Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Recipe: Habas Grandes con Chorizo (Giant Limas with Chorizo)

Today's recipe isn't just a vegetarian recipe, nor just a uniquely delightful one-dish meal that will transport you to the Iberian peninsula. It's something a little different altogether than what I've done before here on my blog, or what I provide in my online class "Luscious, Low-fat, Lightning-Quick Meals."

Have I peaked your curiosity? I purchased a new pressure cooker last summer, and since then, I've been exploring the delights of making meals that would typically take hours--but, thanks to the pressure cooker, can be served up in under two hours. This particular recipe takes about an hour to prepare and cook, and for the majority of that time, the pressure cooker does the work.

In addition to being a quick and easy pressure cooker recipe, it's an excellent addition to any collection of vegetarian recipes, whether you're giving up meat for Lent, aiming for Meatless Mondays, or just want to enjoy the occasional meatless meal. Thanks to the use of giant lima beans, it's also loaded with fiber and phytochemicals. Vegetarian chorizo, thyme, onion, and garlic give this recipe a spicy Spanish flavor that contrasts wonderfully with the creamy, meaty lima beans. As they say in Spain, !Buen provecho!

Habas Grandes con Chorizo (Giant Limas with Chorizo)


12 ounces vegetarian (soy-based) chorizo
1 red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sherry (cooking sherry is fine)
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound giant lima beans
6 cups water


Cook chorizo, onion, sherry, garlic, and thyme in pressure cooker on pressure cooker's SAUTE setting until chorizo is cooked and onions are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add beans and water, and stir to combine. Pressure cook on HIGH setting for 40 minutes.

Cook's Notes: These instructions are based on my pressure cooker's standards (i.e., I used SAUTE, 1 pound beans:6 cups water, 40 minutes on HIGH to cook 1 pound lima beans, etc.). Double-check your pressure cooker directions for safety and to ensure proper cooking.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Recipe: Slow Cooker Bouillabaisse

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras, French for "Fat Tuesday." That means Lent is right around the corner! If you take advantage of the Lenten season to explore vegan or fish-based recipes, you're in luck. I'll be devoting several blog posts to recipes that are perfect for Lent, beginning with the beloved French dish bouillabaise.

Because bouillabaise is a classic, there are many opinions and variations. Some chefs prefer a mixture of fish and seafood; others believe white wine is a necessary ingredient; still others add a touch of orange zest or bay leaf.

I've tried all of these variations, and my original, simple version is still my favorite. I add orzo, and the end result is hearty, flavorful, and slightly soupy--the ultimate Lenten comfort food!

Slow Cooker Bouillabaise


1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground peppercorn mix
1 pound mild-flavored white fish (I prefer swai)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)


Combine onion, garlic, tomatoes, fennel seeds, and peppercorn mix in slow cooker. Add fish and cook on LOW 4 - 6 hours, or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Add saffron threads, if using, and mix well, breaking up fish into small pieces.

Shortly before serving, prepare orzo according to manufacturer's directions. Drain well. Add orzo to slow cooker and mix well.

Cook's Notes: If you have a mortar and pestle, or a spice grinder, that's the easiest way to crush fennel seeds. But you can put them in a plastic bag and crush them with the back of a spoon instead.