Stracotto Al Barolo – Braised Beef in Red Wine

Stracotto al Barolo

I know, I know.  I suck.  Not having posted a thing since October is terrible.  But, sometimes life gets in the way, holidays, etc. etc.  But, I am back!  This year, I wanted to do something that I had read about a year ago, it was a group of people who chose a cook book and did a recipe or two from it.  I really can’t remember the fundamentals, but at home I decided it would be a great way to expand my knowledge, and to actually crack open my cook books and magazines.  It also think it will be quite fun because it’s a great way to involve the whole family.  My way of doing it is this: Every month, one of us chooses a cookbook.  I chose this months, “Italy – The Beautiful Cookbook”.  Then, we choose 9 recipes, 3 recipes each, to make in one month.  Obviously, I am going to try to stay true to the ingredients, but will omit or swap some ingredients that I simply can’t find here.

So, today is one of my recipe choices, only because its Sunday and it is a time-consuming recipe, the beef has to marinate overnight.  I chose this recipe because the picture in the book looked divine and the ingredients were promising.  This recipe hails from Piedmont, a northern region in Italy bordering France, so I am not surprised that it is basically like a Beef Bourguignon, but with Barolo wine and different herbs and spices.  That suits me just fine, I basically kind of wanted something heart and belly warming since I am sure we all can agree that this is one helluva cold winter!  This dish is simply delicious.  As the beef is cooking, your house will smell incredible, really mouthwatering.  I could hardly wait until the beef was done!  Rich and complex, it is a perfect sunday lunch meal.  I am absolutely positive it will become a favorite of yours too….my family devoured it!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6

2lb (1kg) braising beef (I used eye of round)

2 carrots, cut into several pieces each

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks, cut into several pieces

1/2 cup parsley

2 bay leaves

1 tsp juniper berries (which I didn’t find)

1/2 cup diced lard

1/2 bottle aged Barolo wine (or any other full bodied red you have on hand, I used Rioja)

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

Combine the meat, all the vegetables, the herbs, and the wine in a large bowl.  Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

Remove the meat and dry well; reserve marinade.  Make little cuts on the surface of the meat and fill them with lard.  Brown the meat thoroughly in the butter and oil in a flame proof casserole.  Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).  Lift out the marinade vegetables with a slotted spoon and add to the meat.  Add 1 cup of the wine and salt to taste.  ( I added all the wine from the marinade).  Cover and braise in the oven for about 3 hours, adding more wine as needed to keep meat from drying out.  Halfway through the cooking time, take out the meat, slice thinly, and put back into the wine, with any juice on the cutting board.

Remove meat when done and place on a platter.  Put the vegetables and wine through a food mill or grind to a textured purée in a food processor.  Reheat this and pour over the meat.  Serve at once,  with potatoes, but I chose polenta.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Cotoletta alla Milanese or Wiener Schnitzel

Cotoletta alla Milanese

 

Tomayto, tomaahto……let’s NOT call the whole thing off.  Which ever way you call it, it’s delicious.  The difference between the two dishes is minimal, in Austria, it is generally fried in butter, and in Italy in olive oil.  I prefer the Italian version, not because it is tastier, but mainly because it is healthier.  Either way, this is one of my favorite go-to dinners.  Super easy and quick, it marries perfectly with a simple arugula (rocket) and parmesan salad with a lemon -olive oil vinaigrette.

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If you are pressed for time, but are craving something sinful and filling, this may become your go-to dinner too!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 3

3 thin veal or beef cutlets, trimmed of fat

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

2 cups plain breadcrumbs

1/2 olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 150C.  Salt and pepper the cutlets, and in one bowl add the eggs, milk, Parmigiano and some more salt and pepper; mix well.  In another bowl add the breadcrumbs.  Place them side by side.

Dip your cutlet into the egg mix, and then in the breadcrumbs.  Pat the breadcrumbs in well.  Dip again in the egg mix, letting most drip off, and then dip back in to the breadcrumbs and pat them well, until slightly dried.  Place on a tray and repeat with the rest of the cutlets.

In a large, non-stick frying pan, add the olive oil; heat to medium.  When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the cutlet and fry for about 4 minutes, turn and fry for 4 minutes more.  Place on a heat proof plate in the hot oven while you fry the rest.

Serve with a side salad or potatoes if you’re really hungry!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 72 – Shepherd’s Pie

Sheperd's Pie

I bet you thought I had forgotten about my self-imposed challenge.  True, I haven’t been cooking as much lately, but as I have been preparing for the wedding and busy with beaurocratic bullsh*t since I moved, the inspiration has been on the back burner.  But I’m back, with a vengeance!  Finally after settling in and having the majority of my tasks completed, I now have time and the chutzpah to dedicate to some serious cooking.  Especially now that the weather has turned, and I can open my kitchen windows and let in that beautiful spring breeze!

I have made shepherd’s pie for many, many years.  It was one of the first ways I got my daughter to eat her veg, masked under the layers of creamy mash.  That is why I was so excited to try this recipe from Saveur, because it looked delicious.  And true to its word, as my daughter put it, it was the best shepherd’s pie she had ever eaten.  Quite disillusioned with the recipes that we tried before from the magazine, she was super surprised when I told her its provenance!

I know I mentioned in my first challenge that I would recreate the recipes exactly as they are printed, but since moving to Madrid, I haven’t found “my markets” yet.  You know, your go-to places to get those ingredients that are a little harder to find?  Well, in my case, even the easy ingredients are harder to find.  It’s amazing how much Madrid differs to Barcelona.  Some things that I considered staples in my household because I knew where to buy them, have now become extremely difficult to attain.  So, this recipe has two variants.  Instead of lamb shoulder, I used ground beef, (I get lots of lamb chops in my neighborhood, but shoulder, not so much.)  And, I added peas.  Just cause we all love peas.  (I snuck some nutmeg into the mash too….)

This dish was a winner.  The layer of beef was juicy and flavorful, the mash was silky smooth on the inside, and perfectly crispy on the outside.  Total hit!

Overall Points:  9/10 –  It beat the Carbonnade!

Difficulty:  Medium, just for the varying components of the recipe.  But, it is leaning more towards easy.

Availability of ingredients:  Readily available

Serves 6

2 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 lb trimmed lamb shoulder, cut into 1/4″ cubes

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 cup beef stock

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves

1 15 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes in juice, crushed by hand

1/2 cup frozen peas (my addition)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 lb russet potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup heavy cream

8 tbsp unsalted butter

Freshly grated nutmeg (my addition)

1. Heat oil in a 6-qt saucepan over medium high heat.  Add lamb, and cook, stirring, until browned all over, 10-12 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl and set aside.  Add celery, garlic, carrot, and onion to pan, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.  Add wine, and cook, stirring to scrape bottom of pan, until wine evaporates, about 8 minutes.  Add stock, Worcestershire, bay leaves, and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, add the peas and lamb, mix well, and transfer to a 9″ deep-dish pie plate; set aside.

2.  Heat oven to 400 F.  Place potatoes in a 4 qt saucepan, and cover with water by 1″; bring to a boil over high heat.  Cook until tender, about 30 minutes; drain.  Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to a simmer in a 1 qt saucepan; keep warm.  Transfer potatoes to a food mill or potato ricer, and process into a bowl; add hot cream and butter, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and whisk until smooth and fluffy.  Spoon potatoes over meat filling in dish, spreading to cover to the edge; drag tines of fork lightly over potatoes to create ridges all over.  (Alternatively, fill a piping bag with the potatoes and pipe them in rows over the filling.)  Bake until potatoes are golden brown and filling is heated through, about 45 minutes.  Let cool 20 minutes. (Serve with peas if you didn’t add them in!)

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Peposo : Tuscan Peppery Beef Stew

Tuscan Beef Stew

 

It’s April.  It’s still cold.  It’s. Not. Fun.

Normally at this time, I would be thinking of springs vegetable bounty, but unfortunately, my body is still asking for belly warming dishes such as these.  I came across this recipe from one of my cook books, “The Country Cooking of Italy” by Colman Andrews.  It is a beautiful book, full of regional recipes with beautiful pictures and anecdotes.  My decision to make this was the absolute ease of the recipe.  You basically just throw the ingredients in a dutch oven and slow cook for hours.  Perfect for when you want something delicious and homemade but don’t have the time to sit at the stove.

These ingredients are also readily available in your pantry - Pepper, Salt, Garlic, Tomato Sauce and Wine.  That’s it.  Easy as 1-2-3. (Now you’re thinking of the Jackson 5, aren’t you?)

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I made this last night for some friends who came to dinner.  Yet, I had to run a whole bunch of errands, but no problem.  Slow roasted in the oven for 8 hours, it left me plenty of time to do what I needed and still come home and whip up some boiled and buttered potatoes.

This recipe did not taste at all like any other Italian food I have ever eaten, the simplicity was very italian, but it’s peperiness reminded me more of an Asian dish than a Tuscan one.  It was truly delicious nonetheless!

So, if you have things to do and still want to make a hearty homemade meal that the family will love, you absolutely must try this dish.  And you won’t even need a knife.

 

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 4-6

1 kg of beef for stew

2 tbsp crushed peppercorns (not ground)

12 garlic cloves, peeled

Salt

1 cup tomato sauce

1 bottle Chianti

Preheat the oven to 135C.  In a large dutch oven, add the beef, peppercorns, garlic, generous amount of salt, tomato sauce and the wine to cover.  Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven, cooking for 6-8 hours, do not take off the lid.

Serve with your favorite starch…..or not.  It’s delicious on its own.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Casa Pacheco – A haven amongst the acorn fields

Casa Pacheco

This past weekend, we took a day trip out to Salamanca.  Neither Paolo nor I had ever been, and we had been gifted a night at the Parador, so we decided to take a nice road trip to ham country.  That is, Jamon Iberico country.  Wow.  I am speechless as to the incredible amounts of ham we had, but it was worth the dieting that I am now embarking on.

We arrived just about lunch time, so Paolo said I should get on Trip Advisor to see what places were near that we could grab a bite.  I chose the #2 ranking, Casa Pacheco.  Funny enough, there was no #1 ranking, and honestly, Casa Pacheco should be bumped up to that space.  Not knowing really what to expect, we certainly were incredibly surprised!  Driving past Salamanca into the heart of Bellota (acorn) fields, filled with happy Pata Negra pigs roaming vast expanses of land, feasting on thousands of acorns.  There were also happy cows and sheep roaming, and I love to see that an animal that I am going to consume, is having a great, stress-free life.  That in itself should have clued us in to the amazing meal we were about to have.

The town itself is small, I’m talking about drive past it in 20 seconds small.  And if we had not looked on Trip Advisor, we would have completely missed it.  Situated right on the main road that crosses the town, is a small unassuming doorway to foodie heaven.  We walked in, and my first thought was that we had made the wrong choice.  A pintxos bar to your left, and two small tables on the right, nestled between two enormous bull heads.  Me being an anti-bullfighting kind of person, I thought, oh boy, we’ve walked into the dragon’s lair.  Then, as we were taken into the main dining room, still small but with about 8 tables, I felt as if I had just landed in Spain.  Yes, I’ve lived here for 10 plus years, but you can hardly say Barcelona is Spain.  THIS is Spain.  A veritable shrine to a specific bullfighter was the decorative theme of the restaurant.

Casa Pacheco

 

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As it turns out, the bullfighter Julio Robles, used to live very close to the restaurant, and he was a regular and a very, very good friend of the owner’s father.  I guess you could classify this as his museum.

We sat down and received the menu and the owner started to tell us what specials there were out of the menu.  It was a very, very difficult choice.  If it was humanly possible, I could have ordered all of it.  We finally made our choice, to eat some traditional ham, Jamon de Guijuelo,

Jamon de Guijuelo

 

and some croquetas, but the twist, they made the with oxtail.

Oxtail Croquettes

 

The jamon was perfect, shiny, flavorful, delicate yet robust.  The croquetas were fantastic too, I have never tasted croquetas made with oxtail, and I have to say, the béchamel was one of the lightest and best I have tried.  The owner told us that it was their first time making the croquetas with oxtail, and honestly, I think they need to make them again!

Then we chose to try a dish that is typical of that region, called Patatas a la Importancia.  This basically translates to Potatoes of Importance.  Just from the name, I had to try them.

Patatas a la Importacia

 

Now get this, it’s potatoes that are sliced, battered, fried and then cooked in broth.  Battered and fried potatoes.  Can it get more decadent than this?  (Actually yes, just wait to see what I ate next.)  It was a pleasantly peculiar dish.  I really liked it, and I think it is an amazing way to “class” up the simple potato, I guess hence the name Of Importance!  It definitely had a very home-made feel and taste, the broth was delicious, thickened slightly by the batter and potato starch.  I am really happy we chose to try it.

Now, on to our mains.  Paolo and Cassia decided to share an Entrecote, cooked on the stone.

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Look at that beef.  It was divine.  So delicious, so much flavor.  It was very tender, and the good part was that they could choose how much they wanted it cooked, since Paolo likes his beef still almost moo-ing.  The thing that really surprised me was the salad you see in the back,

Ensalada de Maruja

 

This, I was told is called Maruja or Pamplina.  On first inspection, I thought it was some type of sprout, but then after tasting it, I realized it is more akin to watercress in taste.  The owner explained that this grows on the side of river banks for only a few days a year, and it is a specialty in Salamanca.  It blew my mind.  Obviously I looked it up, and found out that we call it Chickweed.  I had never tasted it before in my life, and I find it so awesome to discover new tastes and food!  It was lightly dressed with a vinaigrette, pomegranate seeds, and a good dousing of crushed garlic……not for the faint hearted I assure you.  Make sure EVERYBODY else at the table eats this, if not you’re in trouble!

And, now to the most decadent dish I have ever consumed in my entire life :

Braised Oxtail

 

Braised oxtail with caramelized onions and foie gras.  Yup.  Heart attack material.  But man, oh man….this was beyond delicious.  There are actually no “real” words to describe how good this is.  The oxtail was perfectly cooked, it fell apart at the mere touch of it.  Then mixed with the onions and the foie……Oh boy.  I unfortunately could not finish it, because we had gorged ourselves with so much food before, but had I known how incredible this was going to be, I would have starved myself for weeks so I could consume not one, but two helpings of this.

Obviously we had no room for dessert, I was in sort of a food coma at this point so I can’t tell you what they were, even.  But, let me tell you this, I recall that they all sounded delicious.

If you are ever on your way or passing through Salamanca, make this is the number one priority on your list.  You seldom find little gems like this anymore, a small unchanged restaurant, tucked away and run by the 4th generation of the same family.  It is food at its best, rustic, homey, delicious.

Casa Pacheco

C/. Jose Antonio s/n

Vecinos (Salamanca)

Tlf. 923 382 169

http://www.casapacheco.net

 

Saveur Magazine Classic Recipes No. 61 – Carbonnade (Flemish Beef and Beer Stew)

Beef and Beer Stew

I had heard about this dish a log time ago.  My friend Kiana, who lives in Brussels, was always posting on Facebook that she was making it.  Initially, I thought she was talking about Carbonara, a.k.a, spaghetti carbonara.  Then, I humbly learned that not only was it not even close to carbonara, but the only thing similar is that it both has bacon in it, at least according to this recipe.

I was obviously intrigued about making this, and was quite pleased upon seeing it in the magazine.  This became a no-brainer, since the weather is quite accommodating here in Madrid at the moment.  This beef stew begs for rainy or snowy days and toasty evenings snuggled under a blankie.  This is the stuff of wood chalets and fire places my friends.  Unfortunately, I don’t have either.  But, I can imagine my friend Kiana and her gorgeous family eating it a-la-ski-lodge, in their pj’s all snuggled around their fire.  Dreamy!

Anyhow, I digress.  The stew is quite easy, and the ingredients readily available.  It is imperative that you use a nice dark beer, preferably Belgian.  I used Chimay Red Cap, in absence of any other type of Belgian beer here in Spain. Kiana recommended Rochefort……if you can find it, use it.  But, what I thought gave this dish such an elegant and nuanced flavor, was the tarragon.  Oh, my beating heart.  The sauce, well, it speaks for itself.  If you don’t make this, you’ll be sorry.  Really.  I’m that serious.

So, on to the ratings:

Overall Points:  8.9/10 – the most points yet!

Difficulty:  Easy to medium, just cause it takes a long time

Availability of ingredients:  Readily available, except maybe for the tarragon

2 lb beef chuck, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ thick slices

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup flour

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

4 slices bacon, finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 cups Belgian – Style ale, like Ommengang Abbey Ale

1 cup beef stock

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 sprigs thyme

3 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs tarragon

1 bay leaf

Bread, for serving

Season beef with salt and pepper in a bowl; add flour and toss to coat.  Heat 2 tbsp of butter in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Working in batches, add beef; cook, turning, until browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer to a plate; set aside.  Add bacon; cook until its fat renders, about 8 minutes.  Add remaining butter, garlic, and onions; cook until caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Add half the beer; cook, scraping bottom of pot, until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes.  Return beef to pot with remaining beer, stock, sugar, vinegar, thyme, parsley, tarragon, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.  Serve with bread.  Serves 4.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Carne en Posta – Braised Beef Colombian Style


Carne en Posta

Carne en Posta is a staple of Colombian cuisine. You can basically find anything “En Posta”, from chicken to fish, but at my house, beef was the norm. Traditionally it is from the Caribbean region of Colombia, where my family is from (Barranquilla!) but now you can find it almost everywhere. This recipe was passed down from generation to generation in my family, and now I am the proud recipient! At my house we serve it with Arroz Con Coco (coconut rice, a staple in Cartagena) and Ensalada de Repollo (cabbage salad).

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As always, there are endless variations because everyone in Colombia has their own unique recipe. I am happy to share mine with you.  Make sure you have a side, like rice or bread, because this sauce is DIVINE my friends, truly finger lickin’ good!

 

2 lb. eye of round (cleaned of all fat)

1 tbsp ground cumin + 1/2 tsp

1 tbsp garlic salt + 1 tbsp

1 tbsp achiote (annatto seed)

1 tsp ground coffee

3/4 cup vegetable oil

dash of vinegar (whichever will do)

1 large onion, chopped

1/2 large green pepper, chopped

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

10 cups of hot water

1/4 can coca cola

 

Rub 1 tbsp of cumin, 1tbsp of garlic salt and 1tsp coffee over roast, and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

 

Meanwhile, add the 3/4 cup of oil to the achiote seed in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until oil is red and fragrant. Be careful not to let the oil burn. Strain 1/4 cup of oil into a large heavy bottomed stock pot, and set aside the rest of the oil and seeds. Turn heat to high, and brown meat all over. Take pot off of the heat, take out meat and reserve on a plate and strain the rest of your oil into your stockpot and lower your burner to low. Place pot back on the burner and add the dash of vinegar and deglaze your pan.

Add your chopped vegetables, the remaining 1/2 tsp of cumin and 1 tbsp of garlic salt and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes. When the vegetables are soft, place the meat and its juices back into pot and cover with the water. Raise heat to high, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Take off the cover, lower the heat to medium and boil for 1 hour.

Take the meat out and slice into 1/2 inch slices, put back into pot with any juices that have accumulated and add the coca cola, boil for another 2 hours approximately or until the meat is fork tender.

When it is done, take the meat slices out, strain the liquid into another bowl, wipe your original pot so there are no vegetable bits and discard the veggies if you like (or not, sometimes I don’t strain but it is a matter of personal taste). Return your cooking liquid and the meat to the pot and cook for a little more if the sauce needs thickening.

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From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Cassia’s Favorite Stuffed Green Peppers

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I have to admit, I was very, very surprised the first time I served this to my daughter.  I figured she would look at me, thinking I had gone mad for serving her a green pepper, with what looked like cheese on top.    But, she just cut a bite, put it in her mouth and said she loved it.  Mind you, she was about 7 at the time.

Ever since, she asks me to prepare these stuffed peppers for her.  Honestly, as a kid, I hated them, but, as tastes change and your palate becomes more forgiving and sophisticated, I learned to love them.  These truly remind me of home, not any country in particular, just home.  Throughout the years, we started to adapt our cooking from just Colombian flavors to a more Caribbean style, incorporating ingredients that we had on our lovely island of Nassau, and also some suggestions from a certain “auntie” who is Jamaican.  My Auntie Sharon introduced to us so many Jamaican products, since we were new to these sorts of things.  Ackee, bread fruit, how to eat Guava ( in the dark, if you’re asking, so you won’t see the worms! ) and also, Pickapeppa Sauce.

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Pickapeppa Sauce is akin to Britain’s HP sauce, but with a bite, more tangy and less sweet.  We started incorporating this in many, many recipes.  And this is a staple in my house that I bring back from Miami whenever I can.  I can assure you, that adding this to your beef stew, hamburgers, even dips will give it an extra-special kick!  And apparently it’s really awesome with cream cheese.

So, why not try these stuffed peppers today?

Here’s what you’re going to need:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1/2 leek, sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

50 g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp cumin powder

Salt and Black Pepper, to taste

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp jalapeno powder (or chili powder if you can’t find)

400g Ground Beef or Pork (or a mix of the two)

2 tbsp raisins

2 tbsp Pickapeppa Sauce ( HP Sauce if you can’t find Pickapeppa)

3-4 long green peppers, sliced open, seeds and ribs removed

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (more to taste)

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).  In a large sautee pan, heat the olive oil over medium low heat.  Add the onion, carrots, leeks, garlic and cherry tomatoes.  Sautee for about 10-15 minutes, until softened.  Add the tomato paste, cumin, salt and black pepper, garlic powder, and jalapeno powder.  Sautee for another 8 minutes, until nicely softened.

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Raise the heat to medium high, and add the ground beef or pork and cook until browned.   Add the raisins and the Pickapeppa Sauce and cook, stirring until mixed.  Take off heat.

Carefully stuff the peppers until full but not overflowing.

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Place in a baking dish, and top with grated cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes*, until the peppers are softened and the cheese has melted and is bubbling.

Serve immediately.

*  If you prefer the peppers to be softer, you can parboil them for 2 minutes.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco

 

Osso Bucco.  Literally meaning, Bone Hole, is probably one of my top ten favorite dishes.  That tender, fall off the bone meat, with a flavourful sauce……it is autumn/winter food at its best!

The key to Osso Bucco is like the Ragu, you need to let it simmer for a long time, so all the wonderful flavors meld together and create a sexy and rich sauce.  Like most Italian food, there aren’t many ingredients.  Onion, carrots, vine ripe tomatoes, and some wine and beef stock.  Perfect.  Lip-smacking good.  You can pair it with risotto, polenta, potatoes…..even just bread!  And the next day, you have a crazy good pasta sauce!

Of course, don’t forget to spread the delicious marrow on a piece of crusty bread, that in itself is worth the 3 hour wait!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

 

Serves 4

4 veal shanks

Salt and Pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

red or white wine

1 large onion, minced

1 leek, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

7 roma tomatoes, diced

4 cups beef stock

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over high heat.  Sprinkle the veal shanks with the salt and pepper, and sear on both sides.  Remove and set aside.  Add a drizzle of the wine to the pan and deglaze, breaking up the brown bits until the wine has evaporated.

Reduce the heat to medium low, and add the onions, leeks and carrots.  Cook for 10 minutes, or until softened.  Add the tomatoes and some more salt and pepper.  Cook another 10 minutes until it starts to become a thick sauce.  Add the veal shanks, some more red wine and the beef stock and raise the heat to high.  Bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer, for about 2 and a half hours.  Stir occasionally, making sure that the shanks don’t stick.  The meat should be extremely tender.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Sancocho Colombiano: Colombian Soup

Sancocho

Welcome to the Expat Hospital.  Wow…this past week has been, well, less than stellar.  It started with my daughter getting sick on Monday.  I got the virus on Thursday, one of my dogs got sick on Friday, then the other one last night.  The only person spared, at the moment, is my boyfriend Paolo.  Let’s see how that goes!

So, the only thing that I was actually hungry for, was my mom’s Sancocho.  Sancocho is a dish that has variations all over South America and the Caribbean.  It originates from Spain and the Canary Islands, from Cocido, which means cooked.  Sancocho means parboiled.  This soup, or stew as some would call it, is not only delicious, but is ridiculously nutritious.  And so easy.  All you need is a very very big pot, and some time to peel and dice.  And then you boil.  In my family, we add pumpkin, yuca, green plantain, carrots, corn, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, scallions, cilantro….and some chicken and beef.  It makes a crazy good soup.  And of course, I remember my dad telling me that it was Jewish Penicillin.  So……this is what we have eaten ALL WEEK LONG in the expat household.  Or at least, I have.

So, since it is flu season and all that, why not share my super easy, super delicious, super healthy recipe of my mom’s Sancocho?  I am sure you will like it, and will cook it up even when you aren’t feeling under the weather!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

(Sorry, have no idea how many it serves and the ingredients are approximated, use more or less, depending on taste!)

5 chicken legs or thighs, skinned

200 g pork or beef ribs

1 onion, quartered

4 scallions

2 tomatoes, quartered

2 carrots, sliced

1 potato, cut into cubes

1/2 yuca or malanga, peeled and cut into chunks

1 plantain, cut into chunks

1 large slice of pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks

2 corn on the cob, cut into 4 pieces or 6 pieces

Cilantro, plus a tbsp of the leaves

1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider is best)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges, to serve

White rice, to go with if you want, in the soup or as a side

In a large stock pot, add all the ingredients up to the cilantro leaves (you want to add a couple of sprigs of cilantro).  Cover all of it with water and bring to a boil.

When the chicken is cooked and your vegetables are tender, add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Boil 5 minutes longer, and strain the broth into another pot.  Discard the scallions, tomatoes, onion, cilantro sprigs.  Return all the “eating” vegetables (carrots, potatoes, yuca, plantain, pumpkin and corn) plus the chicken and beef to the broth.

Serve in large bowls with a little bit of veggies and the meats for everyone.  Sprinkle with the cilantro and lime.  Eat while it’s hot, and sweat out that flu!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla