Even though we’re having beautiful Spring temperatures today and I’m getting ready to uncover the grill for the first time this season, it was just this past Tuesday that Denver saw a frigid storm blow through and leave an icy beginning to a six inch blanket of snow that covered everything in sight. Folks…it was cold. On April 23rd I was wearing my full length black wool coat with a heavy scarf around my neck and we found ourselves slurping this wonderful and warming Mexican shrimp soup.
Wonton Soup made for a delicious light meal last weekend. This classic recipe is really very simple to make in your own kitchen.
Especially when wonton wraps are so readily available. Except they were almost Impossible to find in our store. The Safeway store manager finally assisted Bob to end the treasure hunt and led him to a refrigerated end cap. When he handed them to Bob, he asked us to report back about the quality. It seems they’re a new brand for the store and he thought they were better quality than brands previous offered. They worked great, but it seems to me most wonton wraps are pretty trouble free. Anyone have any thoughts about one brand being better than another?
The latest issue of Food and Wine Magazine arrived on my coffee table last Saturday and the meal on the front cover, Jacques Pepin’s Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce was on our dinner table the next night.
This meal brings a whole new meaning to the clever quote “I love cooking with wine and sometimes I even put it in the food“. One full 750ml bottle of a full-bodied red wine is the only liquid used to slow braise the beef for this stew.
The recipe calls for two pounds of flatiron or chuck roast. I used this round roast that was on sale. Jaques instructs to cut the meat into eight pieces.
The meat is browned, then dusted with flour and seasoned simply with sauteed chopped onion, garlic, fresh thyme and salt and pepper. Add the bottle of red wine and it’s ready for a braise in the oven. We used Henry’s Drive 2009 Pillar Box Red, an Australian Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot blend.
Incredible dish. The end result is tender fall apart chunks of beef and a wine reduction sauce that is a thick, opulent and rich treat.
Wisely cooking the vegetables separately with some pancetta, and adding them at the end, keeps the carrots sweet, the mushrooms earthy and the pearl onions crunchy.
The lead in paragraph to this recipe reads:
This is the quintessential beef stew. Jacques Pépin’s mother served it at her restaurant, Le Pélican, where she made it with tougher cuts of meat. Jacques likes the flatiron—a long, narrow cut that’s extremely lean but becomes tender and stays moist. He doesn’t use stock, demiglace or even water in his stew, relying on robust red wine for the deep-flavored sauce.
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 thyme sprig
- One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
- 15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
- 15 cremini mushrooms
- 15 baby carrots, peeled
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1½ hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it ½ inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
- In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, ¼ cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
- To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.
Jacques Pepin’s Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce…It’s What’s for Dinner.
Chicken and Cheese Soup with Poblano Peppers
While most of you have been in the deep freeze this week, here in Colorado we’ve been enjoying mild temperatures. Mild enough that flip-flops have appeared, hikes have been taken, windows opened, decks occupied for sun starved bodies to soak up the warm rays and paths packed with dog walkers and bike riders.
Busy with work and play, aside from the soup pictured above, I didn’t cook much this week. One evening I made salmon burgers from the freezer department and micro’d frozen broccoli. The meal was so horrid that Bob demanded I get the camera and photograph and blog about it. We giggled ourselves out of that idea.
Ancho chile powder turns my Simple Posole recipe into an earthy flavored, red brick colored bowl of savory bliss. Pork roast, smoky ham hock, chewy white hominy and Mexican seasonings make this one of our favorite soups. And with the Superbowl approaching, offering lots of little bowls with a selection of toppings, this is a great party food.
Kale and White Bean Soup was an easy dinner during this past week of hectic Christmas planning, shopping, parties, gift wrapping, decorating…such a busy time of year. This soup was also a welcome healthy, brothy and savory break from some of the rich sinful things we’ve been feasting on lately.
Creamy sauerkraut and sausage soup with potatoes. A jar of sauerkraut in the pantry, a few potatoes on the counter and some sour cream in the fridge turned into a creamy comforting soup for dinner.
We’ve only been dabbling with Winter temperatures this season. Our lingering sunshiny Fall has barely given us a gray sky, snow flurries or overnight temperatures in the teens. This weekend Jack Frost has finally arrived, we have a couple of inches of snow on the ground and numbing cold temps. It’s officially stew weather.
This is a nice version of a crockpot beef stew recipe. Butternut squash, beef, and Marsala wine seem to blend wonderfully and produce a sultry combination of flavors. A grand version of an old favorite, this recipe comes from Chef Mick over at Tony’s Market. Chef Mick instructed us to cook this stove top, but I’ve altered it for a crockpot version. I normally like to use the old fashioned thick chewy noodles that you can buy from the freezer section or easily make yourself. As you can see in the photo, these big boys are unruly and don’t blend. They are hiding a wonderful bowl of delicious brothy goodness. I’d suggest using the thinner egg noodles from the pasta aisle.
- 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup flour
- ½ tsp fine sea or Kosher salt, ¼ tsp pepper
- Olive or Canola oil for sautéing
- 2 pounds Butternut Squash, cut into ¾ – 1 inch cubes
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic, bruised
- 1 cup Sweet Marsala (of drinking quality)
- 2 cups Beef or Chicken Stock
- Bouquet garni (2 sprigs rosemary, 1 bay leaf, several sprigs of thyme and several large sprigs of parsley tied together with cotton butcher’s string – or bay leaf and pinches of dry rosemary and thyme)
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Dredge the beef cubes in flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat, add a drizzle of oil, and brown beef in batches, refreshing oil as needed – take care not to burn the pan. Remove browned meat and place in crockpot.
- Refresh pan with oil if needed, add onions and sauté until tender, scraping pan regularly with a wooden spoon to break down crust. Add Marsala and stir to finish, reduce by 25%.
- Add this mixture to the crockpot. Add beef stock and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Peel and cube butternut squash and add about halfway through the cooking time.
- Serve over Creamy egg pappardelle, mashed potatoes or wild and brown rice.
Crockpot Beef Stew with Butternut Squash and Marsala…It’s What’s for Dinner.
From The Kitchen of Lea Ann Brown
Using a purchased rotisserie chicken made this chicken soup such an easy and tasty weeknight dinner.
I’d like to personally thank the following people or groups of people:
- The person who came up with the idea of selling cooked rotisserie chickens in grocery stores.
- Those who designed and built the roasting machines that cook dozens of rotisserie chickens at once.
- The company that designed and manufactures the plastic containers with domed lids to snugly hold the cooked rotisserie chickens.
- The company that designed and manufactures the little cardboard handle that fits around the plastic domed rotisserie chicken container making it easier to carry.
- The company that designed and manufactures the stainless steel cart that displays the rotisserie chickens and keeps them hot.
- I’d like to thank the person who came up with the idea to place that cart at the front of the store next the self check out lanes.
- 1 purchased rotisserie chicken
- 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 1 small white onion (8 oz.), chopped
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small jalapeño, minced
- 1 quart lower-salt chicken broth
- 1 15-oz. can hominy, drained
- 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, crumbled if the leaves are large
- 4 to 5 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2-1/2 oz. cotija or feta cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
- Heat the oil in a 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the broth, hominy, oregano, and chicken. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate. Using two forks, shred both some dark and white meat into bite-size pieces. Add to simmering broth and let it cook about 5 minutes. stir in the lime juice, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, top with the cheese, and serve immediately.
Rotisserie Chicken Soup with Lime and Hominy…It’s What’s for Dinner.
From the kitchen of Lea Ann Brown
Boy, this was a tough assignment for me. Normally when browsing my assigned blog for The Secret Recipe Club, my problem would be the hard task of deciding on just one recipe to prepare. This month, while scrolling through The Novice Housewife’s site, I was truly afraid I didn’t have the culinary ability to prepare some of her beautiful Indian recipes. I have to admit my fearless kitchen attitude had suddenly turned into a fraidy cat. Even with two Madhur Jaffray cookbooks in my possession, I just don’t prepare Indian food.