BRUTTI MA BUONI LOW-CARB SOUP

I adore the Italian language, so musical and beautiful. Would love to learn to speak Italian, it might very well be a project for after retirement. Brutti ma buoni translates as ugly but good, and of course quite a few recipes match this description. I’ve got one for you today. Cabbage, riced cauliflower, and ground chicken swimming in broth definitely won’t fall into the category of George Clooney as far as looks and charm, but it is mighty good.  Actually, I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. This is a reasonably filling soup, but quite low in those carbs that in some phases of life are best consumed in moderation.  I used a crock pot, don’t worry if you don’t have one. It works well on the stove top. And, if you’d like to make it vegetarian, I bet farro would be amazing in place of the meat. One cup of farro would add about 130 g of carbs to the whole soup, stripping it of its low-carb label. Not that there’s anything wrong with it…

CROCK POT LOW-CARB CHICKEN & CABBAGE SOUP
(adapted from Sugar Free Mom)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 pound ground chicken
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup canned stewed tomatoes, with their juice
1/2 cup riced cauliflower
3 cups cabbage slaw (I used store-bought)
3 cups beef broth or water
additional salt and pepper to taste

toppings of your choice, a little lemon juice, Sriracha (all optional)

Heat olive oil and saute shallots on medium high heat. Add  ground chicken and cook until lightly browned, seasoning with one teaspoon salt and pepper.  Add tomatoes, cauliflower, stir well to remove any browned bits from the pan. Transfer to crock pot.  Add beef broth,  cabbage slaw and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours. If no crock pot is available, just simmer gently on the stove top for an hour or so until the cabbage is fully tender.  

Adjust seasoning and serve with a dollop of  yogurt, shredded cheese, or diced avocados. A little bit of Sriracha added to your bowl hurts absolutely nothing. And a squirt of lemon juice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This soup was my lunch three days in a row. As you might have noticed, I don’t have a problem repeating the same lunch over and over, in fact I find it quite nice to cook a large batch of something in the weekend, and have it ready and waiting. Not wasting time and energy figuring out what to eat at lunch allows me to be more efficient. For instance,  I might be able to sneak a few exercises before lunch (got 12 minutes to spare?), or if the schedule is too busy, keep lunch break to a minimum and get back to work right away. At the risk of making some of my friends living in huge cities very jealous,  I divulge that it only takes us 8 minutes to go from lab to home. I know… we are spoiled!

Anyway, for this sequential lunches, I varied the toppings. On the first day I added shredded Gruyère, second time around  a dollop of yogurt and Za’tar (never get tired of this spice mix). Finally, on the third day I crowned it with diced avocado, a heavy squirt of lemon juice and a touch of Tajin (another spice mix I am quite fond of). The soup got a bit thicker on the third day, but I did not add any water or beef broth to it, just enjoyed it the way it was.  If you visit Sugar Free Mom’s site, you’ll noticed she used ground beef, so keep that in mind as an option too.  I know this will become part of my regular menu, and not just when I feel the need to go low on carbs.  It is delicious!

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THE LIGHTER SIDE OF MEATLOAF

I’m a firm believer in “Everything in moderation,” so I often make the “real” (rather than light) versions of lasagna, potato dauphinoise, risotto milanese or other classics, instead of trying to cut calories. I’d rather eat less of the real thing, or run an extra mile or two later… 😉

But sometimes, a dish that was maybe conceived as a lighter variation of a classic  turns out so good that I wind up craving it.  For example: this turkey loaf is absolutely delicious, and compared to its original parent, quite a bit healthier.  The recipe comes from  “American Favorites“.

turkeyloaf1

THYME-SCENTED TURKEY LOAF WITH MUSHROOM GRAVY
(adapted from American Favorites, by Betty Rosbottom)
receita em portugues ao final do texto, na proxima pagina

for turkey (or chicken)  loaf…
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/3 cup finely diced celery
1.2  pounds ground  turkey (or chicken)
1 ¼ cups fresh bread crumbs
1  teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium unpeeled tart apple, grated
3/4  tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
2 egg whites

Melt  the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add the carrots, onions, and celery, season with a pinch of salt, and sautee’ until soft.  Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Place ground turkey in a large bowl and mix in all the other ingredients, adding the egg whites last. The mixture will be quite “wet”.  Shape it in two oval loaves as shown in the photo, pace them in a roasting pan (I like to use parchment paper or Silpat underneath).

Place in a 350F oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove and allow it to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices. Serve with or without mushroom gravy.

for gravy…
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
8 ounces white mushrooms cut into thin slices
Salt  to taste
1 ½ cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce

Heat the  butter in a  heavy skillet, add in the chives and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook them until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste and transfer to a bowl. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the same pan and add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add broth and whisk until sauce is smooth and thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the soy sauce, and put  the reserved mushroom mixture back in the pan.  To serve meat loaves, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange on a serving platter. Ladle some mushroom gravy over the slices.

ENJOY!

This is a good opportunity to show you my Zyliss (an older version of this one),  a  little gadget I’ve had for a long time, but neglected to put to use until I saw Michael Chiarello on FoodTV using his.   He removed the plastic base that came with the cutter, instead placing it directly on the cutting board. Why didn’t I think of that? I tried his method and loved it!  The plastic base is a pain to use and  wash; by placing the cutter on a cutting board you get its full benefits without any hassles. Carrots, onions, celery, garlic and  peppers are prepared in seconds! Check it out in this photo (click to enlarge).

prep1

Meatloaves are often baked in pans, I prefer to shape them in free form, to get a nice crust all over, and make cleanup much easier…
loavesbefore

General comments

Fish sauce, that Vietnamese touch: The addition of fish sauce was my main modification to the basic recipe – I was inspired by an interesting twist on a hamburger recipe shown in the blog  “White on Rice Couple”.  Fish sauce was the secret ingredient, and I thought it could go well in this loaf too.   As in the hamburger, you won’t be able to taste it, but it will add that “umami” component to the loaf.  Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. If you want to play with fish sauce in your recipes, just keep in mind that it is salty, and adjust your seasoning accordingly.  And avoid sniffing the bottle!  Its smell has little to do with its taste, and for that I am  grateful… 😉

The mushroom gravy: Even though its taste was excellent, if you prefer a more contrasting color in the gravy then add a little tomato paste or sautee some tomatoes with the mushrooms.

A little rice, a little tomato salad, and…. dinner is served!

plated

para receita em portugues clique aqui