Showing posts with label #SundaySupper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #SundaySupper. Show all posts

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Classic Cassoulet #SundaySupper

Apparently the essential ingredients of a classic cassoulet are hotly debated and depend on the region of France. Although all will include beans, the meat that is added varies. Today’s tasty dish is in the Languedoc-style with confit duck and sausage and bacon. It's my favorite. 

When I started this blog, it quickly became both a place of experimentation and recording old favorites, a creative outlet where I could explore the food options as I moved from Kuala Lumpur to Cairo and then on to Dubai, even as I cooked and reminisced about family recipes. For all the things I missed when left behind, I discovered new options that had not been available to me. Two years ago, we were newly in Cairo and I wrote a post about butchering a whole duck, using the breasts for one meal, making confit out of the legs and thighs and then roasting and simmering the carcass for rich stock. Eventually, when my mother came to visit, that duck confit was turned into a classic cassoulet, one of the tastiest dishes ever concocted, but with some of the ugliest photos ever snapped so it never saw light of day in this space. I’ve since made it a couple of times but somehow never got around to posting those either.

When I saw that the theme for today’s Sunday Supper was Beantastic, I knew cassoulet would have to be revisited yet again. The photos still aren’t spectacular but I think the richness of the dish shines through. Cassoulet is meant to be peasant fare but, unless you have a duck you've hunted for yourself to make confit, that one ingredient is kind of expensive to buy. Let me say this, though, it’s totally worth it, not just for what it adds to the cassoulet but also for the extra duck fat you get that sits around the confit duck in the can or jar. Save that stuff! It’s fabulous!

Many thanks to Tammi from Momma's Meals for hosting this great Beantastic event!

1 lb or 450g dried white beans
1 medium onion
2 large onions
10 cloves garlic
7 oz or 200g slab bacon (I like smoked bacon. Some purists say it should be unsmoked. Pffft to them.)
2 bay leaves
Several fresh thyme sprigs
Olive oil
1 1/4 lbs or 540g fresh pork sausage
4 leg/thighs duck confit (You can make your own. It’s not hard, just time consuming. Or buy the ones in a big can or jar.
Black pepper

Soak your dried beans overnight or cover amply with boiling water and leave to soak for one hour.

Meanwhile, cut your medium onion into quarters and cut your slab bacon into chunks.

Pour off the soaking water and put the beans into a large pot with the thyme sprigs, the quartered onion, the bacon chunks and one bay leaf. Cover with fresh water and cook until tender over a low fire. Stir the pot occasionally and add more water, if necessary. You do not want the beans drying out.

Drain the beans and bacon and reserve the cooking liquid. You can discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf but the onion has probably melted away to almost nothing so I wouldn’t worry about it.

Scrape the fat off of the confit duck legs and thighs and save it in a clean jar in the refrigerator.

Slice your other two onions and your garlic and slowly caramelize them in a saucepan over a low heat, with a drizzle of olive oil or, better yet, some of the lovely duck fat you just saved.

If you are just sitting around, waiting on your beans to cook to tenderness, you can wait till the onions and garlic are caramelized and use the same pan to brown the sausage. Or use another pan and get on with it, if your beans are already ready.

When your onions/garlic are well caramelized, eyeball the pan (or the bowl into which you have transferred them to reuse the pan for the sausage) and mentally divide it into three major portions with a little leftover for the final topping.

Brown your sausage in a little olive oil or a little duck fat.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

In a cassole or casserole dish, start with a good drizzle olive oil or duck fat, then add almost one-third of the caramelized onions/garlic. Top with half of the cooked beans and tuck the browned sausage into the beans. Sprinkle with salt and few good grinds of fresh black pepper. Add on some more (perhaps almost one-third again) caramelized onions.

Now spoon on the rest of the beans, the boiled bacon chunks and season again with a sprinkle of salt and black pepper.

For the final layer, add almost all of the remaining caramelized onions and top with the confit duck and then the very last of the caramelized onions. Pour in some of the reserved bean cooking liquid to cover the beans and come half way up the duck. Not pictured here but you should: Tuck a bay leaf into the liquid.

Bake in your preheated oven for about an hour or until the duck is lovely, golden and crispy on the outside and the beans melt in your mouth.

Serve with a hearty red wine and some crusty bread to mop up the juices.


Check out all the Beantastic recipes we have for you today!

Beantastic Beginners
Bean-a-rific Soups and Stews
Bean-a-licious Sides
Incredi-bean Main Meals
Amaze-beans Sweet Endings
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.

Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Piperies Yemistes me Pligouri - Bulgur Stuffed Peppers #SundaySupper

These colorful roasted peppers are stuffed with a hearty filling of nutty bulgur wheat and tomatoes, seasoned with onion, parsley and cilantro, perfect as a side dish or main course.

Growing up in a Catholic family, I understood about not eating meat on Fridays, especially during Lent – those 40 days before Easter Sunday – but I never thought of it as fasting. Fasting was when you didn’t eat at all. Perhaps it was just my ignorance but, turns out, in the Orthodox church, it’s considered fasting when you abstain from meat as well and there are certain sects that will eat no meat, fish, dairy or eggs for the whole of Lent. How did I learn this? Well, about five years ago a girlfriend had to go into the hospital for treatment, nothing too serious – I think it was gallstones perhaps, but it meant being away from home for several days and leaving her husband and daughter to fend for themselves.

So a group of us decided we should make and deliver meals to help out. I asked if there were any dietary restrictions and she said her husband was fasting. Her husband is Greek Orthodox and, since it was Lent, that meant no meat, no poultry, no fish, no dairy, no eggs! There went my plans for several cheesy casseroles that travel and reheat well. Thank God for the internet! A search for Greek Orthodox Lent recipes led me to several very useful sites, which I shared with the other ladies who were cooking.

Note: If you are actually cooking for a strict Greek Orthodox friend, double check whether they also abstain from olive oil during Lent, and substitute canola or the like.

These stuffed peppers were so good that after I had made a batch for my friend’s family, I made a batch for us. And, still do, every once in a while. When this week’s Sunday Supper theme of Heart Healthy was announced, I knew these would be perfect. Meatless, cheese-less but, oh, so tasty! And I think they are quite pretty as well.

I adapted this recipe and serve them as a main course, with a salad on the side.

6 large bell peppers (Any color will do but the red and yellow are sweeter than the green.)
1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil, plus more for sautéing the onion and drizzling on the peppers before roasting
1 large onion (Mine weighed 7 oz or almost 200g)
1 cup or 210g bulgur wheat
1 can (14.5 oz or 400g) tomatoes (crushed or chopped)
1 teaspoon of sea salt or to taste
1 vegetable stock cube
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
Small bunch fresh parsley
Large bunch fresh cilantro
Optional: 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Cut the caps off the top of the peppers and remove the seeds and any lighter colored fibers from inside. Set the caps aside for later.

The original recipe says to put them in a tight-fitting baking pan and to add crunched up parchment paper to fill any gaps but I like to use foil instead. Wedge them tightly together so they stand upright.

Peel and quarter your onion and put it in a food processor with the 1/4 cup or 60ml olive oil. Process until very finely minced or pureed. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the onion for almost the same effect.)

In a large skillet, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the onion for a minute or two.

Add in the bulgur wheat and stir well to coat it with oil and onions.

Stir in the canned tomatoes along with the salt, vegetable cube, black pepper and 1 1/4 cups or 300ml water.

Bring to boil over a medium heat then turn the fire down to simmer and cover the pan loosely with a lid.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and chop your parsley and cilantro roughly.

Cook the bulgur for about 10 minutes and then taste to see if it needs more salt. I don’t usually have to add more salt, but I do add some crushed red pepper for a little spice.

Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley and cilantro. Allow to cool for about five minutes.

Fill your peppers with the stuffing and top with the reserved pepper caps. If you have a little stuffing left over, consider that the cook’s treat and eat it straight from the pan with a spoon. Delicious!

Drizzle on a little olive oil and roast the stuffed peppers in your preheated oven for about one hour or until the peppers are softened enough for your liking. Check part way through and cover the tops with foil if they are browning too much.

The original recipe said to allow the peppers to cool and serve them at room temperature but we prefer them warm.


Please join my Sunday Supper group and today’s hosts, Lori from Foxes Love Lemons and Ethel from eating in instead, as we celebrate National Heart Month with loads of delicious heart healthy recipes!

Better for you breakfasts:
Jump start your health with these appetizers and snacks:
Soups that'll win your heart:
Veggies, Sides, & Salads your heart will thank you for:
Healthy is the center of attention in these main courses:
Staying healthy doesn't mean giving up desserts!
We heart wine.
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday!

We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.

Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Chicken and Dumplings #SundaySupper

Chicken and dumplings mean different dishes depending on where they originate. In southern Louisiana, it’s fluffy drop dumplings, cooked in a roux-based simmering rich brown gravy with stewed chicken, just like my grandmother used to make. 

Where are you from?
When one lives in a place where bargaining is standard practice, there is a hierarchy of pricing guidelines and most folks assume I’m a tourist. So, when I am out and about in a local market and someone asks, “Where are you from?” I always answer, “I live here.” And then, if I am truly interested in buying the thing, I start chatting with the vendor. “I live here” puts me squarely in Resident Expat sector, which usually gets me a decent price but not as low as it could be if I cajole my way up the Friendliness/Bargaining Savvy Continuum. If you know what I mean. Here, I’ve drawn you a handy chart.

Sadly, I've met folks from a few countries who could qualify as "ugly Americans."

It’s only when someone pushes further, that I might say that I am from the United States. If you prod even more, you’ll get “The South.”  We have to be having a real conversation for me to get into, “Well, I was born in Louisiana but I lived more years in Texas, but Louisiana is still kind of home because that’s where my grandparents were. Actually, I’ve lived overseas even more years than I have lived in the US.” Whew. But when it comes to cooking, the first hometown favorites that come to mind are my grandmothers’ traditional Cajun dishes, like chicken and sausage gumbo,   courtbouillionmaque choux, smothered pork chops, smothered cabbage with pork, eggplant casserole with shrimp or crawfish etouffee, just to name a few. I’ve shared all of those already, as you can tell by the links, so I was wracking my brain for another of my grandmothers’ dishes that I haven’t shared for this week’s Sunday Supper hometown favorites theme. Perhaps smothered round steak or cabbage rolls or crawfish fettuccine casserole? And then it hit me!

What your hometown favorite? 
A couple of years ago, when we were living in Cairo, it was chilly, my heater was broken and I was cold and lonely. I needed some comfort food. So I called my mom on Skype and discussed the ins and outs of my grandmother’s chicken and dumplings recipe. I made it that day and even took photos but I never shared it here. It's the perfect dish for this week’s Sunday Supper Hometown theme, and it's kind of chilly here in Dubai, so I made it again. The roux-based gravy is wonderful, the chicken is tender and falling off the bone. And the dumplings! The dumplings are light and fluffy, so wonderful that my husband went back for seconds of just the dumplings with extra gravy. As my grandparents would say, “Talk about good!”

For the chicken stew:
1 whole chicken
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
4 tablespoons flour
1 medium onion
2 long stalks celery

For the dumplings:
2 cups or 250g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 180ml milk
1 large egg

Note: My grandmother would have undoubtably finished this dinner with a sprinkling of chopped parsley. I plumb forgot.

Cut your chicken up into at least eight pieces and season liberally with salt, black pepper and cayenne. If the breasts are large, I cut them in half again to get 10 pieces. I go pretty heavy on the cayenne because we like things spicy but use your best judgment for your family’s tastes.

Heat a good drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and panfry the chicken until it is golden on both sides.

While the chicken is browning, dice your onion and celery.

Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the pan and set aside.  Add the four tablespoons of flour into the pan and stir until it is completely combined with the oil in the pan. Use a wooden spoon to loosen all the lovely browned bits that are stuck to the pan.

Cook the flour/oil mixture, formally known as a roux, over a medium heat, stirring almost constant, until it reaches a lovely dark copper color. Make sure not to let it catch and scorch or your gravy will taste burnt.

Add in the chopped onion and celery and continue cooking for several minutes until they soften.

Slowly add in a couple of cups of water and stir. Keep stirring until you have a lovely brown gravy without lumps of flour.

Add the browned chicken back into the pot, along with any juice that is in the plate it was resting on.

The gravy should come most of the way up the sides of the chicken. Add a little more water, if necessary.

Cover the pan and turn the fire down to simmer. Leave to simmer for about 45-55 minutes, checking occasionally that the water doesn’t completely evaporate and adding more if necessary. About halfway through the cooking time, turn the chicken over.

When the chicken is tender and cooked through, lightly whisk your egg with your milk and then combine your dumpling ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring until just mixed.

Remove your chicken from the pan and set aside. Cover it so it stays warm.

Use a tablespoon to spoon the dumpling batter into the simmering gravy, leaving room between the dumplings so they can puff up as they cook. The batter comes off the spoon more easily if the spoon is wet so rinse it with water first and between scoops. Put the lid on for a few minutes.

Remove the lid and turn the dumplings over and replace the lid for another minute or two.

Transfer the dumplings to a plate and keep them warm until ready to serve, while you cook the remaining dumplings. They will soak up some of the gravy so you can add in a little water and stir well between the two batches if you need to.

Serve the chicken and dumplings with the remaining gravy from the pan. And my grandmother would always have had a vegetable or two alongside.


So fluffy inside!

I am so excited about this week’s Sunday Supper because I know I am going to learn about dishes from so many different places around the US and the world through the loving, perhaps even a bit nostalgic, eyes of my fellow Sunday Supper colleagues and our wonderful host Coleen of The Redhead Baker. What a fabulous list, don’t you agree?!

Appetizers and Snacks
Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.
To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

  Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Baked Lemon Dessert #SundaySupper

Fresh lemon zest and lemon juice are the stars of this tart, sweet dessert baked in a buttered casserole dish until light and fluffy. The supporting role is played by the raspberries or whatever berry you can get your hands on this time of year. 

Gin and bear it
Over the weekend, which regular readers might remember is Friday and Saturday here in the United Arab Emirates, we went out sailing offshore Abu Dhabi and then stayed over at a friend’s house on Friday night. Our friend is quite a collector of gin so it is not uncommon for the evening cocktail hour to start with a tasting of the new additions to his collection. One gin and tonic is mixed with each new gin and then we pass the glasses around, sipping the cocktails and discussing the attributes of the different gins. One in particular caught my fancy. It was made in Wales and contained an unusual ingredient: kelp or seaweed. After enjoying the gin and tonic and to extrapolate on the suggestion that we serve it in an oyster shell, we mixed a small shot of the Dà Mhìle seaweed gin with ice, a squeeze of fresh lemon and a sprinkle of sea salt, which really brought out the kelp. Which led to a discussion of whether Americans use the word kelp. Or do we just call it seaweed? I honestly could not remember so if anyone wants to weigh in, please leave me a comment. What do you call the green stuff on the seashore?

Pudding is dessert, pudding as dessert
As I straddle UK/US divide both in my home and with friends, I often lose track of whom uses which word for what but as a majority of my readers are US-based, I tend to name dishes in a way that they will understand. Way back in October, when I was trolling the internet and my cookbooks for a dessert to fit our budget friendly Sunday Supper theme, I came across a recipe on All Recipes UK. It was called lemon pudding in the British sense, meaning dessert. Because if they were actually making what we Americans call pudding, they’d call it custard and eat it for pudding. If you know what I mean. Anyway, I ended up making profiteroles for that occasion in October but this dish has been on my list of “things to make” every since, no matter what you want to call it.

Captivating Casseroles
Lemons are like eating a healthy dose of sunshine and while we get that almost every day here in Dubai, I know that there are a lot of folks in the northern hemisphere that could use some sunlight and warmth right about now. This Sunday Supper is for you all! If you are trying to keep warm, may I suggest you turn the oven on to bake a casserole or two? Scroll on down to the Sunday Supper link list to see all the fabulous captivating casseroles we are sharing, along with our talented, over-achiever of a host, Alice from A Mama, Baby & Shar-pei in the Kitchen, who is in the middle of an international move but still stepped forward to host. You are a star, Alice!

4 eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons or 90ml fresh lemon juice
Zest 1 lemon
1/8 cup or 30g butter, softened, plus extra for buttering casserole
1 cup or 230g sugar
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups or 350ml milk

Optional for serving: fresh berries and a sprig or three of mint

Butter your casserole dish (about 8x8in or 20x20cm square – or equivalent volume in another shape) and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Separate your eggs and put the whites in the bowl of your stand mixer or in one that is deep enough to use electric beaters. You can certainly whisk egg whites to stiff peaks by hand but it’s hard work!

In another mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest and butter until well combined. If your eggs are too cold, the butter is going to break up into little pieces again rather than whisking in. If you’ve made this mistake, just keep whisking. Eventually it will all soften again and create a homogeneous mixture.

How you know your eggs were still too cold. Ugh.

In yet another bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt then mix well.

Add about a third of the dry ingredients at a time to the yolk mixture, along with one third of the milk, whisking well after each addition, until all of the flour/sugar is incorporated.

Beat your egg whites until stiff.

Gently fold the egg whites into the yolk/milk mixture.

Pour into your prepared baking dish.

Put your baking dish into another larger baking pan and fill it with hot water (should not be boiling) halfway up the baking dish.

Carefully transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40-45 or until set and puffy, but still jiggly when you shake it gently to check.

Remove from the oven and take the baking dish out of the baking pan.

This can be served hot, warm, room temperature or even cold.

Garnish with berries and mint if desired.


It's kind of soufflé-like except then it's saucy on the bottom, which tastes pretty amazing, actually.

Check out all the lovely casseroles we have for you today!

Captivating Breakfast Casseroles
Appetizing Casserole Sides
Main Event Casseroles
Decadent Dessert and Sweet Casseroles
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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