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FARM TO TABLE

By October 27, 2020 November 24th, 2020 No Comments

Eat your veggies

By June Naylor
Photos by Meda Kessler

While the turkey takes a starring role at the table this time of year, we’re all about the vegetables (and, admittedly, the desserts). Who better to ask about their favorite veggie dish than local growers? Here, a few farmers share go-to recipes that are perfect for November.

Maggie Loudermilk and husband Taylor Loudermilk run the urban farm named for Maggie from their rural Mansfield home. Between growing produce, teaching school, chasing after a 3-year-old daughter, preparing for a new baby and remodeling a home, Maggie whips up dishes from their garden. This stove-to-oven shepherd’s pie uses sweet potatoes as the topping, with a filling of carrots, mushrooms, peas, thyme and ground turkey, and a dusting of parsley for the finish. Find Maggie’s Farm goods at places like Cowtown Farmers Market and Arlington Farmers Market; check facebook.com/maggiesfarmtx and Instagram @maggiesfarmtx for updates; maggiesfarmtx.com.

Shepherd’s Pie

Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 to 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups roughly chopped baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 pound lean, organic ground turkey
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup frozen green peas
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup dry sherry or white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ¾ cup shredded white cheddar or jack cheese
  • Chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Boil sweet potatoes in pot for 20 minutes or until very soft. Drain and mash potatoes with butter until smooth.

Meanwhile, heat oil on medium-high in a large ovenproof skillet or shallow Dutch oven.

Saute onions and carrots, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add mushrooms, cooking 5 more minutes; add turkey and cook an additional 8 minutes, breaking meat up as it browns.

Add garlic to turkey mixture, cooking 1 more minute until fragrant. Add peas, cook another minute, then add flour and stir constantly for another 1 to 2 minutes, until fully incorporated.

Stir in sherry or wine, stock and sugar. Stir in thyme and cook until sauce forms a thick gravy, about 3 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Scrape sides of skillet and smooth top of turkey mixture. Drop large dollops of mashed sweet potatoes on top, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle with cheese and bake 20 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

Top with chopped Italian parsley and serve warm.

Trish Stone and husband Jack run a 2-acre sustainable farm in southwest Fort Worth and serve the community through two custom trailers that double as rolling farm stands. In addition to seasonal produce, they offer pickles and jams, along with goods such as heritage pork and grass-fed beef from artisan producers. The Stones’ blended family includes a boy with autism and another with cystic fibrosis; they support other special-needs families with free produce. It’s a program they hope to grow into a nonprofit business. Stone’s Throw Farm sets up at The Clearfork Farmers Market and Three Danes Baking Company in Fort Worth, as well as markets in Aledo, Bedford and Weatherford. Find their schedule at facebook.com/stonesthrowfarmco. This pumpkin soup is best made ahead to allow the flavors to marry. It’s hearty enough for a meal, or serve it in small cups as an appetizer or the soup course at your holiday dinner.

Southwest Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4 to 6

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup low-fat whipping cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups roasted, pureed pumpkin, see Note, or one 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • White cheddar cheese, shredded

Note Look for the small pie pumpkins (or sugar pumpkins).

Pureed pumpkin: Heat oven to 360 degrees. Cut pumpkin (a 2- to 3-pound size will yield several cups) in half and remove seeds. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt; place flesh-side down on parchment-lined baking sheet. Pierce skin with a fork and bake for about 45 minutes or until skin gives to the touch. Let cool, scoop out flesh and add to a blender or food processor. Blend until creamy, adding a little water only if needed.

Bring chicken stock and whipping cream just to a boil in a heavy medium pot.

Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, coriander and nutmeg. Turn heat to medium and let the liquid simmer until it thickens lightly and flavors start to blend, 15 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove soup from heat. Cover, cool and refrigerate. To reheat, use a medium-low setting and whisk occasionally. Ladle into bowls; garnish with cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese.

Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole

Serves 8

Casserole

  • 2 pounds Japanese sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light-colored honey
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup golden raisins or dried cherries

Topping

  • 1½ cups pecan halves
  • ½ stick (4 tablespoons) melted unsalted butter, divided use
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil potatoes until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well, transfer to large bowl and mash until smooth.

Add butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and eggs, folding until combined. Gently stir in raisins.

Pour mixture into buttered 9-by-11-inch casserole dish (or individual ramekins) and bake until firm,
about 20 to 30 minutes.

Top casserole with pecans and drizzle half the melted butter on top, followed by brown sugar. Finish with remaining melted butter and return dish to oven for 10 minutes. Finish under the broiler. Remove when sugar has caramelized, about 5 minutes — but watch to be sure it doesn’t burn. Serve warm.