Italian Beef Stew

Italian Beef Stew

When my friend Carlo gave me his mother’s recipe for Italian beef stew, I asked him what made it “Italian.”  He said it was the addition of tomatoes and because his mother came from Genoa.

Ingredients:
  • 1 – 1 ½ lb. stew beef
  • Olive oil for browning
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 14 oz. tomato puree
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 – 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Dredge it in flour and shake off any excess. Let it come to room temperature and brown in olive oil. Do it in batches and don’t crowd the pot or it will stem instead of brown. Remove the beef and set aside.

Italian Beef Stew
Add more oil and cook the onions until soft. Return the beef and pour in the wine and allow to reduce, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and enough broth to cover the meat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for 30 – 40 minutes or until soft. Cover with more beef broth. Add the peas, simmer for 5 minutes. Add more liquid if too dry, taste for seasoning and serve. It may seem odd for beef stew, but you can serve this with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. If you don’t have beef broth you can use bouillon cubes.Italian Beef Stew

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Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

This quick and easy recipe for sweet and sour pork chops is adapted from one I found in Bon Appetit. If you’d like it more ‘sour’ double the amount of vinegar.

 

Sweet and Sour PorkchopsIngredients:
  • 2 thick pork chops
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ sugar divided
  • 2 tbs. olive oil divided
  • 1 large, chopped shallot
  • 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tbs. capers
  • 2 tbs. butter
Season both sides of the chops with salt and sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of sugar on one side of each. Allow them to come to room temperature. Hold them with tongs and sear the fat cap in a dry, very hot frying pan until browned. Sweet and Sour Porkchops
Sweet and Sour Porkchops
Add one tablespoon of oil to the pan and cook one side for 3 – 4 minutes until browned. Turn and cook the 2nd, sugared side for 1 – 2 minutes on a lower heat so the sugar doesn’t burn. Remove the chops to a plate.

Sweet and Sour Porkchops
Put the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan, add the shallots, and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and remaining teaspoon of sugar to the pan and stir until some of the vinegar burns away.
Add the rosemary, capers, and one cup of water and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Sweet and Sour PorkchopsReturn the chops, spoon some sauce over them and simmer for 5 minutes, turning once, until done.
Transfer the chops to plates, pour the sauce over them, and serve.

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Roasted Orange Chicken

Roasted Orange Chicken

I got this recipe in the New York Times. It was created by Genevieve Ko.
Roasted Orange Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 5 tangerines (or clementines)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tsp. white vinegar
  • ½ tsp, ground cayenne
  • 1 3 ½ – 4 lb. whole chicken
  • 8 slices peeled fresh ginger
Heat oven to 400o.
Squeeze ¼ cup of juice from 1 or 2 of the tangerines into a small bowl. Save the peels. Cut the remaining tangerines into wedges (remove the seeds) and set aside.Roasted Orange Chicken
Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cayenne to the tangerine juice and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Stuff the squeezed tangerine skins, and 6 pieces of ginger into the cavity. Tie the legs so the cavity is closed. Place the chicken into an oven proof pan and scatter the tangerine wedges and the last of the ginger around the chicken. Pour the juice mixture around the chicken and place it in the oven.Roasted Orange Chicken

Roast for 30 minutes and then bast with the pan juice. Bast every 10 minutes until done – about another 30 or 40 minutes depending on your oven. If the pan gets too dry add ¼ to ½ cup of water.Roasted Orange Chicken
Place the chicken on a cutting board and let it rest 10 minutes before carving.Roasted Orange Chicken
If the pan juice is too thin, cook over a low burner until it thickens, too thick or dry, add some water.  Carve the chicken into quarters or pieces and pour the pan juices over it. The tangerine slices are edible.

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Roasted Broccoli Pasta

Roasted Broccoli Pasta

I know that lots of people don’t like broccoli and this recipe is for them. Roasting it gives it a crisp flavor that makes the difference. This is adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Ingredients:
  • 2 ½ lbs. broccoli cut into bite sized florets
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • Salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • 12 oz. small pasta
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 12 oz. whole milk ricotta
Pre-heat your over to 425o.
Roasted Broccoli Pasta
In a bowl, toss the broccoli, 2 tbsp. oil, salt, black, and red pepper. Place it in a large sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes, toss and roast for another 10 minutes until edges start to lightly brown. Remove, set aside, and set the over to broil.
Cook the pasta according to package instruction, drain and set aside.
Mix together the Parmesan, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
In the large bowl, mix together the broccoli, cooked pasta, and ricotta. Add the Parmesan mix and combine.Roasted Broccoli Pasta
Spread the pasta and broccoli evenly in the sheet pan, drizzle with oil and broil for 2 to 4 minutes until pasta is lightly crisped and serve.Roasted Broccoli Pasta

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Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja translates to ‘old clothes’ in English. There’s probably a good story that goes along with that, but I don’t know it. I do know that ropa vieja is a hardy meat stew. The recipes for it vary a bit but basically, its shredded meat, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. It can be made with beef or pork.
Ropa Vieja
Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ – 2 lbs. flank steak cut along grain into 3-to-4-inch pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil divided
  • 3 bell sliced peppers – vary colors
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 – 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup olives, cut in half
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • 2 cups chicken stock
Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper and let it come to room temperature. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven and brown the meat. Do it in batches and don’t crowd the pan.
Ropa Vieja
Remove the meat and add the remaining oil to the pot. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, and bay leaves. Cook for about 30 minutes until soft.
Ropa Vieja

 

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja
Now add the olives, raisins, capers, tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, mix, and deglaze the pot.
Ropa Vieja
Lower heat and simmer for 2 ½ hours. Shred the meat with 2 forks, stir everything together and simmer for another 30 minutes and serve with rice.
Ropa Vieja

 

Ropa Vieja

Like most stewed meats, ropa vieja is better left over the next day.

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