Classic Beef Stew

My mom used to make a delicious beef stew when I was young.  It was my absolute favorite - I could eat bowls and bowls of it.  I had a hankering for it this weekend that couldn't be stopped. Here's my version, it's pretty close to the original with super tender bites of meat, satisfying root vegetables and a hearty beef flavor.  I think it was the chilly pre autumn evenings that put me in the mood for something so filling and warm.  Feel free to add peas or corn to this along with the green beans, if you'd like more vegetables.  

Cooking time will greatly depend on the size of your stew meat pieces.  For something like this, that I'm eating like soup, I prefer the meat to be bite sized.  Think no bigger than a ping pong ball.  It will take less time to become tender and is easier to eat.  

Serves 6-8.

Classic Beef Stew

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

3 lbs lean stew beef, in bite sized pieces

s + p

3 tablespoons flour

high heat oil, as needed

1 large yellow onion (or two small), chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tomato, peeled, seeded, diced

2 quarts beef stock

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled, chopped

zest of 1 lemon, in long strips, no pith

1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

2 cups chopped green beans

Gather thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, peppercorns and mustard seeds in cheesecloth and secure with string.  Set aside.  Secure lemon zest with strips with string, set aside. 

Season meat with salt and pepper.  Toss with flour. In a large pot, over high heat, brown meat. Try for a deep brown crust. Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.  Add more oil, as needed during browning.  Set browned meat aside. 

Add onion, cook until browned, stirring, to avoid burning.  Add garlic and tomato, cook until browned.  Add stock, beef, accumulated juices and spice sachet to pot.  Bring to boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until beef is tender, about 1.5 hours.  Skim any fat or foam from surface.  

Add carrots, potatoes, chile flakes and lemon zest bundle.  Boil, uncovered, until vegetables are tender.  Add green beans.  Turn off heat, season with salt and pepper.  Remove spice sachet and lemon zest bundle before serving. 

Chorizo + Tomato Vegetable Soup

A quick stroll through the farmers market will get you all the things you need to make for this soup.  It's smoky, spicy, salty and a little sweet from all the peek season summer vegetables. Chorizo is a fresh Mexican sausage made from pork and spiced with paprika.  It can be found in most butcher shops and grocery stores.  I held back on it so if you like a meatier soup use 1 pound chorizo.  

Makes 6 servings.

Chorizo + Tomato Vegetable Soup

small splash high heat oil

8oz chorizo sausage, casings discarded

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped

1 poblano chile, stemmed, seeded, finely chopped

1 tin diced tomatoes

1 quart vegetable stock

1 1/2 cup diced new potatoes

1 teaspoon dreid oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 bay leaf

kernels from 2 ears of corn

1 cup green beans, chopped

s + p

lemon juice

Heat a pot over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Add chorizo, cook until browned and set aside.  Return pot to stove, lower heat to medium.  Add onions, cook until soft and glossy, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic, carrots and poblano chile, cook 4 minutes, stirring.  Add reserved chorizo, tomatoes, stock, potatoes, oregano, cumin, paprika and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Let simmer 20 minutes.  Add corn and green beans.  Simmer 10 minutes more.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice.  


Turkey Chili

Another easy dinner idea.  This is a meatier chili than I normally make.  It has lots of protein and little fat because of the lean ground turkey.  Serve over brown rice and kale.  Everything's instantly better with a bit of kale, isn't it?  

Serves 6.

Turkey Chili

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely diced

1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb lean ground turkey breast

s + p

1 14 oz tin diced tomatoes

14oz chicken stock

1 14oz tin black beans, drained, rinsed

1 14oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

1 14oz tin kidney beans, drained, rinsed

2 tablespoons cumin

1-2 tablespoon chile powder, to taste

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Warm oil in a pot, over medium heat.  Add onions, jalapeños and garlic.  Cook until soft, about 8 minutes.  Season turkey with salt, pepper and add to pot.  Cook until browned.  Break meat up with a spoon while it cooks.  Stir in tomatoes, stock, beans, cumin, chile powder and cinnamon.  

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Adjust seasoning as desired.  Serve hot.


Cam's Black Bean + Tomatillo Soup

This is a good one.  I wasn't sure about the tomatillos when Cam was explaining his idea for the soup but they really add a beautiful bright flavor.  

Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes that you'll find in papery/dried leaf like husks.  Peel those off and discard along with any stems. Cotija cheese is a salty, hard cow's milk cheese from Mexico.  You can grate it or just crumble it with your hands - you'll notice it crumbles into little rice sized bits.  

Serves 8.

Black Bean + Tomatillo Soup

1 lb dried black beans

1 large white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon cumin

2 quarts water

1 jalapeno, quartered

2 bay leaves

cilantro, leaves chopped and stems separated and reserved

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, quartered

2 ears corn, husks removed

2 tablespoons cotija cheese

lime juice

salt + pepper

Pick through beans, discarding anything that is not a bean.  Place in bowl and cover with 3 inches of water.  Let soak overnight.  

In a large pot over medium low heat, warm olive oil.  Add onions and sweat until soft, about 8 minutes.  Add garlic, cook 2 minutes.  

Wrap jalapeño, bay leaves and cilantro stems in cheese cloth, secure with kitchen string. 

Drain beans of soaking liquid.  Add beans, jalapeño sachet, cumin and 2 quarts of water to the onions.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until beans are soft, about 2 hours. 

While soup is simmering, heat oven to 350.  Arrange tomatillos in oven safe dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil.  Roast until soft, 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and puree smooth.   

Grill corn until slightly blackened.  Cut kernels from cob, discard cob.  Toss with cotija cheese, chopped cilantro leaves and lime juice.  Season with salt and pepper.   

Remove sachet from beans.  Puree about 1/3 of soup.  Stir tomatillo puree and pureed 1/3 into soup.  Adjust seasoning.  Top with corn garnish. 

Thai Hot + Sour Soup

Are you sick of reading posts for soup, yet?  WELL, TOO BAD! 

What can I say?  I really like soup.  This one is spicy, sour, full of vegetables, chicken and all those thai flavors of lemongrass, ginger and lime.  Yum!  It's also super healthy.  

If you can't find thai bird chiles, use a serrano pepper.  Remove the stem, halve lengthwise and slice, keeping the membranes and seeds.  Soup might need to be seasoned with additional siracha or sambal oelek at the end for more spice.  Whichever chile you use, wear gloves when handling.  

Makes 2 quarts.   

Thai Hot + Sour Soup

8 cups water

3 lemongrass stalks, outer leaves remove, cut in half, bruised

2 inches ginger root, peeled

4 kaffir lime leaves, bruised

stems of 1 bunch cilantro

3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, fat trimmed

1 teaspoon grape seed oil

3 carrots, peeled, sliced

2 Thai bird chiles, seeded, minced

5 oz broccoli, chopped  

4 oz snow peas, trimmed, sliced

s + p

1 tablespoon fish sauce

juice of 1 lime

Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Place water, lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, cilantro stems, garlic, peppercorns and soy sauce in a pot.  Bring to a boil, add chicken.  Reduce to a simmer.  Simmer, partially covered until chicken is tender, about 15-20 minutes.   

Remove chicken.  Once cool enough to touch, shred.  Set aside.  Strain stock, discarding solids.  Set aside.  

Wipe out the pot, return to stove over medium heat, add oil.  Add shallots, cook until clear and soft.  Add carrots and chiles.  Sauté 3 minutes.  Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes and add broccoli.  Simmer until tender, 5 minutes.  Add snow peas and chicken.  Heat through.  

Season with salt  pepper, fish sauce, lime juice.  Garnish with cilantro leaves.  

Simple Chickpea Soup with Lemon + Dill

A very simple soup.  Chickpeas and vegetables perked up with plenty of lemon and fresh dill.  It's super bright and flavorful.  Most of the ingredients are probably in your fridge and pantry right now.  I served it over brown rice for dinner.  Vegetable stock maybe used to keep things vegetarian.      

Grab a pound of kirby cucumbers while you're at it and use the rest of the dill to make pickles. 

Serves 4.

Chickpea Vegetable Soup with Lemon + Dill

1 tsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

2 celery stalk, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 quart chicken stock

1 14 oz tin chickpeas, rinsed, drained

1/2 bunch lacinato kale, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

 juice of 1 lemon

s + p

In a pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, chile flakes.  Cooking, stirring frequently, until vegetables are aromatic and glossy, about 5 minutes.  Add stock. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add chickpeas, kale, dill and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot. 

Hot + Sour Soup

Here's one for all you people with a cold.  (Seriously, everyone around me is sniffling.)  What's better than hot, spicy, tangy soup when you're sick?  Missing the traditional lilly buds and wood ear mushrooms of more traditional chinese hot and sour soups, all the ingredients for this one can be found in most well stocked grocery stores.  Szechuan peppercorns are toasted by placing in a hot pan on the stove, tossing occasionally and cooking until fragrant.  Grind with a spice grinder, clean coffee grinder or crush under a heavy pan or rolling pin.  

I recommend cutting and slicing everything small, so it fits on a spoon.  

Serves 4.

Hot + Sour Soup

2 oz prosciutto, julienned

8 oz firm tofu, julienned

4 shiitake mushroom caps, sliced

2.5 oz bamboo shoots, julienned

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground szechuan peppercorns 

32 oz chicken stock

2 tablespoons soy sauce

4 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water, optional

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon hot chile oil

scallion greens, thinly sliced, for garnish

In a small saucepan, bring prosciutto, tofu, shiitakes, bamboo shoots, pepper and stock to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and add soy sauce and rice vinegar.  Whisk in cornstarch slurry, simmer until thickened.  

Remove from heat, stir soup in one direction to create a current and slowly pour in beaten egg.  It will turn into cooked, eggy ribbons.  Add hot chile oil and adjust seasoning with additional soy for salt, chile oil for heat or rice vinegar for sour.  

Garnish with scallions and serve with rice.  



Healthy Kale + White Bean Soup

I know, I know.  My last post was a soup too.  I don't know about you, but I really enjoyed eating everything and anything I wanted to over the holidays.  But it's 2015 and time to get back to healthier habits.   On my agenda for January are getting back to the gym, maybe a run here or there, avoiding alcohol and treats that are obviously bad for me (sorry french fries), getting enough rest, generally being a healthy person and eating lots and lots of vegetables.  And I'm starting with this soup!  I served it over red quinoa and it was great.  Nothing like a little kale and quinoa.  

Makes about 8 servings.  

Kale + White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 bulb fennel, quartered, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped

leaves of several sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon chile powder

2 quarts vegetable stock

28 oz tim cannellini beans 

4 cups chopped kale (curly or lacinato)

S + p, to taste

lemon juice, to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add onion, carrot and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.  Add fennel, tomato, thyme and chile powder, cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.  Stir in beans and kale.  Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, additional chile powder and lemon juice.  (We used a whole lemon.)  



Chicken Tortilla Soup

We make a lot of soups around here but especially in the winter.  It's so satisfying.  Chicken tortilla soup is one of my favorites. We roasted a chicken and used it for this and a potpie that I will be posting in a bit. 

Consider serving this soup with some toppings.  I like shredded cheese (jack or munster are good), lime wedges, avocado, fresh cilantro leaves, slices of radishes... 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 dried pasilla chile

2 tablespoons grape seed oil (plus more for cooking the tortilla strips)

1 white onion, diced

1 14oz tin fire roasted tomatoes

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder

4 cups chicken stock

4 corn tortillas

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Place whole chile directly on oven rack.  When it puffs up, remove it, about 4 minutes.  Be sure not to let it burn.  Discard stem and pulverize chile into a powder. (or as close to a powder as you can get.)

In a large pot, over medium to medium low heat, sweat onion in grape seed oil until soft and transparent.  Add tomatoes, bay, oregano, cumin, paprika, chile powder, stock and crushed pasilla chile.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes.  

While soup is simmering, make the tortilla strips.  Slice soft corn tortillas into thin strips.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add about 2 tablespoons of oil.  Once oil it hot, add tortilla pieces, cook, stirring and flipping until strips are crisp and golden.  Transfer to paper towel to drain.  Work in batches if needed.  Set aside.

Add chicken and corn to the soup.  Cook until warmed.  Serve with tortilla strips and desired toppings. 


Vegetable Chili

We make this about once a month.  It's flavorful, satisfying and healthy.  Cam likes it over brown rice with a pile of kale sautéed with garlic and lemon juice.  I'll eat it over anything.  

I posted a veggie chili a couple years ago but after making it so many times the recipe has been tweaked a bit.  Here's the newer, improved version.  

Serves 6.

Vegetable Chili

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, small dice

2 small carrots, peeled, small dice

kernels from 1 ear of fresh corn

3 cloves garlic, minced

28 oz tin crushed tomatoes

20 oz water

2 tablespoons cumin

2 tablespoons chile powder

1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 1/2 tablespoons paprika

3/4 cup chopped green beans

1 zucchini, small dice

1 yellow squash, small dice

1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, small dice

14 oz tin black beans, rinsed, drained

14 oz tin kidney beans, rinsed drained

lime juice, to taste

s + p

In a pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and carrots, cooking until onions are soft and clear.  Add corn and garlic, cook, stirring so garlic doesn't burn, 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, water and spices.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.  Add green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper, black beans and kidney beans.  cook until green beans are crisp tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.  


Lemon Miso Soup

A very satisfying soup.  A combination of a vegetable noodle and a miso soup.  

Substitute a quinoa pasta to make this a gluten free meal.  I think this would also be great with barley or farro.  

Serves 2.  

Lemon Miso Soup

1/2 cup uncooked pasta, small size like tubettini, ditalini or acini de pepe

olive oil

1 shallot, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

red chile flakes or long red pepper, seeded, sliced into rings

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 carrot, peeled, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

3/4 cup snow peas or green beans, chopped

4 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon white miso

juice of half of a lemon juice

s + white pepper

Cook pasta al dente.  Drain, rinse, drain.  Set aside.

In a pot, heat a drizzle of oilve oil over medium heat.  Add shallot, cook 3 minutes.  Add garlic, chile flakes or slices, carrot and celery.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, carrots and vegetables will be crisp tender.  Add mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes.   Add snow peas or green beans and pasta.

 Stir miso paste with a ladleful of soup to make a slurry.   Stir into soup.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. 


Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

Have you had posole (or pozole) soup before?  The red one?  It's a great thing.  These enchiladas are based on that soup.  We used the same chiles for the sauce, filled them with hominy and served then with a number of toppings like avocado slices, cilantro, shredded cabbage and limes.  

Serves 4.

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

For the sauce:

3 ancho peppers, stemmed seeded

3 guajillo peppers, stemmed, seeded

1/2 large yellow onion, peeled, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded

1 tablespoon dried oregano

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup stock, chicken or vegetable

1 teaspoon agave nectar

many pinches of salt      

sugar to taste 

For the chicken:

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs


1 teaspoon olive oil

Sprig fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Juice 1/2 lime

Pinch garlic powder

1/2 yellow onion, halved

For the enchiladas:

1 tin hominy, rinsed, drained

12 corn tortillas

1 cup grated cheese ( I like a blend of jack, Colby, cheddar) 

chopped fresh cilantro leaves

shredded lettuce or cabbage

diced onion

lime wedges

sliced radishes

sliced avocado

Soak chiles in hot water for 30 minutes.  Drain and discard water.    In a blender, blend chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, lime juice, stock and agave until very smooth.  Strain, discard any solids.  Pour into a small sauce pot and simmer 20 minutes.  Adjust to taste with salt and sugar.  

While chiles are soaking or the sauce is simmering get the chicken going.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss chicken thighs with salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme, bay leaves, lime juice, garlic powder and onion.  Place in 9 or 8 inch baking dish and roast about 20 minutes or until done.  (Internal temperature will read 165.)  Remove from oven and cover.  Let rest at least 10 minutes.  Uncover and shred.  Discard, onion, thyme sprigs and bay leaves before shredding.)

Turn oven to 350 degrees.  Mix shredded chicken, hominy and 1/2 the cheese in a bowl with 1/3 of the sauce.  Heat tortillas in a microwave or in a skillet to make them more pliable.  (Warming them in a skillet is more time consuming but yields better flavor.)  Spoon filling into tortillas and roll, place seam side down in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.  

Bake 10 to 15 minutes, cheese will be melted and contents hot.  Serve with desired garnishes.  My suggestions are cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and avocado.  

Vegetarian Split Pea


I know, I know, I know.  I just made a split pea soup about a month ago.  That one wasn't vegetarian.  Although I'm not a vegetarian, I eat like one most of the week.  

Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 large carrot, peeled, diced

2 cups dried green peas (or yellow) 

8 cups vegetable stock

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika  

2 potatoes, peeled, chopped

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar  

s + p

In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil.  Sauté onion, garlic, celery and carrot 5 minutes.  Add dried peas and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.  

Add stock, majoram, thyme, cumin and paprika.  Boil, reduce heat, simmer 30 minutes.  Add potatoes, simmer 30 to 45 minutes more, mostly covered.  When it's done, the peas will be very tender and with a good stirring will fall apart. 

Add cider vinegar.  Season with s + p.  



Coconut Chickpea + Mixed Vegetable Curry


Be prepared to have a lot of soup on your hands.  This recipe makes about 5 quarts.  I like to have huge amounts of healthy things like this around for a quick lunch or dinner during a busy week.  

A quick note on curry powder:  not all curry powders are created equally.  Look for one with fenugreek in it.  This  makes a big difference in flavor.  

Coconut Chickpea + Mixed Vegetable Curry Soup

Splash olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 inch fresh ginger, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, peeled, chopped

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed, chopped

1 14oz tin diced tomatoes

1 14 oz tin LITE coconut milk

6 cups vegetable stock

2 potatoes, diced

4 teaspoons curry powder

1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 green bell pepper, seeded, chopped

1 14oz tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, chopped

lime juice, to taste

s + p

In a large (at least 5.5 quart) pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and saute 5-8 minutes until soft and clear.  Add garlic and ginger.  Saute 2 minutes more.  Add carrots and cauliflower.  Cook 2 minutes more, stirring frequently.  Add tomatoes, coconut milk, stock, potatoes and curry powder. Stir.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Add bell peppers.  Simmer 5 minutes more.  Add chickpeas and kale.  Season with lime juice, salt and pepper.  


Split Pea + Ham Soup


Perfect for winter.  Make this on a cold day and you'll realize the merits of super chilly weather.  I used yellow and green split peas, but using only green will give you the color you're used to seeing.  

Serves 6.

Split Pea + Ham Soup

splash oil (olive, canola, grapeseed..)

1 yellow onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups dried split green peas

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 - 1 1/2 lbs smoked ham hocks

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried ground fennel

8 cups vegetable stock

1 idaho potato, peeled, chopped

s + p

In a large pot, heat a splash of oil over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic.  Cook 5 minutes until vegetables are glossy and onions are clear.  Add peas, thyme, ham hocks, cumin and fennel.  Cook 1 minute more.  Add stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes.  Add potatoes.  Cook 30 minutes more.  Remove ham hocks from soup, cut meat off and chop.  Stick immersion blender into soup and blend for a couple seconds or place 2 cups of soup into a blender and blend.  Return blended soup to pot.  Soup will now be thicker.  Add meat back to the soup discarding bones, fat and whatever.  


Smoky Minestrone Soup


This is another one of Cameron's brilliant soups.  He made it for dinner one night and as soon I tasted it I knew I had to share it here.  We've also been calling this one mexican minestrone but I'm not sure exactly how mexican it is.  Either way, It's smoky and peppery with great texture from all the different vegetables.  I love having a super healthy soups like this that are full of vegetables and flavor.  So very satisfying.  

Serves 6-8.  

Smoky Minestrone Soup

1 cup farro (or barley would be good too)

dash olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, diced

1 bulb fennel, diced

1 leak, halved & thinly sliced

3 medium tomatoes, seeded, peeled, and diced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

4 sprigs fresh oregano 

2 bay leaves

1 cup fresh cranberry beans (or use a can of navy beans, rinsed - just add them at the very end) 

2 quarts veggie stock  

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 ancho pepper (dried & smoked Poblano)

1 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp pimenton (smoked paprika) 

1 small zucchini, diced

1 yellow squash, diced

2 cups green beans, chopped

juice of 1/2 a lime

splash Champagne vinegar

S + P

In a small pot, cover farro with water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, simmer 40 minutes or until tender and not squeaky.  Drain off excess water.  While farro is cooking, prep the veggies and get the soup going.  

In a pot, warm some olive oil and add onion, carrots and fennel.  Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are clear, about 5 minutes.  Add the leek, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, bay and cranberry beans, cooking another 5 minutes more.   

Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Add mushrooms, the dried pepper, cumin and paprika.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the beans are creamy and no longer mealy.  Add remaining ingredients and cook until green beans are blanched, bright green and crisp tender.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Serve over farro and garnish with some cilantro leaves, if you have any around.  


Chicken + Cheddar Chive Dumplings


Everyone seems to be coming down with a cold so here's a little comfort food in the form of chicken and dumplings.  It's really just a simple chicken stew with dumplings cooked in.  (I used boneless, skinless chicken breast but chicken thigh meat would be good too. Also, the chicken does not need to be cooked first, I just dislike boiled chicken and find that the chicken has better texture when cooked on its own in a pan and then added to soups.  But feel free to just add your raw chicken when the recipe says so.)  No peeking at the dumplings with they're cooking.  

Chicken + Cheddar Chive Dumplings

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces

3 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

few springs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 onion, peeled and chopped

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 celery root, peeled and chopped

8oz mushrooms, quartered

1/2 cup peas (frozen ones are ok)

32 oz chicken stock

1/3 cup all purpose flour (for rue)

1 cup cake flour (for dumplings)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper

1 oz cheddar cheese, grated

1 1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

1/2 cup milk, (more if needed)

In a pan, cook chicken and set aside. While chicken is cooking, get the dumplings ready.  In a bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder, salt, cheddar and chives.  Stir in milk.  Set aside.  

In a large pot,on medium heat,  melt butter and add carrots, celery root, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay.  Cook 5 minutes, until onion is glossy and carrots are soft.  Add flour and stir to coat.  About 1 minute.  Turn heat to high and add stock, chicken, mushrooms and peas.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.  Drop dumpling batter in by the spoonful.  There will be about 6 dumplings.  They will expand a lot when cooking so space them out as much as you can.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes. (No peeking at the dumplings while they're cooking, opening the lid of the pot lets steam escape and your dumplings need that steam to cook.)   Test dumplings for doneness with a toothpick, if not done, cover and simmer 5 minutes more.  

Serve hot!