Tag Archives: Fall Food

Sausage Kale and Lentil Soup

All it took was one nip of cold air and now all I want to do is make soup. This crowd pleaser is super simple and can be prepared several days in advance. 

6-8 servings, 90 minutes

  • 3 links or 1lb Italian sausage meat, spiced to preference
  • 1 cup of dry lentils (or one can prepared)
  • 1 medium to large onion
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic 
  • 1 large can of peeled whole tomatoes (splurge for San Marzano)
  • 4 cups (1 large box) chicken stock
  • Big handful of Italian parsley
  • 4 handfuls of kale (or chard, or spinach)
  • Loaf of crusty bread
  • Sharp Italian cheese like Parmesan (splurge for pecorino Romano)
  • Salt and cracked black pepper 
  • Red chili pepper flakes


Remove the sausage from its casing and toss in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat with a little oil. 

Dice the onion and add after the sausage has browned. Sweat the onions and stir a few times, then add chopped garlic. 

After a few minutes, pour in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken stock and stir. 

Turn the heat to high until the soup is boiling, then reduce to medium high and add the lentils. Season with more salt and pepper and let simmer for up to an hour, stirring occasionally. 

Remove the biggest ribs and tear the greens into smaller chunks. Chop the parsley. 

You want the liquid to reduce until it’s barely above the ingredients. Turn off the heat, add the greens in batches (it should feel like you’re adding way too much, greens reduce substantially after they’ve heated) and stir until absorbed. Taste and season until the flavors pop. Make sure the lentils are soft. Add chili pepper for a little more heat. 

Warm and butter the bread. Grate the hard cheese and serve. 

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Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin

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What an amazing time of year in the North American food calendar. The summer harvest has wound down but the fall harvest is still in full swing. The food is as good as it gets. This dish is supremely seasonal and perfect to tote along for a Friendsgiving potluck dinner. The herbs and lentils give it a savory and meaty flavor that can satisfy even your most enthusiastic carnivores.

Want it with meat? No problem. Just brown and add italian sausage and half the amount of fennel seed.

Vegetarian Stuffed Pumpkin

Serves 4-8 Prep Time 60 minutes

 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pumpkins (Late in the season it’s easier to find the smaller ones for pie. If you make this in October you have the pick of the litter and can make it with some really big jack o lantern style pumpkins.)
  • 1 cup of brown or wild rice
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 cup of corn kernels
  • One leek or large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of chicken stock/broth
  • ground sage
  • fennel seeds
  • dried thyme
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • olive oil

Method

Preheat to 375f / 190c

Slice off the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the guts. Set the seeds aside for roasting later.

Salt and pepper, then put the top back on the pumpkin, and place in the heated oven with a 30 minute timer set.

Get working on the rice, follow instructions based on which grain you use. Brown rice is just fine but the wild rice gives it a more distinct flavor and look.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, saute your sliced leek with olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep the heat on medium / medium low if using a leek. They’re more sensitive to the high heat than a regular onion. Once it’s melted down a bit add chopped garlic, the chicken stock and the lentils. Salt and pepper again, add a layer of sage, thyme and fennel seeds and cover. Simmer the lentils 20-30 minutes to soften.

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Check on the pumpkins. You want the flesh to be soft inside but not quite separating from the skin yet. Poke with a fork, if it yields it’s done. Take out of the oven and set aside.

Once the rice is finished and the lentils are cooked, combine the two and mix in the grated parmesan. You really can’t add too much cheese. I put down a cup as a guide but the point is to add the cheese until the mixture is saturated. Taste throughout, the herbs and fennel seed should give the stuffing the flavor of sausage. If it’s bland add more cheese or salt. Not savory enough? Add more herbs. Feeling fancy? Toss in a thick pat of butter. It’s the holidays! Live a little!

Stuff the pumpkins with the mixture and cover the top with a layer of parmesan. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

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Serve with a large spoon for scooping or slice the pumpkin into wedges for plating.

This will keep warm for a long time. You can prep it at home, wrap it in foil and a towel and bring it to your party.

Email me pictures at mancookgood@gmail.com or mention me on instagram @mancookgood.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

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Turkey Barley Soup

Day 5.

It’s been 4 days since the Thanksgiving feast. Our cravings for holiday fare have subsided a bit. Once bountiful supplies have dwindled and a storm has blown over the Los Angeles Basin. It’s cold, dark and wet outside. We are running our artificial lights during daylight hours. The doors and windows are shut tight, the heat has been turned on. Even the ceiling fans have been silenced. It will be days until we see 70 degrees again. These are truly the dark days of winter here in Southern California. I am left with no choice. I must make a soup to nourish my friends and family and boost morale. We will find comfort in homemade stock and thyme and rosemary. We will find inspiration in the turkey who sacrificed himself for this noble task. We will carry on.

Smells like health

Smells like freedom.

Turkey Barley Soup.

Hopefully you took the stripped down turkey carcass and boiled it in water for 2 hours last Thursday. Tell me you did. (It’s ok if you didn’t, just a missed opportunity on both of our parts) For now, let’s assume you did.

That means you have about a gallon of liquid gold, err turkey stock. That’s a good start.

So check your kitchen or head to the store. For this you’ll need:

90 minutes (The barley takes over an hour to cook. Rice or quinoa would take half that)

Leftover Turkey (a couple handfuls will do)

2-4 celery stalks

2-4 carrots

1 onion (or a leek, or 2-3 shallots)

a cup of uncooked barley (rice, quinoa, pasta too)

8 cups homemade turkey stock (or store bought chicken / vegetable broth)

1/2 of a lemon

2 cloves of garlic

Thyme

Rosemary

Sage

Salt 

Pepper

Olive Oil

Chop the leek into thin strips and toss it into hot olive oil. Salt and pepper it. Chop up the garlic and toss add that too.

soon

soon

Break down the carrots and celery into small uniform pieces. Big chunks work too, it just cooks faster and is easier to eat in smaller pieces. Put that all in with the onions, stir and add salt and pepper.

Give that a few minutes. Use that time to clean, organize and get your herbs out. I had a lot of fresh ones leftover from Thanksgiving so they needed to be broken down and chopped. Lots of thyme (if dry, cover the surface of the liquid in 2 layers, if fresh, use a loose handful), half as much rosemary, half of that in sage. It really it doesn’t matter much and is to your personal preference. We’re making soup. Add more as you go. It’ll be delicious.

Pour in the broth and add the herbs. Salt and pepper again. Add the turkey and barley and set on medium high heat with the cover on.

This is when I clean up the kitchen. (again) I like it tidy when I cook. It keeps things moving smoothly. By the time you’ve wiped down the counters and washed up your prep dishes the soup should be boiling. Give it 45 minutes with an occasional stir. By then things should be pretty close to done. Take the lid off and keep it on medium high for another 30 minutes. At this point you should be checking in every ten minutes or so. Have a taste. (HOT!) Does it taste like soup yet? If not give it more time. The color, smell and taste of the soup will shift when it’s done. I’m sure there is a scientific reason for it but I like to think that the separate ingredients finally yield to each other and collapse into a group hug. If you’re watching the broth you’ll be able to tell.

Right at the end I turn off the heat entirely and squeeze the half of a lemon into the whole mixture. This lets the flavors settle in and the soup cool enough for people to eat. I took a fresh baguette smeared with olive oil and broiled it in the oven for a few minute. The soup was served in mugs. Six people ate, several had seconds. Nothing was left behind.

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How to make Chicken Pot Pie in under an hour

Should serve 4. Might serve 2.

Should serve 4-6. Might serve 2.

Oh my it’s mid November already. Where. Has. The. Year. Gone.

Anyways, when the days get short and the air gets that nip in it my cravings take a sharp left turn away from the grill and salad for dinner and smack dab into a pit of gravy.

Mmmm… Gravy.

Well the other day I found myself scanning the mancookgood Instagram feed and drooling over a yorkshire pudding posted by @sharonskitchenx of humbletartkitchen.com. Trouble is I’m not even sure what Yorkshire pudding tastes like and I had at least ten more hours of work in front of me. Nonetheless a seed had been planted and something had to be done.

Chicken Pot Pie floated to the surface and I spent the rest of the day considering ways I could stop at the store on the way home, crank out a pie and eat at halftime without missing too much of the game. My quest for football season food never ends. The trick is finding something delicious I can make without slaving over the fires and missing half the action.

Genius struck around 3pm and I was left without a choice.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole roasted chicken
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 1 leek
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 medium russet potato
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 can of chicken stock
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 handful of white flour
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • 2 bay leafs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oil

Put the oven on 375f / 190c. Take out a sheet of puff pastry and lay it out flat to thaw.

Pot Pie Prep

Nice and tidy

Chop the leek, shallot, celery, potato and carrots into small chunks. Toss it into a large skillet with olive oil on medium high. Salt and pepper.

Next break done the bird. Slice of the wings first, eat one and hand the other to your friend. Do the same with the drum sticks.

Then get into the breasts, thighs and back meat. Separate from the bird and remove the skin. Eat that or set it aside. Chop all the meat into bite size pieces. At this point the onions should be pretty soft.

Add the chicken to the mixture, salt, pepper, lots of thyme, half as much rosemary and two bay leafs. (we’re in a hurry, need that extra punch of spice)  Now add the chicken stock and turn the burner to high to get a boil going.

Smells like Thanksgiving

Smells like Thanksgiving

While you let the mixture reduce slice the skin off of a lemon and cube it. Throw that in there. A little brightness in an otherwise savory dish.

You can work the puff pastry a little here and roll it thinner. I left it as is. (the game was on!)

Let the liquid reduce by about half, sprinkle in a little flour a few times until the juice is almost as thick as gravy. This is to your preference, it’ll be delicious no matter what at this point.

Pour the filling into a greased pie pan. Drape the pastry over the pan and seal it around the edges. Poke a hole in the top and put in the oven.

I had a little pastry left over from the corners so I made some little chicken skin turnovers too.

Cook some of the fat off the skin in the now empty skillet, wrap it in pastry. Put it in the oven on some greased foil while the pie cooks.

Set the time for 30 minutes and go watch the game. Keep an eye on the pie for the another ten minutes until it’s the crust has browned nicely.

Eat. Watch game. Have seconds. Yum.

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