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.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 15 – Chicken, Hunter Style

MB2B27_Chicken_Hunter_Style_lg

Uhh, some of you may have noticed that there was a long weekend-shaped hole between Day 14 and Day 15 of the Romancing the Bee Diet…

I was visiting my daughter Molly and the adorable Baby Lucy in Chicago, and between the pizza, the macarons and the three course luncheon at the American Girl Doll Store, I kind of fell off the Diet Wagon.

I’m back on it though, without sustaining too much damage.  After all, the RTBD should be a joyous way of life, not an exercise in Food Deprivation. 

This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is fabulous, and made it easy for me to return to low Glycemic Index eating. 

Of course, I’ll be madly working to create a recipe for RTBD  macarons to further enhance the RTBD experience!!  🙂

macarons

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 (5-6 pound) chicken cut into eighths

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly julienned

4 ounces thick cut bacon, finely diced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices

1 tablespoon honey

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar or capers

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves

Basil sprigs

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the pan, skin side down and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a large plate.

Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and bacon and cook until golden brown, season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and chili flakes to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, honey and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken, mushrooms and bacon to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a large shallow bowl and tent loosely with foil.

Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar and basil and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day 4 – Broiled Scallops With Wine Sauce

scallops

Day 4 of the Romancing the Bee diet is going well!  I am continuing to lose, and what is even better is that I feel great!!  I was definitely eating too much of the wrong things!!

This won’t be an all seafood diet, I promise.  It’s just what I’m craving right now.

Yield:  2-4 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/8 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons butter

Olive oil

1/2 pound of scallops

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a skillet over medium heat, mix chicken broth, wine, lemon juice, honey, shallot and garlic. Cook and stir until the liquid had been reduced to 2 tablespoons. Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the butter until the liquid combines with it and turns into a creamy sauce. Remove from heat.

Brush scallops with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on cooking sheet. Broil about 2 minutes on each side or until opaque.

Serve scallops with wine sauce and steamed non-starchy vegetables.  How about Roasted Pears for dessert??

Black Bean Soup With Honey

black bean soup

The inspiration for this recipe was one that appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on January 4, 1987.  The recipe looked so good that by the time I made it to the grocery store, all the black beans had been sold out!

Ingredients

1/2 pound smoked slab bacon with rind

1 1/2 cups finely chopped onions

1 1/2 cups finely chopped celery

1 1/2 cups finely diced carrots

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon finely minced garlic

1 1/4 teaspoons dried thyme

4 tablespoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled

3 tablespoons tomato paste

16 cups rich chicken broth, preferably homemade and concentrated, or canned broth may be substituted

1 pound black turtle beans or other black beans, about 3 cups (soaked and drained)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste, if desired

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Salsa for garnish (recipe follows today)

Sour cream for garnish

Directions

To soak beans quickly, cover them with generous amount of water, cover pot, bring water to boil and boil 2 minutes. Remove cover and allow beans to sit in the liquid for one hour. Drain.

Slice off and reserve the rind of the bacon. Cut the bacon into quarter-inch cubes. There should be about one and one-half cups.

Put the bacon cubes and the rind into a heavy kettle or casserole and cook, stirring often, until rendered of fat. When ready, the bacon cubes should be well-browned and crisp.

Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, garlic, thyme, three tablespoons of the cumin, black pepper and oregano. Stir to blend and cover the kettle or casserole closely. Cook about five minutes over moderately low heat. Do not allow the mixture to burn.

Add the tomato paste and stir briefly. Add the chicken broth and bring to the boil.

Add the soaked beans to the soup. Cook, uncovered, over relatively high heat about two and one-half hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove foam, scum and fat as it rises to the top. The soup is ready when the beans are soft and some of them have disintegrated because of the cooking heat and stirring.

Stir in the lime juice, honey, cayenne pepper, salt, coriander leaves and remaining cumin. Remove and discard the bacon rind and bay leaf.

Puree soup a bit with an immersion blender.

Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls. Serve the salsa and sour cream on the side, to be added at will. This soup is best served with jalapeno honey corn-bread muffins as an accompaniment (recipe follows today).

Yield:   Eight to 12 servings

Honey Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”
Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

Ingredients:

2 butternut squash (about 2 lbs each)
4 carrots, peeled
½ pound parsnips, peeled
1 onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup honey
3/4 stick butter
9 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon mace
2-3 teaspoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
Pitch of cayenne pepper
Sea salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut side up, in a large roasting pan. Cut the carrots and parsnips into small pieces, and scatter them, along with the onion, around the squash. Sprinkle the cut surfaces of the squash with the honey and dot all over with the butter. Pour 2 1/2 cups of the broth into the pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake until all the vegetables are very soft, about 2 hours.

Carefully remove the foil and let the vegetables cool slightly. Scoop the squash out of the skins and place it in heavy soup pot. Add the other vegetables, juice from the pan and the remaining 6 ½ cups of broth. Season with the mace, crystallized ginger, cayenne and salt. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered for 10 minutes.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or by batches in a blender or food processor until it is very smooth. Return the soup to the pot and add extra broth, if necessary, to thin it to the desired consistency. Heat it through. This soup can be refrigerated or frozen, but there is unlikely to be any soup leftover.

Serves 10

Best Thanksgiving Leftovers – Turkey Tetrazzini

“Cooking Tip: Wrap turkey leftovers in aluminum foil and throw them out.” – Nicole Hollander

Ms. Hollander has obviously never tasted my Turkey Tetrazzini.  🙂

 Ingredients:

16 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin (about 4 cups)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup flour (I like to use Wondra…)

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon honey

16 ounces spaghetti (I use DeCecco)

3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey, including cooked giblets if desired

1 cup frozen English peas

2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1/3 cup fine fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

In a large heavy saucepan cook the mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until most of the liquid they give off has evaporated, stir in the flour, and cook the mixture over low heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add in a stream the milk, the broth, and the wine, stirring, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes. In a pot of boiling salted water cook the spaghetti until it is al dente and drain it well.

In a large bowl combine well the spaghetti, the mushroom sauce, the turkey, the peas, the honey, and salt and pepper to taste, stir in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan, and transfer the mixture to a buttered shallow 3-quart casserole. In a small bowl combine well the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan, the bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle the mixture evenly over the Tetrazzini, and dot the top with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits. The Tetrazzini may be prepared up to this point 1 month in advance and kept frozen, covered. Bake the Tetrazzini in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling and the top is golden.

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

One year I got extra fancy and started out Thanksgiving dinner with this wonderful soup! It’s a delicious and satisfying winter meal in itself.

Yields 8-10 first course servings

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked wild rice

2 tablespoons butter

2 leeks, diced (about 2-1/2 cups)

2 plum tomatoes, diced (1 cup)

4 celery stalks, diced (1 cup)

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (2 cups)

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup flour

6 cups chicken broth

2-3 bone-in chicken breasts, cooked, removed from skin and bone, and diced (1 1/2 cups)

1 cup cream

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tablespoon honey

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook the wild rice according to the directions on the package. Wild rice generally takes 55-60 minutes to cook.

In a large soup pot, melt the butter and sauté the leeks, tomatoes, celery, mushrooms, and garlic on medium high heat. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the flour and stir until blended into the vegetables. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the wild rice and chicken. Stir in the cream, honey and sherry. Cook until thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot!

Perfect Herbed Honey Oyster Dressing

 

Stuffing, also called dressing, is a seasoned mix of vegetables and starches and sometimes meat and seafood (such as oysters) that are cooked within the body cavity of an animal that is then served alongside the animal usually as an ancillary course.

Various kinds of stuffing go as far back as the Roman Empire, where recipes appear in De re Coquinaria, a collection found within a kitchen anthology called Apicius that chronicles thousands of Roman dishes. In De re Coquinaria, chicken, rabbit, pork and dormouse stuffings are made available. While some scholars argue that because of the language used in Apicius, which is closer in ways to Vulgar than Classical Latin, that many of the recipes contained within it were not cooked in Rome, there are long traditions and other historical references that corroborate the wide use of stuffing in Ancient Italy.

Stuffing in America is not uncommon in restaurants but is not regularly utilized in most households. Rather, it is traditionally served during the Thanksgiving holiday. 

This is the perfect Thanksgiving stuffing/dressing!

Ingredients

2 loaves Italian or French bread (1 lb total), cut into 3/4-inch cubes (12 cups)

1/2 lb sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (if needed)

2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)

1 1/2 cups chopped celery

3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 tablespoon dried thyme, crumbled

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted

18 oysters, shucked, drained, and chopped (3/4 cup)

2 1/4 cups turkey giblet stock or low-sodium chicken broth

 Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Spread bread cubes in 2 shallow baking pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until golden, 25 to 30 minutes total. Cool bread in pans on racks, then transfer to a large bowl.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, reserving fat in skillet.

If bacon renders less than 1/4 cup fat, add enough oil to skillet to total 1/4 cup fat. Cook onions, celery, thyme, sage, garlic, salt, and pepper in fat in skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl with bread cubes, then stir in bacon, honey, parsley, butter, and oysters. Drizzle with stock, then season with salt and pepper and toss well.

Transfer stuffing to a buttered 3- to 3 1/2-quart shallow baking dish. Bake, covered, in middle of oven 30 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 30 minutes more.

Cranberry Week – Roast Duck With Honey Cranberry Glaze

Did you know that cranberries help prevent stomach ulcers?  Most peptic ulcers are caused by a bacterial infection, Helicobacter pylori. Cranberries havebeen shown to inhibit the adhesion of these bacteria to the stomach lining. With 25 million Americans suffering from peptic ulcers in their lifetime, this is a significant health problem.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 4-pound duck
  • 1 3-inch strip of orange peel
  • 1 medium onion
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper as desired
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preparation

Rinse the cranberries carefully under running water and pick them over to remove any that have spoiled.

Mix one cup of cranberries,1/2 cup of the honey and one-half cup of water in a small saucepan and cook, simmering, until the cranberries are very soft. Strain through a sieve into a small bowl. The honey liquid is the glaze for the duck.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the gizzard, heart and liver from the duck and set aside. Put the orange peel, half the onion and about half a teaspoon of salt and pepper in the cavity.

Paint the duck with a little of the cranberry glaze.Place the duck on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, paint the surface with a little of the cranberry glaze.

Remove the duck from the oven and prick the skin all over with a fork to release the fat. Return to the oven and continue roasting, painting every 15 minutes with the glaze, for a total of two hours.

While the duck is roasting, make a broth with the innards: Roughly chop the remaining half onion and the duck innards. Place in a small saucepan with the wine, another half teaspoon of salt and pepper and a cup of water. Simmer gently for an hour or more, until the broth is reduced to approximately one-half cup of flavorful liquid. Strain the broth and discard the solids.

Mix the remaining half cup of cranberries with the remaining half cup of water, the remaining honey and the balsamic vinegar. Cook together for 10 minutes until the mixture is syrupy. Set aside.

When the duck has finished roasting, remove it from the oven and set aside. It should be a beautiful dark-red color.

Strain the pan juices into a glass measuring cup and carefully remove the duck fat that floats to the top. (Do not discard: duck fat is wonderful for roasting or frying potatoes.) Add the innard broth to the roasting juices and use this to deglaze the roasting pan, scraping up the roasting bits that have stuck to the pan. Strain the whole through a fine sieve and place in a small saucepan.

Add the cranberry-vinegar syrup to the pan juices and broth. If there is any glaze remaining, add that to the mixture and bring the whole to a simmer just to warm it and mix everything together.

Carve the duck if you wish, or send it whole to the table, together with the warm cranberry sauce.

YIELD

4 – 6 servings