Showing posts with label mushrooms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mushrooms. Show all posts

24 March 2008

Rich Chicken Soup with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms and Shallots

I dreamed of my father last night. In the dream he was strong and whole - and living happily in the south of France.

Perhaps he is.

People who have heard me relating my vivid dreams often ask me, "What did you eat before you went to bed?" and of course, I tell them nothing, because late-night snacks are not part of of my diet.

But a good supper - and we tend to eat later - is essential. I am often hungriest at night, when we hunker down in our cozy snuggery with books and magazines and DVDs and a remote control at hand.

Last night, after our wonderful roasted chicken, I made a rich golden stock from the carcass. All day I imagined how it would be, simmering away on the stove, filled with the vegetables of late winter into spring.

Shallots and mushrooms I had on hand; asparagus I found at the supermarket - yes, it's beginning to show up there!

I sautéed the shallots and mushrooms while I roasted the asparagus, just enough to impart that delicate flavor roasting provides.

Added together, the vegetables gave the soup a sweet and dark and bosky flavor, like a forest in spring. I paired it with a slice of whole grain bread from a rustic loaf from the bakery.

Chicken Soup with Roasted Asparagus, Mushrooms and Shallots

  • 10-12 stalks of asparagus
  • 3-4 medium shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3-5 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup chicken, dark and white meat, cubed
  • grated pepper and fleur de sel to taste
  • pinch of your favorite herbs 

Wash the asparagus, breaking off the tough bottoms of the stalks. Coat with a tablespoon or less of olive oil and roast until the stalks just begin to turn brown at the edges. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, slice shallots and mushrooms. Place in a deep sauce pan and sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil until the shallots and mushrooms begin to turn golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Empty chicken stock into saucepan (I like to chill it first so I can remove the congealed fat). Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer, adding more water if necessary. Lower the heat and add the vegetables and the cubed chicken. Check the soup and season to suit your tastes. Allow to simmer about 5 minutes longer on low heat.

I kept the seasonings simple because I wanted the flavors to remain true. But I'd recommend a pinch of fresh parsley flakes. You may also add a bay leaf to the soup while it simmers.

Update: I have made this with fresh thyme, and also with a dash of herbes de Provence.

24 February 2007

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots, Mushrooms and Thyme

For me there is something immensely pleasurable about preparing a meal as night begins to fall, especially as the clouds gather outside and the wind howls. There is no place I'd rather be than in my own kitchen.

So I was thoroughly enjoying myself Saturday about 6 p.m. as I marinated steak for broiling and sliced tomatoes for a simple side salad with black olives and an herb-peppered chevre.

The long-predicted storm had not arrived (it finally hit at 3 a.m.), and as I chopped and sliced and seasoned I kept an eye on the sky.

I’ve sworn off simple carbohydrates for a while, and thus have forced my husband to do so, too, at least on weekends. Without potatoes, rice or pasta, I’m paying more attention to side dishes. It seemed a while since we’d had Brussels sprouts, and I found a recipe on Epicurious that intrigued me.

As usual, I modified it quite a bit to suit my diet and my time constraints.

Brussels Sprouts with Shallots, Mushrooms and Thyme

For Brussels sprouts

  • 3 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • dash sel de fleur

For shallots

  • 1/2 lb large shallots (about 6), cut lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 lb mixed fresh mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • dash salt
  • dash freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Trim sprouts, douse with oil, sprinkle with garlic and salt. Toss. Arrange in one layer in a shallow baking pan and place in pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, checking and turning frequently to ensure even roasting and no burning.

While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, sauté the shallots in oil and butter until they are soft to the touch and are beginning to turn golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain.

Using the same pan, add more butter and the mushrooms, sautéing until the mushrooms turn golden brown. Add the thyme about midway through; season at the end. The whole process takes about 15-20 minutes.

Finally, mix all three ingredients and serve.

Note: The original recipe calls for a white wine glaze. This was a pared-down version: I used Smart Balance in place of butter. I also used olive oil as sparingly as I could.

It was wonderful: Both sweet and herby, the tastes of the early spring woods. We will definitely do Brussels sprouts this way again.

My husband thought the vegetables were so good that he was unbothered by the mess I made of the steak. It was tough and tasteless!

01 February 2007

Chestnut Tagliatelle With Mushrooms

I'd never tasted London Broil until my husband, in the early days of our marriage, tossed together a quick meal of it with French fries on the side and deli cole slaw.

The meat was a surprise to me: I thought London Broil was something you made from scratch. Somehow I missed the fact that it can be purchased in a cute little spiral shapes in most meat departments.

London Broil is not a cut of meat, but a way of preparing either flank steak or top round roast. It can be a bit tough, since it's threaded with muscle, so marination is necessary. It is not London at all. In fact, it is a purely American invention, I am told.

You can certainly prepare your own London Broil, of course, and when you do, it looks different than those little meat department packages. But since at our house it's a meal reserved for nights of limited time and energy, we purchase it. I marinate it for several hours in red wine and olive oil with garlic and onion. I spread a bit of crushed garlic on top, along with a very small amount of mustard and some dried herbes de Provençe and stick it under the broiler, turning often. When the meat is finished, I top it with sel de fleur and freshly ground pepper.

One of these days, I will make it instead of buying it and then report back. Maybe during spring break, when I only have my day job to worry about.

Here's what accompanied our London Broil last night: Quick Chestnut Tagliatelle with Mushrooms.

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2/3 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 8 ounces button and crimini mushrooms, slice or quartered
  • 4 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 teaspoons tomato puree
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • dash sel de fleur
  • dash freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces chest tagliatelle
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Pour stock into heavy sauce pan. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, wine, tomato purée and soy sauce. Cook under medium heat for about five minutes. Continue to boil until liquid is reduced by about half. Add chopped herbs, a dash of salt and pepper.

Toss with freshly cooked and drained tagliatelle and top with Parmesan cheese.

Note: The chestnut pasta offers a slightly sweet taste that contrasts nicely with the earthy mushrooms. You could certainly use other pastas.

The dish passed My Ultimate Test: It tasted better the next day.

P.S. Am I the only lazy slug who uses store-bought London Broil? Anybody else want to share techniques or marinades?