What’S For Dinner?

All-season ingredients inspire new flavor combinations

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Shepherd’s Pie with Cumin and Smashed Chickpeas

The way America cooks is in the midst of a flavorful evolution, according to the 10th annual McCormick Flavor Forecast.

The report predicts an increased preference for high-impact flavors, balanced with comforting favorites. We’ll see new flavor combinations, thanks to the breadth of year-round ingredients, chosen and preserved at the peak of freshness, available in a pantry near you.

“Flavor has never been so quick and accessible,” says Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick.

“Today, a well-stocked pantry is like having a local farmers market or bountiful backyard garden in your kitchen.”

The endless harvest of canned, pickled, preserved, frozen and dried ingredients is indispensable, at-the-ready tools for everyday one-dish meal ideas that are anything but ordinary.

For example, a convenient can of coconut milk takes pumpkin pie spice and chicken thighs Caribbean. Economical canned chickpeas add Mediterranean flair to once-humble Shepherd’s Pie, now featuring the alluring warmth of roasted cumin. And, aromatic bay leaves join salty-tart preserved lemons to brighten up tortellini, courtesy of the local grocer.

For more easy recipes and featured flavor pairings, visit www.flavorforecast.com.

Lemon-Bay Tortellini with Spinach & Wild Mushrooms

Preparation time: 10 minutes; cooking time: 15 minutes; makes 6 servings.

1/2 preserved lemon

2 McCormick Bay Leaves

1 (12-ounce) package cheese tortellini

2 cups frozen leaf spinach, unthawed

4 strips bacon

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces sliced assorted mushrooms

1 teaspoon McCormick Minced Garlic

Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Remove and discard pulp from preserved lemon. Rinse peel to remove excess salt. Coarsely chop peel (about 2 tablespoons). Set aside.

Bring water and bay leaves to boil in large saucepot. Stir in tortellini. Cook as directed on package, adding frozen spinach during last minute of cooking. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Discard bay leaves.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in large skillet on medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add shallots to bacon drippings; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add oil, mushrooms, garlic and preserved lemon peel; cook and stir 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Add tortellini mixture and reserved cooking water; toss to mix well. Sprinkle with bacon. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

To prepare with fresh spinach: cook tortellini as directed, omitting the frozen leaf spinach. Cook bacon and mushrooms as directed. Stir in 1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach leaves until slightly wilted. Continue as above.

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Family Features photo

Lemon-Bay Tortellini with Spinach & Wild Mushrooms

Preserving lemons

Although preserved lemons can be found at some specialty food stores, making your own requires just three basic ingredients — lemons, salt and time (it takes at least three weeks before the lemons are ready to use). For added dimension, bay leaves can even be included in the preserving salt. It is the supple rind of preserved lemons that is most valued —sliced, chopped or minced to complement the texture of the dish. For step-by-step instructions, visit mccormick.com.

Caribbean Chicken with Mango Coconut Sauce

Preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 35 minutes; makes 8 servings.

1/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon McCormick Paprika

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice, divided

1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper

8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed (about 3 pounds)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) petite diced tomatoes, undrained

1 can (14 ounces) Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk

2 cups frozen mango chunks, unthawed

Mix flour, paprika, 1 tablespoon of the pumpkin pie spice, sea salt and red pepper in shallow dish. Coat chicken evenly on both sides in flour mixture.

Heat oil in nonstick 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Remove chicken. Drain excess fat from pan. Add red onion; cook and stir 2 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in tomatoes, coconut milk, mango and remaining 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice. Bring to boil. Return chicken to pan. Cover.

Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with cooked rice, if desired.

Shepherd’s Pie with Cumin and Smashed Chickpeas

Preparation time: 15 minutes; cooking time: 45 minutes; makes 8 servings.

1-1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 can (15-1/2 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed, divided

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Collection Sicilian Sea Salt, divided

1 pound ground lamb

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 cup coarsely chopped onion

1 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Roasted Ground Cumin

1 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Collection Ground Coriander

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Coarse Ground Black Pepper

1/4 cup whiskey or apple cider

1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup each frozen carrots and green beans, unthawed

Place potatoes in 2-quart saucepan. Add water to cover. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Drain and return to saucepan. Add 1/2 of the chickpeas, milk, butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the sea salt; coarsely mash until well blended. Set aside.

Brown lamb and beef in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Drain fat. Add onion, cumin, coriander, remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt and pepper; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in whiskey. Stir broth into cornstarch until smooth. Add to skillet; stir constantly until well blended. Stir in vegetables and remaining chickpeas. Spoon into 2-quart baking dish. Spread potato mixture evenly over top.

Bake in preheated 400-degree oven 15 to 20 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and top is golden brown. If needed, place under preheated broiler to brown potato topping.

Source: McCormick - Courtesy of Family Features

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