Tag Archives: stews

For the cold days

Remember that bread making class I took? I’m sure that you’re expecting more recipes for all thing yeasty.

I have plans.

Yet, right now, I’m going to tell you about beans. I know, I know, it doesn’t quite make sense. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

The short version of this is that, at the end of my class, I bought one of the instructor’s books, wooed by the promise of step by step pictured accompanying the instructions on making sourdough. Then, as I was flipping through, I saw this recipe for red beans. Having just spent three days making bread, this went straight to the top of my must make this now list.

I love all things braised, particularly in red wine, but, since, all things considered, I’m still fairly new to eating so much read meat, I’m always looking for ways to get the flavors without all of the heaviness.

This hits all the right notes. It’s rich, without the weight of so much fat, but with enough heft to be a main course. And, if you substitute dried herbs, then it’s made with pantry staples.

Today promises to be a cold one, I’d suggest getting started on making this immediately.

Red Wine Braised Kidney Beans
Recipe from The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen

1.5 cups dried dark kidney beans, rinsed and soaked
water
3 TBS olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small celery, finely diced
sea salt
4 TBS tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup full bodied red wine, like rioja or chianti
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried sage
freshly milled black pepper

Preheat your oven to 275 F

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine beans with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam and simmer on a low heat for about 1 hour.

In the meantime, in Dutch oven, warm the oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the tomato paste, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add in the dried herbs and stir.

Pour the wine into the Dutch oven and bring it to a boil. Add the vinegar and bay leaf. Then add the beans and their skimmed liquid. If necessary add more water so that the beans are covered.

Bring the beans to a boil. Cover the Dutch oven and cook for 1-2 hours, until the beans are creamy on the inside but still hold their shape. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4

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[filler]…[tomatoes]…[more filler]

Consider yourself warned: this post is going to be short.

My initial draft went something like this:

[Filler].

Something about a whirlwind trip to Texas for work.

[More filler].

Musings about the heat in Texas and the dryness of the land.

[Even more filler.]

Segue into having too many tomatoes.

With a little bit of time, it would have been great: funny, charming, well-thought out. I had high hopes for it. And, then, my flight home got delayed, and I got caught up in catching up with my family before the holiday.

*For the proverbial record, I had plans to come up with some honeyed apple cake for Rosh Hashona, too, but, there’s always 5773 for that. Also for those of you observing, consider this my way of saying L’Shana Tova, since there will be no dedicated post.

So, I’m simply going to say that I’m making good on a promise that I made earlier this week: another use for the tomato soup recipe that I shared. Namely, minestrone soup.

A few years ago, minestrone soup became one of my go-to comfort foods, and this version is my favorite. You start by boiling pasta and potatoes in the tomato soup, allowing the starch to thicken it. I’ve included my recommendations for other additions, but the beauty here is that it’s one of those catch-all recipes, where you can add in whatever you have on hand. Given how much filler has been in this post, it seems somehow appropriate it.

Minestrone Soup

6-8 cups of tomato soup
1 cup pasta, such as dried small shells
2 small potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 cups kidney beans
3 celery ribs, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 cups broccoli, diced into small pieces
1 cup leafy greens, like kale (optional)
2-3 diced tomatoes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the tomato soup to a simmer and add in the pasta and potatoes. Heat for 6-7 minutes, until the pasta is tender, then add in the remaining ingredients. Heat until the potatoes and kale, if including, are fully cooked, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 as main course, 6-8 as an appetizer

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Stormy Weather

Bear with me—this is going to be another one of those posts where I talk about the weather.

But, well. Irene.

When all’s said and done a few days later, I fared incredibly well, with just a few downed branches on the street around my apartment building. But, I got off easy, and when the news reports started picking up on Thursday evening, things seemed a lot more ominous.

Mind you, I still had big weekend plans, including a trip up to Connecticut, foolishly thinking that I could simply beat the storm back.

Then there was an announcement that all public transportation would be suspended starting out noon on Saturday. A friend got evacuated from Battery Park City, and ended up in my apartment. Running errands with a friend on Friday, we discovered that there wasn’t a single flashlight to be had on the entire Upper East Side.

More signs to take note.

Then my friends from abroad were emailing to make sure that things were okay.

This was starting to get serious.

If you know me at all, you know that, on a good day, I’m a worrier.

So, I did what I always do in situations like this: I cooked and, in this case chicken pot pie seemed perfect.

First, because of I had all of the ingredients on hand and in my, admittedly flawed, logic I thought that in the event of a power outage the food would all be cooked so might last longer. And, secondly because it’s the perfect mix of baking, which requires just the right amount precision to ensure that I couldn’t give my full attention to the news and cooking—when it came to the filling, I could still adapt as I went along, allowing me to sort of listen to the news. By the end of the day, I must have watched about fourteen hours. A somewhat embarrassing admission until I read this. Turns out I’m not alone.

There’s also this: to me, chicken pot pie is one of those classic comfort foods, perhaps because so after so many family holiday meals, I’ve found myself in my mother’s kitchen making chicken stock and using the left over chicken from the night before to make pot pies.

It’s hearty, sustaining.

Just the thing for an unexpected dark, stormy day. Or, for the cold fall nights that coming far sooner that I care to admit.

Chicken Pot Pie

Fair warning: this recipe makes far more filling than you’ll need to fill your pot pie. You can halve it, but it freezes well, and if you’re going to go through all of the effort, then it’s nice to have the extra for a rainy day. And, in the spirit of planning ahead, if you have left over chicken or turkey, this would be a fine way to use it up.

For the Filling:
4 chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
6 cups Chicken Stock
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil, divided in half
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
1 TBS herbes de provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 TBS corn starch (Optional, you may need this to thicken your filling)

For the Crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
10 TBS butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 egg, beaten and divided

To Make the Filling:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with 3 TBS olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken for 35-45 minutes, until it is full cooked. Set aside, allowing to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard the bones from the chicken. Cut the breast meat into a large dice. You should have approximately 4 cups of cubed chicken. Set it aside.

While the chicken is cooking, warm the stock, and in a separate pot, boil the potatoes in well salted water, approximately 10 minutes, until they are slightly under cooked. Drain the potatoes and set aside.

In a large dutch oven, add the rest of the olive oil, and saute the onions over medium low heat, until they are translucent, about ten minutes. Add the herbes de provence, carrots, celery, a pinch of salt, and pepper and saute another five minutes. Add the flour and cook at low heat, stirring constantly for at 2 minutes. You don’t want the mixture to brown, but you do want to get the raw flour taste out of our mixture. Simmer over low heat for another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring until thick. Add the milk, mixing well. If the soup isn’t thick enough for your linking, make a slurry, mixing 1 TBS cornstarch with 1 TBS water, until the cornstarch is dissolved and add it to the stock mixture. Stir to combine.

Add the potatoes, peas and diced chicken to the pot and mix well. Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

To Make the Crust:

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, pepper. Add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.

With the food processor running, add the ice water in a slow stream, pulsing until the dough holds together without being wet.

Divide the dough into two equal balls, flatting each one and wrapping it plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

To Assemble Your Pot Pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll out the first of the discs of dough and place it in a well greased 8″ pie dish. Puncture with a fork and brush with half of the egg mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until well cooked but not browned.

Allow to cool for approximately ten minutes, then fill the pie shell with the filling, using approximately 6 cups.

Roll out the second of the discs of dough, placing it on top of the filled pie shell. Crimp the edges together and cut vents into the top of the pie. Brush the pie dough with the rest of the beaten egg.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top crust is golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Serves Six, with plenty of filling left over

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Yankee Gumbo

Food has long been a source of nostalgia for me.

There’s something about the sensory experience that brings forth a powerful sense of time and place.

Of course, I’m not alone in this. I have my sundried tomato bread, among other things. Proust, famously, had his madelines. And, my friend Lauren who originally hails from New Orleans, has her gumbo.

Lucky for me, she decided to have some friends over for a huge pot, teaching us how to make it in the process. We helped in our own ways—in my case, making Pimm’s Cups, catching up until we we distracted by the smells coming from the kitchen. It’s safe to say that everyone there went back for a second helping when the gumbo was ready.

I left inspired, ready to tackle my own version. I incorporated andouille (made with chicken, no not quite authentic, I’m afraid) for added flavor and vinegar for an acidic punch at the end. Far from traditional, I’m sure, but filling and delicious all the same. Call it a Yankee version, if you will.

It’s funny, the way nostalgia works. As I started making the roux, I was suddenly back in my mother’s kitchen on a snowy day, much like the ones that seem to be happening so often this winter, alongside her while she made her potato soup. Her roux was blonder, and the soup was much lighter, but it was still the perfect thing for a cold day, much like this one.

Yankee Gumbo

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 chicken breasts, diced
1/2 cup flour
2 medium onions, diced
1/4 cup chopped leeks (white part only)
1 cup chopped celery
2 bay leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TSB paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 to 8 cups chicken stock (optional. water would work here, too)
1 can whole diced tomatoes, with their juice
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the chicken with a tsp of flour, dash of paprika, salt and pepper.

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the oil and all it to reach a high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and heat for 1 minute. Add the andouille sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and much of the fat is rendered. Add the chicken and sautee until the chicken has browned. Remove the sausage and chicken to a seperate dish with a slotted spoon. Set aside.

Add the remainder of the flour and paprika to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, in order to form a roux. Continue stirring until the roux is a dark golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

Add the onions, celery, and leeks to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook about 2 minutes.

At this point, add your stock, bay leaves, diced tomatoes and accompanying juice. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken and sausage to the point, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered 25 to 30 minutes, until the soup has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked.

Add red wine vinegar and Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice.

Serves 6-8

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