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Salsa verde chicken on Red cabbage-apple

This dish is a low carb, tasty and easy to make, it’s overall flavor is sweet and sour and let’s face it… it doesn’t hurt the eyes to look at. I’ve used a lean meat on top, chicken breast, with a Spanish salsa verde, but it could easily be a pork tenderloin or else. The main idea here is the reversed braised apple and red cabbage side dish. I tend to always add rice, potato or pasta in my plates but lately, I’ve been trying to cut it out and one of the best way I’ve found was cabbage. Cabbage is somehow more filling than most veggies, I believe, and it just goes perfectly with any type of meat. Plus, you can easily change the aromatics in there, for example a caraway and cider vinegar flavored cabbage for a german style cabbage (check my recipe), or a simple thyme, garlic, braised with tomatoes and olive oil for a mediterranean flavor, etc. This one I would call it a french version, I’ve added white wine, butter, onions and lots of apples with a laurel leave. So cabbage is quite versatile, tastewise.redcabbagepin

 

Braising Cabbage

Salsa verde chicken on Red cabbage-appleLet’s talk braising a minute… I know braising means to usually start by frying and then cooking slowly in a bit of liquid. For my cabbage, I do it the reversed way; I start by the moist bath and then in the end, finish the cabbage at high heat with a touch of butter to give its taste. In other words, it’s kind of a reverse braising I do with cabbage. I believe it helps control the liquid amount to perfection, especially if you want a dry cabbage result, so you cook the cabbage until all the liquid evaporates, then add a touch of butter and fry to give it this braised taste. Most recipe I see out have extra sugar… For this version, I’ve lighten things up a little, by cutting on the butter and sugar. Actually there is no sugar whatsoever in there, except in the apples themselves.

 

The chicken

The chicken breast is a simple, oven baked, with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. Just because… sometimes, simple is better. The powerful Spanish salsa verde, which top the chicken, is the perfect kick for this dish, a garlicky-parsley olive oil concoction. Since the garlic isn’t cooked, use this sauce in small amounts, you’ll see it bring a whole dish to some other level, for the once that love bold tastes, you can add some extra salsa verde, but I suggest a touch only to begin with.

Let’s make this healthy and colorful low-carb dish!

 


Braised Apple-Red Cabbage with Chicken Breast and Spanish Salsa Verde

Makes 4 portions | Difficulty: easy | Preparation: 10 minutes | Coccion: 25 minutes

Ingredients
The braised cabbage
  • 1 red cabbage sliced
  • 2 apples (sweet ones) cut into small cubes
  • 1 small onion finely slices
  • 30g of butter
  • 50ml of white wine
  • 50ml of vegetable broth or water
  • laurel leave
  • salt and pepper (don’t be shy)
The chicken and salsa verde
  • 2 chicken breast
  • flat leave parsley (about 25 leaves)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100ml of olive oil + extra for the chicken breast
  • salt and pepper
Directions

Preheat the oven at 180°C (350F)

  1. Start with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper on the chicken breast, cook in the oven at 180°C (350) for 25 minutes
  2. In a large pan, add the onions, apples, laurel leave and half the butter, cook for a minute at high heat (just to soften them up)
  3. Add the cabbage on top, don’t mix, plus the wine, water, salt and pepper, cook at medium-low heat, covered, for 10 minutes
  4. Uncover and mix the cabbage, let cook at medium high heat until no more liquids (about 5 minutes)
  5. When the liquid is gone add the other half of butter and cook at high heat for a minute or two.
  6. In the mortar or small blender, add the parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix until a green paste (not too long with the blender)
  7. Serve half a precut chicken breast on a bed of the red cabbage and top with a small amount of salsa verde

 

Enjoy!

Salsa verde chicken on Red cabbage-apple

blueberry Galta

Blueberry pork cheek on a vinegar braised cabbage bed is such a long title for such a simple dish. The inspiration here was a concoction I found in “Tigidou” store on the Orleans Island by Quebec city; a blueberry maple concoction. I’ve build the dish around this delicious concoction.blueberrygaltapin

Pork cheeks are such a tasty part and so tender when cooked for a while at low temperature. They are always juicy and filled with flavors and so easy to make. The problem is to find them in the store, so whether you know a kind butcher that doesn’t keep those gems to himself or are lucky enough to know a store where to get those low priced cuts.The cheeks are relatively a small amount of meat, so I suggest to calculate 2 cheeks per person for the house’s carnivores. If your butcher is asking you with or without the bone, I suggest to keep the bone, first; it helps give flavour to the sauce, second it comes right off at the end of coccion, third it helps to keep the piece of meat in a way better shape, but that last one is purely esthetic.

blueberry GaltaAs for the cabbage, I’ve done a braised in cider vinegar white cabbage with a few caraway seeds to accompany the pork. The vinegar will caramelize the cabbage and give it a richer bite. I’m always searching ways to cut on carbs, so this way, you get plenty of cabbage to fill you up without an ounce of carbs in sight. Often those alternatives to gluten or carbs elements are too light and you end up not feeling satisfied in the end of the meal, but with this cabbage, you’ll be content after diner.

So let’s cook this gluten free / low carb dish!


Blueberry pork cheek on a vinegar braised cabbage bed

Makes 4 portions

Ingredients
The braised cheeks
  • calculate 1 to 2 pork cheeks per person
  • 750ml of chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 laurel leave
  • salt and pepper
The blueberry concoction
  • 100g blueberries
  • 50ml of maple syrup
  • salt
blueberry GaltaThe braised cabbage
  • 1 white cabbage finely sliced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 garlic clove chopped
  • 100ml of chicken broth 
  • 30g butter
  • 50ml of cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp of caraway seeds
  • salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Start by having some salt and pepper to the cheeks
  2. Add the olive oil to a deep enough skillet and sear the cheeks on both side, high heat
  3. Add the broth until the pork pieces are almost covert and bring to simmer
  4. Add the aromatics; laurel leave, pepper
  5. Let simmer gently for 2 hours, at low heat, turn them and scratch the bottom with a wooden spatula once in a while
  6. 30 minutes before the end of the cheeks coccion, start the braised cabbage, cook the onion, at medium-high heat in the butter until soften, about 5 minutes
  7. Add the garlic and the cabbage, the broth, the vinegar and the caraway seeds,
  8. Let cook at medium high heat, covered, until soften for 15 minutes
  9. Add the salt and pepper
  10. Let the liquid evaporate completely and caramelize lightly the cabbage, reserve
  11. Take out the cheeks from the broth, reserve with the warm cabbage, keep warm or covered
  12. Pass the leftover from the cheeks broth through a sieve and back on high heat to reduce until it covers lightly the back of a spoon, the larger the pan the faster it will be (about 5 minutes)
  13. Make the blueberry concoction by mixing the blueberries, the maple syrup and a touch of salt
  14. Take off the bones from the cheeks if any, it should come right off
  15. Serve the cheeks on a bed of the braised cabbage, add the sauce reduction and top with the blueberry concoction.

Enjoy!

blueberry Galta

A braised rabbit covered with an unctuous chocolate sauce with a touch of wine served on a thick mashed potatoes bed. A recipe of Catalan influence.A braised rabbit covered with an unctuous chocolat-y sauce and a touch of wine served on mashed potatoes to have a nice romantic evening. Based on a traditional Catalan recipe.

chocolate rabbit

This is a creation inspired by a Catalan dish called Conejo al chocolate, which means rabbit in chocolate. This version is slightly different than the traditional recipe from Catalonia, Spain. I know the Basques have there own version also, with brandy instead of wine. In Catalonia they use fortified wine called “Rancio” to make it, a bit similar to porto. To make this recipe easier to reproduce at home I’ve just used a normal wine, but a porto would do too. It makes the dish in the end a bit less sweet which personally I prefer.

Rabbit recipes are great but often underrated because just like chicken breasts the meat is so lean… cooking it the wrong way will dry it out fast and ruin it. For this recipe, no worries, it is a kind of stew so it won’t dry out the meat.

I’ve picked up the rabbit at my favourite market, as always, and asked the lady what she does with the heads. “Is there anything to eat in it or is it for broth making only?“she recommended to eat the cheeks and tongue, and then said you either love it or hate it, it’s a black or white thing… So, after the cooking process, I’ve tried both and it surprisingly was a “grey” situation in my case…the cheeks, I’ve loved! A super tender and tasty part. As for the tongue… ouf! I’ll have to work on that one… I need a good tongue recipe to make peace with it, open invitations to share a rabbit tongue here…

chocolate rabbit wine braised easter

Chocolate

Chocolate is a great thickener for sauces, although it isn’t used much in cuisines, I guess because of it’s price. My chocolate comes from the Mecca of Chocolate ; Guadeloupe. I’ve visited the “Maison du cacao” last year and couldn’t resist the urge to buy that big 1kg pure cacao brick and cacao butter. They the cacao paste; Gwo Kako, in Creole and they use the cacao butter to cook and also to moisturize their skin… I mean chocolate is so polivalent. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear they grease their cars also with cacao butter over there. While at the museum, they’ve made us a cacao drink with the Gwo Kako, cane sugar and water, never use milk! the lady said, no idea why… and simply with water it was a”out of that world” experience, such a velvety and chocolaty delight! Ok, ok…. enough about that, let’s go back to our recipe…

The Final step
picada
Picada

The final step of the recipe ends with a “picada“, this is “the number one” thing you learn in traditional Catalan cooking class and it makes a big difference to a dish. It’s a really small amount of paste added in the end of the cooking process of a stew or sauce made out of a mix of fresh herbs, nuts, garlic, olive oil, etc. Depending on the recipe you make, sometimes it’s just 2 or more of those finalizing ingredients. It’s a great trick to give your meal a final fresh touch and it also helps thicken the liquid. Usually it’s by hand done in a mortar. The picada stays optional but if you want to make this extra small step it will bring your meal an extra mile! Believe me, this Catalan little secret is well worth the extra 2 minutes of work.

So let’s make that chocolate rabbit!


Rabbit Leg in Wine & Chocolate Sauce

Makes 4 portions | Preparation:

Ingredients
Rabbit
  • braised rabbit4 legs
  • 4 lower part of the loin
  • 250 ml (1 cup) red wine
  • 400 ml (1 1/2 cup) of chicken broth
  • 60g unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 2 carrots cut into dices
  • 8 french shallots finely sliced
  • 1 leek finely sliced
  • 2 garlic clove finely chopped
  • thyme, rosemary, laurel, cinnamon stick, 3 juniper (bouquet garni)
  • a splash of brandy *optional
The picada (the finishing touch)
  • flat-leaves persil to taste
  • 10 almonds
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • 1tbs extra-virgin olive oil
Directions

Bring oven to 180°C (350F)

  1. Start with cleaning your rabbit legs, I cut the extra skin over the bone and push it down to show the bone
  2. Add salt and pepper to the rabbit
  3. In a big iron cast, medium-high heat, brown those rabbit legs 1 minute before adding the loins, cook until golden on each side.
  4. Add all the cut vegetables to the pan, cook at medium-high heat for 2 minutes
  5. Add a splash of Brandy deglaze the bottom of your pot
  6. Add the wine, broth and spices
  7. Bring to a hard simmer, then lower it down to a soft simmer
  8. Insert in the oven, partially covered, for 80 minutes
  9. Take out of the oven, take the pieces of rabbit out and reserve
  10. In a fine strainer filter the sauce into a pan
  11. Add the chocolate and let it melt with the residual heat, put back the rabbit pieces
  12. Add the picada in the last minute (final mix)

Serve on a thick mashed potatoes bed with a few chocolate crumbs on top. Enjoy!