Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hearty Winter Garden Recipes

So your hearty spinach is sprouting in the middle of a snow storm and the impossibly tiny carrot, beet, and parsley seeds you skeptically tossed between rows of wilting tomato vines are now a green, orange and purple rainbow begging to be uncovered. Your true mettle as a gardener is about to be tested. Are you prepared to eat your vegetables?

There’s no better excuse for a healthy diet than reaping what you sow. Get your gloves on, grab a collander, and snip some greens. Brush off the dirt, give ‘em a rinse and toss together one of these hearty, comforting winter dishes:

Lentil Stew with Chicken Sausage
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, cut into 8 wedges and one chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs, or 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 precooked chicken sausages (3/4 pound)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • In a medium heavy soup pot, combine the lentils with the chicken stock. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the chopped carrots, celery, onion and thyme and sautee until softened, about 3 minutes; scrape into the lentils, cover and cook over moderate heat until the lentils are tender, 20 minutes. Stir in the spinach; season with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Slice the sausage into 1/4 inch rounds. Add the onion wedges and sausages to the pan and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until the onions are softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the sausages, onions and any accumulated juices into the lentils. Stir in the baby spinach until it wilts. Discard the thyme sprigs. 
  • Spoon the lentils and sausages into bowls and serve.
(adapted from Food and Wine)

Roasted Beets and Sauteed Beet Greens
  • 1 bunch beets with
  • greens
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Wash the beets thoroughly, leaving the skins on, and remove the greens. Rinse greens, removing any large stems, and set aside. Place the beets in a small baking dish or roasting pan, and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If you wish to peel the beets, it is easier to do so once they have been roasted.
  2. Cover, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a knife can slide easily through the largest beet.
  3. When the roasted beets are almost done, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for a minute. Tear the beet greens into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and add them to the skillet. Cook and stir until greens are wilted and tender. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the greens as is, and the roasted beets sliced with either red-wine vinegar, or butter and salt and pepper.

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