An earthy side dish recipe

The other day I was trying to decide what to cook for dinner and I started looking around the web, I knew I wanted to use turnips and maybe sweet potatoes or pumpkins but had no clear idea of what to do with them… I ended up making roasted butternut squash, turnips and potatoes. It turned out great with the sweetness of the squash, the bitterness of the turnips and the potatoes to tie everything together.

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 turnips
  • half butternut squash
  • 1 onion
  • half a cup diced pancetta or bacon (optional)
  • rosemary or sage

Directions

  1. Here is how I proceeded. First I peeled and diced 2 turnips, then I peeled, seeded and diced half a butternut squash and finally I diced 4 small potatoes. Then I blanched the turnips and the squash for about 2 minutes in boiling unsalted water and the added the potatoes for another 2 minutes. After that I drained everything and put the vegetables in a single layer on an oven dish.
  2. In a nonstick pan I roasted some diced Italian pancetta (you can use bacon if you cannot find pancetta – BTW you can buy it at Costco and Traders’ Joe) without adding any oil. After the pancetta started rendering the fat and was starting to be nice and crispy, I added a thinly sliced medium sized onion and some rosemary. I added a touch of salt to help the onion cook and let the onion cook with the pancetta until it was soft and tender.
  3. Finally I mixed the onion and pancetta with the vegetables and sprinkled everything with olive oil, mixing once or twice to make sure all vegetables were well coated with oil and cooked everything in the oven at 400F for about 3/4 of an hour. I added the salt only at the end, right before serving, so that the vegetables can turn nice and crispy.
  4. Et voila the perfect side dish for a pot-roast or some other hearty winter dish!

3.1

Bean Soup Recipe

Yesterday it was cold and snowy and we wanted to eat something comforting and rich like a meat stew, but we didn’t really want to eat more meat. So what could we cook? I looked in the pantry and I found a mix of legumes for 13 bean soup and I though: BEAN SOUP! So here is what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried beans
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 oz. pancetta or bacon
  • sage
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. I put about a cup of dried beans to soak in hot water and started preparing the base for the soup. I diced 2 carrots, a couple of celery stalks and a medium sized onion. I put my pressure cooker on the stove and put in my diced pancetta (you can use bacon if you don’t have pancetta).
  2. When the pancetta started rendering the fat I added the diced vegetables and a bit of sage. I salted everything and let it cook down for 10-15 minutes. Then, I added a diced sweet potato and a 2 diced regular potatoes.
  3. At this point the beans had been soaking for about 30 min, I drained them and added to the pot, gave it a bit of a stir, salt, pepper and then added about 5 cups of water. I closed the pressure cooker and cooked for about 1 hour from when it goes under pressure.
  4. I checked the soup about 45 minutes in to make sure there was enough water and cooking was going as expected. When the soup was done, it was wonderfully creamy and pretty thick. Serve and let dines add fresh ground pepper, olive oil and freshly grated cheese to taste….

3.1

A great almost vegetarian (to make it vegetarian /vegan just substitute the pancetta with oil) stew that won’t keep you wanting for meet.

PS if you don’t have a pressure cooker you can still do the soup, it’s just going to take about twice the time to get the beans done….

My Goulash recipe

This weekend it snowed. And it snowed. And it snowed. And it was probably 3 feet of snow. And now is cold, really cold like 0F around midday. So yesterday evening we decided to make a stew, one of those thick and comforting stews and I decided to go for a goulash. Now I have not yet mastered the art of goulash and I would welcome your suggestions on how to make the perfect goulash, but here is what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. beef
  • 1 quart broth
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • red wine

Directions

  1. First I roasted about a pound of diced stew beef in oil, when it was well browned I took it out. In the same pan, I added a bit of oil and 2 thinly sliced onions, 2 bay leaves and a bit of salt and let the onion cook down until soft an tender.
  2. Then I added the meat back to the pan and poured in a bit of red wine. When the wine evaporated I added 2 tablespoon of flour, so that the cooking liquid can thicken up and yield an almost creamy stew.
  3. I then added 1 quart of broth (which I made by adding 1 and 1/2 beef bouillion cube to a quart of water), 1 tablespoon of paprika and 2 tablespoons of concentrated tomatoes. I closed the lid and cooked in my pressure cooker for about 1 hour (you’ll have to do longer if you are using a regular pot).
  4. After 1 hour I opened my pressure cooker and added 4 small diced potatoes to the meat and let it cook for another 40 minutes, this time uncovered so that the sauce would thicken up a bit. At this point my stew was done and the sauce was thick but not too thick, if you find the sauce too thin you can add a bit of flour if you find it too thick just add water.

3.1

The ideal complement to this dish would be a good polenta, but you can get by with just bread or maybe white rice. If you plan to have one of the those carb loaded sides you can always skip the potatoes, without ruining the dish.
Also if you like it you can have it as a soup. I usually have most of the sauce of the stew as I like it on the soupy side, BF fishes out the meat and some of the potatoes and has his on the meaty side…

Oven-steamed trout recipe

I kind of am on a diet, meaning I should be on a diet, but one day of eating less than usual doesn’t qualify me as really on a diet. Anyway, yesterday I decided to cook trout and as I am trying to watch what I am eating I cooked it without any fats here is what I did.

Ingredients

  • 1 trout
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • oregano

Directions

  1. I took some parchment paper and soaked it so that it easier to handle. Then I got one of my trout, two sliced fresh tomatoes, one clove of garlic roughly chopped in 3 pieces and oregano. I put everything in the parchment paper, wrapped it up so that the steam could not escape, placed it in an oven dish and cooked it in the oven at 400F for about 25 minutes.
  2. I added a tiny bit of oil right before eating and the whole thing turned out pretty great, even with no added salt. As a side dish I had 2 oven baked new potatoes (very small ones) and of course no added oil, butter or cream on it.

Pasta with chickpeas recipe

Today BF asked for pappardelle. Pappardelle is a fresh kind of pasta that is typically dressed with some reach meat based sauce, often from some kind of gamy meat like boar or hare. I did not have any meat, so I decided to do something different that would still be rich and satisfying and used chickpeas instead.

Ingredients

  • pappardelle pasta
  • chickpeas
  • tomato sauce
  • EVOO
  • garlic
  • rosemary

Directions

  1. First I heated up a bit of olive oil and added a crushed garlic clove and some rosemary. I let it brown up so that the oil would extract all the garlic and rosemary flavor and then I added some drained chickpeas form a can. I let the legumes warm up and then added a bit of tomato sauce. At this point I crushed the chickpeas so that some of them would be reduced to a nice puree. I let it cook while I cooked the pappardelle and then mixed the pasta and the sauce adding a generous jug of oil and a bit of water to prevent the pasta from becoming to dry.
  2. Served it up to my very skeptic BF, who ended up getting first, second and third helpings…