container and store in freezer. 
Cooking time: 2 hours
Makes: about 42 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cabbage, chopped then turned granular in a food processor
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp white whine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 package circular dumpling wrappers (she used Twin Marquis brand Shanghai style)

For sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2-3 drops sesame oil

For garnish:

  • sesame seeds
  • or fried garlic

Instructions

1. Mix sauce ingredients in small bowl.

2. Make pot sticker filling by mixing everything except the dumpling wrappers in a large mixing bowl until evenly incorporated.

3. Set up where you’ll assemble and cook the dumplings. Next to your sink place the bowl of filling, the stack of dumpling wrappers, and a large plate or tray for your assembled pot stickers. Turn the faucet on cool drip. Put a pot of water on high on the stove for boiling them, and next to it a tray where you’ll place the boiled pot stickers to cool. Next to that, put a small dish of vegetable oil with brush for coating the hot pot stickers so they don’t stick.

4. Take one wrapper and wet it on one side with your fingers. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wrapper. Fold it in half, sealing the filling inside by pressing the wrapper edges together. Make three pleats in the round edge of the dumpling. Set aside on a tray and keep making more.

5. Boil a pot of water. Add batches of potstickers (if you put more than one layer in, they'll stick to each other), stirring gently at first to make sure none stick to the bottom. Once they’re all floating (about 4 min.), place on perforated tray or strainer. Brush all over each with oil to prevent sticking. Assemble the rest of the pot stickers and cook. Freeze what potstickers you want on a tray without them touching each other. (Once they're frozen, put in a Ziplock bag). 

6. In a large saute pan with 2 Tbsp of oil on med-high heat, brown about 10 pot stickers at a time on each side. Then toss a shot of water into the pan. Put the golden potstickers on plates, drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with fried garlic or sesame seeds.

Bolivian Beef, Rice, Potatoes and Salad

Silpancho

As Rommy Cornejo Holman, from Cochabamba, Bolivia, taught Lindsay Sterling in North Yarmouth, ME. Photos by David Holman.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 1 hr

Ingredients

  • 1 c. white rice
  • 3 yukon gold potatoes
  • 3/4 c. breadcrumbs
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3 tomatoes
  • about 1/2 cup + 2 tsp canola or sunflower oil
  • 1 jalapeño (in Bolivia she uses locoto peppers, similiar to habañero, w/o seeds)
  • small bunch cilantro (in Bolivia, she would use an herb called quilquina)
  • 4 eggs

Equipment

  • small to medium pot w/ lid for cooking rice
  • medium pot for boiling potatoes
  • mixing bowl
  • cutting board
  • knife
  • 2 cereal bowls
  • 2 spoons
  • rolling pin
  • 2 dinner plates
  • 2 large saute pans
  • spatula 
  • nonstick pan or egg poacher
  • large platter or sheet pan 
  • paper towels
  • food mill, blender, or food processor (or a bottle of hotsauce)

Instructions

1. Cook white rice. Put rice in a small to medium pot. Cover rice with 3/4 inch water, bring to a boil, cover, turn to simmer, and cook on low for 20 minutes. 

2. Par-cook the potatoes. In a medium pot cover potatoes with water, bring to a boil, and cook for 5-10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked half way through. The potatoes are soft on the outside but still hard on the inside. 

3. Make the salad topping. Cut one red pepper, one green pepper, one red onion, and one tomato into 1/4-inch cubes and put into a bowl. Make the dressing by mixing 2teaspoons cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons canola or sunflower oil, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl with a fork. Gently mix the dressing into the salad.

Rommy Holman teaches how to cook her favorite dish.

4. Blend fresh hot sauce. Blend the chili peppers and 2 tomatoes (cut wedges) as briefly as possible to liquify for a fresh hot sauce (or skip this step and use your favorite bottled hot sauce). For hotter sauce, include the seeds of the peppers. For milder, just use the flesh of the peppers. Put the hot sauce in a small bowl with a spoon and put on the table as a condiment.

5. Roll the beef. In a mixing bowl, massage 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper into beef with hands. Separate ground beef into 4 balls. Put the breadcrumbs in a pile on cutting board. Flatten each ball and press both sides into ground beef. Roll with a rolling pin on top of breadcrumbs sprinkled with more fresh pepper. Flip over beef patty and roll again. Continue rolling and flipping until the beef is the thinness of a crepe. Make a stack of four of these on a dinner plate. Wash the cutting board, mixing bowl, your hands, and anything else the raw beef touched.

6. Fry the potatoes. Drain potatoes, cool enough to touch, then slice across the potatoes making 1/4-inch rounds. Heat two large saute pans or flat griddle on medium with 1 Tbsp oil on each. Cook potatoes in a single layer, three to five minutes on each side or as long as it takes to turn the potatoes golden brown. Once the potatoes are golden, cool them on paper towels.

7. Sear the beef. Turn the heat to medium high under the same pan(s) you used to cook the potatoes. Add 1 Tbsp oil to each pan. Once oil is hot, add one beef patty per pan. Flip the beef when the cooked brown color starts replaces about half of the raw pink. Stack cooked beef rolls on a fresh plate, and wash the plate that the raw beef was on. 

8. Fry four eggs, leaving yolks runny. 

9. Assemble the plates. Gather all the components (rice, potatoes, beef, eggs, and salad) near a stack of serving plates. On each plate, put a scoop of rice in the center. Decorate the rim with five potatoes spaced evenly. Put the beef on top of the rice (the potatoes should be poking out from underneath). Put egg on top of beef, and the the colorful salad on top of the egg. Garnish with quilquina or cilantro. Serve with fresh hot sauce on the table as a condiment.

Bulgarian Bean Soup

As Svetla Popova, from Kustenvil, Bulgaria, taught Lindsay Sterling in Portland, Maine. Photos by Lindsay Sterling.

Serves: 6
Cooking time:  30 minutes (using pressure cooker) or 1-2 hours (using regular pot), plus soaking beans overnight
Notes: Svetla says, “Why do you have to put chicken stock in everything?” Good point. This dish goes well with spanikopita for a wonderful vegetarian meal. 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup dry beans (any kind you like, she used kidney)
1 stalk celery, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium diced
2 carrots, cut into ½-thick rounds
½ green pepper, large dice
1 ½ Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 Tbsp chopped fresh spearmint
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 2 tsp salt

Instructions (if using pressure cooker)

1. Generously cover beans with boiling water and let soak over night or at least a few hours before cooking.

2. Strain beans, and put into pressure cooker on high with 5 cups water, onion, carrot, green pepper, celery, and paprika. Once safety valve hisses on the pressure cooker turn down heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes. If using a regular pot, it could take anywhere from 50 minutes to 2 hours to soften the beans, depending on how old they are.

3. Then put whole pot in clean sink, run cool water over pot until it stops hissing, and open it up to add tomato and salt to taste. Simmer to incorporate, 5 minutes. Turn off heat and add fresh mint and garlic before serving.

Instructions (if using regular soup pot) 

1. Generously cover beans with boiling water and let soak over night or at least a few hours before cooking. 

2. Strain beans, and put into large pot with 6 cups water and paprika. Once boiling, turn down heat to medium-low. Cook for 45 minutes. Add onion, carrot, green pepper, celery and continue cooking until beans and veggies are soft, 15-60 minutes depending on the age and type of beans.

3. When beans are soft, add tomato and salt to taste. Simmer to incorporate, 5 minutes. Turn off heat. Add fresh mint and garlic before serving.

Nicaraguan Beans and Rice

Gallo Pinto

As Jenny Sanchez, from Leon, Nicaragua, taught Lindsay Sterling in Freeport, Maine. Photo by Lindsay Sterling.

Note: "Gallo" means "rooster" in Spanish; "pinto" means "spotted." The rice and beans cooked this way look mottled like a rooster's feathers.
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 can pinto beans, strained and rinsed
  • 1 cup medium or long grain white rice (preferably not parboiled)
  • 1/4 green pepper, medium dice
  • 1/4 red pepper, medium dice
  • ½ small yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
  • about 16 cilantro leaves
  • 4 ripe bananas or plantains (yellow with black spots)
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 8 oz. salsa
  • 1/2 small cabbage
  • 2 tomatoes, large dice
  • 1 1/3 limes
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, cut in ½ inch cubes (Jenny couldn’t find the Nicaraguan cheese in the States and found that cheddar tastes great here)

Instructions

1. In a small pot with a lid, bring 1 cup rice and 2 cups water to a boil. Turn heat to low, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes.

2. While the rice is cooking, in ¼ cup olive oil in large sauté pan, saute yellow onion, red and green peppers until soft. Mix in beans and let cook for 5 minutes on medium high so beans are sizzling in the oil and beginning to brown. Turn over sections of the beans gently with spatula to brown the other sides of the beans. Once beans are slightly browned, scoot the beans into a ring around the outer edge of the pan so the center of the pan is empty.

3. Pile the cooked rice into the center of the pan. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt onto the beans around the rice. Mix the beans and rice together so that the beans are evenly distributed in the rice. Add cilantro leaves, cover and turn off heat.

4. Peel bananas or plantains and slice each lengthwise, then across so that you have 2.5-inch long segments. In 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large sautee pan (preferably nonstick) on medium-low heat, saute bananas or plantains in a single layer until golden brown. (If not using non-stick pan you may use more oil). You may use two pans at once or fry the plantains batches. Because the fruit is so sweet, the natural sugars can burn easily, so keep an eye on your heat and if they’re getting too dark too fast, turn the heat down. Flip each piece so both sides become golden brown.

5. While the bananas are cooking, shave the cabbage on a large cutting board into lacy thin shavings with a paring knife. Cut limes in half and squeeze lime juice directly onto the cabbage. Sprinkle cabbage with ¼ tsp salt. Toss the cabbage so that the lime and salt are evenly distributed.  Sprinkle the diced tomato on top of the cabbage.

6. Get ready to assemble each person’s plate by putting all the components of the dish next to your stack of serving plates: the rice and beans, sour cream, salsa, fried plantains, and cabbage salad.

7. Now fill a cup-sized small bowl or measuring cup with rice and beans and press down as if packing sand into a mold for a sand castle. Flip over the cup of packed rice and beans onto the center of the first plate, releasing an unusually orderly mound of rice and beans. Now make an “X” out of two banana or plantain segments on one side of the beans and repeat with two more segments on the other side. Decorate the empty parts of the plate surrounding the beans and plantains with a generous dollop of sour cream, a couple spoonfuls of salsa, and the cabbage salad. Sprinkle cubes of cheese on top of the rice and beans. Continue assembling the rest of the plates. Enjoy this fine meal!