Sunday, January 29, 2023

Ina Garten's Parker's Beef Stew

 I've been wanting to make a beef stew for months now. It just seems like the ultimate winter comfort food. Problem was I'd never made a beef stew before, and since the ingredients are so costly, I wanted to be sure to make a good one. I know I can always count on Ina Garten when it comes to recipes. She never lets me down.

Ina has two beef stew recipes. The first one is her Ultimate Beef Stew, and it differs from her other recipes in that it uses short ribs, Cognac, fennel, and pancetta. The Ultimate has great ratings, but not as many ratings as her Parker's Beef Stew. Her Parker's Beef Stew calls for chuck beef, which I knew I could source, and since more people rated this recipe I went with the Parker's. 

This recipe is way more costly than most recipes I make, somewhat of a splurge. I bought USDA prime cuts of stew meat. Two and a half pounds was $21. Next I needed potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, and some frozen peas. Another $15. Last, it was time to select a wine. Ina calls for all the beef to marinade in the wine overnight, plus 2-1/2 cups of the wine marinade is added to the stew, so the wine matters. The lady at the store helped me and we chose 19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.99. Altogether, my beef stew is nearing $50.

I place the beef in the marinade overnight and cross my fingers. It feels like a long time to let beef marinate.

The next day I remove the beef from the marinade, dry it off, and toss it in mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. I have to say...I love this method of tossing the beef in the flour and then searing. It creates a crust on the meat which lends well to searing and also creates a wonderful gravy later on.

I place all the beef in a Dutch oven and set about cooking down the carrots, onions, potatoes, and garlic. Next I get the leftover wine marinade and use it to deglaze the pan, reducing the wine down before adding the chicken stock, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire, and rosemary. I pour the sauce over the beef and the vegetables. I've been in the kitchen awhile, slicing, dicing, measuring and my kitchen looks like the bomb went off. It's ok I think. It's going to be worth it.

The stew looks promising and I stick it in the oven at 300 for 2 hours. After an hour I go to give it a stir and it looks amazing. I know I haven chosen the right recipe. An hour later I go back to stir in the peas and I can't believe how absolutely amazing it looks. so thick and hearty. It looks exactly like the beef stew of my dreams!

I don't have to call anyone to dinner because as soon as I take the stew out of the oven and remove the lid everyone comes running. The stew is chunky with big tender bites of succulent beef, beautiful orange knobs of carrot, chunky potatoes, little pieces of sun-dried tomato, all swimming in a thick beefy gravy with pretty pops of peas floating throughout. It is the ultimate comfort food. So delicious!

If you're going to splurge on a recipe, this is so delicious and worth every penny! We absolutely loved it and I will definitely make it again. Thanks, Ina!

Parker's Beef Stew

Adapted from Food Network

by Ina Garten

Serves 6-8

2-1/2 pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

1 (750-ml bottle) good red wine

3 whole garlic cloves, smashed

3 bay leaves

2 cups all-purpose flour

salt and black pepper

good olive oil

2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1-1/2 inch chunks

1/2 pound white mushrooms, steams discarded and cut in 1/2

1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)

2 cups or 1 (14oz can) chicken stock or broth

1 large (or 2 small) branch fresh rosemary

1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

Note: I used USDA prime grade beef stew meat. We don't love mushrooms, so I left them out. I used 19 Crimes Cabernet Sauvignon in the recipe. You can use whatever red wine you like or have on hand.

Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. 

Combine the flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade with a slotted spoon and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in a large oven-proof Dutch oven and continue to brown the remaining beef, adding oil as necessary. (If the beef is very lean, you'll need more oil.) Place all the beef in the Dutch oven.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil to the large pot and add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven over the beef. Add 2-1/2 cups of the reserved marinade to the empty pot and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven to bake it for about 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250 or 275 degrees F.

Before serving, stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot. 

Favorite Chef @ IHCC

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Ina Garten's Easy Cheese Danish

Puff pastry is one of those things you simply MUST HAVE in your freezer at all times! It is such a game changer and allows you to make savory dishes like Ina Garten's Hot Dogs in Puff Pastry, or sweet dishes like her Easy Cheese Danish.

Whenever you see puff pastry in stock, grab a box or two and stock up on the babies, because grocery stores sure do have a time trying to keep it in stock.

Now, this is my kind of recipe. A handful of ingredients. Easy to make. Easy to clean up. Delicious to eat. All you need to do is roll out your puff pastry to a 10x10 square and cut that sheet into four even squares. Then mix the cream cheese, sugar, ricotta cheese, lemon, and vanilla in a bowl and plop in the middle of each puff pastry square. Seal those pastries up, let them chill in the fridge for 15 minutes, then bake. 

People will be thinking you're a pastry chef and they will have no idea it was so easy! We absolutely loved these. We loved them warm as Ina suggested, but we loved them even better chilled. These would be perfect for breakfast and/or brunch and will be a big hit whether you make them for yourself, serve them to your family, or make them while entertaining.

Easy Cheese Danish

Adapted from Food Network

by Ina Garten

Makes 8 Danish

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

2 tablespoons ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon slat

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Note: We didn't need 8 cheese danish, so I halved the recipe with great success. 

Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and cream them together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don't whip!

Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it's a 10 x 10 inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.

Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm. 

Snow Day Eats @ IHCC

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Ina Garten's Creamy Hummus

  If I were a betting type of woman, I'd wager a bet that there were more hummus recipes on my blog than anything else. I love hummus and find myself somewhat compelled to try all the hummus recipes.

My favorite hummus recipe is Yotam Ottolenghi's Hummus Kawarma with Lemon Sauce, but Ottolenghi's Hummus with Ful is a close second. They are both insanely delicious, but require more time than one has for hummus most days.

I'm therefore always on the hunt for THE QUICK HUMMUS RECIPE utilizing canned garbanzo beans. Ina's Creamy Hummus seemed promising because it included a process I haven't tried yet - which is to simmer the garbanzo beans in a pot of water for 25 minutes, then stir repeatedly to loosen the skins of the beans, over and over for a total of about 5-6 times. The idea being that you drain those pesky bean skins right down the drain and then are able to create a smoother and creamier hummus.

I found the stirring and skinning of the beans a rather satisfying process and I will definitely continue to follow this process in all future hummus recipes. In fact, I highly recommend it! Turns out removing those pesky bean skins DOES IN FACT yield a smoother and creamier hummus.

The problem is, I didn't quite love the flavor of this hummus. Sorry, Ina. I'm quite surprised because most of the ingredients are the same, with the exception of the addition of Tabasco sauce (which I do like, but maybe not in hummus) and also, Ina had me soak the minced garlic in the lemon for about 25-35 minutes while the beans cooked and the skinning process occurred. Soaking garlic in an acid (lemon juice) is supposed to mellow the flavor of raw garlic, but for me it was like the lemon and garlic created a whole different flavor and one I just didn't care for. 

I will not be soaking my garlic in lemon juice or anything else ever again. And, quite honestly, I don't have any desire to mellow the flavor of garlic in anything. Just give me all the garlic straight up!

I would be curious to know if anyone else has tried this recipe from Ina's latest book and if so, did you love it? Did you like it? It's definitely very creamy, but it falls under the 'just ok' category for me.

Adapted from Go-To Dinners

by Ina Garten

Serves 6

2 (15.5 oz) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus extra (3 lemons)

1 tablespoon garlic finely grated on a Microplane (4 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika, plus extra for garnish

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup tahini

olive oil

1/4 cup salted, roasted Marcona almonds, roughly chopped

Toasted pita triangles, for serving

Combine the chickpeas, baking powder, and 6 cups water in a large saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine the 1/2 cup lemon juice and the garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Drain the water and any chickpea skins that have floated to the surface, leaving the chickpeas in the pan. Add cold water to cover, stir vigorously to loosen more skins, and again drain the water and skins that float to the top. Repeat 5 or 6 more times, until most of the skins are removed. Drain the chickpeas and place in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, setting aside 2 tablespoons of whole chickpeas for the garnish. Add the lemon and garlic mixture, Tabasco, paprika, 1/4 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Process until very smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the tahini and 2 tablespoons olive oil and puree for one full minute, until creamy. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra lemon juice to taste, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough warm water (1 tablespoon at a time) to make the hummus the consistency of yogurt. Taste for seasonings.

With a rubber spatula, spread the hummus on a large flat serving plate or shallow bowl, leaving a 2" border. Sprinkle with the reserved chickpeas and almonds. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with paprika, and serve with toasted pita triangles.

Recipe Reset @ IHCC

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Ina Garten's Hot Dogs In Puff Pastry {So Delicious}!!


 Happy 2023! Some years I have pretty serious food goals, while other years I feel more relaxed. This year is one of those relaxed years. I say cook what you want, when you want, and how you want. 

For example, if you want to start of the year with Hot Dogs In Puff Pastry, then go ahead! That's what I did! And I'm not even remotely sorry because these babies are some of the most delicious things I've shared in awhile.

What's not to like here? Get your favorite hot dog. We like Nathan's. Maybe you like Hebrew National, like Ina. Or maybe you like a vegetarian dog. Or maybe you even like the vegan carrot "hot dog." Do you.

The point is...wrap that baby in puff pastry and bake it in the oven. Top it with sea salt like Ina. Top it with Everything But The Bagel Seasoning, like me. Top it with whatever you want.

Dip it in ketchup. Dip it in mayo. Dip it in a combination of mayo and mustard, like I did. The puff pastry is golden brown and hot and flaky. The hot dog is so juicy. Together they are a perfection combination. Downright sinfully delicious dunked in mustard. 

These are an easy peasy sinfully delicious treat! I think they are perfect for families (namely kids). I think they would be wonderful at a party. You could even cut them and make them bite sized.

Not healthy, but all things in moderation, right? Give them a try. They just might be one of the most delicious things you've had in awhile!


Hot Dogs In Puff Pastry

Adapted from Go-To Dinners

by Ina Garten

Serves 2-4

1-2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted and refrigerated*

Good Dijon mustard

4 hot dogs*

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon

Freshly ground black pepper

Everything But The Bagel Seasoning*

Note: This recipe is more of a method and less of a recipe. The amount of puff pastry will vary depending on which brand you buy and how much of the hot dog you cover. I bought Dufour Puff Pastry and 1 sheet covered all 8 hot dogs in my package perfectly. Also, the flaked sea salt on top per Ina is probably just fine, but I saw an opportunity to use my favorite seasoning, Everything But The Bagel, and it was the perfect finishing touch to these dogs. 

Preheat the oven to 375F. Lay the cold puff pastry on a board and cut a 5-1/2" wide strip to match the length of the hot dogs. Brush a 3" wide strip of the cut pastry generously with Dijon mustard (I skipped this step since my husband dislikes mustard). Place a hot dog at the end of the pastry where you brushed the mustard and roll it up and away from you one turn, until the hot doh is just encased in one layer of pastry and mustard. Brush the next 1" strip of pastry with the egg wash and continue to roll the hot dog, so the pastry is completely sealed. Cut any remaining pastry across and place the hot dog, seam side down, on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Prepare the remaining 3 hot dogs, or however many you're making, the same way. (NOTE: Ina's directions are rather wordy - basically just roll the hot dog in the puff pastry so that the puff pastry goes around the hot dog one time and seals. You do not want to have any extra puff pastry going around twice or it won't bake properly).

Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle generously with sea salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (mine took a little longer to achieve that perfect golden brown color), until the pastry is nicely browned. Serve hot with extra mustard on the side.

Foodgoals 2023 @ IHCC


Sunday, January 1, 2023

My Top Five Dishes of 2022!

 It's time for my favorite post of the year...My Top Five Dishes of 2022! 

Here at Stirring the Pot, it was the year of Julia Child! I have two rather mind-blowing dishes of Julia's to start off our countdown.

Here are my TOP FIVE FAVORITES OF 2022, starting with Number One! Please click on the recipe title to be redirected to the original post and recipe!

Hitting the list at NUMBER ONE is Julia Child's Supremes de Volaille a l'Ecossaise, otherwise known as Chicken Breasts with Diced Aromatic Vegetables and Cream. I mean holy cow folks, or should I say holy chicken...this dish will knock your socks off. The chicken is so tender and that sauce....well, it was so velvety and kind of reminds me of the flavors in a chicken pot pie. It's visually stunning, and so comforting and delicious.

Julia's Biftek Hache a la Lyonnaise or rather her Ground Beef Burgers with Onions and Herbs, is not only crazy delicious...but economical and rather easy. Listen, DO NOT sleep on this dish. It is simply not just a beef burger with sauce. It's buttery and flavorful from the addition of butter and herbs and the burgers get dunked in flour before being fried so they form a little crust for texture. It looks simple, but I can assure you that it's delectable. This is a very close SECOND to Julia's chicken recipe above, simply depends on the day!

I also cooked a lot with Ina Garten this year and her newest cookbook, Go-To Dinners, is full of gems. I've made quite a few recipes from her new book and by far the best was her Ravioli En Brodo. This is a light brothy soup with complex flavors. We were blown away by the flavors and really enjoyed the addition of fennel. It's hard to beat fluffy pillowy ravioli in a flavorful broth. So comforting and delicious!

 You might think I've lost my mind, but WOW, Ina's Parmesan Chipotle Popcorn was something else! Cheesy, spicy, buttery, crunchy, and is ONE OF THE BEST SNACKS ever! I just loved it! Make it for yourself. Make it for a get together. Make it for your family. You can't go wrong!

Coming in at Number Five is dessert!  It was really tough to chose a favorite dessert for this roundup. I had three that I was considering: Dorie Greenspan's Salted Chocolate Hot Fudge Sundaes, Ina Garten's Milk Chocolate Oreo Ice Cream, and this one, Tessa Kiros' Sipi's Strawberry Cake. I chose Sipi's Strawberry Cake because it was made with local and seasonal strawberries from the farmer's market and they were the most delicious strawberries I've had in years. Not to mention, the cake was a stunner and what's not to love about fresh berries and cream? 

Bonus: Tessa's Hasselback Potatoes deserve a big Honorable Mention for two reasons: first, they are a new family favorite. Everyone loves the golden brown crunch on the bottom of the potato, the crispy slices on the top of the potato, and also the rather fluffy interior. They are indeed THE NEW BAKED POTATO in my house! And also, the post I wrote for Tessa's Hasselback Potatoes was pretty much my favorite to write all year. This recipe should come with a warning: Delicious, but quite the hassle!