Spicy Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Spicy Black Bean SoupThis spicy soup definitely counts as eating healthy! With onion, green pepper, celery, carrots, corn and of course black beans, it has you on track for upping your veggie intake! This soup will serve 6-8 people.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cups vegetable stock/chicken stock
3 (540ml) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (341ml) can whole kernel corn
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (796ml) can stewed tomatoes
Lemon/lime juice to serve

Directions:

In large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add the chili powder, thyme and cumin; cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally so nothing burns. Add the stock, 1 ½ cans of the beans, corn, and pepper, and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in food processor or blender, puree together tomatoes and remaining 1 ½ cans of beans. Add these to the pot. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve hot, with a quick squeeze of lemon/lime juice to each bowl.

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Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco 1 Ingredients:

6 veal/beef shank cross cuts, about 1 ½ inch thick
salt and pepper
flour for dredging, as needed
olive oil, as needed
3 cups onion, diced
1 ½ cups carrots, diced small
1 ½ cups celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (156ml) can tomato paste
2 ¼ cups dry wine
1 ½ litres chicken or beef stock
sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary*
cornstarch (optional)

Directions:

Trim the veal/beef shanks, and season them with salt and pepper, then dredge through the flour, shaking off any excess flour. Heat oil in a large pot and sear the meat to a deep brown colour, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Due to the amount of meat you are browning, you may have to do this in batches. Remove the meat and keep separate.

Put the onions in the pot and stir, until golden brown. You can add a little more oil if needed to keep the onions from burning, but you do not want a lot of oil in the pot. Add carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté stirring frequently, cooking for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook until it turns a deeper colour and gives off a sweeter aroma, about 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan with wine, and reduce liquid by half. At this point, most likely your pot will not be large enough to fit all of the meat and vegetable mixture/sauce, so I often transfer everything to a large casserole dish or aluminum pan. Pouring about half of the vegetable mixture down first, then the meat in a single layer, then topping with the rest of the vegetable mixture. At this point you want to add enough stock to cover the meat by ⅔. Add the sprigs of herbs and cover the dish and put in a 350 degree oven, letting it braise for 2 – 2 ½ hours, until tender.

Classically, at this point, you would remove the herbs and the meat from the pan, and then strain the sauce, only leaving the liquid behind to be thickened with some cornstarch and served with the meat. In my household, vegetables are NEVER put aside! We do not strain the liquid, but serve it as an accompaniment to the meat, often on top of wide egg noodles. Should you wish the actual liquid of the sauce to be thicker, you can separate some and thicken it with cornstarch to serve as an almost gravy. Any way you serve it, you must enjoy!

* to learn how to clean rosemary and thyme properly, click here.

Curry Chicken

Curry Chicken

Add a little Indian flair to your dinner table with this easy curry chicken. This recipe serves 8.

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced into large chunks
2 medium onions – thinly sliced
1 15 oz. can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
2 medium sweet potatoes – peeled and diced
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large or 2 small zucchini, diced
2 cups coconut milk – light or regular
1 cup chicken stock – low sodium
1 5.5 oz. can tomato paste
4 tablespoons curry powder – salt-free
2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cracked pepper
2 tablespoon finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
1 fresh chili, sliced (optional)
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced (optional)
4 kaffir lime leaves, sliced (optional)
1 cup green peas – frozen
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
cilantro – optional garnish
Rice

Directions:

In the bottom of the slow cooker, whisk together coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato paste, garlic, ginger and all of your spices. If you are using the chili, lemongrass and kaffir leaves, add them now too. Add chicken breasts, onion, chickpeas, both kinds of potatoes and the zucchini. Using tongs, gently toss ingredients together to ensure everything is evenly coated. Cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours. Stir in peas and lemon juice 5 minutes before serving. Serve over rice and with plenty of fresh cilantro.

In order to make this ahead of time, simply whisk together coconut milk, chicken stock, tomato paste, garlic, ginger and all of your spices in a small bowl. If you are using the chili, lemongrass and kaffir leaves, add them now too. In a large gallon sized freezer bag, place the chicken and vegetables, except the peas, and pour your liquid spice mixture over everything in the bag. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Rub the chicken through the bag, rubbing the sauce over and into chicken. Store the bag flat in the freezer until frozen through, then you can stand it up until you’re ready to use it. When it comes to the day you decide to serve the chicken, cook on low for 8 hours, and then follow the rest of the steps for preparing the dish the same as above.