Bison-Stuffed Tomatoes with Garlic & Scallions {Recipe Redux}

Ω December 22nd, 2014 Ω Tagged , , , , , Ω 2 Comments

Cambodian stuffed tomatoes

“What IS that?” you say. Well. Let me tell you.

With the craziness this fall, I’ve cooked as many times as I can count on one hand — if that hand was wearing a mitten. And when I say “cook,” I mean “drag out a cookbook and actually combine ingredients in a new or semi-new fashion.” (It’s like a new language, I swear. For example, when I say “celery,” I mean “foul weed that could kill a man (or Super RD) from ten paces.”)

What a shame, dear reader, because there are so many wonderful dishes to make in the wide, wide world. That’s why I’m so grateful for The Recipe Redux. Once a month, I set aside time to enjoy an hour or two in the kitchen to tackle those kitchen challenges that bring out the creativity I miss.

It’s the end of the year and we’ll taking a moment to reflect: ReDux has been around for 42 months! (Can you believe some of you have ReDux-ed 42 recipes?) To celebrate, we’re playing a little party game this month: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 42 or 142. We can’t wait to see the books you’re cooking from these days – and how you make that recipe healthier.

My first instinct was to dive into one of my most influential cookbooks, The Little House Cookbook. Then I found that the author had devoted page 42 to a description of dairy foods in the late 1800’s and page 142 had a recipe for lard and crackings. Yes, lard.

Instead, I opened a cookbook Peter bought for me after our return from Cambodia (what? You didn’t know we went to Cambodia? Wait ’til I tell you THAT story. Probably sometime next year.) The Elephant Walk contains a recipe for my favorite Cambodian recipe: loc lac. This simple marinated beef dish highlights the simple, fresh flavors that make Cambodian cuisine so special. Naturally, I wanted to try another.

Cambodian stuffed tomatoes

The Elephant Walk had no recipe on page 42, so I chose the recipe on page 142: braised tomatoes stuffed with pork. I decided to use lean bison in place of pork because bison has plenty of iron and protein while also being very lean. Also, I may or may not have had no pork on hand. I’ll never admit it either way. I cut down on the salt and oil and used plenty of scallions for color and flavor — I cleverly added sliced scallion greens to the final dish to haphazardly add a bit of class to a stuffed tomato that’s about to give up.

Yeah. About that.

Cambodian stuffed tomatoes

I blame the recent lack of time in the kitchen for my rusty presentation skills. It’s like the tomatoes are rejecting the super-healthy filling, and I tried to cover it up with scallions and garlic. Dear me. The tomato-cooking step left a mess in the kitchen like you wouldn’t believe. I will not be posting THAT picture on THIH (but, you may see it in Kitchen Disasters. Just sayin’.)

Nevertheless, this dish was delicious. The tomatoes have a crisp edge and a melt-in-your-mouth texture, while the lean bison and sautéed garlic hit the spot. This dish would make a nice light meal (as this one did) or a complete meal rounded out with some more veggies and a crusty baguette.

Just remember: Keep your eyes on the tomatoes. They’re prone to spontaneous combustion.

Bison-Stuffed Tomatoes with Garlic & Scallions

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 8 large firm tomatoes (4 pounds)
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 scallions, sliced and separated into white and green parts
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

Instructions

Cut off the top 1/2 inch of the tomatoes and use a spoon to scoop out the meat into a medium bowl. Turn tomatoes upside down on to a paper towel to drain.

While tomatoes drain, mix together bison, egg, the white part of the scallions, cilantro, sugar, soy sauce and black pepper in a large bowl. Mash the reserved tomato meat and add 1/3 cup to the bowl.

Turn tomatoes right-side up and stuff with the bison mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute chopped garlic for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Add the stuffed tomatoes, cut side down, and partially cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 25 minutes. Use tongs to flip tomatoes right-side up and cook until meat is done, about 25 minutes more. Remove to serving plates, top with sauteed garlic and sliced green scallions, and serve immediately.

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P.S. Want to try another bison recipe? Try this incredible bison chili with chickpeas and squash!

P.P.S. Check out the other awesome recipes below:


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Homegrown Butternut Squash & Sage Pasta {Recipe Redux}

Ω November 22nd, 2014 Ω Tagged , , , , , , , Ω 7 Comments

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A few weeks ago, I looked up from a stressful email I was composing to see Peter grinning over a massive plate of fragrant pasta.

“Happy Birthday,” he said. “Eat.”

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Tossed among the hearty spaghetti strands were hunks of sweet roasted butternut squash, toasted pine nuts, sauteed sausage, and fresh-plucked leaves of sage. Ravenous, I devoured it all.

Dear reader, that is the way to a Jessie’s heart.

That same day, a heavy package arrived on our doorstep from Courtney. As I’ve written before, Courtney is my stranded-in-the-wilderness companion of choice due to her amazing ability to grow anything, then turn around and create an oven out of a tin can and some old string before cooking a 12-course dinner to rival the fanciest French restaurant. You see my excitement RE: giant package from awesome sister.

The contents did not disappoint. Not only did it contain homegrown butternut squash and sweet potatoes, it also had a jar of homemade tomato juice and a bag of cornmeal she made herself. Like literally, she grew the corn and ground the kernels by hand to make cornmeal.

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As soon as I pulled out the butternut squash, I knew I would make the butternut squash pasta dish again. Preferably right away. After reading this month’s Recipe Redux theme, I knew the time had arrived.

In the US, November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your own children. Please share one of your favorite food memories and the healthier “redo” of the recipe.

During the busy fall season, this homegrown butternut squash pasta has been a tie keeping everything together. Even through Courtney and I live almost 3000 miles apart, I can still enjoy the food she grew.

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Whole grain pasta and butternut squash provide fiber, plus a hit of vitamin A from the squash, while olive oil provides heart healthy monounsaturated fat(ty acids) (or MUFAs, which I always thought was way too much fun to say — MUFA MUFA MUFA). Even the fresh sage is packed with antioxidants.

As I’ve written before, sausage is a very sometimes food, so feel free to substitute your own lean protein. I want to try this dish with cannellini beans next. Round out this dish with a fresh salad or blanched green beans for a complete meal. Even better? Get someone to make it for you.

Peter, where are you?

Homegrown Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

  Prep Time: 15 minutes

  Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound chicken sausage, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 8 oz. whole grain spaghetti
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, torn into small pieces

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange butternut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and bake for 45 minutes, or until squash is soft but still holds its shape. Remove from oven and set aside.

While squash bakes, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. Remove from pan with slotted spoon onto plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.

In a small saute pan over low heat, add pine nuts. Cook, tossing frequently, until nuts are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain, then toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add squash, sausage, and pine nuts and combine gently. Divide onto four plates, top with fresh sage, and serve immediately.

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P.S. Check out other awesome Recipe Redux posts below!

P.P.S. Looking for more healthy comfort foods? Here you go!


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