Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tomato Artichoke Bisque, Braised Celery Hearts, Rosemary Coriander Twists

Celery is a pretty under rated vegetable, usually just used as a flavor base in most of my cooking but lately I have been into the idea of braising the sweet, tender hearts hiding inside the bunch of stalks. Just a little salt, pepper and vegetable broth can bring out a vibrant, new flavor good enough to be served on its own.

Creamy tomato bisque with artichokes, sweet onions and spices underneath a bed of braised celery hearts and leeks. Serve with crispy puff pastry twists sprinkled with rosemary, coriander and cumin for dipping.

Tomato Artichoke Bisque
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, small dice
10 oz artichoke hearts, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbl cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth

Sweat the onions in olive oil until soft and translucent, 7 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, garlic, cumin, coriander and bay leaf.  Season with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes to toast the spices. Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
Bring back to the pot, add the broth and cook 10 more minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.

Braised Celery Hearts
2 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 small yellow onion, medium dice
1 bunch celery, outter stalks removed, light inner stalks and leaves sliced on a bias
salt and peper
2 cups vegetable broth

Over medium-high heat, saute the leeks, onions and celery hearts in olive oil for 7 minutes until they start to caramelize. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetable broth and cover. Braise for 15 minutes. Remove the cover and cook 10 minutes more or until the broth has reduced. Taste and season with more salt and pepper.

Rosemary Coriander Twists
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
3 tbl dried rosemary, crumbled
2 tbl cumin
2 tbl coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375.
Unfold the puff pastry sheet and cut into 9 strips.
Combine all of the spices in a baking dish.
Twist up each puff strip and coat in spices. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

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