The cauliflower, onion, stock, salt and bay leaf cook in a stockpot until the cauliflower is tender. Next, the heavy cream, butter and goat cheese are added and simmered for 10 minutes. You remove the bay leaf and, in batches, purée the soup.
With these adjustments, I had a creamy soup. The goat cheese gave the soup a slight tang and was quite flavorful. The soup is served with a garnish of mostarda, a mustard flavored syrup that is made with golden raisins, sugar, water, dry mustard, white wine, red pepper flakes, a bay leaf, toasted pistachios and extra virgin olive oil. The mostarda added complexity and was a nice contrast to the tang of the soup. A great soup to be added to my collection.
On Halloween, I wanted to make an easy one pot meal that didn’t require much effort; One-Pot Braised Chard with Gnocchi, Peas and Leeks from Melissa Clark of The New York Times fit the bill. In this week’s Dreyer’s CSA box, two rather large leeks were part of our share. Also from Dreyer’s, I picked up a bunch of rainbow chard. I love Wegmans shelf stable potato gnocchi as I have about a half dozen recipes that use them. For this recipe you’ll also need unsalted butter, fresh garlic, fresh thyme, kosher salt, black pepper, dry white wine, vegetable or chicken stock, fresh or frozen peas, fresh tarragon leaves, fresh parsley, grated Parmesan cheese and optional ingredients such as lemon wedges, fresh ricotta and red pepper flakes.
Using my LeCreuset, I cooked the chopped chard stems and thinly sliced leeks in butter until light brown and tender. To season the mixture, fresh garlic, thyme, salt and pepper are added. The pan is deglazed with the white wine followed by the addition of stock. The gnocchi and coarsely chopped chard leaves are added. I covered the pot to soften the leaves. To finish, peas and tarragon were added. Before serving, I added a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness and Parmesan cheese.
What a wonderful meal! The dish was light, yet filling. The gnocchi was tender and moist. The soup like sauce was quite flavorsome with a hint of licorice from the fresh tarragon. I did try a bit of ricotta cheese, but I found it chilled the taste too much to my liking. My husband, who usually likes to add red pepper flakes to a dish, felt this one was perfectly seasoned. Overall, a great meal done in 45 minutes.
Everyone has a stuffed pepper recipe that they like. I used to follow my late mother’s where she added uncooked white rice to her ground beef filling. While my late mother-in-law's browned the ground beef and added tomato sauce for her filling. For Lidia’s recipe you’ll need Arborio rice, salt, cubanella or banana peppers, extra virgin olive oil, an onion, an egg, ground meat (beef, pork and veal), grated grana padano cheese , fresh Italian parsley, fresh oregano and tomato sauce.
I wanted to try this recipe for a few reasons since it uses cubanella peppers and the blend of meat and the herbs. Lidia’s recipe starts by cooking the onions in olive oil until softened. The cooked onions are then blended with the ground meat, egg, cheese, herbs and cooked rice. The peppers are then filled, outside rubbed with olive oil and roasted for 20 minutes followed by adding tomato sauce and baking for an additional 30 minutes or so.
I must say, using cubanella peppers was a game changer for me. The peppers have a thinner wall than bell peppers and cook up much tender. The meat blend, herbs and other ingredients made for a light and tasty filling. I used my homemade tomato sauce instead of using Lidia’s recipe from her book, “Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen,” where this recipe can be found or on her website, “Lidia’s Italy.” My husband and I enjoyed this different preparation and it will find its way into our meal rotation.
Cauliflower & Goat Cheese Soup
Recipe by Chef Jill Mathias
Chez Nous, Charleston, SC
From “Charleston Magazine,” February 2023
2 heads cauliflower, about 2 lbs., cored and chopped
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
4 quarts water or chicken stock*
2 Tbs. kosher salt
1 bay leaf
11/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup crumbled goat cheese
For the Golden Raisin & Pistachio Mostarda:
11/2 cups golden raisins
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 cup white wine
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup toasted pistachios, chopped
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place the cauliflower, onion, chicken stock, salt, and bay leaf in a stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until cauliflower is tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in cream, butter, and cheese and simmer for 10 more minutes. Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Season to taste. Garnish with the mostarda.
For the Golden Raisin & Pistachio Mostarda:
Combine raisins, sugar, water, mustard, wine, red pepper flakes, and bay leaf in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. In a separate bowl, combine the pistachios and olive oil. Stir into the raisin mixture. Cool. Place a teaspoonful on top of each bowl of cauliflower soup and serve.
*I used 4 cups of chicken stock as I thought 4 quarts was a misprint based on another cream of cauliflower soup that I make.
One-Pot Braised Chard with Gnocchi, Peas and Leeks
By Melissa Clark
“Gnocchi, Leeks, Soupy Greens: What Else Do You Need?”
The New York Times/A Good Appetite
April 30, 2021
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced thinly into half-moons
1 pound chard, preferably rainbow or red (about 2 bunches), stems thinly sliced and leaves coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or finely grated
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper
¾ cup dry white wine
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 pound potato gnocchi (fresh, frozen or shelf-stable all work)
2 cups peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 cup torn parsley leaves and tender stems, for serving
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Lemon wedges, for serving
Fresh ricotta, for serving (optional)
Red-pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
By Lidia Bastianich
From www.lidiasitaly.com or
“Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen” cookbook
1/3 cup Arborio Rice
8 Cubanella or banana peppers, each about 6-inches long
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Medium yellow onion, chopped
8 Ounces ground meat (preferably a mix of beef, pork and veal)
1 Large egg
1/3 CUP grated Grana Padano cheese
3 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley ABLESPOONS CHOPPED ITALIAN PARSLEY
2 Teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
3 Cups tomato sauce
Cook the Arborio rice in a large saucepan of salted water until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.
While the rice is cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, prepare the peppers, and start the filling. Cut the stems from the peppers and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a teaspoon. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook, stirring until wilted, about 4 minutes. Scrape the onion into a mixing bowl, add the ground meat, egg, grated cheese, parsley, oregano, and cooked rice, and stir together until evenly blended.
Divide the filling among the peppers, using about ¼ cup to fill each pepper loosely. Rub the outside of the peppers lightly with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, placing them in a baking dish as you do so. Roast the peppers, turning once or twice with tongs, until softened and lightly browned in spots, about 20 minutes.
Pour in enough of the tomato sauce barely to cover the peppers. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and let stand 10 minutes before serving.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.