East-meets-West Pilau

Sometimes I look in my fridge and realize that the various leftover ingredients from previously prepared meals really need to be finished now. Today, I had half a bottle gourd, 125 grams of mushrooms and some ground meat with due date today. How to blend that together into something tasty…?

Now, pilau is one of those nice toss-it-all-in dishes, so here it is: East-meets-West Pilau!

I used:
40 gr butter
1 fresh red chili pepper, sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dhana jeeru
125 gr mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
150 gr bottle gourd, cubed (small)
325 gr ground beef
1 tsp maple syrup
2 cups rice
3 cups water

And this, my trusty rice cooker:

The preparation is simple: melt the butter in a skillet over a low flame, and sauté the pepper and garlic in about 5 minutes. Next, stir in the salt and dhana jeeru, then add the mushroom and stir occasionally over the next 5 minutes until the mushrooms are nice and tender. Now you add the bottle gourd and stir it through. Stir occasionally over the next 10-15 minutes. When the bottle gourd is tender, add the ground beef and let it cook until the meat is done. Then, the Canadian – the Western – touch: add the maple syrup and stir it through thoroughly. And finally you stir through the uncooked rice.

Now you can transfer the mixture to the rice cooker and add the water. The work will do itself.

Sit back, relax and when the rice cooker is done, you can eat!

I love an easy meal…

Pasta with chanterelles and cream

My parents just came back from a brief vacation in Switzerland and they brought me a little present: 225 grams of fresh chanterelles. I love chanterelles. Naturally, I wanted to do them justice, so I looked up some recipes in South-Tirol cookbooks and some special mushroom cookbooks and they pretty much all seemed to agree: chanterelles are best prepared using cream. Not a problem, I really like cream too!
First order of business then: sorting out the rest of the ingredients:

225 gr chanterelles
25 gr butter
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 dried bay leaf
60 ml white wine, dry
250 ml (soy) cream
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt

The chanterelles need to be cleaned; the best way to do this is to brush the dirt off them lightly, then wash them in cold water and lay them out on a towel to dry.
The smaller chanterelles can stay intact, but the bigger ones should be cut into smaller pieces.

Aside from chopping the onion, garlic and parsley and grinding the pepper, that’s really all the prep you’ll need for this dish.

Next, melt the butter in a skillet on a low flame, then sautée the onion and garlic in it. After a few minutes, the onions should be glazed and golden, then it’s time to add the bay leaf, stir, and pour in the white wine.

Now you can add the main ingredient, the thing we’ve all been waiting for, ladies and gentlemen: the chanterellles!

I’m sorry, I got a little carried away there. Moving on… Stir the chanterelles in thoroughly, then add the cream and stir well. Leave it to stand on a low flame, stirring occasionally, for about 20-25 minutes.

After that time, the cooking liquid should have reduced somewhat. Finally, add in the parsley, salt and pepper.

Leave the dish to stand for about five minutes more after you’ve added these last few ingredients.

I like to serve this sauce over spaghetti, but of course you can use your pasta of choice. There are certainly plenty to choose from!

As they say in South-Tirol: buon appetito (or guten Appetit, if you should prefer to speak German there)!