Irish Stout Stew

YIELDS | 6-8 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 20 MINS

COOK TIME | 90-120 MINS

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We are all a wee bit Irish ☘️ on Saint Paddy’s Day! Why not make it official with this Irish Stout Stew. I scoured The Internet for an authentic recipe. I found a couple that I liked, combined them, removed a few steps I felt were unnecessary and came up with this rich, velvety, veggie packed beef stew. One of my favorite things from looking at the recipes from Irish websites is how they use the word “substances ” instead of “ingredients”. Be sure to keep the root vegetables chunky! Who doesn’t love less chopping! I use the classic combination of carrots, celery and onion along with mushroom but you can sub in parsnips or any other favorite root vegetable.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
* 1/2 teaspoon floor black pepper
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon onion powder
* 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt separated
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour separated
* 3 lbs. beef chuck roast. cut into cubes
* 3 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large white onion chopped
* 4-5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
* 4 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped
* 3-4 large carrots peeled and coarsely chopped
* 8-10 oz. baby Bella mushrooms, halved
* 1-15oz. can Guinness or any other dark beer
* 1 cup beef broth separated
* 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* Several sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
* 1 large sprig rosemary, stemmed and chopped
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* Noodles, mashed potatoes or crusty bread to serve with, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

* Rinse, dry and cube the beef into 2” pieces or purchase pre-cut beef and put it into a bowl large enough to easily mix the ingredients.
* In a small bowl, add the rosemary, pepper, thyme, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, if using maple syrup, wait to add. 1.5 teaspoons salt, the flour and mix well.
* Cover the beef, and let it sit in the refridgerator for 30 minutes and up to a couple of hours.
* To a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and brown the meat in batches, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
* Pour 1/2 cup of the broth into the pot and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pot.
* Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, add the onion, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and sauté the onion until translucent and then add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
* Add the celery, carrots, and mushrooms to the pot and sauté until tender but still firm, about 5-7 minutes.
* Add the remaining broth and the beer, the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, the maple syrup, if using, add the remaining salt and mix well. Add the thyme and rosemary and mix.
* Bring the stew to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer and cook for about 11/2-2 hours. The stew will begin to thicken as it cooks.
* Add any additional salt and pepper to taste and serve over noodles , with mashed potatoes or a loaf of crusty bread.

NOTES

Roasted butternut squash with wild rice, cranberries, shallots and garlic

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 20 MINS

COOK TIME | 45 MINS

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This recipe is a star as a side dish alongside our Thanksgiving turkey or alone as the main dish on Meatless Monday. It’s festive, beautiful and full of great flavor and nutrients.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 acorn squashes (1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1 shallot, minced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed or 5 leaves, fresh chopped sage
* Kosher salt and ground pepper
* 1 box (6 ounces) wild-rice blend.
* 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
* 1/2 cup dried cranberries
* 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
* chopped parsley for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash cut side down; cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil. Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 40 minutes.

3. While the squash bakes, heat butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot and sage and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and sauce for a minute more.
4. Add rice (toss the little spice packet that came with the rice) and add 1 3/4 cups broth and bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer, without lifting the lid, until tender, check after 20 minutes. If not tender yet, add additional broth if necessary, and simmer another 5 minutes or until rice is firm yet tender.
5. 
Turn the heat off, stir in the cranberries and chopped nuts and mix, add additional kosher salt and pepper to to taste.
6. Scoop even amounts of the rice mixture into each of the squash.
7. Sprinkle with chopped parsley, if using, and serve.

NOTES

Chickpeas, Spinach and Orzo Soup

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

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This vegetarian soup is the perfect pantry meal. A simple mirepoix mixed with other kitchen staples makes this soup perfect for a quick night dinner or weekend lunch. Substitute navy or Lima beans for the chickpeas and use any favorite green. Add precooked chicken if desired. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 Tbsp olive oil
* 2 medium carrots, peeled,
* 2 Ribs celery, trimmed and diced
* 1 small onion, diced
* 1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
* 2 plump garlic cloves, minced
* Pinch red pepper flake or more to taste
* 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
* 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 4 cups baby spinach or other baby green such as Kale or chard
* 3/4 cups orzo, Gluten free or regular
* 1/4 cup Parmesan or pecorino plus more per serving
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add the olive oil to a medium to large pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, onion and celery. Cook for 5–7 minutes or until tender.

2. Add the garlic, red pepper flake and rosemary, stir.

3. At the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and orzo. Reduced to a simmer and cover. Simmer until the orzo is tender about 10 minutes.

4. Add the baby greens to the soup in handfuls and simmer until wilted, about a minute or two.

5. Ladle the soup into bowls, sprinkle with cheese and additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

NOTES

Double Duty: Make extra chimicchurri sauce to use later in the week. Spoon over steak or fish, Use it to marinate shrimp and then grill and serve over rice.

Lobster Bisque

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 40 MINS

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This is the quintessential lobster bisque soup you will find in most fine dining establishments but it’s not as fussy to make as it sounds. It’s super simple to make and you can easily sub seafood stock for lobster stock. When we have lobster for a holiday meal, I save the shells, the little legs and tails and freeze to make lobster stock. Don’t have lobster meat or shells on hand? Consider making the same recipe using shrimp and shrimp shells.

INGREDIENTS

* 3 Tbsp. butter
* 1 cup yellow onions, chopped
* 1 medium carrot, chopped
* 1 medium stalk celery, chopped
* 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
* 3 Tbsp. flour
* 2 cups seafood or lobster stock
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1/4 cup cognac, brandy or sherry
* 12-16 oz lobster meat, chopped
* 1 tsp. smoked paprika
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
* 1/4 tsp nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp. cayenne or more to taste
* 1/2-3/4 cup heavy cream
* salt and freshly-ground black pepper
* 1-2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and tomato paste, and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are cooked and translucent.
2. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and mix well and cook for 1 minute.
3. Add the seafood stock, white wine, cognac, lobster meat, paprika, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, and stir to combine.
4. Simmer for 25-30 minutes over medium-low heat, be sure to stir a several times to prevent the bottom from burning.
5. Remove the bay leaf and sprig of thyme.
6. Remove a couple of small pieces of lobster, chop and set aside for garnish, optional.
7. Pour in the heavy cream, season to taste with salt and pepper and stir.
8. Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or pour, in batches, in to an high speed blender. Blend for 20-30 seconds and until smooth.
9. Pour into bowls and garnish with reserved, chopped lobster and parsley, optional.

NOTES

Grilled Clams with Poblano Pepper and Roasted Corn Relish

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 4-8 MINS

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This dish is as gorgeous to look at as delicious to eat and it makes an impressive and beautiful presentation. Farm raised clams are available year-round and you can find wild clams from October through June.
I have tried a few different versions of this recipe. I removed several steps and simplified the ingredients to make my version super simple.

INGREDIENTS

* 3-4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed
* ½ cup onion, any type, chopped
* 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped, seeds removed

* 2 medium poblano peppers, chopped, seeds removed 

* 1-14 ounce can premium sweet corn, drained
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar or more to taste

* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1-2 Tbsps olive oil
* 1 lime, 1/2 for juice and half cut into wedges for serving
3-4 pounds littleneck clams, scrubbed

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the grill to high.

1. While the grill heats up, heat the oil in a medium sized pan over medium high.

2. Add the onion, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until translucent about 6–7 minutes.

3. Add in the cider vinegar and mix well.

4. Add in the red and poblano peppers and sauté for another 10 minutes.

5. Add the corn and mix well.

6. Turn the stove off and add the honey. Squirt on the juice from half the lime and mix to incorporate. Set aside

7. The grill should be hot by now. Put the clams directly on the grill grates or a grill pan. Grill undisturbed for 4-8 minutes or until they open. Carefully place them onto a serving platter. Be careful not to spill the clam liquer. Discard any clams that do not open.

8. Spoon the corn and pepper relish all over the clouds. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper to taste and erve with lime wedges.

NOTES

You can use fresh corn but I substitute a 1-14oz can of good quality sweet corn for 2 cups fresh corn when I am running short on time which is almost always.

Chicken Cacciatore

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 60-90 simmer time

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Cacciatore means “hunter style” in Italian, and this savory, slow cooked dish features chicken with loads of peppers, tomatoes, wine, garlic and fresh herbs. The bacon adds a smoky flavor and mixes beautifully with the vegetables to create this simply delicious simmered stew. I serve this over thick spaghetti but any pasta will do.
Double Duty Recipe: make a double batch of the cacciatore and spread on top of toasted Italian bread topped with mozzarella, broil for one minute and cut into bite-size pieces and serve warm as an appetizer with your weekend cocktails.

INGREDIENTS

* ½ pound bacon, chopped
* 1 lb button or cremini mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
* 6 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
* 1 4 ounce can tomato paste
* ½ cup dry red wine or chicken broth
* ½ large red onion, cut length wise and then thinly sliced
* 1 each small red, yellow and orange bell pepper, coarsely chopped
* 1-14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
* 3 tablespoons capers, drained
* 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
* 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
* 2 to 2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* ⅓ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* A few sprigs fresh basil, chiffonnade for garnish
* 1 lb thick spaghetti, cooked for serving
* 1/2-3/4 cups Parmesan, grated, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400.

1. Fry the bacon in a large oven-proof pot with lid or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp and the fat is rendered, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside, leaving the fat. Add the onions and stir until slightly browned.
4. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate.
5. Add the mushrooms to the fat in the Dutch oven and cook over medium-high, stirring a few times, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and lightly brown, about 10-12 minutes.
6. Add the chopped garlic and stir until fragrant.
7. Pour in the wine or broth into the mushroom mixture and let it come to a simmer. Scrape the browned bits up from the bottom of the pot.
9. Add the bell pepper, tomatoes, capers, oregano, red-pepper flakes and stir to combine.
11. Add the chicken, season with 1 teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of fresh pepper and stir.
12. Put the pot in the oven on the middle rack. Cook on low until the chicken is very tender and the flavors are blended, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
13. Remove the chicken from the pot and on a large cutting board, using two forks, break the chicken up into large chunks. Add the chicken back into the pot and stir in the parsley, add more salt and pepper if necessary.
14. Serve over spaghetti and garnish with basil and Parmesan.

NOTES