Season’s bounty brings special meals

Unlike the version in this photo, Jan Main's healthier version of Arroz con Pollo calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. PHOTO: Submitted

Enjoy the harvest with these Cuban style recipes from Foodland Ontario; they make the most of the season’s bounty and are ideal make-ahead fare, so necessary when returning to busy fall schedules.

Arroz con Pollo

This make ahead Cuban favourite, chicken with rice, serves well as a week night meal (with enough leftovers for lunch or another dinner – what a bonus!) or special enough, to wow your guests when entertaining.

“Sofrito” a classic combination of sautéed onions, garlic, tomatoes and peppers flavours this dish together with olives, cumin and saffron.

2 1/2 cups (625 mL) chicken broth

1 tsp (5 mL) saffron

1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil

10-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 1/2 lbs/ 1.25 kg)

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 tsp (5 mL) oregano

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin

1 bay leaf

1 cup (250 mL) dry white wine or chicken stock, divided

1 tsp (5 mL) grated lime rind

2 tbsp (25 mL) orange juice and fresh lime or lemon juice

1 3/4 cup (425 mL) long grain par-boiled rice

1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen peas blanched in boiling water.

In small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat chicken broth with saffron until hot. Season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

In large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat half of oil; cut thighs in half and brown in batches. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add remaining oil, onion and red pepper to Dutch oven and cook stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato, oregano and cumin; cook 3 minutes stirring often. Stir in bay- leaf, wine and reserved hot chicken stock and bring to boil. Return chicken to Dutch oven. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked. Stir in orange, grated lime rind, lime juice and rice; cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir in peas, olives and capers. Cover and cook until rice is tender about 5 minutes adding more broth if mixture is too dry.

Serve immediately or spoon into 2 13×9 inch/3 L baking dishes sprayed with baking spray. Cover and refrigerate until ready to re-heat at 350 (180C) for 30-35 minutes or until hot. Dish may be made a day ahead. Makes 8 -10 servings.

Spicy Apple Almond Cake

This one bowl cake is fragrant with spices and loaded with chopped apples. Serve warm from the oven with a dusting of icing sugar and a scoopful of frozen yogurt or ice-cream. It may be made a day ahead of serving – simply warm in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 F (180 C) before serving. The cake freezes well. Defrost over-night in the refrigerator then warm as stated in the directions above.

4 cups (1 L) peeled, chopped apples such as Cortland, McIntosh or Empire

2 eggs

1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable oil

3/4 cup (175 mL) dark brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) dark or amber rum (optional)

1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (5 mL0 ground cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp (1 mL0 salt

1/4 cup (50 mL) sliced almonds

1 tsp (5mL) granulated sugar

Icing sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line 9 inch (23 cm) spring-form pan or round cake pan or square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In large bowl place apples. Using wooden spoon and stirring after each addition Add eggs, oil, brown sugar and rum.

In separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Stir flour mixture into apple mixture until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan; smooth top. Sprinkle almonds evenly over the top then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan.

Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar; cut into 8 wedges to serve with yogurt or Ice-cream. Makes 8 servings.

Roasted Cabbage Saladcabbage

Roasting the local vegetables: cabbage, tomatoes and red peppers gives a sweetness to the salad which does not happen if the vegetables are raw.

1/2 cabbage (about 8 cups/2 L)

1 onion, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup (50 mL) olive oil

2 tbsp (25 mL) apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

Dash of hot sauce

1/2 tsp (2 ml) each, salt, pepper, and dried oregano

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, onion, red pepper, tomato and garlic. In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and hot sauce. Pour over vegetables and toss to mix well.

Sprinkle vegetables on large baking tray lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano. Bake about 45 minutes stirring vegetables every 15 or 20 minutes. Place in serving bowl; serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.


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