main course recipe

Lamb and Green Beans

by Anne Maxfield on July 28, 2016

Accidental Locavore Trimmed Green BeansIf the idea of a lamb and green bean stew seems a little much for the extreme weather, you might want to think twice.

At my CSA, green beans are ripe for the picking.

And it cooks pretty fast.

Ditto cleanup.

So give it a try!

Accidental Locavore Lamb and Green BeansLamb and green beans recipe:

Serves 4:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ pound boneless lamb, cut into ¾” cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, or 1 cup fresh, seeded and chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2” lengths

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on high heat. Add the lamb and brown on all sides.

Reduce the heat to medium-high, add the onions and cook until they’re golden brown. Add the spices, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the beans to the pan, and simmer until they’re crisp-tender about another 10-15 minutes. Serve with rice pilaf or couscous and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Prepping Lamb and Green BeansMy verdict: Growing up, this was a family favorite that my mother made fairly often. The Accidental Locavore isn’t sure where/how she always had a sweet spot for Middle Eastern food, especially Armenian, where this supposedly hails from.

I hadn’t even thought about lamb and beans in years but when I was picking green beans at the farm, suddenly I just needed to make it. It was really good, especially with fresh-picked beans and local lamb and comes together in under an hour. I always add more allspice, because it’s a flavor I love.

Going against tradition (and not really feeling like messing with pilaf), I served it with some couscous, which is always the quicker/lazier/healthier(?) way to add something to soak up all the delicious sauce!

Frank loved it too and we ate it all up so sadly no leftovers…

If you want the original cookbook, Word of Mouth, which it comes from, it’s still available on amazon.com or possibly there are still copies under my mother’s bed.

 

 

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A Simpler Eggplant Parmesan

by Anne Maxfield on September 3, 2015

Accidental Locavore Grilled Eggplant ParmAlthough it’s not a terribly difficult dish, the Accidental Locavore was experimenting with a simpler eggplant parm. Instead of breading and frying the eggplant, I opted for peeling it, slicing it thinly and grilling it. It’s still not a low-calorie dish, but slightly less of a fat delivery system…This makes about 4 servings:Accidental Locavore Grated Mozzarella

  • 2 medium-sized Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small ball fresh mozzarella, grated (about ½ pound)
  • Grated Parmesan
  • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • Fresh basil

 

Accidental Locavore Grilled Eggplant SlicesHeat a grill (or grill pan) to medium-high heat. Put the olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl, add the eggplant and toss gently until well-coated. Grill the eggplant for about 2-3 minutes a side, until it’s browned and tender.

Accidental Locavore Finished Eggplant ParmPreheat the oven to 350°. Lightly grease a gratin pan with the olive oil. Coat the bottom of the pan with tomato sauce. Add a layer of eggplant and top with mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan and 4-5 basil leaves. Repeat with the tomato sauce, eggplant, mozzarella, Parmesan and basil. You should get 2-3 layers depending on the size of your pan. Top with more tomato sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan and your best-looking basil leaves. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown and the eggplant is warmed through. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: A really good version of eggplant parm! While the sauce seemed a little thinner than normal, it may just have been that batch of sauce. I’m not sure if breading the eggplant would act as a thickener on the sauce, but it wasn’t a huge difference and certainly didn’t take away from the flavor or the cheesy goodness. What was different was that I wasn’t frying eggplant forever (and then cleaning up afterwards) – just popped it all on the grill. Doing this also gave me a chance to take all the peelers I’ve been collecting for a test run, so stay tuned for the results – kind of surprising.

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Bangers and Mash

by Anne Maxfield on March 12, 2015

Accidental Locavore Bangers and MashOne of the guys the Accidental Locavore’s husband plays tennis with has a British wife, so we’ve been bringing them bangers from Jacuterie at the Millerton Farmers’ Market. Last trip we decided to pick up a pack and try them ourselves. I thought it was just going to be a quickie dinner, not knowing that bangers and mash require onion gravy. This made 2 very generous portions.

 

For the sausages:

  • 4 large pork sausages, preferably English bangers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the gravy:

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Salt and pepper

For the potatoes:

  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper

Accidental Locavore Cooking BangersBring a large pot of water to boil on high heat, add the bangers, lower heat, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from water and drain on paper towels.

Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the sausages, turning every 2-3 minutes, until skin is crispy and well-browned. Remove and set aside.

Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan, then add onion. Stir briefly to coat with oil and leave for 15 minutes untouched. Flip the onions and leave them for another 15 minutes. Lower heat and stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until all onions are dark brown and caramelized, about another 15 minutes.

When the onions are dark brown and completely soft, add flour and stir well to coat, then pour beef stock over to deglaze the pan, scraping up any bits of onion and sausage that may be stuck to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, add 1 tablespoon of butter, stir well and add salt and pepper to taste. Add the sausages.

Fill a large pot with water, add plenty of salt and cubed potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, 7-8 minutes, then drain and immediately return to pot. Pour in milk and remaining butter, then mash with a potato masher until smooth but still slightly chunky. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve the bangers and gravy over the mashed potatoes and enjoy!

My verdict: Like I said in the intro, I wasn’t expecting to spend 45 minutes making gravy…

This may be an acquired taste, or one of those comfort foods like pot pies, that I don’t understand the charms of. Not being an expert on bangers, I found these to be pretty basic sausages, certainly not as good as most of the other charcuterie we’ve gotten from Jacuterie. The gravy, for all the time it took, was also pretty ho-hum (and quite frankly, if I’m going to spend that much time on onions, it’s for onion soup!). Mashed potatoes were great, but how hard is it to screw up mashed potatoes? If I was doing it again, it would be grilled sausages over mashed potatoes, letting good sausages and potatoes shine on their own.

 

 

 

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Pasta With Chorizo and Chickpeas

by Anne Maxfield on February 26, 2015

Accidental Locavore Pasta With ChickpeasWhen the Accidental Locavore saw this recipe on epicurious, I was curious enough to see how chickpeas and pasta would work together to give it a shot. Having all the ingredients on hand was an added impetus. This serves 6:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • 3/4 pound fresh Mexican chorizo or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 12 ounces small dried pasta (like gemelli, or orecchiette)
  • Salt
  • Finely grated Parmesan and lemon zest (for serving)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. While the pasta water is heating, warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook 3 minutes until they begin to brown, stirring occasionally. Add chorizo and cook, breaking into large chunks with a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 5-7 minutes.

Add tomato paste and red pepper flakes to skillet and cook, stirring, until paste darkens, about 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 15-20 minutes. Add chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes.

While the sauce is thickening, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Add pasta and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to the skillet. Cook, stirring and adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce thickens and coats pasta, about 3 minutes.

Sprinkle pasta with lemon zest, Parmesan and parsley, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: If I didn’t have everything on hand (except the parsley), I probably never would have made this. That being said, this was a pretty good dish! The lemon zest is the key ingredient—taking it from being only ok to being really good. My biggest complaint with it was that the chorizo I was using ended up in very tiny pieces. The next time I make it, I’ll try not to break it up so much (however, this might not be an issue with other types of sausage). Any type of fresh sausage would probably work well. I’d give it a try with merguez (maybe substitute cilantro for the parsley), or any kind of Italian sausage – I have some with broccoli rabe in it, that would be good!

 

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