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Home Cooking for Guests Slow-Cooked Sunday Dinners

Slow-Cooked Sunday Dinners

Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Lentils

This savoury vegetable pot pie is the ultimate in vegetarian comfort food. This delicious veggie packed lentil pot pie uses root vegetables as the base in a savoury tomato sauce with fresh thyme and a smidgen of crème fraîche. It’s loaded with pure healthy goodness — sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnip, onions and mushrooms — and then encased in a flaky, golden puff pastry. The whole family loves this recipe, veggies, lentils and all! And I am pretty sure you will too!

Filling for Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Lentils
The basic methods are simple, but if you are looking for a quick toss it together weeknight recipe, this isn’t a 30-minute meal. But trust me when I tell you that your time in the kitchen will be well worth it. This recipe takes a little more than an hour to prepare, but if you are cooking together then it makes it much more fun, or simple turn on your favourite podcast or Spotify playlist to pass the time!

How to prepare this vegetarian pot pie

A good pot pie starts with the filling. Onions and sweet potatoes are first sautéed in a little oil until softened, before sautéing the rest of the vegetables. But of course, if you want to save time, you could use two skillets and prepare the sweet potatoes and the rest of the vegetables at the same time. This saves about 10 minutes, but also means washing an extra pan. The mixed vegetables are slow cooked in a tomato sauce for 20 minutes before adding the cooked sweet potatoes and lentils and everything get put into a casserole dish, topped with puff pastry and baked in the oven. Cooking the sweet potatoes separately, also gives you the flexibility of switching them out for regular potatoes, if desired.

Blätterteig Topping für vegetarisches Gemüseauflauf

Tips on how to adapt this lentil and vegetable pot pie

  • This recipe works great with root vegetables or other heartier vegetables, but you could also add some green beans or thawed out frozen peas to the mix.
  • Celery stalks can be replace by a small amount of celery root.
  • Any root vegetables would be good here. Try potatoes instead of sweet potato or a mix.
    Leek instead if onion.
  • Add cooked white beans instead of lentils.
  • Instead of puff pastry, you could top this lentil pot pie with mashed potatoes and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a little extra umami magic.
  • I use a 8 cup (2 litre) casserole dish for this recipe but you could easily prepare these in individual ramekins and serve this pot pie as a side dish. Otherwise, it makes a light meal for 6, and for those with a little more appetite than feel free to serve a green salad alongside.

Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Lentils
What to serve with the pot pies?

A simple mixed green salad tossed in a French vinaigrette goes with everything, and this time of year you could try a winter purslane salad. Or how about serving it with a simple carrot and beet salad?

Looking for other comfort food recipes?

Have you tried my turkey pot pie recipe? It’s pleaser for the home family. Otherwise check out my recipe archive page for other ideas.

Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Lentils
4.29 from 7 votes
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Vegetable Pot Pie with Sweet Potato & Lentils

A simple vegetable pot pie recipe made with root vegetables and French green lentils in a delicious and savoury tomato sauce.Topped with flaky puff pastry, this is comfort food pure. And healthy too! Plus this vegetarian dish can easily made vegan.

Course Main Course
Category Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 407 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup French green lentils Puy lentils (100g)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped finely
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (ca. 1 ,5 cm)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1 ,5 cm pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled, peeled and cut into 1 ,5 cm pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 200 g cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (250 ml)
  • 400 g canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
  • 1 roll fresh puff pastry (ca. 25 x 38 cm / 275 g)

Method

  1. Cook lentils in medium saucepan of water, according to package instructions (until al dente, about 25 minutes); drain.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoon oil in large non-stick skillet (or wok) over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a grind of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate or bowl.

  3. Add a drizzle more oil, along with the carrot, celery, parsnip and garlic, cook, stirring, until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme; cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste, broth and tomatoes; bring to the boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 20 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the crème fraiche, and add the sweet potatoes and lentils; cook, stirring, about 2-3 minutes. Season to taste.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F.

  6. Spoon lentil mixture into 2-litre (8-cup) ovenproof dish.

  7. Unfold the puff pastry and place it over the filling, tucking the excess pastry inside the pan. Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 (2,5 cm) slits in the crust as vents. Bake until the crust is golden-brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Crème fraiche balances out the flavours of the tomato sauce. For a vegan version this can be skipped or make your own replacement using cashews. Just soak them overnight, drain and blend together with a little vegetable broth and a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt. Or try soy yoghurt with a squeeze of lemon and pinch of salt.
  • I used a baking dish W x H x D approx. 28 x 6 x 19 cm (8 cup/ 2 litre). Alternatively, a large cast iron skillet or pie plate can be used. Or use ramekins for individual servings. Note: if the filling is really brimming to the top, then make sure to place a sheet of parchment paper underneath while baking in case some juices bubble over the edges.

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Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry

If you like eggplants AND Indian food, this curry recipe is definitely for you. It’s not pretty, but it’s delicious! This eggplant curry is inspired by the Indian dish Baingan Bharta. It is made with roasted eggplant, which is then mashed (without the skin) and added to a richly spiced onion, garlic and tomato sauce. It’s super simple to make and is naturally suitable for anyone following a vegan or gluten-free diet. And if you are a meat lover, I am willing to bet this dish would taste fantastic with lamb.

Indian Eggplant Curry ala Elle

Traditionally, this Pakistani dish is either served as a dip with flatbread, or as a main dish with rice and a yoghurt sauce (raita). As with any curry recipe, there are many versions of this traditional dish. My version is pepped up with my own favorite choice of curry spices (garam masala, turmeric and cumin). And I also love to add tomato paste for extra umami richness, peas for color and texture, and a small amount of coconut milk to create a tasty sauce that can be soaked up by basmati rice. I like to use whole grain basmati rice, which is simple to cook and only takes 30-35 minutes. And a little tip — you can also serve this eggplant curry mixed together with the rice, just like a biryani rice dish. Yum!

Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry, Vegan Aubergine Baingan Bharta with Basmati Rice

Best way to prepare eggplant for this simple Indian curry recipe

First of all, you want some smokey flavors that come from roasting the eggplant. This makes it ever so flavorful. I do this in the oven since I don’t have a gas stove or a BBQ. But if you do have either of these… fantastic! You can cook the eggplant directly on the flame until it is charred. Simply brush will oil, prick the eggplant all over with a fork, place it over a medium grill heat and let it cook, turning occasionally until the skin is charred and it collapses, about 20 minutes or so. So easy.

And if you are like me, then you do this in the oven. This takes longer but is just as effective. Bake it in a 180°C preheated the oven for about one hour or until the skin is charred and eggplant starts to shrink. And if you want some of those smokey flavors, broil if for 2 minutes on high settings.

Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry, Aubergine Baingan Bharta with Basmati Rice

I hope you’ll like this eggplant curry as much as I do. It makes great leftovers and even aubergine naysayers enjoy it. My favorite Schwabe didn’t even realize he was eating eggplant or a vegan meal for that matter. Though, he too did say it would be fabulous if I made it with lamb. I may just try that one of these days.

Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry, Aubergine Baingan Bharta with Basmati Rice
5 from 1 vote
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Spicy Indian Eggplant Curry

Slow food pure. A delicious adaptation of the Indian eggplant curry dish known as Baingan Bharta. Best served with basmati or jasmine rice. Packed with flavor, this is a great dish for anyone following a vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diet.

Course Curry
Category vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 279 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced (ca 300 g)
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder (reduce to 1/8 if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1 x 200 ml can organic coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (150 g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To serve:

  • Whole grain basmati

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180° C and line the middle rack with baking paper.
  2. Prick the eggplants a few times with a fork, transfer to the oven and bake until really tender and the skin is wrinkly, about 1 hour. To get some of that charred flavor, broil for 2 minutes on high settings (optional).
  3. Once cool enough to handle, cut the eggplant in half and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and then chop it up; the eggplant will be mushy -- this is perfect.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large deep skillet or wok over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, ginger and all of the spices except for the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until tomatoes are softened.
  5. Add the coconut milk, cook for one minute, then add the eggplant and peas. Mix to combine and continue cooking until heated through. Add the salt, plus more to taste (if desired) and season with black pepper.
  6. Serve over whole grain basmati rice and enjoy!

Notes

  • Depending on how flavorful the tomatoes are you may need to add a touch more tomato paste. Look for ripe, aromatic one for the best results. I have also made this eggplant curry recipe with market fresh beefsteak tomatoes, which tastes fabulous.
  • As mentioned in the blog text, you can cook whole eggplants over the open flame of a gas burner or BBQ. This gives it a lovely smokey flavor.
    Whole grain basmati rice takes 30-35 minutes to prepare. I usually start cooking it while the eggplant is still in the oven and then keep it covered while the rest of the dish is being prepared.

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How did you like it?

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Tuscan White Bean Soup (Ribollita) with Kale

Tuscan White Bean Soup. If you ask anyone what is a typical Tuscan dish that’s hearty, filling and perfect for a cold winter’s night, you’ll likely get the answer “a traditional Ribollita”, otherwise known as a rustic Tuscan vegetable stew. It’s loaded with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables and thickened with day-old bread. In my version, which isn’t exactly an authentic Ribollita, I’ve loaded it up with kale, and have used my favorite white beans instead of stale bread to thicken the soup… just a little. Plus it’s made with smoked bacon, which give it a lovely deep flavor.

Ribollita literally means “reboiled” and is rumored as being a dish that frugal Tuscan cooks created to use up leftover vegetables and bread from the week. Whatever the story, the process of reboiling the soup thickens it and makes it even more flavorful — so some say it’s even better the next day.

Toskanische Bohnensuppe mit Grünkohl, Palmkohl (Ribollita), Glutenfreies Rezept
Tuscan Kale

Lacinato kale is a great addition a hearty Tuscan white bean soup

Also known as “Nero di Toscana”, “Dinosaur” or Black kale, it has a deliciously sweet, rich and earthy taste which makes it the perfect addition to any hearty meal, whether it be a winter minestrone, pot of lentils, or traditional Tuscan ribollita. This type of kale is popping up more and more at the farmer’s markets in Hamburg and although it’s been grown and harvested in Tuscany for centuries, it actually grown locally here as well. Sold by the bunch, it’s easy to find at my weekly farmer’s market, but you can also find it at some organic food stores. If you can’t find lacinato kale, don’t fret, just use Swiss chard or curly kale instead.

Schwarzkohl für Toskanische Bohnensuppe

Toskanische Bohnensuppe mit Grünkohl, Palmkohl (Ribollita), Glutenfreies Rezept

Toskanische Bohnensuppe mit Grünkohl, Palmkohl (Ribollita), Glutenfreies Rezept
Tuscan White Bean Soup (Ribollita) with Kale

Preparing Dried Beans for Ribollita

If you choose to use dried beans for this Kale Ribollita, preparing the beans takes a little foresight, so plan ahead. You’ll need to soak the beans overnight in a bowl of water with a ratio of at least 3 cups water per 1 cup dried beans. This will yield you about 2 1/2 cups cooked and will give you faster cooking beans the next day. Depending on how well they were soaked they will take 1,5 – 2 hours to cook. Because of this, I always make extra and store them in the refrigerator in the remaining cooking liquid along with a splash of olive oil and a dash of salt. They keep for up to 5 days this way.

Tuscan White Bean Soup (Ribollita) with Kale
5 from 1 vote
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Tuscan White Bean Soup (Ribollita) with Kale

A hearty and deeply flavorful Tuscan Soup recipe with lacinato kale, white beans and garden vegetables. Serve it with your favorite crusty bread for a wonderful comfort food meal.
Course Soup
Category Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Calories 251 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 2 x 400 g can organic butter beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (see tipps below for dried beans)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150 g smoked lean diced bacon
  • 3 medium yellow onions, diced (about 2 cups chopped)
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 6 handfuls of kale, stems trimmed off and leaves chopped (about 6 cups chopped)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine (80 ml)
  • 5 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • Freshly grated parmesan, to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot (the largest one you have), heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon and onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until onions softened.
  2. Lower the heat slightly and add the carrots, fennel, garlic, chili flakes, a small pinch of salt and a generous amount of pepper. Cook for another 7-8 minutes, until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  3. Add the tomatoes, kale and white wine. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and two-thirds of the beans. Mash or puree the remaining beans with a little water, until smoothish. Stir the beans into the soup (the bean puree helps thicken up the soup broth).
  4. Bring the soup to a light boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Remove the stew from the heat and stir in the parsley. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with grated parmesan.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

  • This soup is also great the next day. Just cool and refrigerate overnight, then serve reheated as a true “Ribollita” the next day.
  • I’ve made this with both canned beans and dried beans, both are delicious, though if you have the time, I recommend using dried beans. I think they are superior in taste.
  • TO PREPARE DRIED BEANS: For dried beans, use 1 cup giant white beans, soaked in water overnight. Then drain and rinse the beans. In a large pot, add the beans and cover with 4-5 cm of water. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook, partially covered, until the beans are tender, but still hold their shape. This takes about 1,5 hours or more, so plan ahead. The beans should be cooked but not mushy. Drain and set aside.

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How did you like it?

Please let me know how this Tuscan White Bean Soup (Ribollita) with Kale recipe turned out for you! I would love to hear how you liked it. Simply rate it with the stars above ⭐or leave me a comment and rate it below.

Did you make any changes to this recipe?

If you have tips for other readers, let me know! It helps me and other readers so much. Sharing is Caring :-).

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Mushroom Barley Risotto with Asparagus

Barley fans! If you haven’t already tried making risotto with pearl barley you should definitely give it a go. It’s of course a little chewier (in a good way!) than Arborio rice, but just like the classic; it has a rich and creamy texture. And with the addition of dried porcini mushrooms, fresh cremini mushrooms and spring asparagus, you can expect just as much flavor!

Asparagus adds a touch of spring to a barley risotto with mushrooms

Mushroom risotto is sort of a standard I think. And I’m a big fan. Mostly because I love the way dried porcini mushrooms add such rich flavor to a simple dish. It’s like they have some umami magic. Actually they do! The concentrated flavors of dried mushrooms are umami powerhouses! Something fresh mushrooms can’t achieve on their own. Undeniably comforting, you can enjoy a barley risotto with mushrooms (cause it’s especially good with mushrooms) all year round. You can even add some peas or spinach for a pop of color. BUT at this time of year, it’s the green asparagus that brings in some fresh spring flavors. Delicious.

Rezept für Rollgerste-Risotto mit Pilzen und Spargel, Steinpilze, brauner Champignon, Crimini-Pilze

Barley risotto made the traditional way

Just like traditional risotto, this barley risotto is made by cooking the barley slowly and gradually in broth. You begin by cooking the barley in a mixture of sautéed shallots, garlic, and mushrooms, and dry white (for flavor!) and add just add a generous ladle of hot broth to the skillet and allow the liquid to be absorbed, stirring occasionally, before adding more broth. You repeat this process until the barley is cooked and the broth is gone. Of course, there is some work involved with all that stirring, but it’s not nearly as much stirring as a traditional risotto. And if you have a bottle of wine stationed near the pot, some music playing and a maybe someone to have a chat, then you will hardly notice the time going by. Don’t worry about distractions, this barley risotto with mushrooms and asparagus is very easy to make (AND it’s a complexly flavored risotto and worth the wait!).
Rezept für Rollgerste-Risotto mit Pilzen und Spargel, Steinpilze, brauner Champignon, Crimini-Pilze
Rezept für Rollgerste-Risotto mit Pilzen und Spargel, Steinpilze, brauner Champignon, Crimini-Pilze

Mushroom Barley Risotto with Asparagus
5 from 1 vote
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Mushroom Barley Risotto with Asparagus

A recipe for a mushroom barley risotto with spring asparagus that you will love. Using pearl barley instead of risotto rice makes an easy, nutritious and filling meal.
Course Main Course
Category Mediterranean
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 20 grams dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup boiling water (250 ml)
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (750 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 small shallots, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 200 g cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cup dry pearl barley (250 g)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (125 ml)
  • 500 g green asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 1/2 cm pieces
  • 1 small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 4 green onions, white parts and a little of the green thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • shaved Parmesan cheese, to garnish

Method

  1. In a heatproof bowl, pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried mushrooms, and let stand for 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside. In a saucepan, bring the mushroom soaking liquid and broth to a simmer; reduce the heat and keep warm on the stove.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus in large pot of boiling water. To do so, add the chopped asparagus and cook until become bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. The asparagus should still have some snap to it but not taste raw. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. In a large deep skillet or pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Cook the shallot and garlic until softened (but not browned), about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add soaked mushrooms and the sliced mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes, until softened.
  5. Add the barley and cook, stirring to coat, for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the white wine, cook until reduced. Then add the hot broth mixture, 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, stirring after each addition until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Continue until reaches a creamy consistency and the barley is tender but still slightly firm (al dente), about 45 minutes in total.
  6. Add the asparagus and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, until asparagus is warmed.
  7. Stir in the parsley and green onions. Season with salt (1 teaspoon or more) and pepper, to taste. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • I used chicken broth for this recipe, for a vegetarian version; feel free to use vegetable broth. If you are following a vegan diet, then go one step further and substitute the butter for a vegan alternative and skip the parmesan cheese as garnish.
  • I like to blanch my asparagus so I have complete control over how cooked it will be. It could however be added directly to the risotto and cooked along with the barley. You can try adding it on the last cupful of broth, the liquid will help cook the asparagus.

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How did you like it?

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Did you make any changes to this recipe?

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German Potato Dumplings (Knödel) with Mushroom Gravy

Potato Dumplings. Sometimes a simple, traditional meal can make others so incredibly happy. A.k.a zee German, my liebling Schwabe. First of all it’s not another salad. But of course, as a vegetable fanatic I had to include a little extra veg, even in these dumplings. Parsnips. Sweet and versatile parsnips. All in good measure of course. These are potato dumplings after all. And the flavor is so subtle no one would even notice. But just maybe, next time, I’ll roast them to bring out more of their delicious sweetness.

Ein einfaches und herzhaftes, vegetarisches Rezept für Kartoffelknödel mit Pastinaken und Pilzsoße.
h2>Don’t be fooled, potato dumplings are incredibly easy to make at home

E A S Y! Normally, there aren’t more than a handful of ingredients. Simple enough to memorize! As far as I can tell, the most important step is to cook the potatoes in their skin (to avoid water-logged taters), peel them, and then press them through a potato press, while they are still hot, so they remain light and fluffy. Then, important step… let them fully cool before proceeding with making the dumplings. Just walk away, come back later. Works like a beauty. But I have also heard that yesterdays boiled potatoes also work fine. Hmmm is this true? I’ll have to test this myself.

Steamed parsnip and boiled potatoes

Kartoffelknödel vor dem kochen

Kartoffelknödel und Pilzsoße beim kochen,

Ein einfaches und herzhaftes, vegetarisches Rezept für Kartoffelknödel mit Pastinaken und Pilzsoße.

What to serve with potato dumplings

Well, I choose to make a mushroom gravy. Completely vegetarian and darn delicious. Getting kids to try a mushroom gravy… er, not going to happen. A bed of sauerkraut, yeah good luck with that. Rotkohl. Nope. my only hope… “brown sauce”. Goes with everything. Or ketchup. Eeh. Yes, I am talking “kids reality” here. But of course, potato dumplings are fantastic enjoyed in a traditional German fashion with roasted duck, Sauerbraten, Jägerschnitzel or beef Rouladen, or even as leftovers, simply sliced and fried, and seasoned with a little salt and pepper. As you like!

5 from 1 vote
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German Potato Dumplings with Mushroom Gravy

An easy and hearty vegetarian recipe for parsnip and potato dumplings as well as a simple cremini mushrooms sauce to serve them with. Planning ahead is required as the potatoes need to fully cool before they are formed into dumplings and boiled.
Course Main Course
Category German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 404 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

For the potato dumplings (Kartoffelknödel):

  • 750 g starchy potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
  • 250 g parsnip, peeled and and cut diagonally into 1-1,5 cm thick slices
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • generous pinch of sea salt
  • 80 g flour (I used spelt, Type 630)
  • 80 g potato starch
  • 1 large egg
  • chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

For the gravy:

  • 400 g cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour (spelt Type 630)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (500 ml)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Method

For the potato dumplings:

  1. Wash the potatoes and place them in a large saucepan filled with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and cook for 20-25 min, or until tender. Drain the water and return the potatoes to the stove. With the heat turned off let the pot stand on the burner until the moisture is evaporated and skin of the potatoes is dry.
  2. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, set a steamer basket in a saucepan with 4-5 cm of simmering water. Add the parsnip. Cover and reduce heat to medium and let cook until tender; about 10-15 minutes. As soon as the parsnip is tender, remove from the heat.
  3. Once the potatoes are cooked, peel them and while still hot, press through a potato press (alternatively grate the potatoes). Do the same with the parsnips. Set aside to cool completely in the bowl.
  4. Add the minced garlic to the potato mixture and season with salt. Sprinkle with the flour and potato starch, and use your hands to loosely mix. Add the lightly beaten egg and mix it in with a fork. Then, using your hands again, knead the mixture together until you get a smooth dough that can be formed into dumplings (adding a little more flour or starch if the mixture is too sticky). Form the dough into 7-8 dumplings.
  5. Bring a large saucepan with lightly salted water to a boil, then reduce heat to light simmer. Gently place the dumplings into the pot of boiling water. Cover with a lid and allow the water to come back to a boil. Reduce the heat and partially cover with the lid. Cook for 15-20 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the gravy (method below).
  6. When the potato dumplings float to the top, use a flat spoon with holes to lift it out of the water, drain well and serve immediately.

For the gravy:

  1. In a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid is evaporated.
  2. Stir in the flour with a large whisk and reduce heat to medium. Cook for another minute or two.
  3. Slowly add the broth, whisking together to combine. Then add the thyme.
  4. Reduce the heat to low simmer and continue to stir until the gravy reaches the desired thickness, about 5 minutes. If it appears too thin, whisk in a little more flour. If too thick, add a little more broth. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste.
  5. Serve with the potato dumplings. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Enjoy!

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Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

Sweet potato hash. The thing weekends are made for. With dark winter mornings and sleeping in, cable-knit sweater season is perhaps the high point for brunch. What could be better at this time of year than a lazy Sundays with good food that is really comforting? I’m not talking about a quick batch of Canadian pancakes, but rather taking the time to create a savory sweet potato hash with caramelized onons, and three of my favorite spices: cumin, coriander and cayenne (just a pinch for some subtle heat).

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

This is the perfect potato hash for a chilly Sunday morning when there is no rush, nothing pressing to do… other than caramelizing onions. Yes, caramelizing onions may take a long time, but it’s so worth it. If you are anything like me than as soon as you hear “caramelized onions”, you know it’s going to be tasty.

I like to serve this sweet potato hash with eggs, but it you want a vegan version than simply leave them out. Salsa goes great with this dish as does a simple spicy tomato salad. There are a number of ways to make a sweet potato hash. You can roast the sweet potatoes in the oven or grate them and fry them, but I like the one-pan, “one mess to clean-up”, method. It’s easy and healthy since the sweet potatoes are steamed in the pan instead of fried in a lot of oil.

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

Sweet Potato Hash with Eggs

I peeled my sweet potatoes for this recipe, but you can feel free to leave them on. Just give them a good scrub beforehand, and of course buy organic. In this case, organic does make a difference whether peeled or not. They just taste better!

Sweet Potato Hash
5 from 1 vote
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Sweet Potato Hash

A one-pan sweet potato hash recipe that is healthy and hearty. Perfect winter comfort food for a lazy Sunday brunch. Feel free to skip the eggs for a vegan version.
Course Breakfast
Category Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 11 hours
Total Time 11 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 3 small yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 organic sweet potatoes (about 650 g), peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 small red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup water (125 ml)
  • freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
  • chili flakes, if you like a little spice

To serve (optional):

  • 2 or more eggs

Method

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed or cast-iron skillet, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the cumin, coriander and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the sliced onions, season with salt and stir to coat. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, stirring every 10 minutes, until the onions are rich brown and caramelized, about 25 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potatoes and red pepper, mix together to combine with the onions. Add the water, cover the skillet with a lid and let cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes (during this time the sweet potatoes will steam).
  4. NOTE: If not entirely cooked through, give a stir and then put the lid back on and cook for another five minutes or so, adding more water if too dry. If water remains in the pan, remove the lid and continue cook until excess water evaporates.
  5. For an extra hearty weekend breakfast, this sweet potato hash can be served with an egg on top. You can either fry or poach the eggs separately or add them directly to the skillet. To cook the eggs, make divots in the sweet potato hash (1 divot per egg), then crack the eggs into them. Replace the lid and allow the eggs to cook until the white is set, about 5 minutes, depending on how runny you like your eggs. Alternatively, you can put the whole thing, without the lid of course, under your oven’s broiler. Just make sure you are using an oven-proof or cast-iron skillet.
  6. Just before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley and chili flakes, if using. Enjoyed best while it’s hot!

Notes

It is also fine to leave the skin on the sweet potatoes. Just make sure they are organic.

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Grünkern Pilaf with Spinach & Chickpeas

Grünkern pilaf makes for the perfect whole grain side dish – one that won’t bore you to death! I have seriously fallen in love with this grain. It’s damn tasty! And if you are not German, some of you may already be asking what is Grünkern? Grünkern is spelt that’s that been harvested while still young and green, and translated it literally means “green grain”. Originally, it was picked so young as to avoid heavy rain from destroying the crop. Then it was roasted and dried. Through this process farmers discovered how wonderfully delicious this early harvested grain could be. It has a fantastic nutty sweetness and smoked flavor, plus it trumps rice on nutritional value – a 100 g serving has 12 grams protein, 2.7 grams fatty acids, 9 grams fiber plus a whole host of essential minerals. This is what it looks like.

Grünkern Pilaf with Spinach & Chickpeas

Grünkern is not Freekeh

Since Grünkern is produced in Southern Germany, the closest thing to it elsewhere would be the middle eastern grain freekeh (or frikeh). It’s been a staple in Middle Eastern diets for centuries and has recently made its way to popularity in other areas of the world. It also a smoked young green grain, but rather than produced from spelt, it’s made from durum wheat.

I was first introduced to Grünkern as a simple replacement for whole grain rice. Plain, boiled, served on the side. But really it is so much more than just a simple filler. Although it is delicious on its own, it has so much more potential – potential for greatness. Which is why I decided to create this rich and tasty Grünkern pilaf.

Grünkern Pilaf with Spinach & Chickpeas

This recipe for Grünkern pilaf is a terrific accompaniment to roast lamb or chicken. I really love it with lamb merguez sausages. Although I don’t often eat meat, I am a real fan of this gutsy sausage and its terrific spicy mixture of paprika, cumin, chili, pepper and harissa, plus sumac, fennel and garlic — depending on the butchers own recipe. Just make sure to ask whether your butcher whether they make theirs from 100% lamb.

This Grünkern pilaf also holds up great as leftovers. Because my favorite Schwabe doesn’t often like leftovers, I ate this for three days in a row. The first day as a vegetarian side along with lentils and the next two days with merguez — especially loved it with the merguez. Wish I had more! 🙂

Grünkern Pilaf with Spinach & Chickpeas
5 from 1 vote
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Grünkern Pilaf with Spinach & Chickpeas

A tasty recipe for a Grünkern pilaf with tomatoes, spinach, chickpeas and sumac. Grünkern is spelt that is harvested young. Freekeh is a good substitute.
Course Main Course
Category Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 272 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil (80 ml)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Grünkern / Gruenkern, alternatively use freekeh (300 g)
  • 2 cups water (500 ml)
  • 2/3 cups tomato passata (160 ml)
  • 2 vine ripened tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 x 400 g can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 100 g baby spinach (about 4 generous handfuls)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley, as garnish

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the Grünkern and sauté with the onions, stirring often, for 5 minutes (toasting the grain, enhances its nutty flavor).
  3. Add the water, passata and chopped tomatoes, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Add the chickpeas and sumac, stir to combine, then stir in the spinach, cook until heated through and spinach is wilted, about 5 more minutes. Season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  4. Garnish with parsley and serve.
  5. Enjoy!

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Homemade German Spaetzle

German spaetzle and Christmas markets of two the things my family continues to talk about when they reminisce about all their sightseeing adventures while visiting me in Germany. This special type of egg noodle is a traditional Swabian specialty, that is also makes its way to a whole lot of kitchens in Bavaria and Austria.

Every kitchen has their own special method for this making this hearty, comfort food dish. It’s often enjoyed as a simple side with sauces and gravies, but you can also find it in many other variations; from cheese baked spaetzle (käsespätzle) topped with crispy onions, to pure and unadulterated along side a Sunday roast with gravy, to fried till crispy version with onions and fresh herbs, or even in a stew (Gaisburger Marsch). My personal favorite, which is probably not so traditional, is a farmers skillet with eggs and vegetables (and a little sausage which I happened to overlook).

Homemade spaetzle is something I’ve wanted to make from scratch for AGES! Years, really. Ever since my time in Munich where it was a pretty regular occurrence to buy fresh spaetzle and cook it up with some tasty sauerkraut. Simple fast food. Loved it.

Every household has their own special method

I have to say, a true German spaetzle recipe can be tricky thing to make. Every household has their own special recipe and traditionally, the dough for the noodles is kneaded by hand. For the true Schwaben that is… I used an extra large whisk. And admittedly, I did have a few fails before success. Though, luckily it’s not really possible to mess up the taste. It’s more about the texture and how to make long versus short noodles. So with an extra bit of practice, I came up with a version that works for me. I choose to use white spelt flour, but I am sure whole wheat would also work well.

Spaetzle made with sparkling water

Of course, I had to get some tips from my favorite Schwabe’s mother on how to make my own. I’m not sure if it’s traditional, but it’s as close to it for a Canadian girl transplanted to Germany. I also chose to make this recipe using sparkling water, which is supposed to create a softer texture by “lightening” up the dough. In fact, I used a very special sparkling water… an absolute favorite… St. Leonard.

What is “living water”?

St. Leonard water is sourced from the deep ground waters of an artesian spring which makes it very special. Why is that? Well, this means that there is no drilling to obtain the water, but rather it comes to the surface all on its own. Meaning it hasn’t been manipulated by mechanical or industrial intervention in any way before it’s bottled. Which also means, it keeps all its original structure, natural energy, minerals and all the other trace elements that it has collected along the way.

I believe my naturopath, when he says this activated “living water” is better absorbed by the body and better for it. Plus, I can also stand behind the eco-friendly fact that it is only bottled into glass bottles — so there is no risk of contamination from other substances or chemicals into the water. It’s absolutely pure — the purest of all sources!

Yes, it may be a shame to boil away all its goodness while making my spaetzle, but I can feel good about enjoying all the health-promoting effects of it while drinking it alongside a tasty plate of homemade spaetzle. So good luck with your first batch of spaeztle and enjoy!

Eier schlagen für schwäbische Spätzle selbstgemacht

Teig rühren für schwäbische Spätzle selbstgemacht

Teig rühren für schwäbische Spätzle selbstgemacht

Spätzleteig in Spätzlepresse für schwäbische Spätzle selbstgemacht

Spätzleteig durch Spätzlepresse drücken für schwäbische Spätzle selbstgemacht

Gekochte Spätzle für schwäbische Spätzle selbstgemacht

Homemade German Spaetzle

Homemade German Spaetzle

NOTE: To make this recipe, plan enough time to let the dough rest (1 hour, or overnight) as well as to drain once you have made the basic recipe (1 hour). For a little less time pressure, you can also freeze the noodles if you want to do them ahead of time.

Homemade German Spaetzle
5 from 1 vote
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Homemade German Spaetzle

Homemade German Spaetzle - one of Germany's most popular and beloved foods, here is a simple spaetzle recipe for making your own at home.
Course Main Course
Category German
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

To make the spaetzle (egg noodles):

  • 4 large eggs
  • 350 g white spelt flour (alternatively use all-purpose flour)
  • 1 cup sparkling mineral water (250 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch nutmeg, optional

To serve:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • freshly chopped chives or parsley, to garnish

Method

  1. Using a large whisk, lightly beat together the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, sparkling water, salt and nutmeg. Whisk together until well combined; the batter should be a smooth paste with some air bubbles. Cover and refrigerate the batter for 1 hour (or overnight).
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

    NOTE: It is important that the water be simmering rather than a rolling boil when cooking the spaetzle.

  3. Place the batter in a spaetzle press (maximum 2/3 full); hold and press over the pot so the batter drops into the simmering water.

    TIP: The length of the noodles can be controlled by up and down movements of the press. If you want long noodles slowly move in a circular motion while pressing, or put on the press right on the edge of the pot and press completely with uniform speed. If you want shorter spaetzle, move repeatedly upwards, while pressing the spaetzle, so that the dough strands break.

  4. Cook the spaetzle in small batches until they float to the surface; about 2 minutes (when they float to the top they are cooked). Use a slotted spoon (schaumlöffel) to remove the cooked spaetzle, then shock it briefly in a large bowl of ice cold water (this helps them firm up). Transfer to a colander to drain. Repeat with the remaining dough, letting the water return to a simmer between batches and adding more boiling water if needed.
  5. Once the entire batch is finished, let stand in the colander for 10 minutes, and then spread the spaetzle onto a baking sheet to dry further. Let the spaetzle sit for at least 1 hour.

    NOTE: Some cooks prefer to leave the noodles in the colander to fully drain.

  6. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of the spaetzle in an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Shake the pan and loosen the spaetzle with a spatula; continue cooking until heated through, about 2-3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining butter, oil and spaetzle. Garnish with chives and serve.

Notes

  • When placing the spaetzle in the ice water, don’t wait until all the noodles are done before transferring to the colander to drain. You don’t want them waterlogged!
  • Of course, everyone has their own method — some cooks skip the ice bath as they want the noodles to be more sticky to soak up the sauce. Others just toss them in a little oil. Up to you!

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Lamb Paella with Fennel, Artichokes and Tomato

It’s easy to be inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi. And this lamb paella recipe was definitely inspired by his cookbook Plenty which is a compilation of Ottolenghi’s recipes from the Guardian. Admittedly, this is a loose adaptation of his multi vegetable paella. Yes, this is far from being vegetarian. Ottolenghi himself is not vegetarian, but this particular cookbook of his is. So with his version of course being completely sans, needless to say, I deviated greatly. His recipe also included a wider variety of vegetables and naturally real paella rice. I went for short grain brown rice (with a little wild rice mixed in) and subbed out some of the vegetables for locally sourced, organic lamb… plus I made a few other little changes, here and there. But despite my straying, even this lamb paella version seems to shine on the plate with all the amazing and distinctive tasting flavors. With a strong use of saffron, along with smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and fresh turmeric, and the unusual mix of fennel and artichokes, this may seem like a fleeting attempt to pay tribute to the classic paella. But I tell you this, this, the flavors are less than humble and far more interesting. .
Lamb Paella with Fennel, Artichokes and Tomato

Lamb Paella is easy to make

I can count on both hands how many people I know actually have a paella pan at home — I live in an urban European city, who has space this sort of thing? — yes, a big fat zero. Apparently, the key to cooking paella is having a wide enough pan so that the rice cooks evenly. I used a wok. I love my wok. It’s big and it’s deep, which is perfect for stewing the lamb into tender tasty morsels. Which is also why I think it is necessary to cover the wok for last 25 minutes — for the stewing part. When preparing traditional paella you don’t need to use a lid. Because the pan is so wide, everything cooks evenly, so it is specifically not meant to be stirred. What a change from risotto!
Yes, and although this recipe takes an hour to cook, you actually don’t have to do much after the first 10 or so minutes. It’s amazing simple to pull together. You simply simmer the rice in its flavorful broth and wait for the magic to happen!

Lamb Paella with Fennel, Artichokes and Tomato

Lamb Paella with Fennel, Artichokes and Tomato
5 from 1 vote
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Lamb Paella with Fennel, Artichokes and Tomato

An easy lamb paella ala Ottolenghi made with whole grain rice. Serves 2, generously or 4 as a side

Course Main Course
Category Mediterranean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 2
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500 g boneless lamb, cut into 2.5 cm cubes
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large sweet pointed red pepper, halved and cut into strips
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, cut into strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced turmeric (alternatively use 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup organic short grain brown rice (150 g)
  • 1/3 cup sherry (100 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon saffron strands
  • 1 2/3 cups vegetable broth, heated (400 ml)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 12-15 mini roma or cherry tomatoes
  • 5 small jarred artichokes, quartered
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 lemon wedges, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large, deep skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat, and sauté the lamb, for 2 minutes until lightly browned on the outside. Reduce heat to medium; add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and fennel, and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until starts to soften - about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, cook for a minute, then add the bay leaves and spices, stir, add the rice and cook, stirring, for two minutes. Add the sherry and saffron, increase heat and boil down for 1 minute, and then add the heated broth and a couple generous pinches of salt.
  3. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Cover the pan with the lid and let simmer for another 25-30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Do not stir.
  4. Turn the heat off. Taste and season with more salt, if desired. Scatter the tomatoes and artichokes over the rice, cover the pan and let stand for 10 minutes. When ready to serve, sprinkle the lamb paella with the parsley leaves. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!

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Chickpea Chili with Roasted Sweet Potato

Here’s an A M A Z I N G chickpea chili that’s actually not as you would expect a typical chili to be. Simple put: it’s remarkable! It’s full of so many tasty flavors… from fresh red chili, garlic and turmeric to cumin, cinnamon, and paprika, and then if that not enough there’s plenty of extra tastiness from honey, tahini and soy sauce. Fresh tomatoes add even more umami effect — like we needed any more! — and all those flavors are bound together into the most perfect chili base ever. Centre stage is one of my all-time favorite combinations: chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Enter lime and cilantro and I’m in food heaven. Did I mention I also used coconut milk? F O O D L O V E. Yes, say goodbye to traditional chili F O R E V E R!

Chickpea Chili with Roasted Sweet Potato
In my recipes I love to use acacia honey for its mild and sweet, floral flavor. I also use Japanese soy sauce (also known as shoyu, literally “soy oil”) as I prefer the flavor over Indonesian or Chinese versions. I stick to using an all-purpose soy sauce from Kikkoman since it has a sweeter, less harsh flavor than other versions. If you are using a gluten-free tamari you can expect a stronger flavor due to the high soy bean content, so I would slightly reduce the amount if using it in this recipe.

Kurkuma Wurzeln, Turmeric
Kurkuma Wurzeln (auch Turmeric genannt)

For a livelier taste, I recommend using fresh turmeric, but a word of warning – fresh turmeric stains easily, so unless you want to turn your hands and kitchen yellow, handle with care! If you get it on your clothes all is not lost: lemon juice usually removes the stain. Just squeeze a little on to the affected area and leave for about 15 minutes before putting in the wash.

Speaking of turmeric, I recently read a funny (or not so funny!) article about a woman who decided to give herself a homemade turmeric mask facial treatment — apparently it helps brighten your completion so you can really get a healthy glow. Glow it did. She turned yellow. Bart Simpson yellow. Or in her case Lisa Simpson. Can you imagine? That stuff really stains! So she tried good old lemon juice. Big fail! OMG her poor skin.

The solution. Water and sugar.

So although lemon may work with some stains, if your hands get really stained while you are cooking with turmeric, then just mix a few tablespoons of sugar with some water, and then scrub your hands together. It works magic! A simple and awesome way to remove turmeric stains!

Grünkern für Kichererbsen Chili mit Süßkartoffel
Grünkern

A side note: I serve my chickpea chili with Grünkern (which is spelt grains harvested young, then dried and smoked), but short-grain brown rice or freekeh (similar to Grünkern but made from drum wheat), even pearled barley, are great options too.

Chickpea Chili with Roasted Sweet Potato
5 from 1 vote
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Chickpea Chili with Roasted Sweet Potato

Course Main Course
Category Curry
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

For the sweet potato:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil, about 1/2 tablespoon or more
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 small shallots, finely chopped
  • I sweet pointed red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 small to medium-sized vine-ripened tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400 g can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (or 3 teaspoons fresh grated with a microplane)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 x 400 ml can organic coconut milk
  • juice of one lime
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

To serve:

  • short-grain brown rice or other chewy and nutty grain such as Grünkern, or freekeh (depending on the choice you’ll want to start cooking this as soon as you prep the sweet potatoes)
  • lime wedges

Method

  1. Preheat oven 450°F/220°C and place the rack in the upper third. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with olive oil until coated, season with salt and pepper. Spread out evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake, stirring halfway through, until golden and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes, depending on size of pieces. Remove from oven and set aside.

    NOTE: Once the sweet potatoes have been in the oven for about 10 minutes, start preparing the rest of the dish.

  4. Using a large saucepan or deep skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and slowly sauté until transparent, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped red pepper, tomatoes and chili. Sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the chickpeas and spices (cumin, cinnamon, turmeric and paprika); stir well to combine.
  7. Stir in the minced garlic, soy sauce, tahini, honey, coconut milk and sweet potato. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add the lime juice and cilantro; reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat, and divide into bowls. Sprinkle with more fresh cilantro and serve with rice and a wedge of lime. Enjoy!

Notes

  • This dish is more mild than spicy, so for more kick add another fresh chili or serve with Sambal Oelek chili sauce on the side.
  • This recipe for Chickpea Chili with Roasted Sweet Potato can also be made in advance and heated up again before serving. Tastes just as great!

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German Style Kale (Grünkohl mit Pinkel)

When cooked properly, this typical Northwest German dish has a nice savory taste that complements the robustness of the sausages and potatoes that are served with it. It’s something you often see served at the Christmas markets around Germany. The variety of sausage you’ll get with it depends on the region and depending on where you are, you may even get a cut of smoked pork with it. There are countless recipes for Grünkohl, with each region having their own special ingredient or cooking method. The recipe is simple enough, although a little planning is needed since this curly kale stew needs to simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours for the flavors to fully develop.

German Style Kale (Grünkohl mit Pinkel) Basically, you blanch curly kale leaves, then chop them up and simmer them in a broth consisting of onions, some schmalz (rendered pork fat–essential for the flavor!), along with smoked pork, and seasonings of salt, pepper and whatever your spice of choice may be, whether it be mustard seeds, allspice or bay leaves.Grünkohl will typically be served with smoked bacon, Mettwurst or Pinkel sausages (the exact recipe of these sausages differs from butcher to butcher and they like to keep their recipes secret!), or a salted smoked cut of pork called Kasseler. Or all four.

It may not be the prettiest of dishes and is considered an acquired taste for some, but personally I find it quite delicious. Enjoy!

German Style Kale (Grünkohl mit Pinkel)
4 from 2 votes
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German Grünkohl with Pinkel and Kochwurst

Grünkohl this typical Northwest German dish has a nice savory taste that complements the robustness of the Pinkel and Kochwurst sausages and potatoes that are served with it.
Course Main Course
Category German
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 1- 1,5 kg fresh curly kale, washed, stems trimmed off
  • 4 tablespoons schmalz (rendered duck or pork fat)
  • 3 yellow onions, chopped
  • 250 g piece of smoked streaky bacon, preferably cut with the rind from the butcher (geräucherter Bauchspeck)
  • 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (or other medium spicy mustard)
  • 2 cups beef broth (500 ml)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fine cut oats
  • 4 Kielbasa sausages
  • 4 smoked Kaszanka, also known as Groats sausage (Pinkelwurst)
  • 750 g small boiling potatoes

Method

  1. Working in batches, blanch the kale in a pot of boiling lightly salted water for about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the kale to a large bowl of ice cold water; let cool, then drain. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible and transfer kale to a cutting board. Coarsely chop.
  2. In a wok or very large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of schmalz over medium heat, add the smoked bacon, cook for 3 minutes, then turn and add the onions. Cook for 3 minutes more, then add the kale.
  3. Stir in the sugar, nutmeg, mustard and broth and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add the oatmeal and stir until combined. Cook for 30 minutes more, adding more broth if necessary, so that the kale does not dry out.
  4. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salt water. Boil for 15 minutes or until slightly tender, yet firm in the middle; drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel potatoes and set aside.
  5. Cook the sausages in a large pot of boiling salt water for 15 minutes.
  6. While the sausages are cooking, heat the remaining schmalz in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, over high heat until the potatoes are golden brown; about 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    NOTE: Remove the smoked streaky bacon piece from the pan with Grünkohl. Using a knife, separate the meat from the fat and mix it in with the kale. Discard the fat.

  7. Serve the potatoes and sausages alongside the “Grünkohl”. Don't forgot the mustard, you'll want this for the sausages. Enjoy!

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Turkey and Potato Pot Pie (Turkey à la King)

Spring may be here, but I am hanging on to this quintessential comfort food… Pot pies are, in fact, the ultimate comfort food and with puff pastry as a topping, it helps us make them in a cinch.

Turkey and Potato Pot Pie (Turkey à la King)
Turkey and Potato Pot Pie can be made in a casserole dish

Let’s face it, turkey makes you sleepy or maybe it’s just the sheer volume of what we eat along with it. I’m talking roast turkey with all the trimmings. Well, this turkey pot pie is all of these things without being too heavy…and it tastes really, REALLY good. The picture will never do this one justice. I’m simply delicious and you’ll want to eat it while it’s hot (as did my favorite Schwabe and his boys). Meaning, a quick snapshot and off to the table it was!

Truthahn Kartoffel Pot Pie mit Erbsen, Parmaschinken, Blätterteig überbacken
Turkey and Potato Pot Pie fillingPuten Kartoffel Pot Pie, Hähnchen à la King, Chicken Pot Pie

Can also be made in a pie dish

Pot Pie: the perfect family meal

This is a great meal, either for your family, your significant other, or let’s face it…yourself. We all need our comfort food to curl up on the couch with on a perfect rainy day, with nothing else to do, nowhere I need to be, how I love my DVD collection….type of day.

So if you forgot to pick up some fresh herbs, go ahead and throw in the dried sort…you’ll need less – just use one third the amount dry as you would use fresh.

I recommend leaving the skins on when boiling potatoes. They cook better and don’t get water-logged or mushy. After the potatoes are cooked, the skin is really easy to peel off — the skin can easily be slipped off using a paring knife. TIP: It’s much easier while they are still warm.

Turkey and Potato Pot Pie
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Turkey and Potato Pot Pie

Turkey and potato pot pie is the ultimate comfort food and with puff pastry as a topping, it's made in a cinch. Peas, thyme, sage and crème fraîche turn comfort into delectable. Serves 4-6.

Course Main Course
Category American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 5-6 medium potatoes, parboiled, skin removed and cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 slices of Prosciutto Di Parma, chopped
  • 700 g boneless skinless turkey, (preferably organic), diced (equivalent to about 4 turkey breast cutlets, depending on size)
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked (about 1 tablespoon fresh leaves)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup of frozen peas, thawed (110 g)
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken or turkey stock (310 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraîche, plain or with herbs
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage, leaves removed and chopped (about 1 tablespoon fresh chopped leaves)
  • 1 package store bought ready-made puff pastry

Method

  1. In a large saucepan; bring water to a boil. Add salt and the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes or until slightly tender, yet firm in the middle; drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel potatoes and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, shallot and garlic; sauté until fragrant. Add the prosciutto and turkey and cook for about 5 minutes, then add the fresh thyme and a pinch of both salt and pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes until turkey can easily be broken with a wooden spoon.
  4. Line a 30cm x 20cm rectangular casserole dish (or deep pie pan) with the turkey mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the stock; stir in the crème fraîche and pour over the turkey mixture. Finally add the peas and potatoes and gently stir to combine. Sprinkle with sage leaves.
  6. Roll out the puff pastry and place over filling, pressing or pinching against the edge of the pan; cut small slices in the pie to let steam escape.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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Mediterranean Chicken Marbella

Taking inspiration from a classical French cooking plat du jour called “lapin aux pruneauxand” and one of most legendary dishes to ever to come out of The Silver Palate Cookbook in the 1980’s, this mediterranean chicken dish is a guaranteed crowd pleaser! The chicken is first marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, and oregano, and then baked with an addition of brown sugar and white wine. Sound delicious? It is! This is a fabulous dinner party dish with aromatic mix of sweet, salty and tangy flavors. Chicken never tasted better!

Chicken Marbella – the perfect dish for entertaining

The fantastic part is…this simple and tasty recipe is best prepared at least a day ahead, making it a great choice for your next dinner party. The overnight marination is essential to the chicken’s moistness and actually improves over 48 hours of refrigeration.

Chicken Marbella mediterrane Art, Hühnchen Huhn Eintopf mit Oliven

Prunes are signature to this dish, as are olives and capers. I use tiny nonpareil capers (in brine) which are delicate in flavor and texture. Translated from French, “non-pareil” means “has no equal.” I love them. With their briny punch, they introduce a delicious complexity to anything you are cooking.

Capers are preserved a number of ways — either in salt, wine vinegar, brine or olive oil. Most capers we see in Germany are packed in a vinegar or salt brine. I always buy those in salt as I find that the vinegar packed ones taste much too acidic. Plus, it is generally considered that the smaller the caper, the better the taste. With larger capers, you need to be more discriminating as they are more intense in flavor and may overwhelm the very dish they are meant to complement.

Mediterranean Chicken Marbella
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Mediterranean Chicken Marbella

This mediterranean chicken dish is first marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, and oregano, and then baked with an addition of brown sugar and white wine. Plan ahead! This dish needs to marinate overnight for best results.

Course Main Course
Category Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 8 skinless boneless, chicken breasts halves (about 1.3 kg)
  • 10 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried oregano, about 4 tablespoons (try Greek oregano for a richer, more aromatic flavor)
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup good-quality red wine vinegar (125 ml)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (80 ml)
  • 1 cup dried pitted prunes (100 g)
  • 1 cup green and black olives (I like to use a mix of green mammoth olives and Marmara Birlik olives) (180 g)
  • 1/2 cup capers with a small splash of their brine (60 g)
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 cup soft brown sugar (I recommend GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado) (140 g)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (250 ml)
  • chopped flat leaf parsley or fresh cilantro, garnish

To Serve:

  • Rice, couscous or grain of choice

Method

  1. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large casserole dish and combine the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives, capers with some brine, and bay leaves. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  3. Spoon marinade evenly over the chicken breasts. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour the white wine around them.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken breasts), basting every 10 minutes with the pan juices until the chicken is done and no longer pink when cut in the center.
  5. Transfer to a serving platter, spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken and sprinkle generously with parsley or cilantro. Serve any remaining juices in a gravy dispenser.
  6. Serve with couscous or rice to soak up the wonderfully flavorful sauce. Enjoy!

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Porcini Mushroom Risotto with Sage

What can be more satisfying than a bowl of homemade porcini mushroom risotto? Sadly something I think we enjoy far to seldom. All that stirring, right? Yes, we love to eat it but seldom what to go through the trouble of making it. I actually don’t mind making risotto. It’s easy enough, and while keeping a watchful eye, it gives you the chance to prepare other things while sneaking in a stir here and there, and here and there. The result is so worth the effort. Every time.

This recipe was provided to my dear friend Magali. It’s one that her daughter Gaelle makes often. When in season you could also make this recipe with 300 g fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned. OR you could substitute the porcini mushrooms with shiitake mushrooms. OR you can even use a mix of dried and fresh porcini mushrooms. As you like.

For this recipe, I used 5 1/2 cups of broth, as intended. Worked perfectly. But this can vary slightly depending on A) how hot your stove gets B) how much you stir the risotto C) how wide the pot is that you are using, and lastly D) how creamy you like your risotto to be. So make a little extra broth, just in case you discover you want or need a little more.

Porcini Mushroom Risotto with Sage
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Porcini Risotto with Sage

Mushroom Risotto con porcini (porcini mushroom risotto) makes for a rich and flavorful side dish or main course. Dried porcini mushrooms are very tasty.
Course Main Course
Category Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 20 g (to 30 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup hot water (250 ml)
  • 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth, heated (1.25 liters)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Arborio risotto rice 400 g
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, smooth dry Italian whites such as Soave and Gavi work well. You can also try an aged Italian red such as Barolo or a vintage rosé Champagne (125 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage, can be substituted with fresh tarragon or parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated parmesan (150 g)

Method

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Keep in mind, the liquid will be reserved and used for making the risotto.
  2. Drain and chop the mushrooms reserving one cup of the liquid. In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
  3. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
  4. Add the rice and mushrooms to the onions and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the wine, sage, and about a cup of the reserved liquid; stir until absorbed. Once absorbed, add another cup of broth and keep stirring. Repeat this step, stirring constantly, until you have used all the broth and the rice is tender (but slightly firm in the center) and the mixture is creamy – this takes about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Add the parmesan, season with salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Vol-au-vent (Königin-Pasteten) with a Creamy Veal and Mushroom Ragout

As a main meal or finger food, it’s representative of a traditional German or French dish made for special occasions or to celebrate a festive time of year. Armed with this information, and a festive occasion (my birthday), that was my wish. Königin-Pasteten with a creamy veal and mushroom ragout.

It was a Monday night and I was looking for a break from dining out. Since we suffer fabulously from that thing called city living in Europe, we live within the confines of small maze of Jungenstil walls with old world flare, but sadly no balcony to speak of. So my favorite Schwabe and I have enjoyed this Indian summer with a new 50 year rule and mutual understanding that if the sun is shining and the weather is warm, we dine out. That in drizzly Hamburg is concentrated into less days than you’d expect and when we are lucky like this year, those precious 93 days of summer extend into spring and fall.

So after a lovely day on the bikes, enjoying the harbor and a seafood lunch we headed homewards to have the Schwabe cook for me. On route gathering tips from his mother on where to start, we stopped off at the butcher only to have the Schwabe proudly announce that he was cooking Königin-Pasteten for my birthday. That led to singing. German’s love singing and I love Germans that sing. Especially if they tote a guitar like mine does.

Königin-Pasteten is a dish that seemingly has to be put on a “wish list” as it’s somehow seen as something that takes a lot of time and preparation. In fact, it is simpler than simple. It’s easy. Ask my favorite Schwabe.

Vol-au-vent – store bought or homemade

The puff pastry shells can be picked up a good bakery (or at least ordered ahead) or found at the supermarket. Or if you are feeling ambitious you can also make your own vol-au-vent, here’s how:

The ragout itself can be prepared ahead and simply be re-heated while the puff pastry bakes in a hot oven. Even from scratch, I witnessed that this dish easily falls into the category “30 minute meals”. So an effortless meal like this can definitely turn any day into something special.

I’m pretty sure this recipe would also taste just as great by throwing in a handful of peas. Enjoy!

Vol-au-vent (Königin-Pasteten) with a Creamy Veal and Mushroom Ragout
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Vol-au-vent with a Creamy Veal and Mushroom Ragout

Vol-au-vent with a creamy veal and mushroom ragout in a lemony, white wine and crème fraîche sauce. A simple and fast meal that is great for kids and guests.

Course Main Course
Category German
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 4 large or 8 small vol-au-vent pastry shells
  • 600-700 g veal, cubed (preferably organic - can also be substituted with chicken or turkey)
  • 300 g crimini or button mushrooms, sliced (can also use a mix of peas, carrots and mushrooms)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter (30 g)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (60 ml)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (50 g)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (500 ml)
  • 1 x 150 g container crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste - I often add more
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Method

  1. In large deep skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute, add the veal and continue to cook until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Add the butter and the mushrooms to the pan and sauté on low heat for 5 minutes. Slowly sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and fry briefly, stirring, to combine.
  3. Gradually stir in the white wine, the vegetable broth and the crème fraîche and stir until smooth. Bring to a brief boil. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and a pinch of sugar, plus salt and pepper to taste. Add the veal. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Let simmer on low heat until veal is warm and pastry shells are ready to serve.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175 ° C.
  5. Slice the tops off the vol-au-vent pastry shells and heat the shells and the tops for about 6-8 minutes, until lightly golden.
  6. Transfer pastry shells to a plate, fill with the ragout, cover with pastry lid and serve with a green salad and cool white wine. Enjoy!

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Classic Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This oh sooo good Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe is curtesy of my dear friend Magali. It’s based on an adaption of a recipe that was originally published in Saveur magazine and later made famous by Oprah Winfrey when she highlighted it in a feature about supermodel Cindy Crawford. She claimed that it is something she makes often in her Malibu home… and that it’s one of her husband’s favorite things. Besides of course, living with a former supermodel who has landed herself on the list of the world’s sexiest people a multitude of times.

Erdbeer-Rhabarber-Pie von Elle Republic

Magali made the crust for this pie with grape seed oil as it stays more soft and light and she also used just one cup of raw cane sugar, because the fruit, in season and abundantly available at the market, was already naturally so sweet and flavorful. Fresh spring strawberries and rhubarb definitely bring on a reason to enjoy a delicious pie like this!

TIP: In this recipe, instead of rolling the pastry dough out on a floured counter, it’s rolled out between two sheets of wax paper. No flour required (less mess!).

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

This Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe has been adapted by Cindy Crawford's Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie from Oprah. Sweet and delicious with raw cane sugar and market fresh fruit.
Course Dessert
Category Baking
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 1 Pie
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (can substitute with half whole wheat pastry flour) (335 g)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2/3 cup grape seed oil (alternatively extra-virgin olive oil) (160 ml)
  • 6 tablespoons cold milk
  • 1 to 1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons raw cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (40 g)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups strawberries, halved (about 500 g)
  • 2 cups rhubarb, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 200 g)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons milk

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Butter and flour the pie dish.
  2. To make the crust, in a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
  3. Measure the oil and milk together, without stirring, add to the flour. Mix together until combined. Use your hands to gather the pastry dough together into a large ball. Divide pastry in half; form halves into balls. Sprinkle with a little flour.
  4. Prepare the crust on wax or parchment paper. Place a fresh sheet of wax paper on your working surface. Place one of the balls on it and roll it out a few times. Cover it with another fresh sheet of wax paper and roll the dough until it is large enough to cover your pie plate. Line the pie dish with the sheet of pastry, then roll out the second ball of dough and set aside.
  5. To make the filling, in a large bowl, gently combine the rhubarb and strawberries with the sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  6. Spoon the filling into the pie dish. Scatter with butter and add the top crust. Pinch the edges and cut a few slits in the top for ventilation. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the pie with milk. Sprinkle evenly with sugar.
  7. Transfer pie to a sheet tray in the oven and bake for 50 minutes (if you find it is cooking too quickly, you can cover edge with tinfoil).
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool at room temperature for 1 hour before serving (this will give it time for the juices to thicken). Enjoy!

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Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelet)

I was first introduced to a traditional Tortilla Española by a Spanish student that was staying with me a few years back. She demonstrated exactly how it should be done and of course the result was first class, but I have to admit I was alarmed by the amount of oil she used (and the mess the splattering oil made!). Of course I am myself a fan of olive oil, but she used so much in her cooking, you could say she practically drank the stuff right out of the bottle.

 Süße Zwiebeln Spanische Tortilla (Spanisches Kartoffel-Omelette) Spanische Tortilla (Spanisches Kartoffel-Omelette)

During this experience, I also learned, from this same student, that the potatoes were never to be cooked ahead, instead they were to be sautéed slowly in copious amounts of olive oil, carefully, so they did not brown in the process, then the excess oil was drained off, and finally the potatoes were added to the eggs with some salt. And there forth the process for creating a tortilla could begin. A messy and intensive process it was. I tried this method myself and it was a miserable and frustrating fail, on all counts.

But in the process, I learned that the potatoes could be cooked ahead and I managed to pick up a few skills on how to manage the acrobatics required to flip a hot tortilla onto a plate and the art of sliding it back in. I also learned the importance of using a trusted non-stick skillet (ESSENTIAL!) and a way to make this classic Spanish dish taste delicious without using half a liter of olive oil.

Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelet)

The final result, a delicious Tortilla Española as the perfect accompaniment to breakfast or lunch. It can be served alone or with a deliciously spicy salsa, or in the case of my favorite Schwabe’s boys, they loved it topped with a simple prepared gravy. To serve as tapas, just cut the tortilla into bite-sized cubes and serve each piece with a toothpick. Or do as they do in Spain — eat it stuffed in a loaf of bread as a hearty sandwich. Enjoy!

Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelet)
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Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelet)

A Spanish potato omelet made with sweet onions (look for Vidalia or Walla Walla onions) and eggs. A low-fat and easy recipe for a healthy Tortilla Española that's just as delicious as the original.
Course Side Dish
Category Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 495 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 9 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced using a mandoline (about 1.3 kg)
  • 3 sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 4 large eggs

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C
  2. Place the potato and onion in a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Bake for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender, flipping occasionally with a spatula to prevent sticking and promote even browning.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the potato mixture; let stand for 5 minutes in order to give the potatoes a chance to absorb some of the egg mixture.
  4. Using a 20 cm non-stick skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium heat. Transfer the potato mixture into the pan (the pan will be very full so use a spatula to flatten down the potatoes a little). Cook 7-8 minutes (until almost set), gently and frequently shaking the pan so the tortilla doesn't stick.
  5. Place a large plate upside down over the tortilla and quickly invert it onto the plate. Carefully slide the tortilla (cooked side up) back into the pan, so the other side cooks; carefully tuck in the sides with a fork, and continue cooking, occasionally shaking the pan until eggs are set, about 3 minutes.
  6. Carefully loosen the tortilla with a spatula; gently slide it onto a plate. Cut into wedges and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!

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Mild and Tangy Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh)

This dish is a winning combination for fans of eggplant, lamb, and aromatic Persian flavors!

Lamb and eggplant are two things I really enjoy but don’t eat very often. Firstly, because not everyone loves lamb and secondly, not everyone loves eggplant. Which is a pity, since together these two ingredients deliver a complex, robust and earthy flavor combination that’s truly satisfying.

Lamb Curry Rogan Josh — a mild curry recipe

This dish is based on a popular Kashmiri dish, called Rogan Josh. Traditionally made with lamb, yogurt, garlic, ginger and aromatic spices, this exotic lamb curry originally came to Kashmir from Iran (once referred to as “Persia”) and is actually milder than other Indian curries – so if you’re not too keen on spicy dishes, this is a great option!

As a result of the slow-cooking, lamb lovers will appreciate the tenderness of the meat — “slow” as in one hour, making preparing a delicious meal like this on a weeknight still achievable. As always, to ensure the lamb is most flavorful and tender, be sure to buy it from a reputable butcher who you trust.

This simplified version of Rogan Josh features eggplant, tomatoes, creamy yogurt, a store-bought prepared sauce for flavor, and fresh citrusy lime to brighten up an otherwise hearty dish. For an even richer sauce, coconut milk can easily takes the place of yogurt.

Mild and Tangy Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh)

For this recipe in place of the curry sauce you can also use rogan josh curry paste — just use 2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon tomato purée. The result is less saucy, but just as tasty.

I like to serve this with wholegrain basmati rice. It’s remarkably simple to prepare — and perfect every time! All you need to do is put the rice in a pot of water (it’s cooked in lots of water just like potatoes), stir, then cover and turn the heat to low and simmer it for 25 minutes, then drain in a colander and allow it to stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Voila! Couldn’t be easier!

This dish takes a little more than an hour to prepare, so plan accordingly.

Mild and Tangy Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh)
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Mild and Tangy Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh)

This simplified version of lamb curry rogan josh features eggplant, tomatoes, creamy yogurt, a store-bought prepared sauce for flavor, and citrusy lime to brighten up an otherwise hearty dish.
Course Main Course
Category Curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium eggplant (about 350-400 g), cubed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 340 g jar rogan josh curry sauce (from Sanchon available at Alnatura -- otherwise Pataks also sells a medium spicy version, available at Asian food markets or the Asian section at your supermarket)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 600 g lean boneless lamb, cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup Greek yogurt (400 g) (alternatively use 1 x 400 ml can coconut milk)
  • 100 g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped or cut into quarters (about 12-15 cherry tomatoes depending on size)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1–2 teaspoons soft brown sugar
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander chopped
  • steamed basmati rice, for serving
  • lime wedges, for serving

Method

  1. In a wok or large saucepan pan, heat 3 tablespoons coconut oil over medium heat, add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggplant and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until starts to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add more oil if necessary. Transfer to a large plate or bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining coconut oil, then stir in the curry sauce, garlic and ginger. Add the lamb and stir until coated with the spice mix. Season with salt and add the yogurt (or coconut milk, if using instead).

  3. Increase the heat to medium. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to bubble. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, covered, for about 25 minutes, stirring now and again.
  4. Return the eggplant and onion to the pan, add the tomatoes and cook for a further 15 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and sugar. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste, if needed. Add the grated carrots. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve with the steamed rice and lime wedges. Enjoy!

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German Beef Rouladen

German food. Love, love, love it. Succulent beef, delicious gravy. The origin of the word “roulade” may be French but Rouladen is very much a traditional German dish usually consisting of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef which is browned, then braised over low heat in a red wine broth.

Although this dish was once considered a standard meal for common people, nowadays it is often only enjoyed on special occasions. I guess that’s because most of us don’t have time to prepare a meal like this!

Yes, be prepared, this one takes some time to prepare, so plan about 2 hours in total. About 30-45 minutes for preparation and another 1 1/2 hours in the oven. Pretty much a Sunday dinner dish — but still one of my favorites. Even though I’m not a big meat eater, I love this dish!

German Beef Rouladen

German Beef Rouladen

German Beef Rouladen

Rather than streaky bacon, I like to use Coppa di Parma, which is an Italian cured ham that is deliciously spiced, cured for 3 months, and has a similar taste to Parma ham (prosciutto) but is a little fattier.

PS) this is a great dish that can also be made ahead and reheated in the gravy when ready to serve (actually I think it tastes better this way!). I always make extra so I can do exactly this the next day! And…don’t skip the dash of pickle juice at the end, it’s key to the gravy!

German Beef Rouladen
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German Beef Rouladen

The origin of the word “roulade” may be French but beef Rouladen is very much a traditional German dish usually consisting of bacon, onions, mustard and pickles wrapped in thinly sliced beef which is browned, then braised over low heat in a red wine broth.
Course Main Course
Category German
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 6 slices top round or rump beef (preferably organic)
  • approx. 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 18 slices Coppa di Parma, or 12 slices of breakfast bacon (preferably organic)
  • 2-3 small yellow onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 3 dill pickles, sliced long ways
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 piece celery root or 1-2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 leek, diced
  • 1/2 bottle dry red wine (good quality)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups beef broth (500 ml)
  • 1 dash pickle juice
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 320°F / 160°C
  2. Lay beef out flat and lightly spread each slice with mustard; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place 3 slices Coppa di Parma, some onion slices and half a pickle on each slice; roll up and secure with toothpicks or kitchen string.
  3. Melt the butter in a large over-proof skillet or Dutch oven and brown the outside of the beef rolls (roulade). Once brown, remove and set aside on a plate.
  4. Place the celery, the remaining onion, the leeks and carrots in the pan and sauté for a few minutes, until soft.
  5. Stir briefly, then add a very thin layer of red wine; without stirring allow to cook until the liquid evaporates. Once the vegetables are dry again, a layer of wine, briefly stir and also to further evaporate. Repeat this until the 1/2 bottle of wine has been used up. Continue to allow vegetables to cook until liquid has evaporated but vegetables remain moist. Add the broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper and a good dash of pickle juice.
  6. Place the roulade on top of the vegetables, cover and braise over low heat (160 degrees) for 1 1/2 hours, or until beef is tender.
  7. Remove roulades and keep warm. With a little water, puree sauce and thicken (optional) with corn starch until it reaches the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pickle juice as needed.
  8. Remove toothpicks/string and return roulades to the sauce. Serve with spätzle or boiled potatoes and steamed vegetables.

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Tagliatelle al Ragù (Classic Bolognese) with Veal

I’ve been told a bolognese cannot be called a bolognese at all and that a true and authentic bolognese is actually called tagliatelle al ragù because Italian chefs insist that it should be served with a flat pasta rather than thin spaghetti because the meat clings to it better…AND like all ragùs, it’s characterized by its long, slow cooking, which means it must simmer for at least __ hours and can or cannot have tomato/milk/only one type of meat in it. That last part is debatable. But the great thing about cooking is, that in your kitchen, you can cook things the way you like them best!

Tagliatelle al Ragù with Veal — the real deal!

As for me, and my eagerness to find yet another bolognese of my dreams, I’ve decided to try an interpretation of “real deal”. Real deal according to my recipe which is a slight variation of the original recipe according to the Italian Academy of Cuisine.

Tagliatelle al Ragù (klassische Bolognese) mit Kalbfleisch

Apparently, an authentic bolognese is nothing like the one my mother made when I was growing up. Rather than what seemed like a cart full of tomatoes, a couple onions, all-too-fatty ground beef and Italian seasoning, a true bolognese contains no tomato sauce — rather just enough fresh tomatoes, meaning very little (or a tad tomato paste), only there to add a hint of sweetness — uses two types of meat, a lavish glug of vino rosso or bianco, is simmered in milk to mellow out the acidity of the tomatoes, and contains no spices…just an equal portion of onion, celery and carrots. What makes it epic though is the slow simmering — for at least an hour, preferably 2, 3 or 4 — somehow necessary to develop a complex flavor and velvety texture. Although simple, with all this time, best make lots ’cause this sauce also freezes beautifully.

Well, I broke one rule. I used ground veal, but go ahead, lean ground beef will also do. Don’t forget the pancetta though, it adds a beautiful smoky taste.

Looking for more delicious Bolognese recipes?

Tagliatelle al Ragù (Classic Bolognese) with Veal
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Tagliatelle al Ragù (Classic Bolognese) with Veal

Tagliatelle al Ragù (Classic Bolognese) with veal uses two types of meat, a lavish glug of vino rosso or bianco, is simmered in milk to mellow out the acidity of the tomato paste, and contains no spices...just an equal portion of onion, celery and carrots.
Course Main Course, Sauce
Category Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 558 kcal
Autor Elle

Ingredients

  • 400 grams fresh tagliatelle or fettuccine
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 150 grams pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 400 grams minced veal (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste it's recommended to use triple concentrated tomato purée, which is standard in my supermarket, but if only using double concentrated, then increase the quantity by about a third
  • 1/2 glass dry red or white wine (120 ml)
  • 3/4 cup fresh milk (180 ml)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven, fry the pancetta gently in a little olive oil over medium heat until it starts to release its fat. Be careful not to burn.
  2. Add the carrot, celery and onion and sauté until the onion becomes translucent, stirring from time to time.
  3. Add the veal and cook until it is lightly browned.
  4. Add the tomato paste and wine; mix well. Add the milk, little by little, stir until well combined.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, lower heat, cover and cook very slowly for 1 to 2 hours (if time allows, up to 4 hours).
  6. Serve with fettuccine or tagliatelle (forget spaghetti!) and parmesan on the side. Enjoy!

Notes

Cooking the ragù in a heavy enamel coated dutch oven or similar pot will hold the heat steady for a long simmer.

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