Recipe suggestions for new Le Creuset pot!
I was gifted this week with a shiny new Le Creuset- I think it's the 5 quart version. I also have the bigger 7 quart from a few years back- aka the "big red pot." For some reason, I'm at a loss regarding what to christen it with... any suggestions for soups/stews/braises/etc.?
First thing I made in mine was corned beef. Also make mushroom soup (creamy) in it. Enjoy and good luck with it!
For some reason, I remembered the recipe as calling for sausage. It doesn't. The original recipe, Spinach or Escarole Soup with Rice, is on page 91 of Essentials.
My version of the recipe, with carrots, celery, and sausage added, is as follows:
6 sweet italian sausages, cut from their casings.
1 lb fresh spinach, cleaned, de-stemmed and torn into pieces (don't use baby spinach)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1/2 large, or 1 med chopped onion
1 c. canned beef broth (College Inn is OK)
2 1/2 c. water (or 3 1/2 c. beef stock made from Penzey's Beef Soup Base)
1/2 c rice (Marcella says aborio or other Italian Rice-- I have used Uncle Ben's and Carolina with fine results)
1 large, or 2 medium carrots, chopped (I like half moons)
2 celery ribs, chopped
Brown the sausage meat with the olive oil and butter in your le creuset dutch oven, over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery, salt, and freshly ground black pepper after the sausage meat has begin to brown, and toss the vegetables with the sausuge until they begin to brown. Add the beef stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, add the spinach and rice, stir, cover with your nice heavy pot lid, and leave at a simmer for 1/2 an hour to 45 min. The rice should be cooked by this time, and the soup is ready to serve.
This soup freezes really well, and I actually like it better after it's sat a day in the fridge.
Marcella reccomends freshly grated parmesan to pass, but I also like to stir 1 tbsp of a mixture of minced parsely/lemon zest/fresh minced garlic into each bowl immediately before serving. Another option is to serve with lemon wedges; I find that spinach can be a little muddy tasting mid-winter, and a splash of lemon juice or red wine vinegar makes the flavor balance out.
If you eat bread, a crusty bread like sourdough or a peasant loaf, smeared with a creamy cheese like brie, la tur, or goat cheese is a nice counterpoint. A shiraz, zin, or other earthy red, or a lager, goes well as a beverage accompaniement.
I just got my first Le Creuset too (a black round 5.5er) and I christened it with this soup. It was fantastic. I don't eat beef so I used chicken stock instead but with the sausage it was plenty rich and delicious. I used arborio rice which burst nicely and the spinach made the whole thing seem so fresh and healthy. The pot made deglazing a breeze. It practically happened naturally as soon as I added the stock. I can't wait to cook with it again and again.
Get the Tom Valenti "Soups Stews and One Pot Meals" which is full of good Le Creuset-friendly recipes.
P.S. Such a great pot.