Languedoc Beef Stew with Red Wine, Herbs, and Olives

Ingredients

2-1/4 lb thickly sliced braising or stewing beef
2 tablespoons flour
5-6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1-1/4 cups Faugeres or other full-bodied fruity red wine
1/2 cup homemade or organic beef broth
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 thin strip of unwaxed orange zest
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup black olives
3 heaped tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slow-roasted Carrots

1 lb carrots
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Method

  1. Trim any excess fat from the beef, then cut the meat into large cubes. Put the flour in a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper. Dip the cubes of beef in the flour to coat.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet, add the beef, and saute on all sides until the meat is browned — you will need to do this in batches, adding extra oil as you go. Transfer the beef to a cast-iron casserole.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, add the onion, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until softened but not browned.
  4. Add the garlic and tomato puree and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
  5. Add 1 cup of the wine, the broth, herbes de Provence, orange zest, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then pour the sauce into the casserole.
  6. Heat the casserole over medium heat and bring the sauce back to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer very gently for 2-1/2 to 3 hours until the meat is completely tender. Check the contents of the casserole occasionally to ensure there is enough liquid (add a little extra broth or water if it’s dry).
  7. About two-thirds of the way through the cooking time, prepare the slow-roasted carrots. Cut the carrots into long, thick diagonal slices. Put the carrots, salt, and cayenne pepper in a large, shallow ovenproof dish, pour the oil over, and toss well. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes until the carrots are soft and their edges are caramelized.
  8. About 30 minutes before the stew should be ready, stir in the olives. Just before serving, season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the parsley and the remaining wine, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve with the slow-roasted carrots.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: Cooking with Wine

Omelet Gargamelle

Ingredients

2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
2 or 3 green onions, minced
5 tbsp vermouth
1/4 cup half and half cream
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cornstarch
6 eggs
4 tbsp butter
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 thin slices Swiss cheese
paprika

Method

  1. Combine the mushrooms and onions in small heavy saucepan, then stir in the vermouth and 1/4 cup of the cream. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add a small amount of the pan liquid to the cornstarch and stir until smooth, then stir back into pan. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Set aside.
  3. Break the eggs into a glass or stainless steel bowl. Place a 9-inch omelet pan over very low heat. The pan should be hot when butter is added.
  4. Beat the egg lightly with a fork until well mixed.
  5. Cut 3 tablespoons butter into tiny pieces and drop into the beaten egg. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. Mix again to distribute the butter.
  7. Increase heat under the pan to medium hot, then add 1 tablespoon butter and swirl the pan around until butter is melted and just beginning to turn brown.
  8. Pout the egg and butter mixture into the hot pan.
  9. Work with the side of a fork and lightly pull the thickened edge away from the side of pan, allowing the still soft parts to flow underneath. Cook until bottom is set but the top is still moist.
  10. Spoon half the mushroom mixture over half the omelet.
  11. Slide half the omelet onto an ovenproof platter, then flip over the remaining half. Cover with remaining mushroom mixture.
  12. Pour the remaining cream over top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and arrange Swiss cheese over all. Sprinkle with paprika.
  13. Place in preheated broiler and broil until cheese is melted and browned on top. Serve at once.

Makes 3 servings.

Source: The Creative Cooking Course

Pecan Bread Pudding with Caramel Whiskey Sauce

Ingredients

8 cups cubed egg bread or brioche (about 10 ounces)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1-2/3 cups sugar, divided
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons Irish whiskey or bourbon

Method

  1. Grease 13 X 9-inch baking dish or shallow 2-quart casserole.
  2. Combine bread cubes and pecans in prepared dish.
  3. Beat 3/4 cup sugar, eggs and egg yolks in medium bowl until blended. Add milk, vanilla, salt and nutmeg. Beat until well blended.
  4. Pour egg mixture over bread mixture. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes, pressing down on bread occasionally.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Sprinkle over bread mixture.
  6. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes.
  7. For sauce, place butter in small heavy saucepan. Add remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Shake pan to make even layer but do not stir. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  8. Stir mixture and cook 2 minutes or until deep golden brown.
  9. Gradually stir in cream. (Mixture will sizzle.) Cook and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
  10. Stir in whiskey, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  11. Serve bread pudding warm or at room temperature topped with warm sauce.

Makes 8 servings.

Source: Irish Cooking Bible

Quick Chicken Ragu

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 (1/4-pound) piece pancetta (Italian unsmoked cured bacon), cut into 1/4-inch dice (2/3 cup)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1-1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 cup light dry red wine, such as Pinot Nair
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
coarse gray sea salt
coarsely ground black pepper

Method

  1. Heat oil and butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet (2 inches deep) over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes.
  2. Add sage and rosemary and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
  3. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is no longer pink on outside, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  5. Add wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve over polenta.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gourmet Italian

Speedy Super Paella

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp chili oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 skinless chicken breast fillets (about 175 g each), chopped into bite-sized pieces
1-2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150 g piece of chorizo, peeled and chopped 1 small red pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 small yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced 300 g paella or risotto rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups hot chicken stock
large pinch of saffron
100 g fresh or frozen peas, defrosted if frozen
225 g raw peeled jumbo prawns, defrosted if frozen
few stalks of thyme or rosemary
300 g mussels (optional), cleaned and debearded
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat the oils in a large, wide saute pan or paella pan (if you don’t have any chili oil just use a little more vegetable oil). Add the onions and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes over a medium heat until golden.
  2. Toss the chicken pieces in the paprika and add to the pan. Sizzle and stir for a few minutes until the chicken pieces are browned.
  3. Add the garlic, chorizo and peppers and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat well. Add the wine, hot stock and saffron and give it all a good stir, then leave to simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Don’t be tempted to stir it again — hard, I know but if it catches a little all the better. (In Spain a slightly crispy layer of rice on the bottom of the pan is known as the ‘socarrat’ and is completely authentic… so they tell me…)
  5. Scatter over the peas and push the prawns and thyme or rosemary stalks into the rice, as well as the mussels, if using (discard any mussels that do not close when tapped sharply). Season to taste.
  6. Cover the pan with a lid or foil (to allow the mussels to steam) and cook for a further 7-8 minutes.
  7. Take a peek to make sure everything looks cooked — you may need to add a little more stock. Chuck out any mussels that haven’t opened, then turn off the heat and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: My Family Kitchen Cookbook