HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Stews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stews. Show all posts

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ribollita, the "Flexitarian" Stew adapted from Mark Bittman in The New York Times


Mark Bittman, "The Flexitarian"
Mark Bittman calls himself “The Flexitarian”.  He writes about his food philosophy in The New York Times Dining Out Section once a month.  I am happy to report that from the start Bittman promised that, first and foremost, his new column would be an ode to great-tasting food. What he offers too is food for those of us who are moderate in our eating habits—certainly not strict vegans or vegetarians--but omnivores making conscious choices about what we eat. His recipes are for all of us trying to incorporate more good-for-you plants and fewer animal proteins into our diets.  For all their hullabaloo, vegans and vegetarians make up a scant 5% of the population. But a lot of us are working hard to assimilate healthier grains, fish, legumes, fruits and vegetables into our diets more often.  And that’s where Bittman’s recipes come in.  They offer truly  flavorful food that I can only describe as even tasting healthy, a sensation I had as I dug into this Ribollita, a cheesy, vegetable-rich stew with its giant ‘crouton’ of whole grain bread.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Vinegar Braised Chicken and Onions or Poulet Saute au Vinaigre


Catherine de Medici
Mother of 3 French
Kings
       As far back as the 16th century, Lyon, not Paris, has been the gastronomical capital of France.  It was then that Catherine de Medici, the Queen Consort of King Henry II, an Italian noblewoman by birth, brought cooks from Florence to the French court.  They prepared dishes from the agricultural products from the various regions of France. This was revolutionary, combining the know-how of the Italian cooks with the unmatched produce of France.  The resulting regional dishes were elevated in status because they were, after all, what royalty and the nobility were eating.  The cuisine created in Lyon represented the crossroads of many regional specialties.  A terrific variety of ingredients were available: summer vegetables from farms in Bresse—to say nothing of its famous chickens—and neighboring Charolais, game from the Dombes, fish from lakes in Savoy, spring’s first fruits and vegetables from Drome and Ardeche and of course, the wines of Beaujolais and the Rhone Valley. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lamb Shanks with Vegetables and a Mint Gremolata


         Confession time:  I made this dish just as Spring was arriving. But by the time I got around to writing up the post, Spring had sprung and with it temperatures that suggested getting out of the heat and out of the kitchen.   But now that Fall is making it’s inevitable comeback, I revisited this dish.   And it has a lot to recommend it. Not the least of which is the classic combination of mint and lamb.  In this case, the mint forms the basis for a “gremolata”, a garnish usually associated with Osso Buco.  The early spring vegetables used here—the tiny baby potatoes and sugar snap peas--have become year round staples in our supermarket.  You can be forgiven for using trimmed full-sized carrots.  In point of fact, I did in the original recipe.   And if you’re a lamb fan who, due to price, has had to curb your appetite, this is a budget friendly way to enjoy the protein. In fact, the shank is likely the least expensive of all cuts of lamb.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Indian-Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach adapted from Bon Appetit



         While we're all anxiously awaiting Spring, Winter weather is still in our forecast.  Cold temperatures and Indian-inflected dishes seem made for each other.  This dish, which appeared in last month’s Bon Appetit, really drives that point home.  It’s a rich stew full of the aromas of the sub-continent but without most of the heat that gives Indian food its reputation for spice.  It’s all in one pot and if you serve it with Naan, that’s all you’ll need.  But Basmati Rice would make a great accompaniment too.   I’ve been a fan of Indian cooking ever since I was kid and working in London for a summer.  Believe it or not, the British national dish is said to be Chicken Tikka Masala, a colonial era import from, where else, India. One thing that seems universal in how Indians prepare chicken is that they inevitably skin the bird.  Since I find this a very tedious thing to do, I was pleased to see that our local Whole Foods sells skinned chicken parts.  Not just any chicken parts either but air-chilled chicken parts! (To see why that is important you only need read   http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2012/09/vinegar-braised-chicken-on-bed-of-leeks.html.)  But as to why Indians always skin their chickens, I went to an expert.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mediterranean Diet 101: Chorizo and Cannellini Stew adapted from Bon Appetit


         The Mediterranean Diet is back in the news with some startling test results.  If you switch to a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables and drink wine with meals, the diet will prevent about 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and death from heart disease.  The European doctors who conducted the study ended it earlier than expected. They thought it was unethical to continue. The results were so clear, the doctors felt that group not following the diet was at too great a risk.   Not one of the people in the study were in great shape. All 7447 of them were overweight or smokers or had diabetes or some other factor that put them at risk for heart disease.  Most of them were already taking blood pressure medication or cholesterol lowering drugs.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Veal Short Ribs alla Marsala adapted from Chef Michael Ponzio. And my first encounter with Fresh Direct



Chef Michael Ponzio of Chicago's
Rosebud on Rush
         When I saw a special for Veal Short Ribs at 4.99 a lb, it was like discovering a new protein!  I’d never even heard of the cut and never seen it on a restaurant menu.  I couldn’t wait to try them.  In searching around for the perfect recipe for them, I quickly discovered that a sizeable number of cooks just switch out beef short ribs for veal and call it a day.  The recipes were all standard short ribs recipes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  In frigid New York, Andrew and I had stopped in at Epicerie Boulud (1900 Broadway NY NY) this weekend and Andrew had a bowl of Short Rib Chili which he pronounced delicious.  But when you discover something as auspicious as a new protein, surely you want a recipe created just for Veal.  I stumbled across one.  It was from Chef Michael Ponzio whose cooking is done at “Rosebud on Rush”, a venerable Chicago restaurant at 720 N. Rush St. (at Superior St.) Chicago, IL 60611 Tel: 312-266-6444.  Though Chef Ponzio’s recipe is nowhere to be found on the restaurant’s current menu, there were enough dishes on it to know the man knows his way around a piece of Veal. So I set out to make my first Veal Short Ribs.  But how I got the ribs in the first place is worth telling. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Burgundy Beef Stew adapted from Saveur's "New Comfort Food"


Confession Time:  Those vegetables that look like potatoes?
They are potatoes served alongside the dish the night before.
Since I didn't get a photograph then, this picture was taken the next day
with the leftovers potatoes added to the stew.


         When we entertain, I love to do things that will keep me out of the kitchen once the guests have arrived.  And in winter, a great braise is a perfect way to do it.  And if you’re choosing a great beef dish, Boeuf Bourguignon is an obvious choice.  However, who can forget Julie and Julia, the movie where the young blogger cooks her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking?  In case you have forgotten, Julie was doing fine until the day she arrived at Julia’s recipe for Beef Bourguignon.   There she failed miserably. I am not entirely sure of the details but Julie fell asleep and the stew went awry.  As ridiculous as it sounds, that scared me off Julia’s recipe. Instead, I pulled out Saveur’s “The New Comfort Food. Home Cooking from around the World” (Chronicle Books 2011). I have used this cookbook with great success. In fact, I find Saveur and James Oseland, editor of both this book and the magazine, are completely trustworthy where recipes are concerned.  This recipe was listed as “Burgundy-Style Beef Stew”.  There’s not necessarily a lot different about it from the recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.  At least there wasn’t until I started fiddling with it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

90 Minute Coq au Vin from Cook's Illustrated


  
Julia Child with her "Coq"
         Cold winter nights are made for eating Coq au Vin.  And on a cold winter afternoon, the aroma of this great French classic cooking fills the kitchen with comfort.   A “Coq” is French for rooster and there lies the rub. In France, roosters were kept as long as they were good breeders.  They lived for several years before they were slaughtered.  They needed long and slow braising—often four hours on the stove--before they could be considered edible.   Red wine not only added flavor, it helped tenderize the old meat of the rooster.  Julia Child is credited with introducing Americans to the dish.  It was one of her signatures.  Wisely, Julia eschewed using roosters or capons and instead used a whole, young, cut-up chicken, something the French had also glommed onto by this time.   This greatly affected the cooking hours for the better.  Julia’s original recipe can be on the table in about 2 1/2 hours.  That may not sound like an unreasonable amount of time for something that is this good.  But in 2006, Cook’s Illustrated decided that this “basic chicken stew” shouldn’t even take that long to cook.  So they set about to make it start to finish in 90 minutes.  And I have to say, they did a bang up job.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Indian Pot Roast from Whole Foods Market


  
         If you are thinking “native American”, this recipe probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.  But we’ve long since stopped calling Native Americans “Indians”.  No, the name of this dish refers to the Asian sub-continent of India.  And that may be even more surprising.  The cow is considered sacred by most Hindus.  That makes beef taboo in all but two Indian states: Goa on the west coast and Kerala at the southern tip of India.  There you will find it sold in restaurants.  But in the rest of India, you’ll have to seek out international restaurants catering to Western customers who simply can’t live without their beef. 
Sacred Cow in front of McDonald's...
never inside!
Behold the Maharaja Mac
Where, I wondered, does that leave McDonald’s? There are over 250 McDonald’s in 12 Indian cities and not one Big Mac to be found in any of them.  Instead the offerings are limited to the McVeggie—bread, peas, carrots, potatoes, Indian spices, lettuce and Mayo on a sesame seed bun. The McChicken is self explanatory. The Filet o Fish sounds exactly like the one at home.  And what is the Big Mac equivalent?  Two browned chicken breasts, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese on “ Sesame bedecked bread buns”.  Top of the line, it’s called the Chicken Maharaja-Mac. And it costs just 60 rupees. That’s 1.30 cents. So what’s with Whole Foods “Indian Pot Roast”?

Friday, March 9, 2012

From Montreal’s Joe Beef: A recipe for four hour Lamb for two With Condimint


Jennifer May's Photo of the Dish
My rendition of the dish 
         There was a time when everyone who visited the south of France came back and immediately went straight to their oven to prepare something called “Seven Hour Gigot of Lamb”.  It was one of those marvels that appealed to lazy cooks as it involved very little work—just cutting up tomatoes, onions, garlic and rosemary and making some elementary rub for the lamb itself.  Of course the thing fell apart the minute it finally emerged from the oven and everyone swooned over the garlic-y sweetness.  As it turns out, the lamb didn’t necessarily need all that time in the oven and the extreme greyness of the meat didn’t contribute much to the aesthetics of the dish. So one Sunday, when I came across a beautiful shot of a crispy brown piece of lamb encircled by bright green peas of two varieties, a few artichoke hearts and what appeared to be green onions, I was hooked.  It didn’t hurt that this recipe was found in “The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of sorts” (Ten Speed Press 2011).  The cookbook has brought Montreal’s famous Joe Beef restaurant even more fame.  I should imagine you will soon have to sell your first born to get a table. Or you can just buy the book and cook from it yourself. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lamb Osso Buco Ragu



         I love a good Osso Buco.  It’s a wonderful weeknight dinner party dish because you can make it one night and serve it the next and it will only improve with its overnight rest.  But I had never heard of a lamb version of this classic Veal dish.  Then on our pre-holiday Costco run, I saw Lamb Osso Buco in the meat case.  I’ve had great luck with all the Australian lamb at the store—the chops are trimmed, the racks are oven-ready.  I do understand that it’s come an awfully long way to get here but it seems none the worse for its journey. So I bought some lamb osso buco and Thanksgiving Eve, I served it to our house guests on a bed of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.  They loved it. But I didn’t.  I was disappointed to see that only difference between the Lamb and Veal versions was the lamb.  That didn’t seem right. So I set about to invent my own lamb osso buco.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Texas Beef Brisket Chili with Butternut Squash


Jesse James
Outlaw and Chili Lover
Every year about this time, we get a blast of cold air that makes us yearn for a big bowl of chili.  I am certainly no Texan and despite the fact that Andrew’s family live there, they’re native New Yorkers.   But I’ll take a bowl of Texas chili over any other kind.  After all, the Texas legislature declared Chili the “State Food” in 1977 “in recognition of the fact that the only real 'bowl of red' is that prepared by Texans."  I wonder what took them so long? It’s reported that Jesse James (1847-1882), outlaw and desperado of the American West, once gave up a chance to rob a bank in McKinney, Texas because his favorite chili parlor was located there.  What distinguishes Texas Chili? Well any Texan worth their cowboy hat knows you don’t know beans about chili if you use beans in making the real thing. There’s even a song on the subject:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya



In the pantheon of one dish wonders, it’s hard to beat a great Jambalaya, another of Louisiana’s culinary gifts to the rest of the world.  It is said that the first Jambalaya came out of the French Quarter.  It was an attempt to cook Paella, with whom it shares many ingredients.  But absent the saffron Paella requires, tomatoes were used as a stand-in.  There are two kinds of Jambalaya—Creole and Cajun.  This recipe has lots of tomato in it and so qualifies as Creole.  Cajuns refer to this version as red Jambalaya.   Aside from the tomatoes, the major difference is that Cajun or brown Jambalaya is more smoky and spicy. 
The all essential 'holy trinity'
There’s almost nothing that you can’t put into Jambalaya.  Chicken and sausage are followed by vegetables and rice and finally with seafood in the Creole Version. The Cajuns, living as they did in swamp country where crawfish, shrimp, alligator, duck, turtle, boar, venison and other game were readily available used these meats in many combinations.  But they eschewed tomatoes altogether.  Both versions start with ‘the holy trinity’ of Louisiana cooking: Onions, Bell Peppers and Celery.  Although no one is quite sure where the name Jambalaya came from it’s been popular in good times and in bad because of its ‘throw everything into the pot’ composition.
This version, which first appeared in Coastal Living magazine, is very easy to make and takes less time than you’d think—about 20 minutes to prep and 40 minutes to cook.  It is greatly helped along by the use of cooked long grain rice.  (Original recipes cooked everything but the rice and the seafood for about an hour when the rice was added for the another 30 minutes and the seafood for the last five.)  I confess to cheating on the rice.  I couldn’t see cooking rice separately so I went to a local Chinese restaurant where I bought a pint container of steamed rice.  For $1.36, it seemed like a small price to pay for some labor saved.  Even though this is a Creole version, I went a little Cajun.  I upped the spice quotient with some McIlhenny Tabasco sauce.  The McIlhennys has been making the sauce on Avery Island, Louisiana  since 1868 where it still owned and operated by the same family.  You can’t get much more authentic than that.  Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya adapted from Coastal Living Magazine. 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces Andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, sliced (I used Andouille Chicken sausage to cut calories without cutting flavor)
1 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked long-grain rice
6-8  shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 green onions, chopped
McIlhnney's Tabasco Sauce to taste

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon; set aside.   
  2. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to hot drippings in Dutch oven; sauté 5         minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in reserved sausage, tomatoes, broth, and rice. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until rice is tender.




. 3. Stir in shrimp; cover and cook 5 minutes or until done. Check for seasoning and add McIlhenny's Tabasco Sauce, salt and pepper to taste.  Put into bowls and sprinkle each serving with green onions.