Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

An oldie but a goodie, the good ol’ sweet and sour chicken, minus the greasy deep-frying part; I really reserve the deep-frying for special occasions like authentic Spanish croquetas or my new favorite, the only recipe my beloved partner has in his repertoire, beer battered fresh caught snapper fillets (more on this shortly) So I am cheating a bit on the old version, but you will love this stir-fry type with a fraction of the fat and sugar and a ton flavor that will knock your socks off, and that is a promise.

I have used passata (my pantry staple pureed Italian tomatoes) instead of the widely used ketchup; passata it so versatile is amazing, I have tried many Italian brands and I won’t settle for anything but Mutti, it is thick and velvety, packed with flavor, and the best part, the ingredients read: tomato 99.5%, salt. Period. If you can get your hands on some, stock the pantry!! Ketchup is loaded with sugar, and since we are already adding sugar and pineapple juice to the sauce, I just don’t see the point of adding another sugary ingredient, so I kept it simple.

Where were we? Back to the sweet and sour chicken… perfect weekday dinner, achieved in just over half an hour! What else can you ask for? Veggies? No worries, we have added 2 whole pepper s and a big onion, and some canned pineapple in juice… but I am afraid that doesn’t count. Serve with some steamed basmati or jasmine rice, although if you want to be super-good you can serve it with brown rice or even cauliflower rice if you really want to be an angel :0)

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir Fry

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 750g (1.5 lb) chicken, skinless, boneless, cut in 1in pieces (I used chicken tenderloins)
  • salt & pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped coarsely
  • 1 green pepper, chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 150g (5oz) pineapple in juice, drained & chopped. Reserve juice
  • spring onions (scallions) thinly sliced, to serve
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • 1/3 cup passata (tomato puree)
  • 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Directions

  1. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a big frying pan over medium/high heat. Cook 1/2 of the chicken until browned all over. Reserve. Brown the rest of the chicken on another tablespoon of oil. Remove from the frying pan and set aside
  2. In the same pan, heat up another tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Cook onion and peppers for 3 - 4 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and chili flakes. Cook for one more minute
  3. Sweet & Sour Sauce: place ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add pineapple and reserved chicken (and its juices) to the pan. Stir in sweet & sour sauce and bring to the boil. Mix cornflour and cold water in a small bowl, add to the pan and cook for a few minutes until sauce starts to thicken
  5. Serve chicken with topped with sliced spring onions and some steamed Basmati or Jasmine rice
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/sweet-sour-chicken-stir-fry/

Crockpot Mediterranean Lamb Casserole

Crockpot Mediterranean Lamb Casserole

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

I love stews, casseroles, hotpots… love them all, any time of the year; I have a soft spot for the succulent pieces of meat smothered in a thick flavoursome sauce, a good piece of crusty bread maybe? Or served with potato mash, or better yet, with both; and don’t forget the veggies, you can use absolutely anything you fancy, they only need to be dropped at some point in the simmering sauce, you just can’t go wrong?

Why the question mark? Well, I have been forever fighting my partner’s resistance to casseroles or “Irish spews” as he calls them (that’s right, very grown up, I know) the poor chap spent 4 years in a boarding school in England and although he had the time of his life playing sports 24/7, I don’t think it did much for his eating habits; so I am still kind of nursing his damaged “food-soul” yep, that is me, I love a good cause :0) the thing is, I am happy to report that lately, he has started to eat them without complaining! and well that is all I needed to rekindle my casserole love affair!

So,my new-found friend the crockpot and I, have been hanging around again and we are proud to bring you a Mediterranean lamb Casserole, comfort food as its best! Meltingly tender pieces of lamb cooked in the quintessential Italian sauce, spiked with Kalamata olives and artichoke hearts. I have added a few anchovy fillets to the sauce, don’t skip this step, it is truly the 5% magic of this dish, and I promise nobody will be able to tell!! Serve with potato mash and add to it a little grated lemon rind and a few splashes of lemon juice, heaven.

Roll up your sleeves and dig in!

Crockpot-Mediterranean-Lamb-Casserole

Crockpot Mediterranean Lamb Casserole

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Crockpot Mediterranean Lamb Casserole

Photo by Cristina Gonzalez

Crockpot Mediterranean Lamb Casserole

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 750g (1.5lb) lean lamb, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • pinch of garlic flakes
  • 2 - 3 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ripe medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low sodium beef stock
  • 90g (3oz) pitted Kalamata olives
  • 150g (5oz) artichoke hearts in brine, drained & halved

Directions

  1. Season lamb with salt & pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a big frying pan over medium/high heat. Fry lamb until browned all over (you might have to do this in two batches to get them to brown properly without overcrowding the pan) Take lamb out of the pan and place in the crockpot
  2. Heat the rest of the oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and garlic fragrant. Add chili flakes, anchovy fillets, sugar and oregano, cook until the anchovy fillets have dissolved
  3. Add tomato paste, cook stirring for one minute. Add chopped tomato, cook for one more minute. Stir in stock. Heat sauce up until bubbling and pour on top the lamb. Cover and cook on low for 7 - 8 hours or until the lamb is tender
  4. Place lamb with its sauce in a big casserole pan, add Kalamata olives and artichokes, reduce the sauce a little for a few minutes over medium heat uncovered, shaking the pan now and then
  5. Serve lamb casserole with lemony potato mash (add some grated lemon rind and a squeeze of lemon juice to your mash)
http://www.danceofsaucepans.com/crockpot-mediterranean-lamb-casserole/