Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rice Lentil Polou

The only problem with these beautiful warm fall days we've been having is that the daylight hours are too short. Just when I realize it's a nice day out, it's time to make dinner and then it gets dark.

I pulled this out of the depths of my recipe box a couple weeks ago, made it, and then spent the next two weeks wishing for more. So I made it again last night. It's somehow very satisfying and comforting, reminiscent of rice pudding, but a little more savory. And you can feel good about eating it. I like the way it looks to serve it in one of my lidded casseroles after it's been baking, and it's nice that it can sit for a while before you eat while you finish up the rest of the meal. It makes good leftovers, too. It doesn't quite make a full meal by itself, so I've been making some kind of a curried vegetable side dish. Try the curry roasted butternut squash and chickpeas. I've been making something a little more saucy, like aloo gobi. I got it from the "Laurel's Kitchen" cookbook years ago, liked it, and then forgot about it.

Rice Lentil Polou

1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbs. oil
1 cup raw brown rice (I like Lundberg Farms nutrigrain short grain brown rice for its chewy nuttiness - I usually get it at the co-op, but recently found a bag at Costco)
1/4 cup raw lentils
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water (I threw in a cube of Knorr's vegetable bouillon with water)
1 Tbs. tomato paste (I freeze the leftovers in a snack size baggie and then cut off chunks as needed)
1 tsp. salt (I used half because of the bouillon and the bit of salt on my almonds)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pine-nuts, sunflower seeds or chopped almonds (I used sliced toasted almonds)

Saute onion in 2 Tbs. oil. Add rice and cook, stirring, for several minutes. Add tomato paste, water, cinnamon, and lentils. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, cover tightly, turn heat very low, and simmer for 30 min. Preheat oven to 350. Stir in salt, nuts, and raisins. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in rice mixture. Cover and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serves 4-6.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Autumn Vegetable Soup

Since I tried making this soup, Elie Krieger is my new favorite contributor to Fine Cooking Magazine. I expected it to taste a little bland and a little too healthy, but the reviewers raved about it (with the exception of one who chose to add cream of mushroom soup - ick!) and so, wanting to use up fall veggies and eat something healthy, I decided to give it a try. I LOVED it! Really. So did my family. And I've greedily reserved all the leftovers for myself. There's something about that unexpected allspice that kicks it up a notch. I think I need to make it again soon.

Autumn Vegetable Soup

Serves 6 to 8 as a starter; 4 as a main course

2 Tbs. olive oil
3 medium carrots, cut into medium dice
1 large yellow onion, cut into medium dice
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 cups 1/2-inch-cubed peeled butternut squash (about half a 2-lb. squash)
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
Pinch cayenne pepper; more to taste
Kosher salt
1 quart lower-salt chicken broth (I used Costco's organic chicken stock. Sub veg. stock to make it vegetarian)
1 14.5-oz. can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
4 sprigs fresh thyme (I have tons of lemon thyme right now if anyone wants some!)
2 cups lightly packed, coarsely chopped kale
1 cup lower-salt canned chickpeas (I'd use white beans next time)

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the squash, allspice, cayenne, and 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Add the broth, tomatoes with their juice, and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale and the chickpeas and cook uncovered until the squash is tender and the kale has wilted, about 10 minutes more. Discard the thyme springs before serving. Season to taste with more salt and cayenne.

Make Ahead Tips

You can refrigerate this soup for 3 days or freeze for 2 months.


Feel free to substitute other fall vegetables or beans.

Serving Suggestions

If you're serving as a main course, a slice of Classic Buttermilk Cornbread makes a nice side.
nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 120; Fat (g): 4.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 40; Saturated Fat (g): 0.5; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3; Carbohydrates (g): 16; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 250; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 3;
photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 101, pp. 35
September 3, 2009