Vegetarian Honey Winter Vegetable Soup

vegetarian winter veg soup

Reprinted from Salon.com

There’s never been a better time to be a half-assed vegetarian. Five years ago, the American Dialect Society honored the word flexitarian for its utility in describing a growing demographic—the “vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.” Now there’s evidence that going flexi is good for the environment and good for your health. A study released last October found that a plant-based diet, augmented with a small amount of dairy and meat, maximizes land-use efficiency. In January, Michael Pollan distilled the entire field of nutritional science into three rules for a healthy diet: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” According to a poll released last week, Americans seem to be listening: Thirteen percent of U.S. adults are “semivegetarian,” meaning they eat meat with fewer than half of all their meals. In comparison, true vegetarians—those who never, ever consume animal flesh—compose just 1 percent.

Yield:  10-12 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

8 ounces crimini mushrooms, halved and sliced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

2 ribs celery, finely diced

1 large onion, finely diced

1 tablespoon kosher salt

One 35-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes

2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 quarts water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

One 2-by-2-inch piece Parmesan rind

7 ounces butternut squash, cubed

5 ounces kale, stems removed and chopped

Two 15-ounce cans great Northern beans, undrained

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

Shaved Parmesan, for serving

Directions

Place 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into an 8-quart stockpot over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the mushrooms and saute until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Decrease the heat to low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the carrots, celery, onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 30 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sage, rosemary and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to break up the tomatoes. Add the water, soy sauce and Parmesan rind, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, about 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to low, add the squash and kale, cover and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Return the mushrooms to the pot along with the beans, honey and red wine vinegar and cook until all is heated through, about 15 minutes. Remove the cheese rind and serve warm with shaved Parmesan.

Serve with hearty whole grain bread and a green salad.

Beef Wellington With Honey

wellington

Beef Wellington is one of the best holiday meals. It looks fancy, but is actually easy to prepare. It also pairs well with yesterday’s Honey Roasted Root Vegetable and Arugula Salad.

No one is sure where the dish’s name came from. Some sources insist it isn’t named after the Duke of Wellington himself, but rather because the finished filet resembled one of the brown shiny military boots which were named after him.

I like my beef like I like my boots – Welly.  🙂

Yield : Serves 6-8

Ingredients

½ oz dried porcini

2-3-lb center-cut tenderloin roast, trimmed

Salt and pepper

3 Tbs butter

2 shallots, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

8 oz cremini mushrooms, finely chopped

2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

6 oz chicken liver pate

6 oz prosciutto, sliced

2 tablespoons honey

All-purpose flour for dusting

1 package puff pastry, about 1 lb

1 egg, beaten

Directions

Put the dried porcini in a heatproof bowl and cover with ½ cup boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid. Chop the porcini, and set them and the liquid aside.

Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When foaming, put the beef in the pan and brown all over for 4-5 minutes, taking care not to burn the butter. Put the beef on a plate and set aside to cool.

Melt the remaining butter in a separate frying pan. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add the porcini and garlic, then the reserved porcini liquid and the cremini mushrooms. Increase the heat and cook until the mushroom mixture is dry. Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme, then set aside to cool.

Put the pate in a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the mushroom mixture and stir well. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Use a metal spatula to spread half the mushroom mixture evenly over one side of the beef. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the work surface and arrange half of the prosciutto on it so that the slices overlap. Place the beef mushroom-side down on the prosciutto. Spread the remaining mushroom mixture over the beef. Wrap the rest of the prosciutto slices, overlapped, over the top. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of honey. Wrap the whole thing in the plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Take about one-third of the puff pastry from the package and roll it out to a rectangle 1/8 inch thick and 1 inch larger than the base of the roast. Transfer to a baking sheet. Prick well with a fork and bake until brown and crisp, 12-15 minutes. Let the pastry cool, then trim it to the size of the roast.

Take the beef from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Brush the beef all over with some of the beaten egg, then place it on the pastry base.

Roll out the remaining pastry to a rectangle about 12 by 14 inches. Use this to cover the beef, tucking the sides under the base and sealing the edges. Brush with the rest of the beaten egg. Place the Wellington on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes for rare to medium rare beef, and 45 minutes for medium.

Remove the Wellington from the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes before slicing. .

Stuffed Mushrooms With Honey

I love stuffed mushrooms!  These are good hot or cold.

Ingredients:

Large mushrooms for stuffing 5-6
1 anchovy fillet in oil (optional)
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper
parmesan reggiano

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Gently wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean them. Remove the stems and reserve.
Chop the mushroom stems, anchovy and garlic. Place in a bowl with the bread mixture, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the mushroom stems and bread mixture and saute for 5 minutes.
Lay the mushroom caps on an oiled tray, hollowed side up. Lightly salt and fill with the bread mixture. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and drizzle each with honey and olive oil.
You can sprinkle with a little parmesan reggiano if you like. Bake about 15 minutes until soft and they are ready to serve.