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Rapini & Beans (Vegan)

In Soups and Stews, Vegetables On January 7, 2021 0 Comments


Rapini or broccoli rabe  is a green, cruciferous vegetable with edible leaves, buds, and stems. The buds resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. Rapini has a slightly bitter taste, and is part of Mediterranean cuisine.

I learned how to make Rapini and Beans as a teenager in Avellino, Italy (in the Campania region). Although I serve this dish to family and friends year round, it’s especially comforting during the cold winter months. Make this dish in minutes and enjoy it with crusty bread and a glass of wine.  You’ll warm up in no time!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 whole garlic cloves
1 bunch fresh Rapini, cut into one-inch pieces; rinsed & drained
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt
One 15.5-ounce can Cannellini, Navy, Great Northern or other white beans
Freshly-grated Pecorino-Romano cheese, as garnish (optional)

1. On medium-high setting, heat olive oil in a 4-quart sauce pot.

2. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add the garlic cloves.

3. On medium-high heat, stir-fry garlic until it turns golden brown (not blackened).

4. When garlic is golden brown, add the cut and rinsed rapini.

5. Let the mixture warm through.

6. When rapini mixture sizzles or bubbles, add  1-1/2 cups cold water.

7. When the rapini and water come to a boil, stir in 3/4 teaspoon salt.

8. Rinse and drain the beans; add them to top of rapini mixture in saucepot.

9. Warm through and taste. Adjust salt level, if needed.

10. Serve Rapini and Beans immediately with slices of crusty Italian bread, if desired.

11. Garnish with grated Pecorino Romano cheese (optional) and enjoy with white wine.
Text & Photograph ©2021 Nancy DeLucia Real



Stewed Chicken with Peaches & Zucchini

In Poultry, Soups and Stews On August 25, 2017 0 Comments

This succulent chicken dish is made with our present bounty of peaches and zucchini. Once the chicken is stewed with these ingredients, it is sweet and perfect with rice and/or green salad. These sides balance the luscious flavors of the stew. Enjoy!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 to 55 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

¼ cup olive oil
One 2-1/2 to 3-pound chicken, skinned and cut into pieces (with bones)
3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half –AND-
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium-large brown or white onion, finely chopped (a contemporary addition)
1 cup white wine
1-1/2 to 2 cups cold water
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ to ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons honey
4 large, fresh peaches, peeled, pitted & cut into 1-1/2 inch slices
One 16-ounce bag frozen, sliced peaches
1 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch rings (discard ends)
6 to 8 fresh mint sprigs (minced and scattered over chicken or used as garnish)

1. In an 8-quart saucepot, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown them on all sides on medium-high heat.

3. When chicken has browned, stir in the onions; cook onions 2 minutes or until they are translucent.

4. Add the wine and cook chicken, on medium-high heat (uncovered) for 7 to 8 minutes or until wine has thickened. Stir occasionally.

5. After wine has thickened and slightly reduced, add 1-1/2 cups water, the cumin, black pepper and 1 tablespoon honey.

6. Cook chicken 14 to 15 minutes on medium-high heat until liquid has thickened.

7. After 14 to 15 minutes, stir in remaining ½ cup water, peaches & .

8. Cook chicken on medium-high heat, covered, for 10 minutes; stir occasionally.

9. After 10 minutes, add the zucchini rings and cook 2 minutes or until zucchini is crunchy-tender.

10. Taste the stew. Adjust seasonings and honey, to taste.

11. Transfer chicken to serving platter, garnish with mint sprigs; serve immediately.
Text & Photographs ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Fresh & Creamy Pea Soup

In Soups and Stews On January 9, 2017 0 Comments

I hope you weren’t thinking of using canned or frozen peas to make a great-tasting pea soup.

With fresh peas and a few more ingredients, you’ll enjoy a great meal in no time. Complement this gourmet soup with rustic French or Italian bread and your favorite wine. Bon appetit!

Prep time:10 minutes
Cook time:15 to 20 minutes
Serves: 2 to 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped white or brown onion
2 to 3 cups cold water
3 cups fresh, shelled green peas
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Dash grated nutmeg
1 cube vegetable or chicken bouillon
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream (optional)
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 to 4 fresh mint leaf sprigs

Prepare the Soup:
1. In a 4-quart sauce pot, heat the oil (it should not smoke).

2. When oil is hot, add the chopped onion; stir-fry onion with wooden spoon until it is translucent – about 2 minutes.

3. When onion is translucent, pour in 2 cups of the water and stir in the peas.

4. Bring the soup to a boil.

5. When the soup comes to a boil, add salt, black pepper and nutmeg.

6. Cook the soup on medium-high, making sure it boils, for about 5 minutes.

7. After 5 minutes, add 1 cube vegetable or chicken bouillon; set heat on medium to medium-low and simmer the soup for about 10 minutes or until peas are tender.

8. When peas are tender, taste the soup. If another bouillon cube is needed, you may add it at this point.

9. Set the sauce pot with soup aside on a cold burner.

Puree/Blend the Soup:
1. When soup is lukewarm, transfer one-third of it to a blender.

2. Add cream to soup in blender; blend soup until smooth or slightly lumpy-smooth, per taste.

3. Transfer this first batch of soup to a large glass or porcelain bowl; repeat blending the remaining soup in two more batches.

4. Transfer the last two batches to bowl.

5. Return the blended soup to the sauce pot; bring to a boil.

6. When soup boils, stir in the sliced carrots and cook for 2 minutes.

7. Serve soup immediately; garnish with fresh mint leaf sprig.
Text & Photograph ©2017 Nancy DeLucia Real

Turkey Meatball & Spinach Soup

In Soups and Stews On January 25, 2016 0 Comments

Here’s a delicious soup that’ll keep you warm in the next few months. This meatball and spinach soup is made with ground turkey but you can use beef, lamb or pork. Fresh spinach and some carrots are added to the broth – this makes it low-cal and healthy.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

1 pound ground dark turkey meat, beef, lamb or pork
1/2 cup grated onion (brown or white)
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 large carrot, peeled and minced
1/3 cup finely chopped flatleaf, Italian parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash grated nutmeg (optional)
8 to 10 cups chicken broth
6 cups chopped, fresh spinach or chard (or a combination of both)
Salt, to taste

1. In a large, glass or porcelain bowl, combine the ground meat, onion, egg, 3 tablespoons of the minced carrots, parsley, salt and nutmeg.

2. Mix with a fork or with your hands (you can use plastic cooks’ gloves to mix with hands) until mixture is uniform.

3. Shape and form meatballs to measure 1-1/2-inches in diameter; set the meatballs aside on a large platter.

4. Meanwhile, in an 8-quart sauce pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.

5. When the broth boils, gently drop the meatballs into the broth, taking care to avoid hot splatters.

6. Bring the meatballs to a boil and cook them on medium-high heat for approximately 20 minutes.

7. After 20 minutes, cut into one meatball to check doneness. If meat is still pink, cook the meatballs for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

8. When meatballs are cooked through, add the spinach and carrot pieces to the soup.

9. Cook the soup for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the carrots are crunchy-tender.

10. Taste the broth. If needed, add salt, to taste.

11. Serve the soup with your favorite bread.
Text and Photograph ©2016 Nancy DeLucia Real

Eggplant-Turkey Moussaka

In Holidays, Meats, Soups and Stews, Vegetables On November 23, 2014 0 Comments

Moussaka is an eggplant dish from Greece and Turkey. In Greece, it is layered with ground lamb and served hot. In Turkey, the eggplant is stewed with lamb and served warm or at room temperature.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m making eggplant moussaka from Turkey. It contains ground meat of the same name – lol! For those of you who are vegetarian, simply omit the ground turkey. Bon appetit!

Prep time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

1 medium eggplant
1 large tomato
extra virgin olive oil (to brush eggplant and tomato)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for sautéing the moussaka)
1/2 pound dark ground, organic turkey meat (or lamb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium brown or white onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes® (canned)
1 cup tomato purée
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Dash freshly-ground nutmeg

Grill the Eggplant & Tomato:
1. Line a 12 X 18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush foil with olive oil and set aside.

2. Cut off and discard top and bottom of eggplant.

3. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices and place the on foil-lined baking sheet (previously oiled).

4. Cut the tomato in half and place it (cut-side up) alongside eggplant slices on baking sheet.

5. Brush the eggplant and tomato with olive oil; lightly sprinkle each with salt.

6. Place the baking sheet on a rack positioned 6 to 7 inches away from top broiler element inside oven.

7. Grill the tomato and eggplant for approximately 8 minutes or until eggplant has turned golden brown.

8. When eggplant has turned golden brown, wearing oven mitts, transfer the baking sheet to a counter.

9. Transfer the tomato pieces to a bowl to cool.

10. Turn the eggplant slices over; brush them with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

11. Grill the eggplant slices (on other side) for 6 to 8 minutes or until they have turned golden brown.

12. After eggplant is done, set the baking sheet to a counter; transfer eggplant slices to a plate to cool. Set aside.

Prepare the Moussaka:
1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch skillet.

2. When the oil is hot (do not let it smoke), add the ground turkey (or lamb).

3. On medium-high heat, stir-fry the meat, constantly breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the garlic, onion and chopped peppers.

5. Cook the mixture on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.

6. When onion is translucent, stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato purée.

7. Cook the moussaka for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce has thickened.

8. After 4 to 5 minutes, stir in the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

9. Cook the moussaka for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasonings.

10. Serve moussaka alongside one or more recipes from this website:
Hummus Heat with Pitas and Vegetables (see recipe index – Appetizers/Starters);
Persian Cucumber Salad (see recipe index – Salads);
Butternut Squash Risotto (see recipe index – Pastas, Rice & Legumes).

Text & Photograph © 2014 Nancy DeLucia Real