Irish Stout Stew

YIELDS | 6-8 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 20 MINS

COOK TIME | 90-120 MINS

Recipe Image

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

Chickpeas, Spinach and Orzo Soup

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

Recipe Image

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.

Creamy Cucumber and Avocado Soup

YIELDS | 4 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME 0 MINS

Recipe Image

This may be the quintessential summer soup. Served cold, it is light, refreshing and highly nutritious. This versatile soup would look beautiful on a table set for brunch, a wedding or holiday but it is easy enough to make for any weekday meal. Use cashew yogurt and veggie broth for a wonderful vegan option.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
* 1 small avocado, peeled and coarsely chopped.
* 1 teaspoon cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
* 1 tsp kosher salt
* 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
* 1/2 cup vegetable stock.Slices of thin cucumbers for garnish.
* 2 tablespoons shelled roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pour all ingredients into a high-speed blender and process until very smooth.
2. Taste and add additional salt if necessary.
3. Pour into individual bowls, garnish with pistachios, if using, and a drizzle of olive oil.

NOTES

Creamy Asparagus Soup

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

Recipe Image

Is there an easier and better tasting soup than this French classic? I think not! I love the creamy texture, earthy flavor and beautiful celadon hue. This dish can be prepared a head of time and then garnished before a fancy dinner party. Served warm or cold, it makes for an easy, filling week day meal too.

INGREDIENTS

* 2 leeks, trimmed, coarsely chopped, white and light green parts only
* 2 large shallots, chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 3/4 teaspoon salt2 tablespoons butter or ghee
* 2 1/2 lbs asparagus, ends trimmed, coarsely chopped. Save a few spears for garnish
* 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
* 1 cup milk of choice plus 1/4 heavy whipping cream, optional
* Pepitas for garnish
* Salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Wash chopped leek in a bowl of cold water, then lift out and drain well.
2. In a large pot over medium-low heat, add butter or ghee and cook leeks and shallots until the vegetables soften, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Add asparagus and broth and season with 1/2 tsp salt and a few cranks of freshly ground pepper, cover and simmer until asparagus is tender about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat to cool for a few minutes. Set the pot aside to reheat the soup.
4. Purée soup in batches in a high-speed blender or food processor until the mixture is smooth about 30 seconds or longer depending on your equipment. Pour each batch into one large bowl. Be careful when working with hot liquid. Do not over fill the blender.
5. Strain the mixture through a strainer back into the large pot. Stir in the milk and cream, if using. Add additional salt and pepper to taste and heat over medium low heat until warmed through before serving.
6. Garnish with halved asparagus spears, a swirl of cream and pepitas.

NOTES

Be careful when working with hot liquid. Do not over fill the blender.

Seafood, Sausage, and Chicken Gumbo

YIELDS | 8-10 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 15 MINS

COOK TIME | 40 MINS

Recipe Image

This is a southern, classic Creole dish. It is piquant, satisfying and full of sausage, shrimp, chicken and vegetables. The dark roux binds it all together with a deep, rich flavor and the okra adds an earthy, starchy texture. Be sure to use a large enough pot because this recipes make a large batch that won’t last long! Serve with hot, cooked rice and warm, fluffy cornbread.

INGREDIENTS

* 1⁄2 pound bacon, chopped
* About 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
* 3/4 cup all purpose flour
* 2 celery ribs, chopped
* 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
* 1 large jalapeno, minced
* 5 garlic cloves, minced
* 8 cups fish or chicken stock or a combination of both
* 1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes with juices
* 1 Lb frozen cut okra, do not thaw
* 1 tsp chopped thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 heaping teaspoon cayenne
* 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
* 1 Tablespoon black pepper
* 1⁄2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* 6-7 scallions, chopped
* 1 lb andouille sausage, 1⁄2” slice. If the sausage is larger in diameter then slice 1/2″ and slice in half
* 1 lb chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces.
* 1 lb raw shrimp, rinsed, deveined and tails removed
* Big bowl of hot, cooked long grain rice

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Cook bacon in a very large, heavy pot (preferably cast-iron), over medium heat, until browned but not crisp. Transfer bacon to a bowl with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the oil and the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, until well browned to a shade of dark peanut butter, 15-20 minutes. Do not leave the pot because it will burn-promise.
3. Add the tomatoes, celery, bell pepper, onion, jalapeño and garlic and cook for a 2-3 minutes.
4. Add stock, okra, sausage, chicken, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
5. While the Gumbo simmers, make the rice.
6. Add the parsley, scallions, shrimp and cook, stirring, until shrimp is just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Stir bacon and simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf.
8. Serve with hot, cooked rice.

NOTES

Happy Eating!

Mussels with Tomato, Wine and Herbs

YIELDS | 4-6 SERVINGS

PREP TIME | 10 MINS

COOK TIME | 15 MINS

Recipe Image

I grew up watching my dad make mussels a few different ways but this Provençal recipe is my favorite. It is my go to recipe when I want a no fuss, yet festive meal. This dish makes a beautiful presentation but it is the taste of the garlicky, herbaceous broth and succulent mussels that create the memories. Bonus: kids tend to like them too. Serve with a crisp green salad, crusty loaf of bread and a good chardonnay. Nothing closer to heaven!

INGREDIENTS

* 5 pounds fresh mussels
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 4 plump garlic cloves, minced
* 1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 1 cup.
* 2-28 oz cans whole canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped
* 1-6 oz can tomato paste
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, optional
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried
* 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced or 1 teaspoon dried, be sure it is finely chopped
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/4 cup tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley plus more for garnish
* 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* Large loaf of warm, crusty bread, optional but really worth the calories

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Remove beards from the mussels, scrub the mussels and place in a large colander and rinse well. Let drain fully. Discard any mussels that are partially open or have cracked shells.
2. In a large pot or dutch oven with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic and stir for 1 minute more or until fragrant.
3. Add saffron, pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, salt and pepper and stir to blend the flavors. Add the wine and bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes to cook off some of the alcohol. Add the tomato paste and stir until blended.
4. Bring the heat to medium-high, add the tomatoes and their juices, mussels and parsley and give the mussels and tomato mixture a good stir. Cover and cook until all mussels are opened, about 4-6 minutes, remove from heat but keep covered and let sit for 2-3 more minutes.
5. Pour the mussels into a large serving bowl (or serve in pot). Sprinkle with additional Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with a warm loaf of crusty bread and a crisp Chardonnay.

NOTES

When our meal was finished and the kitchen was clean, I would scrub the shells and give them to my son, Adam, when he was young. He would plop them into the bath tub and pretend he was at the beach. We did the same thing with clam shells too.