Butternut Squash Soup with a Spicy Sausage Confit
This recipe is adapted from Nick Stellino includes a confit with peppers and asparagus. To make it more seasonally appropriate, substitute diced potatoes and finely chopped chard.
For the Soup:
4 tablespoons Olive Oil
12 garlic cloves, thickly sliced,divided
8 fresh sage leaves
1 white onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch rounds
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup brandy or sherry
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
½ white onion, finely diced
1 cup spicy smoked sausage,
cut into ¼-inch dice
1 cup potatoes, finely diced
4 leaves finely chopped chard
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons softened butter
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon truffle oil (optional,
for an extra kick)
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
In a stockpot, heat the extra light olive oil over high heat. Add 4 cloves of sliced garlic and the fresh sage leaves, and cook over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onion, celery, remaining garlic, carrots, thyme and red pepper flakes to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring well, until the onion begins to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the brandy or sherry, bring to a boil, and stir well to dislodge the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Cook until the brandy or sherry is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the pieces of butternut squash and the chicken broth, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring well every 15 minutes. Add the soup, in batches, to a food processor and process it to a smooth, cream-like consistency. Strain, place the soup back in the stockpot, and keep warm. Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the Sausage Confit. Top with a generous sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese.
For the Confit:
Cook the extra virgin olive oil over high heat until it sizzles, then lower the heat to medium-low. Add the diced onion, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes, then add the sausage, napa cabbage and chard, and mix together. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring well, for 1 more minute. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, and stir well for 1 minute. Then add the brandy and cook 1 more minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the butter, and stir well until completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the optional truffle oil, stirring well before serving. Set the confit aside and keep it warm until you’re ready to use it.
Stir Fried Napa Cabbage and Carrots
Here's a simple quick recipe that you could serve with brown rice. This is a basic stir fry into which you could sub in other veggies, some cooked chicken or pork or beef, and garnish with scallions too. From the 75th Anniversary Edition of the Joy of Cooking.
Combine in small bowl:
2.5 TB tamari
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 TB canola oil (or sunflower)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 TB fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups shredded carrots
1 medium Napa Cabbage, thinly sliced
Minced parsley or cilantro
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add and stir fry the garlic and ginger for a few seconds taking care not to allow the garlic to brown. Add the carrots and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir fry until tender, about 3 more minutes. Add the tamari mixture and heat through, stirring to coat the vegetables. Serve garnished with minced parsley or cilantro.
Turkey & Leek Shepherd's Pie
A great way to use leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, well washed and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
3 cloves garlic,minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, or 1/2 teaspoon dried, rubbed
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked turkey, or chicken
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2-3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
To prepare filling: Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks and carrots and cook, stirring, until the leeks soften, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
Pour in wine and stir until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add flour and sage and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour starts to turn light brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and the carrots are barely tender, about 5 minutes.
Add turkey (or chicken) and peas and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a deep 10-inch pie pan or other 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
To mash potatoes and bake pie: Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pan. Cover and shake the pan over low heat to dry the potatoes slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or whip with an electric mixer, adding enough buttermilk to make a smooth puree. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in egg and 1 tablespoon oil.
Spread the potatoes on top of the turkey mixture. With the back of a spoon, make decorative swirls. Set the dish on a baking sheet and bake until the potatoes and filling are heated through and the top is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Spinach-Apple Salad With Maple-Cider Vinaigrette
This deluxe version of spinach salad features a tangy sweet maple syrup vinaigrette, sliced apple, onion and and goat cheese and is topped with sweet curried pecans. Add lettuce or chard for a greater variety of greens.
Sweet Curried Pecans:
1 (6-oz.) package pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2/3 cup olive oil
1 bag spinach, coarsely chopped
1 cup chard or lettuce, broken into bite-sized pieces
1 Gala apple, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (4-oz.) package crumbled goat cheese
Prepare Pecans: Preheat oven to 350°. Toss pecans in butter. Stir together sugar and next 4 ingredients in a bowl; add pecans, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer in a nonstick aluminum foil-lined pan. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned and toasted. Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; separate pecans with a fork.
Prepare Vinaigrette: Whisk together cider vinegar and next 4 ingredients. Gradually whisk in oil until well blended.
Prepare Salad: Combine spinach and next 3 ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of Maple-Cider Vinaigrette; toss to coat. Sprinkle with pecans. Serve salad with any remaining vinaigrette.
Quick and Easy Baked Chicken
This is a Mark Bittman recipe that is a real crowd pleaser.
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts, skin on: 2 breasts, 2 wings, 2 drum sticks, 2 thighs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup fresh herbs (or 1-2 tsp dried)
salt and pepper (I use 1.5 tsp or so for a big whole chicken)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Put the oil or butter in a roasting pan and put the pan in the oven for a couple of minutes, until the oil is hot or the butter melts. Add the chicken and turn it couple of times in the fat, leaving it skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and return the pan to the oven.
After the chicken has cooked for 15 minutes, toss about 1/4 of the herb or herb mixture over it and turn the pieces. Sprinkle on another quarter of the herb and roast for another 10 minutes.
Turn the chicken over (now skin side up again), add another quarter of the herb, and cook until the chicken is done (180 F , or you'll see clear juices if you make a small cut in the meat near the bone) a total of 30-50 minutes at most. Garnish with the remaining herb and skim excess fat from the pan juices if necessary; serve, with some of the juices spooned over it.
*Add several cloves of garlic
*Add a cup or so of chopped onion, shallot, or leek.
*Add a cup or so of sliced fresh mushrooms, after the first 15 minutes of roasting.
*Add 2-3 lemons. When the chicken is done, squeeze the hot lemon juice over it.
*Use Compound Butter, Flavored Oil, or a Vinaigrette from the beginning of the cooking or as a basting sauce during the cooking.
*Stir in a dollop of grainy French-style mustard when the chicken is done.
*Add a couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes and some black olives after turning the chicken skin side up again.
*Stir in a cup of any salsa in the last 10 minutes of cooking or spoon on top of the cooked chicken before serving.