Tag Archives: potatoes

Home Brew Beef Stew

That’s right, I said home-brew! I am fortunate enough to have a hubby who brews his own beer and mead. This recipe includes one of his home-brewed beers and I was very pleased with the flavor it provided. In the bitter cold of winter, nothing warms me up quite like a good stew.

Home Brew Beef Stew 1

Start by coating one pound or so of stew meat in seasoned flour. I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika. Whatever seasonings you want to include will work though.

Home Brew Beef Stew 2

Next, in batches, brown the meat over medium-high heat right in the dutch oven you will use to build the stew. The browned bits left behind will provide another layer of flavor.

Home Brew Beef Stew 3

Once browned, remove the stew meat to a paper towel lined plate to drain. This will make for a non-greasy stew.

Home Brew Beef Stew 4

While the stew meat is browning, prepare all of the aromatics. Peel ten cloves of garlic and leave whole. Rough chop two onions, two parsnips, two carrots and two celery stalks. I include the leaves from the celery stalks as well.

Home Brew Beef Stew 5

Once all of the stew meat is browned and resting, start sauteing the aromatics. Saute until they begin to get tender. At this point grate in the garlic using a microplane or garlic press.

Home Brew Beef Stew 6

While the aromatics are sauteing, chop four potatoes. I had some plain old russet potatoes on hand. Red potatoes would work nicely as well.

Home Brew Beef Stew 7

Once the aromatics are beginning to get tender, add the stew meat and potatoes in. Looks and smells fabulous already.

Home Brew Beef Stew 9

This is where the home-brew comes in. Of my choices in the pantry, I decided to use on of my hubby’s Everyday IPAs. Everyday IPA is a moderately hoppy IPA. Perfect for in my stew. If you are not lucky enough to have a hubby who brews his own beer, twelve ounces of your favorite beer will work.

Home Brew Beef Stew 8

Pour the beer into the stew and stir well. Take a moment to admire the beautiful caramel color and the bubbles the beer brings to the stew. Be sure to scrap all the lovely brown bits off the bottom of the pot. They will add an incredible depth of flavor.

Home Brew Beef Stew 10

At this point, add in thirty-two ounces of beef stock, a handful of bay leaves, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Home Brew Beef Stew 11

Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the stew to simmer for several hours until the vegetables are all tender and the meat falls apart in your mouth. Stir occasionally.

Home Brew Beef Stew 12

After several hours of simmering, the stew will thicken considerably and become a beautiful deep brown. The house will smell amazing as well. This is how you know the stew is done.

Home Brew Beef Stew 13

This stew requires no accompaniments. It will fill you and warm you to the core all on its own.

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Yesterday’s smashed potatoes? Today’s potato pancakes!

I love do-overs. In this context, when I say do-overs, I mean taking one day’s leftovers and creating a completely different meal with them. Anyone can heat leftovers up in the microwave. A do-over takes some real thinking though.

These potato pancakes are one of my favorite do-overs by far. One morning, I was scrounging through the fridge looking for something to eat for breakfast and this recipe was born.

Potato Pancakes 1

Start with leftover smashed potatoes. Of course, ours are dairy free. Maybe about two cups worth. If you have more and want more pancakes, just up the rest of the ingredients as well.

Potato Pancakes 2

Next I chopped up half of a white onion and half a poblano pepper for a little zip. You could switch this up by adding scallions, chives, any type of pepper, or red onion.

Potato Pancakes 3

In a large mixing bowl, to the smashed potatoes add: one large egg, three-quarters cup of flour, one-quarter cup of non-dairy cheddar cheese, the chopped onion and poblano, salt and pepper. To make these vegan, you could use a tablespoon or so of canola oil to replace the egg.

Potato Pancakes 4

Mix until well combined and they no longer stick fast to your hands. If needed, add more flour.

Potato Pancakes 5

Take a meatball size amount of the potato mixture and form pancakes. As you can see, this recipe made six decent sized pancakes.

Potato Pancakes 6

While getting the pancakes ready, my favorite cast iron skillet was on the stove. Heating in the skillet, over medium heat, is a small amount of canola oil. I like canola for this because it doesn’t change the taste of the potato pancakes.

Potato Pancakes 7

Drop the pancakes carefully into the skillet. Don’t cramp the skillet! If you do the pancakes will be greasy. In my nine-inch skillet I fried up three at a time.

Potato Pancakes 8

Once you drop them into the skillet do not move them for three minutes! Allow the pancakes to get nice and browned and then flip.

Potato Pancakes 9

After cooking an additional three minutes remove the potato pancakes to a paper towel lined plate while you cook up the remaining three. This will absorb any of the excess oil.

Potato Pancakes 10

These would be delicious and flavorful if you stopped and ate them right here! You could also add some sour cream and it would be like eating a crispy loaded baked potato.

Potato Pancakes 11

For me? Sriracha is the perfect topping! Gives them a little additional kick and also makes for a nice plate. No need to wonder what to do with those leftover smashed potatoes anymore.


Lovely Lamb Stew

Out of nowhere, last week I began craving lamb stew. So, over the weekend, I answered the craving. This lovely lamb stew is warm, savory and hearty. Just what you need to warm the soul as the colder weather is arriving.

The star of the show…the lamb! Go with whatever you can find on sale. Our local store had butterflied loins on sale so two pounds came home.

Cut the lamb into approximately one inch cubes. No need to be precise. The more rustic the better.

The lamb cubes go into a gallon size ziplock bag with a half cup of flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake well to coat all of the pieces evenly.

Heat two turns of extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat in a dutch oven. Brown the lamb on all sides and remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

See all those lovely brown bits??? They produce amazing flavor! Be sure to scrap them all up!

Dice one nice size onion and one head of garlic. Cut two leeks in half and then slice. Saute the onion and garlic in the dutch oven with the lamb drippings. Salt well to sweat the onion.

Get the leeks soaking in enough cold water to cover to clean.

Chop eight turnips into pieces roughly the same size as the lamb cubes.

Also chop six carrots.

Also, four turnips.

Also, eight potatoes. Last of the chopping, I promise! I grabbed a variety out of the potato basket. I think I had a few yukon gold, a few red and a few blue potatoes.

All of the root vegetables join the onion and garlic in the dutch oven. Saute ten minutes or so.

Strain the leeks and add them into the dutch oven as well.

Next I ventured out to the deck to see what fresh herbs I could round-up. Believe it or not, I still have options! I grabbed some oregano, parsley and thyme. Bundle them together and tie with butchers twine.

Add the herb bundle, one cup of red wine, four cups of beef broth, and the lamb into the dutch oven. Also season well with fresh ground sea salt and pepper. Let me talk about the wine for a moment. I am a firm believer that if you won’t drink it, you shouldn’t cook with it. I use whatever wine is in the fridge for drinking.

Bring the stew to a boil. Turn down slightly and allow to come down to a slow boil for about ten minutes to jump-start the cooking of the root vegetables.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for a few hours until the stew has thickened to your liking and the vegetables are tender. I did not promise this was a quick meal. I do promise that it is worth every minute!

When the stew is just about done, take a minute and slice up a loaf of your favorite bread. I picked up a loaf of organic honey wheat at the farmers’ market that was perfect for the occasion.

When the stew has thickened to your liking, remove the herb bundle and serve.  One bowl is more than a meal!


Sunday Breakfast…Pork Hash & Poached Eggs

Sunday breakfast has become a tradition in our house. On Sunday, breakfast is special. No skimping, no rushing! A nice, big, warm, hearty, savory meal to start off our day of relaxation. I try to plan for these things, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen and I search through the fridge and freezer to see what I can come up with. This was one of those weeks.

This week, I found four bone-in center cut pork chops in the freezer. Perfect! Season well with fresh cracked pepper and garlic infused sea salt on both sides.

Once seasoned well, into a skillet which has been heated over medium-high heat with some mushroom sage infused extra virgin olive oil. Cook approximately two to three minutes per side. They will continue to cook once added in to the hash.

Once browned nicely, remove from skillet and allow to rest.

Rough chop one medium onion.

Next, I grabbed some potatoes out of the potato basket. I used a variety of yukon gold, red potatoes and blue potatoes. Use whatever potatoes you have on hand.

Rough chop all of the potatoes along with the onion. You should have a pretty decent amount of potatoes.

Add a little bit of water to scrape up all the nicely browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. These brown bits equal amazing flavor! Add in the potatoes and the onion and allow to simmer until water is gone. This will help the potatoes begin to cook.

Continue to saute in the pan, but do not move around too much. You want the potatoes to get nicely browned. Rough chop the pork and add in to the skillet.

The hash is done when all of the water has evaporated and the pork and potatoes have lightly browned.

While all of this is going on in the skillet, prepare to make your poached eggs. These have never been my strong point, so I invested in a poaching pan. They are now! Good thing is, the poaching pan also doubles as a nice two-quart pan.

Once the water starts to simmer, not boil, it is time to add in the eggs. I cracked them into little glass bowls and then slid them into the egg dishes in the pan.

Keep an eye on them. They can go from under to over done in a minute. At three minutes they are not quite done yet.

Right around five minutes? Perfect!

To serve, a nice size portion of the pork hash goes onto the plate. Remember, we only allow ourselves to eat like this on Sunday! This is not an everyday kind of meal!

Two of the poached eggs top the pork hash. Yes, I broke one. It was going to get broken when I ate it anyway! You are now ready to enjoy.


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