Kimchi and Chicken Stew

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I like making Kimchi, but I usually make too much. Making a stew with the remaining Kimchi is a great way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. I have made a Kimchi Stew using tofu, but I like this one made with chicken more. It’s even better the next day.

You will have to go to an Asian market (or Korean market) to find the Gochujang and Gochugaru. I’ve never seen these items in a regular grocery store. If you don’t want to make your own Kimchi, you can get it at the Asian market too. Get the fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand) and the Chinese cooking wine there as well. These ingredients are essentials for many Korean or Asian recipes. Buy them and challenge yourself to use them.

Kimchi and Chicken Stew

5 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly slivered
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups your favorite kimchi
1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean fermented hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
salt and black pepper, to taste

Cooked rice, hot

Place the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl. Add enough hot water to cover. Soak until the mushrooms are soft, about 20 – 30 minutes. Remove the stems from the rehydrated mushrooms and slice thinly.

Heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a couple more minutes, until fragrant.  Add the kimchi, Gochujang, Gochugaru, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken broth, raw chicken, and the sliced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the stew to a slight boil. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with hot rice.


Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie

Steak and Guinness Pie is traditional Irish pub food. It is perfect for a comforting St. Patrick’s Day meal.

I like topping what is basically a steak and Guinness stew with squares of baked puff pastry. It’s pie, simplified. Plus, the baked puff pastry has more of a crunch. Alternatively, you can make it as a more traditional meat pie (like you would probably find in an Irish pub) by adding the cooked stew to a baking dish or ceramic pie plate and topping it with a sheet of puff pastry. Cut a couple of vent holes and bake at 400º F.  until the pastry is golden. Serve with mashed potatoes and more Guinness.

Steak and Guinness Pie

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 bottle Guinness (I used an 11.2 ounce bottle)
1 cup beef stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with enough water to make a slurry
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (I use Pepperidge Farms brand)

Prepared mashed potatoes

Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Season the stew meat with salt and pepper and add to the pot. Cook, stirring often until evenly browned. Add the onions and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Next, add the mushrooms, Guinness, and beef stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Add the cornstarch and water slurry. Stir well to incorporate the slurry. Continue to cook, stirring more often then previously (because the stew is more likely to stick to the bottom of the pan once the cornstarch is added), for another 30 minutes or until the beef is very tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, remove the frozen puff pastry from the freezer and let thaw for at least 30 minutes. The thawed pastry should be easy to unfold. Cut the pastry in half lengthwise and then across three times to make 8 equal-sized squares of pastry. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the pastry squares on the lined baking sheet and bake until golden, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve over mashed potatoes and top with a baked puff pastry square.

To make a LID (low iodine diet) safe Steak and Guinness stew, use kosher salt and unsalted beef stock. Don’t use the puff pastry (unless you check the ingredients and see it is acceptable for LID). Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry contains soybean oil (which is not allowed on some versions of LID).

Steak and Guinness Pie


Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes with Chicken

Chicken with Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes

I got back to South Carolina Tuesday night from a 2 week trip to Texas. My sons and I had a great time visiting family and friends, but it is good to be home. My husband did not go on the trip with us. While he was home, he looked after my garden and picked up our CSA boxes. I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of produce (tomatoes, a variety of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, corn, winter squashes, and blueberries) I came home to. It was time to get to work.

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I was too tired to go to the grocery store Wednesday, so I came up with this dish. I really liked how this Mediterranean-inspired concoction turned out. Summer comfort food. I added a dash of Penzey’s Bourquet Garni herb mix (a mix of savory, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, dill, marjoram, sage, and tarragon) to the veggie mixture as it cooked. I didn’t include it in the recipe, but feel free to add your favorite herbs/herb mix. Serve this stew-like dish over rice or pasta (orzo).

Chicken, Peppers, and Tomatoes 2

Eggplant, Peppers, and Tomatoes with Chicken

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I cut them in half horizontally to make the pieces smaller)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Italian eggplant, peeled and chopped in 1/2 inch pieces (or use equivalent amount of Japanese eggplant)
2 bell peppers, stem removed, seeded, and chopped
3 large tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
1 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the oil. Cook the chicken until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the chopped onions to the pan and cook until softened. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes, and cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves. Add the chicken pieces back to the mixture and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the veggies and chicken are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and season the dish with salt and black pepper. Serve with hot rice or pasta.


Crockpot Three Lentil Stew with Barley

Three Lentil Stew with Barley

My mom flew in from Austin today. I was worried she wouldn’t make it. It was 67 degrees here in Columbia SC yesterday, but today we were expecting ice and snow from Storm Leon. It has been predicted that we would get 2 – 4 inches (gasp!) of snow from the storm. The city had shut down in anticipation. If you are from other areas of the country, this is laughable. But, it’s a big deal here because most of the South is not prepared to deal with ice and snow. Most southern cities don’t have plows (and if they do, they only have a couple) and some don’t even have salt to treat the roads. Plus, the people in the South don’t know how to drive in icy conditions. South Carolina has some of the worst drivers in the country on a good day, so when snow and ice are added, the results can’t be good. Fortunately, the ice and snow held off until my mom’s plane landed and she got to our house safely.

I needed something easy to fix for dinner. The comfort and warmth of a soup or stew would be perfect for snowy weather. I decided to throw a lentil and barley stew together in the crockpot. I had several different kinds of lentils in the pantry and decided to use them. You could totally make this recipe with 1 1/2 cups of one type of lentil (although I wouldn’t recommend using red lentils, as they kind of just dissolve in the stew). This recipe makes a nice size batch. There is plenty for leftovers or to freeze for future meals.

Crockpot Three Lentil Stew with Barley

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup black lentils (I used beluga)
1 cup pearl barley
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 ounces (half a package) of mushrooms, chopped
1 or 2 zucchini, chopped
8  cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste

Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours on high or for 6 to 8 hours on low. You may need to add more broth, depending on how brothy you want your stew.


Chicken and Turnip Stew

Chicken and Turnip Stew

I have gotten some wonderful turnips and turnip greens from my CSA the past couple of weeks. My little one has requested turnip pickles, so I have set aside some turnips for that. Luckily, I still have plenty left for other recipes. I made this soup for lunch today. It’s earthy and comforting.  Definitely a keeper. I revamped this recipe I found in the current issue of Eating Well magazine.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large turnips, peeled and diced
8 ounces baby bellas mushrooms, sliced
4 cups turnip greens, chopped
5 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook, until no longer pink. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the pot. Add the onions and cook until they start to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turnips, mushrooms, greens, broth, and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken (and any accumulated juices) and reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes or until the turnips are tender. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir the mixture into the stew and cook until thickened.


Chicken and Okra Stew

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I made this delicious stew using okra, bell peppers, and tomatoes from the farmers’ market and jalapenos from my garden. Make sure to buy smaller okra pods so they will be tender and not fibrous. Serve the stew over hot cooked rice.

Chicken and Okra Stew

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound chicken breast, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed, minced
3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped (or a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes)
2 cups chicken broth
1 pound fresh okra, ends trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
Cooked white or brown rice

In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Season the cubed chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper, add to the pot, and cook until just no longer pink. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the Dutch oven. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and minced jalapeno to the pot and cook, stirring often until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and okra and bring to a boil. Add the reserved chicken and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the okra is tender, about 15 minutes. Season the stew with salt and pepper and serve with cooked white or brown rice.


Caponata on Spaghetti Squash

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Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant stew. I was introduced to caponata (served with fried goat cheese medallions) years ago at a long-gone tapas restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg, VA. I fell in love instantly.

We got our last Pinckney’s Produce CSA box of the season this week along with a challenge to create a recipe using the vegetables found in the box. The box contained Japanese eggplant, green bell peppers, tomatoes, poblanos, spaghetti squash, cubanelle peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash, and watermelon. I thought of caponata immediately.

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Caponata can be eaten as a main course, side dish, or as an appetizer (think bruschetta). I thought it would be excellent on spaghetti squash.

Caponata on Spaghetti Squash

1 spaghetti squash
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling over spaghetti squash
2 Japanese eggplants (or 1 Italian), diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, cored and diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
3 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Cut the stem off the spaghetti squash and then cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard them. Drizzle the cut side of the spaghetti squash with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until the squash is tender.

While the spaghetti squash is baking, heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté until it starts to get soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, capers,  and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium-low. Gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Scrape the spaghetti squash meat out of the skin with a fork, separating the strands. Arrange on serving platter/dish and top with the caponata.