Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cast Iron Comfort

I recently bought myself a new piece of kitchen pride:


Yup, she's an enameled, 6-Qt, cast iron Dutch oven. It's almost too heavy for me to lift (empty!), but it has become one of the most invaluable things in my equipment cache to date. Ever since I started to cook - really cook - I have been craving one of these, whether it was a Le Creuset like the ones I saw on FoodBuzz' Daily Special today or not (this, obviously, falls in the not category). I think it's just one of "those things" you covet as a foodie, but what a useful thing to wish for! It's become my "mom pot" of sorts, because since I bought it every single soup and stock I've made for her has been slowly coddled in my red magic-maker of a pot. Not once have I burned rice in there, nor garlic, and let me tell you it deglazes like a DREAM! Which worked out really quite nicely when I started putting together all the pieces for one of my latest "comfort bowls" (I call it that since stoup is taken). My mom actually told me that this relatively simple (and economical!) ground beef soup, filled with adzuki beans, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, a Texmati rice blend and finished with Parmesan, is her favourite concoction of mine to date. Now, how to compete with myself??

Beefy Bean and Vegetable-Rice Soup
Serves 8 generously
1/4 cup water
1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 shallots, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
10-oz canned sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 29-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup mushroom tomato sauce
1 cup dry adzuki beans, soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
6.5 oz baby red potatoes, halved or quartered if large
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup Texmati long and wild rice blend
5.5 oz chopped asparagus
5 oz chopped green beans
Salt, to taste
  1. Heat water in a large stockpot over medium-high.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring to crumble.
  3. Add shallots, zucchini, bell pepper, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with garlic powder and black pepper, cook 2 minutes further.
  5. Add wine, stirring vigorously to dislodge browned bits, then stir in the broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, bay leaf, basil, oregano and 2 tbsp of the Parmesan.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the potatoes and remaining Parmesan.
  8. Partially cover the pot and simmer 1 hour longer, until beans are tender.
  9. Stir in the water, rice, asparagus and green beans and simmer (covered) 25-30 minutes longer, until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender. Add salt to taste.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 336.2
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 22.7 mg
Sodium: 925.8 mg
Total Carbs: 46.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.5 g
Protein: 17.6 g

1 comment :

David T. Macknet said...

Oooh! Envious of that pot! Awesome!