What if the Leftovers were so Good you Couldn’t Wait to Eat them Again and Again?

 

Before I forget: I’m teaching a Cooking Class on December 11th. Come make cherry pie, beautiful winter salads and bright sauces that make everything better and will balance out all the heavy holiday fare! It will be a fun, festive and delicious evening. 2 spots left!

 

Would it be worth slowly cooking something, like this Chickpea (Chorizo) Chili, for a couple of hours? Or maybe you folks with Instant Pots can adapt this, but it’s pretty hands off so maybe a good weekend project or it can bubble away while you’re watching a Great British Baking Show one evening  . . .

 

I made a big pot of this invented-on-the-spot Chickpea (Chorizo) Chili on Sunday and we’ve enjoyed it in various forms most days since. The fresh chorizo was an addition on the second day and if you eat meat, this variation is really fantastic. I added mustard greens on another occasion, just while heating it up had it with an egg on toast one morning and with cilantro and scallions another time and just plain the very first go around.

 

Having something so flavorful and nourishing and complete ready to be warmed up and dressed up has been a gift this week. Would love to hear your variations or additions so report back if you make it.

 

Happy cooking!

 

Chickpea (Chorizo) Chili

 

Whether you add the chorizo (or other sausage or meat) or not, this long-cooked deeply flavored sauce-y stew is fantastic. You could serve it over rice or boiled potatoes or as is with a salad or over mashed potatoes and turnips, as I have here. You can also decrease the cooking time and still get good results but it won’t be quite as luscious.

 

Serves 4-6 (and makes fantastic leftovers)

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, minced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 jalapenos, minced (seeds removed for a milder version) or some dried hot pepper if you don’t have fresh ones, to taste

2 small stalks celery, finely chopped

1 teaspoon pimenton (smoked paprika)

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup roasted tomatoes, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons tomato paste or some chopped sun-dried tomatoes

4 cups cooked (or canned) chickpeas, drained

2 cups chickpea cooking liquid (or water, veg or chicken broth)

2 cups canned tomatoes

Chopped cilantro and thinly sliced scallion, for serving (optional)

8 ounces fresh chorizo or ground pork or beef (optional)

Rice or mashed vegetables, for serving (see headnote)

 

Heat the oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, chilies, pimenton, salt and pepper and saute gently for about 10 minutes, until fragrant and softening. Add the roasted tomatoes or tomato paste and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chickpeas, canned tomatoes and liquid and bring to a simmer. Gently simmer, partially covered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. You want a nicely thickened consistency. If it’s at all watery, turn up the heat, remove cover and cook until saucy.

 

If using, crumble the chorizo and cook in a small skillet until browning and just about cooked through. Add it to the chickpeas and continue cooking for 10 minutes or so. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve, as desired.

Elderberry Juice

I grew up drinking elderberry juice (Holunder saft) in Germany in the winter time to help with my persistent coughs and colds. I hated it. My mother made it and I don’t think strained it very well and it was gritty and bitter and awful.

 

Fast forward 35 years and I make it myself and love it. I make it from dried elderberries this time of year when colds are lurking around every corner. Supposedly elderberry juice, extract, tinctures and capsules activate our immune system and reduce symptoms of common cold and flu. I love the taste and somehow am comforted by it even though I disliked it so as a child. I also make it with cinnamon, ginger and a little lemon and honey so the pronounced elderberry flavor is balanced out a bit. You can buy all these elderberry products but making this juice is pretty simple and much less expensive. Some stores and co-ops sell bulk dried elderberries or you can order them online.

 

Elderberry Juice

 

Yields 3 pints

 

3/4 cup dried elderberries
1 1/2 quarts water
4-5 slices fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick
2 thick slices of lemon (including peel)
1/3 cup honey

 

Put everything except the honey in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Turn down and simmer, partially covered for 40 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes. Stir in the honey, strain the juice and pour into jars, leaving plenty of head space. Freeze 2 of the 3 jars and keep the third on in the fridge.

 

I add hot water to about 1/4 cup of juice and drink like tea or sip a little of the juice cold.

 

Fun with Food & Give me 30 Seconds & I’ll Give You 30 Days!

6pm rolls around these days and dinner happens and it’s good and we all are nourished but I haven’t found the time for real fun in the kitchen for a bit. My hope is to make this fabulous concoction at least once in the next few weeks. It’s simple to prepare but takes 2 hours to bake. That roasting pumpkin smell though and the whole, beautiful, glistening orb stuffed with whatever you want really, is just fun. Use rice instead of bread, add lots more herbs or meat or mushrooms or whatever strikes your fancy.

 

And speaking of fun, tell me why you cook. For fun? To de-stress? To have control over what you eat? I’ve created a super quick survey and I want to know how and why you cook. Give me 30 seconds of your time (to fill it out) and I’ll give you 30 days free access to the Seasonal Recipe Collection, just in time for Thanksgiving.

 

Thank you! And happy cooking and happy Thanksgiving.

 

Pumpkin Stuffed and Roasted
–adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table

 

1 pie pumpkin, about 4 – 5 lbs (just adjust the amount of filling if your pumpkin is smaller or larger – though you don’t want to go too much larger as it takes awfully long to cook)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 lb (or slightly more) stale bread, sliced and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 lb cheese, such as sharp cheddar, Gruyère, Emmenthal or a combination, cut into ½ chunks or grated
2-4 garlic cloves (to taste), finely chopped
2-4 slices bacon, diced and cooked until just crisp (optional)
¼ cup chives or sliced scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
½ cup of cream or half and  half
½ cup milk
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 350F.

 

You can using a baking sheet, a pie pan (as seen above), or a dutch oven with a diameter that’s just a tiny bit larger than your pumpkin. If you bake the pumpkin in a casserole, it will keep its shape, but might stick to the casserole, so you’ll have to serve it from the pot which is fine too.

 

Using a sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Cut a big enough cap that it’s easy to hollow out the inside. Scrape out the seeds and strings from the cap and the inside of the pumpkin. Rub the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper and put it on the baking sheet, pie pan or in a pot.

 

In a large bowl toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, if using, and herbs together. Season with pepper and salt and pack the filling into the cavity. The pumpkin should be well filled—you might have a little too much filling, or you might  need to add to it. Stir the cream, milk and nutmeg with a bit of salt and pepper and pour it into the filled pumpkin. You want the liquid to come about half-way up the cavity. It’s hard to go wrong though. Better a little wetter than too dry.

 

Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours—check after 90 minutes—or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove the cap for the last 20  minutes or so of baking to brown the top and let any extra liquid evaporate. Transfer carefully to a serving platter if you baked it on a sheet. Serve, scooping out plenty of pumpkin with each serving or serve it in slices.

Cook With What You Have


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