Beef Stew

Yesterday, I did a post about prepping pearl onion, carrots, and ‘shrooms for use in today’s feature: beef stew. I split the posts up because, as I was looking over my notes, I added a lot of stuff to my stew as it was simmering.

I should note that this is not a complex recipe, but that there is a long list of ingredients that I used to build up to a stew I was well and truly pleased with.

Try it and see if you don’t agree.

INGREDIENTS
•4 cups cubed cooked roast beef
•2 baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
Caramelized pearl onions and carrots
•Sautéed ‘shrooms
•32 oz beef stock
•1/4 cup tomato puree
•2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 bay leaf
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika
•1 tbsp good sherry
•1 tbsp brandy
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•2 tbsp Steak and Chop Sauce, or your fave steak sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce, or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•Black pepper
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Cover the peeled and chunked potatoes with cold water and set aside to rest for a couple of minutes before draining and rinsing well.

Add the potatoes to a large pot along with your prepared pearl onions, carrots, and ‘shrooms.

Stir in the beef stock, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce. and the bay leaf (mine were small, so I used two), bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for one hour.

Taste, and correct the seasoning, if needed. I added 1/2 teaspoon each black pepper and sweet Hungarian paprika.

Stir in the beef and cook for another hour, giving the stew a taste after 30 minutes.

Here’s where I added the sherry (my current fave is Harvey’s Bristol Cream), brandy, Dijon mustard, Cajun Power Sauce, Steak and Chop Sauce, the Seasoned Salt and additional black pepper.

One last taste before serving, and then I stirred in the sherry vinegar.

Perfect!

Note: if you don’t have beef stock, go ahead and use chicken or even veggie stock; and, as always, feel free to change up the seasonings to suit your tastes and pantry.

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Onions & Carrots & ‘Shrooms!

I am not gonna lie to you; this is a building post, which I will finish tomorrow.

See, I was gonna post about a really quite nice beef stew recipe I’d worked up, but then I got to looking over my notes and, well, there was a lot to cover, so, I thought I’d split up the veggies from the stew; which is kinda cool because you totally could do this bit a day or two ahead and get a jump on your whole hearty stew making. And, these veggies would be fine additions to most soups, too, so there’s a bonus.

See? It all works out in the end!

INGREDIENTS
Onions and Carrots:
•1 bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
•1 bag frozen sliced carrots, thawed
•2 tbsp unsalted butter
•2 tbsp sugar
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 cup water
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

‘Shrooms:
•8 oz sliced ‘shrooms
•1 tbsp unsalted butter
•2 tbsp olive oil
•2 tsp Italian Seasoning
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp Cajun Seasoning
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•1 tbsp good (not cooking) Sherry

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the carrots, pearl onions, and seasonings and toss to coat.

Stir in the water, cover, and cook for ten minutes or so, until most of the liquid has cooked off.

Stir in the Sherry Peppers Sauce and continue to cook, stirring often,  until the onions and carrots are nicely browned.

Transfer the veggies to a bowl to cool (if making ahead, let them cook then stash, covered, in the fridge for up to two days).

Return your pan to the stove and melt the tablespoon of butter with the olive oil.

Add the ‘shrooms, seasonings, Sherry Peppers Sauce, and sherry and cook, stirring often, until most of the pan liquids have been reduced and the ‘shrooms are nicely browned and mebbe even a bit crispity on the edges.

If making ahead you can add these to the onion and carrots, cool, then cover and stash in the fridge.

If doing it all in one fell swoop…

well, tune in tomorrow for Beef Stew!

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Red Curry Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I came across this recipe, from sweetpeasandsaffron, I think on Facebook, and knew I was gonna make it.

First, slow cooker recipe, hellooo!

Second, wicked simple to toss together!

Third, butternut squash instead of potatoes, but that is totally cool because, much as I don’t particularly care for butternut squash (or most squashes, in general, but…

There is Thai Red Curry Paste in the soup,  which I think makes everything taste just a wee, tiny bit better, so…

Winner winner chicken soup dinner!

INGREDIENTS
Soup:
•1-1/2 cup diced carrot
•3 cups diced onion
•4 cups cubed butternut squash
•2 tsp ground ginger
•2/3 cup wild rice
•2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
•2 tbsp fish sauce
•2 tbsp turbinado sugar
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•6 cups chicken stock
•5 or 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

To Serve:
•400 mL can coconut milk
•Fresh lime wedges
•Chopped fresh parsley
•Sherry Vinegar (optional)

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Stir all of the soup ingredients together in your slow cooker until nicely mixed, then add the chicken thighs, pushing them down into the liquid.

Note: wanna use boneless skinless chicken breasts? Knock yourself out!

Cover and cook on low for six hours, or on high for four hours, depending on your slow cooker. I have one that cooks everything significantly quicker than usual, and it has since the day I brought it home so, use your own judgement.

A note on the curry paste: this soup was good as it was, but next time I make it, I will add at least one more tablespoon of the paste when starting the soup. You do what you like.

Shred the chicken with a couple of forks, then stir in the coconut milk and chopped fresh parsley (cilantro, of course, would be more usual, but I am not a cilantro fan).

Thai basil and/or lemon grass, though… that might could work very well here.

Serve the soup with lime slices to squeeze over the top, and pass the sherry vinegar around (if you so choose) so that folk can add a splash to their bowls.

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Parfait! Best! Doctored Pasta Sauce

Well… I say pasta sauce, but, this zippy tomato combination is also pretty darned tasty over ‘za! or flatbread, and might just make you rethink how you do shrimp and rice, or grits, or mashed potatoes, for that fact. It really is all good.

Since it’s a Friday and a Parfait!, many of you know this is a repeat recipe. What you don’t know, though, is that I’ve added one of my new secret weapons into the mix: sherry vinegar! Not cheap at around $10 for this 200mL bottle, it is well worth the price.

For the flavor.

So. First things first, let us get the dirty little secret out in the open and let the hollering commence. I start this, one of my fave sauces, with a jar of sauce.

But…

I am choosy about which jarred sauce I start with. I read the label. I check the ingredients. Corn syrup? No, thank you! Mostly everything else look fairly reasonable and not requiring me to go back to my college chemistry books to check out the ingredients? We’re good!

BTW, you can find a decent “starter” sauce for not too much money, check out the lower end of the sauce aisle and, again, compare labels. You might be surprised.

INGREDIENTS
•Olive oil
•1 lb ground beef
•1 lb ground pork
Sautéed onion and ‘shrooms
•1 (24 oz) jar sauce
•12 oz low sodium veggie juice
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or, your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 (14 oz or so) can diced tomatoes
•1/2 tsp onion powder
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp dried oregano
•1/2 tsp dried basil
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp thyme
•1/2 tsp rosemary
•1 tsp Salad Elegant
•1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 bay leaf
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the ground beef and pork and cook, breaking the meat up into small pieces, until cooked through and mebbe just a touch crispity in places.

Stir in the sautéed onion and ‘shrooms, the pasta sauce, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, stirring quite often, then reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for about 90 minutes, until your sauce has thickened up nicely.

Nice sauce!

And, the new bit with the sherry vinegar?

Spend the $10, already! A little bit goes a very long way, and the punch of flavor it delivers will no doubt make you very pleased with yourself.

Or…

at least, it should.

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Smashed Potatoes With Cream Cheese

I’d added half of my sautéed onion & ‘shrooms to the pot for Chicken Pierre, had asparagus prepped to go in the steamer, and just needed something wonderful to spoon that sauce over along with the chicken.

Smashed potatoes!

But not just any smashed potatoes; these were gonna be cooked in chicken stock, then smashed with Irish butter and – you’re gonna wanna try this – chive and onion whipped cream cheese.

Tasty!

INGREDIENTS
•Unsalted chicken stock
•5 or 6 small-ish  russet potatoes
•1/2 + 1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•2 tbsp unsalted butter
•2 tbsp Chive and onion cream cheese
•Black pepper, to taste
•Heavy cream – to make the potatoes as creamy as you prefer

Note: I based these amounts on a dinner for two and we still had leftovers; if you’re cooking for a larger crowd, you’re gonna want to adjust the amounts of cream cheese and butter.

Wash and cube the potatoes – I did not bother peeling mine – then place in a bowl and cover with cold water. You will notice the water is quite cloudy. That’s the point. Let the potatoes rest in the water for 10 or 15 minutes, then drain and rinse well.

Add the potatoes to a sauce pan and add chicken stock to cover – this amount of potatoes and this pan took one 32 ounce carton of stock.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of seasoned salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium or medium low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, just until the potatoes are nice and tender when poked with a fork.

Drain the potatoes and return to the pan.

Add one tablespoon of the butter along with the two tablespoons of cream cheese and mash well.

Stir in the cream until the potatoes are the way you like ’em – this batch took about 1/3 of a cup – then give the potatoes a taste.

Hmmm.

Good, but…

I added another 1/4 teaspoon of the Seasoned Salt, a goodly amount of freshly ground pepper, and that second tablespoon of butter.

Much more better!

As an option, you could use sour cream in place of the cream cheese, though then you would probably cut back on the cream. My grandmother, Rachel, would also sometimes stir in a bit of her home made pickle relish, which, yes, sounds kinda weird, but was actually pretty nice.

Of course, I had that Pierre Sauce to think about, so I kept mine simple with the cream cheese, butter, and pepper.

And I was wicked pleased with that decision, especially after dinner when cleaning out the pots.

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Smoky Cole Slaw

Another month, another cole slaw (coleslaw?). Just last month, I published my – then – my new favorite cole slaw. Now, I have another. All in all, this web thing-y has, now, seven different coleslaw recipes – all of them very good, and most of ’em nicely different, so go ahead and gather up some cabbage and stuff and get your salad on!

Oh, and by the way, I know that I am wildly inconsistent with my handling of the word(s) cole slaw (coleslaw?)… get over it, inconsistency can be charming.

INGREDIENTS
Dressing:
•1 cup mayonnaise
•1 cup sour cream
•1/4 cup sugar (minus 1 tsp)
•1 tsp smoked brown sugar*
•2 tbsp yellow mustard
•1 tbsp paprika
•1/3 cup rice vinegar
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•Black pepper

Salad:
•1 head cabbage, chopped
•1 red onion, diced
•Fresh parsley, minced
•1 tsp celery seed
•1 tsp poppy seed

Note: I used rice vinegar in this batch, but I am loving Sherry Vinegar lately, and will more than likely use this next time.

*Smoked Brown Sugar is available at Sur la Table, Amazon, and other specialty grocers.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Toss the cabbage, red onion, and parsley together in a large bowl, then add the dressing, celery seed, and poppy seed, and toss to coat.

Cover and stash in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to blend, then get ready to love your cole slaw (coleslaw?).

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Chicken Pierre

When I first came across this recipe, published by liberal politcal site, mommyblog, and recipe hub Wonkette, it reminded me a lot of a recipe I came across in the local paper back in the day for Country Captain Chicken; which I love, but my husband? Not so much. So, considering how very much I like my old recipe, I thought I’d give this one a try with, of course, a few changes of my own.

Most excellent, so, thank you Pinkham’s Law at Wonkette – even if I changed stuff.

INGREDIENTS
Seasoned Flour:
•1/2 cup flour
•1/2 tsp paprika
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp curry powder
•1/4 tsp celery salt
•1/4 tsp dried basil
•1/4 tsp Cayenne

Chicken:
•4 to 6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
•3 tbsp butter
•1/2 cup red wine
•1 (14-1/2 ounce) can tomatoes
•2 tbsp brown sugar – I used raw sugar
•2 tbsp vinegar – I used sherry vinegar, but cider would be good here, too
•2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
•1 tsp salt
•1 tsp chili powder
•1 tsp dry mustard
•1/2 tsp celery seed
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•1/2 tsp garlic powder
•1 tbsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
Sautéed Onions & ‘Shrooms

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Whisk the flour together with the seasonings in a large, flat bottomed bowl.

Dip each thigh into the seasoned flour to coat, patting gently on each side to get the flour to adhere.

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the chicken and cook for three or four minutes per side, just to brown each piece of chicken.

Note: unless you have a huge pan, if you are planning this for six (or more) you will be wanting to do the browning in stages so you don’t crowd the pan. It’s all cool, though, we are just browning the pieces here, we’ll really cook ’em in a bit.

Remove the browned chicken to a paper towel lined plate or platter to drain while we make the sauce.

Do not drain the fat from the pan.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine, stirring to scrape up any tasty browned bits that might have stuck to the bottom.

I used a SCANPAN, so no crusty bits, but it’s good to be sure, and you want that wine to cook just a bit anyway.

Cook, stirring often, until the wine and any cooking liquids in the pan have thickened and been reduced by half.

Add the tomatoes and remaining sauces and seasonings to the pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and add the chicken thighs and the onion and ‘shrooms to the pot.

Stir to mix and to bring the sauce up and over the thighs, then cover and cook on top of the stove for 45 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the chicken is cooked through (165º).

What a fine pot o’ chicken!

Tender, tasty, and practically perfect for dinner over garlic and cream cheese smashed potatoes and asparagus.

So…

it would seem we have some friends clamoring to try this, but, there is a bit of fussiness to doing this for a crowd. I think, that for a dinner party, I would do the browning and sauce making ahead of time, then tumble everything into a slow cooker for a couple of hours whilst we chat and sip sparkling cocktails of some sort.

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Sautéed Onion & ‘Shrooms

So… at first glance, this might could seem to be a weird choice for a post like “who can’t sauté onion and ‘shrooms?”

But.

Round about these parts, a one pound container of sliced ‘shrooms has been cheaper than an eight ounce packet, so I’ve been cooking a large batch, then using  ’em in a couple of different recipes, both of which we’ll cover this week, so, y’see, there is actually a method here.

INGREDIENTS
•1 large sweet onion, diced
•1 lb ‘shrooms, sliced
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 tbsp butter (I use unsalted)

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the onion and sauté for four minutes or so.

Stir in the ‘shrooms and the Sherry Peppers Sauce and continue to sauté for another 10 to 15 minutes.

The ‘shrooms with give up a lot of liquid, and of course, the Sherry Peppers will add some, so you want to continue to sauté until most of the liquid has been cooked off.

This is gonna happen between ten and fifteen minutes, and you are gonna want to keep a close eye on the pan, because you can go from nicely cooked off to burned in next to no time.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

I ended up with about 3-1/2 cups of nicely cooked onion and ‘shrooms, more than enough to divide between tomorrow’s post, Chicken Pierre, and a tasty batch of doctored pasta sauce, which’ll be Friday’s Parfait! post. Nifty, huh?

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Parfait! Ham Quiche

For Christmas dinner, we brought a 16 pound spiral sliced ham down to my mom-in-law’s house. Well… after everybody enjoyed Snoop Dogg’s pineapple, honey, and milk glaze, and took leftovers home, we still had a pretty big chunk o’ ham left.

*sigh*

So, back home, it went into the freezer until I could get around to wrangling it; making Ham and Cheese Waffles, and Ham Bone Soup, and…

finally, quiche au jambon, AKA ham quiche. At this point, much as I do love this quiche, and those waffles and that soup, I am very glad to be well and truly rid of that ham!

INGREDIENTS
Savory Shortcrust:
•1 cup flour
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•4 tbsp cold butter, cubed
•1-1/2 tsp Parmesan, grated
•1 egg yolk
•Ice water

Filling:
•1-1/2 cup ham, cut into small pieces
•1 cup (1/4 lb) Swiss cheese, grated
•4 eggs
•1 tbsp flour
•1 cup milk
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•1/4 tsp salt
•Freshly ground pepper
•3 tbsp melted butter

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

First things first; the pastry!

Whisk the flour together with the Cayenne, Seasoned Salt, and peppers in a bowl, then place in your food processor fitted with the metal blade.

Give the flour mixture a good couple of pulses, then add the butter and pulse until you have a coarse meal texture.

Add the cheese and pulse again to thoroughly blend in.

Add the egg yolk and process to a soft dough, adding ice-cold water by spoonfuls if needed to draw the dough together – I added about three tablespoons.

Gather the dough together into a ball, wrap it in plastic, then smash it down into a disk (this’ll make rolling out easier later) and stash it in the fridge for 30 minutes to one hour; if your schedule is difficult, longer won’t hurt.

When ready to make your quiche, heat your oven to 400º and roll the dough out on a sheet of waxed paper.

Transfer the dough to a quiche pan, then sprinkle with the cubed ham and shredded Swiss cheese.

Whisk the eggs together with the flour, milk, cream, mustard, Sherry Peppers Sauce, Cajun Power, salt and pepper until nicely blended.

Pour this over the ham and cheese in the quiche dish, then drizzle the melted butter over the top.

Pop into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling has set.

Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Ham and cheese-y, eggy goodness.

Yeh, you want you some of this!

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Gingerbeer Spice Cake With Orange Allspice Buttercream Frosting

I do not know why I hadn’t thought of this combination before. I love me some spicy gingerbeer and I have always liked a good spice cake.

Note: gingerbeer is a soda, a zippier version of ginger ale, so no alcohol is involved in the making of this cake.

Ermmm, unless you would like it to be.

Once again, this is a simple cake mix and bottle of soda recipe.

Nothing else. You would not believe how often I have to explain this to folk.

Cake mix.

12 ounces of soda.

That is all.

INGREDIENTS
Cake:
•Spice cake mix
•12 oz gingerbeer

Orange Allspice Buttercream:
•1 cup butter, softened
•3 cups confectioners’ sugar
•1 orange, zested
•1 tsp vanilla
•2 tbsp whipping cream
•1/8 tsp salt
•1/8 tsp allspice

Heat your oven to 350º (or whatever the instructions on the cake mix box say) and prepare your pan of choice. For this cake, I went with a glass 13×9, since I was bringing the cake to a friend’s house.

Pour the gingerbeer into the cake mix in a mixing bowl then stir according to the instructions on the back of the cake mix box.

You do not need to add oil or eggs or anything else.

Turn the batter out into your prepared baking pan(s) and bake according to the instructions on the back of the cake mix box.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Once the cake has cooled, make the frosting by creaming the softened butter with the whisk attachment until fluffy, then add the confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, vanilla, salt and allspice.

Add the two tablespoons of whipping cream, or more, if you’d like a ‘softer’ frosting.

Spread the frosting over the cake and enjoy.

To be totally honest, my husband has told me that he actually prefers the root beer version of this cake. Let me be totally clear a bout this.

He is wrong.

My friend, Barb, had two pieces of this cake at lunch; and I am not totally certain that the piece she put aside for her husband ever got to him; but then, he was bringing wine home.

And there was talk of a kilt…

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