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
* 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

1. 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.
2. In a small bowl, add the rosemary, pepper, thyme, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt, the flour and mix well.
3. Cover the beef, and let it sit in the refridgerator for 30 minutes and up to a couple of hours.
4. 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.
5. Pour 1/2 cup of the broth into the pot and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pot.
6. 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, add the garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
7. Add the celery, carrots, and mushrooms to the pot and sauté until tender but still firm, about 5-7 minutes.
8. Add the remaining broth and the beer, the Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, the maple syrup, add the remaining salt and mix well. Add the thyme and rosemary and mix.
9. 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.
10. Add any additional salt and pepper to taste and serve over noodles , with mashed potatoes or a loaf of crusty bread.

NOTES

Brown sugar can be substituted for the maple syrup if there is none available.

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

German Potato Salad

YIELDS | 12 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 25 MINS

COOK TIME | 20 MINS

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The is a savory, tangy and salty German potato salad to eat alongside a good bratwurst and sauerkraut. Bonus it is a Double Duty Recipe because the leftovers make a delicious potato pancakes. Recipe at Verysmartideas.com search “pancakes”.

INGREDIENTS

* 3 cups diced peeled potatoes
* 4 slices bacon
* 
1 small onion, diced
* 
¼ cup white vinegar
* 
2 tablespoons water
* 
3 tablespoons white sugar
* 
1 teaspoon salt
* 
⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
* 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place the potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until easily pierced with a fork. Drain, and set aside to cool.

Place the bacon in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry until browned and crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and set aside.

2. Add onion to the bacon fat and cook over medium heat until browned. Add the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir and bring to a boil, add the potatoes and parsley. Crumble in half of the bacon and stir.
3. Heat through and transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the remaining bacon over the top, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper and serve warm.

NOTES

Pierogies with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 35 MINS

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This is a semi-homemade, family pleasing, easy to make and incredibly tasty dish! The secret to this fast, savory and delicious dish is the store-bought pierogi. This dish comes together in minutes and I guarantee even Brussels sprout haters will become converts! Use vegan bacon or omit all together for a vegetarian version.

INGREDIENTS

* 8-10 strips thick cut bacon
* 2 lbs Brussels sprouts, about 30, rinsed, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
* 2 packages (24) frozen Mrs T. Potato and cheese pierogies
* 1/4 cup good quality balsamic dressing
* 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
* Freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425° on a baking sheet lined with parchment, spread the bacon on the parchment and cook the bacon for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the bacon (it won’t be cooked all the way through), set aside.

3. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts and still frozen pierogie to the bacon fat and mix together until coated. Pop back in the oven and cook for 10 minutes more.

4. While the pierogie and Brussels sprouts bake, chop the bacon.

5. Remove the Brussels sprouts and pierogie from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped bacon. Bake for 10 more minutes.

6. Remove the pierogie mixture from the oven and let cool slightly and sprinkle with balsamic vinegar.

7. Carefully place the pierogie, bacon and Brussels sprouts on a serving platter. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, a few good cranks of cracked black pepper and flaky salt.

NOTES

Gigi’s Peach and Bourbon Sangr

YIELDS | 1 Pitcher, about 6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS plus steeping

COOK TIME | 0 MINS

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Fresh, juicy peaches, mixed with sweet nectar and bourbon make this cocktail especially light and refreshing with a kick from Kentucky Bourbon. This is a great transitional cocktail and once you make this recipe you may not go back to traditional sangria again.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 lb fresh yellow peaches, sliced, about 3-4 medium plus a few slices for garnish
* 10-12 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/4 cup sugar or to taste, optional
* 1/2 cup peach liqueur or peach schnapps
* 1/4 cup bourbon
* 1 bottle light wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Rose.
* One cup peach nectar
* Club soda to top off.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit for at least 30 minutes if possible to allow the thyme to infuse the mixture.
2. Pour into ice-filled glasses, top off with club soda.
3. Garnish with a slice of peach, a couple thyme sprigs, optional.

NOTES

Tomato Peach and Panzanella Salad

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS plus 20 MINS marinating

COOK TIME | 25 MINS with grilling

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This recipe is a take on the classic Italian Panzanella bread salad. I decide to take full advantage of this seasons gorgeous tomatoes and ripe, juicy peaches. I omitted the onion and basil and added mint and oregano to brighten the dish. Grilling the peaches highlights the rich, sweet flavors of the peach and combines beautifully with the fresh tomatoes. The burrata, optional, adds a creamy cool note that brings this salad together.

INGREDIENTS

* 1 loaf crusty bread, torn into chunks about 5-6 cups
* 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more to drizzle
* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 3 large tomatoes, quartered
* 3 large ripe peaches, pitted, sliced. I like to grill the peaches but this is optional
* 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
* 1-8oz ball burrata cheese, ripped into pieces, optional
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper plus more as needed
* 2-3 sprigs each, fresh mint and oregano, stems removes and chopped
* 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a large bowl, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In one layer, place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet I and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through the cooking time and bake until golden brown. 

2. While the bread toasts, in the same large bowl, add the tomatoes, (if grilling the peaches do this now, let cool) and then add the peaches, remaining olive oil, vinegar and a sprinkle of kosher salt and mix gently. Let sit for 20-30 minutes.
3. Place the tomatoes and peaches onto a serving platter but leave the accumulated juices in the bowl as this becomes the dressing.
4. Scatter the bread mixture evenly over the tomatoes and peaches, sprinkle on the fresh herbs and then nestle in the burrata cheese into the salad. Pour the dressing evenly over the salad.
6. Finish with a garnish of pine nuts, a generous drizzle of olive oil, freshly ground pepper and kosher salt to taste.

NOTES

I like this salad served at room temperature. I let it sit for 15-20 minutes before serving to allow for the bread to soak up some of the dressing but not get soggy.