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.

Cooking With Honey – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup With Honey, Pancetta, and Fried Sage Leaves

butternut soup

There are wonderful butternut squash available in the local markets, and today, cool and sunny, is a perfect day to prepare this tasty soup!

It’s what I’m having tonight!!

Yield:  Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

1 (2 to 3-pound) butternut squash, halved with seeds removed

4 medium shallots, peeled and left whole

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2 ounces pancetta (about 12 paper-thin slices), diced

1 cup diced leeks, white part only (about 1 large leek)

1/3 cup finely diced carrots (about 1 small carrot)

1/3 cup finely diced celery (about 1 small stalk celery)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon dry white wine, of drinkable quality

2 quarts rich chicken or vegetable stock, plus extra if needed

1 teaspoon honey, or to taste*

Splash of sour cream and/or hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Canola oil for frying

1/4 cup sage leaves

Fine sea salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat the squash and shallots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season generously with salt. Place  the squash and shallots onto the lined baking sheet and roast until the squash and shallots are tender when pierced with a skewer or the tip of a small knife, about 40-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

Heat a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat; add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and heat through. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Remove from the heat, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside until needed.

Return the pan to the heat and add the leeks, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook, stirring, until very fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the wine, scraping up any browned bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan (deglaze). Cook until the wine has evaporated, then add the stock.

Scrape the squash pulp from the skin and add the pulp, the shallots (scraping up any browned bits) and honey to the pan; bring the stock to the boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup completely. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and honey as desired. Keep the soup warm until service. (This is where you’d add the splash of sour cream to taste, if desired.)

For the Sage: In a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat 1-inch of oil to 365°F; fry the sage in batches, stirring to separate the leaves, until crisp, about 3 to 5 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with fine sea salt while still hot.

For Serving: Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls or cups. Top each serving with some of the crispy pancetta and a few fried sage leaves. Serve immediately.

*The honey doesn’t sweeten up the soup; it just enhances the caramel flavor of the roasted squash.

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.

Julia’s Iconic Recipe For Boeuf Bourguignon – With A Touch Of Honey

Be sure and watch the video. It’s a classic!

This is my favorite of Julia’s recipes, with French Onion Soup a close second. Of course, a touch of honey only makes it better!!

Yield:  6 servings

Ingredients

One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes

1 carrot, sliced

1 onion, sliced

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)

2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves mashed garlic

1/2 teaspoon thyme

A crumbled bay leaf

2 tablespoons honey

18 to 24 white onions, small

3 1/2 tablespoons butter

Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)

1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered

Cooking Directions

Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.

Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.

In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.

Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.

Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).

Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.

Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.

Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, honey and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.

Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.

Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.

Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.

Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.

Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.

Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.

When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.

Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.

Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.

Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.

Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.

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Braised Winter Greens

Braised greens

Kale, Swiss chard and collard greens are in season virtually everywhere. They are so good for you, and especially tasty when prepared southern-style with honey.  Try some from your local farmers’ market.

Yield:  8 to 10 servings

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound bacon slices, roughly chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 cups chicken stock

1/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed

1 bunch kale, ribs removed

1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

In a large pot heat oil and bacon over high heat until bacon is well browned. Stir in garlic and cook 45 seconds. Deglaze with chicken stock and vinegar. Add honey and greens and partially cover. Lower heat to medium and cook for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Southern Honey Cornbread Dressing

Yesterday I posted a recipe for Perfect Herbed Honey Oyster Dressing.

Today I started feeling guilty about calling it “perfect.” It wasn’t the dressing I grew up eating. Nope, my mother L.J. used to make old-fashioned Southern Cornbread Dressing.  With her own homemade cornbread.

It wasn’t sophisticated, but it was mighty good!

This is L.J.’s recipe, with some honey added to make it extra tasty…

Ingredients :

Honey Cornbread, recipe follows

7 slices oven-dried white bread

1 sleeve saltine crackers

8 tablespoons butter

2 cups celery, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

7 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh sage

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

5 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Pour the vegetable mixture over cornbread mixture. Add the stock, mix well, taste, and add salt, pepper to taste, sage, and poultry seasoning. Add beaten eggs and mix well. Pour mixture into a greased pan and bake until dressing is cooked through, about 45 minutes.

 Honey Cornbread:

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

1/2 cup self-rising flour

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup honey

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

Honey Roasted Turkey

This is an English recipe that I love! The honey butter glaze gives the skin a crispy, tasty flavor. Be sure to use a smaller turkey for best results.

Ingredients

1 (10 pound) whole turkey – thawed, neck and giblets removed

1 lemon, cut in half

salt and black pepper to taste

1 small apple, peeled

1 small onion, peeled

1 small potato, peeled

3 ounces butter

6 ounces honey

1 cup chicken stock

Directions

Pat the turkey dry inside and out with paper towels. Rub the cut lemon halves lightly over the skin of the turkey. Season inside and out with salt and pepper to taste. Place the lemon halves, apple, onion, and potato into the cavity of the turkey. Place into a close-fitting roasting pan.

Stir the butter and honey together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is evenly blended. Spoon the honey mixture over the turkey, coating the entire outer surface. Allow to stand 30 minutes, reapplying the honey mixture several times.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake the turkey in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, basting two or three times with the drippings and honey mixture. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and cook 30 minutes more, basting frequently. Use a cup of chicken stock to keep the pan juices from drying out.

Cover the turkey with aluminum foil, and continue roasting until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, 1 1/2 to 2 hours longer. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes and baste one last time.

Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area 15 minutes before slicing.

Cranberry Week – Roast Pork Tenderloin With Honey Cranberry Stuffing

Pretty colors aside, cranberries have long been regarded as a wonder berry with numerous health benefits.

These mighty berries are bursting with vitamin C as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Their health benefits can be seen from head to toe, inside and out. 

•  Higher levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) help your heart beat healthy. 

•  They will keep you sparky too. High levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties could protect the brain from memory and coordination loss caused by aging.

•  Cranberry consumption is especially beneficial to your ocular health – symptoms of sight degeneration and cataracts are proven to be significantly reduced.

Stuffed Tenderloin:

  • 1 1/2 cups sun-dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1(1 1/2 to 2 pound) pork tenderloin, butterflied
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Sauce, recipe follows

Directions:

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the cranberries, remove from the heat and let rest 1 hour, drain, reserving the soaking liquid and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the pine nuts, cinnamon, cloves, honey, and a few tablespoons of the soaking liquid. Pulse until coarsely chopped, remove to a bowl and stir in the cilantro.

Place the tenderloin on a work surface and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Spread a thin layer of the stuffing down the center, fold each side over the filling, and tie with a butcher’s twine and dredge lightly in the flour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a oven proof saute pan until smoking. Saute the tenderloin on all sides until golden brown. Place in the oven and roast until almost cooked through about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest 10 minutes. Slice into 1 inch pieces.

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle puree
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, carrot and celery and cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock, juice concentrate, honey, chipotle puree and peppercorns, increase the heat to high and cook the sauce until reduced to 2 cups, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Strain the sauce into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cranberry Week – Wild Rice Pilaf With Honey, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans

Wild Rice is an aquatic cereal grain that grows “wild” in isolated lake and river bed areas located primarily within the continent of North America. It is also native to ecologically similar regions located on the continent of Asia. This evolutionarily ancient grain has been found in layers of the earth dating back some 12,000 years. In addition to its role as an important food staple for ancestral peoples, it has provided a unique habitat for fish and waterfowl for thousands of years.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tb. canola or grapeseed oil
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • 2 cups wild rice or 2 cups short-grain brown
    rice, or a mixture
  • 1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1⁄4 tsp. dried thyme,
    crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper, plus
    more, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer.In a heavy 2-qt. flameproof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, honey, bay leaf, thyme, the 1/2 tsp. sea salt and the 1/8 tsp. white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Transfer the casserole to the oven and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, 40 to 45 minutes.Remove from the oven. Remove and discard the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs, if used. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.
Serves 8 to 10.