Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Green Pozole with Chicken

Several of you have asked for the recipe that I'll be demonstrating on TV next week - here it is -

9 cups water, divided
1 bay leaf
1 large white onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 ½ tsp salt, divided
1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 lb tomatillos, husked
2 fresh jalapenos, quartered (seeds optional – see below)
¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 tsp dried epazote or oregano
2 T canola or olive oil
2 (15-oz) cans yellow hominy, rinsed and drained
1.        Bring 8 cups water, bay leaf, half of onion, smashed garlic and 1 tsp salt to a boil, covered, in a 6-qt soup pot, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Add chicken and poach at a bare simmer, uncovered, until just cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let cool.  Pour broth through a colander into a large bowl, discarding solids and reserve.  When chicken in cool enough to handle, coarsely shred.
2.       Meanwhile simmer tomatillos and remaining onion in remaining cup of water in a medium saucepan, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain vegetables and puree in a blender with jalapenos (with seeds if you like some heat, without if you’re more sensitive), ¼ cup cilantro, epazote, chopped garlic and remaining 1 ½ tsp salt.
3.       Then in the now empty soup pot you used to make the broth (no need to wash it out) heat the oil until hot but not smoking, then add puree using caution as it will splatter and steam.  Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in 1 cup of reserved broth and simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in shredded chicken, hominy and 3 more cups of reserved broth and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes.
4.       Stir in remaining ½ cup cilantro and serve in deep bowls over rice.

Squash, Bacon, and Swiss Cheese Soup

This is a lightly spiced squash soup, enriched with plenty of creamy melting cheese.

Recipe from "Soup, Superb ways with a classic dish," Contributing editor: Debra Mayhew - page 152

Serves 4
2 pounds butternut squash or acorn
8 ounces smoked slab bacon
1 tablespoon oil
1 ½ cups roughly chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 cups diced potatoes
3 ½ cups vegetable stock
2 teaspoons, cornstarch
2 tablespoons sour cream
hot-pepper sauce to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups grated Gruyere cheese, to serve
crusty bread, to serve

Cut the squash into large pieces. Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the skin, wasting as little flesh as possible.
Scoop out and discard the seeds. Chop the squash into small chunks. Remove all the fat from the bacon and roughly chop it into small pieces.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, or until they begin to become soft.
Add the bacon and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook over low heat for a minute longer.
Add the chopped squash, potatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the squash and potatoes are tender.
Blend the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and add to the soup with the sour cream. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and add hot-pepper sauce to taste.
Ladle the soup into warm bowls and sprinkle the cheese on top. Serve immediately with crusty bread to scoop up the melted cheese.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hamburger Soup

This is a recipe that both Steve and I grew up with and is now a traditional with our little family.  Finding an allspice ball or bay leaf in your bowl is considered good luck.  Sometimes when Steve and I find one, but the girls don't we've been known to cause a distraction and make a transfer.  Maybe not the most sanitary practice, but it prevents meltdowns at the dinner table.

Hamburger Soup

1 lb hamburger 
2 medium onions, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 medium potatoes, diced
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp minced garlic
6 whole allspice (don’t eat these if they land in your bowl)
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp sugar
1 ½ qts water
1 t. Worcestershire sauce 
½ c. barley
1 T salt
1 can corn (add last ½ hour)

Brown the hamburger, onions, carrots and celery.  Add all the remaining ingredients except the corn.  Bring to boil, then set to low and cook for 2 ½ hours.  Add the corn and cook for an additional ½ hour.

Hawaiian Gingered Beef Stew

Credit for this one goes to my sister Darcy.  Sweet potatoes are in season and are GREAT in this dish.  I've included an alternate slow-cooker method.

Hawaiian Gingered Beef Stew

 1 ½-2 lbs stew meat
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 T olive oil
4 medium carrots, sliced into thin rounds      
3 large sweet potatoes, cubed into ½” pieces
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 pieces of peeled ginger, about 2 x .25 (like fat French fries)
1 can beef broth
1 can tomato sauce
1 T chopped garlic
½ tsp dried ground marjoram or thyme

About 2 ½ hours before you want to eat.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and pepper.  Add the beef and stir (or shake if you use a Tupperware) to coat. 
  3. Remove beef and shake free of excess flour.
  4. Heat oil in a large oven proof pot w/ a lid.  Add the beef and stir ‘till browned on all sides. 
  5. Add the remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine.
  6. Place in oven for 2 hours, covered, stirring occasionally.  Before serving, fish out the ginger pieces because while they impart an absolutely divine flavor to the rest of the stew they are yucky to bite right into.
Alternate method:  Slow cooker

About 8.5 – 10.5 hours before you want to eat  - instead of browning beef in ovenproof pot, use a skillet and transfer to slow cooker, add all the other ingredients here as well.  Cook on low for 8-10 hours stirring occasionally

Roasted Beet and Pistachio Salad

3-4 medium beets or 4-5 smaller ones
1/2 cup shelled pistachios (roasted, salted)
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup thin sliced red onion
1/4 c red wine vinaigrette (2 T red wine, 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper, whisk in 2T olive oil)
Bake beets in covered dish (or wrap each in foil) till fork tender, let cool with lid on. When cool, slide skins off. Slice into 1/2" wedges.
Combine with onion, pour over vinaigrette. Top with cheese and nuts just before serving.

Shephard's Pie with Chard-Lentil Filling

Better than the original? Quite possibly. Especially if you've been making yours with that bag of frozen mixed veggies....

Shepherd’s Pie with Chard-Lentil Filling

Wine Braised Lentils
1 T vegetable oil
½ cup onion, diced
¼ cup carrot, peeled and diced
1 spig fresh thyme or ½ tsp dried
½ cup lentils, rinsed – pref green
2 T red wine
¾ cup water
¼ - ½ tsp salt

In a small sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, carrot, and thyme. Cook fofr about 5 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the lentils and stir to coat. Add the red wine and bring to a lively simmer. The wine will reduce a bit. Add ¾ cup of water, return to lively simmer, then lower the heat, cover and cook until fork tender, about 40 minutes. Check and add a little extra water if need be, to keep lentils from drying out completely. Stir in ¼ tsp of the salt, taste and add remaining salt if needed.

Meanwhile start the potatoes –

2 lbs medium potatoes – pref Yukon Gold, washed or peeled, quartered
2 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
3 T olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

Fill medium saucepan with 4 cups water, add potatoes and salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Add the whole garlic. Return the lid and cook until fork tender, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F, grease super deep pie pan.

With a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes and garlic to a large bowl (DON’T DUMP THE WATER!!) and mash with hand mixer. Stir in reserved cooking water as necessary to moisten potatoes. Add 3 T oil and stir in vigorously. Taste for salt, pepper and adjust. Potatoes should be smooth and well seasonsed.

Meanwhile start the chard

2T olive oil
3 to 4 cups chard, washed, stemmed and ribboned (or spinach)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
¼ freshly grated nutmeg

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the chard with the chopped garlic, until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes, regularly tossing with tongs. Stir in the nutmeg and season with more salt to taste, if needed.

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

Stir in lentils and transfer mixture to greased pie plate. Top with potatoes, sprinkle cheese all over top. Bake for 20- 25 minutes. During final 2 minutes turn on broiler to brown the top.

While baking make the onion gravy

3 T butter
2 cups onions, sliced thinly into half-moons
1 -2 spigs fresh thyme
1 T balsamic vinegar
2 cups water
1 T cornstarch dissolved in 1 T water
½ tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp soy sauce

In a deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions and thyme. With tongs, toss to coat the onions with the butter and cook over medium-low heat, until softened, reduced and jam-like, about 25 minutes.

Add the vinegar, stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add the water and bring to a lively simmer. Reduce by half, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes; the gravy will continue to reduce. Stir in the salt, sugar, and taste. Finish off with the soy sauce. Turn off the heat, cover and gently reheat at a simmer just before serving with the pie.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Red Lentil Dal with Cumin-Fried Onions and Wilted Spinach

We are drastically reducing the amount of meat we eat at our house. Why? For our own better health, the health of the earth and the health of our budget. Dishes like this make it a delicious endeavor. This is simple, fast, easy, filling and super, SUPER healthy. This was a big winner with kids and grown-ups alike.

Red Lentil Dal with Cumin-Fried Onions and Wilted Spinach

2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed
6 cups water
1 (1x1-inch) hunk of fresh ginger, peeled but left whole
¼ tsp ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, 1 peeled but left whole, the other chopped
1 cinnamon stick (optional, but really nice)
½ bunch spinach (about 2 cups) washed thoroughly, stemmed, dried and chopped coarsely**
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 T vegetable oil
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, sliced into half-moons
1 dz grape or pear tomatoes, halved lengthwise***
A squeeze of ½ lemon (optional)

Place the rinsed lentils in a large heavy-bottomed pot and add water (it will cover the lentils, plus a little extra.) Add the ginger, turmeric, whole garlic clove and the cinnamon stick (if using).

Bring to a lively simmer, then lower the heat, cover, and cook the lentils at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes.

Remove the ginger, garlic and cinnamon stick. If the lentils have not pureed on thri own to your liking, run a whist through the pot a few times and, within seconds, they will be completely pureed. Add the salt, taste, then add more as needed.

Add the spinach, give it a quick stir, and return the cover to the pot. The spinach will wit quickly.

Meanwhile, in a 9- or 10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the cumin seeds. Cook briefly (15 seconds) then add the garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat, allowing the onions to brown at the edges, at least 5 minutes. Add the cayenne and tomatoes (if using), stir to caot, and taste for salt, adding if you feel the need.

Transfer the fried onion mixture to the dal, stir, and serve. If using, squeeze the lemon over the dish as a last-minute flavor spritz.

Serve with homemade or purchased flatbread.

** I used double the spinach and didn’t chop it and will do the same next time.
***I used way more and will do the same next time.