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I love gumbo. But it can be a major undertaking! This slow cook version makes it so easy. And it is SO good. I highly recommend adding the roux at the end. It makes the sauce just right.

slow cook chicken and sausage gumbo

Slow Cook Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
via back to her roots

1 large onion, diced
2 large red bell peppers, diced
2 large stalks celery, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces frozen or fresh okra, sliced into discs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 bay leaves
12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced into half moons
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large slow cooker, add all ingredients. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 or until vegetables are mushy and stock is slightly thickened (it will still be thin; if you find it too thin, stir in a roux to thicken to preference). Serve with brown or white rice.

This recipe is so simple and SO good. And it combines two of my favorite things, slow cooking and cooking with beer. Once the winter sets in, the slow cooker is my best friend. And the flavor of this stroganoff is just WOW at the end of the day. The dijon really adds just the right amount of bite.

slow cook stroganoff

Slow Cook Stroganoff
Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into thin slices
2 medium onions, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, quartered (I used cremini)
6 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 bottle of beer (I used a Porter)
Egg noodles, for serving

Slice beef, chop the onions and mushrooms, then toss them into a gallon zip lock bag with the minced garlic. Add the bottle of beer and refrigerate overnight.

In the slow cooker, toss beef, onion, and mushroom mixture with 2 teaspoons coarse salt and teaspoon pepper. Cover, and cook on low until meat is tender, about 8 hours (or on high for 6 hours).

Prepare the egg noodles. In a large glass measuring cup, whisk cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water. Ladle 2 cups of cooking liquid into measuring cup; whisk to combine. Pour into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 1 minute (It happens very quickly!). With slow cooker turned off, stir in cornstarch mixture, then sour cream and mustard.
Serve over the cooked noodles.

Here’s a classic! Easy too. The only thing you need is a little patience. But it’s well worth the wait!

beefstew-craigclaibourne-raudette

Easy Beef Stew
via the ny times

4 pounds lean, boneless chuck steak
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
6 tablespoons flour
4 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon thyme
6 sprigs parsley, tied in a bundle
6 large carrots, about 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed and scraped

Cut the meat into two-inch cubes. Using a large skillet, heat the oil and add the beef cubes in one layer (I ended up cooking mine in 2 batches because the pot wasn’t big enough). Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring and turning the pieces often, for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat the meat evenly. Add the wine and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the water. Add the cloves, bay leaf, thyme and parsley. Cover closely and simmer for one hour.
Meanwhile, cut the carrots into one-inch lengths. If the pieces are very large, cut them in half lengthwise. Add them to the beef. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Serve the stew sprinkled with chopped parsley.

It’s that time of the year again, soup and stews almost every week! Any my favorite flavor boost – a little beer! Check out this amazingly simple cabbage stir fry, packed with flavor and warmth.

Cabbage-Roll-Rice_simply_stacie

Cabbage Roll Rice
adapted from simply stacie

2 cups cabbage, roughly chopped
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning
28oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup beer
1 cup Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice

Add ground beef, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, salt and paprika to a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the ground beef is browned (about 10 minutes). Stir in italian seasonings, cabbage, diced tomatoes, water, beer and rice and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until rice is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Stir before serving. Serve hot.

One of the things I did over the holidays was make stock. Lots and lots of stock. Which led to many soups and stews over the past few weeks. We made a lot of old favorites (like split pea and turkey noodle), and a few new ones! This beef noodle stew is a rich hearty classic that I’d been craving for a while. There’s just something about a rich beefy stew when it’s freezing outside – warms and fills you up in the most satisfying way.

beef noodle stew

Beef Stew with Noodles
via martha stewart

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 medium onion, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups beef, turkey or chicken broth
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
2 cups egg noodles
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon red-wine vinegar

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over high. Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until seared and brown, about 6 minutes. Add onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion just begins to soften (reducing heat if necessary), about 3-5 minutes. Stir in flour until beef and onion are coated and cook 1 to 2 minutes (careful not to burn). Add broth and 3 cups water, stirring and scraping up browned bits. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until beef is tender, about 25 minutes. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add noodles and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. To serve, stir in parsley and vinegar.

Success! My first attempt at beef bourguignon was not only successful, but completely delicious. While I haven’t tackled the only-and-only Julia Child’s recipe yet (I think the movie did scare me a bit), the recipe below was still a labor of love, just with a little less labor but all of the goodness. It’s definitely a Sunday meal, but not quite the behemoth it was made out to be. Instead of the classic pot roast, this will always be my go-to. And with a nearly full bottle of cognac now gracing my counter, I think I might just have to make this once a month. Dinner party anyone?

beef bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon
via food52

3 pounds beef chuck, cut in 2-inch chunks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cognac
4 large carrots
1 large yellow onion, cut in chunks
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 750 ml. bottle full-bodied red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme
10 ounces pearl onions, peeled
1/2 pound white mushrooms, halved (quartered if large)
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 F. Pat meat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large Dutch-oven or oven-proof pan with lid over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add beef to pan in one layer. Brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a bowl. Add cognac to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat, scraping up bits. Allow to reduce by half. Pour cognac over beef.
Coarsely chop 2 carrots. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in same pan. Add chopped carrots, onion and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes over medium heat. Add beef with cognac, wine, stock, tomato paste and thyme. (Beef should be covered by the wine and stock. If not, add more wine or stock to cover.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes. Cover and place in oven. Bake until meat is very tender, 2 1/2 -3 hours.
About 30 minutes before beef is done, cut remaining carrots in 1/2″ slices. Steam or blanch carrots until crisp tender; drain. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté pearl onions and mushrooms until light golden brown. Remove beef from oven. Strain liquid from stew into a saucepan. Separate beef from the cooked vegetables and discard vegetables. Boil liquid until reduced by half and thickened to a sauce consistency, skimming fat from surface. Add sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add beef, carrots, pearl onions and mushrooms to stock. Simmer 15 minutes to heat through. Serve in warm bowls.
Beef Bourguignon may be prepared up to two days in advance. Cover and refrigerate. Before reheating, discard any solidified fat from surface. Reheat over medium-low heat on stovetop or in a 325 F oven.

I’d been craving brussels sprouts, but I needed a break from bacon. Crazy right? I know. But I really needed to try something new when it came to these little balls of green deliciousness. Mustard and sauteed onions for just the right amount of tang? Yes, please! The original recipe called for tossing in a handful of pecans at the end too, if that’s your thing.

brussels sprouts with warm mustard dressing

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Warm Mustard Dressing
via pbs

1 lb brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Remove the tough outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and then trim and cut the the sprouts in half (top to bottom so that the core holds the leaves together). Add the Brussels sprouts to a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil to coat evenly. Add the salt and pepper and toss to combine. Grill the brussels sprouts cut-side down on a medium hot grill until the sprout is lightly charred and cooked through about 4-7 minutes. If you are using a broiler, broil them cut side up.
While the sprouts are grilling, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a saute pan and fry the onions until tender. Add the mustard and honey and continue frying until the honey starts to caramelize. Add the vinegar, stir to combine, and then pour the hot dressing over the grilled Brussels sprouts. Serve warm.

It snowed last night here in Seattle. And the answer to snow is always a hearty soup. We made this a little while back on a cold, cold night and it really hit the spot. Packed with veggies and greens and sausage and lentils, this is definitely a meal in a bowl. The sizzlling garlic oil addition at the end adds just the right kick of flavor. Definitely satisfies all my winter desires.

lentil soup with sausage chard and garlic

Lentil Soup with Sausage, Chard & Garlic
via smitten kitchen

1/2 cup olive oil, divided
4 large links of sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced or diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into half-moons or diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced (reserve half for later in recipe)
Kosher salt
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 bay leaves
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
6 cups water
Freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 cups shredded or thinly ribboned Swiss chard leaves or kale
Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to finish

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pot) in a large pot on medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Add the onion, celery, carrots, first two garlic cloves, a pinch fo salt, and if you like your soup spicy, a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook with the sausage until the vegetables soften a bit, another 5 minutes. Add the lentils, bay leaves, tomatoes, water (6 cups is, conveniently, a little less than 2 empty 28-ounce cans, so you can get any tomato pulp you missed), more salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. (It might be necessary to add more water if the soup gets too thick, though we preferred ours on the thick side). When the lentils are cooked, add the chard and cook until the leaves are tender, just a few minutes more. Discard the bay leaves.
To finish, divide soup among bowls, then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a small skillet and heat over medium until the garlic softens and hisses. Drizzle this over soup bowls, and top with fresh Romano, passing more at the table. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

Trying to get back on the paleo wagon this week with a hearty stew to start us off. Fresh, meaty and bright! The lemon added just the right amount of acid to this hearty, delicious dish.

chicken-meatballs-with-braised-lemon-and-kale

Chicken Meatballs with Braised Lemon and Kale
via bon appétit

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium shallots, minced, divided
1 scallion, minced (all parts), plus thinly sliced green tops for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound ground chicken meat (or turkey)
1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, plus more
1 lemon, very thinly sliced and seeds removed
2 cups chicken broth
1 large bunch curly kale, destemmed

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add shallot, scallion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly until softened and fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1/3 of ground chicken and cook just until cooked through, breaking up any clumps. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool slightly. Add remaining chicken meat, salt, and several grindings of black pepper. Mix just to combine. Wipe out the pot and add the remaining tbsp oil. Heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Form meat mixture into 8 meatballs each about 2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter and add to pot (mixture will be soft). Cook until light golden brown on all sides, 6-8 minutes total. Remove meatballs to a plate; set aside.
Add remaining shallot and lemon slices and cook until lemon slices are tender and starting to turn light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and return meatballs to pot. Bring to simmer, lower heat and cover. Cook meatballs until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Add kale to pot, and cook until tender and bright green, 4-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Divide kale and sauce among 4 shallow bowls, topping with meatballs and lemon slices. Garnish with sliced scallion tops and serve.