Put these hearty all-in-one meals into your recipe rotation this year.
By Janet Groene, F47166
Stews are especially welcome at the winter table. They are the ultimate comfort food, the essential one-pot meal. Save these recipes and celebrate a new stew each week as the temperatures drop. Call them stews, ragouts, pot-au-feu, or just “My Famous One-Dish Special.”
Catalan Beef Stew
This recipe from The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook (see “Books for Cooks”) takes subtle flavor from orange peel and black olives. It makes four servings, but if you cook for only two, leftovers taste even better the second time around.
5 slices thick-sliced bacon, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut in 2-inch pieces
Salt, as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons orange peel, cut in julienne
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 sprigs parsley, minced
1 cup pitted Spanish black olives
The following is a paraphrase from the longer instructions found in the book. Saute the bacon in hot oil until it’s crisp and browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and add the beef. Working in batches to avoid crowding the meat, brown the beef on all sides, adding salt and pepper as necessary. Use a slotted spoon to move the beef from the pan to a bowl with the bacon. Brown the onions in the hot oil until they are deeply caramelized. Return the beef and bacon to the pan and add the wine, orange peel, bay leaves, garlic, and parsley. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover; and simmer for approximately two hours or until the beef is nearly tender. Add the olives and simmer for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the beef is fork-tender. Serve in heated bowls.
NOTE: After the browning steps, I cooked this stew in a slow cooker on low for six hours; added the olives; and cooked it another hour on low. The cookbook doesn’t indicate what accompaniments are traditional for this Spanish dish, but I topped each serving with a scoop of white rice.
Linda Eckhard’ts Chickien Jamaica, A Skillet Stew
Award-winning cookbook author Linda Eckhardt is cowriting a new book with Dr. John Salerno called Fight Fat with Fat: The Sustainable Diet for the 21st Century. Thanks to the popularity of Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat, American cooks are taking a new look at how eating reasonable amounts of fat can help one stay slim. Linda says this recipe has 504 calories per serving. Watch for her new book to be published in 2009.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 chicken thighs
1 teaspoon curry powder (more or less to taste)
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped tomato
2 tablespoons capers
¼ cup dry red wine
1 medium bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon chives
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and begin sautéing the onion. Once the onion begins to turn a golden color, add the garlic. While the onion and garlic are cooking, place the chicken thighs on wax paper. In a small bowl mix the curry powder, pepper, salt, allspice, and red pepper flakes. Rub the spice mixture into the meat, and then cook it in the skillet, moving the onions to the side. After you have turned the chicken once, add the tomatoes and capers. Cook for two to three minutes, and then add the wine, bay leaf, and thyme. Cover and cook until the chicken is tender, which should take approximately 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and serve the stew in rimmed soup bowls. Sprinkle with chives. This recipe makes four portions.
Calico Beef And Beans
From the new book Twinfare (see “Books for Cooks”) is this meaty, economical stew. This recipe serves eight with only one pound of ground beef.
½ pound bacon, cut up
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
½ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 can lima beans, drained
1 can white beans, drained
2 cans pork and beans
1 can butter beans, drained
½ cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Brown the bacon, beef, and onion in a skillet and drain the excess fat. In a slow cooker, place the ground beef combination and the remaining ingredients and cook on low for three hours.
Sauerkraut And Stuffing Stew
1 6-serving package pork-flavored stuffing mix
2 eggs, beaten
1 24-ounce package cooked sausage, such as kielbasa
1 24-ounce packet sauerkraut
1 16-ounce can chicken broth
Prepare the stuffing mix according to package directions, allow it to cool, and then stir in the beaten eggs. Cut the sausage into six portions and place it in the bottom of a deep skillet or roomy saucepan. Rinse and drain the sauerkraut and arrange it over top of the sausage. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Form six stuffing balls using a 1/2-cup measuring cup or an ice cream scoop. Place the stuffing balls atop the sauerkraut; cover; reduce heat; and cook for 20 minutes until the stuffing is firm. Serve in shallow soup plates.
Grandma’s Toffee Bars
This recipe is from the new cookbook Commander’s Wild Side (see “Books for Cooks”). The bars are so rich that they are a cross between cookies and candy.
4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips
Set the oven for 425 degrees. Stir together the oats, sugar, and melted butter and press the combination evenly into a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until it is lightly colored and bubbly. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. The crust will firm as it cools. In the top pan of a double boiler, combine the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the chips have melted. This should take approximately 15 minutes. Spread the hot mixture over the bar crust and let cool at room temperature for two hours or until firm and set. Cut into 24 squares.
In response to requests for more recipes for singles and couples, here’s a quickie to try in your microwave oven. It calls for a small, single-serve (3 1/4-ounce) can of tuna. To make this dish for two people, use a 6 3/4-ounce can of tuna and double all of the other ingredients.
1 3 1/4-ounce can tuna
1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup instant rice
½ teaspoon lemon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Drain the tuna into a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1/3-cup of liquid. Put all the ingredients in a microwavable container; cover; and cook for three minutes. Allow the tuna mixture to stand, covered, for one minute. Sprinkle with cheese and cook in the microwave oven for another 30 seconds uncovered. This recipe makes one serving.
Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding
Thanks to FMCA family member Pauline “Polly” Hatch for this wonderful bread pudding recipe. Remember that the secret to cooking delicate egg dishes in the microwave oven is to use medium (not high) power, and avoid overcooking.
2 cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups soft bread cubes
½ cup raisins
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
Beat together the milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a 1½-quart glass casserole. (Polly uses a rotary mixer, but if you don’t have one, a balloon whisk works, too.) Stir in the bread cubes and raisins, and dot with butter. Cook in the microwave oven for 26 to 28 minutes on the medium or simmer setting, or until it’s almost done in the center. Let stand for five minutes. Polly serves it with whipped topping or vanilla ice cream, but it’s delicious by itself, too.
NOTE: Polly said you can use half and half instead of milk if you wish, and substitute Splenda for sugar.
Books For Cooks
First there was Joy of Cooking, and then the Betty Crocker cookbooks. Now there is The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook. ($39.95, Lebhar-Friedman Books). Every cook needs a basic cookbook, preferably a hardbound volume to use every day, answer every question, fill with notes and spatters, and then pass along to a grateful grandchild. This 400-page volume fills these needs, and more. Discover how to make the crispiest tempura and the fluffiest waffles. Find out what items you should always have on your pantry shelf. From the famous Culinary Institute of America, this book starts with the basics and goes on to provide more than 300 pages of tips, reference guides, recipes, and delectable color photos.
The second edition of The Mixer Bible: Over 300 Recipes for Your Stand Mixer ($27.95, Robert Rose) is a whale of a cookbook at 432 pages, which may be heavier than most motorhomers want to carry. However, it’s a lifesaver for cooks who keep a stand mixer on the counter at home and use it for everything including slicing vegetables, kneading bread dough, making pasta, and stuffing sausage. This book is especially useful for suggesting ways to glean more use out of your stand mixer. All cooks will love the mouthwatering photos and innovative recipes.
Have you ever eaten in a Commander’s Palace restaurant? You’ll be curious about a showy new hardcover cookbook titled Commander’s Wild Side: Bold Flavors for Fresh Ingredients from the Great Outdoors ($29.95, William Morrow Cookbooks). Managing partner Ti Adelaide Martin and executive chef Tory McPhail look for bold flavors in the great outdoors and bring them indoors to serve at Commander’s Palace restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, and Houston. The book is nicely illustrated and a good armchair read as well as a cookbook. Recipes celebrate fresh ingredients and the outdoors (including a recipe for chicken-fried mountain lion). These recipes are demanding and take time, providing the gourmet touch that serious cookers appreciate.
One of the sweetest, most readable cookbooks in ages is Twinfare ($25.95, Father & Son Publishing), written by Pennsylvania Dutch twin sisters Connie Loux-Murray and Chris Loux-Henning. It’s an ideal gift for any two people who love to cook or entertain together, especially generations such as mother-daughter or grandmother-granddaughter teams. First, it’s a lifetime book with spiral rings, so it lies flat; plus, its sturdy cover should last for years. Second, it overflows with warm nostalgia, vintage photos, and home-style recipes everyone loves to read, eat, or cook.
Last month’s column featured the new Culinary and Crafts Institute at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. This month the spotlight is on Pennsylvania Dutch country, where travelers can choose from two tours. The first is a 90-minute walk through Kitchen Kettle Village to see how jams and jellies are still made in small batches. There’s also a hands-on tour that allows you to try your hand at jelly making. The village is in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, east of Lancaster. Learn more at www.kitchenkettle.com, (800) 732-3538.