Good Ol’ Chicken Stew (4)

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Love stews served with mashed potatoes to soak up the juices. Browning the onions and searing the meat makes all the difference to the end product by providing a depth of flavor to the sauce. I mashed half of the cannellini beans to thicken the gravy. Perfect autumn dish.

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium onions – finely chopped

2 chicken breasts – cut into bite sized pieces

2 cups of chicken broth

8 oz. carrots – cut into 1 inch chunks

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

1 x 15 oz can of canellini beans – crush half of them with a potato masher

Heat 1 tbsp. of the seasoned oil in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onions and let soften and brown. Then remove them to a plate.

Add the second tbsp. of oil to the Dutch oven and when sizzling add the chicken pieces and sear on all sides.

Place onion back with the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour.

 

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Beef Stew with Cranberries and Horseradish (4)

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Stews do very well in a slow cooker. However, I always start off by browning the vegetables and searing the beef on all sides before I add them into the pot because this gives the stew a better flavor. The vegetables – onion, carrots and celery – are basically a ‘mirepoix’, a French term describing the combination of vegetables used as a base for many soups and stews. The ratio of the vegetables is 2 parts onion to 1 part each of carrots and celery. I cooked the stew in a slow cooker for 6 hours, then I removed the beef from the pot, pureed three-quarters of the sauce and then put them all back together.

2 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 oz. onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

4 oz. carrots – chopped into small pieces

4 oz. celery – chopped into small pieces

6 oz. frozen cranberries

2 pounds stewing beef – cut into bite size pieces

2 cups beef broth

1 cup of red wine

2 tbsp. redcurrant jelly

3 tbsp. prepared horseradish

Heat 1 tbsp. oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper in a skillet and when sizzling add the onion and let cook for a few minutes before adding the garlic, carrots and celery.

When the vegetables are nicely browned place them in the bottom of the slow cooker pot and cover with the cranberries.

Add the second tbsp. of oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to the skillet and when sizzling add half of the meat  and sear until browned on all sides, then add to slow cooker. Repeat with the other half of the beef.

Pour in the beef broth and red wine then add the redcurrant jelly and horseradish and cook on low heat for 6 hours.

 

Lamb, Apricot and Prune Stew (serves 4)

Lamb, Apricot and Prune Stew (serves 4)

Why on earth would I photo - lamb, prune and apricot stewmake a stew in August? It’s just that I had an idea and had to act on it (dog likes it as she has just licked my plate clean!). Had stewing lamb in freezer and thought that it might be nice with dried apricots and prunes and then I flung in a can of Great Northern Beans (small white beans). In other cuisines (Moroccan – tagine) lamb is combined with fruit and in the UK roast lamb is served with red currant jelly, so it goes well with sweet flavors. After bringing all the ingredients to a boil in a cast iron casserole dish, I placed it in the oven for 3 hours at a low heat. Then I brought it out and brought it back to boil to reduce the liquid a bit. And then I added 2 tbsp. of red pepper jelly (easily available in supermarkets in the US, not sure about elsewhere but red currant jelly could be a substitute and almost 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard and added it to the sauce. Mashed/baked sweet potato would complete the meal.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1 1/4 pounds of stewing lamb cut into cubes

3 cups veg. broth/stock

1 x 15.8 oz can of reduced sodium Great Northern Beans

8 x prunes – roughly chopped

10 x dried apricots – roughly chopped (managed to find some with no preservatives)

2 tbsp. red pepper jelly

Just less than 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Heat 1 tbsp. seasoned olive oil in cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic and cook until a little browned.

Remove from pan and place aside.

Heat the other 1 tbsp. of olive oil and when sizzling add lamb and sear on all sides.

Add veg. broth, prunes and apricots.

Bring to boil, then place in low oven for 3 hours.

Remove from oven, place on cooker, bring to boil and reduce liquid for about 5 minutes or so.

Add red pepper jelly and Dijon mustard and stir well.

Spring Lamb Stew with Peas (serves 4)

Spring Lamb Stew (serves 4)

Spring Lamb Stew is a lovely dish – half comfort food but with hints that better weather is round the corner. To the lamb, I added carrots, peas and snow peas (fresh, if possible) and served new potatoes with mint. The carrots were all different colors – orange, yellow and purple which I found at the Farmer’s Market and they livened up the color. When I saw something similar being served (on a cold, windy Spring day in the UK!) it came in a large soup plate with a large rim and that seemed a nice way to serve it.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 x onion – chopped

2 pounds of lamb – cut into bite size pieces

3 x carrots – sliced

6 oz. fresh peas

6 oz. fresh snowpeas/mangetout

2 cups veg. stock/broth

Place oil in cast iron casserole dish and season with salt and pepper.

When sizzling add onion and cook will just a bit brown.

Remove onion for casserole dish, add lamb and sear on all sides (add more oil if  you need, I didn’t)

Place onion back in dish when lamb is seared, then add carrots, peas, snowpeas/mangetout and veg. broth.

Place in oven at 350 degrees for 1/2 and hour, then turn down heat to 250 degrees and cook for a further hour.

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew (serves 4)

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew (serves 4)

This stew is one where you pop all the ingredients straight into a cast iron casserole dish – no cooking onions first, then browning the meat, etc., etc. The spiciness comes from a blend of ingredients – canned tomatoes and green chilies, harissa paste and Creole spices. Other than chicken the stew contains sweet potatoes, tomatoes and black beans.

1 pound of chicken tenders – cut into bite size pieces
2 x large cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 x 15 oz cans of black beans – rinsed and drained
1 x sweet potato – peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 x red pepper – deseeded and cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 cups of veg. broth/stock
1 tbsp. harissa paste
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning

Place all ingredients in a cast-iron casserole dish, bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.

All Kinds of Vegetables in a Pot (serves 4)

All Kinds of Vegetables in a Pot (serves 4)

Excuse the title but at the moment I am stumped for a better one – Vegetable Stew maybe? I experimented with a variety of vegetables and it came together nicely – I mixed leeks and garlic together so didn’t need onions. Vegetable stock and lemon juice were the liquids. Powdered red pepper added a bite. The remaining veg. were zucchini, kale, cannellini beans and artichokes. I put some kale in because it is such a healthy food more than for any other reason. This recipe is light and easy on the stomach, which might account for its creation as yesterday I ate something that really disagreed with my intolerances and have had a tender stomach since then. It was a nasty reminder of how I used to feel. Vegetables in a Pot requires minimal cooking (I don’t like over-cooked zucchini).

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground pepper
2 x cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 x leeks – finely sliced
2 x zucchini – sliced and each slice quartered (not finely sliced)
2 handfuls of kale
1 x can of cannellini beans
1 x can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 cup of vegetable broth
1/2 teasp. of powdered red pepper (less if you don’t like things too spicy)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Heat oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add garlic and leeks and soften for a few minutes.
Add rest of ingredients, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so until zucchini is al dente and kale is cooked.

**Little Known Food Fact**
Not sure if pink Himalyan salt is a food fad and over-hyped, but I bought some. It is meant to be better for you and to contain some 80 minerals! Regular table salt has been stripped of all its minerals though it does contain iodine. Some say white salt = white sugar.