Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smoky Turkey and Lentil Chili

Turkey goes really well with smoky, spicy flavors, making it a natural for chili. I tossed in lentils instead of the usual beans for a change of pace, and it worked well. This makes a nice big batch to feed a crowd, but feel free to halve it.

Olive oil
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
2 Tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp chili powder
4-6 cups chopped tomatoes (canned or frozen - thawed first)
1 1/2 cups lentils
About 3 cups water
4 cups shredded cooked turkey
3 bell peppers, diced (red or green)
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream and/or shredded cheddar for topping (optional)

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the cumin and chili powder and saute for another minute or so to toast the spices. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, then the lentils and enough water to comfortably cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are nearly tender, 20-25 minutes.

When the lentils are nearly tender, add the peppers and minced chipotles. Simmer until the peppers are tender, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot, topped with cheese or sour cream if desired. Serves 6-8.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turkey and Arugula Pizza with Edam

And another one. Cold hardy greens like arugula are continuing to flourish in the garden. I like to use Chase Hill Farm's Dutch Gold cheese, which is essentially an Edam.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
4-6 oz. shredded or thinly sliced Edam
4-6 cups chopped fresh arugula (as much as you can/want to pile on)
1 1/2 cups shredded turkey
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread half the Edam over the oiled crust. Pile with arugula. Add the turkey and shallot, then a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Top with the remaining Edam.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Turkey Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes and Blue Cheese

I seem to make a lot of pizza out of leftover turkey. Maybe it's because I just make a lot of pizza, maybe it's because it seems like a good way to transform it into something much less like Thanksgiving food. At any rate, here's another one - really delicious.

1 14-inch pizza crust
olive oil
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups chopped roasted tomatoes (thawed and drained if frozen)
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey
2 oz. crumbled or chopped blue cheese
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly paint the pizza crust with olive oil.

Spread the mozzarella over the pizza crust. Strew with roasted tomatoes and turkey, then sprinkle with blue cheese. Sprinkle the shallot over everything, then add a little salt and pepper.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fall Risotto with Carrots and Leeks

Cold hardy carrots and leeks are still going strong in my garden. We'll pull them all out before the ground freezes, but until then they keep well in the soil and they continue to grow, albeit slowly. In this delicious risotto, carrots and leeks are sauteed in butter to bring out their sweetness, which contrasts pleasantly with salty Parmesan and pungent sage.

As usual, I always make risotto in the pressure cooker now, but feel free to adapt this to the old fashioned method.

3 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup finely diced carrots
1-1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
2 Tbsp minced fresh sage leaves (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 Tbsp butter in the bottom of the pressure cooker until it melts. Add the rice and saute for a minute or so, until it turns translucent. Add the stock and stir well. Put on the lid and bring the cooker to pressure. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes, then remove from heat and release pressure.

While the rice cooks, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter in a skillet. Add the carrots and leeks and saute until tender, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the sage.

When the rice is done and the pressure has fallen completely, open the cooker. Stir in the vegetables and the Parmesan. Taste and add salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spiced Quince Butter

Since first happening on quinces at Clarkdale Fruit Farms a few years ago, I have made this quince butter every November. It is astoundingly good. I like it on toast, but it's also great in jam print cookies or in almost any dessert recipe where you might use jam. Also excellent with a bit of aged cheddar or some goat cheese.

I make this in the pressure cooker, adapting a recipe from Deborah Madison's Local Flavors cookbook. But you could also do it on the stovetop - it will just take longer. Quinces are a very hard fruit and take longer to cook than their cousins, apples and pears.

This recipe is suitable for canning, which is what I do with it each year. The quince butter will also keep for many weeks in the fridge, perhaps months if you put it straight into a clean jar and let it seal itself as the butter cools in the refrigerator. Or you can freeze it.

4 cups cut up quinces, peeled and seeded and any bad parts cut out
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar (or to taste)

Place the quince pieces, water, cinnamon stick, ginger, and nutmeg in the pressure cook. Bring to pressure, then cook for 15 minutes. Once the cooker comes up to pressure, lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain pressure, to avoid burning the quinces. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and let pressure release naturally.

Remove the cinnamon stick from the cooked quince. Mash the fruit thoroughly or run it through a food mill or blender to make it smooth. Add sugar and simmer over low heat until it reaches a nice jammy consistency.

Pour into jars, then refrigerate, freeze, or can.

Makes 3-4 cups.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Slow Cooker Chipotle Lentil and Squash Soup

The flavors of fall, with a smoky, spicy kick. I made this in my slow cooker, as described below, but you could also do it on the stovetop; in that case saute the onions and garlic first. Also note that you can either puree this or leave it chunky - if you choose to leave it chunky, be sure to minced the chipotle(s) well instead of leaving them whole. One chipotle will result in mild spiciness. Two will make it pleasantly hot. Three would probably be too much for my taste.

2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 cup brown lentils
2 medium onions, chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
1 or more chipotle peppers in adobo
Chicken or vegetable stock
2-3 Tbsp cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream or plain yogurt for topping

Place the squash, lentils, onions, garlic, and chipotle(s) in the slow cooker. Add enough stock to comfortably cover. Cook on High for 8-10 hours. When lentils and veggies are tender, add cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Puree using an immersion blender or in batches in a blender or food processor.

Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt (which helps cut the heat of the chipotles).

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red Wine and Shallot Braised Lamb Shoulder

Lamb should roast is one of those really flavorful, less expensive cuts that responds beautifully to slow moist cooking. The method used here submerges the meat only about a third to half way, allowing the exposed side to brown nicely.

I really liked this red wine, shallot, and tarragon treatment. I think it would also be excellent with a beef roast prepared the same way (substituting beef stock for the chicken stock in that case).

2-3 lb lamb shoulder roast
Salt and pepper
3 large shallots, sliced
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 cup red wine (more as needed)
2 cups chicken broth

Be sure to take the lamb out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking to let it approach room temperature. Season it liberally with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take a small roasting pan or oven-proof Dutch oven that will just accomodate the lamb. Place the sliced shallots in the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the tarragon over them. Place the lamb on top of the shallots, then pour in the wine and chicken broth. It should come about halfway up the meat.

Roast the lamb for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven, turn it over, and dd more wine, broth, and/or water if the liquid level seems too low (try to keep it about a third of the way up the meat). Roast for another 30 minutes. Turn it over again and roast 20-30 minutes more. At this point it should be extremely tender. If it's not quite done, turn over again and roast another 20 minutes.

When the lamb is done, remove it to a warm platter. If you used a Dutch oven, place it on the stove top and simmer the cooking liquid (including shallots) until it reduces nicely. If you used a roasting pan, transfer the liquid to a saucepan and reduce.

Carve the lamb as best you can (this roast contains a lot of bones). Pass the sauce at the table.

Serves 3-4.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pasta with Sage Roasted Tomatoes, Leeks, and Goat Cheese

I am still working through the last tomatoes from my garden - the green ones have been ripening up nicely inside and although late season tomatoes are never as good as the ones you pick in August or September, they're not bad when roasted. I also still have a good supply of cold-hardy leeks in the garden, along with sage. The goat cheese I picked up at the farmers market helped pull it all together.

If you no longer have fresh tomatoes on hand, frozen ones would work here, too. Roast whole frozen tomatoes, then chop or pull apart with your hands. Or use frozen roasted tomatoes if you have them.

5-6 cups chopped seeded tomatoes
4 fat leeks, sliced in thin rounds
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
4-5 oz goat cheese
1 lb cut pasta (e.g penne)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the tomatoes, leeks, and sage in a large baking pan. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat all, then roast for about 30 minutes.

While the vegetables roast, crumble the goat cheese in a bowl and mix in 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil to soften it. Set aside.

Also while the vegetables roast, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain when done and return to the pot or a large bowl. Add the goat cheese mixture and spread it around so that it melts and thoroughly coats the hot pasta.

When the vegetables are done, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the baking pan, leaving excess liquid behind. Toss with the pasta. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ground Beef Stew with Leeks and Root Vegetables

I sometimes use ground beef in a stew when I don't have time to let it simmer for an hour or two. You can always substitute proper stew beef, browning it at the beginning and letting it simmer until nice and tender. This a simple and easy but hearty stew, perfect for fall weather and quick enough for a weeknight. Feel free to add or substitute additional root vegetables.

1 lb ground beef
3 fat leeks, sliced in thin rounds
1 Tbsp brown mustard
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced
Water and/or beef stock
1-2 tsp minced fresh sage or 1/2-1 tsp dried
Salt and pepper

Brown the beef in a large pot. Add the leeks and continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, then add the potatoes and carrots and enough water and/or beef stock to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Add sage and salt and pepper to taste; let simmer another 5 minutes or so. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.