Archive for the 'stews & braises' Category

Day 323: Middle Eastern Slow-Cooked Stew with Lamb, Chick Peas, and Figs

Lamb+Slow+Cooker+Stew+2 Day 323: Middle Eastern Slow Cooked Stew with Lamb, Chick Peas, and Figs
As promised, I hauled out my Crock-pot today. (Partly to celebrate the shiny new ones that are en route to Maureen and Theresa! I am heeding the request to post winners’ names. Sorry I’m so late.) And last night I pulled out a boneless leg of lamb that had been taking up altogether too much space in the freezer.

When outside it’s the same shade of grey all day long, so that you can’t tell what time it is until it begins to get dark at 4 o’clock, and the gritty snow and slush require you to halt the dog upon entering the house and wipe down his muddy paws every single time he has to go pee or sniff something, it puts me in the mood for a dark, sticky, robust, slow-cooked stew, preferably served over a mound of warm carbohydrates.

I’ve been thinking about braised lamb shanks, but this caught my eye as I flipped through magazines in the car on our drive home. The original is done in a Dutch oven and calls for raisins and figs, but I opted to stick with just figs, which aren’t as sweet as raisins; I imagine dried apricots would work well too. The lamb roast was cut into chunks, half of which are back in the freezer for a future experiment.

I browned and threw the meat/onion/stock component in at noon, and added the beans, carrots and figs at around 4. At 6ish I put a kettle on to boil and made couscous. (1 cup couscous to 1 1/4 cups boiling water; pour over the couscous in a bowl and top with a plate; leave for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork. I don’t even understand why they make instant couscous. Could it really be faster and easier?)

Mike loved this. I liked it more the deeper into the bowl I got; the combination of cinnamon and lamb has always been a little too Medieval for me. I can’t seem to shake the thought that it was once used to mask meat that had gone a little off. It makes lamb taste gamier to me. It was quite tasty though, and I imagine it will be more so tomorrow, and Thursday when I’ll be in Red Deer at dinnertime. This is another Great Thing about slow cookers in the winter: you can just lid the leftovers and set the whole thing outside, or in your garage, and plug it back in to rewarm the next night. (If you suspect any critters in your yard are cunning enough to access your slow cooker, hide it in the barbecue.)

Provided it’s cold enough, of course. Don’t try this in July. Or in Texas.

Lamb+Slow+Cooker+Stew Day 323: Middle Eastern Slow Cooked Stew with Lamb, Chick Peas, and Figs

Middle Eastern Slow-Cooked Stew with Lamb, Chickpeas and Figs

adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

a drizzle of canola or olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cubed
3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
4-6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 can less-sodium beef broth
1 19 oz. (540 mL) can chick peas,  drained
1-2 cups baby carrots
1 cup dried figs, halved
salt and pepper
fresh mint, if you like

Slow-cooker version: heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet and brown the lamb in batches, without crowding the pan, transferring to the slow cooker as you go. (No need to cook them through, just brown them to add flavour.) Add a little more oil and then brown the onions and garlic; add to the slow cooker. Pour about 1/2 cup of water into the skillet and scrape up any browned bits; add to the slow cooker along with the ginger, spices and stock. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. At around the 4 hour mark, add the chick peas, carrots and figs. When you’re ready to eat, season with salt and pepper and if you like, stir in some fresh mint (or scatter it on top).

Stovetop version: Heat a drizzle of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat;  sauté the lamb in batches until browned. Remove from pan and set aside; brown the onions. Add the garlic and 1/2 cup water; cook for a few more minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

Return the meat to the pan along with the ginger and spices. Add the stock, cover, reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Stir in the chick peas, carrots, and figs; cover and simmer 20-30 minutes or until carrots are tender. Season with salt and stir in chopped fresh mint just before serving, or sprinkle it on top of each bowl.

Serves 8.

Calories:310 (18% from fat)
Fat:6.2g (sat 1.8g,mono 2.5g,poly 0.6g)
Protein:21.4g
Carbohydrate:44.5g
Fiber:6.6g
Cholesterol:49mg
Sodium:542mg
Calcium:90mg

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November 18 2008 | freezable and lamb and slow cooker and stews & braises | 12 Comments »

Day 303: Beef Stu, Garlicky Cheese Biscuits and Blood & Gutscakes

Cheese+Biscuits Day 303: Beef Stu, Garlicky Cheese Biscuits and Blood & Gutscakes

When new babies arrive I get the urge to bring over food. (And when it’s #3, there really is no better thing to bring.) The occasion of a brand new person and no sleep calls for casseroles and pots of soup and stew and quick breads; things that are easily reheatable and edible with one hand.

So beef stew, done in the slow cooker with some beef I had in the freezer and the last of a bottle of leftover wine. With it, garlicky cheese biscuits. Remember those cinnamon sticky biscuits I made about 250 days ago? Leave out the cinnamon and sugar, and instead brush the dough with melted butter and garlic, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Roll, cut and bake. You could turn any cinnamon bun recipe into cheesy, garlicky buns instead.

Beef+Stu Day 303: Beef Stu, Garlicky Cheese Biscuits and Blood & Gutscakes

Beef Stu

1 lb. beef stew meat, flank steak or chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
olive or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
a few glugs of red wine (optional)
1 can beef, vegetable or chicken broth
1 can diced or stewed tomatoes, undrained (any size – optional)
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
2 potatoes, cubed (unpeeled)
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1-2 cups mushrooms, quartered

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat about a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat and brown the beef in batches. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.

Add a bit more oil and cook the onions for a few minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the wine, broth and tomatoes with their juice, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any flavorful browned bits that have stuck to the bottom. At this point you could transfer the lot to a slow cooker, or return the beef to the pot. Add the thyme and bay leaves and bring to a simmer; turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about an hour. (Or turn the slow cooker down to low and set it for 4-6 hours.) Add the potatoes and carrots after an hour and cook the stew uncovered for another hour (or add the carrots and potatoes after a couple hours in the slow cooker). Add the peas for the last 10 minutes, and quickly saute the mushrooms in a skillet until browned and stir into the stew at the very end, so they don’t get too mushy. Fish out the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper, and serve it hot.

Gutscakes Day 303: Beef Stu, Garlicky Cheese Biscuits and Blood & Gutscakes

Blood & Gutscakes

a batch of vanilla (or any flavour) cupcakes
a batch of lemon pie filling, tinted green
raspberry or cherry jam or pie filling
frosting and sprinkles

Bake cupcakes as you normally would, cool and then cut a chunk out of the top like an inverted cone. Remove the excess cake from the cone, leaving a flat lid (kind of like a pumpkin) and hollow out a bit of the cake inside. Put a small spoonful of jam and a spoonful of lemon filling inside, swirling them a bit as you do. Top with the lid and frost with whatever frosting you like.

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October 29 2008 | beef and cake and one dish and slow cooker and stews & braises | 10 Comments »

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