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Winter Cooking: Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

This is the blog post where I announce a triumphant return to blogging on the regular.

Really. This time I mean it. And what better way to start mid-January 2018, than with a recipe for a smoky and delicious chicken goulash? This dish originally comes from Food and Wine Magazine but I’ve played around with it a bit and finally landed on this version. It’s a meal I make at least three or four times throughout the fall and winter. I think it’s best if you can make the goulash earlier in the day, then store it in the fridge for a few hours to let all the flavors meld together and get awesome.

If you don’t have time to do that, no problem, just make the dumplings after you get the broth into your pot and it will still be mighty flavorful. The orange brightens up the earthiness a bit and plays very well with the smoked paprika.

Some of the ingredients are divided and used for different parts of the recipe (half the sour cream for the dumplings, the other half with the chicken; some of the butter in the pan, most in the dumplings), but the diligence in reading through the directions carefully will be rewarded in the end. Promise.

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings

Chicken Goulash with Sour Cream Dumplings
Adapted from Wood and Wine magazine, serves 3-4
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons (divided)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Hungarian paprika
1 tbsp + 2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds (divided)
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
juice of 1 orange
1 cup sour cream (divided)
2 tsp baking powder
Fresh dill, chopped (for garnish)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour. In a deep ovenproof skillet or pot, melt 1 tbsp of the butter with all of the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 7 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the paprikas and 3/4 tsp caraway and cook for 30 seconds. Add the orange juice and 2-1/2 cups of chicken stock. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 10 minutes.

At this point, you can turn the heat off and let the goulash sit for an hour off the heat, or longer in the fridge (overnight, even!) so that the flavors have some time to get to know each other and meld a bit. When you’re ready to keep going, just make the dumplings and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If you do want to just continue on right away, add the sour cream when you add the broth and let the chicken simmer only briefly while you make the dumplings.

To make the dumplings:
In a food processor, pulse the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper, and 1/4 tsp caraway. Pulse in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of the stock with half of the sour cream (1/2 cup) and drizzle over the dry ingredients; pulse until a dough forms.

Stir the other 1/2 cup sour cream into the goulash and bring that back up to a gentle simmer (if the goulash was off heat or in the fridge).

Scoop ten to twelve 3-tablespoon-size mounds of biscuit dough over the chicken (a medium ice cream scoop works great for this). Transfer the pot to the oven and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the biscuits are cooked. Serve the goulash in bowls, spooning the biscuits on top, and garnish with the dill.

National Pumpkin Day: Let’s Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

October 26th is National Pumpkin Day so let’s live it up with this spicy and satisfying soup!

Aside from being just plain delicious, the aroma of roasting squash and then chiles will make your kitchen smell like Fall with a capital F. You can certainly use canned pumpkin here, but there’s something to be said for diy-ing it—the slightly caramelized edges, the satisfaction of scooping out the velvety goodness from the golden pumpkin shells—it’s all part of this soup’s charm. That said, we all have jobs and responsibilities and using canned pumpkin is certainly a valid life choice. I am not judging. Promise.

But after all of the roasting and/or chopping, this soup comes together fairly quickly. Ideal garnishes include fried tortilla strips and chopped cilantro (or maybe even roasted pumpkin seeds or shredded cabbage) and if you want to substitute the pumpkin, an acorn or a butternut squash will do the trick nicely while still keeping the autumn theme intact.

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, Manchego Soup

Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup
About 4 main course . . . → Read More: National Pumpkin Day: Let’s Celebrate with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Manchego Soup

The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

This cake is unlike any other I’ve made. Well, except for the apple cake that it’s based on.

But, here, in this rebooted version, pears replace the apples and pecans replace the walnuts. The pears are peeled and thinly sliced and then mixed into a very light batter. During a second trip into the oven, the brown sugar and pecan topping firms up and turns golden brown, with an almost custardy cake beneath. It’s really pretty amazing.

There may seem to be a number of steps, but don’t fear, it all comes together very easily and the only special gadgets you need are a cake pan and a couple of spatulas. So give this fall dessert a try!

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake

French Pear Cake
About 8 servings; Adapted from the Apple Lady Apple Cake in the Paris Cookbook by Patricia Wells

Cake
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup 1% or 2% milk
3 large pears, cored, peeled, and sliced into thin wedges — I used 2 Anjou and 1 Starkrimson

Topping
1/3 packed . . . → Read More: The Perfect Fall Dessert: French Pear Cake

Oven-Roasted Salmon with Green Romesco Sauce

Salmon with Green Romesco

Romesco, a Spanish pepper and nut-based sauce, is typically made with red bell peppers, producing a bright red and flavorful summery sauce. This version mixes it up a bit with mildly spiced poblano peppers and it’s easily one of my most favorite things to do with poblanos. It’s also suitably fall-ish, in my opinion.

Besides, no matter the season, what’s not to like about roasted peppers, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, and nuts? This romesco recipe is adapted from the cookbook, Grilling for Life by Bobby Flay. But really, I’ll let you in on a little secret–you don’t have to grill anything if you don’t want to. You can of course, but your oven will do all the work quite easily.

Speaking of the oven, the salmon gets a sear in a hot pan, then finishes cooking in that very appliance. When we had this meal, some warm and tender lentils were tossed with a little of the romesco sauce for a great side.

And if you do find yourself with any leftover sauce, it’s especially tasty with pasta with some crumbled goat cheese on top.

Salmon with Green Romesco

Salmon with Green Romesco

Salmon with <span style= . . . → Read More: Oven-Roasted Salmon with Green Romesco Sauce

Three Days in Montana: Roadtripping, Eating, and Drinking in Big Sky Country

Three Days in Montana

I think if I had to live somewhere other than Oregon, I could maybe live in Montana. Maybe. And while I would miss the ocean and the desert of my adopted home state, I would cherish the big blue skies and the quirky mountain towns of the Treasure State.

During a roadtrip to our eventual destination of Fargo, North Dakota we spent a few days in Big Sky Country—it’s an incredibly long state to drive through. Missoula in the western region is almost 350 miles from Billings in the east and once you hit Billings, you still have another 247 miles until you finally come to the North Dakota border.

Watch out for rattlesnakes

If you do find yourself roadtripping along interstates 90 and 94, there are a number of Montana communities that are definitely worth your time, here are a few of them.

Three Forks, Montana

This small town between Butte and Bozeman offers a few things—the historic Sacajawea Hotel, where you’ll be offered a glass of bubbly when you check in. There’s a summer farmers market in Three Forks and a quaint main street for strolling after a bison burger (complete with fire roasted . . . → Read More: Three Days in Montana: Roadtripping, Eating, and Drinking in Big Sky Country