Sunday, 20 January 2013

13 & 13 in 2013 - Paprika Pork and Tarragon Chicken

I'm starting a new Page on this blog, which I hope to regularly update with new recipes.

Our family can, like others out there, I suppose, get stuck in a rut when it comes to trying out new dinner ideas. I tend to have a rolling selection of meals that we eat from season to season, depending on the weather, activities, what veggies are available that week, and so on.

For 2013 I am determined to stick to trying a new dinner every fortnight, so a new thing at least every 2 weeks = 13 new dishes for the first half of the year, and 13 for the second. (So, ahem, this is nothing like yet exactly similar to Mrs M's idea which she had first, which you should also look at!)

Disclaimer: I'm having a baby in 9 weeks, so no idea how long this will last, but I said I was determined, didn't I?! Accordingly, I'll try and get as many new dishes in as possible before baby girl comes :-)

1) Paprika Pork ~ 8 Jan 2013

Preparation: I used a Good Food Magazine recipe for this, which is always a tried and trusted source. I had some diced pork in the freezer that I hadn't used in the usual way (Spanish Pork with onions, peppers and olives using a jar of £1 Chicken Tonight sauce, which we have as a 'tapas' dinner with cous cous, warm bread and whatever other bits and bobs happen to be hanging around or on offer.) I didn't use smoked paprika (and the paprika my husband bought me back from a stag trip to Budapest a weekend in Hungary is long gone, but it was still tasty and to me, anything with meat, onions, mushrooms and soured cream is generally a winner.

Verdict: The result was good, and we adults enjoyed it (although the children, who don't often go for foods in sauces, were reluctant. They did enjoy the rice and garlic and rosemary flatbread with which it was served, though.) I can't see me making it again, however, as 1) it didn't seem to make the most of the meat, which would have been much better simmered in a casserole for a longer time and b) surely paprika pork is just Beef Stroganoff is disguise?, and I would prefer to eat this type of dish with beef, whether stroganoff or goulash, just personal preference. The best thing about the dish was its simplicity, with veggies able to be pre-prepared, some cooking done with children milling about, and the soured cream added at the end, just prior to serving.

2) Tarragon Chicken ~ 16 Jan 2013

Preparation: I tweeted Lisa Faulker about where to buy Tarragon Vinegar for her mum's recipe, but ended up ordering some online where I could find it, when she didn't reply. (Does she not know Jamie Oliver follows me on Twitter? Silently, but my inanities make his timeline.) Again, this is saucey, so I'm not sure if the kids will touch it with a barge pole, so the rice & garlic bread option will resurface once more (I often serve 2ndSister protein filled carbs like brown rice, cous cous and wholewheat pasta, as she is almost phobic of protein in its neat form as far as I can tell.) I'd love to serve some creamy, herby chicken with mashed potato for pregnancy comfort food, another time....

Verdict: Well, I was correct about the children preferring plain chicken, and how the dish would have gone better (as its originator recommends) with potatoes. It went nicely enough spooned over pasta and served with garlic bread. The combination of the tarragon, tarragon vinegar and double cream made it overly sweet for our tastes, however, even though I'd added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to try and cut through it. Due to my gallstones, we use a cream substitute in cooking (I avoid eating real cream in desserts!), and I think this may give a lighter, less sweet flavour when I cook this next time. Because I will be cooking it next time. However, I think I will approach it more as a country French casserole dish, rather than a pasta-sauce-with-chicken (I am also inspired here to revisit  a Chicken Alfredo recipe, so that we do get a pasta-sauce-with-chicken in our repertoire.)

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