Root vegetable and chicken casserole

3 December 2010 § 11 Comments

Need an easy and hearty dish to warm you up? Here’s one recipe that does the trick – slow-cooked root vegetables and chicken thighs make this a nutritious and cheap meal. I served the same dish for us all, the Ladies™  had theirs on the bland side and King Marv and I feasted on a spiced-up version later on. I served it with couscous but rice would work well too, anything that soaks up the rich and delicious sauce.

Ingredients for 4:

4 chicken thighs – organic

1 onion – roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic – crushed

3 carrots

3 parsnips

1  14oz can tomatoes

1 cup of vegetable or chicken stock

Cumin (to taste – about 2 teaspoons for grown-ups!) – either powder or ground seeds

Chopped rosemary or parsley

Olive oil

Fry the chicken in olive oil for about 5 minutes until nicely browned, then transfer to Slow Cooker. Fry onions with the cumin (use less if cooking for young children, or leave it out if they don’t like spicy food) for a few minutes in same oil that you cooked the chicken in, then add the carrots and parsnips. Fry for about 5 more minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring to the boil. Season, then pour the sauce into the Slow Cooker. Cook on low – for about 5-7 hours, taste and add herbs and more cumin if needed about 20 minutes before serving.

Halloween Happenings – Slow Cooked Pumpkin Soup

5 November 2010 § 3 Comments

An army of marshmallow ghosts

A few of the 4 dozen cupcakes

Winter is  definitely getting closer, after the tease of the balmy weather of last week the mercury is now dropping with chilly mornings and evenings, and inevitably  this cold weather brings with it a dwindling number of Farmers’ Markets, as I found out this week.  With all the Halloween hullabaloo of Monsterclair over I planned to take The Ladies™ to the Maplewood Farmers’ Market this week.  Before heading out I checked directions and was disappointed to find it is finished for the year…argh! So off to Montclair and Union Square Market next week.

Despite this lack of fresh produce I will make it through the winter using as much local and seasonal food as I can but it will be more a case of This Little Piggy Goes to the Grocery Store than the Farmers Market. So making good use of canned produce  I made a ginormous cauldron of pumpkin soup for our Halloween bash. Having baked about 4 dozen cupcakes, made a bucket of hummus and dozens of super hot devilishly good deviled eggs, I took the easy way out and used canned pumpkin – no chopping of awkward shaped pumpkins.

I adapted a recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Art of the Slow Cooker book. I tried the recipe a few weeks ago and found it quite bland and a bit sweet. This time I seasoned it more aggressively (or should I say assertively)  and used the last of my fresh herbs from the garden. It was so smooth , creamy but with a bite…perfect for a cool Halloween evening. The color is beautiful –  a vibrant burnt orange. The addition of the toasted spicy pumpkin seeds  added a good crunch and a bit of spice.

Slow Cooked Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients (about 6 to 8 servings):

A few glugs of olive oil

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 can (28oz) 100% pure pumpkin (do NOT buy pie filling as it s very sweet and contains lots of things you don’t want in a soup)

2 qts vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

fresh rosemary & oregano

salt & pepper

2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

1 cup cream

Toasted pumpkin seeds (toast with cumin seeds, paprika, salt and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper)

Heat the oil over a medium heat saute the onion until tender (about 2 minutes). Add the garlic cook for a minute, then add the pumpkin, broth, nutmeg, herbs, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6 hours.

Stir in the cream about 5 minutes before serving and heat through. Add parsley and garnish with the pumpkin seeds.

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