Sausage lettuce wraps

Another recipe taken from the latest cookbook by Nigella Lawson, Nigella Kitchen. I am very slowly working my way through this book. I didn’t expect much out of this recipe honestly but it seemed simple – and simple is good when you have a 1 year old!

I improvised slightly. The recipe calls for pork sausage, but I used chicken sausage. Because the sausage was already spicy, I left out the red and green chiles.

This was an extremely quick dish to make and the final outcome was actually really good. It’s just a matter of removing the casing from the sausage and mixing the meat with all of the ingredients listed below. You end up with these adorable mini sausage patties. We used Maria’s whole wheat tortillas and escarole as the wraps. The squeeze of lime is essential to brighten it up a little. We had this for dinner with a salad.  I think it’s meant to be more of an appetizer though.

So I digress…anyway, definitely try this out. I’m sure any kind of sausage would work – pork, turkey, chicken…just make sure it’s raw and not a pre-cooked sausage.

Ingredients

1 pound sausage (pork/chicken/turkey)

1 t grated fresh ginger

1 green chile, seeded and chopped (leave out if sausage is spicy)

1 red chile, seeded and chopped (leave out if sausage is spicy)

2 t English Mustard (i used powdered Colman’s English Mustard)

1 garlic clove, peeled and grated

Zest of 1 lemon

2 thin or 1 fat scallion, thinly chopped

2 t chopped fresh cilantro

1 T vegetable oil

to serve:

leaves from 1 escarole or iceberg lettuce (to wrap patties)

pita bread or flat bread (warmed)

2-3 limes cut into wedges

Directions:

Cut a nick in the sausage skins and gently squeeze the sausage meat out of the casings into a bowl. Add the ginger, chiles (if using), mustard, garlic, lemon zest, scallion, and cilantro.

Mix everything together thoroughly and then make the patties by using a tablespoon measure for each one or just go by eye and feel, as you pull out roughly a walnut-sized amount at a time and shape it into a fat, little disc.

Heat the oil in a frying pan (I used a nonstick) and cook the patties over a medium heat for about 3 minutes a side. Watch that they don’t catch too much, you want them to look temptingly scorched on the outside, but properly cooked through on the inside.

Transfer to a serving platter and arrange lettuce leaves and breads to wrap the patties in on another plate. Put some of the lime wedges alongside, too, and anything else you want to eat with them.

(you can make the uncooked patties 1 day ahead and fry them up the next day)

Thai chicken noodle soup

We recently made this Nigella Lawson recipe for thai chicken noodle soup. It grew on me more and more as I ate it. It was really simple to make, but when I make it again I will do some things differently. I mention at the bottom what I would change next time…

Here’s the recipe.

  • 1 quart chicken stock/broth
  • 1 package (6 oz) thin rice noodles or mungbean thread vermicelli
  • About a cup of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1-1.5″ piece fresh ginger, peeledand sliced thinly, then cut intoskinny strips
  • 2 15ml tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 fresh long red chilli, de-seededand cut into strips
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • leftover chicken, shredded – (about 2 cupfuls, loosely packed)
  • 2 cups stir-fry or other assorted vegetables
  • 2–3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, to serve
  • Instructions:

    Put the chicken stock in a good-sized pot to heat up.

    Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over or cook as instructed on the packet.

    Add the remaining ingredients, except the vegetables, to the pan and bring to a boil.

    When the chicken is piping hot, add the vegetables and when they are tender – a minute or two should be plenty if you’re using the tender shoots – add the drained noodles. Or simply divide the noodles between bowls and pour the soup over them.

    Serve sprinkled with chopped fresh coriander.

    Serves: 3-4 as a main course

    My notes:

    • Next time I make this I will salt the water for the noodles. The noodles had no flavor and they really needed that salt.
    • I used baby bok choy as my vegetable but you can pretty much add anything that can get tender in a few minutes of being boiled.
    • Make sure the water is completely drained from the noodles so that you don’t add water to the soup base
    • I suggest adding a touch of salt at the end to the soup
    • I didn’t have leftover chicken so I roasted a chicken breast (bone-in) seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper for 40 minutes or so at 350 degrees.
    • Another option besides chicken is shrimp…or even scallops could be good.
    • The longer this soup sits, the more the flavors meld together.

    Nigella Lawson is back…

    …in my life. My love for Nigella Lawson has been reignited. I don’t even know why the flame fizzled. I used to be obsessed with her show and the foods she made. I have two of her cookbooks and bookmarked many things I wanted to make. I was on a roll 5-6 years ago but slowly lost interest. I think once her show left the Style channel where it was British produced and moved over to the Food Network, it lost something in its appeal. Granted, I would still occasionally make her seared salmon over mashed peas and her linguine with red chili, crab, and watercress (a favorite of my dad’s and he is NOT an adventurous eater….but he sure does love this dish).

    But this weekend I decided to revisit her cookbooks. I’m so glad I did. Nigella was the first tv food personality that really got me into cooking. She has such a passion for what she does and uses her words so well that you feel like you can almost taste the food she’s describing.

    On Sunday I finally made something that I had been meaning to make for years…black rice with shrimp and a vietnamese spicy sauce. After looking all over for red chillies, I finally found them at Super G (my first experience there). That is a great place. They have everything…even live blue crabs that you can buy.

    Ok, so I digress…back to the issue at hand…the dish was really easy to make but still had a great depth of flavor and the black rice gave it such an exotic flair. If you’re curious to see her make it…check out this you tube video: Nigella Lawson on You Tube


    For dessert we had these Sweet Red Bean Buns that we steamed. They were delicious. We got them from the Super G. The ingredients were so basic too, so we knew we weren’t getting some kind of over-processed ‘grocery store-type’ item.