I’ve had enough beef stew out of a can on youth camping trips and during college days. No more overly thick stew with too many potatoes and no flavor for me any more. For this I used an elk roast cut into small cubes but you can easily use beef and get a great result too. I do not like huge pieces of vegetables in the stew, I prefer smaller more approachable sized vegetables.
2 pounds elk roast well trimmed and cut into ½ inch pieces
6 large stalks of celery, cut on the bias in ¾ inch pieces
2 onions, cut into long pieces
4 carrots cut into random shapes at about ½ inch
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch dice
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 bottle red wine, merlot or cabernet (or equivalent amount of box wine)
½ tsp dry thyme
Searing & carmelization
In a 8 quart soup pot heat 3 Tbsp oil to just smoking
Lightly dust the meat in flour and sear in the hot oil, remove when all sides are browned
Sautee the onions in the same pan until they carmelize lightly
Add the celery to lightly carmelize
Add the red wine directly in the hot pan and allow the wine to begin reducing
Return the browned meat to the simmering wine & vegetables
Add the tomatoes, diced butternut squash, and dried thyme
Add water to near the top of the pot and simmer for 3 hours.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste
This makes enough for 8 people
Serve with a green salad and hearty country style bread.
A phrase made famous by Warner Bothers character “Sylvester” the cat, and sometimes Daffy Duck. In the culinary world, succotash is a dish usually made with corn kernels, lima beans or some other shell bean and vegetables. I have used variations of this many times at the restaurant as a side to accompany lighter bird dishes. Personally I prefer small white beans to all the others. In summer I load the succotash up with lots of fresh sweet corn, ripe red peppers, summer squash, and fresh herbs.
In the winter I love to have a crock of beans around so I’ve decided to make succotash and just make a winter adjustment to utilize the winter produce instead of corn. I’ll make soup with the rest of the beans. As much as frozen corn can be a really good product it just doesn’t sound right today.
2 cups white beans, cooked
3 stalks of celery
3 carrots, cut to the size of the beans
1 chayote squash
1 tsp chopped garlic
juice from a can of tomatoes, (reserve tomatoes for another use)
2 Tbsp fresh herb butter
for the herb butter;
soften 1 pound of unsalted butter
pick and chop finely
4 oz fresh thyme
4 oz fresh tarragon
4 oz fresh rosemary
mix the herbs and butter together, roll into a quarter sized roll in wax paper and refrigerate.
When firm, cut into pieces about 4 inches long and freeze some for later use.
To assemble the succotash,
Gently sautee all the vegetables
Add the tomato juice and the cooked beans
Salt & pepper to taste and simmer till almost dry
Add the herb butter and stir in
Grate cheese on top
Serve with roasted chicken, duck, quail, veal or ham
“A Stir Fry of Left Overs”
Putting together a really tasty stir fry is an exercise in sautee technique. The key to a really delicious meal is organization in the beginning. You must have all of your vegetables cut and ready before you start. Additional condiments and flavorings must also be at the ready. Rice needs to be started first, or already cooked, as it may take up to an hour depending on what kind of rice you are going to use. The stir-fry sautee will take no longer than 10 minutes.
For today’s dinner I used (grouped in sautee order, hardest to softest)
2 green peppers,
1 small onion
1 8oz package fresh mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/8 head of green cabbage, julienne
left over round steak, 6 oz (cooked) cut into small pieces
Condiments & flavorings
½ tsp chopped garlic
1 small thumb sized piece of fresh ginger ( scrape the skin off with a spoon and cut small)
½ tsp Thai red curry paste
Rice Wine vinegar
Honey (or sugar)
2 TbspCorn starch and 1/3 cup water mixed together in a slurry,
With everything chopped, sliced, laid out and ready, it’s time to sautee
The first rule of sautee is “get your pan down and get it HOT!”
I used a 10” non-stick sautee pan, on high heat (turn on the exhaust fan and open a window). A wok would be even better.
Into the hot pan… put 1Tbsp canola oil and allow it to get hot, 10 seconds.
Put the first grouping of hard vegetables in, toss around a little and allow to cook for about 2-3 minutes. Toss (or stir) often to keep from burning, I always keep the heat high and if the temperature is getting out of control, take the pan away from the heat for 30 seconds or so until the temperature is hot but not burning everything.
Now add the mushrooms, chopped garlic, (if you add garlic too soon to such a hot pan it WILL burn) and ginger and allow the mushrooms to cook and exude some of their moisture while allowing the flavor of the ginger and garlic to grow into the mix. 3-4 minutes cooking time should be enough, keep tossing or stirring.
At this time we will build the sauce in the working sautee, I will taste the juice I’m going to create 20 times to get it right.
Add about ½ cup of water and reduce the heat in half. Add the curry paste into the water to help dissolve it and spread its flavor. Add about ¼ cup soy sauce, mix in quickly. Add ¼ cup rice wine vinegar and 1 Tbsp honey (or sugar).
NOW IS THE TIME TO TASTE, TASTE, TASTE!
We are trying to balance sweet, sour, hot and salt all very quickly as the liquid is reducing and the vegetables are heading towards being over cooked.
Keep adjusting the different flavor profiles until you get what you like. When satisfied add the beef to merely re-warm in the juice and thicken the juice with some of the corn starch slurry. Only put in a little slurry at a time and allow it to cook and thicken. If you get it too thick too soon it’s hard to fix and keep the flavor correct. As the corn starch cooks it will thicken the juice and become clear when it’s ready (about 2 minutes).
Pour the stir fry over warm rice. Have a great dinner!!!
One of Dar’s favorites! We’re off to Sky’s Basketball game, GO TITANS!
Colorado Corn Soup
Shuck 12 ears of corn & cut kernels off cob, reserve
Make “cob Stock” with cobs
Just cover cobs, celery, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns with water
Bring to a boil and simmer for 90 minutes
Strain and reserve liquid
Sautee in butter, (do not brown)
1 small diced onion
1 stalk small diced celery
2 Tbsp minced garlic
add corn and lightly sautee
add a small amount of flour to absorb butter and vegetable fat
cook a few minutes (do not brown)
Add corn stock, mix well to dissolve the cooked flour
Add milk, do not boil once milk is added
Simmer at low temp
Season with salt, pepper & fresh thyme
Puree only enough vegetables to create a little body (no more than half)
Leaving whole corn kernels & vegetables
A Late Summer, Every Day Salad
1 moderate sized handful of green beans, blanched
2 small to medium zucchini squash (green skin)
1 small to medium summer squash (yellow skin)
1 small red onion, pool ball sized
1 red pepper
1 clove of garlic
2 nice full leafy stems of fresh basil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Big pot blanching: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (salted just enough so you can taste the salt but no more).
When the water boils drop in the green beans and let boil 2 minutes, don’t leave them in so long that they turn army green. After two minutes shock them in an ice bath to stop the cooking and retain a nice green color. When cool remove from the water and let them drain.
Slice the squash into coin sized rounds and the onion and pepper into short julienne.
Mince the garlic clove very small.
Stack all the basil leaves on top of one another and roll them up tightly like a cigar and then slice them very thin chiffonade.
Toss all the vegetables together with the oil and vinegar, salt & pepper. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
This gets better for 2 days then its quality will begin to decline.
Addition of ripe farm tomato is great but will shorten the refrigerator life.
You can eat this plain as a meal, add it to cooked pasta, put it on top of salad greens or even heat it up to have along side a hot dinner.