Dec16

Chicken & Carrots

Chicken and Leek Soup_1

I love picking up a chicken to roast. It’s such an easy meal, just glaze, roast, eat. But with only two people in the house, we usually have quite a bit of meat leftover. So, inspired by Yolène’s Leek and Carrot Quiche, I simmered up a batch of soup with leftover chicken from a roast.

The flavor comes from white wine and cream. Let the veggies simmer in the wine as long as you can, you’ll be glad for it at the end. If you like a thicker broth, pour the cream into a small bowl at the very end, whisk in a spoonful of the soup and a tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Pour it back into the soup, and voila, a thicker soup.

Chicken and Leek Soup_2


Chicken Soup with Carrots and Leeks

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type Soup
Misc Freezable
A simple chicken soup made with leftover shredded chicken, carrots and leeks.

Ingredients

  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 Large leek (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 2 Large carrots (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (shredded)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

1. In a large pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, carrots and parsley, and saute for a few minutes.
2. Add the white wine, bring to a simmer, and let cook for ten minutes.
3. Add the shredded chicken and broth, bring to a simmer, and let cook uncovered until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to low, and add the cream or milk, stirring until combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. (Optional) Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Dec12

Lemons & Blueberry

Easy Lemon Tart

Is there anything in the kitchen more beautiful than a well made tart shell? I don’t think so! Which is why I was so excited when my friend Yolène passed on her recipe for standard pastry crust. I’ve made several batches, and each time it bakes up so beautifully. There’s no need to pre-bake the shell (that’s what makes a pastry crust overcooked). Just press in, chill for a few minutes, and fill with your favorite tart or quiche recipe. The tartness of the lemon filling is complimented perfectly with the sweetness of blueberries. I’ve made it three times in the past week, to give to neighbors and serving at a holiday party.

If you have extra of the mixture, it freezes well. Pour it into a baggie, remove the extra air, seal it, and lay it flat in the freezer. It will keep for a few months. Although I have heard that raw eggs can be frozen for up to a year.

Enjoy!


Pastry Crust

Serves 2
Prep time 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Freezable
Use this simple pastry crust recipe as a base for pies, tarts, turnovers, and more. It's a fuss-free baking staple.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (chilled and diced)
  • 1/4 cup cold water

Directions

1. Pour the flour into a large bowl. Drop the butter into the bowl, then mix with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
2. Add the water, and continue mixing with your hands until dough begins to form. Knead in the bowl until all of the flour and butter is combined into a dough bowl, about 6 times.
3. Wrap the ball in cling film, then place in the refrigerator. Dough will keep for up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for later use.

Note

This will make the equivalent of 1-9" round pie crust. The recipe can be multiplied as needed. If you want a sweet crust, add a tablespoon of sugar in with the crust. You can also flavor it with lemon zest, vanilla bean, and more.


Lemon and Blueberry Tart

Serves 8
Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 2 hours
An easy lemon and blueberry tart that will have your guests puckering up for more.

Ingredients

  • 1 Batch pastry crust
  • 4 Large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 Large lemons (juiced)
  • 1 Zest lemon
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (heaping)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

Directions

1. Make the pastry crust and refrigerate for 1 hour. When chilled, roll out in a circle about 2" larger in diameter than the tart pan. Press into the bottom and edges of the pan, trim the excess off, then prick the bottom of the crust with a fork. Place back into fridge while you make the filling.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for a minute or two. Add the lemons and zest and whisk until sugar is dissolved completely. Add the flour and whisk until combined. Pour into the tart pan until 3/4 full. Scatter the blueberries over the top. Place into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until middle of tart is set.
4. (Optional) Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with sugar. Place under a broiler until sugar is caramelized, or you can use a kitchen torch.

Cranberry Shortbread

Ah, Christmas baking. I’m definitely putting my time in at the oven and hob (such an Irish word to use!). We hosted a small Christmas party for our team last night, which gave me the incentive I needed to try out a few ideas. This recipe for Cranberry and Lemon Thyme Shorbread was inspired by a favorite place of mine to have tea. Each cup comes with a little tiny shortbread cookie with a perfect dried cranberry placed in the middle. It adds such a tasty flavor to the classic cookie.

I grow lemon thyme, a hardy little herb, in my garden year round. It makes a beautiful shrub or border plant (mine is in a spare container, planted as an afterthought). The plant is easy to find at a garden shop, both in Ireland and in the States.

My original batch was made in bar form, for the second I rolled into a snake and cut into rounds. I prefer the second method, which is easier to cut and to freeze. If you aren’t a fan of cranberries, simply omit the fruit and keep the lemon. Or switch it out for your favorite dried fruit.

Enjoy!


Cranberry and Lemon Thyme Shortbread

Serves 24
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon thyme (finely chopped)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cups flour

Directions

1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugars, and salt together until fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat for 20 seconds until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Let sit for a minute, then begin to mix the dough by hand. Knead until dough forms. Let sit for another minute or two.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F.
3. If you want bar cookies, press dough into a 9x9 pan, making sure it is evenly distributed. Bake for 45 minutes until top is lightly golden. Remove from oven and cut into slices when shortbread is cool.
4. If you want round cookies, roll dough into a long snake (about 1.5" thick). Cut into .5" slices. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until tops are lightly golden brown.

Note

You can freeze this dough for about 4-6 weeks until ready to use. Double wrap the dough in cling film and write the date on the outside. When ready, remove from the freezer, thaw completely, and bake as instructed.

 

Dec3

Turkey Pot Pie

Leftover Turkey Pot Pie_2
Photography by Rebekah Burder.

Things I’ve been doing instead of blogging: cooking, cooking, cooking, baking, going to see Catching Fire, reading, reading, reading, eating turkey, and making this delicious leftover turkey pot pie. When I say delicious, I mean deliciously perfectly comforting. It’s great end to all that holiday feasting, the kind of comfort food that you can curl up with on the sofa and watch your favorite holiday movie.

Enjoy!


Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Serves 4-6
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
An easy turkey pot pie made with leftover ingredients from Thanksgiving Dinner. Uses a pre-made puff pastry sheet and takes less than 20 minutes to prepare.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1 Medium onion (diced)
  • 2 Large carrot (peeled and diced)
  • 2 celery ribs (sliced thinly)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
  • 2 cups turkey meat (cooked and shredded)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped)
  • 1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups milk
  • pepper
  • salt

Crust

  • 1 sheet puff pastry (thawed)
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions

1. In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add in the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until tender, about ten minutes. Add in the peas, turkey, and parsley, let cook for another minute, then pour into casserole dish.
2. In the same saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the herbs and flour, cook for a minute, then remove from heat. Add in the broth and wine, whisk until smooth, then place back on the burner. Cook for a few minutes until thick.
3. Add in the milk, whisk until smooth. Turn up the heat to medium-high and let thicken. Whisk or stir frequently to prevent burning. When sauce is desired thickness, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat. Pour over the vegetables, until dish is about 2/3 full. Let cool for a few minutes before putting the crust on.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
5. Remove the puff pastry from packaging and cut to fit the dish. Brush with the egg yolk and place egg-side down onto the ramekin. Press the sides down a bit to seal the edges, then cut three or four slices into the top. Brush the egg wash over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Note

The hardest part of this recipe is the whisking. Make sure the mixture is thick and smooth as you cook. If you don't like the puff pastry top, replace with a pie crust and cook for the same time. If you want the tops puffy (as pictured) don't cut slices in the top of the pastry.

You can also replace the turkey with cooked chicken, or leave the meat out completely and replace with mushrooms for a veggie-friendly option. For the stock, I use concentrated pots of herb or vegetable stock, which adds a much more intense flavor than traditional stocks. You could also use bouillon.

Nov20

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
Photography by Rebekah Burder.

Ah, Thanksgiving. The holiday where everyone pulls out their turkey pants, football schedules, and prepares for marathon eating and napping sessions. While we won’t have the whole country celebrating with us, we will have quite a group at an annual dinner hosted by friends in Kilkenny. But before that happens, I decided to see if I could create a healthier version of the traditional holiday feast, without sacrificing flavor.

Consider this mission accomplished. The turkey? Succulent and peppery. The gravy? Surprisingly satisfying and flavorful. The carrots and stuffing? Delicious and warming. And the salad…who knew clementines and kale would be such a great combination.

Kale and Clementine Salad
Pepper Crusted Roasted Turkey
Paleo Potato Gravy Honey Glazed Carrots with Raisins and Cranberries
Mushroom and Leek Stuffing

The total cook time was about 2.5 hours from start to finish. I wasn’t in a hurry, so I know you could shave the time down quite a bit. Especially if you had someone helping you prep the ingredients. All recipes serve about 4 people, with a few leftovers. For the stuffing, I used a seeded spelt bread. The darker and nuttier the bread, the better the flavor. While this dinner isn’t completely paleo, you can make it so by switching out the butter for coconut oil and removing the bread in the stuffing and replacing it with a paleo ingredient, like turkey sausage which adds flavor and bulk.


Menu:
Kale and Clementine Salad
Pepper Crusted Turkey Breast with Potato Gravy
Honey Glazed Carrots with Raisins and Cranberries
Mushroom and Leek Stuffing


Sequence of Events

Prep all vegetables and place in containers on your counters.

Start the gravy and place on the back burner to simmer. Puree and strain when you take the turkey out of the oven and keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare the turkey and let sit to the side until meat is room temperature and oven is pre-heated. I like to wash up after this step.

Make the stuffing, and place to the side. Bake when turkey is almost done. I have a double oven, so it is easy to make two dishes at once. If you only have one, place it on the top rack of the oven above the turkey when the turkey is 25 minutes from being done.

Begin the carrots last. They’ll cool the quickest. So leave them in the saucepan until you are ready to serve.


Kale and Clementine Salad

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and shredded
  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 clementines
  • juice of 1 clementine
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Clean the kale and pat dry. Place in a bowl. Top with the red onion.
  2. Squeeze the clementine juice over the salad, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Peel the other clementines and add the segments to the salad.

Pepper Crusted Roasted Turkey

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lb turkey breast
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Melt butter. Baste over top and bottom of turkey. Sprinkle liberally with salt. Lightly grind the peppercorns in a bowl, then sprinkle over top of turkey and press lightly into the meat.
  3. Place in roasting pan, breast side down, and cover very loosely with foil. Cook for 30 minutes at 350°, then reduce heat to 250°. Let cook for 45-60 minutes more until turkey is cooked through and juices run clear. Remove the foil during the last 20 minutes so that the meat can brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes until dinner is ready to serve. Carve into very thin slices.

Paleo Potato Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 1 potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
  • pan drippings from roasted turkey

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot, place all ingredients together. Bring to a boil and let simmer until mixture is reduced by half, about 45 minutes. Use an immersion blender or potato masher to smooth out the gravy as finely as possible. Let sit until turkey is carved then serve over the top or on the side.
  2. Remove from heat and pour mixture through a sieve. Serve while still warm.

Honey Glazed Carrots with Raisins and Cranberries

Ingredients:

  • 4 large carrots, matchsticked
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add in the carrots, and stir until butter covers the sticks. Cover, and let cook for 10 minutes, only stirring once or twice.
  2. Remove cover and add honey and dried fruit, stirring until coated. Let cook for 10-15 minutes until carrots are very tender and browned. Salt and pepper to taste.

Gluten Free Mushroom and Leek Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 green apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 6 cups gluten-free bread, cubed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic and leek and sauté for a minute or two. Add in the remaining ingredients, excluding bread cubes, then cook until ingredients are lightly tender. About 5-10 minutes. Stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from heat and add the bread cubes.  Mix well together with a fork, taking care not to destroy the cubes. Place in a casserole dish. Bake for 25 minutes until warmed through and top is golden brown.
  4. If you like, you can baste the top of the stuffing with melted butter before baking.

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