Friday, December 19, 2014

Marsala Beef Stew

Welcome to winter, the nights are longer, colder, but the opportunities for delicious hearty food now beckon.  I love this recipe. It's a twist on a classes beef stew recipe, that utilizes a slow cooker. There are a few extra steps but they make the dish well worth it in the end. It becomes a melt in your mouth savory bite.


Marsala Beef Stew

10 servings
30-45 minutes to prep
7.5 hours in slow cooker
·       2-3 lbs. of Stew Meat (chopped into pieces)
·       1 Cup of Carrots (peeled and chopped)
·       16 oz. Mushrooms (chopped)
·       1 Cup of Parsnips (peeled and chopped)
·       1/2 Cup Marsala Wine plus 2 Tbs. (divided)
·       2 tsp. Salt
·       1 tsp. pepper
·       5 cloves of Garlic (minced)
·       2 Cups Beef Stock
·       3 Tsp. Flour
·       1 Tsp. Dried Thyme
·       3 Tsp. Olive Oil (divided)
·       1 Large Onion Chopped
·       2 Tsp. Tomato Paste
·       1 Tsp. Kitchen Bouquet

Set up your slow cooker and set it on low heat. I use a medium sized slow cooker. This may be a bit much if you have a mini slow cooker. If so just cut recipe in half. Heat up a Tsp. of olive oil in a deep saute pan and brown your meat. You may need to do it in batches, take your time and feel free to add more oil. Add browned meat as first layer to slow cooker.

Add another Tsp. of Olive oil and brown mushrooms. Make sure to not crowd the mushrooms in the pan or they won't brown. (Thank you Julia Child for that piece of advice). Feel free to also do these in batches. Add mushrooms as next layer in Slow Cooker. Then caramelize your chopped onions in final Tsp. of Olive Oil.  Add onions to slow cooker. Using the remaining oil in the saute pan, add garlic and saute for 1 minutes. Then add tomato paste and stir until it melts in. You'll know it when you see it.  Add thyme, 1/2 cup of Marsala Wine and Beef Stock. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until it looks like it's coming together.

While mixture is simmering, add layers of parsnips and carrots to slow cooker on top of the beef and other veggies. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Then pour the sauce mixture on top.  Cook in slow cooker for 7-8 hours.

After meat is done cooking in slow cooker, turn dial to Warm. Take deep saute pan back out and add a strainer to it. Strain all the broth from the slow cooker into the saute pan. Return everything back to slow cooker and allow to sit on Warm setting.  Heat up broth on stove under medium heat.  Ladle out a cup or so of the broth into a bowl. Add flour, Kitchen Bouquet and 2 Tsp. of Marsala wine to bowl. Beat in until smooth. Add back to simmering broth on stove and stir until it comes together.

Toss back into slow cooker with meat and veggies. I served it with salad and crusty bread.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Roasted Chicken Thighs and Vegetables

The temperature is quickly dropping here in the Greater-Philadelphia Area.  So I'm excited to now share with you some hearty winter dishes that I've lined up.  This is a time consuming dish but relatively easy to make.


Roasted Chicken Thighs and Vegetables

4-5 servings
10 minutes to prep
2 hours to cook
·       5 Chicken Thighs
·       2 Tsp. Sugar
·       7 Large Carrots, peeled and chopped
·       7 Large Parsnips, peeled and chopped
·       ½ tsp. Pepper
·       2 tsp. Sea Salt
·       3 Tsp. Olive Oil
·       3 Tsp. Butter 
·       1 Cup Chicken Broth
·       1 Cup Water

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. In a deep baking dish, I used a 9 by 12 inch pan.  Layer the carrots and parsnips on the bottom.  Sprinkle 1 tsp of sea salt and 3 Tsp. of olive oil and toss together. Then add chicken broth, butter, and sugar.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes, pull out pan and add Chicken thighs.  Sprinkle remaining sea salt and pepper on top of thighs.  Add dish back to oven and cook for 60-75 minutes while occasionally basting the skin on top.  

Chicken will be ready when skin puffs up and looks browned.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash w/Cranberries

 The Holidays are fast approaching, and it's nice to trot out fabulous roasts and hams.  However side dishes can get a bit boring quickly.  Mashed potatoes and green beans are wonderful selections, but not everyone enjoys them so it's nice to have a back up just in case.
This is a simple and easy side that you can roast ahead of time and heat up.  Or it works as a main dish if you have a vegetarian group. Plus this dish is a big hit if you need to bring something to a dinner party.

Roasted Butternut Squash w/Cranberries

8 servings
5 minutes to prep
45-60 minutes to cook
·       5-6 cups of diced Butternut Squash
·       1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
·       1/2 Cup Cranberries
·       1 Tsp. Sea Salt
·       1 tsp. pepper
·       3 Tsp. Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Peel and dice your butternut squash if not already prepped.

Lay out in pan and sprinkle brown sugar and sea salt across it.  Drizzle olive oil on top and toss to combine.  Then evenly cover top with cranberries.

Roast for 45-60 minutes.  If squash doesn't look like it's cooking evenly, pull out after 30 min and mix up with a spoon to redistribute.

Serve as a side or a main dish.