Monday, January 31, 2011

Beer Braised Beef with Onions and Dumplings

Some might call this a pot roast. We used an eye of chuck roast and dredged it in seasoned flour. Brown it in an oven proof pot. When it is browned, remove it to a plate and add 1t dried thyme, 2t dried rosemary and a bay leaf. Cook until the spices are fragrant and then add a 12 oz. bottle of a stout, like Guinness and 1/2 of a 14 oz. can of beef stock. Use the remaining stock to add during cooking if needed. Return the meat and smother it with 2 large sliced onions. Cover and cook in a 275 degree oven for about 3 hrs, until the meat is fork tender. The dumpling batter is made by mixing 1C flour, 1t baking powder and two eggs until a very stiff batter is formed. Add a few tablespoons of water to make the dough workable if necessary. Use a spoon to add the dough to the meat and sauce mixture and simmer on top of the stove until the dumplings are done. This dish can handle a big red wine or a beer if you prefer.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New England Clam Chowder - Adapted from America's Test Kitchen

What could be better on a cold winter evening?You can start with live clams or canned minced clams and juice. We chose the former. Start by steaming the clams. For 4 generous servings use 2 doz., more if you wish. Scrub them discard any that are open and put them in a pot with about a cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook until all the shells are open. Retain the broth and remove the clams setting them aside and discarding the shells. Brown 4 strips of diced bacon and remove to a paper towel. In the bacon fat saute 1 medium diced onion, 1 rib of diced celery and 2 cloves of minced garlic...salt and pepper to taste. Add 2T flour and cook until the flour is lightly browned. Deglaze the pan with 1/2C white wine and then add the broth. Add enough stock and water to bring to 1-1/2 qts. Bring the liquid to a slow simmer and add 1 large diced potato. Simmer until the potato is tender then add the bacon. Minutes before serving dice the clams roughly and add them to the pot. Finish with 1/2 pint heavy cream. We served the chowder in hollowed out sourdough bread bowls which, of course, are consumed as part of the meal. Garnish with green onion. With slaw on the side and a dry white wine it's a delicious hearty winter dish.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shrimp and Grits - Adapted from Saveur Magazine

We have enjoyed this dish during our stays in coastal Georgia and thought we would try it. The recipe calls for raw shrimp we we had some frozen, cooked one so we used them.

In a 2-qt. saucepan, bring 4 cups water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and whisk in 1C of grits. Cook, whisking frequently, until grits are tender and creamy. Whisk in 3/4C cheddar cheese, 1/4C Parmesan cheese, 1T butter and season with salt; cover and set aside. Heat 3T olive oil in a 12" skillet. Add 1/4lb. diced bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel to drain and set aside. Reserve cooking fat in skillet. Season 1 lb. shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to skillet and cook, turning once, until bright pink.Transfer shrimp to the plate with the bacon. Add 4 oz. sliced mushrooms to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook until golden. Add 3/4C chicken stock and deglaze the pan. Cook until broth reduces by half. Return shrimp and bacon to skillet along with 1T fresh lemon juice and Tabasco sauce to taste. Divide grits between 4 bowls; top each with shrimp and its sauce. Garnish each bowl with chopped scallions, and lemon wedges. A delicious, traditional southern recipe and a good use for left over shrimp.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ricotta Stuffed Shells in Marinara Sauce

Here's a dish that could serve as a side dish with veal, chicken or pork perhaps or, as the main course as we did. Prepare some giant shells according to the package directions. Drain them and set aside. The stuffing is a mixture of 1C Ricotta cheese, 1C chopped fresh spinish and 1/4C grated Parmesan cheese. Spoon the mixture into the shells. This amount will stuff about 10 shells. Cover the bottom of a baking dish with marinara sauce, place the stuffed shells on top and bake at 400 degrees for 20 min. Sprinkle on some shredded Mozzarella. Brown them for a few minutes under the broiler. Spoon the sauce over the shells. We served them with a chilled dry white wine.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Potato Soup with Roasted Root Vegetables and Curry

We had 3, 1/2 twice baked potatoes left over and decided to make some soup. Start by chunking up some veggies: We used carrots, turnips, cauliflower and 3 cloves of garlic. Drizzle the veggies with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Roast them for 20 min at 400 degrees, turning them in the middle. Set them aside. Mix 3C of the potato pulp, or mashed potatoes, with 2 1/2 qts of any combination of stock and water that you wish. Save the jackets from the potatoes to add later. Heat to a simmer and whisk until the soup is smooth. Add the pieces of veggies and simmer until they are very tender. Use a stick blender or a food processor to chop the vegetables to the desired "chunkiness". Now add back the finely chopped skin of the potato. Add 2T hot curry powder and heat through. This hearty soup is a delicious use for leftover mashed potatoes.


Monday, January 03, 2011

Shrimp Etouffee

This wonderful dish can be made from most any kind of fish but is more typical shellfish like shrimp or crawfish. Start by making a spice mix consisting of 2t salt, 1t cayenne pepper, 1t freshly ground white pepper, 1t freshly ground black pepper, 1t dried basil, and 1/2t dried thyme. Set the mixture aside. Next, make the roux. This is a critical step and should be done carefully so the roux isnt burned. You want it to end up a chocolate brown color. Add 3/4C canola oil to a 4 qt. sauce pan (the pan will contain the entire dish in the end). Heat the oil and add 3/4C flour. Heat the mix carefully, stirring constantly, until it becomes a dark chocolate brown color. (this will take up to 30 min). Add 1/4C chopped onion and stir until the onion has softened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1T of the spice mix along with 1/4C chopped celery and 1/4C chopped green bell pepper. In the meantime bring 2C of chicken stock to a simmer and then slowly add the stock to the roux and return again to the boil. Add 2 lb of shrimp to the mix and cook until the shrimp are pink. Serve over white rice and garnish with chopped green onions. A classic New Orleans dish typically served with a full bodied beer.