Showing posts with label Legumes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Legumes. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Billionaire’s Franks & Beans – Welcome to the Top 1% of Comfort Foods

Maybe it’s the billionaire(s) in the news lately, but for some reason I decided to take one of America’s most frugal meals, franks and beans, and give it a high-end makeover. Besides, all the other classic comfort foods have been fancified, hipsterized, and/or molecular gastronomized; so I figured I would take this one down. And by down, I mean up.

Usually, franks and beans is made by opening up a couple cans of baked beans, and heating it up with some sliced hotdogs. Not exactly something you’d serve to visiting dignitaries. However, by adding some fresh veggies, plain beans, and high-quality beef hot dogs, we can achieve something much healthier, equally delicious, and every bit as comforting.

So, how much more will it cost you to make this usually cheap dish, using these upscale ingredients? It’s tempting to say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, but that’s not the case. Sure, the Kobe hotdogs will cost you a couple extra dollars, but the rest of the dish is still quite inexpensive. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Franks & Beans:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced poblano or other green pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh cayenne pepper, or other hot red pepper
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound hot dogs, sliced (literally any other sausage will work here)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cup chicken broth, or as needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- serve with buttered toast and champagne
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Monday, September 19, 2016

Tuscan Bean Soup – Cheer Up!

Our grandparents called them the winter blues, but nowadays we know this condition as Seasonal Affective Disorder; a melancholy scientifically proven to be caused by shorter, darker days. 

Since fall and winter are full of those, we’re going to need some coping strategies, and this hearty Tuscan bean soup is one of the more effective. There’s just something about that combo of smooth, silky soup, and crunchy, crispy croutons that makes everything seem okay. 

Speaking of shorter days, this recipe is also a fantastic base for creating even more substantial weeknight meals. Things like sausage, peppers, and/or maybe a handful of greens, always works in this.

I tried a new method prepping our veggies; pureeing them instead of dicing. I thought this might save time, possibly extract more flavor, and quicken the cooking. Hey, two out of three aren’t bad! It was faster than dicing, and the soup only had to simmer for 15 minutes, but I didn’t think the flavor was quite as good as the classic diced veggies method.

Either way, this soup is delicious, and guaranteed to fog up your kitchen windows. Smiley face sold separately. I really hope you give this Tuscan bean soup a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic
*As stated in the post, I prefer diced veggies to the ground ones I tried in the video, and if you do go for the traditional method and cut your vegetables in small cubes, you'll have to simmer you soup for about 30 minutes, or until they are sweet and very tender.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/2 teaspoon picked thyme leaves
2 (15-oz) cans white kidney beans aka cannellini beans
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
1/2 lemon, juiced
- Garnish with fresh bread cubes fried golden in olive oil, tossed with Parmigiano Reggiano, and fresh Italian parsley.
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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cassoulet – The World’s Most Complex Simple Recipe

There are so many reasons not to make cassoulet. You need lots of ingredients, some of which take effort to find. There are many steps, and even some of the steps have steps. It will also seem like you used every pot and pan in the kitchen, which will be trashed by the time you’re done.

Speaking of time, this is going to take hours to cook, but only after lots of prep. You still with me? So, why would anyone go through all that? That’s easy. Cassoulet is one of the most delicious dishes you’ll ever have. Plus, it’s great for honing your observational skills, since no two cassoulet are the same, and the times I give are only a guide.

If you use a different bean, or more/less meat, or a different size/shape pan or casserole, you may need to add liquid sooner than two hours in. Basically, just keep and eye on things, adding broth when needed, until you’re happy with the final results.

Depending on how salty your meats are, as well as how highly seasoned you stock is, you may or may not need to add more salt to the final mixture. Other than that, and notwithstanding all that stuff I said earlier in the post, this really is a simple recipe. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 portions (I used a 12-inch pan, about 3-inches deep):

For the beans and cooking liquid:
3 quarts seasoned chicken stock or broth (The beans should be cooked in a lightly seasoned stock or broth, so add salt to taste. I didn’t add any on camera as mine was already seasoned.)
1 pound Tarbais beans, or other white beans, soaked overnight
4 ounces ham, bacon, salt pork, or pancetta, cut in 1/4-inch dice (as I mentioned, I experimented with large pieces, but it was too much)
1 bouquet garni (2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon black peppercorn, 6 springs thyme, 6 unpeeled garlic cloves cut in half, tied in cheesecloth)
- add reserved bones from your duck and pork if available
-- simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are almost tender
--- strain and reserve liquid

The other meat:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces fresh pork shoulder or chop, cut into 2-inch pieces, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds (4 links) Toulouse sausages, or other garlic pork sausage
2 duck leg confit (most fancy grocery stores carry this, but you can order online, or make your own with this old recipe)
NOTE: This is traditionally a "poor man's" dish, and would not have nearly the generous supply of rich meats. So, if you want something more authentic, you can cut the meat amounts down by half at least. 

The veggies:
1 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt

The crumb topping:
2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons rendered duck fat
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup cooking liquid
(warning, I don’t measure this stuff, so just add enough melted fat to moisten the crumbs until they look like damp sand)

- Bake for 2 hours at 350 F for 2 hours, or until most of the broth is absorbed.
- Add more broth, poking down a little of the crust into the beans.
- Bake for another 45 minutes, or until well-browned, and the meat is fork tender
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