Friday, February 28, 2003

Lavosh - Armenian Cracker Bread

Lavosh is a cracker bread, crisp, slightly sweet and (if I may say so) addictive. It's handy to have on hand and keeps for several weeks. Lavosh is pronounced LAH-voshe (though my family calls is la-vosh, no accent) and is some times spelled in other ways, including lavash and lahvosh. This recipe comes from my dear Auntie Gloria, she's been making lavosh for many many years, it's definitely a family favorite! It's easy to make and keeps for weeks.

Lavash (Armenian Cracker Bread) ~ an old family slightly sweet cracker recipe with sesame seeds, poppy seeds @ KitchenParade.com ~ Weight Watchers PointsPlus 2


COMPLIMENTS!
"Yummo! ... Definitely a keeper." ~ LeAnne via Facebook


Ever tried a new recipe and liked it so much you made it again right away?

Such was the case for my mom’s family’s version of lavosh, an Armenian cracker bread. While there are other recipes by the same name that call for yeast and thus yield a result more-bread-than-cracker, this is a true cracker, thin, crunchy, a tiny bit sweet. And did I mention addictive? That too.

Serve lavosh with cheese and fruit or alongside a hearty bowl of soup.

ALANNA's TIPS Be sure to stir the flour lightly with a spoon before spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling. Scooping compacted flour directly from the bin can result in up to 25% more flour than called for and yields a tough rather than delicate cracker. If your baking sheet is rimmed, it's fussy to finagle the rolling pin inside the rim. Consider a flat baking sheet or rolling out the lavosh with a smooth glass jar. A more unorthodox idea? Just turn the baking sheet over and roll on the underside! When baking, the edges may brown sooner since they’re typically thinner. This is okay – the thin parts are actually the most tasty. Prepare for a shock when checking the price of small jars of poppy seeds in the spice section at a grocery store. Instead, if you have access to an international grocery, large bags can be purchased for a couple of dollars. (For St. Louisans, I find inexpensive poppy seeds at Global Foods in Kirkwood.) The sesame seed and poppy seed mix is great. But what's pictured is two varieties of sesame seeds, the typical blond-colored ones and black sesame seeds. Excellent! I’ve experimented with caraway seeds (also traditional, apparently, based on similar recipes) and pretzel salt but prefer the sesame and poppy seed combination. Oh – and you might think about making a double batch!

LAVOSH
(ARMENIAN CRACKER BREAD)

Mixing & rolling: 30 minutes
Baking: 1 hour (requires occasional attention)
Makes 20 dozen small crackers
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 345g
  • 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (255g) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Flour, for rolling

Heat oven to 375F/190C.

Combine dry ingredients. Blend in butter with a wooden spoon until crumbly. Add buttermilk and stir until well combined.

Divide dough into four parts. Sprinkle some flour onto a clean, flat surface, just like we do for kneading bread. With a rolling pin, roll one section to form a rectangle roughly 6 x 8 inches. Transfer the rectangle to an ungreased but lightly floured (very important step!) baking sheet. Directly on the sheet, roll the dough to the edges of the baking sheet as thin and evenly as possible, first with the rolling pin, then with your hands.

Sprinkle dough liberally with seeds, pressing the seeds into the dough with your palms (another important step!).

Bake until golden, about 13 – 15 minutes. Cool and break into cracker-size pieces, about 60 pieces per sheet.

Store in airtight container, will stay fresh for several weeks.

NUTRITION INFORMATION For four pieces: 65 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 1g Mono Fat; 7g Carb; 1g Fiber; 26mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; 2g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1.5 & PointsPlus 2

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Ideas for Crackers & Quick Bread Bites

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Herbed Saltines Quick Crisp Flatbread Fried Bread

Serving Suggestions for Lavosh

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Strawberry Pepper Salad Easy-to-Elegant Asparagus Soup Strawberries in Wine

Recent Favorites from A Veggie Venture

~ Easy Spinach Nests ~
~ One-Pot Pasta Recipe with Greens, Olives & Feta ~

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, do visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog packed with vegetable recipes for every course.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Chicken Cacciatore

The classic Italian dish just chicken slow-cooked in tomato sauce laced with vegetables and a splash of wine, way more than the sum of its parts. Often called Hunter's Stew, mine is an old family recipe from my Lithuanian aunt - yes, Lithuanian, no, not Italian - but still very tasty!

Chicken Cacciatore ♥ KitchenParade.com

At my house, we call this recipe “Kitchen Catch” for short whenever cooking up a big pot of Chicken Cacciatore [pronounced catch–a–TOE–ree], a home-style Italian chicken stew.

My recipe is adapted from a favorite “little girl” dish made by my dear Auntie Karen on special occasions, including, by personal request, on my birthday! I remember walking into her house anxious for the first whiffs of pungent onion and tomato and especially, luscious garlic.

Garlic is so common now-a-days, it's hard to imagine how glamorous and worldly garlic seemed to a teenager in the Midwest during the 1970s!

No wonder I turned out to be a devoted home cook and dedicated foodie!

Chicken Cacciatore ♥ KitchenParade.com


COMPLIMENTS!
"... man! was that good! ... a definite keeper." ~ Sally
"... it is wonderful. This is now my go to recipe for chicken cacciatore." ~ Clara


CHICKEN CACCIATORE
aka "KITCHEN CATCH"

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 3 to 8 hours
8 servings

    CHICKEN
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 chicken legs or thighs or a mix of both, skins removed

    SAUCE
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, trimmed & quartered
  • 24 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt & pepper to taste

CHICKEN Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large dish. Roll the chicken pieces in the flour until lightly coated. Heat a large Dutch oven on medium high, add the olive oil, let it heat up until shimmery. Drop in the chicken pieces and lightly brown on all sides, turning once or twice, otherwise not moving in the pan. Set the chicken aside for a moment.

SAUCE Add the onion, red pepper, garlic and mushroom to the pan and sauté just until beginning to soften. Stir in the remaining ingredients, then nestle in the browned chicken, covering the tops with sauce.

Now choose how to slow-cook the Cacciatore!

SLOW COOK ON THE STOVETOP Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 2 – 3 hours (or longer), stirring occasionally. Watch the temperature carefully, you don't want to burn the bottom. I have great success with this on an electric stove, less on a high-BTU gas stoves which seem to always run hot.

SLOW COOK IN THE OVEN Cover and cook in a 200F/100C oven for 2 - 3 hours (or even longer). To let the sauce thicken, uncover for the last 30 minutes or so. This is my favorite method.

SLOW COOK in (YEAH) a SLOW COOKER Let cook on low for 6 - 8 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours. This works beautifully **when** it works but I have such miserable experience with unpredictable slow cookers, it's my least favorite method for cooking Chicken Cacciatore. Be assured, however, it's the state of slow cookers that's the problem (not the recipe) so if you love and trust your slow cooker and understand its in's and out's, go for it.

TO SERVE Serve with mashed potatoes (maybe our family favorite Mashed Potatoes & Carrots?), rice or polenta to soak up the rich sauce.

ALANNA's TIPS If you’re feeding a crowd or want lots “planned over” to freeze, use an extra-large pot and just add up to double the meat, there’s already an abundance of sauce. Do choose chicken legs or thighs for Chicken Cacciatore, breasts are just too lean and dry for this dish. To save calories, I always pull the skins off the chicken legs or thighs before dusting them in flour. To keep the good flavor that comes from the chicken skin, though, I drop a single skin into the pot when browning the meat. This works with other chicken dishes too, try it! Kinda crazy, I know, but this detail matters. The recipe calls for "24 ounces" of canned tomatoes, that's an odd amount since small cans are about 15 ounces and large cans about 30 ounces, it's something I work really hard to avoid when working on recipes. In this old recipe, however, I advise against just dumping in two small cans or one large can, it's just too much tomato. If anything, use one small can. Better yet, just buck and use the full 24 ounces, this will mean figuring out how to use up a partial leftover can. Roasted peppers can substitute for tomatoes, just leave out the sugar, otherwise the stew will be too sweet. If the sauce hasn’t thickened when you’re ready to serve, stir in a few tablespoons of flour and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Leg with Sauce: 148 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 28mg Cholesterol; 454mg Sodium; 18g Carb; 3g Fiber; 10g Sugar; 11g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 CALORIE COUNTERS 2/3 = 100-calorie serving (7g protein).

More Cold-Weather Chicken Stews

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chicken Cider Stew One-Pot Chicken with Beans & Vegetables Cashew Chicken Curry
Rainbow Chicken Sweet 'n' Hot Chicken Hearty Healthy Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale

More Favorite Recipes from 2003

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Gingerbread Muffins At Last Black Bean Soup Tender Pork Tenderloin