This is another one-pot, cold weather, comfort food stew. Before our first snow, I rescued some rosemary and thyme from my garden- I was so happy to incorporate both in this dish. 🙂
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I added parmesan rind to the pot while the beans were simmering. I also modified the method and used an immersion blender to purée some of the beans after they were cooked to add creaminess to the finished dish.
The recipe can also be adapted to make in a slow cooker, noted below. Easy and delicious with rich and deep flavor.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
1+ pounds sweet Italian sausage, sliced 3/4-inch thick (I used 5 links)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 medium carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 pound dried great Northern beans, rinsed and picked through
4 cups (1 quart) water
4 cups (1 quart) chicken or turkey stock (I used homemade turkey stock)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 thyme sprigs
1 large rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
parmesan rind, optional
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, plus more for serving
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
minced parsley, for garnish, optional
Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the sausage and brown until cooked through, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add the tomato paste and cumin to the pot. Cook, stirring, until dark golden, about 2 minutes.
Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir for an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Stir in the beans, 4 cups water, 4 cups stock, salt, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
Then reduce heat to low, add the parmesan rind (highly recommend!), cover the pot, and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 2 hours, adding more water if needed to make sure the beans remain submerged. (I covered the pot and did not have to add any additional liquid.)
To add creaminess, use an immersion blender to purée some of the stew. (I blended for about 10 seconds.)(Alternatively, 1 or 2 cups of beans can be removed, puréed, and returned to the pot.)
When beans are tender, return the sausage to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Stir in the vinegar and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Ladle into warm bowls and serve drizzled with more vinegar and olive oil, if desired. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
To Make the Stew in a Slow Cooker:
Add all of the ingredients, except the sausage and garnishes, and 7 cups water/stock (instead of 8) to the machine.
Cook on low for 8 hours. (It holds well on low for 2 more hours.)
When you’re ready to serve, roast the sausage on a sheet pan at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Slice and add the sausage, as well as any accumulated juices from the pan, to the soup. Warm through and serve.
Baked rice is quick and easy to prepare and is really delicious. This baked rice dish was inspired by prasorizo, the classic Greek rice-and-leek dish. It makes a great vegetarian main dish or a phenomenal side. We ate it as a main dish with rotisserie chicken on the side. 😉 The freshly grated Parmesan really added richness to the meal.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Ali Slagle. Almost any vegetable can be incorporated into the dish. I added my beautiful CSA Romanesco cauliflower (with its greens) as well as baby spinach. The original recipe suggests alternatively adding tomatoes, zucchini, and/or broccoli with the leeks, or arugula and/or sliced sugar snap peas after the dish is removed from the oven.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
4 to 5leeks (about 2 pounds), trimmed, white and pale green parts, cut lengthwise & sliced 1/4-inch thick
chopped tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli florets, and/or cauliflower florets, optional (I used Romanesco cauliflower florets)
1/4cup raw almonds (I used raw slivered almonds), or more, to taste
1/2teaspoon red-pepper flakes
5tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2cups uncooked white basmati rice
1(15-ounce) can white beans (such as cannellini or great Northern), drained and rinsed
2 1/2cups boiling water or stock
coarsely chopped spinach and/or arugula, or sliced sugar snap peas (I used 2 cups chopped baby spinach)
1/2cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4cup thinly sliced or chopped basil, chives, mint or fennel fronds, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
Soak sliced leeks in a bowl of water, remove with a slotted spoon or spider, then shake or pat dry.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel 1-inch-thick strips of lemon zest, then cut the lemon in half. Cut one half into four wedges and reserve the other half.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, combine the leeks, lemon zest strips, almonds, red-pepper flakes and olive oil. (I used an enameled cast iron baking dish.)
If adding chopped tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli, and/or cauliflower, add to the pan with the leeks. (I added Romanesco cauliflower florets.)
Season generously with salt and pepper, and arrange in an even layer. Roast until the leeks start to caramelize, about 20 minutes.
Remove and finely chop the lemon zest strips, then stir the zest back into the leek mixture. Arrange in an even layer.
Sprinkle the rice evenly over the leeks, then top with the beans and 1 teaspoon salt.
Add the boiling water or stock, then seal the pan tightly with foil.
Bake until the rice is tender, 20 to 22 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
If adding spinach and/or arugula, or sliced sugar snap peas, add them in at this time. (I added the Romanesco cauliflower greens, ribs removed and finely sliced, as well as 2 cups of baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped.)
Squeeze the lemon half over the rice, then stir in Parmesan and herbs.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with lemon wedges, and more Parmesan and herbs, as desired.
This hearty vegetarian main course casserole would be a lovely option to serve vegetarian guests during the holidays. We ate it as a cozy winter meal with roasted broccoli and green salad.
The puréed beans add creaminess to the filling. After reading comments about this recipe online, I was apprehensive to include all of the bean liquid required in the original recipe because others had complained that the final consistency was mushy. I only used half of a cup but next time I would include 1 cup or even additional liquid (noted below).
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted celery for fennel, added a chipotle chile, used mixed baby greens, and reduced the breadcrumbs, beans, liquid, and baking time. It was the ultimate dish to utilize my brand new giant 14-inch skillet. Yay! The vegetables could be cooked in batches if using a smaller pan, of course.
Yield: 12 servings
2 ¼cups vegetable, mushroom or chicken stock
1 ¼cups wild rice, rinsed
9 t0 10tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
24 oz sliced mushrooms, preferably a mix of different kinds (I used cremini mushrooms.)
3leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 celery heart or 2fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
5ounces mixed baby kale, chard, and spinach
7fat garlic cloves (4 chopped, 3 finely grated or crushed into a paste)
½tablespoon tomato paste
⅛teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 (14-ounce) cans white beans, strained with liquid reserved (I used cannellini beans.)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce (about 2 tsp)
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅓cup chopped fresh cilantro (or basil)
⅓cup chopped fresh parsley
1 1/4 cups panko or coarse bread crumbs
1tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
⅓cup grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Taste broth; if bland, season to taste with salt. In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in rice, lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender, about 1 hour, or according to package directions. Fluff rice with a fork, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sauté vegetables: In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until brown and crispy, about 8 to 10 minutes. (If using a smaller pan, cook in batches, adding oil if necessary.)
Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt.
In the empty skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir in leeks, fennel/celery and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes.
Stir in baby greens, chopped garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic starts turning golden, another 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
Heat oven to 400 degrees, and oil a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
In a blender, purée 2 cans beans with 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the reserved liquid, chipotle, lemon juice, 1 grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. (I used a Vitamix.)
Stir bean purée, remaining whole beans (drained), mushrooms, cilantro, parsley and cooked wild rice into skillet with vegetables. Taste and add more salt or lemon as needed; it should be well seasoned. Add additional bean liquid, if necessary, in order to achieve desired consistency. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, rosemary, lemon zest, remaining 2 grated garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and Parmesan, if using.
Sprinkle evenly on top of casserole and bake until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.
Note: To make part of this recipe in advance, assemble casserole and prepare topping (separately) up to 24 hours ahead. Refrigerate, covered, in separate containers. Just before baking, spread breadcrumb topping evenly over the casserole. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until heated through and topping is golden, another 20 to 30 minutes.
My husband usually rejects any soup suggestion unless it has a stew-like consistency. I think I convinced him that this brothy soup would be great because of the bacon. 🙂 By the way, of course, he enjoyed it!
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jose Garces. It is based upon a Spanish white bean soup called caldo gallego. I doubled the garlic, used a dried bay leaf, and incorporated homemade turkey stock. The turkey stock made the soup much richer in color and more full-flavored. The fresh herbs brought freshness and color to the finished dish. and… Who doesn’t like crispy bacon sprinkled over the top of their soup? 😉
Yield: 8 to 12 servings
1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
My son and I are huge empanada fans. (Now we’ve roped my husband in too!) So, last year we started the tradition of eating empanadas on Super Bowl Sunday. (With our guacamole, of course!) After seeing this version at Fiesta Friday, I knew I would have to choose this filling for one of our empanadas this year. They looked amazing.
The filling recipe was adapted from Bourbon and Brown Sugar Blog. I used a large shallot instead of the onion, added garlic to the filling, and chilled the empanadas prior to baking. I also made homemade whole wheat empanada dough and modified the baking temperature and time. The dough recipe was adapted from Carla’s Comfort Foods: Favorite Dishes from Around the World by Carla Hall with Genevieve Ko. I cut the dough into 5-inch rounds as they were our main course; 3-inch rounds would be a perfect appetizer size. Yummy!
For the Whole Wheat Cream Cheese Dough:
Yield: 18 5-inch disks
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, spooned and leveled
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 1 /2 tsp coarse salt
18 T cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
12 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch dice
Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and salt. With your hands, toss the butter and cream cheese in the flour mixture until each piece is lightly coated.
With the paddle attachment, beat on low-speed until the dough comes together and forms a loose mass around the paddle.
On two large pieces of plastic wrap, divide the dough in half and then gently pat each half of the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (Note: The dough can be refrigerated for up to 1 day or frozen for up to 3 months.)
To Finish: On a floured work surface (or between layers of plastic wrap), roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick.
Using a 5-inch round cutter (I placed the plastic-wrapped dough over a cutting board and cut the rounds using a bowl and sharp knife.), cut 18 rounds out of the dough, reshaping and re-rolling out the dough as necessary.
For the Pancetta, White Bean, & Queso Fresco Filling:
Yield: 18 empanadas
8 ounces diced pancetta
½ jalapeno, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 large shallot or ¼ onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can small white beans
8 ounces crumbled queso fresco
freshly ground black pepper to taste
18 5-inch disks of empanada dough (recipe above)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Fry pancetta until it begins to crisp up.
Using the pancetta drippings left in the bottom of the pan, sauté the jalapenos, red peppers and onions on low heat about 10-12 minutes (the onions should be translucent).
Add the white beans, and take off the heat.
Add the crumbled queso fresco.
Mound 2 tablespoons of the filling on half of the round and fold the other side over to form a half-moon. Press to seal the dough and pinch at intervals to make pleats. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds and filling. (Alternatively, start at one end, pinch one corner between your thumb and forefinger and fold it over the rim. Pinch the dough next to the fold and fold again. Continue pinching and folding to create a decorative rope rim.)
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to baking but no longer than 1 day.
Place the empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.