Category Archives: beans

Asparagus w/ Chorizo & Croutons

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I love asparagus for its mild, spring like flavor but in this dish, from the Smitten Kitchen, this wonderful vegetable takes on a whole new persona. The spices of Spanish chorizo sausage combines with crusty croutons, crunchy almonds and tender white beans and the asparagus in a surprisingly flavorful and definitely interesting dish. Trust me on this one, the combination of ingredients might seem a bit odd but the results are out of this world. Plus the dish is fast to make. So fast and easy that it just might be one of my favorite Fast Friday dishes yet. So try it for yourself before the asparagus is gone for the season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

ASPARAGUS w/ CHORIZO & CROUTONS

1 pound thick asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces Spanish chorizo cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups French bread croutons cut into 3/4 inch peices
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup cooked beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus stalk and cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, croutons, almonds and salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Cover and sauté over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes (thinner asparagus might be done sooner), tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks on all sides.
  • Add the beans and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Toss and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the beans are heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Meat & Bean Chili

 

Chili For A Chilly Day

Cool weather + the weekend + Sunday football games mean only one thing: its also chili season. No matter whether you like yours with beans or without, filled with meat or vegetarian friendly, in a red sauce or a white one, spicy or mild, this is definitely the season for chili. And in my house we certainly love chili of all kinds. White chicken chili, sweet potato and black bean chili and even a pumpkin and sausage chili mixed with macaroni are all good but sometimes a more traditional chili is in order. And when that is the case, this is my go-to recipe.

This chili is filled with meat, beans and vegetables and most importantly, packed with flavor. If you prefer you can make it in a slow cooker; simply place all of the ingredients in the crock, set the temperature to low and let it cook for eight hours. Or you can cook it as I do on top of the stove. Let it simmer on low all afternoon and by the time the game is on you’ll have a hot bowl of chili. Top the chili with cheese, sour cream and diced avocado and serve it with a side of corn chips or corn bread.

MEAT & BEAN CHILI

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 large onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot thinly sliced
4-5 fresh bell peppers- I used a mix of red and green
4 small jalapeño peppers
1 lb ground beef (can substitute ground pork, veal, lamb or a combination of meats)
1/2 lb veal cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can corn kernels, drained
2 11.5 ounce cans beans- I prefer kidney beans
3 11.5 ounce cans whole Roma tomatoes- roughly chopped
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce- adjust based on preferences
3-4 tablespoons chili powder- I like Penzeys Spice Medium Hot Chili Powder– but adjust based on personalpreferences.

  • Pour 2 tbsp olive oil into a Dutch oven or other heavy duty pot and place over medium high heat.
  • Add the onions, garlic, peppers, carrot, and jalapenos to the pot.
  • Add the salt and stirring frequently, cook for 8-10 minutes until soft.
  • Add the meats and cook until well browned being sure to break up any larger pieces as you go.
  • Add the corn, the drained and rinsed beans and tomatoes with their juice and mix to combine.
  • Stir in the Tabasco sauce and the chili powder.
  • Stir, cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low.
    Continue to cook over low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to meet your personal tastes.
  • I let the chili cook on low all afternoon and it tastes even better when reheated the next day.  The longer the chili cooks the more the flavors will develop.
  • Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and sliced avocado if desired.

Serves 6-8

White Bean & Pumpkin Hummus

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If you love pumpkin and you love hummus, this dip from Cooking Light is for you. Not only is it easy and can be whipped up in minutes but it also tastes great and is super versatile. I prefer to roast and puree my own pumpkin and use dried beans that I have cooked myself rather than canned ones but if you are going to quick and last minute, canned pumpkin puree and beans will work as well.

I can eat this dip by the spoonful but it is also great with crudite, pita chips or pretzels and you can also smear it on a sandwich or crackers. Your options are truly endless so go ahead and give it a try today. You won’t be disappointed.

WHITE BEAN & PUMPKIN HUMMUS

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 15-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Place the pumpkin and the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, place the pumpkin and beans in a medium sized bowl and puree using a stick blender.
  • Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients have been combined and the hummus is smooth.
  • Serve with crudite, pretzels, crackers or just a spoon.

Yields: 2 cups

Asparagus w/ Chorizo & Croutons

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love asparagus for its mild, spring like flavor but in this dish, from the Smitten Kitchen, this wonderful vegetable takes on a whole new persona. The spices of Spanish chorizo sausage combines with crusty croutons, crunchy almonds and tender white beans and the asparagus in a surprisingly flavorful and definitely interesting dish. Trust me on this one, the combination of ingredients might seem a bit odd but the results are out of this world. Plus the dish is fast to make. So fast and easy that it just might be one of my favorite Fast Friday dishes yet. So try it for yourself before the asparagus is gone for the season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

ASPARAGUS w/ CHORIZO & CROUTONS

1 pound thick asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces Spanish chorizo cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups French bread croutons cut into 3/4 inch peices
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup cooked beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus stalk and cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, croutons, almonds and salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Cover and sauté over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes (thinner asparagus might be done sooner), tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks on all sides.
  • Add the beans and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Toss and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the beans are heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

White Bean & Sausage Stew

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It is still winter in these parts and nothing takes the chill off better than a rich and satisfying stew. And if that stew is easy to make it is even better. So look no further as this bean and sausage stew from King Arthur Flour fits all of these requirements.

You do need to plan ahead and soak your beans overnight but once that is done your actual hands on time is minimal. (Don’t skip and use canned beans since dried beans simply have a better taste and texture). And while this is good eaten immediately I think it tastes even better when reheated the next day. So why not make a pot of this stew and enjoy it for the rest of the week?

WHITE BEAN & SAUSAGE STEW

3 cups white beans, soaked in water overnight, washed and drained

7 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 cups water

1 pound spicy Italian sausage, sliced

1 large onion, diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

1 pound kale, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste.

  • Rinse the beans and place them in a large stock pot along with the chicken broth and water. Bring to a simmer and then cook for 50-60 minutes until the beans are soft, adding extra water if needed to prevent them from drying out.
  • While the beans cook, in a separate pan, sauté the sausage until cooked through.
  • Remove the sausage from the pan, drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat then add the onions and celery to the pan. Sauté until translucent.
  • When the beans are soft, add the sautéed onions, celery, sausage, diced sweet potato and kale to the pot and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.

Serves 8-10

White Bean & Pumpkin Hummus

IMG_3041

If you love pumpkin and you love hummus, this dip from Cooking Light is for you. Not only is it easy and can be whipped up in minutes but it also tastes great and is super versatile. I prefer to roast and puree my own pumpkin and use dried beans that I have cooked myself rather than canned ones but if you are going to quick and last minute, canned pumpkin puree and beans will work as well.

I can eat this dip by the spoonful but it is also great with crudite, pita chips or pretzels and you can also smear it on a sandwich or crackers. Your options are truly endless so go ahead and give it a try today. You won’t be disappointed.

WHITE BEAN & PUMPKIN HUMMUS

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 15-ounce can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Place the pumpkin and the beans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, place the pumpkin and beans in a medium sized bowl and puree using a stick blender.
  • Add the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, paprika and salt. Pulse for 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients have been combined and the hummus is smooth.
  • Serve with crudite, pretzels, crackers or just a spoon.

Yields: 2 cups

Cassoulet

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Cassoulet is a classic comfort food when it comes to French cooking. Slow cooked beans and meats are combined with a healthy dose of garlic to create the ultimate in comfort food. I’ve seen recipes that use entirely one meat or a combination of several. This recipe is based on one from William Sonoma but I’ve taken the liberty of adding duck to the combination of meat. Duck is commonly used as is pork or lamb and no cassoulet would be complete without the addition of garlicky Toulouse sausage. This may sound complicated but making a cassoulet is more time consuming than difficult. Think of the meats listed as suggestions and keeping the quantities the same, substitute whichever meats you can find. Or reduce the amount of meat you use while increasing the amount of beans.

But as I already mentioned, making a cassoulet takes time but I think of it as the perfect weekend cooking project. I’ll start by soaking and cooking the beans on Saturday then brown the meats on Sunday morning. Then all I have to do that afternoon is assemble the dish and pop it in the oven. Cassoulet is good out of the oven but I think it tastes even better the next day which is perfect since unless you are feeding a crowd, you are sure to have leftovers.

CASSOULET

2 1/2 cups dried Great Northern beans

1 yellow onion pierced with 10 whole cloves

1 lb. thickly sliced bacon, finely diced

3/4 pound boneless leg of lamb

1 duck leg, about 1 pound

1 pound pork loin

1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1 pound Toulouse sausage

8 garlic cloves, minced

8 fresh parsley stems

4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 cups fine dried bread crumbs

  • Pick over the beans and discard any misshapen beans and stones. Rinse, place in a bowl and add water to cover generously. Let stand for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Drain and place in a saucepan with the onion and water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, until almost tender, 40 to 50 minutes. Drain, discarding the onion and reserving the liquid.
  • Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  • Place the duck leg in a large ovenproof stew pot. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the fat has been rendered.
  • Pour off the fat and reserve for another use. Remove the duck from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the bacon to the pot and fry until it begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Reserve the drippings in the pot.
  • Season the lamb and pork with salt and pepper and add to the stew pot along with the duck leg.
  • Place in the oven and roast, basting occasionally with the bacon drippings, until the meat is tender, about 1 1/4 hours.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool and cut the pork and lamb into 1-inch cubes. Remove the meat from the duck leg, cut into 1 inch cubes and discard the bones. Set all of the meat aside. Do not wash the pot.
  • While the meat is roasting, prick the sausages with a fork. Place in a medium sized frying pan and add enough water to cover the sausages halfway.
  • Simmer gently over medium high heat, turning once, until almost cooked through, about 12 minutes total.
  • Drain the sausages and let cool before slicing on the diagonal.
  • Place one-third of the drained beans in the reserved pot.
  • Sprinkle with half of the bacon, lamb, pork, duck, sausage, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Using kitchen string, tie the parsley stems, thyme sprigs and bay leaves into a bundle. Add to the pot.
  • Repeat the layers, using half of the remaining beans and all of the remaining meats, sausage and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and top with the remaining beans.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 cups of the reserved bean liquid. Pour into the pot just to cover the beans.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour; adding more bean liquid, if necessary, to prevent the beans from drying out.
  • Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and continue to bake until golden, about 1 hour more.
  • Discard the herb bundle and serve directly from the pot.
Serves 8 to 10.
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