Simple Sisters

What to Cook and How to Cook It!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

greens and beans

This recipe is based on one that originally appeared in Gourmet magazine in April of 2007. It is incredibly simple and absolutely delicious. Plus, with the exception of one ingredient, you can pretty much make it from ingredients you probably have on hand in your pantry.

Caramelizing the onions gives this recipe an amazing depth of flavor. Don't rush that step.

Tuscan Greens and Beans
1/4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 pound kale (washed, patted dry)
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 pound dried short pasta (like penne)
Optional accompaniments: toasted bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a heavy skillet (I use cast iron) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, stirring for one minute. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook twenty minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and increase heat to medium, stirring frequently, until onion is golden brown, 15-20 minutes.

Cut out and discard stems and center ribs from kale. Chop into large pieces. Working in two batches, cook kale in boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about five minutes. Remove kale from pot with a slotted spoon (draining water) and place in the pot with the caramelized onions. Stir kale into onions. Add beans.

Add pasta to kale cooking liquid and cook according to directions on package. Reserve one cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta in a colander. Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta water to kale mixture and stir. Continue to cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes, adding pasta water if the dish becomes dry.

Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Top with toasted breadcrumbs and/or Parmesan cheese, if desired.

- Vegetarian
- Use brown rice pasta to make it gluten-free

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

what's for dinner?

Virginia's Shenandoah Valley

Fall is here and we are re-energized to cook and ready to make some favorites! We are going to make an effort to post more regularly, and the theme for the next few posts will be what's on our own tables for dinner each night.

Tonight? Well, it looks like rain and the temperature has finally dipped below 70, so potato soup seems just right.

Creamy Potato Soup
10-12 cups potatoes (We like russet. 2.5-3lbs is about right.)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup crumbled bacon (about 6 slices)

Prepare potatoes (Peel, chop, put in a pot and cover with water by at least 1". Boil until done but not overcooked, probably between 10-15 minutes depending on your chop). Drain in colander.

In large soup pot, heat oil and butter over medium heat and saute onion until soft (about 5 minutes).

Add all spices and herbs and cook for 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth and heat through. Add potatoes.

Slowly add half-and-half (1/2 cup at a time), stirring to incorporate. Cook over low (LOW!) heat for approximately 30 minutes.

Add sour cream and mustard. Continue cooking over low heat for 10 minutes.

Garnish with cheese & bacon.

- It is important to cook this soup on low once the half-and-half has been added so that it does not separate.
- When reheating, do not heat over 140 degrees.
- This recipe is gluten-free.
- To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute almond milk for half and half. Top with soy cheese (or goat cheese if you can have goat but not cow dairy).
- To keep it vegetarian, top with toasted croutons instead of bacon.

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