Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Curried Green (English) Pea Soup, Minted Black-Eyed Peas and Rice Casserole, and Ginger-Carrot Muffins

We're already taking a break from our week of freezer meals. I didn't have any meat-free meals in there, so this is getting snuck in between the Thai Beef and Chicken and White Bean Chili.
The casserole and the muffins are new recipes....the soup a tried and true from Bon Appetit magazine.

Update: A great meal...both new recipes worked out really well. All components are very simple to make and all have really great flavor.

Curried Pea Soup:
I double the recipe and freeze half.

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 large onion, chopped
5 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups (or more) chicken broth (you can use a good veggie broth)
2 10-ounce packages frozen petite green peas or 3 pound fresh peas,
shelled (about 4 1/2 cups)

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
a little fresh mint if you have it is a super addition too.

Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 onion and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add curry and stir 30 seconds.

Add 4 cups broth and peas and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peas are very tender, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Puree in blender (I tried the stick blender, but you can't get a smooth enough consistency) in batches. Make sure you only fill the blender carafe 1/2 full with soup each time. Hold a dish towel firmly over the lid and make sure it doesn't fly off when you start blending. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Mix yogurt, cilantro and red onion in small bowl. Cover; chill up to 2 hours. (I have to say...I never make the full amount of yogurt and I never measure the amounts. So just use as much of each ingredient as you want.)

Rewarm soup, stirring often. Serve with dollop of yogurt mixture.

Carrot-Ginger Muffins:

I thought these might be interesting with the soup and I get to use my oat flour too!
This is an adaptation of a King Arthur Flour recipe by food blogger Culinary in the Country. King Arthur Flour's original recipe can be found here if you'd rather use all whole wheat flour.
I ate a "test muffin" slathered with Brummel and Brown spread for a quick snack this afternoon and they're really good! :-)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used Sucanat...add scant 1/4 tsp extra baking soda if using instead of sugar. You need to add 1/4 tsp extra per cup...so figure it that way)
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I'm not sure if I remembered to put this in! D'oh!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup diced crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I actually used 1/2 tsp double strength vanilla, but I don't suppose it matters)
1/3 cup canola oil
2 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preheat oven to 400

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, flax, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, salt, cardamom and crystallized ginger.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and oil.
Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Fold in the carrots and walnuts.
Evenly divide the mixture between the wells of a 12 cup muffin tin coated with nonstick spray.

Bake until the centers spring back when lightly touched, about 18 to 24 minutes (mine took 20). Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Freeze any extra muffinks you have for later!

Minted Black-Eyed Peas and Rice Casserole:
(or, Pudhina Lobhia Pulao)

This recipe is from...wait for it...
Betty Crocker's Indian Home Cooking. Are you done ROFL yet?
Ok, it's actually a pretty cool book. The recipes are all by Raghavan Iyer...a distinctly East Indian looking fellow. And all the recipes I've tried so far are really great. This is a new one to try and I decided to make it because the ingredient list wasn't a mile long. I'm adapting this to use brown rice, but I'm typing it as written in the book. I'll be using all the same ingredients, just preparing it differently because I'm using the brown rice.

1 cup uncooked basmati or regular long-grain rice
2 Tbs canola oil
2 3" cinnamon sticks (I used one and a half sticks...)
2 dried bay leaves
1 medium red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, chopped (~3/4 cup)
1 can (15-16 oz) black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp garam masaala
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (I probably only used 1/2 cup chopped and it was fine)

1. Place rice in medium bowl; add enough cold water to cover rice. Rub rice gently between fingers; drain. Repeat 4-5 times until water is clear; drain. cover rice with cold water and soak 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Heat oil in heavy 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon sticks and bay leaves; sizzle 15-20 seconds or until cinnamon swells up. Add onion; stir-fry 2-3 minutes, or until onion is partially brown.

3. Stir in tomato. Simmer uncovered 3-4 minutes or until softened. Stir in black-eyed peas, garam masaala and salt.

4. Add rice; gently stir-fry 1 minute, taking care not to break tender rice grains. Stir in 2 1/2 cups cold water. Heat to boiling, stirring once; reduce heat to med.-high. Cook uncovered for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally , until almost all the water has evaporated.

5. Spread mint over top of rice; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 5 minutes; remove from heat. Let rice stand covered 10 to 15 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork to release steam.

My rice cooker version using brown rice...so easy and yummy!

Start a pot of brown rice. No need to wash, or soak it. I made the least amount our rice cooker will make.
~20 minutes after you've turned on the rice pot, proceed with steps 2. and 3. then put the onion/tomato/pea mixture into the rice cooker and stir. Replace lid and continue to let the pot do it's thing.
When rice cooker clicks from "cook" to "warm", spread chopped mint on top of rice, quickly replace the top, and let stand for 15 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and serve garnished with more mint.

For lunch the next day I warmed some of this and then put it over baby spinach, with chopped tomato and the remaining yogurt topping from the soup as a quasi dressing. So good!

1 comment:

Beth said...

The soup was yummy! I'm lazy and the immersion blender seemed easier, so I just used that and had chunkier soup. We also did the black eyed pea and rice casserole. I had the darnedest time finding black eyed peas - no cans, just frozen. Didn't realize they weren't cooked until after I took the first bite... Back on to simmer some more...