Monday, January 28, 2013

Lamb and Root Vegetable Stew

Yup, my creative juices are flowing!  This is delicious!!  I like it better than beef stew.  It has a milder flavor.  You can also tinker with the meat/veg proportions so that you can make it with as much meat as you prefer.  I find that I only need a few ounces of quality meat to satisfy my appetite and I'm trying to eat way more veg than I used to so this is a great recipe.

Since I am cooking more traditionally, the food isn't really fast anymore but the prep here is minimal and I was done in 15mins or so.  The cooking time is two hours with an intervention at the one hour mark.  You could make it in a slow cooker but I'm not sure how it will effect the taste.

To give credit where credit is due this is based on the lamb stew recipes in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook.  This is my go to cookbook along with my America's Test Kitchen books.

serves 2-3

1/2 -1 lb lamb stew meat
1 med potato
1 med onion
1/2 kohlrabi
1/2 celeriac
2-3 carrots
1 clove garlic
1 bay leaf
1t dried thyme or 1T fresh
A generous handful of fresh parsley about 1-2c
1t celtic sea salt
generous pinch of pepper
1-2c basic chicken stock or any organic chicken stock
filtered water

  1. Peel all veg and cut into large chunks.  Keep potato separate from other veg and rinse everything in fresh water and drain.  Throw potato into pot.  Set aside other veg for later.  If you have something that is going to brown, cover remaining veg with water.
  2. Peel and cut onion into 6 pieces and throw in pot.  Peel and mash garlic and throw in pot.
  3. Rinse and drain stew meat and add to pot.
  4. Add stock and add enough water to cover meat and veg.  Add salt, pepper, dried bay leaf and dried thyme.  If using fresh herbs wait until step 6 to add them.
  5. Cover pot and let simmer on low heat for one hour.  Liquid should be just bubbling.  Check once in a while to make sure there is enough liquid still in the pot. Add more water if you like.
  6. Add remaining veg (drain first if in water).  Add remaining fresh herbs.  Add more filtered water to just cover everything.  
  7. Bring back to a simmer and cover.  Cook for another hour. 
Variations on the theme:
  • Throw everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours until meat is tender.   Veg will probably get a tad mushy.
  • Add peas for the last fifteen minutes of cook time.
  • Other root veg: parsnips, turnips, beets (use yellow ones or they will make the stew purple and the meat gets nasty looking), sweet potato and radishes.
  • Add portabellos cut into large chunks at step 6.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Portabellos with Apple Sausage Stuffing

I know.  It has been a really really long time since my last post.  I've been doing better and cooking again but I haven't been making anything new hence no posts.  But I got creative yesterday and it came out fantastic so here we go....

I've managed to find a winter farmer's market here in the Northeast.  They have several meat vendors and a bunch of veg vendors with one even selling a variety of fresh mushrooms.  I picked up some sweet Italian sausage from my favorite meat vendor and an absolutely HUGE mushroom cap.  The herbs were from one of the other vendors and I've had them out on the table drying.

Use one regular sized portabello per person or if you find huge ones you can split it with someone.  Use 1/4-1/2lb of meat per person depending upon appetites and affinity for meat.  I'm fine with 1/4 lb for myself but hubs tends to go for 1/2lb serving.

serves 2

1/2-1lb of sweet sausage
1 large or 2 normal sized portabello mushrooms (with stems if possible)
1 granny apple
1 large stalk of celery
1/2 a medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1t rosemary leaves
1t thyme leaves
2-3 sage leaves
1t celtic sea salt
generous pinch of pepper
1T ghee, lard or tallow for frying
1-2T olive oil
1 small egg slightly beaten
1/2c almond flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Chop onion, celery and apple into small pieces.
  3. Peel mushroom cap.  Remove stem and chop stem into small pieces and add to veg.  Scrape out gills and add to veg leaving the cap itself intact.
  4. Crush or dice garlic finely.
  5. Remove sausage meat from casings and dice into small pieces.  (scissors work well for this)
  6. If herbs are dried grind together or if fresh break into fine pieces.
  7. Add fat to pan and saute sausage meat until all pink is gone.  Remove from pan and set aside in a bowl.  Do not drain fat from pan.
  8. Add vegetables and garlic to pan. Add herbs, salt and pepper.  Add more fat if needed and saute until soft.  Add to bowl with meat.  
  9. Drain any liquid off meat.  
  10. Add flour and egg and mix well.  You could put this in a food processor if you like but I prefer mine chunky.
  11. Brush mushroom caps with olive oil.  Place topside down in baking dish.  Pile stuffing into caps.
  12. Bake for 20-30mins until it has nice browned bits on top.
Variations on the theme:
  • Use acorn squash instead of mushroom caps.  Split and deseed squash.  Paint interior with olive oil and bake at 350F for 45-60mins until soft and easily pierced with a knife.  Stuff with sausage and bake as directed above.
  • Skip the mushroom and serve over rice.  Bake sausage mix in any baking dish until browned while making rice of choice.