Easy Cassoulet With Honey

cassoulet

It’s snowing in Cincinnati and getting colder by the minute. When the weather’s like this, all I want is some hearty cassoulet!  If I can’t wait until tomorrow to have it, this is the recipe I use. It’s SO good!

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 parsnips, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 tomato, chopped, or one 8-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

3 15-ounce cans of great Northern, cannellini, or navy beans, drained and rinsed

5 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons salted butter, melted

Directions

In a Dutch oven (a heavy pot, usually made of cast iron, that you can use on the stovetop and in the oven), heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the sausage until well browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Remove and drain on paper towels; set aside.

Pour out the excess oil from the Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, honey, salt, pepper, a third of the garlic, and the sausage and return to heat. Mix well, scraping up any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the Dutch oven. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour, until thickened and the vegetables are tender.

Heat oven to 400° F. In a bowl, combine the bread-crumbs, parsley, butter, and remaining garlic. Sprinkle evenly over the cassoulet and place in the oven. Bake, uncovered, until the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Cooking With Honey – Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

mushroom lasagna

I love this recipe for this time of year! Nothing out of season and intensely fulfilling, both in taste and texture. Perfect to have on hand for lunches or late night snacking. Enjoy!

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients:

Kosher salt

Good olive oil

3/4 pound dried lasagna noodles

4 cups whole milk

12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms

1 cup freshly ground Parmesan

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt and a splash of oil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.

For the white sauce, bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. Melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture all at once. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, the pepper, and nutmeg, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring first with the wooden spoon and then with a whisk, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Add honey and set aside off heat

Separate the mushroom stems from the caps and discard the stems. Slice the caps 1/4-inch thick. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan. When the butter melts, add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt, and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender and they release some of their juices. If they become too dry, add a little more oil. Toss occasionally to make sure the mushrooms cook evenly. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms and set all the mushrooms aside.

To assemble the lasagna, spread some of the sauce in the bottom of an 8 by 12 by 2-inch baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles on top, then more sauce, then 1/3 of the mushrooms, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan. Repeat 2 more times, layering noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and Parmesan. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce, and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan.

Bake the lasagna for 45 minutes, or until the top is browned the sauce is bubbly and hot. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and serve hot.

Cooking With Honey – Turkey, Leek, And Mushroom Casserole

turkey leek and mushroom casserole

I had this wonderful casserole minus the turkey and honey over the weekend.  I took my turkey leftovers and made it even better!

Yield:  8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

6 cups (1/2-inch-diced) bread cubes from an Italian or French loaf, crusts removed

2 cups cooked turkey (leftover!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces pancetta, small-diced

4 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)

1 1/2 pounds small button mushrooms

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves

1/4 cup  dry sherry

2 tablespoons honey

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

4 extra-large eggs

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 cup chicken stock

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (6 ounces), divided

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Stir in the mushrooms, tarragon, sherry, honey, 1 tablespoon salt and 11/2 teaspoons pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the turkey and parsley.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, chicken stock and 1 cup of the Gruyere. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid. Stir well and pour into a 2 1/2-to-3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and the custard is set. Serve hot.

Thanksgiving 2013 – Old-Fashioned Southern Green Beans

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Southern green beans. This is the real thing, and they’re even better the next day!

Yield:  12 servings

Ingredients:

2-3 lbs. fresh green beans

5 cups water

4-5 oz. smoked hog jowl

1 teaspoon salt (more or less, depending on saltiness of the seasoning meat)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon (or more) honey

A red-pepper pod or red-pepper flakes

1 onion, quartered

Directions:

Put the water, smoked hog jowl, honey, onion, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a 5-quart Dutch oven and bring to a boil on high heat. Place the lid on the pot, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes or more.

While the hog jowl is simmering, you’ll have time to prepare the green beans. Remove the ends and strings, and snap into pieces of desired length, discarding any beans that are blemished or wilted. Wash the beans in cold water and drain.

When the hog jowl has simmered for at least 30 minutes, remove any scum from the surface of the water. Add the green beans to the pot, turn up the heat, and bring back to a boil.

Once the water has reached a good boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer the beans — partially covered — for 3 full hours. It’s important to simmer the beans with the pot only partially covered. Between the pot and the edge of the lid, leave an opening of at least a quarter of an inch on one side, so that the steam can easily escape.

Once an hour or so, gently turn the beans so that those on the bottom are brought to the top and vice versa. The reason: the beans on the top will not be in contact with the water, and it’s important that all the beans in the pot get some time on top, out of the water.

In determining the heat setting on which to simmer the beans, the goal is to simmer them for 3 hours such that the water and the 3 hours run out at pretty much the same time. If you’ve simmered the beans for 3 hours and there is still water in the pot, just turn up the heat a tad and keep simmering until the water is gone. Of course, if you’ve used too much heat, you may have to add a little water before the end to keep the pot from boiling dry — just don’t cook the beans any less than 3 hours. You’ll probably find, however, that in a 5-quart Dutch oven 5 cups of water will just about be gone if you’ve simmered on low heat, with the lid 1/4 inch open, for 3 hours.

When done, the beans will be a good bit darker green than before being cooked. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the beans from the pot and put them in a serving bowl.

Cooking With Honey – Short Rib Tacos

short rib tacos

My family loves pulled pork, but every once in a while I like a change.  These tacos satisfy their hankering for barbecue and my yearning to try a new recipe. We enjoyed these last night!!

Ingredients

3 – 5  T. canola oil

2 lbs. short ribs

2 – 3 shallots, chopped

3 – 4 cloves garlic smashed

Salt, pepper for seasoning, (I also use a few t. of seasoning mix that contains sea salt, red pepper,fennel seed, dehydrated garlic, peppercorns)

Prepared horseradish

Couple of t. flour

1/2 cup of wine

1 qt. beef stock

2 – 3 bay leaves

1/2 t. cumin

1/3 t. all spice

1/4 t. cayenne

Couple of chipotle peppers (canned peppers with a little of the adobo sauce)

2 T. tomato paste

2 t. honey

4 carrots, peeled, halved and then quartered

Warm soft corn or flour torillas

Toppings: guacamole, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, monterey jack cheese, queso fresco, chopped avocado, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Directions

Heat canola oil in large, heavy dutch oven and either heat oven to 425F.

Rinse short ribs, pat dry. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning mix on all sides.

Rub generously with prepared horseradish. Sprinkle with flour so that all sides are lightly coated.

Add beef to heated pan and sear well on all sides — you really want to get a good coating on the beef — if the coating sticks to the pan, don’t worry, it will deglaze.

Add chopped shallots and garlic to pan. Deglaze with wine, let it cook down a bit.

Add chipotle peppers and tomato paste.  Add beef stock. Add spices & honey.

Stir well, bring up to a simmer, cover and place in oven.

Reduce heat after 20 – 25 minutes and cook at 300 – 325 F for about four hours.

With one hour to go, add carrots to pot, stir in and cover; continue to cook for about 45 minutes to one hour.

After about four hours, beef will be easy to pull apart and liquid will have cooked down to rich, spicy sauce.

Pull beef apart and serve with sauce, warm tortillas, and toppings.

Spicy Honey-Roasted Leg Of Lamb

200308-r-indian-spiced-lamb

Celebrate Spring with this spicy-sweet leg of lamb!

Ingredients

Marinade

6 large cloves garlic, peeled, and coarsely chopped

1/2 ounce fresh ginger, peeled, and coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red chile powder

5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons water

Kosher salt

Lamb

1 leg of lamb (about 5 pounds)

Honey rub

3 1/2 ounces blanched almonds

3 1/2 ounces Greek yogurt, plain

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Directions

For the marinade: Blend together the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, coriander, black pepper, chile powder, lemon juice, vegetable oil, water, and salt, to taste.

For the lamb: Trim the excess fat and membranes from the leg of lamb. Make deep regular cuts all over the flesh with a paring knife. Rub the marinade into the lamb, making sure you get it into the deep cuts. Place the lamb in a plastic food bag with the remaining marinade and leave in the refrigerator, for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours, or ideally for 24 hours.

For the honey rub: Blend together 2 ounces of the almonds, the yogurt, and 1/2 the honey in a blender or food processor. Take the lamb out of the refrigerator and remove from the plastic bag. Rub the honey blend into the lamb, and leave the lamb for at least 30 minutes, or ideally for another 2 hours, covered, in the refrigerator. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the lamb on a rack with a roasting pan placed underneath the lamb on the rack below. Cook for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees F, and cook for another 1 hour 40 minutes, or until the meat juices run fairly pink when pierced, basting every 20 to 30 minutes.

Scatter the remaining almonds and drizzle the remaining honey over the lamb and roast for another 10 minutes. Check if the meat is cooked using a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 130 degrees F for rare to 150 degrees F for well done, depending on the desired degree of doneness.

Remove the lamb from the oven. Loosely cover the lamb with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Pour out the juices, spoon off any excess fat, and serve it on the side.

Easter Dinner – Garlic Cheese Grits And Spinach Souffle

cheese grits and spinach

I was raised on cheese grits casserole.  While I love the original, I also love this updated version.

Honey is a natural flavor enhancer. While there is only one tablespoon in this recipe, the honey makes the souffle tastier without making it sweet.

Ingredients:

1½ teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup finely grated Parmesan

3 2/3 cups milk (not skim)

1 cup stone-ground or old-fashioned grits

Salt and black pepper

1½ cups grated sharp cheddar

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6 ounces baby spinach leaves (7½ cups loosely packed)

6 scallions thinly sliced (2/3 cup), 1 tablespoon reserved

Directions:  Grease a 2-quart souffle dish with 1½ teaspoons butter, dust with 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and set aside.

In a medium non-stick saucepan bring the milk and the 2 tablespoons of butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add the grits in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until grits are thick and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when you stir, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1¼ cups of the cheddar, the remaining Parmesan, honey, garlic, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Taste the grits and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate each before adding the next. Stir in the spinach by handfuls.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are thick and glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add a quarter of the whites to the grits mixture and, using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add remaining whites and rapidly but gently fold them in along with the scallions.

Spoon the batter into the prepared dish, smooth, sprinkle with the remaining cheddar, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the souffle is puffed, golden brown, and barely jiggles when you shake the pan, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and serve at once.