Tag Archives: Comfort Food

Hearty Beef Stew

Quarantine Day 12 – we are trying to make something comforting with whatever we have in the fridge, and this is what we made.  We ate half the pot for dinner, and will freeze the other half for lunch during the week.

Makes 4 serving.

Ingredients

Vegetable oil, for searing

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium onions, cut into big dices

3-4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, or to cover

6 cups chicken or beef broth (we used store-bought chicken stock)

5 sprigs parsley

3 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 pounds medium red potatoes, quartered

4 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 28-oz canned diced tomatoes

2 to 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar, or to taste

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large Dutch oven. Pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Saute half the meat, uncovered, stirring only occasionally, until well-browned, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate. Repeat with the remaining beef. Discard extra oil but leave the brown bits.
  2.  Add butter and melt it over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute more. Add the reserved beef and scatter the flour over the vegetable and beef mixture (enough to lightly coat) and cook stirring until lightly toasted. Add the chicken or beef broth, and bring to a simmer. Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and add the bundle to the pot. Season with 1 teaspoons salt, or to taste. Cover and simmer. Cook the meat until just tender, about 1 hours.
  3. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 1 1/2 hour. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide among bowls and serve immediately

Classic Potato Gratin

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
  • 3 cups whipping or heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Preparation

  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).
  • Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don’t break up the slices).
  • When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a 2-1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don’t want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Slider

The first time we made these delicious barbecue pulled pork sliders was at a western-themed cowboy party we threw for our neighbors. It requires quite a lot of work, but the finished product is really finger-licking good and well worth the effort. Today, we made some Kwas’Ne Polish Soup and have some of those flavor-infused slow-cooked pork reserved on the side… it’s a no brainer, we are making pulled pork sliders.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Sliders

Serves: varies (see notes below) / Prep-tme: 45 min

Ingredients

For the Barbecue Sauce: (this makes about 4 cups of sauce)

  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)

For the Slider: (we are only preparing for two this time)

  • 4 Small buns for dinner rolls
  • about 2 cups of slow-cooked pull pork
  • toppings such as sliced onions and pickles

Directions:

Combine the onion, garlic, and whiskey in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, simmer until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Mix in the ground black pepper, salt, ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce brown sugar, and hot sauce (if you’re using it).

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes. We blended the sauce with a handheld blender for a smoother consistency. You can also run the sauce through a strainer to achieve the same texture, or just leave it as is. This recipe makes a big batch of sauce.

Scoop the sauce over the pulled pork and mix until all of the pork is coated evenly. Layer the pulled pork, onion, and pickles on the dinner rolls, and you have your homemade barbecue pulled pork sliders!

Kwas ‘Ne Polish Soup

It is a cold and rainy Saturday and some friends are planning to stop by later for a glass of wine.  What better reason than to make a large pot of mom’s Polish Kwas ‘Ne (pronounced VASH-nuh, at least in our household).  Although we’ve never come across this recipe in cookbooks or even online, it’s been in the family for years (note to our readers: you might’ve figured out that one of us is Taiwanese; the other has strong Polish roots and grew up eating this soup).

Some have referred to this recipe as “sweet and sour soup”, and my five year old niece calls it “pickled soup” (most likely from the vinegar added at the end).  Whatever you call it, this makes for a fantastic and hearty meal that is always a hit with first-timers, and reheats well even after being frozen (so freeze whatever you don’t eat!).

Kwas ‘Ne Polish Soup

Serves 10 / Prep & Cook Time: about 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • peppercorns
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 1 pork shoulder or other ham bone (about three to four pounds)
  • 1 five-pound bag of brown potatoes
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup of vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut a two inch by two inch piece of cheesecloth, fill it with peppercorns and coarse salt and, using excess threat from the cheesecloth, tie into a ball.  Throw this into a large pot of salted water. Dice the large onion and add to pot along with the pork shoulder or other ham bone.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for at least three and a half hours.

 While the spices, onions and pork simmer (and create a heavenly smell in your kitchen), peel the potatoes, cut them into eighths and then store in a bowl of cold water.

After about three and a half hours or so, test the pork with a fork to see if it’ll fall of the bone with little resistance.  If so, remove the entire pork shoulder from the broth and place on a cutting board.  At this point, drain the potatoes from the cold water, add to the broth, bring to a boil and then simmer.

Clean the pork off of the bone and remove the fat, then shred into manageable pieces and salt.  Once the potatoes are cooked through (about the time you are finished preparing the meat), add about half of the now shredded and salted pork into the pot (the other half can be used for anything else you desire including pulled pork sliders, spicy pork tacos, a filling for an omelet, etc.).

With the onions, potatoes and pork now waltzing together in the broth, bring to a full boil once again.  At boil, crack and beat six eggs into the soup and then reduce heat.

Cracking in the eggs.

Add salt and the vinegar and you are ready to serve!

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