Monday, December 3, 2012

Two hearty winter dishes

Laura here, your friendly neighborhood guest blogger, with a couple recipes to warm your bones on those cold winter nights.  

Served these two dishes last night, accompanied by a multigrain baguette from La Farine, truffled pecorino, and a nice bottle of wine.  It was almost enough to make me homesick for Gran Sasso...

Chestnut and chickpea soup (Zuppa di ceci e castagne)

This recipe is a translation / adaptation of a recipe I found a few years ago on the official Abruzzo tourism website, attributed to l'Osteria Antiche Mura, a restaurant in L'Aquila.  Indeed, it tastes almost exactly as I remember -- rich, slightly sweet, and very flavorful.  The website where I found this recipe seems to have disappeared, but here's my take on it.

  • 1.5 lb chestnuts
  • two cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • sprig rosemary
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • olive oil, 
  • salt & pepper
Roast and shell the chestnuts.  If anyone knows a trick to make this easier, please for the love of god tell me what it is!  I usually score each chestnut with an 'X', then bake them at 350 for 20 minutes or so.  But I also usually have a hell of a time shelling them, so my method is probably not optimal.

Put the shelled chestnuts in a bowl of lukewarm water.  You can let them soak for up to 2 hours (recommended by the recipe), but in my experience, that's not really necessary.

Mince the garlic and rosemary.  Saute garlic in olive oil, then add the rest of the ingredients, along with ~6-8 cups water.  Simmer for a good long while (probably ~30 min.), until the chestnuts start to disintegrate and thicken the broth.

Chard with shiitake mushrooms

This recipe is based on a dish my friend Eden Gallanter once made for me.  It is one of the most delicious ways to cook greens that I have ever experienced.

  • 1 bunch chard, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 onion, finely sliced
  • generous pour Madeira or other cooking wine (~1/2 cup)
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • olive oil
  • salt
Saute onions in olive oil until translucent.  Add shiitakes and cook until they release their moisture.  Deglaze pan with wine.  Add greens and cook until wilted.  Add nutritional yeast and salt to taste.

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