Turnip Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter and Sage

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Why I Love It

Why I love it: This meal is easy, cheap, delicious and a great way to use up all the turnips that might be piling up in your vegetable garden.


Turnip Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter and SageBuy 703

Turnip and potato are a wonderful combination. Usually I roast the two together and eat them with a goat cheese salad but I had already done that a bunch this turnip season and was looking for something new. And this dish is it. It’s a straight-forward potato gnocchi recipe but with pureed turnip mixed in. The strong flavor elevates the gnocchi from slightly bland to absolutely delicious and with a bit of browned butter and some chopped sage you have yourself an easy, cheap and yummy meal.

One thing you have to watch out for here is the moisture in the turnips, you don’t want that to clump up your dough so here’s what you can do: put the turnips into your potato ricer one by one after they’re cooked and peeled and just squeeze them enough to get rid of the water, it works surprisingly well. After that you can blend them up in your food processor and mix them into your dough. Enjoy!

Turnip Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter and Sage
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds Russet potatoes
  • 1 pound turnips
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of fresh black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 sage leaves, chopped
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Poke a few holes into the potatoes with a fork, then place potatoes and turnips on a baking sheet and roast until a knife goes through easily, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  3. Peel the potatoes and put them through a ricer into a bowl.
  4. Peel the turnips and put them in the ricer but don't try to push them through, just squeeze them enough to get the water out of them.
  5. Puree the turnips in a food processor, then mix in with the riced potatoes.
  6. Add egg, flour, salt and pepper to the bowl and distribute the ingredients evenly by stirring them around with a fork.
  7. Carefully knead the ingredients just enough to let them come together into a ball.
  8. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.
  9. Roll each piece into a ½-inch-thick rope.
  10. Cut the rope into 1-inch-long gnocchi. (If you like, lightly press and roll each gnocchi down the backside of a fork to create ridges).
  11. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
  12. Add half of the gnocchi and cook until they float to the surface (1 - 2 minutes).
  13. Spoon the gnocchi out and cook the remaining half in the same fashion.
  14. Melt the butter in a skillet and cook until it starts to brown.
  15. Add the sage and cook for a minute.
  16. Drizzle the butter over the gnocchi and serve.

Food Photography and Styling: Isn’t that spoon great? I got it a while ago from an antique store, it apparently used to be a mining spoon but I think it looks great as a sauce spoon in a food photo. It’s got a super-long handle (like 8 inches), which means that I can grab it easily and firmly without any worry that my finger tips will be in the frame…wonderful! The surface in this photo is the new metal trunk that I used for the chocolate tart in the last post and I think it almost looks like fabric in this photo. Either way I like the look a lot.

As for the food styling I intentionally didn’t skim the foam off the butter to keep the liquid in the bowl of the spoon from looking just uniformly dark. Other than that I made sure to distribute the sage bits more or less evenly over all the gnocchi and arranged them in a nice, circular pattern to keep the viewer’s eye circulating around in the frame.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

Cold Sesame Noodles

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Why I Love It

Why I love it: This dish takes five minutes to make, is delicious and requires only pantry ingredients. It’s perfect when you don’t have time or groceries.


Cold Sesame NoodlesRaw Soba NoodlesBuy

A few weeks ago we watched the series Cooked, a documentary about the history of cooking that is based on Michael Pollan’s book by the same name. It’s a very interesting show that is also absolutely beautifully shot, if you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend it. One of the things I was at first surprised to learn from Cooked was that people in the U.S. cook less today than they have in at least 30 years

I didn’t realize that this was the case but after thinking about it a bit I can actually understand it. Cooking is a job. It takes time, planning, thinking and energy. And with all the responsibilities each of us have in our daily life, time and energy to cook a homemade meal every evening are a luxury for many of us.

And that’s where this simple noodle dish comes in. It’s delicious, cheap, super easy and takes five minutes from start to finish. You simply whisk together sesame oil, natural peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal and coconut milk, then toss freshly cooked soba noodles in it. Because you need nothing but pantry ingredients for this recipe it’s also a great option when you find yourself out of groceries and don’t want to go to the store.

If you have fresh vegetables like carrots or cabbage on hand by all means shred and toss them in for crunch and variety but don’t feel that that’s required, the noodles with the sauce are a perfectly satisfying meal on their own.

Cold Sesame Noodles
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • 4 ounces soba noodles, uncooked
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (with peanuts as the only ingredient)
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sambal (more if you like it spicier)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • mint leaves and sesame seeds (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions then rinse them with cold water.
  2. Whisk oil, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal and coconut milk together until smooth.
  3. Toss the noodles with the sauce, sprinkle with mint leaves and sesame seeds (if using) and serve immediately.
  4. Whatever you don't eat you need to throw away, you cannot store this noodle dish.

Food Photography and Styling: A most difficult subject. Gray, thin strands covered in gooey brown sauce and nothing else. Definitely not an easy task. I made sure to lay the noodles in the bowl in an orderly and wavy pattern and positioned my strobe at about the 11 o’clock position for a dramatic look. There are chili peppers in the sambal so I put a dried chili in the composition to add a splash of color and to mirror the waviness of the noodles.

For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

Cold-Sesame-Noodles-Recipe

Ras el Hanout–Spiced Chicken and Pineapple Fajitas with Pico de Gallo

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Why I Love It

Why I love it: The Moroccan ras el hanout–spiced chicken has a delicious and complex flavor that works perfectly with the charred bell pepper, the juicy pineapple and the spicy pico de gallo. The recipe is quick, easy and perfect for busy weeknights because the chicken can sit in the marinade throughout the day and will be flavorful, very tender and ready for the grill pan or skillet by dinnertime.


Ras el hanout-spiced chicken and pineapple fajita recipeBuy 703

I suppose you could call this recipe a Mexican-Moroccan fusion dish. It has all the elements  of a traditional fajita, like bell pepper and spicy, fresh pico de gallo (and pineapple for extra juici- and sweetness) but the ras el hanout-spiced chicken adds a north African flavor bent as well. I used my homemade ras el hanout spice mix made with cinnamon, cumin, clove, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, fenugreek and fennel seeds and it goes really well with the rest of the flavors and makes these fajitas special.

I mixed the spices into a yogurt marinade not only to flavor but also to tenderize the meat. I found that really important because I think chicken breast meat can be really tough otherwise. (It’s actually the same marinade I used for this Caesar salad the other day). The chicken should marinate for eight to ten hours so it’s perfect to throw it in in the morning and cook it at dinnertime. The preparation is very straightforward, you just sear the meat, the vegetables and the fruit on a grill pan or a cast iron skillet and 30 minutes later dinner is served! 

Ras el Hanout Spiced-Chicken and Pineapple Fajitas with Pico de Gallo
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
For the chicken:
  • 1 large or two small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout (here is a ras el hanout recipe if you want to make your own)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the pico de gallo:
  • half a small red onion
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper, ribs and seeds removed (if you want it spicier, leave some of the ribs and seeds in)
  • lime juice to taste
  • salt to taste
For the fajitas:
  • half a red bell pepper
  • half a green bell pepper
  • 4 slices pineapple (fresh or out of a can)
  • flour or corn tortillas
Instructions:
For the chicken:
  1. Cut the chicken breast(s) into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Whisk yogurt, ras el hanout, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl.
  3. Mix in the chicken cubes and marinate in the fridge for 8–10 hours.
For the pico de gallo:
  1. Peel and dice the red onion.
  2. Remove the seeds from the tomatoes, then dice them.
  3. Dice the serrano pepper.
  4. Mix all ingredients together and season with lime juice and salt.
For the fajitas:
  1. Slice the peppers, set aside.
  2. Drain the pineapple if using canned pineapple. Set aside.
  3. Shake the marinade off the chicken, then grill on a grill pan or a skillet.
  4. Grill the peppers and the pineapple.
  5. Warm the tortillas and fill with the chicken, pepper and pineapple.
  6. Serve with pico de gallo.

Food Photography and Styling: I’ve had this skillet for a long time and had only used it once in a photo years and years ago and then never again because I really didn’t like the look of the long, oval shape. And the truth is I’m actually still not quite comfortable with that, I wish the skillet were rounder and more plump so to speak but it’s the only fajita skillet I have so I used it here.

Since I always find it awkward to try to fit tortillas into a composition I grilled and then folded them up here so that I could stick them in between the skillet and the salsa rather than having them sitting around open somewhere in the composition as large, round yellow/white shapes. To make the photo look fresh and summery I used my through-the-doorframe lighting technique with only a very thin white curtain to create fairly hard shadows that looked like late afternoon outdoor light to me. 
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

Caesar Salad with Grilled Ras el Hanout Chicken

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Take the classic salad recipe up a notch by marinating chicken breasts in a delicious Moroccan ras el hanout spice and yogurt mix before grilling them to smoky perfection.

Caesar Salad Grilled Ras el Hanout Chicken

Buy 697 Ras el hanout is a spice blend of North African origin and even though there are a few common ingredients among the different recipes for it, the main rule seems to be that everyone’s ras el hanout is different. I saw lots and lots of different blends, each using different spice combinations and different proportions. So for my mix here I went through my spice cabinet and basically grabbed all my favorites: cardamom, cumin, clove, coriander, peppercorns, fenugreek, fennel seeds and cinnamon.

I ground everything up in my mortar with my pestle (a good right–arm workout) and then mixed it into a yogurt-based marinade that I used for the chicken. It turned out quite tasty, it’s a new and different spin on the traditional Caesar. But you don’t have to stop there, the ras el hanout is quite versatile beyond the salad as well. I’ve used it on roasted vegetables and yesterday I even sprinkled some on my pasta and tomato sauce lunch.

Caesar Salad with Grilled Ras el Hanout Chicken
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
For the ras el hanout:
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the chicken:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • one large or two small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite–sized cubes
For the salad dressing:
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons milk
For the salad:
  • romaine lettuce
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • chopped chives
Instructions:
For the ras el hanout:
  1. Grind all ingredients except for the cinnamon in a mortar with a pestle until finely ground.
  2. Mix in the cinnamon.
For the chicken:
  1. Whisk yogurt, ras el hanout, salt and lemon juice together in a bowl.
  2. Mix in the chicken cubes and marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  3. Shake the marinade off the chicken, then grill on a grill pan on the stove or on a grill (skewer the cubes if using a grill).
For the salad dressing:
  1. Whisk all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Keep in the fridge until you use it.
For the salad:
  1. Put lettuce on plates, top with chicken and Parmesan and serve with dressing and a sprinkle of chives.

Food Photography and Styling: Styling salads is really difficult in my experience and one of the things I have learned over time is that it’s best to just let the lettuce fall naturally and then adjust. Placing every leaf on the plate with intent ends up looking terribly staged. So for this photo I grabbed a bunch of freshly cut lettuce and dropped it on the plate from a few inches up. I did that a few times until I thought it looked natural and inviting.

My new marble tile became the surface for this shot because I could not think of ANY other surface that would have worked with the romaine shade of green… To make the set look less boring I added a drop of salad dressing next to the creamer on the tile. (I actually started by trying to make a trail of several drops but that turned out to be impossible to do by myself, I wasn’t fast enough back up the ladder with my camera to take the shot before the drops had spread out and run into each other. Sometimes it would be nice to have an assistant :)).
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry

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I love to eat Indian curries but I’m not always in the mood to cook them because they usually require a lot of time standing at the stovetop. Not this one! This slow cooker chicken curry needs just a little bit of prep and once that’s done it’s “set it and forget it” – my favorite way of cooking.

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry RecipeBuy 684 I adapted this recipe from the chicken vindaloo I posted ages ago and I find it absolutely terrific, better than the “old” recipe actually. It’s also more user-friendly because it requires mostly what I would call standard spices, such as yellow curry powder, star anise, and coriander and cumin seeds.

The preparation is simple, you briefly sear boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a Dutch oven, then fry spice seeds, pureed onion, carrot and a simple mix of a few ground spices. Next you add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth, bring everything to a boil and then transfer it to the slow cooker. Three hours later you open the lid, stir in sour cream and you’re ready to go! You can serve the curry with rice but I personally prefer naan for this one.

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients:
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder (see notes)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder (if you don't have store-bought at hand, I have a homemade chili powder recipe)
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 – 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¼ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon whole black, brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 whole star anise
  • ½ carrot, sliced
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup sour cream (or more, if desired)
  • cilantro (for garnish)
Instructions:
  1. Peel the onion and chop into ~ 1-inch chunks.
  2. Put onion into a pot along with 1 cup of water and boil without a lid until almost all water has evaporated. Let cool for a bit.
  3. Put ginger, garlic, turmeric, curry powder and chili powder together in a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of water and mix with a spoon to make a paste. Set aside.
  4. Transfer the boiled onion (along with any water there may be) into a food processor and process into a puree.
  5. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering.
  6. Lightly season the chicken thighs with salt, then sear them on both sides in the hot oil.
  7. Turn the heat down.
  8. Move the chicken thighs over to one side of the Dutch oven and add fenugreek, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds to the other side. Fry the seeds for 4 - 5 minutes (the seeds need to sizzle but be careful not to burn them).
  9. Carefully add the onion puree (be careful, this will splatter!).
  10. Add the star anise and the carrot.
  11. Turn the heat back up and fry onion and carrot for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove the star anise.
  13. Add the spice paste and stir until you have a homogeneous mix.
  14. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth and mix well. Let the mix come to a boil, then transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours.
  15. Stir in the sour cream.
  16. Serve the curry with naan or rice and sprinkle with cilantro.
Notes:
I used medium yellow curry powder from the Savory Spice Shop.

Food Photography and Styling: I chose my blue metal tray as the surface for this shot because I thought it contrasted nicely with the color of the curry. Initially I only had the napkin and the plate with the naan in the background but together with the curry pan those items formed a straight line that lead the eye out of the frame and to remedy that I added the little pewter tray with coriander seeds opposite the bread. I observed the rule of thirds and placed the horizon line on a dividing line and the sprig of cilantro on an intersection point.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

Slow Cooker Beef Back Ribs

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Fall-off-the-bone beef ribs in a rich, slightly spicy red wine sauce make for a great, fancy dinner that requires time but minimal work (thanks to the good old slow cooker).

Beef RibsBuy 664I know it’s been around for a long time but I have only recently started to truly appreciate the beauty of the slow cooker. You add a bunch of ingredients with very little prep, turn the cooker on, go about your business, come back and everything is almost ready with minimal cleanup. It’s wonderful and it doesn’t even matter how long the cooking takes because it is so completely hands-off.

These delicious beef ribs were in the cooker for six hours in a mix of red wine, chicken broth, vegetables and a few chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a bit of heat. I bought them with the bone for extra flavor, seared them in a Dutch oven before transferring them to the slow cooker and by the time they were done the meat literally slid of the bone and tasted incredibly rich and flavorful. I cooked the braising liquid down into a spectacular sauce (no additional ingredients required) and then served the ribs over egg noodles but mashed potatoes work equally well.

Slow Cooker Beef Back Ribs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
  • about 2 pounds beef back ribs, bone in
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • cooked egg noodles
  • sour cream (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Cut the rib rack into individual ribs, season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven until shimmering.
  3. Sear the ribs on all sides until browned, then transfer to a slow cooker.
  4. Add onion, carrot and celery to the pan or Dutch oven you seared the meat in and cook for about 10 minutes until starting to brown. Be careful not to burn the browned bits from the ribs that are in the pan, turn the heat down if you need to.
  5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  6. Stir in wine, chicken broth and water, bring to a boil, then transfer to the slow cooker.
  7. Add the chipotle peppers and the thyme to the slow cooker, then cook on low for six hours.
  8. Transfer the liquid to a pot and cook on medium heat until reduced to a syrupy consistency.
  9. Shred the meat and serve with the sauce on egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
  10. Add a dollop of sour cream (optional).

Food Photography and Styling: I always like to light my food such that it looks like it’s sitting next to a window but this time I wanted to go a step further and show parts of the window sill and window side wall too. Well, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know that I mostly don’t actually use window light so what you see in this photo is actually not a window sill and a wall but a few strategically placed pieces of styrofoam, paper and the rim of a tray. I found it pretty convincing and was rather happy with it. The other thing I was happy with in this photo is the pretty wine glass in the back, I found two of these beauties in an antique store the other day and loved their pretty shape and shortness (tough to find a wine glass short enough to fit comfortably into a food photo). I liked how the color of the red wine complemented the dark beef and since red wine is an important ingredient in this recipe it fit with the story as well.

For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

Allspice Apple and Sausage Roast Pan with Croutons and Sage

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Roast pans are my favorite this time of the year, easy to prepare and so comforting. This one is a perfect mix of sweet and savory.

Allspice Apple and Sausage Roast Pan with Croutons and Sage Recipe

Buy 673Allspice and sage are my new favorite flavor combo, they go together like tomato and basil. Well, maybe not quite as perfectly as that but almost. What I did here was toss juicy apple wedges and pork sausages with allspice and a bit of olive oil and then roast them in the oven along with some sourdough bread cubes and fresh sage leaves. I had meant for this to be a side but it’s so substantial and well-rounded that I ended up calling it a main dish. Either way, it’s perfect comfort food for a cold winter evening.

Allspice Apple and Sausage Roast Pan with Croutons and Sage
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • 4 pork sausages
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into wedges (Honeycrisp work very well here)
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup bread cubes (cut from a high-quality sourdough bread)
  • ~ 12 sage leaves, roughly chopped
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the sausages and the apple wedges with the olive oil and the allspice.
  3. Transfer to a baking pan and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the sage leaves and the bread cubes to the pan, sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper and stir well.
  5. Return the pan to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes, until everything is nicely browned and the sausages are fully cooked.
  6. Slice the sausages into bite-sized pieces and serve.

Food Photography and Styling: The allspice and the sage are important parts of this recipe and to show that I sprinkled a few allspice berries and some fresh sage leaves on the set. (Sage leaves in a vase sitting in the background of a photo tend to look like a miniature palm tree so I stayed away from doing that). Since I happened to have perfectly sage-colored packing paper around I cut out a square of that and put it under the pan. (The paper came as the padding in a package we got a few weeks ago and of course I immediately thought “prop!” and kept it). The green also provided nice contrast to the red of the apple wedges in the dish. A beer was a great visual match for this rustic dish so I poured one and added a bottle opener and cap as well.

For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.

 

Paprika Beef Stew

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Paprika Beef StewBuy 665 Stews are one of my favorite meals to prepare for several reasons: 1) they are great to make ahead, 2) they work summer and winter and 3) once everything is in the pot they cook themselves and I can take a snooze do other important things.

The beef stew I made here is spiced with delicious half-sharp Hungarian paprika and flavored with red wine, tomato paste, onion, garlic, a bay leaf and peppers. And here is my special twist: I don’t like to cook vegetables to mush so I roasted the peppers (a bunch of serranos and some small sweet peppers) in the oven separately and stirred them into the stew once it was done cooking. That had the added benefit of preserving the peppers’ pretty color and shape for visual appeal (always important). I suggest you serve the stew with mashed potatoes but if you don’t want to go through the trouble of making them a good, crusty bread will work as well.

Paprika Beef Stew
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
  • vegetable oil
  • a 2½ to 3-pound chuck roast, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (I used Penzeys Hungarian paprika, half-sharp)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1½ cups dry red wine
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 serrano peppers
  • 6 small sweet peppers
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch
Instructions:
  1. Pat the meat dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a Dutch oven, brown the meat in a little vegetable oil on all sides. Sear the meat well but watch out not to burn it. (Do this step in batches, if you crowd the pot the meat will just steam and not brown).
  3. Transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent. (Add more oil if needed).
  5. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add paprika and tomato paste and stir around for a few seconds until combined with the onion and garlic.
  7. Add wine, chicken broth and bay leaf and stir to bring all the brown bits in the pot into the liquid.
  8. Add the meat (and its juices) back into the pot.
  9. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, put the lid on and simmer for two hours.
  10. About 1½ hours in heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  11. Remove seeds, ribs and stems from all the peppers, cut them into bite-sized pieces, put them on a baking sheet, drizzle them with a little bit of vegetable oil and roast them in the oven until they are tender (10 to 15 minutes). Set aside.
  12. Dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch in a little bit of water and add to the boiling stew. If the result is not thick enough for your taste, mix up more cornstarch and add.
  13. Stir the roasted peppers into the stew and serve with mashed potatoes or bread.

Food Photography and Styling: Stews tend to be brown mushes with few attractive features but this one had a glossy surface that looked nice and to bring that out I backlit the photo (with my strobe). I didn’t see any easy way to bring mashed potatoes into the composition here so I went with my alternate serving suggestion of bread and sprinkled a few crumbs about for a more relaxed look. Beer is my number one choice of beverage for a photo, it always adds freshness and gives a beautiful look with the foam on top so I poured a glass and added a few beer-related props as well.
For info on what type of camera and lighting equipment I used head on over to my FAQ page.