Hearty Beef Stew

All the convent sisters continue to work on preparations for Spirit of America Band’s participation in the Dubai workshops at the end of this month. Whether or not they play an instrument or are even going on the trip themselves every sister is very involved and supportive of the endeavor in whatever way they are able to contribute.

Last week the emphasis was on sewing. All who could helped with the job of fitting, altering and adjusting each uniform. This week when the participants from all over the country come together for rehearsal, we will be feeding about 200 people for the entire weekend; so much help will be needed in Paraclete House Kitchen. One of the meals that has hit the spot with most of the group and received a lot of praise is this hearty beef stew that not only provides them with needed energy but also satisfies their taste buds in a special way.

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Hearty Beef Stew
SERVINGS
8people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
8hours
PREP TIME
35minutes
READY IN
8hours, 35 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. Add half of beef to skillet; cook, turning to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high.
  4. Repeat procedure with remaining beef.
  5. Add wine to skillet; scrape to loosen browned bits from bottom of pan.
  6. Bring wine to a boil, and cook 1 minute.
  7. Add to slow cooker.
  8. Stir in tomato paste, salt, pepper, carrots, garlic, celery, onions, and 2 cups beef stock.
  9. Add thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  10. Cover and cook on LOW until beef is tender, 7 1/2 to 8 hours.
  11. Whisk together flour and remaining 1/2 cup stock.
  12. Add flour mixture and to slow cooker.
  13. Increase heat to HIGH; cover and cook until bubbly and thickened, about 5 minutes.
  14. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  15. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Hearty Beef Stew

By Published: Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 peopleServing size: Calories per serving: Fat per serving: Ingredients: Thinly-sliced chuck roast: 2 lbs. Directions:
Add half of beef to skillet; cook, turning to brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. ...

Lamb Shanks Ossobuco

As we head into the cold, long days of winter, I find myself craving comfort food that warms every part of you. A bowl of steaming stew, perfect buttery mashed potatoes or even a simple bowl of spaghetti Bolognese can fill the bill on any particular day.

I found lamb shanks on sale at the store this week and was delighted to pair them with this ossobuco style recipe for the ultimate comfort food. Usually made with veal, lamb is a nice change and the succulent meat falls off the bone when made overnight in your slow cooker. The word literally means hollow-bone and refers to the middle part of the hind shank, which has tender meat around the marrowbone. Served with risotto or polenta, ossobuco makes a delicious and satisfying meal.

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Lamb Shanks Ossobuco
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
6hours in slow cooker
PREP TIME
30minutes
READY IN
7hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cut through the tendon that connects the meat to the bone at the bottom of the shank -this will allow the meat to bunch up nicely. Season the shanks generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large frying cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and brown the shanks a couple at a time, turning until dark brown all over (browning creates a great depth of flavor you get once they’re cooked). Set the shanks aside in a slow cooker.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 3 Tbsp. olive oil, butter, onions, carrot, celery and garlic to the same frying pan. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes until the vegetables are golden and soft.
  4. Turn up the heat to high, add the wine, bring to a rapid simmer and let it bubble for 30 seconds or so to burn off the alcohol.
  5. Add the tomato paste, thyme, rosemary, stock, tomatoes, bay leaves and sugar to the pan and stir to combine. Pour or spoon carefully over the shanks. Cover with the lid and cook in the slow cooker on low for 6 hrs., spooning liquid over the shanks every now and then. The meat should be almost falling off the bone by the end.
  6. Gently remove the shanks using tongs or a large spoon (careful as they will be very delicate) and set aside in a dish covered in foil.
  7. Put the cooking into a large saucepan, add the butter to the sauce and boil for about 10 minutes to reduce slightly, or until it’ a nice pouring sauce. You may need to add 2-3 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water to thicken it up. Season to taste with salt and cracked pepper.
  8. Serve the shanks over creamy mashed potatoes, polenta or risotto alongside steamed green vegetables. Pour the sauce generously over the top. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon zest if you like. Andiamo mangiare!

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Tuscan-Style Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze

One of my favorite flavors of Italy is balsamic vinegar (aceto balsamico). In Tuscan homes it is a staple ingredient. Dark, glossy, sweetly sour, balsamic vinegar is the perfect condiment for both salads and desserts. Or try the lighter version, an aged white balsamic vinegar, almost like honey — it can transform any dish with just a little dash. If you are after the richest, most complex balsamic vinegar flavors, look for an aceto balsamico tradizionale DOP.

When I came across this recipe, originally for ribs, I knew I had to try it. The blend of spices in the rub adds a complex layer of flavors that doesn’t overwhelm the meat, but simply raises it to a new level. This past weekend, we served these to a group of foodie enthusiasts who had hob-knobbed all over the world. When I heard them explain, “these are the best ribs I’ve ever put in my mouth! Sister, I must have the recipe,” I felt pretty pleased! If it worked for ribs, why not transform an ordinary pork chop into a culinary masterpiece? Fresh off the grill, they are juicy and sweet with the balsamic glaze kicking it up that extra notch.

andiamo mangiare!

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Tuscan-Style Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze
SERVINGS
4
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
7 mins
PREP TIME
10mins
READY IN
2.5hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt, fennel, black pepper, sage, thyme, paprika, crushed red pepper, coriander and allspice. Rub the spice paste all over the pork chops and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat your gas grill. Brush both sides of your pork chops with the balsamic vinegar and place on the hot grill and grill for 4 min. on one side, or until the pork releases from the grill. Brush again with the balsamic vinegar and flip over. Grill for 3 min. on the other side. Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Note: If using this recipe to make ribs, follow step 1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Arrange the ribs on a large, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan, meaty side up. Roast the ribs for 2 hours, or until tender. Preheat the broiler. Brush the meaty side of the ribs with the balsamic vinegar and broil 6 inches from the heat until browned, about 2 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then cut between the ribs and serve.

Roasted Chicken with Citrus, Herbs and Olives

Current surveys show that Italian food still ranks highest in popularity on restaurant menus across the country. With so many other ethnic foods gaining interest in the food world this surprised me a little when I recently found it out. I know it is true in our convent (that’s why we have Italian night on Friday of every week) but didn’t expect it was on such a large scale. This being the case let’s consider some more Italian versions of  favorite meals and perhaps something other than provincial tomato sauce dishes  that usually come to mind when we think of Italian cooking.

This week I experimented with chicken using some very typical Italian ingredients with the exclusion of tomatoes.  I came up with a beautiful and flavorful Italian chicken featuring citrus fruit as well as figs, olives, garlic and herbs and seasonings all native to Italy.

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Roasted Chicken with Citrus, Herbs and Olives
SERVINGS
6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
43mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
1hr (approx)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large roasting pan, season chicken with salt and pepper; drizzle with oil. Squeeze lemon and orange over chicken, then add fruit to pan. Add wine, orange juice, and thyme or oregano. Roast 25 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from oven; rotate chicken pieces if browning unevenly. Add olives and whole garlic cloves. Roast until a thermometer inserted in chicken breast (avoiding bone) registers 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 15 minutes more.
  4. Transfer chicken and citrus to a platter.
  5. Place roasting pan over high heat, until sauce is reduced and thickened, about 3 minutes. Pour over chicken; serve.

Spring Easter Salad

I wanted to come up with an interesting Easter salad. Something fresh and springy, yellow like sunshine and light green. Suddenly the idea came….an Easter egg salad!

A flavorful deviled egg nested in Boston Bibb lettuce with some tender spring asparagus and avocado, sprinkled with finely chopped chives and crumbled egg yolk…..that’s the look. Then, showered with a Fresh Lemon vinaigrette dressing …that’s the taste. I took a chance and gave it a try…It was a success!

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Spring Easter Salad
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Ingredients

Instructions

Deviled Eggs
  1. Peel the eggs.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice each egg in half, lengthwise.
  3. Gently remove the yolk halves and place in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Using a fork, mash up the yolks and add mustard, mayonnaise, onion, Tabasco, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon egg yolk mixture into the egg white halves.
  6. Sprinkle with paprika, if you wish.
Dressing
  1. In a jar or a bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, thyme, onion salt to taste and pepper.
  2. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.
  3. Serve at room temperature. Shake or stir before serving.
  4. Arrange on individual plates with other ingredients or on a large platter for a buffet table.

Braised Short Ribs

Some meals can be almost as enjoyable to prepare as to eat.  Short ribs are an example of this, especially in cold blustery weather as we have been having this winter. Cooking them is a most pleasurable culinary experience, engaging all the senses from start to finish.

Thick well cut ribs are a joy to handle while rubbing in the seasonings.  Then there is the visual thrill of watching them beautifully brown before your eyes in the sizzling hot skillet. This begins to produce a mouthwatering aroma to savor,  while slowly nursing them along to desired tenderness.

As a final treat to the senses, I hear the sound of delighted exclamations from those coming to dinner whose appetites are peaked from shoveling snow out in the cold. Could anything be more heartwarming and rewarding than that?  Well yes….sitting down and eating one of my most favorite meals with them!

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Braised Short Ribs
SERVINGS
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
COOK TIME
2 1/2-3hours
PREP TIME
READY IN

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
  2. Season short ribs with salt and pepper
  3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  4. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch.
  5. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 Tablespoons of drippings from pot.
  6. Add onions, carrots, and celery to pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until onions are browned, about 5 minutes.
  7. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, until well combined and deep red, 2-3 minutes.
  8. Stir in wine, Worcestershire and then add short ribs with any accumulated juices.
  9. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer until wine is reduced by half, about 25 minutes.
  10. Add all herbs to pot along with garlic. Stir in stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven.
  11. Cook until short ribs are tender, 2–2 1/2 hours.
  12. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Strain sauce from pot into a measuring cup.
  13. Spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard; season sauce to taste with onion salt and pepper.

These short ribs are even better when they are cooked the day before.