The warm embrace of soul food | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:03 PM, November 07, 2017

The warm embrace of soul food

Bite into these easy, scrumptious dishes that are so heart-warming that you will wish to never leave this cheesy heaven. So be sure to try out these finger-licking-good recipes for both adults and children, and dinners and parties.

CHICKEN RIGATONI BOLOGNESE 

Ingredients 

3 tbsp olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 kg chicken, mince

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp dried mix herbs

1 tsp salt and pepper, or to taste 

100ml milk

1000g pasta sauce

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

500ml water, plus extra if needed

450g rigatoni 

Parmesan cheese, grated

Method

Heat oil in a large pan and add onions and minced chicken. Sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and milk and keep stirring for two minutes. Add the pasta sauce, parsley, and some water. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 1 hour until the chicken is cooked through. Add more water if needed to prevent the sauce from becoming too thick. Pour and stir the boiled rigatoni pasta into this sauce, then remove from heat. Cover and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

CHICKEN NOODLE CASSEROLE 

Ingredients

40g butter

1 onion chopped

3 tbsp flour

850ml milk

300ml canned cream mushroom (optional)

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

350g egg noodles

1 large chicken, boiled and shredded

100g peas

2 red chilli flakes

200g cheddar cheese, grated

25g breadcrumbs

2-3 tbsp olive oil

Method

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onions. Sauté over a medium-low heat for a few minutes or until the onions turn translucent. Increase the heat and add flour, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Slowly pour 225ml of milk, whisking constantly until it starts to simmer. Add the remaining milk, cream mushroom, salt and pepper. Keep stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens and is simmering. Remove from heat and reserve. 

Bring a pan of lightly salted water to boil. Add the noodles and cook for 1 minute. Drain well and add to a large mixing bowl, add the sauce, chicken, peas, pepper and 2/3 of the cheese. Mix to combine well. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. Oil a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Pour the mixture into the dish and top with the remaining cheese. Mix the breadcrumbs and oil together in small bowl until combined. Then sprinkle over the casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until heated through, and is brown and bubbling.

TEX MEX CHICKEN WINGS 

Ingredients

12-16 chicken wings

5-6 garlic cloves

2-inch stalk celery, roughly chopped

1 tbsp oil

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup tomato puree

¼ cup tomato ketchup

1 ½ tsp red chilli powder

½ tsp peppercorn

Salt to taste

Method

Clean, wash and remove skin from the chicken wings. Pat them dry with absorbent kitchen towels. Grind the garlic and celery together to a paste. Mix the rest of the ingredients with the garlic and celery paste and marinate the wings for 1-2 hours. Preheat an oven to 200 degree Celsius. Remove the bay leaf from the marinade. Arrange wings on the grilling tray, ensuring that they are placed uniformly for proper cooking. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Turn over the wings a couple of times, basting with the remaining marinade. Cook till they are crisp on the outside, but soft and tender inside. Serve straight from the oven.

DEEP-PAN CHICKEN FEAST PIZZA  

Ingredients

For the pizza dough —

2 cups flour

1½ tsp yeast

2 tbsp powder milk

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp salt

½ of egg

For the topping —

4 tbsp olive oil 

2 onions, chopped

250g skinless, boneless chicken breast, diced

4 pieces chicken sausage, cut into strips

1 dried red chilli, crushed

1 tsp fennel seeds

½ tsp dried oregano

100g mozzarella cheese

1 tsp red chilli flakes

Handful of grated Parmesan cheese

Ready-made pizza sauce 

Method 

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and add warm water little by little, while kneading the dough with your hands and ensuring the consistency. Place the dough into a flour-dusted bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm room until the dough has almost doubled in size. 

For the toppings, heat oil in a pan, add onions, diced chicken, and sausages, and cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Grind fennel seeds and dried red chilli in a pestle to a fine paste. Add this paste and mix well. Add dried oregano, mix and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes more until tender and cook through. Remove the pan from the heat. 

Preheat an oven to 200 degree Celsius. Divide the dough in half and brush oil onto two baking trays or two deep pizza pans. Use a rolling pin or clean hands to flatten and stretch the dough out. Push the dough around each baking tray and the corners. Make the base about 1 cm thick. 

Pour the pizza sauce between the pizzas and spread around. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, then the chicken mixture onto the pizzas. Sprinkle oregano and red chilli flakes. On the top of the pizzas, sprinkle a good amount of Parmesan cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese has melted, and is golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.

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