Tag Archives: casserole

Paprika Pork For Dinner! (serves 6)

This was such a satisfying dish and the way it came about is how most things happen in this kitchen: rummaging in the pantry and picking out the most appealing spice of the moment and promptly building the entire dinner around that flavor.

pork with a lovely kick

Pork with a lovely kick

A couple of nights ago when going through my rummaging ritual looking for inspiration, I found a little bag of Hungarian Paprika from a trip I made to a marvellous spice shop in New York City, Kalustyan’s.

And this is just a small corner of the spice section!

A customer mesmerized by a small section of the spice department at Kalustyan’s!

The description read, “slightly pungent ground red pepper from Hungary with slightly hot aromatic rich pepper flavor” I knew that this would be all that was needed to dress up the pork tenderloin sitting in my fridge.



Using pork tenderloin allowed me to cook a rich and heavenly dish in a very short amount of time. It was truly amazing and is another great dinner to turn to if in a hurry, or you are faced with the sometimes overwhelming task of feeding a crowd. This dish would make it a snap!


You will need:

3 tbs olive oil

2 lbs pork tenderloin (2 1lb tenderloin)

sea-salt and black pepper for seasoning

2 celery ribs, sliced or diced

1 large sweet onion, large dice

1 tbs chopped fresh marjoram leaves

1 cup sliced or Julienne carrots

3 or 4 cups chopped dark green spinach

1 tbs hot Hungarian paprika

1 tsp sea salt

3 tbs all-purpose flour

4 cups chicken broth (veggie broth or bouillon cube and water will work also)


Preheat oven 425*

1 – Season tenderloin with sea-salt and black pepper. Place a saute pan on high heat and add the oil. When it is hot add the tenderloin and sear on all sides until browned (this seals in the flavor). Remove to a heavy casserole pot and set aside.

sear tenderloin until browned on all sides..

Sear tenderloin until browned on all sides.

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add the onions and cook for a few minutes before adding the celery. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped marjoram and stir.

Saute onions and celery

Saute onions and celery, add herbs

3 – Add the paprika and stir into the onion mixture. Add the salt and the flour and stir quickly. Let it cook for about 30 seconds or so.

add hot paprika and flour

Add hot paprika, then flour

4 – Add the broth 1 cup at a time while stirring. Turn the heat up to high and add the carrots. When it comes to a boil pour the whole thing over the casserole with the tenderloin.

add liquid

Add liquid

5 – Cover and place in your preheated oven for 45 minutes.

pour sauce onto pork adn place in oven

Pour sauce over pork and place in oven

6 – Remove from oven and transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 5 minutes. In the meantime add the spinach to the casserole and cover with lid. (it will wilt into the sauce). At this point you can taste the sauce for addition of seasonings. Adjust if necessary.

Remove pork to rest, add spinach

Remove pork to rest, add spinach

7 – After the meat has rested cut into thick slices and transfer back to the casserole.

Return sliced pork to pot

Return sliced pork to pot

Serve with whatever you like: rice, boiled or mashed potatoes, pasta or bread. This is also great served with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper flakes.



Layered Turkey Curry: Great Dinner For Tired Swimmers and Hole Diggers! (serves 6 or more)

I make lots of dinners that can be classified as “curry”, and here is another one I made while at the beach a week ago!

Great Take on Turkey Curry

Great Take on Turkey Curry

Once you have a good curry powder you should feel free to use it in all kinds of dishes, either as the main flavor or used as a subtle background palate pleaser. I toss it into anything that might need a little boost of flavor or to add an aire of complexity to the dish. It has saved many a dinner for me, many a time!

Hole diggers

Hole diggers

For me the spices used to make curry powder are not so much about heat as they are about how they add an exotic twist to something ordinary. Of course you can use a blend that singes your taste buds and numbs your lips if it adds to your enjoyment, and I have certainly gone both ways depending on my mood.

Green Cardamum Pods

Green cardamom pods and seeds

The good thing is that I made sure to scoop a hefty handful of my favorite blend when I packed all things culinary for the beach a couple of weeks ago. I will admit to being one of those people who does not like flying-by-the seat-of-her-pants when it comes to arriving at a rental house for a week in the hopes that the person who stocked the kitchen is as passionate about food as I am. I have learned over the years what the essentials are, and besides coffee and Maldon salt, curry powder is another one of those can’t-live-without ingredients as far as I’m concerned!

Tired Swimmers

Tired Swimmers

I know, there is also a picture of just-opened cardamom pods, and this is because I have discovered how useful a flavor booster they can be when your pantry is paltry!  Anyway, about those little green pods…have you ever bashed one open with a mortar and pestle and taken a whiff? The smell sends you reeling to aromatic heaven. It has a distinctive minty fragrance with rich tar-like overtones. It feels like it gives balance to the heady-ness of curry spices and I love using these little black seeds in everything lately. In other words: they came along to the beach too.

I also packed a giant bag of herbs from my garden!

I also packed a giant bag of herbs from my garden!

The last thing I think is essential when leaving your kitchen for a week or so is a bag of fresh herbs. I find if I have fresh herbs, certain spices, salt and good stock cubes (I packed my trusty Rapunzel Vegetarian cubes with Herbs) I can make the saddest of meat and veggies taste good. Luckily the supermarket was not too shabby so we ate like kings every night.

the beach makes you hungry

The beach makes you hungry

This curry was a sort of experiment as the one thing I forgot was my big work horse of a pan for making one-pot meals. I wanted to make a curry type casserole but could only find a thin roasting/lasagna style pan. I made do, and cooked each thing separately in a small pan on the stove-top and then layered the ingredients as I would a lasagna into the cheap-o pan, topping the whole thing off with a broth-y sauce, and then baking it in the oven.

Hazy and hot

Hazy and hot weather also makes you thirsty!

The result surprised me. It was really an interesting way to cook everything and was supremely delicious. I was glad I had to compromise as it has now freed up my brain into thinking that you don’t have to have the best pan in the world to get great tasting food… although, I must say right now that I will only be parted from my stainless steel all-clad pans when prised from my cold dead fingers!


*This is a great Blood Type A diet Recipe EXCEPT omit the cream and add more broth – Yes there is curry powder but if you use something mild, I say it is fine, unless you are ultra sensitive*

You will need:

olive oil (for frying)

sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

2 lbs turkey breast, sliced

1 medium onion (white, yellow or sweet will do)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 zucchini, cut into large chunks

6 cups baby kale (or chopped regular kale)

10 mushrooms, sliced (white,  crimini or shiitake will work)

4 or so thyme sprigs

4 to 6 green cardamom pods (bashed open and seeds removed and reserved)

2 tbls good quality curry powder (if it has a lot of heat, reduce the amount)

2 tbs all-purpose four

3 cups broth (or 1 good quality bouillon cube, either chicken or vegetarian and water)

1 cup heavy cream

*serve with basmati rice – make enough for 6 people*


Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season meat lightly on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put a big saute pan on high heat and add about 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it is hot brown the meat on both sides, making sure not to crowd the pan as you go. You will need to do this in batches and add more oil as needed.

Sear the turkey

Sear the turkey

2 – Layer the turkey in an evenly in the bottom of a roasting style pan or casserole dish. Scatter the zucchini on top.

Layer turkey, then zucchini

Layer turkey, then zucchini

3 – Turn pan down to medium and add a little more oil, followed by the onions and garlic. saute for 2 or so minutes before adding the sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes. Add the thyme sprigs.

Saute rest of veggies

Saute rest of veggies

4 – Add the curry powder and cardamom seeds and stir everything together for about 1 minute. Add the flour and stir well. Add the liquids 1 cup at a time, adding the cream last. Stir as you go and turn heat up slightly. Cook until mixture begins to bubble. Turn off heat. Taste sauce for addition of salt and pepper.

Add curry powder and liquids

Add curry powder and liquids

5 – Sprinkle kale in an even layer on top of the zucchini and then do the same with the onion and mushroom mixture. Pour the sauce over everything and place in preheated oven for about 40 to 45 minutes.

Add baby kale, then veggie mixture

Add baby kale, then veggie mixture

6 – Remove from oven and let the dish rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Add sauce, then bake

Add sauce, then bake

Serve as is or with your favorite starch: bread, rice or pasta!

Serve on its own or with rice

Serve on its own or with rice

Lamb with Scalloped Potato and Mushroom Pie Casserole (serves 4-6)

This was a truly wonderful lamb dish. If you like lamb well-enough, you will love it after trying this!

Truly a great lamb dinner!

This dish came about because I wanted something fabulous to go with some morel mushrooms my friend Tom had found in the woods by his house. I got a phone call to tell me the news and I was so excited that I bought some expensive meat and some cream to make a rich sauce for the morels to languish in! Anyway to make a long story short, I did not end up using them in this dish for one reason or another, and, that may be a good thing. (I am writing a post about my morels next!). If I had used them instead of  the ordinary white button mushrooms you would perhaps never have had an opportunity to try this recipe (being that they are difficult to come by and cost an obscene amount of money). That would be a great tragedy as I actual don’t see how this dish could have turned out better!


You will need: 2 1/2 lbs lamb shoulder, cut into big chunks (you may be able to find it already cut. It will be marked “stewing lamb”), 3 tbs olive oil,  1 medium sweet onion, diced, 8 medium yellow, white or red potatoes, cut in half, 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, left whole,  1 vegetable stock cube, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup water, coarse sea-salt, freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat oven 375*

Seasoned lamb ready for searing..

1 – Put lamb chunks in big bowl and season with 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt (if your salt is not coarse just add 1 tsp), several good grinds of pepper and the chopped garlic. Mix everything together. Set aside until ready to sear.

2 – Put halved potatoes in pot and cover with cold water. Place on stove top with lid and when it comes to a boil, time for 10 minutes. The will still be undercooked, but not hard. Drain in colander. When the are cool enough to handle (you can be doing other tasks like chopping onions and mushrooms or searing lamb?) peel, slice thickly and set aside.

Sear lamb in batches..

3 – In big saute pan sear meat on high heat in olive oil. Do not add meat until pan and oil are hot. Sear in a single layer and don’t crowd the pan or the meat will not brown! (A little patience required)

saute onions, garlic, rosemary and bouillon cube..

4 – When meat is done, turn heat down and cook the onions for 5 minutes. Add garlic, bouillon cube and rosemary sprigs and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

5 – Add the cream and water and stir. Continue to cook until it comes to a simmer. Turn off pan.

Assemble casserole: In heavy casserole pot rub about 1/2 tbs unsalted butter inside pot. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes on the bottom, followed by 1/2 of the raw sliced mushrooms. Add 1 cup of sauce from pan, along with a nice portion of the onion mixture and 1 of the rosemary sprigs.

Layer potatoes, mushrooms, sauce, onions and rosemary sprig..

Next add all the lamb, followed by potatoes, mushrooms and the rest of the sauce. Cover and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

The sauce was perfect with the lamb..

Serve on warmed plates with some greens. (We had it with sautéed spinach)