Showing posts with label Stews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stews. Show all posts

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Billionaire’s Franks & Beans – Welcome to the Top 1% of Comfort Foods

Maybe it’s the billionaire(s) in the news lately, but for some reason I decided to take one of America’s most frugal meals, franks and beans, and give it a high-end makeover. Besides, all the other classic comfort foods have been fancified, hipsterized, and/or molecular gastronomized; so I figured I would take this one down. And by down, I mean up.

Usually, franks and beans is made by opening up a couple cans of baked beans, and heating it up with some sliced hotdogs. Not exactly something you’d serve to visiting dignitaries. However, by adding some fresh veggies, plain beans, and high-quality beef hot dogs, we can achieve something much healthier, equally delicious, and every bit as comforting.

So, how much more will it cost you to make this usually cheap dish, using these upscale ingredients? It’s tempting to say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, but that’s not the case. Sure, the Kobe hotdogs will cost you a couple extra dollars, but the rest of the dish is still quite inexpensive. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Franks & Beans:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced poblano or other green pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh cayenne pepper, or other hot red pepper
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound hot dogs, sliced (literally any other sausage will work here)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cup chicken broth, or as needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- serve with buttered toast and champagne
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Peanut Curry Chicken – Check Please!

There’s a show called “Check, Please! Bay Area,” which features three locals who try each other’s favorite restaurants, and then compare notes with host, Leslie Sbrocco. We get lots of great ideas for places to try, and every once in a while I hear about a dish that I really want to make, and this peanut curry chicken is the latest example. The restaurant was called Old Skool Café, and the dish was “Abu’s West African Peanut Butter Stew.” 

I was working while it was on, and not paying full attention, but I remember thinking that it sounded like something I’d like to try soon. That was a year ago. 

Last week, Michele and I ended up going there, and I finally had my chance to order the stew, and reverse engineer the recipe for a video. Except, I didn’t order it. I have this mental defect where have to I order fried chicken every time it’s on a menu. Michele was no help, since she has the same affliction with shrimp and grits. 

Anyway, someone ordered it at the table next to us, and I overheard them discussing it, which provided plenty of inspiration for this version. I decided to not follow any specific recipe, but instead do a simple composite of every peanut curry I’ve ever come across. 

Unlike Abu’s stew, and many others, I didn’t use coconut milk, as I feel that’s a little too sweet and rich for the peanut butter. I loved how this came out, and I can’t imagine it being any richer. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:

For the spice blend:
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
                                                                                  
2 1/2 pounds chicken boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup 
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I recommend using an all-natural style that doesn’t contain sugar. If you use the regular stuff, you won’t need the brown sugar called for below). 
1 packed tablespoon brown sugar 
about 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, depending on desired thickness 
1 pound zucchini, cut into chunks 
1 red bell pepper, cubed 
1 green poblano pepper, diced 
1/2 cup roasted peanuts 
chopped cilantro and fresh lime to garnish 
serve on rice
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Creamy Pork Stew – Easy Does It

I didn’t want to end my vacation by filming anything too strenuous, so I went with this creamy pork stew, which is one of my favorite cold weather dishes of all time. This comforting stew is very delicious, quite easy, and ready to accept all sorts of seasonal produce.

As usual, I kept the ingredient list to a minimum, as not to get in the way of demonstrating this simple procedure, but things like squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, and root vegetables, would all be wonderful swimming around in the subtly sweet, just-rich-enough sauce.

As I mention in the video, you always want to buy a nice hunk of pork shoulder, and cut your own chunks. If you want to save five minutes of work buying the pre-cut stuff in the package, go ahead, but please know you’re paying more money for a lower quality product. Not to mention, you can’t control the size and shape of the cut.

If pork isn’t your thing, this would be lovely with veal, beef, or chicken thighs. No matter which meat you use, simmer it until tender, and this simple, cider-spiked, cream sauce will turn it into a big bowl of autumn goodness. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil for browning meat
2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp horseradish
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken broth, or as needed
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 cup sliced carrots
a few sage leaves
2 sprigs thyme
2 small sprigs rosemary
*Fresh herb note: I just tossed mine in whole, but if you don’t like that texture, you can simply pick and chop herbs before adding.
1 dry bay leaf
pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
fresh apple strips and fresh chive to garnish
- Serve on steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.
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Shakshuka – Say It With Me Now

This Shakshuka, or Shakshouka if you prefer, is why I’m so glad the show/blog/channel is called, “Food Wishes.” This North African one-dish-meal is so fast, easy, and delicious, but it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to do a video for it, unless someone sent me a request. 

I always appreciate these types of reminders, and seeing "Shakshuka" in a subject line does catch your attention, but now I have a little problem. I can’t stop saying it. It has basically replaced using profanity for me. Yes, now when I stub my toe, I yell "shakshuka!"

I know we did an Italian-inspired version of this idea, served in individual ramekins, but this is supposedly the original. The sauce is quite different, and I think more interesting. The peppers and mushrooms add another layer of flavor, and the spicing is much more complex. Not to mention, a large pan of this is much more of a showstopper.

Just be sure to cook your sauce until the veggies are nice and soft and sweet. I don’t think you want crunchy onions and peppers in this, so take a little time building the base. You will also have to monitor the liquid level as it simmers, but that’s very easy to adjust by adding a splash of water or broth.

Once the eggs go in, you can finish covered on the stove, or just pop the pan into a hot oven until they cook to your liking. I go for just barely set, and the advantage of that system is, if you do want them cooked more, you just need to stir the egg into that hot sauce, and it will firm-up instantly.

No matter how you like your yolks cooked, this makes for an impressive breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. And if you’re serving a large group, you can scale this up to any size pan or baking dish. I really hope you “shakshuka!” very soon. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 6 small portions: 
(one egg per portion as appetizer - double for a main course)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
large handful of sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 cup diced red bell peppers
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
28-oz can (about 3 cups) crushed San Marzano tomatoes, or other high-quality plum tomatoes. Of course you can use fresh tomatoes in season.
1/2 cup water or broth, or as needed
6 large eggs (or as many as you can fit in you pan)
crumbled feta cheese and fresh parsley to finish
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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Oxtail Ragu – Worth the Wait

Other than a completely unnecessary braising step right in the middle of the video, this oxtail ragu came out amazingly well. My thought was to roast the oxtails in the sauce, in a slow oven to see if I could achieve the tender-sticky meat I know and love, while slowly reducing the sauce at the same time. I couldn’t. 

Well, actually, it would have eventually gotten tender, but I wasn’t prepared to find out how long that was going to be. Like I said several times during the video, I want you to roast your oxtail and onion until nicely browned, but then transfer everything into a pot, add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer until the meat comes off the bones with minimal effort.

The only way to screw up this incredibly succulent cut of beef is to not cook it long enough, which is why I better not read any 3-star recipe reviews that say, “Good flavor, but wasn’t as tender as I wanted.” Just remember to not braise, and keep simmering until it yields completely to your fork. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
(Pro tip: since this does take so many hours to simmer, it's almost always best to make this the day before you serve it)
3-4 pounds oxtail, cut into 2-inch sections, rubbed with olive oil, and seasoned generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
-- Roast at 425 F. for 45-60 minutes until browned
-- Transfer into a sauce pot, and add the following
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
4 cups tomato sauce or puree, or more if desired
2 cups chicken broth, or enough to cover the oxtails
* You can add as much sauce and/or stock as you want, as long as you have at least enough to cover
1 sprig rosemary
2 springs thyme
2 springs oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Simmer on low, many hours, until tender
- Should be enough sauce and meat for 1 pound of pasta
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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cider-Braised Pork Cheeks – Eating with a Grin

Sometimes when I’m really bored, I’ll sit around trying to think up fake Mark Twain food quotations. For example, “The best beef stew I ever had, was pork cheeks in San Francisco.” That was inspired by the fact these delicious, easy to prepare clumps of pork really do taste like an extra-rich beef shoulder. 

You will have to speak with an actual real, live butcher, but they’re generally harmless, and if they sell fresh pork, I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to order you some cheeks. While I’m very proud of this recipe, and I think the hard cider makes for a perfect cooking liquid, feel free to simply take your favorite stew, or braised beef recipe, and swap in the pork cheeks instead.

Once everything’s in the pan, all you have to do is cook this until the meat is fork tender, and the sauce has thickened enough to coat the meat. Be careful not to use a too-salty broth, otherwise it may be too much once reduced. I really hope you give this cider-braised pork cheeks recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions:
* I used 6, but the amounts will work with 8, and give you 4 portions)
8 large pork cheeks (about 2 pounds)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
flour as needed
2 tablespoon clarified butter
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cups hard cider
2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1 rib celery, diced

Note: if you want extra sauce, you can add an extra tablespoon of flour to the veggies when they are sautéing. Then add an extra cup of cider and broth, and proceed as shown.
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