Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Garlicky Chicken Soup with Corn and Dumplings

A good use for leftovers after roasting a nice succulent local chicken, plus last summer's corn from the freezer.  The dumplings can be optional, but they make the whole thing more substantial.

Soup
Olive oil
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium shallots or 1 small onion, minced
3 cups cooked shredded chicken
3 cups corn kernels (frozen is ok)
Chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1-2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Dumplings
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1 - 1 1/4 cup while whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup parsley (fresh or frozen) or 2 Tbsp dried
1/4 tsp salt

Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the garlic and shallots and saute over medium high heat for 2 minutes or so.  Add the chicken, corn, stock, bay leaf, thyme, and some salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer while you get the dumplings together.

To make the dumplings, combine the eggs and oil in a smallish bowl, then stir in the flour, parsley and salt.  The dough will be a little sticky, but should hold its shape.

Bring the soup back to a boil, then drop in teaspoon-sized balls of dumpling dough.  Cook at a boil for about 10 minutes, then remove the soup from the heat and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Caramelized Carrots and Onions

This is a very simple dish, but the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  I was actually planning to add a little balsamic vinegar at the end (and still might another time) but it was so delicious when I tasted it that I decided to just leave it as it was.  I served this alongside roast chicken.

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 large carrots, julienned or shredded
3 medium onions, thinly sliced the long way
Salt to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or braising pan.  Add the carrots and onions and sprinkle with salt.  Saute over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, then reduce heat to low.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or so (longer if you have the time and desire) until the onions and carrots are very soft and pleasantly sweet and caramelized.  Add additional salt if needed.

Serve hot.

Serves about 4.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Worcestershire Beef Stew

This is a fairly classic beef stew with the Worcestershire sauce amped up for more flavor.  It was inspired by a shepherd's pie dish my husband had at a little restaurant in Jeffersonville, Vermont called 158 Main (try it if you're ever in the area - homey, friendly, good food).  If you like, leave out the potatoes and serve over mashed potatoes.

2 lbs stew beef, trimmed and cubed
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
Canola oil
4-5 large garlic cloves, minced
3 medium onions, finely chopped
Beef stock
3 large carrots, diced
1 medium celeriac, diced
5 medium potatoes, diced
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leave
2 Tbsp tomato paste

Place the beef in a bowl and sprinkle with the flour, generous amounts of salt and pepper, and paprika.  Toss until thoroughly coated.

Heat some canola oil in a soup pot.  Add the beef and brown well, stirring a few times to cook on all sides.  Add the garlic and onion and saute for another minute or two, then deglaze the pan with beef stock.  Scrape up all the good brown stuff stuck to the bottom of the pot, as it is full of flavor.  Add carrots, celeriac, and potatoes, then enough additional beef stock to just cover it all.  Add Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, and tomato paste.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour, until the meat is nice and tender (2-3 hours wouldn't be wrong).  Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.  Serve hot.

Serves 6-8.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spanish-Style Lentil Stew with Red Pepper and Ham

And thus were finished the last of the Christmas ham leftovers.

Like many Mediterranean cuisines, ham is popular in Spanish food, as are sweet red peppers.  Here I rounded out the theme by seasoning with pimentón, which is Spanish sweet smoked paprika.  Pimentón is not available in Greenfield so I got mine via mail order.  If you don't have any, try substituting a combination of regular paprika and chili powder.  It's not the same, but it's passable.

Olive oil
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 cups dry lentils
6+ cups chicken stock
3 red bell peppers, diced
2-3 cups diced cooked ham
1 tsp pimentón
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the garlic and onion and saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the lentils and stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.  About 15 minutes into the lentil cooking time, add the red peppers, ham, and pimentón.  The peppers will cook until they nearly melt into the stew, in a good way, but if you like them crisper, wait and add them at the very end. When the lentils are nice and tender, taste the stew and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves about 6.

Pizza with Squash, Spinach, and Goat Cheese

Like the green salad I posted earlier this month, this recipe leverages the Caramelized Roasted Butternut Cubes my sister and I made at Christmas.  Do try them; it's a really excellent treatment for squash.

14-inch pizza crust
Olive oil
2-3 oz. shredded mozzarella
1/4 lb spinach, well chopped or cut into ribbons
1 1/2 cups Caramelized Roasted Butternut Cubes
2-3 oz. crumbled goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

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

Sprinkle the crust with mozzarella, then cover with spinach.  Add squash for the next layer, then goat cheese.  Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the crust is done and cheese begins to brown.

Serves 3-4.

Classic Red Wine-Braised Beef Shanks

Braising beef in red wine is a classic treatment, and with good reason.  I used beef shanks from our cow share, but virtually any good braising cut would work here: shanks, short ribs, even pot roast.  Serve this with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.

2 1/2 - 3 lbs beef shanks (about 3 large)
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 small onion, quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
Beef stock

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Coat the beef all over with oil, then sprinkle liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.  Brown well in the oven, 10-15 minutes per side.  (You can do this on the stovetop if you prefer, but I find it too smoky.)

While the beef browns in the oven, heat a little canola oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot.  Add the garlic, onion, and carrot and brown them a bit.  Stir in the thyme.  When the veggies are browned, deglaze the pan with the wine, then reduce heat to a simmer while you wait (if necessary) for the beef to finish browning.

When the beef is browned, add it to the pot with the vegetables and wine.  Add enough beef stock to cover the meat about three quarters of the way.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2-3 hours.  The beef is done when it is very tender and falling off the bones.

To serve, remove the beef from the pot and separate it from the bones.  Cut into pieces if desired, and remove any excess connective tissue that remains.  If you want to get fancy, you can strain the braising liquid then return it to the stove and reduce it to make a sauce.  Otherwise, just serve the meat over mashed potatoes or noodles with a spoonful of braising liquid poured over.

Serves about 4.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mediterranean Ham and White Bean Soup with Tomatoes and Garlic

Great made with leftover ham - put the whole ham bone in to simmer with the soup if you have one.  Tomatoes, garlic, and thyme give this soup a Mediterranean feel.  Canned tomatoes work well here; chop them if they are whole.  If you want to use frozen ones, make sure to skin them and drain them well.  Make sure to soak the beans ahead of time.  You can do it overnight, or start them soaking in the morning to make the soup in the afternoon.

Olive oil
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, diced
2 cups white beans, soaked, drained, and rinsed
3 cups chopped cooked tomatoes
2-3 cups cooked cubed ham, plus the bone if you have it
6 cups chicken stock
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a little olive oil in a soup pot.  Add the garlic and onions and saute over medium high heat until soft and a little browned.  Add the beans, tomatoes, ham (plus bone if using), stock, and thyme.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, until the beans are tender.  Remove the bone if it's in there, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6-8.

Green Salad with Roasted Butternut and Goat Cheese

This winter salad is delicious with cold hardy greens, still pretty easily available from local farms.  Use a salad mix if you can, or just a bed of baby spinach or arugula.  You can assemble the salad in a single bowl or platter if you like, but I suggest composing individual servings on on small plates for each diner.  My sister and I made this salad as a first course for Christmas dinner.  You can serve it with whatever kind of dressing appeals to you, but I recommend a balsamic vinaigrette or a Dijon apple cider vinaigrette.

Salad greens
Caramelized Roasted Butternut Squash, room temperature
Walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds, lightly toasted and cooled
Dried cranberries
Goat cheese, crumbled

Make a bed of greens on each plate.  Top with a small mound of  cubed squash, then sprinkle with nuts, cranberries, and goat cheese.  Dress at the table.