Drunken Squash with Forbidden Black Rice and Dried Fruit! 

Black Rice also known as Forbidden Rice

Once Reserved Only for the Noble. 

The health benefits of black rice are so powerful, this ingredient earned its name. Highly prized by noblemen and once forbidden amongst the common in ancient China. 

Black rice, was first introduced to the United States just recently, in 1995. Today it’s gaining popularity. Forbidden black rice is delicious, and has an amazingly chewy bite. It can be purchased at natural grocery stores, specialty markets and through your favorite on-line store. 

You’ll Need:

2-4 golden acorn squash, small sugar pumpkins or your fav squash

2 cups black forbidden rice, thoroughly washed

1 pound ground sausage

3 1/2 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to adjust seasoning 

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste 

1 teaspoon, plus 1/2 tablespoon good quality California olive oil, divided

1 cup celery, small dice

1 yellow onion, cleaned peeled and small diced

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried sage 

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine 

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

1 red bellpepper cored and cut small dice

1/4 cup dried apricots, small dice

1/4 cup golden raisins 

1/4 cup pecans rough chopped

1/4 cup chopped pistachios

1/2 cup Grand Mariner or good quality brandy (optional) 

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped fine 

Squash seeds, roasted for garnish

 

Here’s How:

Preheat the oven to 375′ F degrees, prepare a high-sided cookie sheet with olive oil and set aside. 

In a small bowl, soak dried apricots and golden raisins in Grand Mariner. Set aside.

Wash and dry the squash and cut the stem to remove. Cut the squash in half horizontally. Careful not to cut yourself. Place the round squash on a folded kitchen towel, to prevent from rolling. With a serrated bread knife-using a sawing motion, cut through the firm flesh. 

On each halve- carefully cut a very straight silver dollar sized piece off the backs of each halve. This will ensure each piece will sit upright at service time. With a spoon, gently scrape interior to remove seeds. Set aside to roast. ( See my seed roasting recipe ) or discard.

Lightly coat the flesh of the squash with some of the olive oil. Season generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Sprinkle lightly with ground nutmeg and ground clove.

Place flesh side down on the prepared baking sheet. Put into a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the flesh is soft- but stable when pierced with a knife.

Meanwhile, while squash is roasting, prepare the remainder of the recipe by rinsing the black rice thoroughly in a sieve under cold running water. Shake rice until water begins to runs clear, removing much of its starch.

In a medium sized, 6-8 quart sauce pan with fitted lid- bring rice, chicken stock, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a roaring boil – uncovered, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover tightly. Continue to cook rice until tender and most of water has been absorbed, about 35 – 40 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand covered, about 10 minutes undisturbed. After rest period, reveal and fluff with a fork. Black rice is naturally chewy when done. Test for doneness. 

About 15 minutes before the squash and the rice are expected to finish cooking, begin to prepare the stuffing. In a large 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat add 1/2 teaspoon of oil add ground pork, season with salt and pepper and additional 1/4 teaspoon ground sage. Sauté until slightly brown. About 2 minutes. 

Add the diced celery and onion. Continue to sauté an additional 3-4 minutes until celery is cooked through, but still firm to the bite. Add fresh chopped herbs and small diced apples to the pan. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove the from the pan away from any heat, stain liquid off dried fruit and add to the pan. Stir to combine. Return to heat and fold in the cooked rice, and pecans. Cook an additional 1 minute to combine flavors. Add a good pinch of chopped parsley reserving additional for garnish. Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Place cooked squash skin side up in a baking dish. Generously spoon the rice stuffing into the cooked acorn squash so that they are piled high. Cover “tent like” with foil and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes or until heated through. If holding any longer in the oven, add a few tablespoons of chicken stock or water to keep moist. 

Remove from the oven, and finish with finely chopped flat leaf parsley- serve immediately! 

Variations

Remove pork sausage and replace with bacon or omit all together. 

If you want a sweeter flavor sprinkle acorn squash with a pinch of brown sugar or maple syrup and cinnamon before stuffing. 

Makes approximately 4-6 servings depending on size of squash.

Carrot Salad with Roasted Cashew & Spicy Honey Vinaigrette

You’ll Need

1 cup unsalted cashews, roasted
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup local honey
1/2 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1 pound carrots, peeled, julienned

Here’s How
Preheat oven to 350’F Degrees. Toast cashews on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally until golden brown, about 8–10 minutes. Set aside.


To the bowl of your food processor or standing blender, add the garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, 1/2 cup of the cashews, honey, salt and pepper. Process and slowly add the oil by drizzling through your processors feeder tube.

Continue until mixture is emulsified into a creamy vinaigrette.

Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking with salt, pepper, honey or lemon.

Add carrots, toss and let stand at least 30 minutes to blend flavors .

Toss with additional cashews and chopped basil just before serving.


Do Ahead:

Salad can be made 1 day ahead without the nuts and basil. Cover; chill. Toss with 1/2 cup remaining nuts and basil just before serving.

Grilled Pizza! Get Your Pie Out-of-the-Oven and onto the Grill!

The trick to a perfect grilled pizza is all the preparations. Roast, sauté, cook, slice, and grate whatever toppings you like before you begin your grilled pizza journey. Adding those pre-cooked toppings to the pizza as it is grilling is the trick.

The dough will only require a 3-5 minutes cook time per side.

Making the Dough

Keep in mind, yeast is a living organism, so don’t kill it by burning it with hot water or salt. I add sugar to my recipe to feed the yeast. Why? Honestly – I’m in a hurry. Shhhh.

The yeast will reconstitute in the water, wake up and be really hungry. The yeast eats- then it quickly begins to digest its food and yes, creats gas. Yes, I know it’s funny, and trust me when I say the kids will LOVE this Science lesson on C02 and so will you ! This step actually helps accelerate the dough’s rise faster! Definitely a win-win.

The important part about the end of the day, is also being with your family so– It’s also okay to use uncooked-prepared store bought pizza dough if you are short on time. Many grocers carry great organic uncooked pizza doughs today without tons of preservatives. The pizza police wont come for you, I promise!

You’ll Need

6 cups all-purpose flour plus more for shaping dough
1 teaspoon active dry yeast ( rapid rise yeast if you are in a big hurry )
1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
1-2 cups room temp water, as needed
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt


Here’s How

Whisk sugar or honey with the yeast in a medium bowl with 1 cup of the water. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes until foaming with bubbles. Make sure the water temperature is not above 105’F degrees or you will kill the yeast.

In a large gallon sized food storage bag or bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook attached, add the flour and the salt. Combine to distribute the salt throughout the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour if using the bag method.


Add the water with the yeast mixture, 1/2 of the remaining cup of water, and all of the olive oil. Close food storage bag by removing air and sealing all but a 1/2 inch up at the zip. Massage from the bottom of the bag up and incorporate well. Mix dough gently to form a nice dough ball. Add more of the 1/2 cup remaining water if water if needed. or, start the mixer on medium speed and mix until dough hook forms and ball.

If using a stand mixer continue to knead the dough until it pulls away from the sides of the bowl. About 5 minutes. Remove into a lightly oiled bowl.

If using the food storage bag method – knead well until it all comes together and forms a ball. Open the food storage bag, and transfer the dough ball to a large clean lightly floured surface.

Hand knead about 10 minutes until dough seems smooth. Resting in-between if it becomes unmanageable. This is actually the gluten forming which is rubber-band like. Just let it relax and return after a minute or two once dough seems smooth- place in a lightly oiled bowl.

Cover the dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature (about 72° F degrees) in a draft-free area until surface until dough has doubled in size, about 1.5 hours. Use rapid rise yeast instead of regular dried yeast if you are in a hurry- the rise will happen faster.

When dough has risen, transfer on to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide and cut into 6 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour and set it aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining portions. Let dough rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, an additional hour.

Planning Ahead

The dough can be made 3 days ahead. Wrap each dough ball separately in a gallon sized plastic food storage bag with rolled in a little bit of flour and chill in fridge until ready to use. When ready to use, unwrap and let rest at room temperature on a lightly floured work surface, covered with plastic wrap for about 15-20 minutes before shaping.

To Make The Pizza
During the last hour of dough’s resting, heat your sauce, sauté your vegetables and grate the cheeses.

With one dough ball at a time, dust dough generously with floured hands stretch the dough into a rectangle or triangular form the best you can. Free form is the way to go with grilled pizzas.

Oil both sides lightly with a good quality cooking oil. Set on a clean baking sheet.

Prepare the grill by oiling. Once the grate is well oiled, place your raw dough on hot cooking grates and resist the urge to move it.

Grill the dough for about 3-5 minutes. Flip the dough when it releases from the grates when given a nudge. Look for deep colored grill marks and some crispy edges before tuning over. Repeat on each side.

When both side are cooked, move pizza crust to indirect heat choose a side of the grill where the heat element is turned off below, or to a side of the grill where there are no burning coals.

Top the rustic pizza dough with warmed pesto or pizza sauce if desired — then add your choice of pre-cooked toppings. Top with cheese, melt by closing lid or covering with a foil tent. Finish with flavored oil ( see my recipe here ) and serve. So delicious!

Variations : Add fresh chopped herbs to your dough or fresh chopped garlic for an additional favor layer.

Stromboli- Dinner in 30! 

Unlike a calzone, a stromboli does not contain sauce. Invented in the 1950’s on the east coast in Pennsylvania.

An Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria claims to be the first to have used the name, Stromboli. Rumor has it the pizzeria owner had experimented with “pizza imbottito”, or “stuffed pizza”, and added ham, salami, cheese and peppers into a pocket of raw bread dough. A family member suggested he name it after the recently released movie Stromboli, which, at the time was notorious for an off-screen affair between married actress, Ingrid Bergman, and married director, Roberto Rossellini that resulted in a love child. Remember, it was early in the 1950’s. Can you imagine how scandalous this must have been back then?

Traditionally, Stromboli’s are filed with layers of thinly sliced salami, pepperoni and smoked Provolone cheese then baked in a flaky crust that was rolled into a log. Often referred to as a turnover. Serve with additional sauce on the side for dipping. Today- you can use any filling imaginable.

Personalize your Stromboli !

Ingredients:

1 pound ready made pizza dough

1 cup spicy pizza sauce

1 cup grated smoked provolone or substitute with mozzarella cheese

2 dozen slices of good quality salami

20 slices thin cut pepperoni substitute with deli ham

1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Additional pizza sauce for dipping, warmed.

Method:

Preheat oven to 375’F. Prepare a high sided baking sheet with parchment and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the dough on a clean lightly floured work surface roll out to approximately 10×16 inch rectangle. Roll up onto the rolling pin and transfer the dough into the parchment- lay flat.

Spread pizza sauce over 2/3’s of the dough lengthwise, leaving a 3×16 rectangle of plain dough along one of the edges.

Top the sauce with half the grated cheese, salami and ham. Top with remaining cheese.

Brush the blank strip of dough with the egg wash. Fold in the ends ( sorta like rolling a burrito ) about an inch, and brush them with egg wash as well. This will assist with the Stromboli from oozing out all its goodness in the oven.

Roll up like a jelly roll lengthwise starting along the long edge of dough topped with all the fillings and ending with the plain strip of dough on the bottom of the roll. Bake seam side down to keep closed.

Brush the entire Stromboli with the additional egg-wash and gently cut thin slits on the top of the dough every 1-2 inches.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake 8-10 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

Remove from oven, cool 5-8 minutes and slice into pieces. Serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping or drizzling.

Ropa Vieja Stew, Non-Traditional 

( ROH-pah VYAY-hah) translates something like, “old clothes”  in Spanish, but don’t be fooled. This traditional warm weather dish will wrap around you like a nice cozy brand new shawl. You’ll even wanna eat this on a spring or summer evening when the night breeze picks up.

I serve my Ropa over a sweet potato–which is completely sacreligious. Shhhh! 

Ingredients:

4 strips nitrate free bacon cut into 1 in chunks 

8 pounds of flank steak cut into 6 to 8 pieces

2 large yellow onions, chopped medium dice

3 poblano chilies, chopped  

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons of tomato paste

1/3 cup masa harina 

1 bottle good brown stout beer

2 cups low sodium beef stock 

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1/2 cups green Spanish olives ( stuffed w pimento) 

1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, minced

2 Tablespoon ground cumin

1 Tablespoon ground white pepper 

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 

1 bunch of scallions, chopped for garnish

1 sweet potato, per person, baked

Method:

Preheat oven to 375’F

In a large 8 quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot, cook the bacon until crisp. With a slotted spoon remove bacon and transfer to a paper towel. Set aside.

Turn the heat to medium. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Sear the beef in the bacon drippings until brown and caramelized on both sides. About 3-5 minutes each side. Remove and set-aside.

Lower heat, and sauté the onions and chilies for five minutes until they begin to brown.  

Stir in garlic and the tomato paste. Cook an additional two minutes.

Add the masa harina & cook an additional minute.

Add beer, and simmer until evaporated- scraping any bits from the bottom ( chefs call this deglazing the pan).

Add the beef stock. Bring to a boil. Return the beef to the pot and cover.

Place the pot in the preheated over and braise until fork tender, about an hour.

Remove from the oven. Uncover and remove the steak from pot. Place the meat on a clean cutting board and using two forks, shred the meat into strings. Once all the meat is shredded, return to the pot. Add the cooked bacon, the black beans, the olives and all the spices.

Simmer for additional 5-8 minutes and re-adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To serve

With an ice cream scoop- portion one or two scoops of the spicy sweet potato mash into each individual serving bowl. Top with stew, sprinkle with chopped scallions. Serve piping hot with warm tortillas.

YUMMY! 

Variations that are usually not used with this dish.  

Add grilled corn.
Top with shredded cheese and melt under the broiler before serving.
Serve piping hot with cool avocado and sour cream on the side. 
Top with Pico de Gallo.
Serve with rice or egg noddles instead of root vegetables.
Makes approximately 10-12 servings 

Spicy Turkey Zucchini Boats! Like a Taco without a Shell. Whatever Floats Your Boat, Right? 

Ingredients:

8 medium zucchini

1 cup chicken stick

1 pound ground turkey, chicken, beef or Italian sausage 

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped small dice 

1 cup mushrooms, quartered ( optional) 

2-3 cloves garlic, minced fine

3 cups pasta sauce

1 Tablespoon oregano, minced fine

1 Tablespoon fresh marjoram, minced fine 

1/2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced fine  

¼ teaspoon Himalayan or Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste

1/2 -1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground ancho Chili

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/2 cup finely shredded mozzarella cheese 

1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons Italian style panko bread crumbs

1/4 bunch of flat leaf Italian parsley for garnish 

Method

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Measure out 1 cup of the pasta sauce and set aside.
Set aside a 13×9 glass baking dish 
Trim ends from zucchini and slice in half, lengthwise. With the tip of your knife score crosshatches on the inside of the zucchini flesh. Use the tip of a small spoon to scrape out the flesh. Chop the zucchini flesh into medium dice and set aside. 

Place the scooped out zucchini boats into a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and add about one cup of chicken or vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper.

Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until just slightly fork-tender. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool slightly.

While the boats are baking, add olive oil to a large high sided skillet and place over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and browning about 4-5 minutes. Add onions, and sauté until translucent an additional 2-3 minutes. 

Add the fresh garlic, cook for an additional 1 minute. 
Add the meat and begin constantly stirring to break up the ground meat as it cooks. Continue to cook and stir until meat is thoroughly cooked and veggies have softened. Drain off as much oil if any and return the pan to the heat.

Add the chopped zucchini flesh, 2 cups of the pasta sauce, parsley, fresh herbs, salt, fresh ground black pepper, crushed red pepper and remaining spices. Stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and allow to simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. 

While sauce is simmering remove partially cooked zucchini from baking dish and pour off any liquid remaining. 

Pour the 1 cup of reserved pasta sauce into the empty baking dish and place zucchini boats on top of the sauce.

Divide the warm filling between the zucchini boats. If you have extra filling, spoon it into the dish around the zucchini boats. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 20 minutes, or until zucchini is fork tender. 

Remove from oven . Remove the foil and set the oven to broil.

Sprinkle the zucchini boats with Mozzarella, Parmesan and the Panko bread crumbs. Place dish back in the oven, watching closely, and cook for just a couple of minutes until cheese has melted and bread crumbs are golden brown. 

Top with fresh chopped parsley. Serve hot.

Variations

Add 1/2 cup cooked black forbidden rice 

Add Quinoa 

Add red or green bell peppers.

Add mini tomatoes 

Use left over cooked chicken

Top with fresh pesto or rough chopped basil 

Fresh Basil and Kale Pesto Zoodles

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Some think I’ve lost my noodle, because I put kale in my zoodles. I’ll let you be the judge.

This recipe is a variation of the classic basil pesto. It’s fresh, flavorful, easy and healthy. Kale is really good for you. Contains a high concentration of vitamins K, A, C, and antioxidants.  Chefs Secret: Blanching helps reduce the bitterness in kale. For an even creamier recipe– add an avocado to the blend.

Special Equipment: Food Processor, Nutri bullet or standing blender that can liquify.

Ingredients: 

10 leaves fresh curly kale, stem removed

20 fresh roasted almonds

1-2 cloves garlic, cleaned

1/4 teaspoon salt ( optional)

3 -4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil in a liquid state

1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese ( optional )

1 bunch basil leaves, stems removed

Salt and pepper to taste

Ice

Method:

Step 1: Shock kale. (blanch) Bring a large pot of water to the boil. While waiting for water to boil, set a medium sized mixing bowl in the sink with a few cups of ice. Fill with cold water and leave inside the sink.

Step 2: After removing the thick central stalk from the kale leaves, plunge the kale into the boiling water. Boil the leaves for about 2 minutes, quickly drain and plunge into the cold water to stop the cooking process. Remove from ice bath and drain again, on paper towels. Blot away any additional moisture. Dry thoroughly. The kale should be bright and rich in color.

Step 3: In the bowl of a food processor, add the blanched kale, garlic, nuts, parmesan ( optional)  and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Step 4: Add the extra virgin olive oil and continue to pulse until the kale pesto reaches the desired consistency. Taste , adjust seasoning or extra virgin olive oil if necessary.

Step 5: Toss with zoodles and serve Immediately. Kale pesto will keep for 1 week ( without the avocado ) sealed airtight and held in the refrigerator.

Nutrition Information: Makes 2-1/2 cups, Servings: 2.5 ounces, Calories: 67, Total Fat 8g, Carbohydrates: 3g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 1g,  Sugar: 4 g, Sodium: 170 mg

 

 

Photo credit : The Dr Oz show.

Skinny Orange Chicken 


Well, skinn ( i-e-r ) ….

One of my favorite dishes is orange chicken! Mmmm, crispy bits of deep fried nuggets tossed in sugary orange glaze. 

Yikes! I did make a New Year commitment of cutting back on fried foods and recipes that include refined sugar. So- what’s a chef to do? 

Answer: Reworked the formula. Now, I can still have my orange chicken, and eat it too! And now- you can too! 

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour or gluten free flour 

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups panko bread crumbs, or Gluten free option ( optional) 

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Juice and zest of 2 oranges

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup honey

2-4 dried chili peppers

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups cooked jasmine rice

Black or white Sesame seeds, for garnish

Sliced scallions, for garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 400′ F Degrees.
Line a high sided baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick silicone baking sheet .

Set up a dredging station with three medium sized bowls. One bowl filled with the flour and seasoned with salt and pepper, another one with the eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper, and one with panko. Next to the last bowl place the prepared sheet. 

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Begin dredging the chicken by first pressing it in the flour. Lift to shake off any excess. 

Next, coat in the in beaten eggs and finally, into the in panko- covering thoroughly. 

Last, arrange the coated chicken on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until no longer pink, 18 to 20 minutes.

While the chicken is baking . Prepare the glaze. 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange juice, soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch. Whisk until combined. Add chili and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Once the chicken is baked and crispy- transfer into to a large bowl and drizzle in the orange sauce. Toss well to coat. 

Serve over cooked rice garnished with orange zest, sesame seeds, and chopped scallions.

Luscious Parsnip Purée with Truffle Oil ! 


Parsnips are my all time favorite root vegetable to purée or mash ! They are so naturally sweet and not too starchy, which makes for an ultra-silky side dish! 

Ingredients:

1 pound parsnips, peeled, thinly sliced- tough cores should be removed on larger parsnips but not necessary

 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ cup heavy cream, or substitute 

½ cup whole milk, or substitute 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, or substitute 

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Good quality truffle oil

1/4 cup sprigs of fresh chervil for garnish or chopped flat leaf parsley 

Method

Bring parsnips, garlic, cream, milk, and butter to a boil in a medium saucepan. 

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until parsnips are very soft, 10–15 minutes. Uncover and cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes; season with salt and white pepper. Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Serve drizzled with truffle oil and chopped parsley.

Note: Parsnip purée can be made 1 day in advance. Allow to cool then just cover and chill. Reheat over medium-low, stirring often adding a bit more cream & a dollop of butter to reconstitute. 

Makes approximately 8-10 servings 

Boeuf Bourguignon. A must have cold-weather food classic. My adaption from Julia Child’s recipe in, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

A wonderful dish, raising simple “old world ” peasants stew- to a complex, full body depth; capable of transcending you to your comfortable warm happy place! A bit time consuming– but worth every moment and hopefully, it won’t take you as long to cook it, as long as it took me to write it!

Just so happens I met Julia in my younger culinary days and have her book, “The Way To Cook” autographed by Julia Child’s herself! A day I will never forget! 

Begin with the Beef:

Ingredients:

1/2 Tablespoon good quality olive oil

8 -10 ounces of good quality slab bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch strips

3 pounds beef for stew -or cut your meat into about 2-inch chunks. Acceptable cuts -rump, chuck, sirloin tip, top round, or bottom round.

Kosher Salt and fresh ground pepper

3 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 1 inch chunks

1 yellow onion, diced

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 -4 cups red wine , preferably a Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux-St, Emilion, Burgundy

1 cup rich, fine quality beef stock

1-2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1-2 dried bay leaves, left whole

2-3 cloves garlic, smashed

Method:

(The key is to cook the mushrooms and onions separate, then combine)

1-Preheat oven to 450’F degrees. In a large heavy bottomed 8 quart stock pot, or enamel Dutch oven- heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook bacon for 5-8 minutes until browned, and fat has rendered to the bottom of the cooking vessel. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel. Set aside.

2-Pat the beef dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper toss in flour. Shake.

3-Heat the olive oil with the rendered bacon fat- to high heat. When shimmering, add the seasoned, floured beef, in batches – do not crown the pan. Brown the beef well on all sides. Remove and set aside.

3-Add the chopped carrots and the diced onions to the remaining fat and four remnants. Sauté until lightly brown and caramelized. Careful not to burn. This also helps cook the raw flour and bring out it’s inherent nutty flavor. (The flour acts as a thickening agent to the final outcome)

5-Deglaze the pan with the red wine making sure to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the stock,tomato paste,herbs and the garlic. Stir to combine.

6-Return the beef and bacon to this vessel. Cover. Reduce oven heat to 325’F and place vessel in the oven and cook about 3 to 4 hours. Now prepare the onions and the mushrooms. Add both mushrooms and onions to the pot and keep covered and continue cooking until beef is fork tender and liquid reduced to a stew like consistency. Serve with any style potatoes or enjoy on its own!

The Pearl Onions

Ingredients: 

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

2 dozen small white pearl onions, boiled with skins on for 5 minutes , roots cut, and squeezed out of peels ( or use thawed frozen- but if you are spending this much money and time use fresh)

1 cup fine quality beef stock

3-4 fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs

2 fresh bay leaves

3-4 fresh thyme sprigs

Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Method:

1-Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the par-boiled, peeled pearl onions. Sauté for about 10 -12 minutes, until the onions are chocolate brown and caramelized.

2-Add the beef stock.

3-Tie the herbs together with butcher’s twine, or wrap inside kitchen cheesecloth. Add those in, too. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 5 minutes to marry flavors. Add to main pot in the oven. Stir in well including the herb bundle.
The Mushrooms 

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh unsalted butter

1/2-1 pound white mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel

2 cloves garlic minced fine

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Quarter the mushrooms ( personally, I choose smaller mushrooms and leave them whole)

Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over high heat. When the foam from the butter begins to subside, add in the mushrooms.

Add garlic. Shake the mushroom around for about 5 minutes until toasty brown. Remove from heat and also add to the main pot in the oven.