Here’s another “traditional” recipe from Simply Delicious: 6-12: Chicken à la King. I’ve heard of this one before (you probably have too), but never ate it much as a kid despite it being chicken-based (the mushrooms were probably the dealbreaker for my mom). This is from the “new book“, so I didn’t even know Simply Delicious HAD a Chicken à la King recipe until recently.
Chicken à la King has been around for a while, but enjoyed a resurgence in mid-to-late 20th century America (probably due to all the Baby Boomers and a need to feed them cheaply/quickly). It seems “dated” to me at this point (and not necessarily in a good way), but probably was still pretty popular in some parts of the country at the time these books were published.
Combine this with 8-12: Beef Stroganoff, and you’ve got a pretty good handle on mediocre American cuisine from the 1980s.
Stuffed peppers were not a big thing in my household growing up–neither my mom or I are big fans of bell peppers (sorry dad). However, that may not be the case for you–9-11: Stuffed Peppers might be something you’re more than familiar with. Since this was a “new book” recipe, I didn’t even know Simply Delicious had a stuffed peppers recipe…until now.
I had written a while ago (in 9-23: Fruity Sausage Kebabs) that I had at that point covered all the Chapter 09 recipes that I possess…and then I found the new book and had a few more to cover. Well, I’ve reached that point again–this is (again) the last recipe I have for this chapter. Unless more recipes turn up somewhere (don’t send them to me, I’m not trying to be the online library for this book), this is it for Ground Meat and Sausage.
Usually, I give Simply Delicious a hard time for their attempts at “cultural cuisine”–I had gone into 8-13: Japanese Beef Casserole with the same expectations. I even cooked the recipe with that thought in mind–that this was just another lame attempt at something “exotic” for the 1980s housewife crowd to try to excite their disaffected family about. I mean, read that description below and try to imagine how that would go in real life.
However, while researching for the write-up (the last part of this multi-step process), I found some interesting “similar” recipes. I’m still not sure if I’m right or wrong about this one.
Here’s my thoughts on the two things this recipe could be (given my new findings):
They might be trying to attempt nikujaga (Japanese “beef stew”), but it’s missing potatoes which are a crucial (and easy to obtain) part of that dish.
They’re attempting some sort of pan-Asian sautéed beef/Asian veggies dish that you’d be more likely to find in a dead mall’s food court and just calling it Japanese casserole.
I’m guessing it’s the latter, but if you’d like to decide for yourself, keep reading.
Oh, and that dead mall link above? That’s another one of our projects…
I had mentioned in 11-5: Lemon Pepper Scallops that we had a plan to cook more of the Fish/Seafood and Beef recipes since we had already gone through a good portion of the Chicken/Poultry, Pork, and Ground Meat/Sausage ones. Summer got busy, and not as many of those recipes got made as I had intended. I made 11-1: Steamed Halibut with Vermouth during those summer months but I never wrote about it until now (while I clear out the queue).
I’ll agree with the method of cooking being excellent: the fish component came out great. I’m not a huge pea or vermouth fan so the sauce was probably not one I would repeat, but it was a well-done sauce otherwise. Technique-wise I feel like it’s definitely one of Simply Delicious‘ stronger offerings–if you’re really into 1980s-style food.
This recipe is the best kind of recipe from Simply Delicious, an easy one. I’m not the most confident at preparing roast beef in this manner, however, the method shown in 8-31: Roast Beef is easy and can be applied to other cuts of meat such as lamb. 🍖
Simple is the best way to describe baking a roast beef in the oven.
Editor’s note: I’ve made this one before–it was part of my fancy dinner party I had in my first apartment after college. You know, before I had to surrender it to the roaches. 😯 I’ve continued to use it as a basic roast beef recipe, although now I like to do a beef broth/mixed-herb/red wine marinade before roasting.
Here’s another one of those 1980s attempts at “healthy”. 9-10: Lean Meatballs with Tomato Sauce calls for the use of veal, which doesn’t immediately resonate with me as being “healthy”. A quick and dirty Google search comes up with veal having less calories than pork but more cholesterol than beef. Calories were the enemy in the 1980s, so I suppose that’s part of their justification for deeming veal meatballs “healthy”.
I’m not a huge fan of veal, and considering there’s a whole lamb & veal section to this book that I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of, we’re going to keep these meatballs “healthy” and swap veal for turkey. My mom was (and still is) a huge proponent of ground turkey, so this is probably a swap she or I would have made if we’d made this before.
Here’s a pretty basic “chicken with sauce” type recipe that can be fancy or not-so-fancy. “Chicken Diable” or “Chicken a la Diable”, as evidenced by the name, is essentially “the Devil’s chicken”, evoking images of spices and fire. 🌶 🔥 As Serious Eats notes in their version of the dish, the French have a very different idea of spiciness than some other cultures.
Everyone’s got their version of this dish–here’s Bon Appetit’s, and Google turns up many more results. Whether it’s actually spicy is up to you–if you actually like things spicy, prepare to have to add some heat to this one.
There seem to be a lot of differing interpretations of Swedish meatballs out there. Serious Eats runs into the same dilemma and ups the meatball’s game with umami and acidic flavors; Alton Brown stays simple and sticks to earthier allspice and nutmeg. Both soak the white bread in milk (panade) before adding it to the meat mix, whereas 9-4: Swedish Meatballs swaps the milk for water and keeps the spices restrained simply to salt and pepper. This doesn’t bode well.
Simply Delicious, you can’t call it an “original recipe” when the only original thing about it is how bland and unseasoned it is. I made these as a requested dish for someone else, and was provided only ground beef (their preference) as opposed to a mix of meats with which to make them. As a result, they were even LESS exciting–it’s a good thing the requestor digs bland food.
Chapter 19 of Simply Delicious is Basic Ingredients, another big part of cooking and Cooking School. 19-10:Dried Herbs & Spices I is the first of a two-part series on a selection of spices that you’ll probably find in a well-stocked kitchen.
For this entry, I’ll link to a recipe (or two, or three) that I’ve covered in this project that calls for that spice to illustrate an idea of how to use it (and maybe increased motivation to give one of these recipes a try).