Friday, April 20, 2018

Red Wine Beef Stew #soupswappers

It is Saturday!  It is the third Saturday of April!  It is spring...or supposed to be!  I am supposed to make a soup with the theme that Camilla, at Culinary Adventures with Camilla selected for the Soup Saturday Swappers:  Spring Has Sprung

The only problem I have is that it is winter outside.  So, I do believe I am a failure at making a soup that has spring vegetables.  We really were craving comfort food, I mean it was going down to 38°.  I know that there are some folks out there with even colder weather....I'm sorry your spring looks like winter!  What I do know is that you would be comforted with this super, slow cooked Red Wine Beef Stew!

Red Wine Beef Stew
adapted from NY Times Recipes

Marinating Mixture
3 1/2 - 4 pounds beef stew. cut into large pieces
2 large sprigs of thyme
2 bay leaves
12 juniper berries
1/2 bottle red wine (red table wine or cabernet works well)

In the Pot
Salt and fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves  (1 smashed, 3 minced)
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 stalks celery
3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 1/2 onion, chopped
1 large Idaho potato, peeled and diced
3-4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp tomato paste

Bouquet garni (2 sprigs fresh thyme 2 sprigs rosemary and parsley, 2 bay leaves, 6 juniper berries, 4 whole cloves, 1 tsp dried orange peel, wrapped in cheesecloth and tied.

1/2 bottle
Chicken broth, as needed
3 Tbsp chopped parsley

In a large bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients.  Mix well.  Place the meat and marinade into a large zip lock bag or bowl and refrigerate.  Marinate for at least two hours or up to a day.

After the meat has marinated, strain off the marinade and reserve for cooking.  Drain the meat on paper towels and pat dry.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Prepare the vegetables:  cut the celery and carrots into large chunks.  Peel and dice the onion.  Peel and dice the potato. Set aside.

Prepare a large, heavy pot with a tight fitting lid by placing it on the stove and rubbing the bottom with the smashed and peeled garlic clove coating it with the garlic's oils.  Discard the garlic.

Heat 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil in the pot until shimmering.  Add half of the meat and brown gently on both sides.  When browned, remove the meat to paper towels to drain.  Repeat with the remaining two tablespoons of oil and meat.  Then return the all the meat to the pot.

Heat the oven to 250° F.

In a large skillet, cook the bacon lardons until crisp.  Cook gently until the fat renders.  When the bacon is close to finished, add the onions, celery, carrots, and minced garlic.  Cook stirring, until softened and golden, about ten minutes.  Increase the heat, add the tomato paste and cook, stirring until sizzling and fragrant.  Add the bouquet garni, reserved marinade and potato.  Let the mixture bubble rigorously for 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid is thickened and syrupy.  Transfer the mixture to the heavy pot with the meat.

Pour the remaining half bottle of red wine to the pot.  If needed, add enough chicken broth so that the ingredients are covered.  Stir to combine.  Bring the mixture to a simmer.  Place the lid on the pot and bake four to five hours.  At four hours, test the meat for doneness.  It should be soft enough to eat with a spoon and the sauce should be thick.  If after four hours, the liquid appears thin, remove the lid from the pot and bake uncovered for the remaining time.

When done, let cool slightly.  Remove and discard the bouquet garni and the celery chunks.  To thicken the stew, smash some of the carrots and potatoes with a fork.  Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Garnish each serving with thyme leaves and chopped parsley.


 Copycat soup recipe is the theme for this month's Saturday Soup Swappers!  The Saturday Soup Swappers is a group of bloggers brought together by Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm. The group gets together on the third Saturday of the month to share soups or stews based on a theme selected by one of the members. If you are interested in joining in on the fun, follow the link above for more information. All are welcome!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cheese, Leek and Potato Pasties - SRC

Today is special.  It is a reunion and I am so excited!  For a number of years, I participated in a group called the Secret Recipe Club.  Each month we were assigned a blog and asked to select a recipe to prepare and share.  It was so much fun.  It made me get out there and really look at another blogger's work.  I prepared dishes that I probably would never have tackled if left to my own know how it is...your own little recipes, routine and rotation.  It is easy to fall back into that MOD.   I must admit as I examined my "little rotation", I noticed that a number of recipes were those that I found on a Secret Recipe Club blog!  It made me smile.

For the reunion I was assigned Maxine's lovely blog, WHYIAMNOTSKINNY. I have visited Maxine's blog a number of times as she was my assigned blogger in 2016.  At that time I was searching for food that could travel so I made Maxine's wonderful blueberry muffins.  This time, I was just looking with no idea of where I was headed. It was kind of like a kid in a candy store. So many choices and I could only have one.

You see, WHYIAMNOTSKINNY is impressive!  Not only does Maxine love food, cook and share recipes, she has written many restaurant reviews.  Maxine and her work are well known in Brussels and the blogging community.  She loves to share "food gathering" experiences...and you know what?  She is right.  All of us gather together around food. We bring family together for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions.  We meet friends for brunch, lunch and dinner....  Food is a focal point and I am thrilled to be able to share WHYIAMNOTSKINNY with you today.

As I searched through the recipe index, my eyes landed on the word "pastie".  This just could be it, Cheese Leek and Potato Pasties! I read a lot of historical fiction and every character is always grabbing a pastie for a meal.  It was definitely time for me to expand my horizons, so to speak, and prepare and grab pasties for our meal!!  I loved the idea of using puff pastry.  The only thing that I did differently was add bacon so it would appeal to Mr. T.

Leek, Cheese, and Potato Pasties

Yield: 4 pasties
Preheat oven:  350°
Prepare baking sheet by lining with parchment.

2 small potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 Tbsp butter
2 small leeks, white and light green part only, cleaned, split in half lengthwise and finely sliced
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 pkg (14 oz.) puff pastry
flour for dusting
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 egg beaten
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

In a medium fry pan, cook the bacon until crisp.  Drain and crumble.

In a saucepan boil the potatoes in salted water until tender but still holding shape.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Add the leeks and cook on medium until softened, about 10-12  minutes.

Drain the potatoes.  Add them to the leeks along with the seasonings.  Stir in the cream.  Add the bacon and stir. Set the mixture aside to cool.

On a floured surface, roll out the pastry to the thickness of about 1/8 inch.  Using a small bowl with a diameter of 6 inches, cut out four to six circles.

Mix the cheese with the leek and potato mixture.  Scoop about 1/4-1/3 cup of the mixture into the center of each pastry.

Brush beaten egg around the edges.  Bring the opposite sides to the center and crimp the edges with fingers.  During this step you will be able to determine if you have too little or too much filling.  Brush a little egg over the outside of the pasties.

Place the formed pasties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake pasties at 350° for 40-45 minutes.


Reunions are fun and this one was especially so. Thank you, Sarah for bringing us all together again!