Tag Archives: stew

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

It’s not really time for stew. It’s late August, so for a Texan like me, that still means at least 3-4 weeks of hot temperatures to go. The stars were aligned for us last night, however, and a cold front blew in. The high temp yesterday? 80 degrees. It was 107 on Monday. That makes 80 degrees practically feel like sweater weather in comparison! Nearly every day in August has been over 100 degrees here, so we were a touch giddy.

Armed with fresh butternut squash from a local farm, and a desire to make a frugal, simple meal, I set off to make a stew. I cooked beans in the slow cooker while I was away at work, and when I came home, I was able to assemble this dish and have dinner in under 45 minutes. Not bad. If one was in a real hurry and bought frozen, cubed butternut squash, I imagine you could cut that time down to 15 minutes. For me, I prefer fresh – especially when it’s in season!

This stew is a lovely, spicy-sweet blend of flavors and textures. I forced myself to stop after a huge bowlful, but I could have easily had seconds or thirds, in spite of how filling it was. I brought a sample to a coworker for a taste; she loved it. Sounds like a win to me! 

I measured amounts in this recipe, but you can certainly alter as you see fit. Feel free to use canned beans if that’s your desire. Increase or decrease the jalapenos or chipotle chili powder to suit your heat tolerance. It was relatively spicy when I made it, so if you can’t handle a lot of heat, you might want to only use 1 jalapeno. If you don’t have smoked meat, a bit of cooked, crumbled bacon or salt pork might do nicely, or you could simply omit the meat altogether, and add a touch of smoked paprika. That’s what I love about stews – there really isn’t a “wrong” way to go!

Butternut, Black Bean and Smoked Pork Stew

2 T grapeseed oil

1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)

2 jalapenos, seeded and diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 c butternut squash, diced in half-inch cubes

3 c cooked black beans (about 2 15-oz cans)

2 c shredded, smoked pork or chicken

1 ½ T ground cumin

½ t ground chipotle chile powder

1 t sweet paprika

3 c chicken stock

Salt to taste

Optional accompaniments:

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

In a large, heavy pot, heat grapeseed oil to medium heat. Add onion and jalapenos and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic and sauté for another minute. Add butternut squash and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add beans, pork, cumin, chipotle chili powder, and stock and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Season with salt. Allow to simmer until butternut squash is tender, about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve  topped with tomatoes and cilantro.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetables

White Bean, Kale, and Tomato Stew

Apparently I cannot get enough soups and stews this season. But what’s wrong with that? They’re filling, comforting, and many times, can be healthy. Take this stew, for example. It’s vegetarian. (Vegan, even, if you omit the Parmesan.) It’s gluten-free. It’s packed with fiber and nutrition. But that’s not even the best part. It’s cheap to make, and it’s fast and easy! If your December has been as busy as mine has, this will be a blessing! I made this the other night for dinner, which left me with plenty of time to wrap presents. It was delicious and so guilt-free that I even had seconds.

I’m a bit ahead of schedule for New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve already decided on one resolution – to incorporate more vegetarian and vegan meals into our diet. The reasons are plentiful – swapping more plant-based foods for the meats means our grocery bill will be lighter. Meals can be healthier. And our carbon footprint will be smaller. While I am not aspiring to become a vegetarian full-time, I do acknowledge and appreciate the benefits that healthy vegetarian meals can provide. (Healthy being the key word here – while french fries, ice cream, and candy can be vegetarian, I am not opting to pick up a steady diet of such things.) This will be a bit of a change of mindset for me. I am accustomed to making a grocery list and planning meals according to what proteins (aka meat) is on sale that week, or what meat I have in our freezer. I will have to make a concerted effort to plan for at least one meatless dinner every week. I’m excited about it. I hope to share with you some meatless, gluten-free meal options very soon!

For now, I hope you’ll enjoy this quick stew.

White Bean, Kale, and Tomato Stew, adapted from Serious Eats

1 ½ lbs kale, larger stems removed, and leaves chopped (can substitute swiss chard or other leafy greens)

¼ c olive oil

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

¼ t crushed red pepper

1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes

1 15-oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan

Fill a large stockpot halfway with water. Bring to a boil and then toss in the kale leaves. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 6-8 minutes or until leaves are tender (not mushy). Drain leaves in a colander.

Wipe out any excess water from the pot. Place back on burner and turn to medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper, and sauté for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans and broth, and bring to a boil again. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.

Reduce heat to a simmer and add the kale. Cook for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Parmesan.

Serves 2-3.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Quick and Easy, Soups, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Tomatillo Turkey Chili

tomatillo turkey chiliThis Thanksgiving, don’t throw away those turkey leftovers!

Remember the meat from those turkey wings and drumsticks I used the other day to make gluten-free turkey gravy? All that meat didn’t go to waste – it was used to make a delicious, warming turkey chili!

I actually purchase a larger turkey than necessary for Thanksgiving each year. I love the leftovers. They make great filling for enchiladas, sandwiches, or even taste good eaten cold, straight from the fridge, late at night. Not that I would know or anything. But now, the leftovers star in a spicy, flavorful chili. Or you could add crushed tortilla chips and call it tortilla soup. Whatever you call it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you try it!

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to make a chili like this. You can use any leftover chicken or turkey, or you can even purchase a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and use it, if that’s your thing. It’ll all taste delicious in this soup. Heck, you could even go meatless, and use vegetable stock and add some cubed sweet potatoes or squash, and make a delicious vegetarian soup. It all sounds yummy to me.

If you can’t find tomatillos, you can substitute a 16-20 oz jar of bottled salsa verde/tomatillo salsa. Tomatillos are plentiful around here in Texas – but the cheapest ones are usually at the Latin groceries.

Tomatillo Turkey Chili, adapted from Simply Recipes

1 ½ lbs tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and cut in half

1 onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped

5-6 c cooked turkey or chicken, shredded

1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 c chicken broth

½ c gluten-free beer (such as Bard’s Tale) – optional, but it adds a wonderful flavor

2 c diced tomatoes or tomato puree

1 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c chopped cilantro

 Place the tomatillos and jalapenos cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Scatter onions and garlic around tomatillos and jalapenos. Place under broiler for 5-7 minutes or until skins on tomatillos blacken. Remove, and when cool, pour tomatillos, jalapenos, onion and garlic, including any juices, into a food processor. Pulse until well blended.

 Heat a large stockpot to medium heat and add tomatillo mixture and chipotle pepper. Stur around for a minute or two, and add turkey, beans, broth, beer, tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend.

 Immediately before serving, taste and adjust salt and pepper seasonings as necessary, and stir in most of the cilantro, reserving a bit to use as garnish.

Optional: Top with sour cream and cheese.

 Serves 5-6.

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Filed under Budget-Friendly, Chicken, Turkey, and other Poultry, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups

Gluten-Free Beef Stew

beef stew

 A few weeks back, when I was picking up eggs from Jacob’s Reward Farm, Cindy told me about a new event she was holding at the farm, called “Spinning Yarns: Cowboy Stories and Song.” This was to be a wonderful outdoor “picnic” of sorts, where there was to be cowboy-style music, stories, and of course, the attendees were more than welcome to bring along their spinning wheels and knitting needles, and gather for some laid-back fun. But everyone needed to eat, so she graciously asked if I would help her in that area. On the menu? A hearty beef stew – perfect for the theme of the event.

My first “catering” job! I was excited, of course. While I’ve prepared Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for 25-30 (our family is large!), I have never catered. I wanted to be sure everything was perfect, so I made sure I scheduled plenty of time for preparation, and even did a test run on a smaller portion of the dish earlier in the week. It was wonderful that so many of the guests brought side dishes; this allowed me to focus on one dish – beef stew. It was a wonderful setting for my maiden voyage into catering.

jacobs reward event 031

Yesterday was the big day. (Read more about it at the Jacob’s Reward Farm blog here) I had prepped most of the meat and vegetables the night before, but awoke at 5am (much to the dismay of my husband!) to get started. I didn’t want to be late! And thankfully, aside from a slight issue with the pot I’d recently purchased, (I bought a propane burner, along with a stainless pot set – and the pot cracked as soon as I placed heat on it. Thankfully I had my large aluminum tamale pot, which did the job perfectly.) everything went as planned. Until I left, that is. I set up at the farm, and only then remembered that I’d left my parsley on the kitchen counter. Good thing I only live 10 minutes away – I could run home and grab it. No harm done.

As for the event, it was wonderful. We couldn’t have had better weather. Practically the entire month of October has been rainy, but for the past few days, it has started to dry out. Yesterday was sunny and in the upper 60s – absolutely gorgeous. The musicians played wonderful cowboy-style fiddle, guitar, and banjo, and the storytellers spun yarns about famous icons of the cowboy days in Texas. It was a grand time. While I’m not a spinner/weaver, and I don’t know how to knit, I admired everyone’s work as they spun yarns and knitted scarves and socks.

My stew went over well, and was the perfect dish for such an event. I hope you enjoy it too.

Gluten-Free Beef Stew, adapted from Simply Recipes

½ lb beef stew meat

½ lb oxtail

Salt and pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ yellow onion, chopped

½ large carrot, chopped

½ celery rib, chopped

3 c beef stock

½ c gluten-free beer (I used Bard’s Tale)

½ c red wine

1 T tomato paste

½ T sugar

1 T fresh thyme leaves

½ T Worcestershire

1 bay leaf

2 T butter

1 ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes, diced ½ inch

1 c carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

2 small parsnips, peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces

1 turnip, diced into ½ inch pieces

Salt and pepper

1 T fresh parsley

 

Generously salt and pepper the stew meat and the oxtail. Heat a large, heavy pot to medium-high heat and brown the meat, turning with tongs to ensure all sides are browned. Remove and set aside. Add garlic, onion, carrot, and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add back meat, and add beef stock, beer, wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cover, allowing to simmer for 1 ½ – 2 hours.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat to medium heat and add butter. Add carrots, parsnips, and turnip to pot. Saute until golden, about 20 minutes. Set aside until beef stew has simmered for 1 ½ 2 hours.

Once the meat is starting to fall away from the bones on the oxtail, remove from pot, and allow to cool for a few minutes. Remove meat from bones and add meat back into stew. Add the vegetables and potatoes, and allow to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender throughout.

Salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley.

Serves 4.

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Filed under Beef, Budget-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Healthy Meals, Main Dishes, Soups