Hearty Beef Stew

This beef stew is the best beef stew you will ever have!  It’s loaded with delicious meat potatoes, veggies and fresh herbs. It’s slow simmered to get a thick, silky broth that is perfect for sopping up with a crusty piece of French bread with homemade butter.  This is one of those times when I wish I still lived in a cabin in the woods in Alaska.  I’m sure fresh moose steak or caribou would be fabulous in this stew.  I can just imagine the stew simmering away all day while I’m out shoveling snow or bringing in fire wood.  I envision my husband’s soggy coat and gloves hanging by the wood stove to dry after a hard days work.  The sun is going down, making way for a frosty evening, the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of hearty stew.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Mine is.

Beef Stew Ingredients

Ingredients:

1lb Stew beef chunks or any beef steak cut into bite sized chunks
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of pearl onions, or any onion
1 cup of chopped celery
2 cups of chopped carrot
3 cups of marble potatoes or any potatoes cut into bite sized chunks
4 cups of beef stock
1 cup red wine (I used syrah)
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

Method:

Brown beef in a skillet.
Beef Stew Beef

In a large stew pot, melt butter on low heat, when melted add the flour a little at a time and whisk until you make a paste called a roux.  Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrot, thyme, rosemary, black pepper, bay leaves and cook on low for a few minutes.
Beef Stew Roux

Add the beef stock, cooked beef, potatoes, wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer on low/med heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.  If stew isn’t as thick as you like, make a thickener by whisking 1/2 cup of cold water with 2 Tbs flour, pour into soup and stir.
Beef Stew in Crock

Ladle into bowls, serve with crusty bread slathered with homemade butter and enjoy!
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Roasted Chicken Breast with Balsamic Cream

A foody friend of mine gave me this recipe for a balsamic cream sauce and it sounded so delicious and simple that I tried it that very night with a roasted chicken breast. I was not disappointed.  In fact, that rich, creamy sauce immediately landed among my favorite recipes, not only because it is delicious, but also because the ingredients are ones that I generally have on hand, and preparation is incredibly simple.  And, although I have this paired with chicken, I think it would go incredibly well with any cut of steak or a pasta dish.

Ingredients:

Chicken:
2 chicken breast halves, bone in
2 Tbs butter, divided
Drizzle of Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Balsamic Cream Sauce:
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Butter
¼ cup minced sweet onion (Mayan or Vidalia work well)
1 Cup heavy Cream
2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
2 Tbs Balsamic vinegar
½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (the kind in the can works best)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry.  Gently loosen the skin to create a pocket, but don’t pull it off.  Cut the butter into 8 chunks and slip it under the chicken skin, 4 chunks for each breast.  Season the skin of the chicken well with salt and pepper and any additional herbs you prefer.  Place breasts in an oven-safe dish and drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the chicken for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches a safe 165 degrees.
While the chicken is roasting, heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir in the minced onion and cook until it has caramelized, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the bouillon and cream.  Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.

Note: I used fresh parmesan in this picture, which tasted great but left the sauce a little chunky.  For a smoother sauce, use the pre-grated parm in a can, the stuff you sprinkle over spaghetti.

When the chicken is done roasting, allow it to rest for about 10 minutes.  Serve it whole or slice it up, but either way, be sure to serve with a generous portion of the balsamic cream.  I LOVE this combination with Oven Roasted Potatoes.  Enjoy!

Thyme Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

I love fingerling potatoes and have had this simple recipe in my mind for the past couple of weeks.  They’re nothing fancy but very flavorful!   I served my potatoes with scrambled eggs with onion and green pepper, but they would go perfect with a roast, chicken, fish, steak or whatever your heart desires!  ~Janna

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Ingredients:

1/2lb fingerling potatoes, washed and patted dry
1 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp of fresh thyme
1/4 tsp kosher sea salt (more to taste)

Turn oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the potatoes in half length wise, toss with olive oil in a bowl, add thyme and toss again to coat evenly.  Add the salt and stir.

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Lay the potatoes skin side down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until tender.

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Turn oven to broil and cook potatoes for an additional 2 minutes just to brown and crisp them.  Remove from oven and cool slightly.  Enjoy.

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Zuppa Toscana

This flavorful soup is incredibly easy and delicious, and most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. I love the peppery flavor of the kale, and I find that the salt in the Italian sausage is enough to flavor the whole pot.

Serves about 6.

Ingredients:

1 lb Italian Sausage (I like the hot stuff)

1 Large Onion, chopped

3 Fresh Garlic Cloves, minced

3-5 Medium Potatoes

32oz Chicken Broth

4 Large Kale Leaves

1 Cup Heavy Cream (optional)

Directions:

Brown Italian sausage on medium heat in a separate skillet.  Strain the grease out using a mesh strainer or slotted spoon, but DO NOT RINSE!

Wash and peel potatoes.  Cut in-half, then slice into 1/4in. pieces.

In a large soup pot, combine chicken broth, minced garlic, chopped onion, potatoes and cooked sausage.  Allow to simmer about 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

While soup is simmering, wash kale thoroughly and remove the spines. Tear into “spoon-sized” pieces.  When potatoes are cooked to your desired tenderness, turn off the heat and add the kale.  Make sure the kale is submerged in the hot broth.  Cover and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the kale turns a bright green color.

Add cream, if desired (I don’t) and serve immediately.  It’s delicious with simple bread and butter on the side.  Enjoy!  ~Joanie

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