Posts tagged stew
Monday, March 10, 2008

braised beef short ribs

braised short ribs

I can’t quite decide if this Daylight Savings thing is working for me. On the one hand, it’s wonderful to leave work while the sky is still brightly lit. On the other hand, waking up at 5:30 in the morning has once again become quite difficult – and as I make my way to the subway in the morning, they sky is dark and gloomy. And it is still very cold. Which is probably why I am still a bit incredulous that this thing called spring is ever going to arrive.

It has been a stressful year for the markets so far, and thus for me at work. Though I am not an economist or a strategist, I have a very strong feeling that this sub-prime issue is not going away any time soon and everywhere you look in financial news-sources, the word “recession” turns up a few too many a time and the markets have been steadily declining on the heels of seemingly never-ending bad news. Coupled with it the rising cost of food, fuel and commodities while the consumers are watching their spending – makes for a glum story indeed.

parsley mire-poix

Which is probably why a few weeks ago, I had the craving for precisely this kind of a comfort meal: warm, rich, flavorful, with a thick sauce. I’ve been waxing poetic about braised short ribs to KS and he would nod approvingly, but I could just see in his eyes that he wasn’t really following me. Not until he tasted it, did he understand why I have not stopped talking about it. We both had seconds and needless to say there were no leftovers. And because it rained that entire day, this dish was like manna from heaven. It warmed and comforted us. I have to mention here also, that this dish is super easy – all it requires is time. If you can slow-cook this in your Le Creuset or the equivalent for 3+ hours, you are guaranteed something truly amazing. It’s pretty much fail-proof. Another note is that I chose not to puree my vegetables as the original recipe suggests because I like my vegetables chunky. And instead of cooking potatoes separately from the short ribs, I cooked them in the same pot, letting them absorb the flavors of the stew.

browned short ribs - looks gross

And though I can’t get enough of these warm, rich stews, with this vacation coming up next Friday, I just can’t wait to leave behind my winter coat and winter eating and put on my bermuda shorts and have an umbrella drink! For one glorious week we’ll be basking in the Carribean sun, lazing around on the beach and catching up on reading.

Perhaps upon our return, spring will have officially kicked off and I’ll have more spring cooking on my mind. But for now, with another rainy day facing us, I’d rather have this warm, comforting meal, over a cold, crisp salad.

braised short ribs

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Monday, October 3, 2005

moroccan chicken stew

Moroccan-Inspired Chicken Stew

As autumn sets in and days get shorter, temperatures – cooler, and sweaters – thicker, food cravings change as well. Salads are often replaced by heartier vegetables – cooked, warm, flavorful. Baking frequency goes up. Instead of strawberry shortcake, you might want to make an apple pie. Instead of a spinach salad, you might crave a spinakopita. And perhaps grilled chicken is replaced by a stew with a myriad of spices and flavors.

I have noticed that I am always in search of recipes that combine sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Perhaps this is why I am such a fan of Thai food. I’m practically a permanent fixture at a nearby restaurant.

Overall, and especially for stews, I prefer to use the dark meat to white meat because of how much flavor it contains. Legs and thighs on a chicken have more muscle, therefore more blood, and thus more flavor. The breast, while considered a “healthier” choice tastes bland to me. No matter how you cook it, I’ll always eye the dark meat on any bird, be it chicken, duck or turkey.

Another great thing about this recipe is its one-pot functionality. This is great for those with small kitchens or who are easily overwhelmed with having several pots to watch at one time. For novice cooks, this is almost fool-proof, especially if you follow the dark meat route. The meat will become juicy and tender, practically falling off the bone.

If you’re disgusted by the idea of eating gizzards and hearts, then simply substitute that portion with more chicken. As a Russian, I cannot discard that part of my upbringing. And what a great surprise it was when I cautiously mentioned to my boyfriend that there were organs in the stew and that he didn’t have to have any, and he was elated because he grew up eating them too! If you’ve never tried gizzards or hearts, I’ll say that it’s extremely flavorful. I happen to love it, but it’s a matter of taste and what you’re used to.

Overall, this is fun and easy to make. And it fills your kitchen and house with warm, cozy smells of fall and familiarity. It’s a perfect meal to eat on your couch watching a movie or a game or just hanging out with a few friends. Grab a few deep bowls and enjoy!

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