With the colder weather finally creeping in down here, I have really been into hearty warming meals. Lentils are my latest thing. I have cooked them a lot of different ways, but this one is definitely the best. It needs a bit more attention then just simmering in liquid because this recipe cooks it risotto style. The outcome is amazing, and you won’t even notice that it is extremely heathy too! I served these along a rack of lamb (cooked with same herbs), and it was the perfect combination. Sorry the picture shows the lamb more then the lentils. – ts
3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 cup Beluga lentils (or French green lentils)
1 bay leaf
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
Sea salt and pepper
1 full sprig fresh rosemary
3 large cloves garlic, sliced
- In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil for one minute over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, and sauté the vegetables until they are softened, 10 minutes.
- Add the lentils, sliced garlic, rosemary and bay leaf and sauté for 3-5 minutes more, coating all the lentils. Increase the heat and add the red wine. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring, until the mixture becomes dry.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the chicken stock to a simmer, then turn off the heat and cover to keep warm. Add the warm chicken stock to the lentils (like cooking a risotto) 1/2 a cup at a time, letting the lentils absorb the liquid with each addition. Repeat, stirring the mixture constantly. After 30 minutes or so the lentils should be slightly chewy and tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
I know what you’re thinking: that is one high-falutin’ recipe title right there. It sounds like something Frasier & Niles might eat and something you straight can’t afford. (I’ve neglected Frasier references for some time now, and as a Cheers cast member and spin-off star in his own right, that simply has to be remedied.)
In any case, I bought osso buco – Italian for “bone with a hole” – from the friendly Newman Farm folks at the Memphis Farmers Market, and I had absolutely no idea what it was. (I was aiming for pork belly, but the smallest portion they had was 11 pounds, and even on my fattest of days I might lose the battle against that much pork.)
The Chef later informed me that osso buco is simply a veal shank, meaning baby cow’s leg (which is obviously super sad but also pretty delicious – sorry PETA!). We braised this sucker for 3 hours, and it eventually fell right off the bone like the books say. Moo!
2 lbs veal shanks
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 cup white wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup of beef or chicken stock
1 can of chopped tomatoes with juice
2 strips of orange zest
salt and pepper
few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated orange zest
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Season shanks with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Brown shanks on all sides.
- Remove shanks and add veggies. Saute until well carmelized. Then add tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaf, orange zest, and garlic.
- Place shanks back in the dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Then cover and place in oven for 3.5 hours.
- Once shanks are pulling away from the bone, remove and puree sauce for a thicker texture.
- Top with sauce then gremolata. (The Chef cautions you not to skip this step because the gremolata really brightens up this dish.)
- Serve with Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Squash, Zucchini & Red Pepper.
The Chef will be happy to know this shellfish recipe is not for mussels, but it is close; it’s for clams! Sorry I felt like that needed an exclamation point for some reason. Recently Chef John and I had a lovely trip to Newport, RI. While there I must have stuffed my face for every meal with clam chowda and lobster rolls. It was amazing. However, you can really go to just about any small town in New England and get amazing clam chowder or lobster rolls. Two dishes we had (both clams of course) stood out as very Newport, very amazing and will always remind me of this trip, Portuguese Littlenecks and Clams Casino. I had never had either before going to Newport and now I can’t get enough! Below is a great recipe for Portuguese Littlenecks. –ts
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces dry-cured chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch coins
One 1/4-inch-thick slice prosciutto cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, cut lengthwise in half and sliced into thin half-moons
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, minced
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, drained and chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
4 pounds littlenecks or any small clams, such as cockles, manila, or butter scrubbed and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Bread for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add chorizo and prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until touched with brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Lower the heat to medium; drop in the onions and bay leaf, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the tomatoes and any accumulated juice, the wine, and paprika. Discard any clams that feel heavy (which means they’re full of sand), have broken shells, or don’t close when tapped. Add clams into the pot and turn the heat to high. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally until the clams pop open, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Discard the bay leaf and toss out any clams that refuse to pop open. Season with a few grinds of pepper, shower with parsley, and ladle the stew into wide shallow bowls. Oh, and have a big bowl on hand for the shells. Serve immediately with a large piece of bread to soak up juices.
I have a confession to make: I don’t make stock. I have once or twice, but it’s not a habit, and I definitely don’t make it as much as someone who eats soup for 2 out of every 3 meals should.
That stops now. I don’t generally make New Years’ Resolutions or give up anything for Lent (because I know I’ll inevitably fail at both – what’s that saying… You can’t fail if you don’t try? That’s right kids, adopt that one early.), but I’m gonna do it right the next time. And you should too because this stuff is magical when added to Barrett’s Shrimp ‘n Grits.
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 cups of uncooked shrimp shells (which means you can use the peeled shrimp for some other nummy goodness such as Peg’s Destin Shrimp)
2 small onions, chopped
2 small carrots, chopped
2 celery stalk,s chopped
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
4 thyme sprigs
6 cups of cold water
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
splash of white wine
- Heat oil in medium stockpot over medium high heat. Add shrimp, onions, carrots and celery. Cook until the shrimp shells are bright pink, about 15 minutes.
- Once the shells are cooked add the tomato paste. Add water, bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme sprigs. Bring almost to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
- Strain in to a container. Let cool. This recipe makes 3 cups, which seems like a lot, but you can freeze it up to 6 months.
Filed under Seafood, Soups
This November was the month of the short rib. We used them to celebrate 5 different birthdays, and everyone gave these rave reviews. Despite the fact that you can find short ribs in all the high-falutin’ restaurants, I was surprised to learn they are actually not that expensive.
While this recipe takes a little time, it’s not nearly as complex as it looks. Plus it has that fancy-pants quality that makes your guests jealous of your culinary prowess, and I think we all know that’s why you have people over for dinner in the first place.
6 pounds of bone in short ribs
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 celery stalks, pureed
1 carrot, pureed
1 yellow onion, pureed
1/2 cup tomato paste
5 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and chopped
1 quart beef stock
2 cups red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- The day before you cook the short ribs , season them with salt and pepper and refrigerate. You can also puree the veggies ahead of time. Pureeing is what gives you a nice, thick sauce, so don’t skip it.
- The day you plan to eat the short ribs you will need to start the cooking process 5 hours ahead of time. Begin by preheating the oven to 325 degrees.
- Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add half of the ribs and brown on all sides. Transfer ribs to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the ribs, adding more oil if you need to.
- Add celery, carrot, and onion to the pan along with a good pinch of salt, and cook over medium heat until softened.
- Add tomato paste and cook, stirring until glossy, about 2 minutes. Add thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and garlic and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add stock, wine, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Return the short ribs to the pan, cover, and braise in the oven for 1 hour.
- Lower the oven temperature to 225 degrees and cook for 4 hours.Remove the ribs to a large bowl. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.
- While the sauce reduces, skim the excess fat off. Serve ribs with sauce on top.
The Chef likes to serve these over linguine, horseradish mashed potatoes, or cheddar grits and likes to garnish the plates with freshly grated horseradish. Zesty.