Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Giant Samosas

The night before last I made Samosas.  I wanted to bake them rather than fry them, so I used some frozen puff pastry dough.  The resulting Samosas were just okay.  The dough wasn't substantial enough for the filling.  Last night was pizza night, but I had enough samosa filling to make a couple of calzone sized Samosas.  In contrast to the previous night's version, these were really good.  The pizza dough was sturdy enough to hold up to filling.  The yeasted dough and baked Samosas are not traditional, but they were good.

A note on the filling...the Samosas I've had in the past always had potatoes and peas in them.  Neither Tess nor Lisa like peas, so I substituted braised Kale for the peas in half the recipe.   I liked both fillings equally.

Finally, I served these with a Tamarind Mint Chutney.  The sweet and sour chutney works really well with the potatoes in the Samosas.

For the Stuffing (adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking):

4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 T plus 1 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 bunch kale, stem removed then chopped
1 T minced or grated fresh ginger
3 T minced cilantro
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 T lemon juice

Place the potatoes in a pan with water to cover.  Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.  Drain and reserve.

Heat the 2 T of the oil and onions in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook until the onions begin to brown.  Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat the remaining tsp oil over medium high heat.  Add the Kale and cook until it begins to wilt.  Add water to cover, bring to a simmer then cook for 10 minutes over low heat.  Remove from the heat and drain the kale.  In a small saucepan, add the peas and water to cover.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain the peas.

When the onions are browned, add the ginger, cilantro, salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin, and cayenne.  Cook for about a minute until the spices are fragrant.  Add the potatoes and lemon juice and mix well.  Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through.  Taste for salt and lemon juice.  Divide the potato mixture into two batches.  Mix the kale into one batch and the peas into the other.  Leave both batches to cool before stuffing the Samosas.

Samosa Dough (Pizza dough from the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook):

2 tsp dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
2/3 cup bread flour (80g)

Dry Ingredients
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (526g)
1/4 cup rye flour (32g)
1 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil

Stir the yeast into the lukewarm water, mix in the bread flour and set aside until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

Mix together the dry ingredients.  Add 1 cup of the dry ingredients and 1 cup water to the sponge.  Mix well and let sit for another 30 minutes.

Add the remaining dry ingredients and the olive oil to the sponge.  In an electric mixer with a dough hook, knead for 5 minutes. 

Put the dough in a large bowl lightly coated with olive oil.  Let rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours.

Form the dough into 6 5-ounce balls for the samosas (these are big).  The remaining dough freezes well.

Baking the Samosas

Preheat an oven with a baking stone to 500 degrees for about an hour.

Roll out the dough balls into a thin rounds.  Top each round with 1/6 of the samosa filling.  Fold over the dough creating a half moon.  Starting at the top of the half moon, begin pinching and folding the edge of the dough back onto itself creating pleats all the way around until sealed.

Use a well floured peel to slide the Samosas onto the pizza stone.  Bake until well browned.  Serve with Chutney.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Meat Ragu with Pappardelle

Lisa, Tess, Finn and I went for a hike at Rockville Hills Park near Fairfield yesterday.  Towards the end of the hike, the fog started rolling in and it began to get a bit chilly.  I asked Tess what she wanted for dinner and she came up with this Ragu.  I found the recipe on foodandwine.com a few years ago and it has become a semi-regular at our dinner table.