Nashville January 20, 2020…..24 degrees and Cloudy.
If you follow Food on Fifth you are probably aware that we like soup. All kinds and flavors of soups have been shared over the years, soups for vegetarians, soups for meat lovers, pots of soup both large and small….winter soups and all-year long soups.
This is one of my new favorites and was created using what I had on hand with the requirement that it was quick to prep and cook, while being healthy and delicious. Four ingredients and 30 minutes later, not counting the salt and pepper, dinner was ready. It is just as “easy-as-this”.
When in doubt, make soup.
4 Ingredient Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup
- 4 cups chicken stock, chicken bone broth or vegetable broth for the vegetarians
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
- a large handful of baby spinach leaves
- sea salt and coarse black pepper
- Bring stock or broth to a low boil over medium heat. Add the chunks of sweet potato and cook for 15 minutes or until potatoes are “fork tender”. Add the black beans, salt and pepper to taste and cook for 10 minutes longer. Toss in the handful of spinach at the end and cook for another 5 minutes until spinach is wilted.
- Serve this healthy, simple soup hot and steamy. It is as easy-as-that!
Fall and Winter are my favorite times for what I call “real cooking”. Cooler days and nights call for warmer, cozy foods. I do so love the deep, darker colors of roasted meats and vegetables all nestled down in one pot with magic carpet spices & herbs…all the juices swirling together to create flavorful sopping with a chunk of crusty bread. This is how we like to eat in the fall and winter.
Words like “stews”, “braising”, “roasting” come to my mind this time of year as well as “tagine”. Tagine is both a type of casserole dish used in much North African cooking as well as types of recipes/stews using said dish. One day I am going to purchase a real tagine casserole dish, but in the meantime I make my recipe for “Chicken Tagine with Dried Figs and Sweet Potatoes” in a heavy, oven-safe pot and that works just fine. I got my beautiful “bird” from my CSA, Fresh Harvest. Below is “before” cooking……….
……this is “after”.
The dried figs plump up, the sweet potatoes soften…the juicy chicken is absolutely falling off the bone. Opening the lid conjures up distant lands as the aromas of coriander, turmeric and ginger waft up.
From Nashville to Morocco in a magic-carpet one-pot very sharable meal. Bon Appetit (or “besseha” Arabic/Moroccan.)
Chicken Tagine with Dried Figs and Sweet Potatoes
- 1 whole chicken cut into quarters or 4 leg quarters
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 smashed garlic cloves
- 3 tsp ground cumin seed
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 large onion cut into large chunks
- 1 large sweet potato peeled & cut into chunks
- 12 whole dried figs
- the juice and zest of one orange
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In a skillet brown the chicken pieces in olive oil over medium high heat. Set aside.
- Place browned chicken pieces in the bottom of a large oven-safe pot with a lid.
- Evenly scatter over chicken pieces the smashed garlic cloves, cumin seed, coriander, ginger, turmeric cayenne pepper, black pepper & sea salt.
- Nestle the chunked onions & sweet potatoes and whole dried figs and orange zest under and around the chicken pieces.
- Gently pour the orange juice and chicken stock into the pot.
- Cover and bake for approximately 2 hours or until the chicken is falling-off-the-bone done.
- Raise oven temp to 375. Uncover pot and cook for another 20 minutes. Serve in bowls with thick slices of crusty bread for sopping. The flavors are sublime…the aroma transporting!
Note: This would be an excellent alternative for a Thanksgiving meal instead of turkey perhaps?
Teresa Blackburn teresablackburnfoodstyling.com foodonfifth.com
(This recipe is based on one I cooked years ago for the first time by food writer and cook, Crescent Dragonwagon. I have made changes to suit our palate.)
White Enamel Oven-safe Pot – TJMaxx
Linens – Ikea and my collection
Chicken – Organic whole hen from my CSA Fresh Harvest. Fresh Harvest/Locally Grown
Recently I worked on a photo shoot that called for “Purple Sweet Potatoes”? Luckily they were not hard to find & luckily there were a few left over from the shoot for me to bring home to Food on Fifth. I also happened to have a couple of “Beauregard” sweet potatoes which are a deep orange-red inside purchased from my CSA, Fresh Harvest.
I love potatoes…any and all potatoes..but I do have a special adoration for the sometimes gnarly locally grown sweet potato in all it’s formations. Never uniform in shape or color, or size…these are the ones I am drawn to.
Mashed together with butter…..a gratin with cream or milk….baked? I recently ran across a reference to a dish I was unfamiliar with….a “Tian”….it seems it can be both a shallow casserole type dish originating in Provence as well as a recipe cooked in this type of dish. I realized I had just purchased a “tian the dish” in which I could bake the “tian recipe”!
The turquoise tian…the purple & deep orange sweet potatoes…stunningly beautiful.
A Sweet Potato Tian
- 2 orange sweet potatoes (yams, etc) mine were “Beauregard’s”
- 2 purple sweet potatoes (Stokes Purple) or any other
- 2 large or 4 small shallots sliced
- 1/4 cup good olive oil
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- fresh or dried thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash and pat dry the sweet potatoes. Peel using a vegetable peeler and trim ends flat. Slice each into “coins” about 1/4 inch thick.
- Toss sweet potato slices in a large bowl with the olive oil, salt & pepper until well coated.
- In a “tian” (shallow earthenware casserole dish) scatter sliced shallots over the bottom and then alternate the slices of purple and red sweet potatoes..2 red, 2 purple and so on until the dish is filled.
- Scatter thyme leaves over all. Cover dish with a sheet of foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes covered. Uncover & sprinkle Cheddar & Gruyere over the top.
- Return to the oven, raising the temp to 400 degrees. Bake for about 20-30 more minutes until the potatoes are “knife” tender and the cheeses are melted and just a bit bubbly. Serve immediately or set aside and cover loosely with foil for up to 30 minutes.
Notes: This is a great lower calorie and fat dish than the typical “gratin” which usually has milk or cream, and cheeses. Serve as a side dish or with a salad as an entrée.
Recipe by: Teresa Blackburn, Food on Fifth Blog 11/2014 teresablackburnfoodstyling.com
Turquoise Tian Dish – Set of 3 “Anthropologie” online or in store ; Linen Napkin “Restoration Hardware” online; Silver Spoon “Gas Lamp Antique Mall, Nashville”; Brown Speckled Enamel “Nashville Flea Market”
“Roasted Root Vegetable Slab Pie with a Gluten-free Corn Flour Crust”
Purple & deep red sweet potatoes, white parsnips, turnips shaded from lavender to white, onions of all sorts, beets from golden to deep purple, variegated fingerlings potatoes, tri-color carrots……..I am obsessed with the abundance piled gloriously in the farmer’s markets. They glow as the sun sets and I choose a few of each to roast for this pie.
One of the things I love about photographing food for my blog this time of year is the soft blue cast that seems to be ever-present. It reminds me of North Sea light or a bright snowy day.
Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Cornflour was the base for this crispy crust. Some Gruyere shredded, softened herb goat cheese dollops & thyme leaves added to the mix. Very easy dough to make in the processor & simple to press into a baking sheet pan while the vegs are roasting.
People often ask me if I do a lot of cooking at home. Although I am surrounded by food every day in my job as a food stylist we still eat at home most nights. I cook very simple foods like this pie that can be eaten for a couple of nights with a change in the salad to accompany it. This is the sort of recipe I make on a Saturday or Sunday for supper. Easy & quick using fresh vegetables with a bit of cheese baked in a very simple crust. Salads and more salads at least 4 nights a week as the stand alone entrée. One day I will blog on our “variations on the salad” which are the basis of most of our meals.
Parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic cloves & baby red potatoes slightly roasted & scattered across the bottom of the cheese topped dough.
Baked with slices of Feta cheese on top. Freshly ground black pepper & crunchy sea salt.
Cut into slabs, eaten warm with a simple green salad & a glass of wine for a November supper.
Roasted Root Vegetable Slab Pie in a Gluten Free Corn Flour Crust
Ingredients for crust:
- 2 cups gluten-free corn flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand)
- A pinch of sea salt
- 2 tsp thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese
- 1/2 stick butter cut into small pieces & frozen
- 1 egg
- ice water
Ingredients for roasted vegetables:
- 2 parsnips, peeled & cut into chunks
- 1 carrot, peeled & cut into chunks
- 1 sweet potato, peeled & cut into chunks
- 6 baby new potatoes, cut in half
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion, cut into chunks
- 1/2 orange or yellow bell pepper cut into thick slivers
- 4 garlic cloves
- a few tablespoons of olive oil
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere Cheese (divided)
- 4 ounces softened herb goat cheese
- 4 to 6 ounces Feta cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place all the chunked vegs & garlic cloves on a sheet pan. Drizzle on a few tablespoons of olive oil, black pepper & sea salt. Toss well.
- Bake vegs just until al dente. About 12 minutes. Remove from oven to cool a bit. Turn oven down to 375 degrees.
- While the vegs are roasting make the crust. Put the corn flour in the bowl of a food processor along with the pinch of sea salt & thyme leaves. Pulse a few times to mix.
- Add 1/4 cup of the Gruyere shreds & cold butter pieces to the bowl and pulse until the mixture becomes grainy.
- Add the egg & pulse a few times. Drizzle in the ice water until a soft dough forms. Scrape dough from the processor bowl. Form into a flatten dough ball, wrap in plastic and chill while vegs are cooling or for about 15 minutes.
- Press chilled dough into the bottom and up the sides of a baking sheet pan using your fingers.
- Scatter the remaining 1/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese over the bottom of the crust & top with dollops of the softened herbed goat cheese.
- Scatter the roasted vegs over the cheeses & top with pieces of Feta cheese.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the crust browns & vegs are softened. Serve hot or warm with a side salad of arugula or baby kale & a glass of your favorite wine. A good way to end a November weekend, with some leftovers for later in the week.
Note: This would also be great cut into smaller pieces to serve as an appetizer during the Holidays. Add chunks of butternut squash or pumpkin.
This was my first time using corn flour to make a savory pie crust. It is like a shortbread crust rather than a flakey crust which was really great with the roasted sweetness of the root vegs.