15 November 2009

Slow Cooker Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Creole Stew

I've really been putting some mileage on my slow cooker these days. I work from home three mornings a week (the perfect time to assemble a meal-to-be while grading papers and writing that pesky dissertation), and the later afternoon has been spent at another job, so it's great to be able to walk into a house filled with aromatics at the end of a hurried day. Stews, chowders, casseroles, poached chicken for tacos...there isn't anything this lovely little contraption can't handle.

Friday happened to be the first day of snow here on the Palouse, and I figured that with the added driving time up the Lewiston valley grade (seriously, there's nothing scarier than limited visibility and a giant cliff next to your car), I wouldn't have much time to whip up dinner before meeting the husband unit on his dinner break. On cold days I crave soups and stews, and to me there's nothing more comforting than eating a steaming bowl of stew while watching the snow fall and the deer take shelter in the evergreens outside my picture window. Perfection.

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Creole Stew
(Adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook)

1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
1-14.5 oz. can chicken broth (or homemade, preferably)
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. paprika
Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (I use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
1 bay leaf
1-6 oz. can tomato paste
10-15 large raw shrimp, peeled
2 links cooked andouille sausage, sliced into coins
3 green onions, chopped
1 tbl. file powder

1. Combine first 10 ingredients in slow cooker. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Set slow cooker on low for 5-6 hours (or on high for 2.5-3 hours).
2. Remove and discard bay leaf. Add shrimp, sausage, green onions and file powder to slow cooker and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, or until shrimp is cooked through. Serve with white rice.

11 November 2009

Another day, another fast and delicious lentil recipe

I love lentils. This is perhaps not surprising given I live in Pullman, Washington, the home of the National Lentil Festival, but what is surprising is that I've never, ever actually been able to get a bowl full of free lentil chili at the festival. I've gone every year for 6 years now, and every time they've run out before I can get to it.

Perhaps this is why lentils make their tasty way into many of my recipes. The festival mascot, Taste E. Lentil, would most likely agree with me.

For a few more awesome lentil recipes (I recommend the Rhubarb Lentil Crisp), follow this link to the Lentil Fest webpage.

Lentil Sauce for Pasta
Adapted from Diana Shaw's The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 tbsp. oregano
2 cloves
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 cup lentils
3 cups vegetable broth
Fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat oil over medium heat. Add onion to pan and cook until almost translucent, then add garlic, carrots, celery, cloves and oregano. Cook 2-3 minutes more and then add tomato paste and vinegar. Stir to combine.
2. Add lentils to pan along with vegetable broth. Simmer on medium low for 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are tender. If sauce is thin, add 1-2 tbsp. tomato paste. Season with fresh ground pepper. Serve ladled over whole wheat farfalle along with an over easy egg.

Yes, I am still alive. Now have a bison french dip sandwich with me.

No, really. I am alive. It's been an insane couple of months here, and I'm in the eye of the tornado at this point, so before things get really insane, I thought I'd actually update this blog. Even though my schedule has been hectic, I'm still carving out time to cook. I just can't give up that part of myself.

Ian and I spotted a 3 lb. bison shoulder roast not long ago, and I decided this would be the perfect time for a french dip sandwich dinner. With the temperature dropping and the fog taking over my commute down the Lewiston, Idaho grade, this turned out to be just what my overextended self needed. While I haven't sacrificed my peaceful time in the kitchen, the beauty of the slow cooker is that on a day I can't even carve out 30 mins. for dinner, I still have options.

Bison Shoulder Roast

3 lb. bison shoulder (I'm sure beef would work just fine if you can't get your hands on this)
1 can French Onion Soup*
3 cups beef broth, preferably homemade
2 tsp. peppercorns
Crusty french bread
Sliced, fresh mozzarella

1. Place shoulder roast in slow cooker and cover with the soup, broth and peppercorns. Set cooker on low 7-8 hours.

2. Remove from slow cooker and let sit for ten minutes; keep reserved juices warm. Meat should easily fall apart. Place shredded meat on split French bread. Place fresh mozzarella slices on top of meat and broil under melted. Serve with au jus.

*I used Wolfgang Puck's Organic French Onion Soup with 30% less sodium.