Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

From, modified by me.

Moroccan Red Lentil Soup
From the book Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss
Serves 6 to 8

Forget your “same old, same old” lentil soup and take a deep breath. Can you smell the cumin, the coriander, the whiff of cinnamon? Open your eyes and take in the burnt-orange glow of turmeric burnished with tomatoes and sweet paprika. Lentil soups may come and go, but this concoction will stick in your memory, not just for its heady aromas and hearty texture, but also for its ease and versatility. Feel free to improvise as desired; it’s a very forgiving recipe.

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil — I tend to use the latter)
1 large onion, cut into medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced. More is even better.
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin, ground from whole seeds toasted in a dry skillet. Or just use more regular ground.
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. paprika (the recipe calls for sweet; I tend to use a spicy one b/c that’s what I have on hand)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
7 cups vegetable broth (I use broth, plain water, or water with chicken bullion, depending on mood.)
1 can crushed tomatoes (I’ve used plain, fire-roasted w/ green chile or garlic, and fresh tomatoes)
1 can coconut milk (optional)
2 cups dried red lentils, picked over, washed, and rinsed

Optional but tasty for serving:
~ Juice of 1 lemon (see Note)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro


Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, and cook for another minute. Add the broth and tomatoes and heat to boiling. Add lentils and coconut milk, return to boiling, and cook until tender (20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally. Blend half to 2/3 of the soup to a creamy texture and add back to pot. (Be careful blending — it’s hot!)

Stir your choice of parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, and pepper flakes — adding all of them is wonderful, but I almost never have the whole shebang so I end up with some combination thereof. It’s still tasty. The editors suggest: If you don’t have a fresh lemon handy, sprinkle some red-wine vinegar into the soup just before serving.

Serve alone or over plain basmati or turmeric rice. Your choice. If you serve it with rice and a simple raita, people will be in awe of your Indian cooking talents.

Bangladeshi White Chicken Korma

This was freaking fantastic. However, having somebody else cut up the chicken (or just using quarters/breasts) would probably help. If you have a whole chicken to work with though, cut it up! Note, you probably want to have as wide of a pan/pot to cook this in, so you’re not trying to cycle the chicken pieces around to cook in the sauce. Or, don’t use a 4.5 pound chicken :)

4 Tbsp olive or canola oil or ghee
Three 3-inch cinnamon sticks
3 bay leaves
10 cardamom pods
1 medium onion, sliced into fine half rings
One 3 3/4-pound chicken, skinned and cut into small serving pieces (breast into 6 pieces, each leg into 2 pieces, wings into 3 pieces, back into 3 pieces, neck into 2 pieces)
1/2 medium onion, chopped very finely
3 Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger (use a fine microplane)
6 cloves garlic, crushed to a pulp with a garlic press
1/2 cup acidophilus yogurt, or plain yogurt plus 1 Tbsp lemon juice, beaten until smooth
1 1/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp finely chopped fresh hot green chilies

Put the oil into a large sauté pan or a large, deep frying pan and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is really hot, put in the cinnamon, bay leaves, and cardamom. Stir for 10 seconds as the spices sizzle. Add the sliced onions. Stir and fry for about 3 minutes or until the onions brown a bit. Add the chicken pieces. Stir and cook 5-6 minutes or until the chicken pieces brown lightly. Add the chopped onions, the ginger, and the garlic. Stir and fry for 2 minutes. Add the yogurt and salt. Stir and cook for 10 minutes. Add the chilies and 3 Tbsp water. Bring to a simmer. Cover, turn heat to low, and simmer very gently for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

[ From “At Home with Madhur Jaffrey” ]

Baked Mexican Black Beans

Slightly adapted from How To Boil Water. Serves 4-6; prep time 2.5 hours.

1 pound black beans, soaked
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t cumin
1 bay leaf
6 cups water or broth
1 jalapeno
2 t salt
1-2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 T cider vinegar

Cut bacon into thin strips, and cook in a dutch oven until almost crisp. Add onion, garlic, cumin, and bay leaf; cook until onion is tender.

Add beans, water, whole jalapeno, salt, some pepper. Scrape up any browned bits in pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for ~1 hour. Add tomatoes, recover, and bake until beans are tender and soupy. Stir in vinegar.

Serve with accouterments — feta, cilantro, diced bell peppers, etc. Good over rice.

Tuscan Chicken Stew

From How To Boil Water. Serves 4, prep time 1 hour.

1 onion
4 cloves garlic
15 oz can cannellini or great northern beans
8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (~3 lbs)
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 large sprig rosemary
1 T tomato paste
1/2 C dry red wine
14-oz can chopped tomatoes
3/4 C chicken broth
1 small head escarole or 4 C baby spinach leaves
1/2 C freshly grated pecorino or parmesan

1. Chop onions, smash and peel garlic. Rinse and drain beans.
2. Heat dutch oven over med high. Pat chicken dry; season w/ salt and pepper. Add oil to dutch oven. When oil is hot, add chicken, skinned (rounded) sides down, and brown (in batches if necessary), about 4 minutes/side. Transfer to a platter.
3. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs. Cook until onions are slightly soft, ~5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook ~1 minute. Add wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any pan bits. Bring to a boil and cook until syrupy (~1 minute). Add beans, tomatoes, and broth, and bring to boil. Nestle the chicken pieces in the stew, adding any collected juices to the pan. Simmer the stew, uncovered, until chicken is cooked through (~20 minutes).
4. Trim escarole and tear into bite-sized pieces. Wash and drain. Add greens to stew, and cook only until wilted. Stir in cheese and season w/ s&p.

Ground Meat with Potatoes

Adapted from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey. Not particularly intensely flavored, but again the boys really liked it. It makes a LOT — at least a couple of meals’ worth, if not more.

3 T olive/canola oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1 onion, finely chopped
1 t finely grated peeled fresh ginger (microplanes rule)
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 lbs ground lamb or beef
3 T tomato paste
1 t cumin
2 t coriander
1/4 t cayenne (note: I recommend more, having made it)
1/4 t turmeric
1 3/4 t salt
10 oz boiling potatoes, cut in 3/4 inch cubes

Pour oil in large frying pan over med heat. When hot, add cinnamon sticks & let sizzle 5 seconds. Add onions and fry until brown at the edges. Add ginger and garlic, and stir for a minute. Add meat; stir and fry until meat loseWeight Exercises redness. Add yogurt, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and turmeric, and stir for a minute. Add salt, potatoes, and 2 C water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low, and cook ~30 minutes.

Spicy chickpeas with potatoes

From At Home With Madhur Jaffrey. I found it fairly bland, but that’s undoubtedly because I didn’t use a really spicy cayenne. The boys LOVED it.

2 T ground coriander
2 t cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t turmeric
4 T olive/canola oil
1/2 C finely chopped red onions or shallots
2 t finely grated peeled fresh ginger (I used a microplane, as Jaffrey suggested. Not easy even then, but easier.)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 C finely chopped tomatoes
3 3/4 C drained chickpeas (she says 2 15-oz cans, reserving the water; I cooked them from dried.)
1 1/2 C chickpea-cooking water, or regular water
2 medium boiling potatoes (5-6 oz), cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 t salt

Mix coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, and 3 T water in a small bowl.

Put oil in a med pan over med heat. When hot, add onions; stir and fry for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Add ginger and garlic. Stir for a minute. Add spice mixture from small bowl. Stir for a few seconds. Add tomatoes. Stir & cook for ~3 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened. Add chickpeas and pan liquid; then add potatoes and salt. Bring to boil, cover, turn heat to low, and simmer until potatoes are tender (~15-20 minutes)

Mexican Black Beans

Inspired by How To Boil Water: life beyond takeout, from the Food Network. But their version is “baked mexican black beans” and I didn’t want to bake it, and they use canned tomatoes, and I don’t like them (BPA), and, well, mine’s just a touch different.

1 pound dried black beans, soaked
3 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t cumin
2 bay leaves
6 cups liquid (water, chicken broth, champagne…)
1 jalapeno
1.5 t salt
a bunch of tomatoes, chopped (the recipe calls for a 14-oz can, diced; I used about 8-10 good-sized romas)
1 T cider vinegar

1. cut bacon into littel pieces; cook on med in a dutch oven until almost crisp. Add garlic, onion, cumin, and bay leaf. Cook until tender.

2. Add beans, liquid, the whole jalapeno, salt, and some pepper (a good grind or two). Stir with a wooden spoon to scrape up any tasty bits from the pan bottom. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook for ~1 hour.

3. Add the tomatoes & their juices. Cook until tender (~1-2 more hours), covered. Add 1 T vinegar.

Serve over brown rice with your choice of toppings (feta, cilantro, sour cream, salsa, etc)

Spaghetti with Pecorino Romano and Black Pepper (Cacio E Pepe)

NOTE: High-quality ingredients are essential in this dish, most importantly, imported Pecorino Romano — not the bland domestic cheese labeled “Romano.” Use the small holes on a box grater to grate the cheese finely and the large holes to grate it coarsely. Alternatively, a food processor may be used to grate it finely: Cut the Pecorino into 20inch pieces and process until finely ground, about 45 seconds. For a slightly less rich dish, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream. Do not adjust the amount of water for cooking the pasta. Stir the pasta frequently while cooking so that it doesn’t stick to the pot. Letting the dish rest briefly before serving allows the flavors to develop and the sauce to thicken.

6 ounces Pecorino Romano, 4 ounces finely grated (about 2 cups) and 2 ounces coarsely grated (about 1 cup) (see note)
1 pound spaghetti
Table salt
2 Tbsp heavy cream (see note)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

1. Place finely grated Pecorino in medium bowl. Set colander in large bowl.
2. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add pasta and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain pasta into colander set in bowl, reserving cooking water. Pour 1 1/2 cups cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder; return pasta to now-empty bowl.
3. Slowly whisk 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water into finely grated Pecorino until smooth. Whisk in cream, oil, and black pepper. Gradually pour cheese mixture over pasta, tossing to coat. Let pasta rest 1 to 2 minutes, tossing frequently, adjusting consistency with remaining 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Serve, passing coarsely grated Pecorino separately.

Grandma Winnie’s Spinach Rice Casserole

2 C Brown Rice (1 cup raw, cooked with salted water)
1 large bunch spinach, chopped in 1/2″ pieces (~ 1 pound)
3/4-1 C chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
2 T Butter
3 eggs beaten
3/4 C milk
1 C grated sharp cheddar
1/4 C parsley (optional)
1 Tbsp tamari.
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Saute onions (on medium low heat) in butter. When onions are transparent add chopped spinach. Cook 2-3 minutes. Combine all ingredients. Put in buttered casserole pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon

1 pound spaghetti or linguini
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
6-8 small, tender oung zucchini, sliced (4 C)
dash of salt and ground black pepper
juice of 1 lemon
6 large fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1-2 C grated Pecorino cheese (3-6 oz)

Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil. Add the paste, stir briefly, and cover the pot until the water boils again. Uncover the pot.

While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large heavy nonreactive skillet. Add the garlic and zucchini, and sauté on medium-high heat until the zucchini begins to brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and basil, stir, and remove from the heat. The zucchini should be done just before the pasta is ready. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and then toss the hot pasta in a large warmed serving bowl with about a cup of the cheese. Top with the zucchini and serve immediately. Offer more cheese at the table, if desired.

Per 8-oz. serving: 294 calories, 13.3g protein, 6.9g fat, 44.4g carbohydrate, 291mg sodium, 11mg cholesterol.

(From Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, p. 195)