Autumn is here and it is seriously getting colder with each passing day! When it comes to food in autumn, it seems like everyyybody, and I mean EVERYBODY gets gaga for pumpkins. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pies, pumpkin every freaking thing! I have to admit though, never had a pumpkin spiced latte, is it really as good as it is hyped up to be? I'm afraid of getting wildly disappointed lol. One thing I realized over the years was that pumpkins are very popularly eaten as a dessert—when I first started working, our office has an annual Thanksgiving potluck. Of course, me being extra when it comes to food, I decided to put a spin on cooking pumpkin by making things like Thai pumpkin laksa curry with noodles, or this past year, braised pumpkin with chicken and shiitake mushrooms. While my coworkers enjoyed my pumpkin dishes, many had never had pumpkin cooked in a savory way before, which was a surprise to me because I grew up eating pumpkin in savory dishes way more than sweets! I've had pumpkin with rice, in soups, braised with assorted meats and vegetables, and it is just so comforting and warming.
Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a braised Japanese kabocha pumpkin, chicken and shiitake mushroom stew. It's SOO good ladled over a bowl of rice and Wilson loves this dish whenever I make it! Japanese kabocha pumpkin is more dense and sweet than the pumpkins in the US and are available at most Asian supermarkets. If you don't have access to kabocha, you can substitute the recipe with a regular pumpkin, but it's definitely yummier with the Japanese kabocha.
Typically I like to cook this dish was dark meat like chicken thighs, drumettes or wings, depending on my mood. The dark meat is much more succulent in this braised dish and there is something about the way that the sauce holds onto the meat that is just so satisfying, especially when you eat the wings and suck on the bones, haha! (gotta love our wings). For this recipe, I used the chicken drumsticks and wings leftover from carving a whole chicken, using the breast meat for another dish and using the dark meat for this stew.
Sometimes if I want to make this dish with chicken breast, I do a light marinade of salt, white pepper, sesame oil and cornstarch with it and do a quick stir fry to seal in the juices and to keep the meat tender. Then, you cook the pumpkin separately and add in the chicken towards the end to prevent the chicken from overcooking.
Chicken + marinade:
We hope you like this homey and comforting dish during the chilly autumn and winter seasons!
Until next time,
Rosemary fig jam bbq braised pork rib sandwich with celery, onions and carrots 🍖🍞🥕 I made this on a whim using what we had in the fridge and wanting an easy weekday dinner. Literally chopped everything up, threw it in the pot and let it go til we got home to eat after work.
Marinated the pork rib ends the night before then I tossed everything in before I went to work, set it on delay start so that it would be ready when we got home! Then added a nice fig jam BBQ sauce on top, broiled for a quick minute and put between two crispy garlic toast 😍 Love the sweetness of the fig that comes through in the sauce, and a kick from the hot sauce too!
Honestly instant pot is like my new best friend for braising meat. It makes my life so much easier and the meat is always juicy and tender, whether it be chicken, pork or beef! The celery, carrots and onions were also super soft from the pressure cooking and we just piled it up in the sandwich with the pork after removing the bones (it literallt falls out of the meat because it is so tender)! This sandwich would probably go well with some crisp cole slaw too!
PORK & MARINADE
• 3 Pork loin end ribs
• 1/2 tbsp worcestshire sauce
• 3 teaspoon salt
• 2 tsp black pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped scallions
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1/2 tbsp paprika
• 1/2 tbsp oregano
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic chopped
• 1 large chopped carrot
• 3 stalks chopped celery
• 1/2 chopped onion
• 6 cloves garlic chopped
• 1 cup low sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
SAUCE FOR RIBS
• 1/3 cup fig jam
• 1/4 cup BBQ sauce of choice, we used Sweet Baby Ray's
• 2 tbsp hot sauce (we used Frank's red hot)
Eat the meat and veggies in a sandwich and enjoy!
Until next time,
I am up to my noodley shenanigans again! Today I am sharing a Braised Beef Noodle Soup. I feel apprehensive calling this a Taiwanese Braised Beef Noodle Soup, since the recipe is really a combination of a bunch of recipes I've tried in the past and have tweaked over time to suit our tastes, but essentially it would be best related to Taiwanese beef noodles--although I'm sure a purist would say otherwise. Bay leaves are not usually part of the recipe, but I find that it gives a little somethin' somethin' to it. I also find that other recipes have more star anise and use spicy bean paste for the telltale spice kick, but after a few times of recipe testing, we found that we weren't fond of the heavy licorice flavor of star anise in our broth, and that spicy bean paste often ended up being too spicy (at least for my husband, who is decidedly weak against spice haha). I tend to add some chili paste on top of my noodles before I eat, and it tastes just as good!
I developed a love for beef noodle soup when I stayed in Taiwan for a few weeks as a tween/teenager and again when I went on a mom and daughter trip back in 2014. I stayed with my cousins and my aunt once took me to a place not far from her home in Taipei that sold affordable, homemade and delicious beef noodle soup. I remember the steaming pots of beef broth, assorted beef cuts including brisket, shank, tripe and tendon being scooped up to be placed on top of freshly boiled noodles. You could smell the broth and beef as you approached the restaurant from outside. Taiwan is hot and humid, especially during the summer, but you will still see plenty of people queuing up for a good bowl of beef noodle soup on any day. This dish is so popular that you'll see it in restaurants, street vendors and even at the airport!
The photos below were taken back in 2014 when I went to Taiwan with my mom and we revisited the same beef noodle shop near my aunt's home! Look at all the honeycomb tripe, beef tongue and beef tendon!! Yummm! Next to it is a photo of a bowl of beef noodle soup we ate at the airport in Taipei. Even for airport food, the noodles were super nice and chewy, flavorful broth and large chunks of soft beef. Ah the memories ♥🍜
I tend to pair this recipe with my handmade noodles (super easy to make) but if I'm pressed for time or too lazy, I will use store bought (either fresh flour noodles or the dried kinds). You can even use instant noodles if you wish!
As for the beef, I truly recommend using beef shank over other cuts of beef. It is an affordable cut of meat, is fatty and has tendon throughout, so after cooking in the Instant Pot, that fat and collagen from the tendon is infused and melted into your beef stock broth to be super unctuous and delightfully beefy. No beef bones needed for an intensely flavorful broth.
INGREDIENTS: 6 servings
We make this so often at home because you can just toss everything into the pot and have it set to start on its own so that when we get home from work, we just have to boil noodles and throw everything together within minutes! Comforting, warm, and slurpy beefy noodle goodness. Enjoy!
Until next time,
Just a girl, her husband and two dogs who love food ♥❤🐶👫🐶❤♥