While I have a perfectly delicious beef stew recipe from Williams-Sonoma, 20-Minute Beef Stew, I searched the internet to see if there was another as easy as the one I had and found a recipe on www.food52.com by Max McDonogh for Crockpot Beef Stew. For the recipe you’ll need 1 pound beef chuck roast (cut into large chunks), kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, all-purpose flour (coats the beef), carrots, celery, pearl onions, fresh garlic, cremini mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, potatoes and parsley for garnish. He suggests serving over white rice.
What intrigued me about this recipe was the addition of cremini mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce. The Worcestershire sauce added umami and the mushrooms a mild, earthy flavor. While I do own a crockpot, one of the cooks commented that they used their InstaPot on high pressure for 35 minutes. Well, I don’t own one of those, but I do have a pressure cooker and went with their suggested cooking time.
The stew came out delicious and the flavors were wonderful. The sauce was on the thin side, but I could have remedy by thickening the sauce with a slurry of cornstarch and water. To thicken a thin gravy, remove the ingredients from the pot, add the slurry to the liquid and simmer until thickened.
I love searching for sale items be it online or in a store. I especially enjoy finding the sale nooks at Williams-Sonoma. A while ago, I was shopping in the store when I came across Williams-Sonoma Soup Starter for Fast/Slow Cooking – Mushroom Wild Rice on sale for about $7. While these mixes can be pricey, approximately $13 at full retail, the starters contain the soups basic ingredients such as spices, seasonings, rice, but require some fresh ingredients or stock. For the Mushroom Wild Rice, I used homemade turkey stock and added additional fresh cremini mushrooms, left from another recipe.
The soup came out thick, rich and very flavorful. As the rice absorbed a good portion of the stock, I added a bit more to loosen the soup. A splash of heavy cream was also required, and also on hand, to finish the soup. This hearty soup was delicious and very warming on a damp, dreary afternoon. I’ll be perusing the sale areas in the coming days. I also was able to pick up on sale, vegetable soup concentrate, that I use for cooking when a small amount of stock is needed in a recipe.
Somewhere in the hecticness of the holidays, creative cooking wasn’t on my mind. Needing a bit of prodding, I took out my “Lidia’s Italy” cook book and found Jumbo Shrimp Buzara Style (Buzara di Scampi) recipe. For this recipe you’ll need U-16 size shrimp, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, shallots, kosher salt, white wine, tomato paste, water, fresh ground black pepper, bread crumbs and fresh parsley.
If I can’t locate affordable, fresh shrimp at this time of the year, I prefer Wegmans Raw Wild-Caught Shrimp Extra Jumbo. The shrimp are from the USA and contain no chemicals or antibiotics.
This meal came together quite easily. The white wine sauce is prepared in one pan, while the shrimp are seared in another. Once the sauce and shrimp are done, the shrimp are added to the other pan and coated with the sauce. A few grinds of black pepper and a tablespoon of breadcrumbs are added to thicken the sauce. Dress the shrimp with additional olive oil and toss. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley. I didn’t add the breadcrumbs as I served the shrimp over spaghetti for a fabulous supper! The shrimp had a wonderful flavor from the garlic shallot combination. The hint of tomato paste added a little color and a bit of sweetness. Overall, a scrumptious meal.
One Sunday morning, I came across some thick cut pork chops at Wegmans. A quick search for a recipe in the NYT Cooking app and I found a recipe for Porchetta Pork Chops by Melissa Clark. For Christmas dinner, I knew my son-in-law was considering making roast porchetta. Though the possibility of having a similar meal several days later was certain, I went ahead and purchased the rest of the ingredients for this recipe. Besides the pork chops you’ll need kosher salt, a lemon, fresh rosemary, red pepper flakes, lightly crushed fennel seeds, fresh fennel fronds and olive oil.
I decided to forego the fennel fronds for the stuffing. In lieu of lightly crushing the fennel seeds, I used my coffee grinder to make a powder. It added a more evenly distributed flavor to the meat and you didn’t miss the fresh fennel flavor. I used fresh rosemary from my cold frame. A spice blend of mashed garlic, salt, lemon zest, rosemary, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, fennel fronds mixed with olive oil create a paste that was stuffed into the pocket made by cutting into the fatty side of the pork chop.
The pork chops are seared on one side in a hot pan on the stovetop for approximately 5 minutes or until brown. A quick one-minute sear on the other side; then off to the oven to bake until the internal temperature reaches 135°. The pork came out succulent with a robust flavor; they were fabulous.
My son-in-law was surprised when I posted my Porchetta Pork Chops on social media. I preempted his Christmas dinner entrée of a porchetta roast. While he did consider making the porchetta himself, he went to his local butcher, Perrotti’s Quality Meats and ordered one premade, oven ready.
The porchetta pork roast came out wonderful. My son-in-law did some internet research as the best way to roast and achieve a very crispy fat cap. He did a great job in executing the cooking. The roast came out tender, moist and juicy. The fennel flavor was very subtle and he and I both felt a stronger fennel flavor was needed. He had a six-pound roast for 4 adults and two children. We very happily came home with leftovers that were devoured the other evening.
My last recipe to describe is Flank Steak with Caper-Walnut Sauce and Roasted Beets. To quote my husband, “Another restaurant quality meal!” This was found in The Wall Street Journal column “Slow Food Fast,” by Kitty Greenwald. Ms. Greenwald adapted the recipe by Chef Tomos Parry of Brat and Brat at Climpson’s Arch in East London. The recipe serves 4-6 people and can be prepared in approximately 35 minutes.
For the recipe you’ll need 10-12 baby beets, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil, sherry vinegar, crushed walnuts, garlic, flank steak (could use hanger or skirt steak), spring onions, red radishes, cornichons, capers, chile flakes, fresh parsley, fresh thyme leaves and a pinch sugar.
The recipe begins by roasting the beets in a 425° oven. The beets are placed on a foil lined pan, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with a sprinkle of salt. The beets are roasted for 20 minutes or until tender. For this recipe, I chose flank steak and, unfortunately, forgot to get red radishes on my shopping trip. The radishes are part of the sauce that accompanies the meat. The radishes and spring onions are seared in a pan until softened and charred. They are then chopped into mouth-sized pieces and added to a bowl containing roasted, chopped walnuts, finely minced garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, finely chopped cornichons, capers, parsley and thyme, chile flakes and a pinch of sugar.
The flank steak, seasoned just with salt, was seared in a large pan with a bit of oil. The meat was cooked until the thickest part was medium-rare. Once cooked, place the steak on a platter; spoon the sauce on top. Allow the sauced top meat to rest for five minutes before slicing. The sauce pulls this whole dish together and it makes it truly delightful. I cooked the meat perfectly and topped it was the very flavorful sauce…yum! What an exciting way to serve flank steak! I’ve used both a dry and wet marinade in the past and this certainly was by far the tastiest.
Crockpot Beef Stew
By Max Mcdonough
From the websiteFood52
June 10, 2021
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 8 hours
“To make beef stew in the Crockpot, the one thing you need is a bit of time. But in many ways that is the usefulness of this recipe, and all slow-cooker meals. Too often we don't make the distinction between food that takes a long time to cook and food that takes a long time to prep. Sure, there's a bit of searing in the first step here, but after that, it's basically a dump, set, and forget situation. This means that, in the morning before work, you can prep the ingredients (beef chuck roast, or whatever stew meat you like; root vegetables like carrots and potatoes; mushrooms and pearl onions; beef broth; and a few other aromatics), set it all for 8 hours in the Crock-Pot, and have dinner waiting for you when you come home.
This slow-cooker beef stew recipe does not have a slurry of thickened corn starch—for good reason: The chuck roast chunks, again, have already been floured, which helps thicken the stew a little later, but also it's the looser, cleaner-tasting gravy that works well with a side of white rice versus the usual heavy, dense mashed potato pairing. That said, feel free to serve this beef stew with whatever you like, and add whatever vegetables you prefer. Instead of carrots and potatoes, try parsnips and turnips. And if you are used to the thicker gravy, just add a slurry of broth and corn starch in the last 30 minutes of cooking, or stir in a bit more flour at the end.
This recipe is really just a blueprint, so try not to stress about it. The nature of a stew is that there are no rules—only personal taste.” --Max McDonough
InstaPot/Pressure cooker: one review suggested 35 minutes on high pressure
1 pound beef chuck roast, cut into large chunks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for coating beef
Olive oil, for searing beef
3 to 4 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 stick celery, cut into chunks
2 to 3 potatoes, cut into chunks
12 or so pearl onions, peeled
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup halved cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, plus more to taste
2 cups beef broth
Fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, for garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
Note from Donna:
Although I do own a crockpot, I decided to prepare this stew in my pressure cooker. Based on a comment on the webpage for this recipe, I cooked the stew for 35 minutes under high pressure. The stew can also be made in an InstaPot.
Jumbo Shrimp Buzara Style
Buzara di Scampi
“Lidia’s Italy,” by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich ©2008
24 large shrimp, 1 ounce apiece (U-16 size)
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
3 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon bread crumbs or more if needed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
A heavy-bottomed sauté pan, 10-to-12-inch diameter, for the sauce
A heavy-bottomed 13-to-14-inch skillet for searing for searing the shrimp
Without removing any of the shell, remove the vein (digestive tract) that runs inside the curving back of each shrimp: slice open the back with a sturdy sharp paring knife, cutting through the shell and scape out the vein. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry.
Pour ¼ cup of the olive oil into the sauté pan, and set over medium-high heat. Scatter in the garlic, cook until sizzling, then stir in the shallots. When they’re sizzling, stir in ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ cup of the wine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the wine is nearly completely evaporated and the shallots have softened. Drop in the tomato paste and stir it around the pan for a minute, coating the shallots and caramelizing.
Pour in the rest of the wine, bring to the boil quickly, then add the water and ¼ teaspoon salt, stirring. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the sauce bubble gently and reduce for about minutes while you sear the shrimp.
Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into the wide skillet, and set over high heat until very hot. Scatter the shrimp in the pan, toss them in the oil, and season with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for just a minute of slightly longer, until the shells are lightly colored and the flesh underneath is opaque, then turn off the heat.
With the sauce still bubbling, slide in the seared shrimp and tumble to coat them with all the sauce. Stir in the coarsely ground pepper, then the tablespoon of bread crumbs-use more crumbs if the sauce is thin. Cook for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
Drizzle over the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil-ore more to taste-and incorporate it well, tumbling the shrimp in the pan. Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve immediately.
Porchetta Pork Chops
Featured in “This Little Piggy Took a Shortcut,”
By Melissa Clark, The New York Times, July 12, 2013
Yield: 2 servings
Time: 20 Minutes
2 bone-in pork chops, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus a pinch
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
Large pinch red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds, more for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
Flank Steak with Caper-Walnut Sauce and Roasted Beets
“This Steak Sauce Recipe Is Magic on Leaner Cuts,”
Wall Street Journal, Life&Work|Food&Drink|SlowFood Fast column
By Kitty Greenwald, November 3, 2021
Total Time: 35 minutes
10-12 baby beets, cut into 1-inch wedges
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil, plus more to taste
4 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
6 tablespoons crushed walnuts
1 clove garlic, grated
3 pounds flank, hanger or skirt steak
15 spring onions
4 red radishes
1 tablespoon finely chopped cornichons
1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
Pinch of chile flakes
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
Pinch of sugar
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.