Jollaf rice with beef and onion

Jollaf rice is a West African rice dish – this version hails from Nigeria. And it’s bonkers good. Here’s my take for doing it at home. First you have to make Obe Ata. It’s a spicy, saucy base used in a lot of Nigerian and West African cooking. Similar, but not the same as Harissa.

OBE ATA

  • 3 jalapeños or 1 habanero, destemmed
  • 1 red, orange or yellow pepper, broken down, seeds removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a red onion
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 8 oz whole canned tomatoes
  • 1 tbs avocado oil

Use about a cup of the Obe Ata in rice, freeze the rest for later. This should yield two cups.

JOLLAF RICE

  • 1.5 cups rice, basmati unwashed (trust me)
  • 2.5 cups chicken, beef, or veggie stock
  • Splash of liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 lb sliced beef (sirloin, chuck, boneless short rib all good choices)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika, sweet or smoked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp savory dried herbs or 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme

** preheat oven to 350 degrees ** While your Obe Ata cooks, fry the beef, reserve. Then soften onions in the same heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Once softened, reserve about Half, then add Garlic (Cook about a minute, then add tomato paste, spices). Cook another few minutes keeping food from burning with splashes of stock or water.

Add stock, stir

Add herbs, stir

Add Obe Ata, stir

Add rice, stir

Add reserved beef, stir

Cover lid, add to stove and cook for 40 min.

Remove and let sit for 15 min – DO NOT PEEK

– after 15 min, add the reserved onion, fluff, do not stir rice.

Top with chopped parsley or cilantro – serve immediately

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Indoor grilled pork chops

The chops are the easy part.

First, make sure you’re set up to grill indoors. I live in New York City in a 50s era brick Brooklyn building. Suffice it to say, i have a gas oven. It’s taken me years to perfect indoor grilling – and i finally have! The trick? Use an UNSEASONED (i can not stress this enough) cast iron griddle with deep grates, and grill INSIDE your oven, directly on the bottom on top of the gas broiler below the oven floor. Not on the stove top. By grilling in your oven, you are closer replicating the heat radiation you get when grilling over coals than cooking with only direct heat from your stove. Also by opening and closing the oven door, you can mirror the convention effect of a lid. All in all, this is THE way to grill in your teeny tiny NYC kitchen all year long. You’re welcome! Never use oil directly on the grill. Make sure your protein or veg has a good coating of oil, but not too much or it’s smoke city.

Okay now to the chops. Opt for bone in if you can. Get a quality piece of pork – if you’re cooking with a gas stove chances are you live close enough to a butcher or farmers market – do it.

For the marinade I opt to dress a few hours ahead of time.

  • Fish sauce, 1 tbsp per 2 chops.
  • Acid (lemon or rice vinegar), 2 tsp per 2 chops.
  • Oil (avocado, olive or any high heat cooking oil) 2 tbsp per 2 chops.
  • Spices (mix of all or some ground cumin, coriander, paprika, black pepper, 5 spice, cayenne, garlic powder, turmeric, red pepper flake, allspice) roughly a tbsp per 2 chops. Optional.
  • Aromatics (all or some of crushed garlic, fresh ginger, lemongrass) an ounce or two per two chops. Optional.
  • Liquid smoke, 2 tsp. Optional.

Toss chops in marinade in a bag or dish, coat well. Set in fridge for later.

When you’re ready to grill – remove chops 30 min before cooking. Add skillet to bottom of oven, removing top grates. Preheat oven to 450. When the grill is hot and the chops are ready, Add chops to the grill pan, do not move or crowd. Close oven and cook for about 5 min. Turn using tongs. Grill another 5 min and test internal temp. Should be about 140-150 degrees (135 if boneless). Remove. Rest for 5-10 min. Serve.

Chicken Larb Patties

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken breasts or 4-6 chicken thighs
  • 2-3 tbsp of schmaltz, lard, bacon fat or avocado oil
  • 2-3 jalapeños or Thai chilis, deseeded and deribbed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp ginger, minced
  • 8-10 sprigs of cilantro, minced
  • 4 scallions or a handful of chives, minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced

Instructions

Cut chicken into 1.5×1.5 inch cubes, lay on a sheet in freezer and allow to stiffen up for an hour or so.

While the chicken is in the freezer, prep your other ingredients. Using a knife to coarsely chop all your ingredients into 1-1.5 inch units. Add chilis, garlic, ginger, and herbs to food processor and blend till well minced.

Reserve minced ingredients to a medium mixing bowl.

Measure out your fat and liquid ingredients. 2-3 tbsp of fat depending on the amount of chicken you are using. Pour all liquid ingredients into one bowl, reserve.

Time to mince your meat. Take the semi-frozen chicken cubes out of the freezer and add them in a 1-1.5 inch layer to your cleaned out processor.  Work in batches for more precision. Pulse for a second on, second off until the meat has reached desired consistency. AVOID MAKING A PASTE.

ADD minced meat to bowl of minced ingredients. Add fat and liquid. Mix gently with a spatula or with your hands. Don’t overwork the meat. Add about 2 tspns of both salt and pepper for seasoning.

Form patties with your hands, being sure to make a bit of dip impression with your thumbs in the middle.

Over a medium high cast iron skillet or griddle, add about a tbsp of avocado or olive oil, allow to get hot, then add patties in batches being sure not to overcrowd the pan.

Cook for about 3-4 minutes on one side, flip, cook for another 2 or so minutes then add to a 400 degree oven for a final 5 minutes. I use an instant read thermometer and make sure they render at 165-175 degrees in the middle before I serve.

Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes then serve as desired.

Serve with:

  • Iceburg lettuce wrap or potato bun with picked veggies and Kewpie Mayo and Sriracha
  • Ramen noodles topped with soft boiled egg and sliced scallions
  • On top of steamed roasted veggies like red peppers, onions, water chestnuts  and rice
  • Instead of making patties, roll into small balls and make dumplings or pot stickers
  • Use pork or beef shoulder/chuck instead and skip the added fat

Apartment Pot Roast

  • 2-3 lbs beef eye chuck roast, tied
  • 2 large golden Yukon potatoes, medium cubes
  • 3 medium carrots, 2 large sliced for roasting, 1 diced
  • 1 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 large onion, thin sliced
  • 1 large celery stick , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 5-10 pepper corns
  • 5-10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire or fish sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1.25 cup homemade chicken stock
    Season roast 1-24 hours before cooking with salt and pepper.
    Preheat oven 325-350F.
    Pat dry then sear roast medium high all over in a pot or Dutch oven in high heat oil. 10 min.
    Reserve roast and add all vegetables except larger carrot and potatoes. Medium heat.
    Season, sauté veg over low for 3 min then add flour, stirring for 3-5 more min. Then add thyme, pepper corns and bay. stir on med heat for a few more min to cook flour well.
    Add broth, vinegar and Worcestershire, stir. Bring to gentile boil then simmer.
    Add roast to pot. Cover, then place in oven for 2 hours, turning and checking roast every 30 min.
    Once roast is very tender (a little piece can be torn from a corner) remove roast and strain gravy of all veg, pushing on the veggies to get as much moisture out as possible.
    Add the strained gravy back to the pan, then add the potatoes and carrots. Add roast back to pot. Cook for 45 min. Check for done-ness with the tip of a knife.
    Remove kitchen string from beef. Allow meat to rest for 10 min before slicing and serving.
    Top plates with extra gravy and freshly chopped parsley.

Shukshuka

    • 2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped
    • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp toasted coriander seed, ground
    • 2 tsp toasted cumin seed, ground
    • 1 tbsp Sweet Hungarian paprika, ground
    • 1 small jalapeño, chopped
    • 1 tbsp Hungarian Hot Paprika paste
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 fresh tomato, chopped
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 tbsp Salt
    • 1 tbsp Pepper
    • 3-5 large handfuls spinach or hearty green
    • 3-5 Oz.Goat cheese, canelles
    • 3-6 eggs
    • 2-3 oz of extra virgin oil
  • You can use a food processor to speed up the process but you’ll get less uniform bell peppers. My tip: use a knife to chop the bell peppers into the shape you like – but use a food processor for everything else. Even the spices. It is a stew after all.
  • Chopped parsley and fresh or preserved lemon to garnish. Serve with toasted loaf of bread, sliced.

    1. Mix chicken stock with all spices and pastes, reserve.
    2. Sauté onions med-low in EVOO, season, cook for 5-10 min.
    3. Add bell peppers and tomato season, sauté another 5-10 minutes.
    4. Add garlic and jalapeño, cook for another few min then add paste-spice mixture, stir.
    5. Cook on simmer covered for 20-25 min.
    6. Add goat cheese, crack eggs and nest half the spinach in the stew.
    7. Cover, cook another 5-10 min. Top with parsley and serve with lemon and toasted crusty bread.