Cauliflower Bolognese

This healthy, hearty, and tasty vegetarian dish is from one of Bon Appétit’s “healthy-ish” issues. It initially had a mixed reception from the meat lovers in my house because the sauce closely resembled meat sauce in appearance and texture- but not in taste, of course. They gobbled it up in the end. 😉

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I increased the amount of garlic, used freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and reserved pasta water to adjust the consistency of the sauce (and to reheat leftovers). I served it with roasted asparagus. Yum.

Yield: 6 servings

  • 12 oz mushrooms, such as shiitake or crimini, stems removed
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 2¼ lbs), broken into florets
  • 6 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 to 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 chile, such as serrano, Holland, or Fresno, thinly sliced, or ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 T finely chopped rosemary
  • ⅓ cup double-concentrated tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 oz finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 3 T finely chopped parsley
  • freshly grated zest of 1/2 to 1 lemon
  1. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a small bowl. Wipe out food processor bowl.
  2. Working in 3 batches, pulse cauliflower in food processor until pieces are about the size of a grain of rice (some smaller and some larger ones are fine), transferring to a medium bowl as you go.
  3. Heat ¼ cup oil and 2 T butter in a large heavy pot over medium-high.
  4. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 4–6 minutes.
  5. Add onion and 2 T oil to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
  6. Add garlic, chile, and rosemary and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened and mixture is very fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is slightly darkened, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add cauliflower and cook, yes, still stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked down slightly and begins to stick to bottom of pot, 6–8 minutes.
  9. Season with salt, then keep warm over low heat.
  10. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, about 1 minute less than package directions. Reserve 2 cups of pasta water.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to pot with sauce.
  12. Add Parmesan, remaining 2 T butter, and 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking liquid. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and sauce is clinging to pasta, about 3 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
  14. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (it’ll probably need another pinch or two).
  15. Finely zest lemon over pasta and toss once more.
  16. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with more Parmesan, then drizzle with oil.

Turkey Corn Chowder with Bacon

This chowder was the best use of leftover turkey I’ve found so far. It was so wonderful, it may have to become the traditional recipe for leftover Thanksgiving turkey in my house. It was loaded with flavor and topped with bacon. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

This recipe was adapted from Epicurious.com, contributed by Rhoda Boone. It would also be wonderful with shredded rotisserie chicken.

Yield: Serves 8

  • 6 slices bacon (4 ounces)
  • 1 medium or large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds (halved lengthwise if large)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 medium jalapeño, finely chopped, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 6 cups (48 ounces) homemade or store-bought chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 medium sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Two 4-ounce cans mild diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 cups shredded turkey or rotisserie chicken
  • 10 ounces frozen corn, thawed
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half, plus more to taste
  • sliced scallions, for serving
  • chopped parsley, for serving
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Drain on a paper towel and crumble into small pieces and set aside, reserving the fat in the pot. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat, and save for another use.
  3. Return the pot to medium heat, and add onion, carrot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes more.
  5. Add jalapeño and cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.
  6. Add stock, sweet potato, chiles, oregano, and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook until sweet potato is tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. Stir in the turkey or chicken and corn and cook until warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and half-and-half. Continue to cook until just warmed through.
  9. Taste and adjust seasoning, thinning the chowder with another 1/4 cup half-and-half, if desired.
  10. Serve chowder topped with crumbled bacon, scallions, and parsley.

Lalla Mussa Dal

This dish was so creamy and delicious I could barely stand it. The spicy kick made it absolute perfection.

This recipe was adapted from The Yellow Chilli Cookbook by Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, via The New York Times. This creamy lentil stew is his signature dish. I reduced the butter (by HALF), doubled the recipe, increased the garlic, used jalapeños, and used a pressure cooker to expedite the cooking process.

I served it over brown Basmati rice with sautéed spinach with garlic and cumin on the side. Wonderful!

  • cup whole black gram lentils (sabut urad)
  • 1/4 cup whole green gram lentils (split mung beans or abut moong)
  • 2 green chiles (such as Indian harimirch or serrano), cut into thin strips (I used jalapeños, cut into rounds)
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips
  • ½ cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato purée
  • teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, or cayenne
  • teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 16 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • cup heavy cream
  • coarse salt, to taste
  • 1-inch piece ginger, cut into thin strips, for garnish, as desired
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. Mix together both types of lentils and rinse thoroughly in salted water. Drain. If using a pressure cooker, cover with 2-inches of water; cook on low for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, add 1 cup water and soak for 1 hour.)
  2. Drain lentils again, add to a small pot with 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum and dirt off the top and discard.
  3. Strain the lentils and return them to the pot. Add 1 cup water, the green chiles and ginger and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of the butter and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring often and mashing with the back of a big spoon as the lentils soften.
  5. After about 35 minutes, melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter in a deep nonstick pan; add the tomato purée and sauté on low heat until fat rises to the surface. (I used a 4-quart enameled cast iron pot.)
  6. Add the red chili powder (or cayenne), ground coriander, fenugreek leaves and garlic to the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to dry out and stick to the pan.
  7. Add the lentils and mix well. Add the cream and mix well. Add 1 to 2 cups water (for desired texture) and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.
  8. Serve hot, over rice and garnished with ginger strips, as desired.

One Year Ago: Shrimp in Green Mole

Two Years Ago: Stuffed Poblano Casserole

Three Years Ago: Sautéed Haricots Verts with Mushrooms & Shallots

Four Years Ago: Chana Dal and Spinach cooked with Onions (Mughlai Saag)

Five Years Ago:  Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry with Cashews

Rick Bayless’ Red Mole Enchiladas with Shredded Chicken

IMG_8235

This dish was a labor of love. Rick Bayless titled it “Simple” Red Mole, but I took the “Simple” away from my title. 🙂 The method is simple, but there were so many steps required to make this ultra-FABULOUS sauce I couldn’t describe the dish as simple. Every step was completely worth it! Mole is my absolute favorite and this is a wonderful version. When tasting the sauce for seasoning, I could have gobbled up the entire pot! I did simplify the recipe by using shredded rotisserie chicken in the filling. This recipe is from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless and Jean Marie Brownson. We ate the enchiladas with rice, refried beans, and sautéed kale with spinach and garlic on the side.

Yield: Serves 6 to 9, with about 6 cups of sauce

For the Essential Sweet-and-Spicy Ancho Seasoning Paste:

  • 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 8 medium (about 4 ounces total) dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • scant 1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
  • 6 cups chicken stock, divided

To Finish the Dish:

  •  3 T vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
  • 2 oz (about 1/2 cup) whole raw almonds (with or without skins)
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced 1/8-inch thick, divided
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2-3 ripe plum tomatoes
  • scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) roughly chopped Mexican chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% cacao Belgian dark chocolate)
  • 2 slices firm white bread, toasted
  • coarse salt, about 2 1/2 tsp, depending on saltiness of stock
  • granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon
  • 18 corn tortillas (plus a few extra in case some break)
  • a spoonful or two of sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 3 cups cooked, coarsely shredded chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
  • rice, for serving, optional
  • refried beans, for serving, optional

Make the Essential Sweet-and-Spicy Ancho Seasoning Paste:

  1. Roast the unpeeled garlic directly on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) over medium heat until soft (they’ll blacken in spots), about 10 minutes; cool and peel.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on another side of the griddle or skillet: 1 or 2 at a time, open them flat and press down firmly on the hot surface with a spatula; in a few seconds, when they crackle, even send up a wisp of smoke, flip them and press down to toast the other side.
  3. In a bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
  4. Combine the oregano, black pepper, cumin, and clove in a food processor along with the chiles, garlic, and 2/3 cup of the stock. Process to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds. If the mixture won’t go through the blender blades, add a little more liquid. Remove from the food processor and set aside.

Make the Mole:

  1. In a medium-size (4 to 6-quart) pot (I used an enameled cast iron pot), heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over medium. Add the almonds and cook, stirring regularly, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the almonds to a food processor.
  2. Add half of the sliced onion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until richly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to scoop the onions in with the almonds, leaving behind as much oil as possible. (If needed, add a little more oil or lard to the pan, let heat, then continue.)
  3. Add the raisins, stir for a minute as they puff, then use the slotted spoon to scoop them in with the almonds.
  4. Roast the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then flip them over and roast the other side.
  5. Once the tomatoes are cool, peel and add to the almond mixture in the food processor, along with the cinnamon, chocolate and toasted bread. Add 1 cup of the stock and blend to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds.
  6. Return the pot to medium-high heat, and, if necessary, add a little more oil or lard to coat the bottom lightly. When very hot, add the ancho mixture and cook, stirring almost constantly, until darker and very thick, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the pureed almond mixture and cook, stirring constantly for another few minutes, until very thick once again.
  8. Stir in the remaining 4 1/3 cups stock, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low for 45 minutes. Taste and season with salt and sugar. (The sugar balances the strong flavors.)

Finish the Enchiladas:

  1. Warm a plate for each person in a warming drawer or in the oven on the lowest setting.
  2. Warm the tortillas: I put 6 to 8 tortillas at a time on a microwave safe dish (I have a tortilla warmer) covered with a damp paper towel and lid or plastic wrap. Heat for 1 minute or until warm, soft and pliable.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet, stirring frequently, over medium heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the chicken with 1 1/2 cups of the mole and warm over medium heat. Bring the remaining mole to a simmer. IMG_8221
  5. To serve: Quickly make the enchiladas by scooping 2 generous tablespoons of chicken onto a tortilla, rolling it up and placing it on a warm dinner plate. Continue making enchiladas, arranging 2 or 3 per plate, then douse them liberally with the hot mole. Strew with the remaining sliced onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Notes:

  1. The finished mole will keep for several days, covered and refrigerated; it also freezes well. Reheat, taste and adjust the seasonings before finishing the dish.
  2. Leftover chicken, pork, shredded roast, turkey, grilled steak, or even roasted squash or sweet potato mixed with grilled onion and/or blanched greens would also be wonderful fillings.
  3. The sauce could be served over poached chicken with rice on the side as an alternative special dinner.

One Year Ago:

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