January 28, 2016
Aunt Suzy says . . .
We love making this recipe for White Chili, something I learned when I moved to Minnesota 20+ years ago. It’s in both of our regular rotations in the fall/winter season. So it caught my attention when my friend Ruth brought a different version of “white” chili to a gathering recently. I thought it was delicious so asked her to share the recipe. This variation on white chili is from the Neelys, a couple I enjoy seeing on their Food Network show. They are a lot of fun to watch cook as they share recipes for good home cooking. “White” is stretching it a little with this recipe which uses ground red chili, but it is a close relative of our original and I think it’s delicious. We served it with Harvey Cornbread and a “winter ale”. What did you and your family think, Margaux?
Margaux says . . .
I think this is my new favorite chili recipe! I love how easy it was to make, because I used canned beans and a rotisserie chicken, which made it a snap. It was also very easy to adapt for my vegetarian: I made it with vegetable broth, and then took out a couple of servings for my veggie son, and then added the chicken for the rest of us. One thing I did differently than the recipe was mashing 1/4 cup of the beans before adding them to the chili as a thickener…I found it to be a little soupy for my family. We like our chili thick. We also like to load our chili up, too, so I served it with sour cream, shredded Monterey jack, chopped avocado, and crushed tortilla chips. It was a hit!
Chicken and White Bean Chili
1 3/4 cups dried white beans OR 2 small (14.5 ounce) cans -navy, great northern or cannelini (AS used dried navy beans, M used canned cannelini)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2-1 chipole chili in adobo sauce, rinsed and chopped
4-6 cups chicken broth (mock chicken broth, Better than Bouillon no chicken broth or vegetable broth for vegetarian)
juice of 2 limes
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed, omit for vegetarian
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Sliced avocado, optional
Sour cream, optional
Crushed corn chips, optional
Directions – preparation
If using dried beans, brine/soak the beans: Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 3 quarts of cold water. Add the beans and soak overnight. Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Less time for smaller beans, more for larger. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well. Set aside.
If using canned beans: Drain and rinse the beans. Set aside.
Blend the spices: Put the cumin, coriander and ground chili in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken: If using rotisserie chicken, take the meat off the bone and remove the skin. Or bake 1 or more chicken breasts (skin-on/bone-in) at 375 for 40 minutes. Let cool, then take meat off the bone and remove the skin. In either case, shred or cut into cubes for desired amount. AS used the meat from one (largish) chicken breast which equaled 2 cups. M used meat from one small rotisserie chicken which also equaled 2 cups.
Directions – making the soup
Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add the oil. When shimmering, add the onions and peppers and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute or two and then add the spice blend plus the chipotle pepper. Stir for a minute or so to toast the spices. Stir in the broth and the beans. Stir to blend, bring to a boil then turn down the heat to simmer. If using dried beans, simmer for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the bean until cooked firm, but not mushy. Start checking at 20 minutes and then check every 10 minutes thereafter. (The navy beans were cooked in 30 minutes.) If using canned beans, simmer 20-30 minutes. In either case, you can mash or blend part of the beans to create a thicker chili, per Margaux’s message above.
Taste the soup. Add salt and black pepper to taste and adjust the spices if necessary. Stir in the lime juice and chicken and bring back to a simmer and cook for another 5 minutes.
Directions – serving the soup
Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Pass the cilantro and lime wedges, along with the sour cream, crushed corn chips and/or avocado slices if using.
December 20, 2015
It’s winter! Time for soups and stews. This one from our local newspaper caught my eye because Beth Dooley, creator the this recipe, is one of our local food/cooking gems here in the Twin Cities. Also, this looked so different from the soups I’ve been making with a mirepoix base. While some ingredients are familiar – squash, beans, tomatoes and kale – others sounded exotic in a soup – za’atar, orange zest and juice. Randy and I both loved this – we could hardly stop eating it! The recipe says it serves 4-6, but honestly after one meal we only had a tiny portion left for my lunch the next day. I will probably double the ingredients next time I make it. I was excited that I met Beth yesterday at one of our local indoor winter farmers markets and was able to tell her how much we liked this soup.
Here’s Beth’s note from the article in the Strib: “Note: Think of this recipe as a series of suggestions; you can add other vegetables you have on hand, substitute chickpeas for white beans, try winter squash in lieu of pumpkin. Toss in leftover turkey or chicken and call it stew. The za’atar blend of spices can be found in the spice aisle of many grocery stores, culinary shops and food co-ops. From Beth Dooley.” Check out Beth’s website for more about her and see all the great cookbooks she’s authored. A new book, a memoir, has just come out!
And here’s my note: I’ve been obsessed with using dried beans in soups these days following the Cook’s Illustrated brining method, so I’ve made some adaptations to Beth’s original which uses canned. If you want to take the quick and easy route, you can do so with Beth’s approach in her recipe. I won’t judge :) (This makes me laugh because when making this soup, I texted my blog partner “I’m kicking myself for using dried beans instead of canned!”) Actually, this was pretty quick and easy using the dried beans, it just took the extra step to brine/soak them.
Serves 4 to 6.
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
1 to 2 tablespoons za’atar (see Beth’s note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Generous pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups chicken, turkey or vegetable stock
1 cup brined dried cannelinni or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with their juices (1 1/2 cups)
3 cups roasted kabocha or butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
grated orange zest from 1 medium orange (or to taste)
juice from half the medium orange (or to taste)
2 cups thinly sliced kale
Brine the beans: Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts of cold water. Add the beans and soak overnight or up to 24 hours. Alternatively, you can bring the beans, salt and water to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour. In either case, drain the beans and rinse well.
Prepare the squash: Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. I used Kabocha squash of the orange variety, but green Kabocha, butternut or pumpkin would be excellent in this recipe. Whichever you use, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Slice into 1-inch slices. Line a baking sheet with foil and then put a skim of vegetable oil on the foil. Place the squash slices on the foil and turn to coat both sides with the oil. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees, turn the squash over using tongs and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Remove the skin with a knife and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside. (This step can be done up to 2 days ahead of making the soup.)
Make the soup: In a deep stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil and sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute till fragrant. Add the Za’atar, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Stir for a minute or two till fragrant.
Add the stock and the dried beans. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to low and simmer, covered, until the beans are done. This can vary depending on type and freshness of the beans you use from 30-60 minutes. I checked after 30 minutes and the cranberry beans I used were cooked through.
Stir in the squash and continue simmering for about 10 minutes to blend the flavors.
Stir in the orange zest and juice, and parsley and continue simmering another 5 minutes until the flavors meld. Adjust the seasonings and add the kale before serving hot.
December 3, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
In our ongoing 2015 series of soups and stews, we wanted to revisit one we make regularly and love. We did this recipe a couple of years ago which was a riff on today’s Cook’s Illustrated stew. This recipe is found in THE Cookbook, as my brother John calls it – The Science of Good Cooking from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s chock full of just what it promises, cooking science! The 2013 version used Italian sausage as the meat flavoring and cabbage as the vegetable. Today’s version uses pancetta and kale. While I liked both of these spins on the stew, I think the perfect combo will be sausage and kale. We will report back!
Margaux says . . .
I love this stew, and was excited to make this variation! This stew is so hearty and delicious, I’ve made it with the sausage and cabbage several times. I agree with Aunt Suzy, though, that kale and sausage would be the perfect combo. I will definitely make it that way next time! I love serving this with a loaf of crusty sourdough and a green salad. Yum!
Brining the beans: Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in large bowl or container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. Alternatively if you’re in a hurry, bring the beans in the brining water to a boil. Turn off the heat and let stand for 1 hour. For both methods, when done soaking, drain and rinse well.
Remove pot from oven and submerge rosemary sprig in stew. Cover and let stand 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves and rosemary sprig and season stew with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over toasted bread, if desired, and drizzle with olive oil. Alternatively serve with a nice crusty baguette.
November 22, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
It’s soup season and we love soups and stews here at S&SK! We’ve decided to do a Soup/Stew series this fall/winter season where we cook and blog about new recipes like this one and revisit old recipes to provide updates on some of our favorites. We just decided this late last week and voila! this recipe appeared in our Minneapolis paper in a regular column Sunday Supper. The Minneapolis contingent of S&SK loved this dish (slightly adapted in ingredients and method from the original), both with and without the sour cream. We served with a baguette and some dark beer. Randy and I both thought it would be really good with a sour dough bread as well.
Margaux says . . .
Jason and I loved this, too! The kids not as much, but since it was such a hit with Jason and me, I will try it again…I think the new flavors were what put the kids off, and sometimes we just need to try things a few times before they like it. The fun part about this was that my 6-year-old loves knowing what country our foods originate from, and we’ve never really had Hungarian food before, so he was really excited about this. We pulled out our world map and found where Hungary is, and then looked it up on the internet. We looked at pictures of Budapest, of the countryside, talked about traditions there, what music they listen to and different foods they eat. This is something I started last year when I was homeschooling him, and it has just become sort of the norm around here. His favorite so far is “Italian night,” which of course we do on a pretty regular basis. Sometimes we really “do it up” and make up a restaurant name, create a sign for our restaurant, put on music from that country while I’m cooking. It’s really fun!
I also served this with a baguette…I’ve been making my own bread lately with a book Aunt Suzy got me, “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” which I can’t recommend enough! It makes bread making so easy, and the results are amazing. The baguette was sourdough, and it went perfectly with the stew. We had it with a cotes du Rhone, because it’s what we had on hand, and it was pretty good!
Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Stew
1 1/2 lb. ground pork, beef or dark-meat turkey (Margaux used ground pork and AS used 1 lb. ground turkey)
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 medium head regular or savoy cabbage, cut in 1/2-inch strips – about 12 cups
1-2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire or Pick-a-Peppa sauce
1/2 c. long grain rice (white or brown)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dried
Sour cream for serving
Cook meat over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot, drain grease and wipe with a paper towel. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add onion, carrot and cabbage. Sprinkle with paprika, allspice and cayenne and stir to blend. Add the browned meat back to the pot and cook, stirring, until cabbage is wilted, about 5 minutes.
Add stock, tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar and Worcestershire or Pick-a-Peppa. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until cabbage is tender, 20-40 minutes to taste. (AS likes things more al dente so cooked for just 20 minutes.)
Add rice and season with salt and pepper. Cook, covered, until rice is just tender (it will cook more off the heat), about 15 minutes. If using brown rice, put in when you add the stock, etc.
Stir in dill. Serve in soup bowls with dollops of sour cream.
Vegetarian directions – from Margaux:
I have one vegetarian in my family, so any time we have a dish with meat, I have to make a veg version. This one was really easy. Cook the stew according to directions, just eliminating the meat at the beginning (and using vegetable stock, of course). When you add the rice, also add one can (or two cups cooked) great northern beans. We thought the beans were a great addition to the stew!
September 17, 2015
This time of year, when peaches are extra, super delicious at the farmer’s market (and those 4 lb boxes at Trader Joe’s! Yum!) my favorite breakfast is yogurt, granola and peaches. It’s really like a heavenly dessert for breakfast. Juicy, sweet peaches. Creamy, rich (whole milk, of course) yogurt. And crunchy granola, with tons of nuts and a hint of salty-sweet. I also have it for dessert sometimes, too (it’s great on ice cream!) And for a mid-day snack. We walk through one of those 4 lb boxes of peaches in about a half a week!
The granola is just as an important ingredient as the peaches. It can’t be too sweet, too chewy, or too hard. Supermarket granola, even the best kind, always has a weird aftertaste to me, almost like a coating is left in my mouth. I really don’t like it. Thankfully, making your own granola is really easy. I have two recipes that I use, both from my Aunt Judy. I’ve already posted one, the original “crunchy granola,” that I make on a regular basis. It’s very cheap, quick and easy. I also use this recipe, which Aunt Judy calls “Holiday Granola.” It has a few more ingredients (more nuts!), and uses real maple syrup instead of honey and maple flavoring like the other one. My aunt makes it for friends and family members as Christmas gifts, which is how I first tasted it. It makes a perfect Christmas gift because of the pumpkin seeds (or pepitas) and dried cranberries: it’s red and green. I prefer it to the “Crunchy Granola” recipe, but don’t make it as often because it’s quite a bit more expensive. But it is totally worth it!
4 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup large flake, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raw sesame seeds
1/2 cup wheat germ, preferably untoasted*
1 cup maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit blend (optional)**
* I’ve made this gluten-free by substituting flax meal for the wheat germ and had great results.
**I leave out the dried fruit during the summer because I don’t want it competing with my delicious in-season fruits. Totally your call, though.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl. Heat maple syrup, oil and salt together, stirring to dissolve salt. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread in large flat pan (I use a large baking sheet and it fits perfectly). Bake in oven for 45 minutes or more, until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Sprinkle dried fruit over granola and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in airtight containers.
Note: I have subbed all sorts of nuts for the ones suggested, just sticking to the same measurements. In this last batch I swapped half the pecans for cashews, and in the past I have used chopped walnuts in place of pecans, pistachios in place of pumpkin seeds and an additional 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds in place of sesame seeds. Just make sure all the nuts are raw and unsalted!
July 28, 2015
Aunt Suzy says . . .
There has been an abundance of beautiful summer squash at our farmer’s markets and produce stands lately, so when this recipe from the NY Times “recipes for health” showed up in my Facebook feed recently, I knew I had to make it. I’ve made quite a few of Martha Shulman’s recipes from that column over the years and they are always reliable and delicious. (You’ll also see I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe cuz that’s how we roll here!)
If you know us at S&SK, you know how much we love lemon. You can see all kinds of “lemony” recipes, both sweet and savory, on our blog. I predict this one will be a favorite up here in the Minnesota branch of our cooking team. If you love risotto and love summery, lemony dishes, this one is a winner!
7 to 8 cups chicken (or vegetable stock for vegetarian)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 pound summer squash, diced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
Zest of one small lemon
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, preferably lemon thyme
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the stock in a pan and keep just below a simmer for use in the risotto.
In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil till it shimmers over medium heat and then add the onion and saute till translucent. Add the summer squash and a little salt. Turn up the heat and saute a further 5 min until the squash is just starting to get soft. Add in the rice and garlic and give a few stirs to coat with the olive oil and create the signature nuttiness of the rice in this dish. Add the wine and stir till absorbed.
Turn down the heat and add about 1/2 cup of the hot stock. Keep at a low simmer, and stir until the stock is absorbed by the rice. Repeat by adding 1/2 cup stock at a time, stirring till absorbed until the rice is just about cooked through, about 25 minutes total. Add some more stock, the lemon zest and juice, the thyme and the Parmesan. Stir to blend. The dish should be creamy, not too dry and not too wet and the rice should be al dente. Best served in bowls with a refreshing glass of lemony Pinot Grigio.
Notes on ingredients: Two medium squash added up to one pound for me with apologies for not measuring the amount of diced squash before adding it to the pan. I used one yellow squash and one striped zucchini. I used Pinot Grigio for the white wine, but a Sauvignon Blanc would work well too. Avoid anything with oak in it like a California Chardonnay. Use the best quality Parmesan that you can find for the flavor and creaminess that really makes this dish. We recommend grating it yourself vs. buying it already grated.