eat your greens
The soup was very easy to prepare, approximately 45 minutes. The onion, carrot, mustard seeds and salt and pepper are sautéed in butter until the onion is soft. The broccoli is added along with the liquid and cooked until the broccoli is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. I puréed the soup in my KitchenAid Stand Blender. When done, I returned it to the pan adding the lemon juice and adjusting the seasoning. Instead of whisking in sour cream, which I did not have, I added heavy cream in its place.
What a delicious soup! The broccoli flavor was perfect and the lemon juice added a bit of brightness. It was just enough for supper one evening and lunch a couple of days later.
A wonderful winter vegetable to enjoy are Brussels Sprouts. I have a nice selection of recipes on my blog utilizing them from side dishes to main courses paired with gnocchi, chicken and pork chops. Recently in the “What to Make this Week” section of The New York Times (January 28, 2023), Yasmin Fahr had a citrusy take on Sheet-Pan Lemony Chicken with Brussels Sprouts. For this dish you’ll need unsalted butter (or ghee), lemons (plus zest), flat leaf parsley, kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, olive oil, bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (I substituted breasts), small red onion, red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan cheese.
This recipe is a sheet pan meal taking approximately one hour from start to finish. First, an herbed butter is made that will be spread both under and on top of the skin. The butter is made with lemon zest, parsley and salt. For the accompanying Brussels sprouts, they are halved and mixed with onion wedges, lemon rounds, olive oil, salt, pepper and some of the herbed butter. The chicken is placed on a sheet pan and the Brussels sprouts surround the chicken. The meal is roasted for approximately 30-35 minutes.
To serve, a remaining lemon halve is squeezed over the entire meal and lemon wedges are served alongside. The dish is garnished with additional chopped parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.
Wow, what a meal, the chicken was sublime. The lemon didn’t overpower either the chicken or the vegetables, but gave it a lovely, subtle flavor. The Brussels sprouts and red onion had a deep golden color and were caramelized. Overall, another fabulous meal courtesy of The New York Times and their culinary staff contributors.
On a final note, and keeping with the green theme. We celebrated our son’s recent birthday this weekend. We were at Walt Disney World with his sister and family on his official birthday. For his birthday dinner he requested beef with a béarnaise sauce. I work at Palmer’s Quality Meats in Neptune City, NJ and I thought the best cut to go with béarnaise sauce is a filet mignon. For the sauce, I followed a recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, a contributor to the website Serious Eats. Kenji’s recipe is made sans a double boiler, but has you heating up the butter and its residual heat is what will cook the egg yolks. For the recipe you’ll need dry white wine, white wine vinegar, 3 sprigs of fresh chervil, 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, small shallot, whole black peppercorns, 2 egg yolks, kosher salt and 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
The liquids are infused with flavor with the herb stems, shallots and black peppercorns. Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate fresh tarragon or chervil in my local food stores nor did they carry dried chervil. I opted to use approximately 2 teaspoons of dried tarragon leaves. These ingredients simmer for about 25 minutes or until reduced to about 1-1/2 tablespoons. The solids are strained out leaving just the liquid. Using a 1-quart mason jar and an immersion blender, the wine reduction, egg yolks, and a pinch of salt are combined. Next, the melted butter is slowly added to the jar with the blender on to create an emulsion of the egg yolk and liquid. The sauce became thick and creamy; I adjusted the seasoning with salt and pepper, a dash more tarragon and chopped fresh parsley. Since béarnaise cannot be cooled then reheated, I placed the mason jar in a saucepan with warm water using the simmering setting on my stovetop. I stirred it occasionally and checked it frequently to make sure it remained a thick sauce.
Everyone loved the dinner. The grassfed filet mignon was extraordinary! I roasted it in a 425° oven until the internal temperature was about 130°. The meat was tender and juicy; to bring it over the top, my wonderful sauce. To round out this birthday supper, the birthday boy requested broccoli rabe and mashed potatoes. The was a nice piece of filet left which we shared with our son and kept a bit for ourselves.
Cream of Broccoli Soup
“Gourmet Magazine,” December 1993
Yield: about 4 cups, serving 2
Time: approximately 45 minutes
¾ cup chopped onion
1 carrot, sliced thin
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ pound broccoli, chopped coarse (about 3-1/2 cups)
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
¼ cups sour cream
In a heavy saucepan, cook the onion, the carrot, the mustard seeds and salt and pepper to taste in the butter over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is soft, add the broccoli, the stock and the water and simmer the mixture covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the broccoli tender. In a blender puree the soup in batches until it is smooth, transferring it as it is pureed to another heavy saucepan. Whisk in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste, heat the soup over moderately low heat, and whisk in the sour cream (do not let soup boil).
Sheet-Pan Lemony Chicken with Brussels Sprouts
By Yasmin Fahr
The New York Times|”What to Make this Week”
January 28th, 2023
Time: 1 hour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee, at room temperature
2 lemons, both zested (about 2 tablespoons), 1 cut into very thin rounds and 1 halved, seeds removed
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1½ to 2 pounds)
1½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, tough outer leaves removed
1 small red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges
½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
¼ cup grated Parmesan
Foolproof Béarnaise Sauce Recipe
By J. Kenji-Lopez-alt
from the website “Serious Eats,”
updated September 15, 2022
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
3 sprigs chervil, leaves finely minced, stems reserved separately (optional; if not using add an extra sprig of tarragon)
3 sprigs tarragon, leaves finely minced, stems reserved separately
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
Combine wine, vinegar, herb stems, shallots, and black peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and lower heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook until reduced to about 1 1/2 tablespoons of liquid, about 15 minutes. Carefully strain liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.
Place head of immersion blender into the bottom of the cup with the wine reduction and turn it on. With the blender constantly running, slowly pour hot butter into cup. It should emulsify with the egg yolk and wine reduction. Continue pouring until all butter is added. Sauce should be thick and creamy (see notes). Season to taste with salt. Whisk in chopped tarragon and chervil, if using. Serve immediately, or transfer to a small lidded pot and keep in a warm place for up to 1 hour before serving. Béarnaise cannot be cooled and reheated.
Immersion blender, tall container that fits blender head, small saucepan, fine mesh strainer, small lidded pot (optional).
If your béarnaise is thin and runny, transfer to a large bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Whisk constantly and vigorously until sauce is thickened.
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A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.