Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lentil and Brown Rice Stew with Chicken

Well, the frost really is on the pumpkin now! It seems as though it were only 5 days ago that I was outside painting in a short-sleeve t-shirt, but yesterday morning was our first heavy frost and this morning there were snow showers.

How very cool the feathery stalks of the decorative grass look when coated with frost!

My entire focus on food has shifted in the past couple of weeks, and I now plan warming meals. Especially since we just got our furnace repaired yesterday and we’ve been waking in a bedroom with mid-50’s temps. Brrr.

The other day I made stock from the carcass of a chicken that I roasted for dinner the evening before. I used it today to make a very thick, warm, satisfying stew for lunch. Jack isn’t a big fan of lentils, although I love them, and I put both lentils and chicken into the stew although the lentils and brown rice were the main ingredients (kind of a lentil stew seasoned with chicken).

This stew is a protein-fiber powerhouse with less than 450 calories in a 1-1/2 cup serving.

I harvested a lot of hot peppers from the garden last week-orange habanero, chocolate habanero, and red cherry:

And I added one of the smaller orange habanero peppers, chopped very finely, to the stew. Those are darn hot peppers! The stew was up at the higher level of my heat tolerance, but for the first time that day I felt warm. :)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Lentil and Brown Rice Stew with Chicken

Recipe By: Vicci

Servings : 6

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method

-------- ------------ --------------------------------

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 1/2 ounces carrots -- chopped, about 1-2/3 cups

4 ounces onions -- chopped, about 1 cup

2 3/4 ounces celery -- minced, about 3/4 cup

1 large garlic clove -- minced

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

8 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 whole bay leaves

1/2 cup brown rice

1 cup lentils -- brown lentils preferred

6 ounces zucchini or yellow squash -- chopped, about 2 cups

1 cup frozen, shelled edamame -- thawed

8 ounces cooked chicken breast halves -- chopped

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

In a large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and garlic and lower the heat a little, Stir often until the veggies have softened, about 8 minutes. Increase the heat back to medium and sprinkle in the flour; stir constantly for a minute.

Pour in the chicken broth slowly, stirring quickly to avoid any lumps. Add the thyme and bay leaves and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the lentils and brown rice, stir well, and turn down the heat to medium-low. Cover partially and allow to cook for 40 minutes, stirring often.

Add the chopped zucchini and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir in the edamame and chicken and cook until the chicken is heated through and the rice and lentils are tender. Season with freshly ground pepper, and stir in parsley.


"9 cups"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per serving: 437 Calories (kcal); 11g Total Fat (2g saturated); (21% calories from fat); 41g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 26mg Cholesterol; 744mg Sodium; Dietary Fiber 14g

Food Exchanges: 2 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

Note: I will add chopped mushrooms the next time, and perhaps some frozen peas—this is a great recipe to clean out the bits & pieces of frozen veggies in the freezer!

Well, no photo. I downloaded it, saved it somewhere (I'm certain that I did!) and then erased it from my memory card. If I remember, I'll try again with the leftovers tomorrow. Yeesh.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Although the days are becoming cooler and most of the garden produce is only a (lovely) memory, I am still fortunate enough to have a zucchini and a yellow squash plant that are still producing.

The other evening I made a delicious mole that was quick and used one of the zucchini from the garden. I searched and found that I had reviewed this Good Housekeeping recipe a year ago, but that I hadn’t added a photo. Well, this year I have that photo. :)

The review and recipe are here, and I added in the photo as well.

I forgot about adding the red bell pepper and the chipotle (if I don’t write it down…), but have now written this on the recipe so I don’t forget next time. And I realize that 2 corn tortillas are considered a “serving”, but with the minimal fat and calories that they contain, we used a few extra because sopping up the rich sauce with the tortillas is just so very good.

Okay, since I got off easy for that post, I will add a new recipe to this one.

I haven’t been cooking a lot lately because I am busy getting work done on the outside of our house before cold weather arrives. We will have a span of a few days of nice weather where I spend most of my day painting, and every few days there is a rainy day or two where I can work inside. Yesterday was one of those days, and instead of painting the inside of the window frames as planned (I am so sick and tired of painting!), I decided to spend a few hours in the kitchen.

My Dad gave me a pumpkin from his garden when we visited last month, so I decided to warm up the kitchen by roasting it for pumpkin soup.

By far, the most difficult part of this recipe is cutting and peeling the pumpkin. You need a very sharp knife, a large cutting board, and a large bowl for the peel and the insides. I cut the pumpkin *almost* in half vertically (just to one side of the stem). That is the most difficult part. Then I cut the pumpkin into slices, scoop out the seeds, and peel each piece. It took me about a half hour to prepare 4 pounds of pumpkin.

After that, it’s a breeze. Toss the pumpkin chunks along with onions, garlic, thyme, and olive oil and roast for about a half hour. Near the end of that time, bring the stock to a boil, add the cooked veggies, simmer for 10 minutes, and puree. I love my hand blender for jobs like this! It is over 20 years old and is taped (and injury which happened after falling out of the dish drainer years ago), but works great.

Some milk is added (would this make it a bisque rather than a soup?), and garnished with plain lowfat yogurt. Too late, I realized that a sprinkling of smoked paprika would have been a great addition.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Makes about 9 cups


4 pounds pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

2 medium onions, cut into 8 pieces each

3 large garlic colves, peeped and halved

1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste

32 ounces chicken or veggie stock

1 cup lowfat milk

Plain lowfat yogurt

Smoked paprika (or ground dried chipotle, if desired)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss pumpkin, onions and thyme in oil and spread mixture onto 2 large baking sheets.

Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25 to 35 minutes until tender, stirring every ten minutes or so.

Toward the end of the roasting time, heat the stock in a large pot. Remove veggies from oven and transfer to a large pot. Add broth, wine and cardamom and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a hand blender, puree the soup until smooth (or, working in batches, puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth, then transfer back to pot). Bring soup back to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in milk.

Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with plain nonfat yogurt, sprinkle with smoked paprika or ground chipotle pepper if you like some heat.

(Shown in the photo are twisted whole wheat biscuits which, after another try or two and a few more tweaks, will be in a future post)