Tuesday, October 20, 2009

African Spicy Red Sauce

In the past few weeks, we have been incredibly busy. Not with the usual, panicked sense which arrives every autumn that winter is coming and we still have a huge "to do" list for work on the exterior of the house. This year other things command our attention and, although time-consuming, they have priority.

Unfortunately, I am spending way less time in the kitchen now. I have a few recipes which I have made and need to tweak a bit before posting (please, watch out for the chocolate-amaretto cheesecake to come up in the next month or so, because it is incredibly wonderful) but this will have to wait.

Occasionally I will get a day where I can spend a couple of hours cooking, and when I do I will make something ahead for future dinners. I've never really done this, but it is quite imperative to do so now.

One recipe which we enjoy is adapted from Cooking Light. African Chicken in Spicy Red Sauce has been a favorite for years. In fact, when I broke my ankle a couple of winters' ago, my wonderful friend Jenni prepared a large casserole of this and brought it over. The entire dish freezes quite well.

This time, however, I just made the sauce. Three times the sauce! But then I froze 8 ounce portions and, when thawed, I just add it to cubed, sauteed chicken breast and veggies, simmer for 15 minutes, and serve over whole wheat couscous garnished with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges. Note that the lemon tang is essential, so if you don't have fresh lemon, sprinkle some juice over the mixture before spooning it over the couscous (or rice).

This easy, and delicious meal, takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

African Spicy Red Sauce

This flavorful Ethiopian-inspired sauce uses Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend. Store extra spice mix covered in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks or freeze for a longer period. Use leftovers on salmon, flank steak, or chicken for fiery flavor.

Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 medium)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Berbere (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes (do not brown), stirring frequently. Add 2 teaspoons Berbere, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, butter, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom; cook 1 minute. Add wine, broth, and tomato paste; stir until well blended.Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or sauce is thickened and reduced just a little. Cool, and refrigerate or freeze for later use.

This makes enough sauce for 4 servings.

CALORIES 373 (24% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 3.6g,mono 2.7g,poly 1.8g); IRON 4mg; CHOLESTEROL 175mg; CALCIUM 72mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.3g; SODIUM 848mg; PROTEIN 53.2g; FIBER 3.6g


2 tablespoons ground red pepper (I used 1-1/2 tablespoons because my new Penzey's ground red pepper was really spicy!)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. After using, store remainder in a small jar in the freezer to keep fresh.

Yield: 1/4 cup (serving size: 1 teaspoon)

CALORIES 6 (30% from fat); FAT 0.2g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.0g,poly 0.1g); IRON 0.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 1.1g; SODIUM 1mg; PROTEIN 0.2g; FIBER 0.5g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2006