20 June 2019

Hamburger Gravy - But Not Like You Had at School

Hamburger Gravy - But Not Like You Had at School / www.delightfulrepast.com

I never dreamed I'd be blogging about Hamburger Gravy. Shoot, I haven't eaten it since my school days and have never made it! But I was feeling a bit queasy the other day and didn't feel like eating anything except mashed potatoes, which reminded me of being home from school sick as a child and only wanting to eat mashed potatoes.

My mother told me I needed to have some protein along with my mashed potatoes, had only ground beef on hand, first thought shepherd's pie/cottage pie, but the oven was otherwise occupied. So she said she'd make some hamburger gravy. Made me shudder because that was one of the regular items on my elementary school's menu, and it was ...

... ghastly. And gluey and grey and greasy and gross. (Hey, the Five G's of Gastronomy!) Never fear, she said, it won't be like that. And it wasn't. She had a real hit on her hands. Even my dad ate some, all the while reminding her of his loathing of ground beef and making rude remarks about what the dish was called in the army!

Anyway … I thought I'd try, all these years later, to replicate her superior version of the horrid elementary school staple. The first "must" is proper browning. You have to give that ground beef and chopped onion a good 20 minutes in the pan, at least. Before you proceed with the recipe, the beef has to be well browned and starting to stick to the bottom of the pan.


I was rather shocked that Mr Delightful liked it (along with a glass of rather decent pinot noir). If something passes muster with both him and my dad, well, it has to be okay. What is your favorite childhood comfort food (nursery food, for my British readers)? And what was the worst thing on your school's lunch menu?


Hamburger Gravy - But Not Like You Had at School / www.delightfulrepast.com


Hamburger Gravy



(Makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound (16 ounces/454 grams) lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup lower sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup water (or milk)
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon country Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1
In a large skillet, cook oil, ground beef, chopped onion, salt and pepper, breaking up the meat into small pieces as it cooks and browns. Take your time with the browning, or you'll be sorry! Cook until very well browned and sticking to the bottom of the pan a bit, about 20 minutes. Of course, you don't want to burn it, but that pan bottom should be full of lovely brown bits. 


Note: If you're using a ground beef with enough fat, skip the olive oil. And if there's a lot of fat left after cooking, remove all but two tablespoons of it.

2 Stir in the flour and continue cooking and stirring for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the broth and deglaze the pan, scraping up all those brown bits. Stir in the water, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and marjoram. When it's bubbling and thickening, loosely cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until it is as thick as you like. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve over mashed potatoes (though the rudely-named version my dad mentioned was served over toast). 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean

13 June 2019

Hummus-Crusted Chicken - Easy Sheet Pan Dinner

Hummus-Crusted Chicken - Easy Sheet Pan Dinner (for one or more) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Hummus-crusted chicken came onto my radar when I was trying to think of another easy Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner. Since I had just made a batch of hummus for myself (Mr Delightful doesn't do dips), I thought this chicken would be a good way to use it all up and sneak a little of it to Mr Delightful in a non-dip kind of way!

You can make it with your favorite store-bought hummus, if you have one. I don't, because they're all way too garlicky for me. And, besides, I just like my homemade Hummus better, and it's organic. I have to leave out the garlic altogether these days, but my recipe includes just the right amount of garlic for those who aren't allergic.


Hummus-Crusted Chicken - Easy Sheet Pan Dinner / www.delightfulrepast.com


I'm going to do one thing differently next time: Don't you think pressing on a sprinkling of sesame seeds for a little crunch would be a nice touch?



Hummus-Crusted Chicken - Easy Sheet Pan Dinner (for one or more) / www.delightfulrepast.com



I use a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan or an 18x13x1-inch half sheet pan for dinner for two or three, and a 13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan when it's dinner for one. You just do a few minutes of prep in the morning, put it in the fridge, then pop it in the over when you're ready. The sort of streamlined cooking perfect for a busy day.

If you like this post, please be sure to Pin it and share it on your social media. And I always love your comments! 


Hummus-Crusted Chicken - Easy Sheet Pan Dinner (for one or more) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Hummus-Crusted Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

(Makes one serving, just multiply for more)

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 6-ounce (170 grams) boneless skinless chicken breast
About 1/8 teaspoon salt
About 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons hummus, depending on the surface area of the chicken

About 1/8 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon or so of sesame seeds
6 ounces (170 grams) cauliflower and broccoli florets
6 ounces (170 grams) orange-flesh sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch slices
Optional: a little cinnamon-sugar for the sweet potato slices 

1 Use a 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil to oil a quarter sheet pan (foil-lined or not) for one or 1 tablespoon for jelly roll pan for two or half sheet pan for three. Place the chicken breast(s) in the middle of the pan. Season the top side with some of the salt and pepper. Spread the hummus on the top and sides, just a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with paprika and sesame seeds.


2 Spread the cauliflower and broccoli florets on one end of the pan and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil per serving, tossing to coat well; sprinkle with the remaining salt and pepper. Spread the sweet potato slices at the other end of the pan and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil per serving, turning to coat well; if desired, sprinkle the tops with a little cinnamon-sugar.

3 Cover and refrigerate until time to bake. Preheat oven to 400F/205C/Gas6. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean


06 June 2019

Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes

Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes (or you can use other spices) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Nonnettes (pronounced no-net) are individual spiced cakes filled with a bit of marmalade, jam or curd. They originated in the Burgundy region of France during the Middle Ages. And to think, I've only just recently heard of them! So of course I had to make some. My starting point was the three versions posted by Phil of the delightful blog As Strong As Soup.

Les Nonnettes are moist and sticky and can be made with different combinations of spices, zests and fillings for variety. I've gone with the classic ginger and orange in this case, but plan to also make them with cardamom. There are no eggs in the recipe. But I might add one next time anyway.

I was going to use homemade marmalade in these, but I discovered the only marmalade left in my jam cupboard was a jar of kumquat marmalade I'd made in April 2014! It looked fine but tasted a bit off, so I used apricot jam instead. I don't think the marmalade would have killed us--at least I hope not, since I tasted it! 

I don't know what nonnettes were baked in back in the Middle Ages, but I used a 12-cup standard muffin tin because heaven knows I'm the last person who needs to be buying another specialty pan! 

As always, I've formulated my recipe to exactly fill that standard pan. If you use a different sort of pan, you will likely come up with a different number of cakes than my own precisely twelve.

Have you ever made, had, or even heard of, nonnettes? Please tell me I've not been alone in my ignorance!


Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes (or you can use other spices) / www.delightfulrepast.com

Nonnettes - French Gingerbread Cakes


(Makes 12)

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces/99 grams) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup (4 ounces/113 grams) honey
1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml) milk
1/3 cup (2.67 fluid ounces/79 ml) water
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 grams) unsalted butter
1 3/4 dip-and-sweep cups (8.75 ounces/248 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons non-GMO baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Finely grated zest of a medium orange
6 teaspoons orange marmalade or a jam
5 tablespoons (1.25 ounces/35 grams) powdered sugar

About 4 teaspoons of juice of the zested orange

1 Butter well a 12-cup standard muffin tin. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat together the brown sugar, honey, water, milk and butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

Note: Why such a large saucepan for that small quantity, you might ask. Because then you can add the flour mixture to the pan, instead of the other way around, and just have one messy thing to clean up.


2 In 1.5-quart mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, whisking well to "sift." 

Note: I rarely sift flour anymore. It really only needs aerating, which can be done quite easily with a half minute or so of vigorous whisking.

3 Add the flour mixture to the warm honey mixture and whisk together until combined. Stir in the orange zest. 

4 Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. If the batter feels quite warm, cover* the muffin tin and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.

* I love that my muffin tin comes with a cover!

5 With your oiled finger or similar sized object, make a hole in the center of each cup and put in 1/2 teaspoon of marmalade or jam. Bake for about 16 to 20 minutes, until they are golden brown and spring back when pressed gently in the center. Let the cakes cool in the tin for about 5 minutes so you can handle them. They have to be removed individually from the pan, rather than just turning them out, so that the jam doesn't run out. 


Note: I used the handle of a wooden spoon and rubbed olive oil on it about every three cakes. You need to put the jam in shortly after making the hole or it will simply close up. Next time, I'll make the hole about an inch deep and bring the batter back over the hole after it is filled.

6 While still warm, whisk together a simple glaze of sifted powdered sugar and orange juice. Apply the thin glaze to the warm cakes with a pastry brush. Cool completely before storing in an airtight tin. Good served right away, they are said to be even better after being stored in the airtight tin for a day or two and will keep for up to a week. 

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. We are a ThermoWorks affiliate, earning a small commission at no cost to you on purchases made through our links. This helps cover some of the costs of running the blog. Thank you for your support. 

Jean
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