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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.

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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.

 

Some nights I’m in for a big, complex meal. I love spending time in the kitchen, but it’s not always one of those nights. Sometimes we’re short on energy, but still want something homemade and delicious. On those nights I head over to Stonesoup; it’s full of simple, fresh, whole food recipes.
I love this recipe for it’s simplicity and it’s versatility. I’m thinking next time we might add brussels sprouts. We often toss whatever’s on hand in a baking pan and roast it in the oven for a hour, but this recipe has a great balance of flavors and is a perfect starting point for different combinations.

roasted sausage onions and butternut squash

Magic Sausage Supper
via stonesoup

1/2 butternut squash
2 medium onions, quartered lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
4 thick sausages (we used kielbasa)
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves picked

Preheat your oven to 350F. Halve the squash crosswise then chop into wedges. Place pumpkin, onion, chili and sausages in a roasting dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast for about an hour, stirring at the half way mark. It’s ready when everything is golden and tender. Serve with parsley leaves sprinkled over the top.

Mushrooms and marsala are always the perfect pairing. And Smitten Kitchen always does it perfectly. My obsession started with the Mushroom Bourguignon (favorite dish ever) and blossomed from there. I love the simple ingredients that play off each other so well here.

chicken and mushroom marsala

Chicken and Mushroom Marsala
via smitten kitchen

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, halved and sliced thin
3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced thin, any variety you like
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional, for garnish)

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large heavy skillet heat oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown chicken in 2 batches, transferring with tongs to a large plate as browned. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from skillet and sauté onion and mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated. Add Marsala and cook mixture, stirring, until Marsala is almost evaporated. Add broth and chicken with any juices that have accumulated on plate and simmer, turning chicken once, until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter.
Simmer mushroom sauce until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until butter is just incorporated. Spoon mushroom sauce around chicken and sprinkle with parsley.