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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Taste The Love

Cabbage Soup

2016-01-07 16.51.02

Cabbage Soup has to be one of my very favorites when it comes to food for the soul. I believe, if you’re a fan of stuffed cabbage, you’ll love this soup.

I’m using Savoy cabbage (green cabbage is fine as well) and a 90% lean ground sirloin which makes for a healthier and better-tasting soup.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart stockpot, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 1/2 pounds of lean ground sirloin
5 cups of Savoy cabbage, core removed and chopped (substitute green cabbage)
1 cup of onions, diced
1 cup of carrots, diced
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 cup of white rice, (Sucess rice Boil-in-a-Bag), remove from the bag
2 quarts of chicken stock, unsalted
2 cups of good tomato juice
Homemade Ciabatta Croutons for garnish
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated for garnish

Directions:
Start by prepping all the vegetables going into the soup. This includes cabbage, carrots, garlic, and onions.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat add olive and the ground sirloin. Using a wooden spoon begin breaking up the meat. Add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, for 7 to 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Next, add the diced onions and minced garlic. Continue cooking, add the diced carrots, cook together for another 5 minutes. Throw in 2 bay leaves stir to combine.

Add the chicken stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any bits that may be stuck to the bottom of the pot. Lower the heat to medium, slowly add the chopped Savoy cabbage. Using the wooden spoon to push the cabbage down into the liquid.

As the Savoy cabbage softens and wilts into the chicken stock, add the rice. Simmer (adjust the heat, to medium-low if needed, to a slow simmer) for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

Finally, add the tomato juice, stir to combine. Turn the heat off, remove the bay leaves, and cover. Wait 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with Homemade Ciabatta Croutons and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Homemade Ciabatta Croutons

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Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Toasted Ciabatta Bread

2015-09-03 18.38.45

2015-09-03 18.38.57

It may have been a deal-breaker when I learned that Steve didn’t care for pot roast. He just doesn’t care for those stewed vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and such. Growing up north, both here and in England, we ate all kinds of stewed meats. As far as vegetables go, I love them any way they’re prepared.

I really had to figure out a way to make this traditional dish in a way that Steve would love it as much as I do. I believe I have the answer. The first order of business is to break out my Crockpot. This is my Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Toasted Ciabatta Bread.

I’m serving this with a side of my Sautéed Spinach With Garlic. This recipe’s available by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

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Rosemary

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 10 minutes (while the meat is searing, prep your veggies)
Cook Time: 8 hours 15 minutes (8 hours on high) (add an additional 15 minutes for making the gravy while toasting the ciabatta)
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 7-quart Crockpot, 10-cup food processor, 12-inch cast-iron skillet, 6-quart saucepot, 2 rimmed baking sheet pan

Ingredients:
3-pound brisket roast
2 tablespoons of Canola oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper

2 chopped large onions
4 ribs chopped celery with their leaves
1 pound of chopped organic  multi-colored carrots (7 small carrots)
4 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of  freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of beef stock, unsalted
2 (10.5-ounce) cans of beef consommé
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of water
1/4 cup of Kitchen bouquet seasoning
1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
4 ciabatta rolls, sliced in half and toasted
Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:
First, add 2 tablespoons of Canola oil to 1 sheet of paper towel.  Using the oil-dampened paper towel, wipe down the bottom and sides of the cast-iron skillet. Preheat the oven over medium-high heat until the skillet is smoking hot. Carefully lay the roast into the pan. Sear the first side for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the meat releases, from the pan, without giving you any resistance flip and sear the other side for another 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large plate. Set aside. While the pan is still over medium-high heat add 1/2 cup of beef stock. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bits off the bottom of the skillet. Transfer that flavorful liquid to a small bowl. Set aside.

In the meantime, prep the carrots, celery, garlic, and onions. Transfer to the Crockpot. Add tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Place the seared brisket on top. Pour in the beef consommé, 1/2 cup of water, and the reserved beef juices from the pan.

Place the lid on the Crockpot and set to cook for 8 hours on high.

After 8 hours turn the Crockpot off and carefully remove the brisket. Remove and discard the sprigs of rosemary. Break up the roast into large pieces, transfer to a plate. Set aside.

Transfer the vegetables into a food processor. Pour the remaining cooking liquid from the Crockpot into a large saucepot. Purée all the vegetables then transfer them into the saucepot. Over medium heat allow the sauce to come up to a bubble then reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the browning seasoning (Kitchen bouquet) and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water (this is what’s known as a *cornstarch slurry) until the mixture is paste-like and smooth. Turn the heat back up to medium, add the *slurry, stirring occasionally, bring the sauce back up to a boil. Once the sauce thickens, reduce the heat to (lowest setting) warm. Carefully add the pot roast and cover.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
For the Ciabatta rolls, slice each one in half. Place 4 halves onto each rimmed baking sheet pan. Drizzled a little olive oil of each one, sprinkle with  Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper to taste. Transfer to the oven, bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

All I do to serve this dish is to lay the toasted Ciabatta bread cut side up on a plate. Arrange a good helping of the pot roast onto the toasted slices of Ciabatta. There you have it, my Slow Cooker Pot Roast On Toasted Ciabatta Bread. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Served with a side of my Sautéed Spinach With Garlic.

Sautéed Spinach With Garlic

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Louisiana-Style Gumbo

2015-06-07 18.26.12

This dish is a labor of love. It’s a dish that took me a while to master. They say, Gumbo is a thick soup/stew that’s usually served over rice, jambalaya is a rice dish that contains the proteins and the vegetables. I’d say Gumbo is the Cajun version of a Paella.

For my Louisiana-Style Gumbo recipe, I’m leaving out the okra. I love okra but Steve is not a fan. If you’re adding the okra in and it’s not in season, use the frozen variety. Add the okra in towards the end. I’ll remind you when I get to that point.

There are many components to this dish but they compliment each other beautifully. Using the best ingredients you can find makes a difference in the finished dish. Let’s get started.

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Stuffing (2)

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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep Time: 30 to 40 minutes (includes pre-cooking sausage, chicken, cleaning the shrimp, and dicing all the vegetables)
Cook Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 47 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 10-inch sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid, chef’s knife, 3 medium-size bowls, silicone whisk

Ingredients:
1 pound of Andouille sausage (6 links)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 2 1/2-inch dice
3/4 pound of medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil (1 tablespoon for sautéing the *holy trinity)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) of butter, unsalted
3/4 heaping cup of all-purpose flour
2 cups of celery, diced, including leafy tops
1/2 cup of green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup of sweet onion, diced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning (1 tablespoon to season the chicken, 1/2 tablespoon to season the shrimp)
1 (15-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes (substitute diced tomatoes)
1 teaspoon of ground thyme
2 bay leaves
5 1/2 cups of chicken stock, unsalted
1 (15-ounce) package of (cut-style) frozen okra, thawed (optional)
6 to 8 servings of Basmati rice, cooked
1/2 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
1/4 cup of green onion tops, cut on the bias, for garnish

Directions:
Add the andouille sausage to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pan. Place on a tight-fitting lid and bring the sausage links up to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

In the meantime dice the *holy trinity, onions, celery, and green bell peppers. Next is to mince the garlic for the dish. Transfer to a large platter and set aside.

Next, remove all the liquid from the pan, place the pan back over the heat allowing the sausage links to brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, transfer the links to a cutting board to cool down before slicing them on the bias. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

On a meat-safe board cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces. Season the chicken with 1 tablespoon of Creole seasoning, toss to coat. Using the same pan, over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the chicken to the hot pan, cook, flipping the pieces of chicken occasionally, allowing them to brown on all sides. This process takes about 15 minutes. Transfer the seared chicken to a bowl. Set aside.

Next, is to peel and devein the shrimp. This takes about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Season with 1/2 tablespoon of Creole seasoning. Set aside. The shrimp will be the last ingredient that gets added to this dish.

The *roux is a very important player for a great gumbo. This is where the labor of love for this dish comes in to play. A dark peanut butter color is what I’m looking for. This means going past the blonde stage (blonde in color) for a standard *roux.

In a non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt 6 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Using a silicone whisk, slowly add the flour, whisking continuously, until the butter/oil mixture absorbs the raw flour in a paste-like and smooth consistency. At this point, the *roux will start to bubble.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to whisk for 3 to 5 minutes the *roux will start turning light caramel in color. Switch to a rubber spatula. Scrape down all the sides and bottom of the pan. Again, continue to whisk,  you’re looking for the *roux to turn a dark peanut butter color, this may take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes.

In a preheated Dutch oven over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onions, ground thyme, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. After the onions start to soften, add the diced celery, green bell pepper, and minced garlic. Stirring occasionally cook for 5 to 7 minutes. At this point add the tomato paste, stir to combine. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes.

Using a spatula, transfer the *roux to the Dutch oven, stir to coat the vegetables. Add the andouille sausage, chicken, fire-roasted tomatoes with the juice, and 2 bay leaves, stir to combine.

Next for the liquid. Continue over medium heat, add chicken stock, stir to combine. Bring all this up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Occasionally stirring, cook for 30 to 35 minutes. During the last five minutes of cooking, add the shrimp and thawed frozen okra. Cook for another 5 minutes.

At this point, the sauce will have thickened. Remove from the heat, cover to keep hot.

I like serving my Louisiana-Style Gumbo over Basmati. Right before serving, garnish with sliced green onion tops and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

*holy trinity:  The holy trinity of Cajun cooking consists of onions, bell peppers, and celery, the base for much of the cooking in the regional cuisines of Louisiana.

*Roux: a roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

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