Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sweet Potato Tortilla Pie

Another entry in the tortilla pie series, this one combines shredded sweet potatoes and salsa with refried beans and cheese. It's delicious and substantial on its own, but you could throw in some cooked shredded chicken in place of some of the sweet potato if you like. A food processor with a grating attachment makes quick work of the shredding.

Olive oil
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 large onion, thinly sliced or finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp lime juice, or to taste (optional)
2 10-inch flour tortillas
1 14-ounce can refried beans
1/2 - 3/4 cup good quality salsa, plus more for topping if desired
6-8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shredded sweet potatoes and onion and saute over medium-high heat until tender.  You want them to brown a bit in some places, but not char. Taste the sweet potatoes and add salt and pepper to taste; if you want to cut the sweetness a little, stir in the lime juice.

When the sweet potatoes are tender, place one of the tortilla in the bottom of a 10-inch oven-proof skillet. Spread half the refried beans over the tortilla, then add half the salsa. Top this with half the sweet potato mixture and press it down a bit.  Sprinkle with half the cheddar. Add the second tortilla and repeat.

Turn on the broiler of your oven. Place the tortilla pie under the broiler and cook for about 3 minutes, until the cheese begins to brown a little. Cut into wedges and serve hot. Pass additional salsa at the table if desired.

Serves about 4.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ginger Beef Noodle Soup

Don't be shy with the ginger here - use the full amount. And feel free to substitute other vegetables (peppers, celeriac, broccoli, even greens) depending on what you have on hand. You could also skip the beef shanks and make this with leftover pot roast if the seasonings are compatible.

2 lbs beef shanks
Canola oil
Salt and pepper
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
2 large onions diced
1/4 cup grated ginger root
2-3 large carrots, sliced into rounds
2-3 cups shelled edamame (frozen is fine)
Beef stock
2 cups egg noodles, rombi, or similar

Preheat the broiler of your oven. Lightly oil the beef shanks all over, then liberally sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Broil for 3-5 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Set aside.

Heat a little canola oil in a soup pot, then add the garlic and onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the ginger and saute for another minute or two. Add the vegetables, then the browned shanks. Pour in enough beef stock to almost cover the shanks. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours, until the beef is very tender.

Remove the shanks from the pot. Discard the bones and connective tissue and shred the meat, then return to the meat to the pot. Bring the soup back to a boil and add the noodles, then simmer vigorously until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.  Taste the soup and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serves about 6.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Red Bean and Vegetable Soup

Locavore vegetable soup in February usually means root vegetables or squash, but it doesn't have to if you plan ahead and have some storage space. Last summer I froze heaps of local corn along with our own paste tomatoes and peppers, and those flavors and colors sure are welcome now. Because I was using good sweet corn as well as tomatoes that are sweeter than your typical commercially canned tomatoes, I added a splash of lemon juice at the end to temper the flavor. If you use more acidic tomatoes, you may not need it.

Olive oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
8-10 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 - 3 cups peeled chopped tomatoes (canned, or thawed if frozen)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (frozen is fine)
3 cups chopped red peppers (frozen is fine)
4 cups cooked red beans
Chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2-3 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp lemon juice, or to taste (optional)

Heat a bit of olive oil in a soup pot, then add the onions and garlic and saute over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes, until translucent. Add the tomatoes, corn, peppers, and beans plus enough stock to generously cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, then add the parsley, time, paprika, salt and pepper, and lemon juice (if using). Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serves about 6.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pureed Lentil Soup with Spinach and Bacon

Get the lentils started, then throw the rest of it together while they cook and it all comes together in about 30 minutes. I like this with the spinach, but it's also good without.

1 1/2 cups brown lentils
Chicken stock
Olive oil
2 medium-large onions, finely chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 cups chopped tomatoes (canned, or thawed if frozen)
1 cup chopped cooked bacon
1/2 lb spinach, stemmed and chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Place the lentils and enough water to cover them by about one inch in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender.

While the lentils cook, heat a little olive oil in a skillet and saute the onions and garlic over medium-high heat for several minutes, until pleasantly browned. Add the onion mixture and the tomatoes to the lentils and continue to cook until the lentils are tender.

When the lentils are tender, puree the soup with an immersion blender (or do it in batches in a regular blender). Once pureed, stir in the bacon and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted. Stir in the red wine vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Creamy Celeriac Soup with Rosemary and Bacon

I was really pleased with the balance of flavors in this soup. It's a good showcase for celeriac's nutty, celery-y flavor, and the rosemary and bacon round it out and make it hearty enough for a light main course. I served this with Whole Wheat Popovers, which went really well with it.

2 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
Chicken stock
Up to 1 cup milk
4-6 oz cooked bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a soup pot, then add the onion and garlic and saute over medium-high heat for several minutes, until slightly browned. Add the celeriac and rosemary, then enough stock to just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the celeriac is very tender, about 10-15 minutes.  (If you have not cooked the bacon ahead of time, this is a good time to do it. I like to do large-ish quantities under the broiler; I line a rimmed pan with foil then place a cooking rack over it and the bacon on the rack. Broil for 3-4 minutes per side.)

Once the celeriac is tender, puree the soup. I do this with an immersion blender, but you could also do it in batches in a regular blender. Once pureed, stir in milk to reach the desired consistency, then add the bacon and white wine vinegar. Season with salt to taste.  Serve hot.

Serves 4-6.