Potage Crécy avec croutons à la croque-monsieur

That is, carrot soup with ham and cheese croutons.
Simple French food but good for the soul. The perfect thing to answer the recent weather.

Ingredients
2 table spoon butter (plus some for the croutons but that is optional)
2 small onions
1/4 cup basmati rice
4 cups carrots (two generous handful)
2 boxes chicken stock
1/2 tea spoon thyme
1 french baguette
Ham (about 10-12 slices)
Emmental cheese (to taste)
Salt and pepper
ingredients

***

1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot.
Only insisting on this because this is one of the few recipes where I wouldn’t swap it for olive oil. Really go for butter.
butter

2. Roughly chop the onions and toss them into the butter. Allow to sweat over medium-low heat for a few minutes. You want to avoid coloring them.
sweat-onions

3. In that time, clean (peel if your carrots require it) the carrots and slice into rounds about 1/2″ thick.
carrots1

4. Rinse the basmati rice until the water runs clear. Add to the pot with the onions and stir to coat.
rice

5. Add the carrots to the pot and stir to combine.
carrots2

6. Add the chicken stock (about 1 1/2 box). Save the remaining 1/2 box chicken stock for later.
Add the thyme, season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes.
broth

7. When it’s about done, slice the bread.
Line your baguette slices on a cookie sheet line with aluminum (or parchment paper)

Mine was a day old and a bit dried so I brushed it with melted butter, but that is optional.
slice1

8. Add ham (1/2 slice per crouton) on each piece of bread.
slice2

9.Grate the emmental and add on top of the ham.
slice3

10. The soup should be ready by now, so take it off the heat. The rice should be falling apart and the carrots very soft.
Put the croutons in the oven on broil while you blend down the soup.
soup

11. By the time the soup is blended the cheese should be melted and just, just, starting to get some color. Take the croutons out of the oven.
slices4

12. Adjust seasoning on the soup. If it’s too thick add more chicken stock.
You can add cream, sour cream or crème fraîche at this point if you want, but I usually don’t bother.

Serve warm with the hot melty cheese croque-monsieur.
The soup should be filling but light and bright and the cheese and ham savory and satisfying.
serve

Advertisements

Pork and Eggplant Stir-Fry

Pork and eggplant just play so well together. This variation is quick, cheap and satisfying all in one.

Ingredients
1lb ground pork
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, diced
4 graffiti eggplant (or 3 japanese eggplant)
1/2 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons bean paste (I used one with ginger)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground Korean pepper
3 table spoon grape seed oil (or peanut oil)
ingredients

***

1. In a bowl, combine the pork, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and the ground black pepper.
Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes to marinate the meat.
season-pork

2. Slice the eggplants into strips.
slice-eggplant

3. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoon of oil over medium-high/high heat.
Add 1 diced clove of garlic and stir into the oil until fragrant (should not be long).
garlic

4. Throw in the sliced eggplants and toss to coat with oil, Keep the heat fairly high, you want to eggplants to sear a bit.
cook-eggplant

5. When they start to soften add the chicken stock. Continue cooking the eggplant until they are all soft and slightly browned. Then remove from the skillet and set aside.
chicken-stock

6. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the other clove of garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the pork.
meat

7. While that’s cooking, combine the rest of the ingredients (bean paste, rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, Korean pepper).
sauce

8. You want the meat cooked and no longer pink, but not dry.
cooked-meat

9. Add the eggplant back to the skillet.
combine

10. Add the sauce and stir to coat evenly. Allow to cook with the sauce for a minute or two.
combine2

11. Serve with rice.
serve

Green lentils & Kale

A cheap and easy dish, thrown together with what was lying around in the pantry. And the kale I keep getting from my CSA and needed to use up.

Ingredients :
1 cup green DuPuy lentils
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large diced tomatoes can
2 cups chicken broth
1 bundle of kale
1/2 tea spoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tea spoon thyme
1/4 team spoon rosemary
2 cloves of garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
olive oil
salt and pepper

ingredients

***

1. Warm some olive oil in a large soup pot and sweat the onion for a new minutes.
onions

2. Add the carrots and sweat until they start to soften.
carrots

3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and thyme. Take a moment to appreciate how the purple carrot has stained everything else.
spices

4. Add the lentils and stir to coat.
lentils

5. Add the tomatoes.
tomatoes

6. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until the lentils are ready (30-40 minutes).
broth

7. Strip the kale leaves from the stems and tear into bite size.
shred

8. Shove the entire pile of it into the soup pot.
stuff

9. Within a few minutes it will wilt down into near nothingness. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning.
wilt

10. Serve warm.
bowl

Duck Magret with and an orange sauce

Not quite a proper Duck à l’orange, but very good sweet and sour sauce to go with the gaminess of the duck.

Ingredients :
1/4 cup sugar
2 table spoons water
2 table spoons Sherry wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups orange juice
2 minced shallots
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 oranges
2 duck magrets
1/4 cup butter
zest of 1 orange
ingredients

***

1. In a medium, thick bottom, pot combine the sugar and water. Heat on medium-low heat until it turns a deep amber.
sugar

2. Keep an eye on the sugar and brush down any crystals forming on the sides with a wet pastry brush. In the mean time, chop the shallots and measure the orange juice and vinegar.
prep

3. You want the caramel about this color.
sugar2

4. While holding the pot away from you add the vinegar. It will steam and hiss.
add-vinegar

5. Add the orange juice and shallots. Mix well to combine. Bring to a simmer.
add-juice

6. Allow to reduce until about 2/3 is gone (about 1/2 cup liquid remaining).
reduce1

7. Add the chicken broth and mix well. Bring back to a simmer.
add-stock

8. Reduce until about half the liquid is gone. Set aside.
reduce2

9. Trim excess fat from the magrets. Score the fat in a crisscross pattern. Try not to cut the flesh.
score-duck

10. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Put fat side down in a cold skillet and turn on the heat to medium. Render out the fat (draining the skillet as needed). Turn and color the flesh side, then transfer to a 350F oven (fat side down) to finish cooking.
cook-duck

11. Use the same skillet and the rendered fat to cook your vegetable sides.
veggies

12. Bring the sauce back to temperature. Add the orange zest.
zest

13. using a small sharp knife peel the oranges. Cut out the segments.
segments

14. Whisk the butter into the sauce.
The duck should be done by now. Take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.
butter

15. Gently mix in the orange segments (discarding any excess liquid)
oranges2

16. Slice the magrets, serve immediately with the sauce and orange segments.
serve

Grain and butternut squash salad

I made decadent cupcakes yesterday. I mean it… these are good but so darn rich. So I made a grain based salad for dinner tonight, to make myself feel less guilty.

Ingredients
8 oz farro
4 cups chicken stock
1 butternut squash
1 pack of turkey breast strips
1 bunch green onions
juice of one lemon
small handul italian parsley
2/3 cup apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 tea spoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper
1 tea spoon honey
8 table spoon olive oil
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
Peel the butternut squash. Cut in half and remove the seeds. Then cut into cubes.
cut-squash

2. Toss with 1 to 1 1/2 table spoon of olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put on a baking tray in a single layer.
raw-squash

3. Put in the oven until tender but still holding it’s shape, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool.
cooked-squash

4. Mean while, combine the farro and chicken stock.
raw-farro

5. Bring to a boil then lower the heat. Cook, uncovered until all the liquid is absorbed, stirring once in a while. It took me about 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.
cooked-farro

6. Cut the turkey into cubes. Heat 1/2 table spoon to 1 table spoon oil in a skillet. Cook the turkey with the smoked paprika and a bit of pepper.
turkey

7. Roughly chop a small handful of Italian parsley and add to the cooled farro.
add-parsley

8. Add the cranberries.
add-cranberries

9. Finely chop the green onions and add to the salad.
add-green-onions

10. Add the cooked turkey.
add-turkey

11. And as much of the squash as you care for. I added about half of the baking sheet.
add-squash

12. In a different bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and honey. Add the remaining 6 table spoon of olive oil in a drizzle while whisking.
dressing

13. Add the dressing to the salad and mix well to combine.
done2

White beans and sausage

Almost a mock cassoulet, simpler, cheaper and with less meats involved. But warm and plentiful and filling.

Ingredients
3 spicy Italian sausages
1-2 table spoon olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 table spoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 table spoon tomato paste
2 cans of white kidney beans
1/4 cup breadcrumbs.
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
black pepper.
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
In a large cast iron pot sear the sausages until colored on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
sausage

2. Add the olive oil and onions. Sweat until translucent.
onions

3. Add the garlic and thyme, sweat until fragrant.
herbs

4. Deglaze with the chicken stock.
stock

5. Add the tomato paste and mix well to incorporate.
tomato

6. Add the beans, with the liquid. Season with black pepper. Bring to a simmer.
beans

7. In a separate bowl mix the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
topping

8. Once the liquid is simmering and has started to thicken a bit, return the sausages to the pot. Cut the sausages into segments at this point.
add-sausages2

9. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.
add-topping2

10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the topping has turned golden.
baked2

11. Serve warm.
serve2

Chicken apricot tajine

A simple dish. I can see myself tinkering with it. I’ll write my notes as such in the steps. Not overly spicy but still flavorful and satisfying.

Ingredients
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 onions, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup chicken broth
20 dried apricots
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric
2-3″ of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 pinch saffron
50g sliced almonds
salt and pepper
olive oil
ingredients

***

1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F.

In a stainless steel skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken to sear on both sides.
sear chicken

2. Transfer to a tajine pot (or, if you don’t have one, a large enamel cast iron dutch oven, like I did). Add salt and pepper.
transfer chicken

3. In the skillet, add the onions and spices (except the saffron). Cook for a few minutes until the onions are starting to soften and the spices become fragrant, Scrape up as much of the stuck chicken bits as you can.
onions

4. Transfer the onions to the tajine pot. I added the ginger here because I had forgotten it, but for better results add it with the rest of the spices.
transfer onions

5. In the skillet, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, saffron and tomatoes. Bring to a boil and scrape up anything left at the bottom of the pan.
liquids

6. Pour over the chicken. Spread the onions a bit to make sure all the meat is covered. Cover the pot and put in the oven for 40 minutes.
transfer liquids

7. Add the dried apricots and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

* I would probably cut the apricot up a bit and add them a touch sooner to they become a bit softer and impart their flavor to the broth.
apricot

8. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes. In the meantime, lightly toast the almond slices.
cooked

9. Serve with couscous and sprinkle the almonds on top.
serve