With the colder weather finally creeping in down here, I have really been into hearty warming meals. Lentils are my latest thing. I have cooked them a lot of different ways, but this one is definitely the best. It needs a bit more attention then just simmering in liquid because this recipe cooks it risotto style. The outcome is amazing, and you won’t even notice that it is extremely heathy too! I served these along a rack of lamb (cooked with same herbs), and it was the perfect combination. Sorry the picture shows the lamb more then the lentils. – ts
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 cup Beluga lentils (or French green lentils)
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
Sea salt and pepper
1 full sprig fresh rosemary
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
- In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil for one minute over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, and sauté the vegetables until they are softened, 10 minutes.
- Add the lentils, sliced garlic, rosemary and bay leaf and sauté for 3-5 minutes more, coating all the lentils. Increase the heat and add the red wine. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring, until the mixture becomes dry.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the chicken stock to a simmer, then turn off the heat and cover to keep warm. Add the warm chicken stock to the lentils (like cooking a risotto) 1/2 a cup at a time, letting the lentils absorb the liquid with each addition. Repeat, stirring the mixture constantly. After 30 minutes or so the lentils should be slightly chewy and tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This recipe is Ina Garten‘s, that sweet wonderful lady who spends her time having cocktail hour in The Hamptons with the gays and putting cream in everything.
Anyway, The Chef suggested I post this earlier today when the world was dark and gray and dreary, but lately Memphis weather has decided to be a rancid, sobbing manic depressive mess, so now it’s freaking beautiful outside. Whatever. We are not to be deterred. Soup was suggested, and soup you shall have.
And if you’re gonna have one, this should be it. This is perfection even if you don’t have a borderline shameful obsession with mushroom. (I literally just googled “disorder: people who marry vegetables” because I thought there might be a hilariously awesome word for crazyfolk who try to do stuff like this somewhere, but alas, I must be the first.) My problems aside, this is creamy, comforting goodness, so go get your Ina on, girl.
5 oz shiitake mushrooms
5 oz portobello mushrooms
5 oz cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 pound + 1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme + 1 tsp minced thyme, divided
salt & pepper
2 cups leeks, white and light green parts chopped (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- Clean the mushrooms. Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and or cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Make the stock:
- Heat olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, onion, carrot, sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Strain, reserving the liquid. (You should have about 4.5 cups of stock. If not, add some water.)
- Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown.
- Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes or until they are browned and tender.
- Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot.
- Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1.5 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste and heat through (do not boil).
I already have 3 problems with this post: 1) I hate beans; 2) It’s officially 71 degrees outside and therefore way too conventionally “warm” to post a soup recipe; and 3) Every idiot I’ve run across recently cannot pronounce the word “Chipotle.” Let’s take these one by one, shall we?
First of all, I think beans are kind of pointless. Refry them and cover them in cheese and maybe we can talk, but for the most-part, I’ll pass.
That is, AHEM, until I had this soup. The Chef brought this home from work for me months ago, and I don’t know if it was my intense love of getting anything for free or the Chipotle Cream on top, but it was GREAT. As for my second point, I have pointed out that soup knows no season on several occasions, so you can take it down the street to another blog if you don’t like it.
And finally, the word is pronounced “Chi-poht-lay.” Yeah, I’m looking at you, Paula Deen, I love your wacky behind more than anyone, but “Chi-POLT-ay” just “ain’t rite,” to use your vernacular. You’re on the Food Network for goodness’ sakes. Get it together girl.
Black Bean Soup:
4 cups of dry black beans
2 yellow onions, diced
1 poblano pepper. diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
6 quarts of water
salt and black pepper to taste
- Rinse black beans in cold water.
- In a large pot, cook onions and peppers in olive oil until they become soft. Add the chili powder and cumin and stir until the onions are well coated.
- Add the beans and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour and a half. (While this is cooking, make the Chipotle Cream.)
- Puree beans in their liquid until smooth. Thin down with additional water, if necessary.
- Season to taste and top each bowl of soup with Chipotle Cream.
4 Chipotles in Adobo sauce
1/2 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of mayo
juice of one lime
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp of cilantro
- Place all ingredients in a blender or processor and puree until smooth. (I like to refrigerate this for the cold-hot dynamic you get when you top the soup with it, but it’s your prerogative lady, so do what you will.)
This recipe uses a scotch bonnet, and, if you think about the name of that pepper literally (i.e. a small older Scottish woman dressed like Miss Muffet), I think we can all agree it’s cute as crap. Also, reading the list of spices literally made my mouth water, so it’s probably good as crap too.
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1 scotch bonnet, cut in half
2 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tsp ground allspice
11/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 ground cloves
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 cup dark rum
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree into a smooth, thick paste.
- Use on pork, chicken, or seafood. It will last for about 3 days. (The rub, that is, not the food. If your food lasts for 3 days you are my grandmother and need to eat more quickly.)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I want nothing to do with cucumbers… unless they’re part of some great-smelling lotion line by Dove, The texture, the seeds, the squishy texture – they are just not for me. Unless you pickle them.
I am a self-professed pickling junkie, and with this recipe The Chef proved that vinegar is so magical it can even make a cucumber palatable. He likes to serve these on top of Bulgogi (a truly delicious Korean taco alternative) or under grilled shrimp as an appetizer. Go. Make. Believe.
4 cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
salt to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- Start by making the dressing: Mix vinegar, sugar, salt, and oil. Taste. If it’s too tart add sugar; if it’s too sweet add vinegar.
- Mix dressing and the rest of the ingredients together. Let sit in fridge for at least 2 hours.