Thursday, January 23, 2014

Warms meals, cold nights: 2 new recipes

Out of one of my favorite books of last year came one of my favorite recipes so far for this year.

Shauna Niequist's Bread & Wine recipe for Real Simple Cassoulet cannot be beat. I wasn't even sure what a cassoulet was before I started making it, so John and I were curious to see how it'd turn out. It ended up being a delicious, hearty, sweet dish that is perfect for a cold night. It's easy enough to make, serves a lot, and would even be a wonderful dish to serve for a casual, winter dinner party. Here's my take on it:

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 links pre-cooked Italian chicken sausage (my favorite is Trader Joe's), chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 parsnips, peeled and diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. European butter, melted

  1. Heat a dutch oven over medium-low heat, add olive oil and onions, stirring occasionally until they are almost caramelized. 
  2. Once onions are done, add the sausage, chicken broth, vegetables, beans, thyme, salt, pepper, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees while cassoulet simmers. 
  5. In a bowl combine the bread crumbs, parsley, butter, and 1 clove of minced garlic. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over top of cassoulet.
  6. Place cassoulet in oven and bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until top is golden.

For Christmas, I received the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, which has gorgeous photos. Some of the recipes seem a little complex at first glance, but the one below is very easy and tasty. It was the first one from the cookbook that I tried, and it's a keeper. While Smitten Kitchen's photo is so much more beautiful, these tacos were still delicious!

My take on Smitten Kitchen's Spaghetti Squash and Black Bean Tacos

1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out
Juice from 1 lime
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp sea salt
Corn tortillas
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chicken broth
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 link precooked Trader Joe's jalapeno chicken sausage, diced
1/4 cup white onion, diced
4 ounces crumbled queso fresco, optional
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash, halved side down, on an oiled baking sheet. Cook for 40 minutes or until done (soft enough to scoop insides out).
  2. While squash cooks, add beans, onion, sausage, chicken broth and a dash of cayenne, pepper, and salt to a pot. Let simmer, covered, until softened about 20 minutes.
  3. Once squash is done, let it cool slightly then using a fork, scrape the squash flesh into a bowl. Discard the skin.
  4. Wisk lime juice, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and salt together in a small bowl. Pour over squash and toss together to coat.
  5. Assemble tacos by placing beans, squash, cheese, and cilantro on top of tortillas.