Archive for category Stew

Slow Cooker Lamb Vindaloo

Lamb vindaloo with Basmati RiceAnother amazing Indian food here, this time made in a slow cooker. I have to tell you that I think a slow cooker (or crock pot or whatever you want to call it) is an essential kitchen item, and I have just posted this in my Kitchen Essentials section.

Vindaloo, whether it be with lamb, pork, chicken or beef, is one of the hottest dishes in all of Indian cooking. Not only does this recipe call for cayenne pepper, but it also calls for six Chipotle chili peppers. These are essentially Jalapenos that have been smoked. This dish is not for the weak willed, but it is so delicious. It should be served over Basmati rice.

For those who may not have an adventurous palate where “heat” is concerned, I am also providing a recipe at the end for a yogurt sauce that can be used to “cool” the dish when serving. The combination of the rice and the yogurt sauce should make it tolerable for even the weakest palate.

Ingredients

1 boneless leg of lamb, 4-5 lbs, trimmed of fat and cut in bite-sized pieces

3 medium red potatoes, washed and cut in bite-sized pieces

4 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 large Vidalia onions, chopped and divided

1.5 cups of frozen petite peas, defrosted

10 garlic cloves, crushed

6 Chipotle chili peppers, reconstituted and scraped (see Directions)

2 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes

2 bay leaves

2 tsp ginger paste

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp Kosher salt

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro

1 tbsp cornstarch plus 1 tbsp water

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 cucumber, peeled, trimmed and seeds removed

Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper (to taste; for the yogurt-cucumber sauce)

Directions

The first order of business is to prepare the Chipotle chili peppers. Reconstitute the peppers by soaking them in boiling water for 30 minutes. Once they have cooled, cut them open and scrape the chili meat from the skin and set aside.

In a food processor, take half the onion, the garlic, the Chipotle chili peppers, the cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne, cumin, paprika, ginger paste and two tablespoons of the olive oil and pureé into a paste. Put it into a bowl and add the lamb pieces. Stir to coat the lamb thoroughly and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day heat the balance of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the marinated lamb. You may need to do this in batches, but you do not need to cook the lamb through. Place in a slow cooker along with the beef broth, the salt, the sugar, the tomatoes, the potatoes, and the bay leaves. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes before the vindaloo is done, add the peas, then mix the tablespoon of cornstarch and the tablespoon of water and add it to the slow cooker. Stir thoroughly. The cornstarch-water mix will help to thicken the stew.

Serve over Basmati rice and garnish with cilantro.

Turning Down the Heat

Yogurt is a great way to temper the heat of this dish. Take the cup of plain Greek yogurt and the cucumber and put it in a food processor. Pureé until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste. Put in bowl and refrigerate until you serve the Lamb Vindaloo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ratatouille

ratatouille-image_1Before we begin, let’s establish that we’re not talking about the Disney movie here. There are a million variations on this particular theme. Make mine a million and one. This French concoction can be a side dish, or it can be a main dish (with rice pilaf), or it can be an appetizer. Pick your poison. Everything that is used in this recipe is roughly chopped…not too big, and not too small. Leave the skin on everything except the red (or Bermuda) onion. I use cilantro here, but you can also use parsley if you’d like. My problem is that I’m not a great lover of parsley, with the exception of specific recipes. I think cilantro (often referred to as Mexican parsley) is a much more interesting taste.

Another basic staple in my house is Balsamic Drizzle or, as some call it, Balsamic Cream. I like to drizzle some on mine but this is entirely optional.

This is a project for sure. Everything cooks in stages initially, and it comes out best if cooked slowly. Cooking it for less time will leave you bigger and more distinct pieces of vegetables. Cooking it for up to 1.5 hours will result in a more blended silky stew. The beauty of this is that it can be served warm or room temperature. And leftovers? Nothing like it. Roll it up in a piece of lavash bread or throw it in a pita pocket, melt some Italian Fontina on it, and have yourself a great lunch. It can also be frozen.

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

8 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 large red (or Bermuda) onion, roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped

2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms

6 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 medium-large eggplant, cut into 1″ cubes

3 zucchini, sliced and cut in half

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in strips

10 springs thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper

2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Balsamic Drizzle (for serving)

1/4 cup dry white wine (for deglazing the pan)

Directions

Prior to beginning this process, a word about deglazing the Dutch oven. During the cooking process a brown glaze will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep a 1/4 cup of dry white wine on hand for deglazing purposes. You do not want this brown glaze to burn and ruin the flavor of the dish. Add wine a little at a time as necessary and scrape off the bottom of the pan. Add the deglazing liquid to the bowl with the cooked vegetables.

The first thing you have to do is cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Eggplant traditionally retains a lot of water. Cut the eggplant first and place the pieces in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the vegetables. Prior to this becoming a blended dish, the vegetables will be cooked in stages. Therefore, you want to keep the raw vegetables in separate bowls.

Place 2 tsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven (at least 5-1/2 quart) and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt, and sauté until they are just beginning to turn brown. This will take about 10 minutes. Then, add the peppers and mushrooms and cook for about another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and put this into a large, clean bowl.

Add another 2 tsp of oil to the Dutch oven and toss in the zucchini. Add another pinch of salt. Cook the zucchini until it begins to brown. This should again be about 5-7 minutes. Remove the zucchini and add it to the other vegetables.

Rinse the eggplant under cold water, and squeeze the pieces to remove as much moisture as possible. Add 2 more teaspoons of olive oil to the pan along with the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant becomes translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove the eggplant and add it to the other vegetables.

Finally, add some more olive oil to the pan and sauté the garlic until it becomes slightly brown and fragrant. Then, add the tomatoes, thyme, cilantro, red pepper flakes and bay leaves. Allow the tomato juice to bubble, and deglaze the pan as it does.

Add all of the cooked vegetables back into the Dutch oven. Stir to mix, and reduce the heat to low. Taste and adjust salt level, and add black pepper to taste. You can cook this for another 30 minutes or up to an hour and a half. Shorter cooking time will result in larger more distinct pieces of vegetables. Longer cooking times will result in a very nice melded stew. The choice is up to you.

Before taking the Ratatouille off the stove, remove the bay leaves and stir in the basil. Serve in bowls, adding a dash of olive oil to the top. You can also offer a drizzle of Balsamic cream as well as some finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

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Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino

cioppinoI’m naming this Fisherman’s Wharf Cioppino because the first time I ever had this dish I was on vacation in one of my all-time favorite cities: San Francisco. This seafood feast is one of the eight wonders of the food world. It’s origins lie in — as you may guess — Italy. For a “stew” of this complexity, it’s remarkably uncomplicated to make.

Like its cousin, Mediterranean Fish Stew, you can serve it with crusty bread. However, I also highly recommend serving it over pasta, preferably homemade pasta.

You’re going to need a very large kettle or pot for this. I use the pot I cook lobsters in.

Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil

1 large Vidalia onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups fish stock

1 cup all-natural clam juice (Snows is what I use)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice

1.5 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay)

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 tbsp dried basil

1 tsp dried whole oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp fennel seed

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp coarse-ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1.5 lbs catfish, salmon, halibut or cod, cut in pieces

1.5 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1.5 lbs sea scallops, cut in half

1 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded

1 lb littleneck clams, cleaned and scrubbed

1 lb lump crabmeat

1/2 lb calamari, bodies only cut in 1-in rings

Directions

Heat the oil in a lobster pot or large kettle over medium heat. Add the onions, shallots, pepper and garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes, and coarse-ground black pepper. Cook for another several minutes.

Add the tomatoes (and their juices), clam juice, chicken stock, fish stock, white wine, fennel seeds and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the flavors blend together.

Remove the cover and add the littleneck clams and mussels.  Cook, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the shells open. Remove the shellfish with a slotted spoon and reserve. Be sure to throw away any clams or mussels that have not opened.

Next, add the scallops, shrimp, fish, crab meat and calamari rings. Cover and simmer for 5-7 minutes until everything is just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the shellfish to the pot and stir in the parsley. Simmer for another 3-4 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with crusty bread. Or serve over pasta with Parmesan cheese on the side.

 

 

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Mediterranean Fish Stew

Mediterranean Fish Stew 2My niece reminded everyone the other day on Facebook that it’s getting to be soup weather. I, for one, believe it’s already here. And it’s not only “soup” weather, it’s “stew” weather. This is an amazingly aromatic fish stew that calls for a firm fleshed white fish, like hake, halibut, mahi-mahi…even catfish. Better still, try a combination of fish in this one.

It’s great with a nice, dry white wine and some crusty Italian or French bread. And don’t worry about the addition of the anchovies. It adds amazing flavor, and nobody will even know they are there. Even though you may have some friends who are anchovy-phobic, do not leave these out of the recipe!

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

2 Vidalia onions, chopped

1 celery heart, chopped

1 large or 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

6 large garlic cloves, minced

4 anchovy fillets, chopped

2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1.5 cups dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio

3 cups water

Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

2 wide strips orange zest

2 lbs firm, white fish (halibut, hake, catfish, mahi-mahi, cod…or any combination thereof), cut in pieces

Saffron (generous pinch)

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Chopped parsley or slivered basil, for garnish

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots. Cook for 10-15 minutes until thoroughly tender.

Add the garlic and parsley. Cook for several minutes more until the garlic is fragrant and becomes translucent.

Add the chopped tomatoes and anchovies. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often until tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture becomes aromatic.

Stir in the dry white wine and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the water, return to slow boil. Add about 1.5 to 2 tsp sea salt, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for another 15 minutes. Stir frequently. Taste for salt and garlic. Add more if necessary. Remember that once the fish is added it will increase the depth of flavor.

Stir in the orange zest and the fish. Add a health pinch of saffron. Simmer slowly uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.

Add the fresh-ground pepper, taste again, and adjust the salt if necessary.

Remove the orange peel, and remove the stew from the heat. Serve in soup bowls, garnishing with either parsley or slivered basil. Serve with crusty bread or garlic croutons.

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