Monday, October 18, 2010

Apricot-Corn Chutney and Cilantro Sauce: Two Sauces Make a Great Meal

Gavin and I are looking to buy our first house together. A fun, but somewhat overwhelming, process. We want something that's in a great neighborhood, reasonablely priced and will accommodate the family we want to have. But most importantly, it must have a good kitchen. Not only do I spend, what feels like, most of my life in the kitchen, but a kitchen is truly the heart of any home. No matter how nice your dining room or living room, people always end up in the kitchen. We love to have people over for dinner or drinks and we always congregate around the bar area in our apartment's kitchen. This works out great for me since I'm usually making something or putting the finishing touches on appetizers or dinner for my friends. This way I get to hang out with everyone while I'm cooking. So for us, an open kitchen with plenty of space for sitting, gathering, talking is a must.
Because I spend so much time in the kitchen, I try to keep things interesting by making new things. For one, new recipes give me something to write about. And for another, no matter how much I love to cook, I get bored by doing the same things over and over. Since we try not to eat a lot of red meat and stick with leaner proteins like fish, pork and chicken, I have to get even more creative with how I prepare them. Chicken is a great, lean protein as it acts like a blank sheet with endless possibilities for preparation.
However, there are times when breading, or spice-crusting, a piece of chicken just isn't enough. Most people consider chicken a staple of their weekly dinners. It's healthy and can be made in so many ways that it can be made more often than most meats. However, even with a ton of recipe options, chicken can get boring. Sometimes, the best thing to do is focus on the things surrounding the chicken and use it as merely a base for other unique flavors. This apricot and corn chutney does just that. It's sweet and savory at the same time and takes a plain piece of baked chicken to a whole new level. This chutney is good enough to use one day over chicken and the next day spread on a turkey sandwich: think turkey with cranberry sauce, a classic combo. This chutney would also work well with pork tenderloin or a firm, white fish like grouper or cod. If you want to get even more creative, you can also make this simple cilantro sauce. The two sauces compliment each other wonderfully and make for a unique meal, even if it is the third time you've had chicken that week.

Apricot and Corn Chutney
  • 8 oz dried apricots
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cups corn kernels, from about 4 ears of corn
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp champagne vinegar (apple cider vinegar would also work)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425F. Rub canola oil onto bell pepper.
Roast pepper on a cookie sheet or in a small pan for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until skin begins to blister.
Place the pepper in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit until it cools enough to handle.
Remove skin and seeds from pepper and roughly chop.
Soak apricots in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes. Drain and thinly slice.
Blanch the corn kernels in boiling salted water for one minute. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking.
Drain corn and mix together with roasted pepper and apricots.
Stir in olive oil and vinegar.
Puree about 1/4 of the mixture in a food processor.
Add the pureed mixture back into the chutney. Mix in parsley and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Can be made a few hours ahead of time; cover and chill until ready to use.

For a printable recipe click here

Cilantro Sauce
  • 1 bunch parsley, stems removed (less 1 tbsp for chutney)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
In a food processor, combine parsley, cilantro, pine nuts, lemon zest and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Puree for a few minutes to let everything combine.
With the processor running, stream in olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency: not a thick pesto but not runny.
Add remaining lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

For a printable recipe click here

Recipes adapted from the Gluten Free Girl's cookbook

No comments:

Post a Comment