Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

 

I really enjoy risotto. But I do not make it because I just do not have the time and patience needed to stand and stir for 45 minutes while the arborio rice absorbs the stock. Nope, not this gal.

But luckily, you can make a baked risotto that tastes really, really good. I admit, a baked risotto will never be as creamy as a properly made stove top risotto, but I can let go of some of that creaminess for not having to stir and stir and stir. And then stir some more.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

 

I do admit you do have to stir a bit while making this recipe, but I promise it will not be 45 minutes. Unless something goes terribly wrong. Seriously.

Be sure to use arborio rice, or a rice that is labeled specifically for risotto.

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut ‘N’ Clean Greens, but you can substitute with a large bunch of kale. Just remove the stems and cut it into strips.

Kale and Bacon Baked Risotto

 

Kale and Bacon Risotto

Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bag (10 ounce) Tuscan Kale
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.

  2. In a large oven proof pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until the fat is rendered. 

  3. Add the onion, stirring occasionally,  cook 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

  4. Add the salt, thyme, red pepper and kale. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted.

  5. Add the rice, stirring to mix it into the vegetable mixture.

  6. Add the hot stock, stir to mix well, cover and place in the hot oven.

  7. Bake the risotto for 30, then remove from the oven.

  8. Carefully, stir in the cold butter, a few pieces at a time, until all the butter is incorporated.

  9. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

I used a bag of Tuscan Kale from Cut 'N' Clean Greens, which was already prepped for me. You can substitute with a large bunch of kale, stems removed and cut into strips.

Spiced Chestnut Soup

Spiced Chestnut Soup

 

 

Fall is here and certain flavors are starting to be used in everything from coffee to dish soap. Yes, I am speaking about the omnipresent Pumpkin Spice. It is everywhere.

But it is not here. Nope. Not happening on this blog.

But I know Fall is about so many other flavors.

Like chestnuts.

I love chestnuts. When I lived in NYC and the chestnut roasters would set up on the street corner, the smell would entice me like no other. Except the smell of those sugared cashews and almonds, which would bring me to my knees. But, I digress.

Chestnuts are available now already steamed and peeled, packed in jars and vacuum sealed bags. It could not be easier to use chestnuts in your everyday life, not just for that Thanksgiving stuffing. I buy them all the time, but you haven’t seen a lot of recipes using chestnuts because I tend to eat them straight out of the container. By the time I come up with a recipe to try, I have already eaten them all! sigh. . .

Chestnuts are generally a seasonal item. but if you buy the jarred or vacuum sealed bags they will last for many months. Stock up when you see them. That way, when you want to make this soup in the Spring, you are ready!

 

Spiced Chestnut Soup

 

Spiced Chestnut Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 13 ounces steamed and peeled chestnuts roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock preferably homemade or low sodium
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. In a soup pot over low heat, melt the butter.

  2. Add the onion, salt, thyme, paprika, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened.

  3. Add the chestnuts, stirring to coat them with the spice mixture.

  4. Add the stock and water, raise the heat to high.

  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

  6. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

  7. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. 

  8. Adjust the seasoning as needed and serve immediately.

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

 

When it comes to soups, I love mine chunky. Sure, a velvety Potato Leek Soup, or a Spicy Carrot-Sweet Potato Soup have their place, and are welcome on my dinner table. But I do love a soup with pieces of meat and vegetable floating around in the bowl, like this Hatch Chile Meatball Soup.

My last post was a recipe for a Hatch chile infused chicken stock, which was made specifically for this soup. Fresh Hatch chiles were used to flavor the stock with a slightly spicy and herbal note, and the meatballs use Hatch chile powder for another layer of flavor.

This meatball recipe makes more than you will need for this soup, but they are really tasty on their own. I cooked up some of the batch in BBQ sauce, and baking or sautéing them in bacon fat is also a great way to cook them.  I mean, really, anything sautéed in bacon fat is wonderful.

Hatch Chile Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 36 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons mild Hatch chile powder

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, using clean hands, mix together all the ingredients until combined well.

  2. Using your hands, roll the seasoned meat into golf ball sized meatballs.

  3. Cover and refrigerate the meatballs until ready to use.

 

Hatch Chile Meatball Soup

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Hatch chile chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 12 Hatch chile meatballs
  • 1/2 pound pee wee Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 pound baby zucchini stem end trimmed
  • juice of one lime

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, bring the stock and water to a boil.

  2. Reduce the heat to a simmer, then add the meatballs.

  3. Cook the meatballs for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add the potatoes, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and paprika. Simmer for 10 minutes 

  5. Add the zucchini, and simmer for an additional 15 minutes.

  6. When ready to serve, stir in the fresh lime juice.

Healthy Salads to Start 2015 Off Right

What was your New Year’s resolution this year? To stop drinking, to lose weight or maybe to remember to fill the bird feeder. My resolution is the same every year. My resolution is to not make a resolution. Which is contradictory. . . oh well.

But if you are one of the resolution making population, here are a few really delectable salad recipes to start 2015 off right.  They are all chock full of veggies and fruits. Some have legumes or grains. All are delicious.

 

 

Ramen Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Shishito Peppers | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Ramen Salad with Roasted Eggplant and Shishito Pepper

 

Green and Purple Pea Salad with Yuzu Dressing | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Green and Purple Fresh Pea Salad with Yuzu Dressing

 

Black Eyed Pea Salad | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Black Eyed Pea Salad with Orzo

 

Lentils and Crunchy Greens with Sour Cream-Tarragon Dressing | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Lentils and Crunchy Greens with Sour Cream-Tarragon Dressing

 

Avocado, Mandarin Orange and Jicama Salad with Key Lime Dressing | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Avocado, Mandarin Orange and Jicama Salad with Key Lime Dressing

 

Tri-Color Quinoa Salad

 

Tri-Color Quinoa Salad

 

Organic Persimmon, Red Bartlett Pear and Pomegranate Salad
Organic Persimmon, Red Bartlett Pear and Pomegranate Salad

 

Organic Persimmon, Red Bartlett Pear and Pomegranate Salad

 

Cucumber, Chickpea and Feta Salad | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Cucumber, Chickpea, Tomato and Feta Salad

 

Lentil and Chevre Salad with Thyme Roasted Tomatoes | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Lentil and Chevre Salad with Thyme Roasted Tomatoes

 

Roasted Vegetable Salad
Roasted Vegetable Salad

 

Roasted Vegetable Salad

 

 

 

 

Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash

Braised Lamb Shanks and Kabocha Squash | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

This goes into the “Big Bowl of Comfort” category. Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash melts in your mouth, warms your belly and fills you with a sense of well being and love. Isn’t that what comfort food is supposed to do?  Yes, that may be pure hyperbole, but this really is a lovely dish.

Cooking the shanks low and slow ensures that the meat literally falls off the bone when done. Marinating the shanks in warming spices and aromatics for 24 to 48 hours ensures the flavor is deep and rich.

Kabocha squash is widely available in grocery stores now. My absolute favorite winter squash, kabocha is so versatile to cook. Kabocha can be steamed, baked, roasted, stuffed, fried in tempura batter, made into soup, used in a stew. The uses are myriad, and the flavor and texture are like a cross between a potato and a pumpkin.  If you cannot find a kabocha squash, ask your produce manager to order them. You can substitute with another winter squash, such as acorn or butternut squash.

 

Braised Lamb Shanks and Kabocha Squash | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

Braised Lamb Shanks with Kabocha Squash
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 lamb shanks, trimmed
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz) low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 pounds Kabocha squash, peeled cut into 1 inch cubes
Instructions
  1. Place the lamb shanks into a resealable plastic bag.
  2. In a small bowl combine the onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon and Aleppo pepper.
  3. Rub the marinade into the lamb shanks, seal the bag and marinate the lamb for a minimum of 24 hours up to 48 hours.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy braising pot or Dutch oven.
  5. Remove the lamb shanks from the marinade, reserving the onions and garlic.
  6. Over medium high heat brown the lamb shanks on all sides.
  7. Remove the shanks and reserve on a plate.
  8. Add the reserved marinated onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, cook for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Add the chicken broth, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
  10. Return the shanks to the pot.
  11. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover the pot.
  12. Cook for 2 hours, checking the liquid level on occasion.
  13. Stir in the squash.
  14. If needed, add more water or broth to the pot to ensure the squash has enough liquid to cook.
  15. Cover the pot, cook an additional 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

 

**Have your butcher trim the lamb shanks of any extra fat and silver skin.

 

Disclosure: Melissa’s Produce sent the Kabocha Squash for recipe development.