Photos on Fine Fettle Kettle are originals taken by Miriam Latour and under copyright protection.
Recipes are the creation of Miriam Latour, unless otherwise indicated.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Navajo Fry Bread with Ground Lamb

For a short time as a kid, I had a foster sister who grew up on the Navajo reservation in Utah. She taught us to make fry bread. When she made it, she grabbed the ingredients with her hands and didn't measure precisely, so I've had to make guesses at the measurements for this blog. The Navajo raise sheep and eat a lot of lamb in their dishes.

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tblsp powdered milk
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup water

Sift the dry ingredients and combine with the water until they form a sticky dough. You don't need to knead the dough. Dump onto a floured surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece and fry in hot canola oil until bubbly and brown.

For the filling (and I apologize that this is even more imprecise than the dough):

1 lb chipped or ground lamb
5 cloves crushed garlic
1 chopped onion
1 cup pre-cooked black beans
2 tsp cumin
1 T chili powder
Salt & Pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro
(All seasonings can be added to taste. Traditional Navajo cooking generally uses just the onion and garlic with salt and pepper.)

Top with lettuce, more fresh cilantro, tomatoes, cheese, etc.

If you are a vegetarian, you can try fry bread with smashed, cooked beans seasoned with your favorite herbs and spices.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Potage Saint-Germain

Potage Saint-Germain is French pea soup made from fresh peas, scallions, sherry, and a tiny bit of cream. I love this soup! It's so refreshing and delicate. It's nothing like the heavy split pea soup with potatoes and the overwhelming flavor of salty ham that many people serve. Why is it that people throw bacon or ham into everything and consume the natural flavor of the dish with salt, fat and nitrates? I've never quite understood why someone would take a perfectly wonderful cut of beef and wrap it in cheaply-flavored bacon, for example. Or why would anyone infuse a delicious seafood chowder with bacon, overwhelming the flavor of the fish?

I'm glad to say that Potage Saint-Germain allows you to taste the natural sweetness of the peas. It really is a wonderful early course in a meal, or as a light meal.

This recipe makes 2 bowl-size portions, or 4 small portions and is taken from a combination of several pea soup recipes I found during some research.

2 shallots, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups fresh green peas, shelled (frozen can be used when peas aren't in season)
2 Tbsp dry sherry
1 clove garlic, crushed
Fresh basil & rosemary (to taste)
1/4 bay leaf
1/2 cup half & half
Cream for garnish (optional)
Baked flavored croutons for garnish (optional)

Saute the shallots and garlic in butter until soft. Add vegetable broth, peas and remaining ingredients (except cream) and allow to simmer for 12 minutes.

Add Half & Half and blend until smooth

Reheat and serve hot. Swirl in cream and top with croutons, if desired.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chipotle Pepper Beans

I'm not really a fan of the type of beans served at a barbecue that for some reason have syrupy sugary stuff poured all over them... or maybe a bit of pork fat mixed in along with some sickly sweet barbecue sauce from a bottle. I like sweets. I like them a lot. I even know of some desserts that combine sugar and beans. But serving beans drenched in sugar as a side dish to artificially flavored weeners should be left for special occasions... like maybe a White Trash costume party.

These beans get their flavor from fresh herbs, garlic, onions and various peppers. You can control the heat. If you like spicy, lay it on. If not, go easy on the spice.

Bring to a boil, then simmer until beans are about half done:
3 cups dried beans (your choice)
2 1/2 quarts water
4-6 fresh sage leaves
3 bay leaves

Saute until done:
3 T olive oil
2 diced onions
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 -3 diced peppers (jalapeño, bell, Anaheim... depends on how spicy you like it)
Chipotle pepper paste (or powder) to taste
1 Tblsp Cumin seeds, crushed

Combine onion mixture with beans and cook for another hour or until beans are done. Right before serving add:
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

Ever wondered what "chipotle" is exactly? Well... it is a smoked jalapeño pepper. The idea came from Mexico sometime before the Aztecs.