Celebrate St. Patty’s with a Traditional Irish Stew

Although it is 78 here today, we still think we need a Luck o’ the Irish celebration…a pint (or two) of guinness and a wee bit of chocolate guinness cake (the best one..ever, ever, really…ever…link below!).

This stew cold not be more simple.  I also stirred together a batch of cheddar chive Guinness quick bread.

  • 3 large baking potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 2 lb (900g) boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1½ in (3.5cm) pieces
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 3 carrots, thickly sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Large sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2½ cups lamb stock or beef stock

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Beginning and ending with potatoes, layer the lamb, onions, and carrots in a large, heavy french oven such as Le Creuset, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Tuck in the thyme and bay leaf. Add the stock and cover.

2. Bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 30–40 minutes more, until the potatoes are browned and the meat is very tender. Serve hot.

Variation:

Beef and Potato Stew

Substitute boneless beef chuck for the lamb.

I made this last year and could not wait to make it again this year.  It really is the best ever Chocolate Guinness Cake  I have every tasted.  Today was the perfect reason to make it again!

Design Sponge’s In The Kitchen with Katie Davies Chocolate Guinness Cake

Seeing Green image by/via seebyseeing.net.  Stew and Guinness image by Jpatokol via Wikitravel.

Advertisements

A Meatless Journey, New Cookbooks and Chickpea Spinach Stew

Along with giving up wine for Lent (as part of Rebecca’s Do Without Challenge at Midnight Maniac), we also made a commitment to up our meatless nights from one to at least three a week.  We are not quite a week into both and there is still time for you to “do without” and join the group. It doesn’t have to be meat or wine…any indulgence will do.

For our meatless meals last week, I shot from the hip, pulling a few recipes from online cooking resources. A very kicked-up black-eyed pea and penne salad hit all the notes for a spicy dish (which we both crave and crave often), a fruited couscous stuffed squash deliciously scented with cardamom and yesterday, a zesty citrus chickpea stew with lemongrass, yam and spinach (recipe below).

A very good start for week one!

But this is a long journey and I am not a meatless meal expert. Oh, I have made the occasional meatless meal (butternut ravioli, lobster and truffle risotto, Basque tortilla, and the most decadent Gnocchi a la Parisienne) but never on a regular basis or intentionally.

When we took the pledge, I knew one thing.  We would not eat rice and beans every night.  That was not going to keep the tummies happy. I needed inspiration to keep our meals exciting and there is nothing like holding a gloriously photographed cookbook in my hands for inspiration and motivation to stay the course.

I admit, I have shelves and shelves of cookbooks collecting dust that rarely see the light of the kitchen but none of them are vegetarian (or vegan) and none of them focused on clean eating.  Keeping to my “try before I buy” cookbook resolution (1/2011), I reserved several books on clean eating, vegetarian and vegan cooking from the library.  A few more than several…15 to be exact. Lucky for me,  Mister “volunteered” to make the 2 mile walk to the library with me and with 15 books to bag and carry, I was certainly thankful for his help.

I couldn’t wait to get home, curl up on the sofa under a comfy blanket and devour my “new” books.

An absolutely beautiful book from Linda Long is Great Chefs Cook Vegan. Thomas Keller, Jean-George Vongerichten, Eric Ripert, Charlie Trotter, and many other James Beard award-winning chefs create a three or four-course vegan meal, complete with mouth-watering photographs of each recipe and much more.

And mouth-watering they are…Sweet Pea Ravioli with Pea Cream, Wheat Berries with Truffle and Mustard Emulsion, White and Green Asparagus Terrine, Yukon “Linguine” with Sorrel-Arugula Sauce and Charred Corn Ravioli with Basil Fondue. Certainly no rice and bean dinners in this book.  Who knew vegan could be so gourmet!

Another book I really like is Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Appetite for Reduction: 125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes. Mushroom and Cannellini Paprikas, Upside Down Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Cranberry-Cherry Biryani and Red Wine & Kalamata Tempeh.  I am not sure what to try first!

Currant Sweet Bread, Blueberry and Almond Bread, Savory Asparagus and Mushroom Bread Pudding, Pistachio-Lemon Pesto Pasta are just a few from the The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. I just might have to join the virtual Moosewood cooking group.

A great assortment from the simple and quick to the gourmet from acclaimed chefs.  Amazing, beyond inspirational and too tummy tempting.

What inspires you for meatless meals?  Do you have a favorite book or online resource?

Lemongrass Chickpea and Spinach Stew.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light’s Moroccan Chickpea Stew:

Recipe notes:  I substituted a yam for the Yukon potato and added about a cup of chopped spinach about 5 minutes before serving.  The recipe calls for rice or substitute whole wheat couscous.

Yield:

6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups stew, 1/2 cup rice, and about 1 tablespoon yogurt)

Ingredients:

  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1  cup  diced carrot (about 1 large)
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2  cups  cubed peeled Yukon gold potato, about 1 large
  • 2  teaspoons  Cambodian Lemongrass spice (see link above)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground turmeric
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  (28-ounce) can diced organic tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can organic chickpeas, rinsed and drained (I prefer to use dried beans to control salt)
  • 1  (14-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
  • 3  cups  hot cooked brown rice or whole wheat couscous.
  • 1/2  cup  plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 bunch fresh chopped cilantro

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, and jalapeño to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in potato and next 7 ingredients (through broth). Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potato is tender. Serve over rice. Top with yogurt and a chopped fresh cilantro.

Linked to: My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaySumos Sweet Stuff, Something I Whipped Up, Made By You Monday, Homemaker Mondays, Your Recipe, My KitchenMeals on MondayHappy Housewife, All Things RelatedTuesday Supper Club, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday at the Table, Tuesday Tasty Tidbit, Tasty Tuesday, Dr. Laura’s Tasty Tuesday, Eat at Home, Slightly Indulgent, Hearth and Soul, Made From Scratch, Tasty Tuesday MOPBeauty & Bedlam Tuesday, Melt In Your Mouth

Hachis Parmentier ~ French Comfort Food

I love a big bowl of comfort in the winter.  I could eat chili, mac and cheese, chicken and dumplings and beef and vegetable stew all winter long! I could…but, I don’t.  It seems like it has been months since I made a classic comfort food dish.  Well…maybe not that long as I did make Gnocchi a la Parisienne this month (it was love on a plate).  Even so, the craving was nagging at me.

One comfort food I have never made (or eaten) is shepherd’s pie. I knew that it was meat and mashed potatoes.  I knew it cold be beef or lamb.  I knew it could have vegetables or not.   But I never felt compelled to make it. Not until I saw the French version by Dorie Greenspan.  Turns out, French shepherd’s pie is a very comforting dish!

Hachis Parmentier adapted from Around My French Table by Greenspan

Makes 4 generous servings

Hachis Parmentier is a well-seasoned meat-and-mashed-potato pie that is customarily made with leftovers from a boiled beef dinner, like pot-au-feu. If you have leftover beef and broth, you can use it.

I was lucky and had leftover Beef Bourguignon from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris in the freezer. Alternatively,  you can shortcut the process (see quick make instructions below).

This is the Dorie Greenspan Recipe where you will start from scratch.

For the beef and bouillon:

1 pound cube steak or boneless beef chuck, cut into small pieces

1 small onion, sliced

1 small carrot, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch-long pieces

1 small celery stalk, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-long pieces

2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

2 parsley sprigs

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

6 cups water

1/2 beef bouillon cube (optional however I used better than bouillon as the base)

For the filling:

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound sausage, sweet or spicy, removed from casings if necessary

1 teaspoon tomato paste

Salt and freshly ground pepper

To make the beef: Put all the ingredients except the bouillon cube in a Dutch oven or soup pot and bring to a boil, skimming off the foam and solids that bubble to the surface. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours. The broth will have a mild flavor, and that’s fine for this dish, but if you want to pump it up, you can stir in the 1/2 bouillon cube — taste the broth at the midway point and decide.

Drain the meat, reserving the broth. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and discard the vegetables, or if they’ve still got some flavor to spare, hold on to them for the filling. Traditionally, Hachis Parmentier is vegetable-less, but that shouldn’t stop you from salvaging and using the vegetables. Strain the broth. (The beef and bouillon can be made up to one day ahead, covered and refrigerated.)

Using a chef’s knife, chop the beef into tiny pieces.

To make the filling: Butter a 2-quart oven-going casserole — a Pyrex deep-dish pie plate is just the right size for this.

Put a large skillet over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the sausage and cook, breaking up the clumps of meat, until the sausage is just pink. Add the chopped beef and tomato paste and stir to mix everything well. Stir in 1 cup of the bouillon and bring to a boil. You want to have just enough bouillon in the pan to moisten the filling and to bubble up gently wherever there’s a little room; if you think you need more (a smidgen more is better than too little), add it now. Season with salt and pepper, especially pepper. If you’ve kept any of the vegetables from the bouillon, cut them into small cubes and stir them into the filling before you put the filling in the casserole. Scrape the filling into the casserole and cover it lightly; set aside while you prepare the potatoes. (You can make the dish to this point up to a few hours ahead; cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate.)

For the topping:

2 pounds Idaho (russet) potatoes, peeled and quartered (I used Yukon golds for the buttery taste and texture)

1/2 cup whole milk (I used skim milk)

1/4 cup heavy cream (I used light sour cream)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits ( I cut this to 2 total and did not top the potatoes with additional butter)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup grated Gruyère, Comte, or Emmental

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

To make the topping: Have ready a potato ricer or food mill (first choices), a masher, or a fork.

Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes; drain them well.

Meanwhile, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat (you’ll use it as a drip catcher).

Warm the milk and cream. (I did not warm prior to mixing with potatoes)

Run the potatoes through the ricer or food mill into a bowl, or mash them well. Using a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula, stir in the milk and cream, then blend in the 3 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the potatoes over the filling, spreading them evenly and making sure they reach to the edges of the casserole.

Sprinkle the grated Gruyère, Comte or Emmental over the top of the pie, dust with the Parmesan (if using), and scatter over the bits of butter. Place the dish on the lined baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling steadily and the potatoes have developed a golden brown crust.  Really, who doesn’t love a golden bubbly topping??

Serving Note:

A simple green salad a glass of red wine is all you need!  Filling and oh so comforting!

Quick Hachis Parmentier. You can make a very good hachis Parmentier using ground beef and store-bought beef broth. Use 1 pound ground beef instead of the steak, and when you add it to the sausage in the skillet, think about adding some finely chopped fresh parsley and maybe a little minced fresh thyme. You can also saute 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves, split and germ removed, in the olive oil before the sausage goes into the skillet.  Moisten the filling with the broth and proceed with the mashed potato topping.

Linked to Sunday Potluck , Hearth n’ Soul, Tuesday Night Supper Club, This Week’s Craving, and:

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 21 other followers

{Random food and photos}