Posts tagged #dinner

Lekker: Quinoa Tabbouleh

No, I didn't sneeze. It's food, I promise.

TABBOULEH! Know it? It's a Middle Eastern grain salad that's been around for eons upon ages, and typically it's not one of my favourite foods. Nothing against Middle Eastern food, of course--in fact I love it--but tabbouleh usually has a consistency that is not very pleasing to my tongue. With this recipe so chock full of fresh veggies and salty goodness, though, we've got zero problems.

And yes yes I know. Quinoa (KEEN-wah, if you haven't heard the yuppies talking about it as the next big health craze for the last 5 years) is not the traditional grain to use in tabbouleh. TOO BAD; that's what I had in my fridge and I like it better than bulgur anyway because it's got more protein per serving: 8 grams per cooked cup versus bulgur's 6. This is also an excellent swap if you're gluten-free since quinoa is technically a seed, not a wheat product.

I am *also* aware that traditional tabbouleh does not contain carrots, olives, or feta cheese, but if you're going to say no to those types of things I'm not sure I want to be friends with you anyway.

So, onwards we go to this strangely addictive light vegetarian lunch or dinner option (oooorrrr just add some grilled chicken to blow that whole vegetarian thing out of the water)!

This is the only time grain salads look pretty. Not pictured: olives and feta cheese.

serves two as a full salad for lunch or dinner; add grilled chicken if you want it a bit more filling

1 1/2-2 cups cooked quinoa (I used tri-colour since that's what I had)
2 Persian cucumbers, diced small (Persian cukes are the little wee ones packaged in a tray and covered with plastic wrap; I like them because they're super crunchy with minimal seeds but feel free to use an English hothouse cucumber--the super long ones wrapped in cling wrap--as well. Regular cucumbers don't have the kind of crunch you want here.)
1 large beefsteak tomato or 2-3 smaller Roma tomatoes, diced
2 scallions, finely diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
~1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped (Why are you bothering to measure a salad? Just take a "1/3 cup" to mean "a handful.")
~1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (or however much you want; I never let people tell me how much cheese I should or should not be eating dammit)
8-10 leaves fresh mint, finely chopped (Don't cheap out and use dried herbs! In this salad it's a total loss.)
8-10 leaves fresh Italian flat parsley, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely minced
Juice of 1 small lemon, pulp and seeds strained out
~1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

1. In a large bowl, toss together the cooked quinoa, diced cucumbers, diced tomatoes, scallions, carrots, olives, cheese, mint, and parsley. Then in a separate small bowl whisk up the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper until well combined to become your dressing.

2. Toss the salad with your dressing (add a bit more olive oil if it looks too dry), and leave it to chill out in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

As I said, this dish is actually super addictive. I wasn’t a huge fan of it the first time I ate it, but after it sat in the fridge for an hour I had another serving, and the more I ate it the more I wanted to eat more of it until I was essentially just shoveling it into my piehole, grains and parsley leaves flying everywhere. I are sexy.

Buon appetito!

Posted on June 20, 2015 and filed under Lekker.

Lekker: Vegan Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Hello there, and Happy Thanksgiving pals!

As a foodie I'm sure you can imagine that this is very nearly my favourite holiday of the year. Christmas is my actual favourite, but only because it's LONGER.

Because Thanksgiving is just one day I feel like it never really gets its proper due, so when I "grow up" one day I plan to host Thanksgiving dinners at least twice a year. It's such a great excuse to get together with friends and family for quality time, and besides, there's just too many cool recipes I want to try. Once per year is not cutting it. Bollocks.

(That plan hinges on the obviously faulty logic that I will, in fact, one day grow up--but nevermind.) 

Surprising no one I've been planning my Thanksgiving menu since sometime in September, and I ultimately decided that sweet potatoes were axed from this year's menu. Since it's just my Dad, my 20-year-old body building brother Champ and I for dinner this year it's quite the small party, and thus I had to be painfully limited with my side dishes.

Champ threw a hissy fit when he found out I wasn't doing sweet potatoes because OF COURSE he doesn't care about anything, ever, but the **second** I say no to something it's immediately the most important thing ever--but I'M IN CHARGE HERE DAMMIT!

However in light of the "family togetherness" of the holidays etc etc etc I yielded somewhat to the sweet-potato-based pressure by cooking up this vegan sweet potato and black bean chili for dinner.

None of us are vegans here but it's so lean, filling, and chock full of wholesome things, it'll make you feel better about yourself before you dive in face first to the gluttony and gravy-induced stupor that is Thanksgiving the following day.

Chili never looks particularly appetizing, but damn if it isn't delicious.

And yes, my father promptly ruined the "vegan" aspect by topping it with a mountain of shredded cheddar cheese.

serves 4


  • 1 very large, 2 medium, or 3 smallish sweet potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 green jalapeno, seeds removed and flesh diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or 2 15-oz tins; see my note below if you want to cook them from scratch)
  • 4 teaspoons adobo sauce from a tin of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (if you like your chili more on the spicy side, feel free to add in one of the chipotle peppers, chopped)
  • 1 28-oz tin diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth, to thin it out

Optional, To Screw Up The Whole Vegan Thing: Sour cream or shredded cheese, to serve

***On black beans from scratch:***

My Mother, God rest her soul, was born and raised in Guatemala on the traditional staple diet of black beans and rice. Do you think they use tinned beans down there? LOL, no. That's an American convenience, and it is convenient--but cooking your own is stupidly easy and SO worth it.

As the beans cook they release starch and flavouring into the cooking water, yielding this black salty broth that acted as my liquid in the chili recipe, and tastes AMAZING. Like I could sip that from a mug all day in bliss. These are the beans I remember from my childhood, and if you did a taste test of beans from scratch next to tinned beans, I absolutely guarantee without a doubt that the beans from scratch will come out on top, every time.

For God's sake, just make sure that they are fresh beans. The first time I made this recipe I used a batch of beans I dug up from the back of my Dad's pantry that I later found out were AT LEAST six goddamn years old. Turns out the older the beans are, the longer it takes to cook--which in this case was SIX HOURS PLUS AN OVERNIGHT SOAKING. It felt like forever. I felt like I was stuck in some kind of parallel universe where nothing cooked.

That's it for my rant on beans for now, but I'm planning on writing a recipe for cooking your own--and more importantly, why you should definitely, positively, should be putting them in and around your mouth.


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil. On it, toss together your diced sweet potatoes, paprika, salt and pepper to taste with only 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and spread out into a thin layer. Roast for 25 minutes, tossing once in between. Remove from the oven and set...somewhere. Aside. Out of your way.

Roasted sweet potato is the best sweet potato and there will be no debate on that fact.

2. In a large pot over medium heat, heat your olive oil and sauté up your onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeño, cumin, and oregano until everything is nice and soft. Add in the black beans, the tin of tomatoes, adobo sauce, sugar, and cocoa powder. Stir.

(Note: at this point, I added 1 cup of the black bean broth because the chili was too thick to simmer properly. If you opted for tinned beans, add in a cup of water or vegetable broth here.)

3. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer merrily away for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add in your sweet potato. Simmer for another 15 minutes-ish or until all heated through nicely.


There are zillions of chili toppings, of course, but in my house we dig shredded cheddar cheese and saltine crackers. Cheese is obviously not vegan, but there are vegan cheese options so if you're into it, by all means, have at it.

Lekker: Warm Roasted Kale, Broccolini & Chickpea Salad with Burrata

Hello hello! Last night I got back into the kitchen after almost a month away from recipe testing and let me tell you, it is SO GOOD FOR MY SOUL. There is absolutely no doubt that this is my passion in life. Cooking brings me so much joy, relaxes me, challenges me, and is the best never-ending entertainment. How fortunate that I picked a passion that is so easily practiced!

On to dinner, then. Everyone in the food world is "over" kale now, though whether it's because it's become too mainstream (cue my "snobby hipster bullshit" alarm) or just because we all got over-saturated with it for awhile I can't be sure.

Personally I can't be bothered with trends (I am still wearing distressed denim and ask me if I care) so *I* still love roasted kale like mad, and since the broccolini was looking so utterly bright green and wonderful in the shop I decided to toss this salad together. It takes about 10 minutes, tops, and manages to be warm, filling, crunchy and creamy all at the same time.

serves 2



  • 1 bunch fresh kale torn into large pieces (It looked so hardy and good in the store that I decided to work with whole fresh leaves instead of using the usual pre-washed bagged stuff as I usually do. I think this helped control some of the possible bitterness in kale, and come on, it's not hard to rinse the leaves and tear them into large pieces. Remember that kale, like spinach, cooks down tremendously so err on the side of more rather than less when estimating raw kale.)
  • 8 ounces (about one small bunch) broccolini (If you don't know, broccolini is like baby broccoli. It has longer, more tender stems and larger buds on the "tree tops." I prefer it over regular broccoli for roasting, hands down.)
  • 1 tin chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans, same thing) rinsed and drained
  • salt & pepper
  • red pepper flakes or chili powder, to taste (I used about a teaspoon of chili powder)
  • olive oil for roasting
  • juice of about 1 lemon
  • 4 ounces burrata cheese, roughly sliced (Burrata is a type of mozzarella, but instead of being simply a solid ball of mozzarella it's got this delicious creamy center. It's oozy and rich and melts ever-so-slightly on top of the salad to give you the "necessary" richness for such a *healthy* salad!)



1. Heat your broiler on high. In a large bowl, toss together the broccolini, torn kale, chickpeas, salt, pepper, and either red pepper flakes or chili powder with a bit of olive oil until just coated. Spread out onto a baking sheet (you might need to use two; don't crowd the pan too much otherwise things won't roast properly) and broil for 6 minutes, tossing once at the 3 minute mark.

Like dis.

2. It'll be done when the kale is just turning brown in spots and the broccolini is bright green. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over all and top with the sliced burrata. Serve warm.

Lekker: Beef Short Rib Ragu

Did you know that the plural of "beef" is BEEVES??? I AM SERIOUS.

Now that that's out of the way, hi! I'm back, tonight with a beef short rib ragu done in the slow cooker than is the absolute definition of comfort food. Turned out to be quite serendipitous that it's snowing like hell here tonight, which somehow justifies "comfort food" even more. It does, though! I'm not even mad about it anymore; it's March 16th (ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME IT IS SPRING BREAK IN MOST PLACES RIGHT NOW OMFGGGGGG) and I've just resigned myself to the fate of living in an icy tundra for the rest of my days.

Anyways. I enjoyed this recipe tonight with my roommates Badger and Bear whilst listening to them bicker about their viability as an Amazing Race team. Kids, let me take all the mystery out of that one for you: one of you is coming home in a body bag.

 Tastes so much better than it looks, I promise!

Short Rib Ragu
serves 4

What You Need
3 pounds beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces (It's unlikely you'll find this kind of thing in your usual grocer; I suggest you find a local butcher who will not only have this cut but will be happy to cut it to the correct specifications as well.)
Preferred oil for frying (canola, vegetable, clarified butter/ghee, etc)
1 large carrot, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 celery rib, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced roughly
3 cloves garlic, simply crushed with the flat blade of your knife
1/2 cup red wine (Anything non-sweet that you have on hand will do: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cab Sav)
1 28-ounce tin whole tomatoes in juice
6-8 stalks fresh oregano
S & P to taste

Serve over these delicious mashed potatoes, though go easy on the half-and-half--you want these to be able to stand up as a sturdy base to the ragu, so you don't want them to be too creamy or soft.

What You Do

1. In a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sear off the short ribs, working in small batches so as not to crowd the pan (because that's the quickest way to get things steaming instead of frying, no bueno), until well-browned and nicely crusted on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep working until all the ribs are done.
2. Pour off any excessive fat in the pan, leaving only about a tablespoon. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes just until the carrots brighten in colour. Add the red wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits left over from the beef. Cook over medium heat until the red wine is mostly absorbed, then remove from heat.
3. Toss the beef and veggies together in a 5-6 quart slow cooker and add the can of tomatoes, breaking up with your hands as you go. (Careful--it's fun squishing them, but they squirt all over the place!) Sprinkle in 4 stalks of fresh oregano and add salt and pepper. Cover, and cook on High for 6 hours.

4. Hollaaaaaa! All done? Okay, if you're ready to eat then get those mashed potatoes going. While they're boiling, you'll want to remove the bones from the slow cooker (the meat should be so tender by now that they're easy to just pick up and remove) and shred the remaining meat with two forks. Add the remaining fresh oregano (fresh herbs lose their power during long cooking so you'll want to boost it up) and taste, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Remember that you're dealing with both beef and tomatoes here, both ingredients that simply cry out to be seasoned with salt.
5. Serve over a pillow of mashed potatoes and a glass of red wine. Hey, you opened a bottle to reduce those vegetables, didn't you? May as well. :)

Lekker: Bacon Wrapped Baked Eggs

This post is about bacon. That alone should be enough to grab your attention. How about breakfast for dinner? I'm a big fan of that, since my love for eggs is WELL documented, and usually by the time I am home and have had a glass of wine, breakfast is about as complicated as it gets around here! This little dish takes about 30 minutes to whip up start to finish and is fancy enough to do for a Sunday brunch, for a winkwinknudgenudge morning after, or to make yourself feel fancy for dinner. Bottom line: this stuff is the SHIT.

Give it a spin.

Serve with a fresh green salad for lunch, steamed/grilled/sauteed asparagus and feta for dinner, or with some cut fruit and a tall glass of OJ (read: mimosa) for breakfast.

Because bacon.

Bacon Wrapped Baked Eggs
makes 1 serving

What You Need
serves 1; scale up as needed, depending on how many guests you have the morning after--I'm not judging
2 slices bread OR a bit of Pillsbury croissant or biscuit dough (in the pop-open tins that are like jack-in-the-boxes for adults, that is to say, awful)
2 eggs
4 slices of bacon (thick cut, applewood smoked, whatever you like)
Optional: shredded cheddar cheese (yes), sliced scallions or green spring onions (yes), salt and pepper (of course) and/or anything else you like with your eggs.

What You Do
1. Preheat your oven to 375 and grease a muffin tin well. If you're using slices of bread, use a highball glass to stamp out two circles of bread, smooshing them down into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin. You'll want to spray the bread with whatever Pam or melted butter or whatever you used to grease the pan, too. If you're using the croissant dough, just unroll it and layer it on the bottom and sides of the muffin tin. That's stuff got enough grease on its own to be a musical.


2. Cook the bacon in the microwave until it's pliable but not cooked. Usually this takes only about a minute for me. Wrap two pieces in a "halo" of sorts above the bread, overlapping each other a bit.

3. You can add cheese/onions/herbs to the bottom and then pile the egg on top, or vice versa. Usually I do a bit of both. So, I drop a wee bit of sliced onions and shredded cheese on top of the bread, and crack an egg into that lovely little well you've made. Then top with more cheese, onions, salt and pepper, because you worked hard today putting up with all those idiots out there and you deserve it.


4. YOU'RE DONE. Pop into the oven for about 16 minutes and enjoy a whiskey drink, then remove. Depending on how hot your oven gets you might want to start checking at 14 minutes; take it out when the whites are solid and cooked through. Let it cool for about 3 minutes (this gives the bread and egg time to release itself from the sides of the muffin tin) and run a knife around the edges, popping out onto a warm plate. Serve with your vegetable of choice (to counteract all that whiskey and bacon, of course) and bask in the praise of whomever you've decided to bless with this.

Lekker: Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

So with all my salads and lean soups I've been having here lately I began craving some protein, especially since I'm back to my regular workouts at the gym and gotta feed those muscles! (Hah. Hah.) Beans are awesome because when combined with brown rice they're a great complete source of protein (although this recipe amps things up by adding sausage, because yum) and they're inexpensive and easy to prepare. Plus, I was feeling hella lazy and wanted to put my slow cooker to work overnight so I would have a yummy meal ready to take to work and share with a hard-pressed coworker. Wins, all around!

With this much protein and fiber to fill you up in one bowl, you don't need much to be satisfied--perfect for sticking to that New Year's diet and still indulge in some bangin' comfort food.

Slow Cooker Red Beans & Rice

What You Need
1 1/2 pounds smoked pork sausage, preferably andouille (don't be a lazy ass, just look at the packages there, I'm sure you'll find some; just make sure it's smoked and not raw)
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, diced (we're going for equal proportions here, see?)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere's rules the roost in my house)
1 pound dry red beans, picked over for debris and rinsed in a strainer
6 cups low sodium chicken broth (sausage has enough salt guys)
2 bay leaves
Hot cooked BROWN OR MIXED WILD rice, to serve (Quit it with that flavourless white shit, it's boring and bad for you and brown rice has way more flavour and fiber. These days there are zillions of "cooks in 90 seconds" microwavable bags to choose from.)

This is so easy it's stupid.

What You Do
1. Slice the sausages lengthways down the middle, then crossways into little half-moons. Fry in just a touch of oil over medium heat in a large skillet until well browned, then scoop aside onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. In the residual sausage drippings, fry up the bell pepper, onions, celery and garlic until just lightly soft and golden.
2. Throw everything into the slow cooker, stir, and cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8. Good luck swallowing all the saliva you'll be drowning in as your kitchen smells better and better and better. Don't worry about the liquid content until the very end. If it's too watery for you, just crush up some of the beans with a potato masher to act as a thickener. Voila! Serve over hot cooked rice.

Lekker: Avgolemono

Avgo-what? AV-GO-LEMONO. I know, I still can't really say it right. Apparently you don't really pronounce the "g" as a "g", it's more like a "y" sound that exists in Greek. Since I do not actually know Greek, I'm sort of at a loss--but I'm pronouncing it "av-yo-lem-ONO" in my head.

I assume you've gathered by this point that this dish involves lemon and that would be correct. It's a traditional Greek soup consisting of chicken and rice (or orzo) in an egg-lemon broth. Yeah, yeah, I'm at it again with soups. LOOK! I'm trying to slim back down after the sheer overindulgence of the holidays, and soups and salads are the best way to do that. Deal with it. Plus, it's snowy and cold up here and I slipped on a patch of ice on Friday, falling and cracking my tailbone--so I needed some comfort.

Plus, I had some rotisserie chicken left over from my Thai Chicken Noodle Soup the other night, and ballin' on a budget means nothing goes to waste around here.

I had this again next-day with a small Greek salad and some crusty bread. Quiet, warm comfort at its finest.

makes about 4 servings

What You Need
4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced finely
1 leek, white and light green parts only, washed well and sliced down the middle, then sliced into thin half-moons
1/2 cup uncooked orzo or Arborio rice (I used orzo because it's what I had on hand, and I like it better than rice--in case you don't know, orzo is actually pasta in a small elongated shape similar to rice. It made an appearance in my Italian Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, but I think the next time I make this dish I'll try rice.)
1/3 cup white wine (Totally optional and I highly doubt it's traditionally Greek, but if you know me at all of course I had a glass of white wine in hand while I was cooking--Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, if you must know--so in it goes.)
5 cups of chicken broth (or stock, whatever) plus 1 cup water
2 cups shredded precooked chicken
3 eggs
4 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed if you have it (Cut it down to 3 tablespoons if you don't like things really lemony--but if you don't like lemon why the heck are you making this anyway???)
Salt 'n peppah, to taste

What You Do
1. Okidoke let's get this show on the road! In a large stock pot over medium heat, melt the first two tablespoons butter or oil. Throw in your leek and onion and cook for about 5 minutes until things start to get all golden and translucent and shit. This is about the time I throw the wine in too and cook it down until all the wine has evaporated and been absorbed.

Now, you kinda gotta multi-task here because you have to cook the orzo at the same time, too. In a separate pot, melt the other two tablespoons of butter/oil over medium heat and throw in the orzo. WHAT?! Isn't it going to burn? No, calm your jets guys. Cooking raw orzo over medium heat in butter or oil toasts it, giving it a beautiful golden colour and nutty, toasted flavour. (Works for rice too.) This is an extra step and of course you don't have to do it, you can just toss the orzo and water in a pot and boil away--but I do it because it's easy and delicious. But yeah, once you're all nicely toasted (and the orzo is too, I suppose) pour in enough water to cover well and let boil for about 9 minutes to al dente perfection.

Some say you can just throw the raw orzo into the soup and let it cook in the broth. I don't like doing this, because pasta releases starch into the water it cooks in and I don't like that starch mucking up my silky perfect broth.

2. Shit, where were we? Oh, right. OK so the orzo is cooking away in the small pot and your onions and leeks have cooked away with the wine in the big pot. Now throw in the chicken broth and water and the shredded cooked chicken and let that simmer away gently. When the orzo is done, drain it and add to the big pot.

3. Now's the time to make the egg-lemon part. This is the only vaguely tricky part, but if you can do two things at once (whisk with one hand and pour with the other) you'll be fine. We'll be tempering the eggs--which means warming them up/cooking them gently before adding it to the hot broth so that they don't just scramble like Egg Drop Soup. That's ugly and gross. Do you want stringy threads of scrambled eggs in your soup? No, so pay attention!

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the three eggs together until frothy. One tablespoon at a time, whisk in the lemon juice until well incorporated. It should look frothy and creamy at this stage and a light yellow colour. Now with one hand, keep whisking steadily. With the other, slowly add in one ladleful of hot broth from the big pot. Do this two to three more times. Ta-dah! You've successfully tempered eggs. Now turn OFF the stove, and slowly pour THAT mixture into the big pot, whisking away. You're done.

DO NOT let it boil once you've added the egg/lemon mixture. It'll break and you'll get Egg Drop Soup. Be gentle when you reheat this the next day, too. Microwave on half power and stir often.

Enjoy, beauties, and dream of the warm and sunny Greek isles amidst all this chilly nonsense.
Posted on January 5, 2014 .

Lekker: Pumpkin Soup

You know what success tastes like? THIS SOUP. No, really. I am so thrilled to have finally mastered a recipe for pumpkin soup I could SING! 1, because I refuse to be defeated with crappy recipes when I have my mind set on something and 2, because I am so. sick. of pumpkin by now. Trust me, I've gone through about 3-4 different recipes in my pursuit of perfection and since I was raised with a "third world country" mentality I can't justify throwing food away--so I've been eating a lot of pumpkin soup. And there's nothing more frustrating that eating something that isn't quite right! Too garlicky. Way too spicy. Too rich and unhealthy. Sigh.

And then, over the weekend, finally...perfection. I tossed all the recipes in the rubbish bin and decided to wing it, and whaddaya know...finally, something I can rave about. Huzzah! Not only is the colour of this soup beautiful and vibrant, but it lets the pumpkin shine as the main ingredient while still maintaining a complex flavour profile. It's also super easy and quick to whip up--and even better the next day.

Pumpkin Soup
makes about 3 servings

What You Need
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium shallot, diced
2 small leeks, white and light green parts only, washed well and thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced in half lengthways and diced small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups pumpkin puree (Make your life easy and use the tinned stuff; just make sure it's pure pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons heavy cream
freshly ground pepper, to taste

You'll need an immersion blender for this one, or, work in batches pureeing in a standard blender.

What You Do
1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter until the foam subsides and it turns a lovely light golden-brown colour. Keep  close eye on it, as it can go from beautifully nutty and brown to blackened and burnt within seconds. Add your shallot, leeks and celery and saute for 5-7 minutes or until soft and golden brown. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 1-2 minutes more until fragrant.

2. Pour in your wine and let it simmer and reduce until there is no liquid left. Add the broth and the pumpkin puree and stir well to combine. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Taste, and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. I find I usually need about 4 turns from a pepper grinder, and actually I don't use any salt since I think the broth is plenty salty enough. Stir in the 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, and serve!

If you wanna be all fancy-pants, serve it with a couple of whole sage leaves fried quickly in butter. A multigrain, highly seeded bread would be delicious toasted alongside this.
Posted on October 31, 2013 .