Sharing a seriously fun love for food

Category: Dinner

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Tender strips of sirloin pan-seared then smothered in a rich, beefy sauce with sour cream and Madeira wine. Serve over a bed of hot buttered noodles to soak up the goodness and you’ve got a great dish worth remembering!

Beef stroganoff is truly a classic with history dating back to the 1800s, named for a Russian Count. It was quite a popular dish in the mid-century – that is the 1950s and 1960s – and served by my Grandmother for many a dinner party. Sadly it is seldom seen on menus these days. Over the years many iterations of the recipe often left the dish somewhat less desirable. But not this version – this version from the early 60s is made using tender cuts of prime sirloin.

The meat is key to this dish so don’t skimp on a cheap cut of meat. Look for sirloin with even marbling throughout the meat. The beef is sliced into thin strips then dusted with flour and quickly pan-seared. A sharp knife and partially freezing the meat before slicing makes this an easy task.

Then there’s that rich decadent sauce. Start with fresh cremini mushrooms, sweet onions and garlic. Sauté them in butter before simmering in a hearty beef stock deepened with thick, savory tomato paste.

Finish by stirring in tangy, luscious sour cream along with a generous splash of Madeira wine.

Then slide those delectable slices of sirloin back into the sauce. It’s not a complicated dish though the flavors will leave your guests thinking you’ve cooked for hours.

Spoon over buttered noodles and top with a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley. Easy and oh, so comforting!

Beef Stroganoff

1-1/2 to 2 pounds sirloin steak – go with 2 pounds if you have big appetites to feed

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ cup flour, divided

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

8 tablespoons butter, divided

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

8-ounces fresh Cremini mushrooms, sliced – baby Portobello mushrooms

1 cup chopped sweet onion

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

2-1/2 cups of beef stock

½ teaspoon concentrated beef base, such as Better than Bouillon

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons Madeira wine

For serving: Hot buttered egg noodles, about one 16-ounce package and chopped fresh parsley

Slice the sirloin steaks into ¼” thick slices*.

Spread the meat out into a single layer and sprinkle with the kosher salt, seasoning both sides. Let the meat rest at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Place ¼ cup of the flour and the black pepper in a shallow dish and whisk to combine. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter along with the olive oil in a large sauté pan placed over medium heat. When the butter and oil are hot, dredge the slices of meat in the flour and pepper.

Cook just until brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Don’t crowd the pan or the meat will steam and not brown.

Transfer the cooked steak to a plate while you cook the mushrooms and onion.

Melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the onions along with the mushrooms, scraping up any brown bits left in the pan from the steak. Continue cooking over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Add the remaining butter and when melted sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of flour over the onions, mushrooms and garlic.

Stir, blending the flour into the vegetables and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Pour in the stock along with the concentrated beef base and blend into the vegetables until the sauce is smooth.

Add the tomato paste, stirring into the sauce.

Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream and the Madeira wine.

Return the sirloin steak to the sauce and cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

Serve over hot buttered noodles and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

*Partially freezing the steak will make slicing the meat into strips much easier. Wrap the meat in parchment paper and freeze for about 2 to 3 hours.

Serves 4.

Beef Stroganoff, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 20, 2019
: Serves 4.

Tender strips of sirloin, pan-seared then smothered in a rich, beefy gravy with sour cream and Madeira wine. Serve over a bed of hot buttered noodles and you’ve got a classic dish worth remembering!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds sirloin steak - go with 2 pounds if you have big appetites to feed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ cup flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8-ounces fresh Cremini mushrooms, sliced – baby Portobello mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onions
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2-1/2 cups of beef stock
  • ½ teaspoon concentrated beef base, such as Better than Bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Madeira wine
  • Hot buttered egg noodles, one 16-ounce package and chopped fresh parsley
Directions
  • Step 1 Slice the sirloin steaks into ¼” thick slices*. Spread the meat out into a single layer and sprinkle with the kosher salt, seasoning both sides. Let the meat rest at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Step 2 Place ¼ cup of the flour and the black pepper in a shallow dish and whisk to combine.
  • Step 3 Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter along with the olive oil in a large sauté pan placed over medium heat.
  • Step 4 When the butter and oil are hot, dredge the slices of meat in the flour and pepper and cook just until brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Don’t crowd the pan or the meat will steam and not brown. Transfer the cooked steak to a plate while you cook the mushrooms and onion.
  • Step 5 Melt an additional 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the onions along with the mushrooms, scraping up any brown bits left in the pan from the steak. Continue cooking over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 6 Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  • Step 7 Add the remaining butter and when melted sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of flour over the onions, mushrooms and garlic.
  • Step 8 Stir, blending the flour into the vegetables and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Step 9 Pour in the stock along with the concentrated beef base and blend into the vegetables until the sauce is smooth.
  • Step 10 Add the tomato paste, stirring into the sauce.
  • Step 11 Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream and the Madeira wine.
  • Step 12 Return the sirloin steak to the sauce and cook until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 13 Serve over hot buttered noodles and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
  • Step 14 *Partially freezing the steak will make slicing the meat into strips much easier. Wrap the meat in parchment paper and freeze for about 2 to 3 hours.

 

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

It only takes a medley of spices to bring out the best in this tender cut of pork. Dry rubbed and chilled to let those flavors sink into the meat then it’s pan-seared and roasted to perfection in less than 30 minutes. It’s a light and delicious option for an easy meal to start the week!

Whenever I’m looking for a fast meal I frequently grab pork tenderloins. I keep them in the freezer for “emergency meals”. They thaw quickly and are always a crowd pleaser. They’re normally packed two to a package giving you a generous portion for a group or enough for leftovers. You can find pre-seasoned and marinated tenderloins, but doing it yourself is so easy plus you can control what goes in and onto the meat.

The spices used in this dish are a twist on the Pork Island Tenderloin* that we love. Start with cumin, chili powder and cinnamon then toss in dry mustard along with Chinese five-spice. Finish with a bit of freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt.

Rub the spices on the pork tenderloins and let them chill for 2 to 3 hours or even overnight if you want to get a jump on meal prep.

Then a brief sear in a hot pan to add one more layer of flavor before you pop them in the oven.

Three important things to remember when cooking pork tenderloins. First, don’t overcook the meat or it will be dry. Gone are the days when you need to cook pork until it’s well done. Roast the tenderloins to an internal temperature of 140-degrees, about 20 minutes in the oven does it. Second, take the time to remove the silverskin – the membrane that runs lengthwise on the tenderloin. It can cause your meat to curl up when it’s cooking and it’s extremely tough. Just slide a sharp knife between the silverskin and the meat and trim it off.

Third – and this goes for any meat – after cooking cover it with foil and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before carving. The internal temperature will continue to rise and this rest time allows the natural juices to settle back into the meat, keeping it juicy and tender.

Let the pork tenderloin speak for itself served on top of a gorgeous bed of greens and fresh fruit – or top with our sweet and savory Apricot Sauce* for a tasty finish!

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin

2 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 pork tenderloins, about 2-1/2 pounds – silverskin removed

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the oven to 350-degrees.

For the spice rub:

In a small bowl whisk together the kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, dry mustard and Chinese five-spice.

Place the pork tenderloins in a dish and spread the spice rub over all sides of the pork. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight if you want to get a jump on meal prep. About 45 minutes before roasting, pull the tenderloins from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take the chill off.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the tenderloins and sear on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Place the pan in a 350-degree oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140-degrees.

Transfer the pork tenderloins to a cutting board, cover with foil and let them rest for 10 minutes before carving. The temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

*Pork Island Tenderloin: https://preservinggoodstock.com/?p=8529

*Apricot Sauce: https://preservinggoodstock.com/?p=10405

Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

May 6, 2019
: Serves 6 to 8.

It only takes a medley of spices to bring out the best in this tender cut of pork. Then it’s pan-seared and roasted to perfection in less than 30 minutes. It’s a delicious option for an easy meal to start the week!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 2-1/2 pounds – silverskin removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Directions
  • Step 1 Heat the oven to 350-degrees.
  • Step 2 For the spice rub:
  • Step 3 In a small bowl whisk together the kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, dry mustard and Chinese five-spice.
  • Step 4 Place the pork tenderloins in a dish and spread the spice rub over all sides of the pork. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight if you want to get a jump on meal prep. About 45 minutes before roasting, pull the tenderloins from the refrigerator and let them rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take the chill off.
  • Step 5 Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the tenderloins and sear on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total.
  • Step 6 Place the pan in a 350-degree oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140-degrees. Transfer the pork tenderloins to a cutting board, cover with foil and let them rest for 10 minutes before carving. The temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.
Ham and Potato Soup

Ham and Potato Soup

A rich and creamy soup, loaded with chunks of potatoes and ham plus bits of scallions. Simmered in a stock full of flavor from one of a cook’s favorite tools – the hambone!

After Easter I popped the remainder of the holiday ham along with the bone in the freezer. Growing up in a family where no decent cook would waste leftovers, I learned early in life the value of a hambone. So typically when I buy a ham I grab a bone-in ham. But on the occasion that I pick up a small ham – which are often boneless – I always ask for a hambone. Cooking with this “scrap” of meat is one of the first kitchen treasures I learned about from my Mom. Whether she was cooking a pot of beans or a pea soup, this was her secret weapon!

This soup transforms leftovers into a feast. It’s similar to a basic potato soup but elevated with simple ingredients. Sweet onions and Yukon gold potatoes are cooked in a savory chicken stock along with that fabulous hambone, followed with a generous handful of scallions and bits of ham.

As the soup cooks the essence of the hambone seeps into the stock and the tender potatoes. Then it’s finished with half and half and  just enough flour to lightly thicken the stock. The result is a soup that satisfies you to your core!

Ladle up and top with chopped scallions and fresh parsley. Leftovers easily and deliciously reinvented!

Ham and Potato Soup

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium sweet onion chopped, about 1-1/2 cups

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes – about 6 cups

4 cups chicken stock

1 hambone

2 cups chopped ham, about four to five slices, 1/4″ thick each

3 scallions, chopped, about ½ cup, plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 cups half and half

4 tablespoons flour

Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add the potatoes, along with the kosher salt and pepper tossing into the onions, butter and olive oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

Pour the chicken stock into the stockpot and nestle the hambone down into the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the chopped ham and scallions, cover and continue simmering until the scallions are tender, about 10 minutes.

Mix the half and half with the flour until smooth. Remove the hambone and pour the half and half mixture into the soup.

Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the soup has thickened slightly and the potatoes are very tender.

Garnish with additional chopped scallions and freshly chopped parsley.

Serves 6.

Ham and Potato Soup, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 29, 2019
: Makes 6 servings.

A rich and creamy soup, loaded with chunks of potatoes and ham plus bits of scallions. Simmered in a stock full of flavor from one of a cook’s favorite tools – a hambone!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
  • 3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes - about 6 cups
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 hambone
  • 2 cups chopped ham, about 4 to 5 ¼” thick slices
  • 3 scallions, chopped, about ½ cup, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Directions
  • Step 1 Melt butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté under tender and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Step 2 Add the potatoes, along with the kosher salt and pepper tossing into the onions, butter and olive oil. Sauté for about 5 minutes.
  • Step 3 Pour the chicken stock into the stockpot and nestle the hambone down into the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  • Step 4 Stir in the chopped ham and scallions and simmer until the scallions are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • Step 5 Mix the half and half with the flour until smooth. Remove the hambone and pour the half and half mixture into the soup.
  • Step 6 Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered for another 15 minutes or until the soup has thickened slightly and the potatoes are very tender.
  • Step 7 Garnish with additional chopped scallions and freshly chopped parsley.
Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

Overheard from my engineer – “What’s this? Is it any good? Oh, it is!” Egg salad – that classic comfort food that’s ridiculously easy to make. Take tender eggs, give them a gentle chop then toss with a blend of creamy mayonnaise and tangy Dijon mustard. And instead of pickle relish toss in sweet currants, toasted pecans and just a touch of fresh dill! Delightful!

The season of Easter is behind us and it’s now perfectly acceptable to wear white. And if you find yourself with half a dozen or so hard-boiled eggs left from the egg roll or hunt, then egg salad is a delicious way to use them. First things first. Hard-boiled eggs can be refrigerated for up to a week. But if the eggs were outside for more than two hours it might be best to make a fresh batch.

Most recipes for egg salad include pickle relish but that subtle sweet note in our egg salad comes compliments of the tiny currant. The crunch from celery is replaced with a more flavorful addition – toasted pecans – adding a wonderful nuttiness.

Then brighten it with a bit of fresh dill and blend everything together with mayo and Dijon mustard.

Smear a little more mayo on pumpernickel bread – crusts trimmed of course – then top with lusciousness that is egg salad.

This is how something so simple can be so good!

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans

6 extra-large eggs

½ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s

1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille

¼ cup currants

¼ cup chopped toasted pecans

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

For the hard-boiled eggs:

Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.

After 12 minutes pour the hot water off the eggs. Cover the eggs with ice water to quickly cool and stop them from cooking any further.

For the egg salad:

Tap the eggshells all around and peel. Chop the eggs and place them in a mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper.

Toss in the currants and the toasted pecans.

Stir in the fresh chopped dill.

Makes about 2-1/2 cups of egg salad.

Egg Salad with Currants and Toasted Pecans, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 22, 2019
: Makes about 2-1/2 cups of egg salad.

Take tender eggs, give them a gentle chop then toss with a blend of creamy mayonnaise and tangy Dijon mustard. And instead of pickle relish toss in sweet currants, toasted pecans and just a touch of fresh dill! Delightful!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • ½ cup good mayonnaise, such as Duke’s
  • 1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard, such as Maille
  • ¼ cup currants
  • ¼ cup chopped toasted pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Directions
  • Step 1 For the hard-boiled eggs:
  • Step 2 Place the eggs in a saucepan large enough to keep them in a single layer. Cover the eggs with water, and about 1” over the tops. Place the saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the water begins to boil remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid. Leave the eggs in the pan for 12 minutes.
  • Step 3 After 12 minutes pour the hot water off the eggs. Cover the eggs with ice water to quickly cool and stop them from cooking any further.
  • Step 4 For the egg salad:
  • Step 5 Tap the eggshells all around and peel. Chop the eggs and place them in a mixing bowl.
  • Step 6 Add the mayonnaise, the Dijon mustard, kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Step 7 Toss in the currants and the toasted pecans then stir in the fresh chopped dill.
  • Step 8 Keep chilled.
Flat Iron Steak Fajitas

Flat Iron Steak Fajitas

Marinated in tangy citrus and rich, fruity olive oil with pops of spice from cumin and chili powder, a simple flat iron steak mingles so nicely with sweet peppers and onions to create a “sheet pan” version of this classic Texas dish!

Fajitas are classic TexMex and this “sheet pan” approach yields fabulous results. Though traditionally made with skirt steak, a flat iron cut offers a flavorful and tender option for fajitas. Flat iron steak is a delectable cut that comes from the chuck portion.

Full of marbling, it’s a perfect for a quick cook using high heat.

This steak benefits from a quick marinade. This one is quick to make and full of flavor using Southwestern spices and minced garlic swirled in the juice of lemons and limes.

Toss this gorgeous piece of beef on a sheet pan along with both bright, sweet peppers and onions and this meal comes together with minimal effort. Thanks to Emily for this brilliant idea!

Slice and serve with those beautiful peppers and onions on a warm tortilla with familiar TexMex favorites – guacamole, salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese. One bite and you’ll understand why this part of Texas treasured Texas cuisine!

Flat Iron Steak Fajitas

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for serving

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large lemon

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, about 2 limes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

¼ cup olive oil

1-1/2 pounds flat iron steak

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seed and sliced thin

1 large red bell pepper, cored, seed and sliced thin

1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin

Flour tortillas, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese for serving

Combine the garlic, the kosher salt, black pepper, lemon and lime juice along with the cumin and chili powder.

Whisk in the olive oil.

Place a gallon size storage bag inside a small baking dish (just in case the bag leaks) and place the flat iron steak inside the bag. Pour the marinade over the steak.

Seal the bag and work the marinade into the steak to coat all sides. Refrigerate the steak for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, remove the steak and discard the marinade. Place the steak on a large rimmed sheet pan that has been sprayed with a cooking spray. Add the sliced peppers and onion. Let the steak rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take the chill off the meat.

Place the pan on the second to highest rack in your oven and broil the steak with the peppers and onion on high for 4 minutes. (Some ovens offer low, medium and high broiler options.) Flip the steak and cook for an additional 4 minutes. This produces a steak that is medium rare.

Cover the pan tightly with foil and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the meat across the grain into very thin strips.

To assemble the fajitas:

Place a small amount of the sliced steak down the center of a warm flour tortilla. Add slices of both red and yellow peppers and onions.

Top with sour cream, guacamole, salsa and shredded cheese. Season with a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Roll the tortilla up around everything and enjoy!

To warm flour tortillas:

Place a tortilla in a large skillet over medium heat. Warm about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Lay the warm tortillas on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Keep them warm in a 200-degree oven while the steak cooks.

Makes enough for 8 to 10 fajitas.

Flat Iron Steak Fajitas, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

April 3, 2019
: Makes 8 to 10 fajitas.

Marinated in tangy citrus and rich olive oil with pops of spice from cumin and chili powder, a simple flat iron steak mingles so nicely with sweet peppers and onions to create this classic Texas dish!

By:

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for serving
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, about 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds flat iron steak
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seed and sliced thin
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seed and sliced thin
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • Flour tortillas, guacamole, salsa, sour cream and shredded cheese for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Combine the garlic, the kosher salt, black pepper, lemon and lime juice along with the cumin and chili powder. Whisk in the olive oil.
  • Step 2 Place a gallon size storage bag inside a small baking dish (just in case the bag leaks) and place the flat iron steak inside the bag. Pour the marinade over the steak. Seal the bag and work the marinade into the steak to coat all sides.
  • Step 3 Refrigerate the steak for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Step 4 When you’re ready to cook, remove the steak and discard the marinade. Place the steak on a large rimmed sheet pan that has been sprayed with a cooking spray. Add the sliced peppers and onion. Let the steak rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to take the chill off the meat.
  • Step 5 Place the pan on the second to highest rack in your oven and broil the steak with the peppers and onion on high for 4 minutes. (Some ovens offer low, medium and high broiler options.) Flip the steak and cook for an additional 4 minutes. This produces a steak that is medium rare.
  • Step 6 Cover the pan tightly with foil and let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Step 7 Slice the meat across the grain into very thin strips.
  • Step 8 To assemble the fajitas:
  • Step 9 Place a small amount of the sliced steak down the center of a warm flour tortilla. Add slices of both red and yellow peppers and onions. Top with sour cream, guacamole, salsa and shredded cheese. Season with a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Roll the tortilla up around everything and enjoy!
  • Step 10 To warm flour tortillas:
  • Step 11 Place a tortilla in a large skillet over medium heat. Warm about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Lay the warm tortillas on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Keep them warm in a 200-degree oven while the steak cooks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

Take the brightness of fennel mingle it with peppery arugula and toss with sweet orange, creamy avocados, toasted pecans and fresh Parmesan and Fontina. Then dress it with orange pecan vinaigrette – absolutely wonderful for a midweek meal!

It’s a simple salad with a gorgeous array of ingredients. Fennel and arugula get things started with a balance of flavors from the subtle sweetness of oranges and richness of ripe avocados. Toss in a nutty crunch from toasted pecans and luscious Parmesan and Fontina cheese.

Fennel is an often-overlooked bulb vegetable and it’s loaded with vitamin C along with iron and potassium. If you’ve avoided fennel because its flavor profile is most commonly compared to licorice, set that notion aside and give it a try. I’ve never been a fan of licorice but there’s something vibrant and fresh about fennel.

Arugula is often a minor player in recipes though it shouldn’t be. Known to boost the immune system, this sturdy green brings a nice spice to any plate. And unlike traditional salad greens arugula holds up even after it’s coated with vinaigrette.

Now drizzle everything in a rich orange and pecan vinaigrette.

This orange pecan vinaigrette has subtle notes of orange – compliments of fresh juice and zest – with a splash of champagne vinegar to add a bit of acid. Use a high quality olive oil – Olio Santo is one of my favorites. It’s known for it’s fruity flavor – it’s a key component so don’t skimp! The toasted pecans lend a depth that ties into the vinaigrette in an unsuspecting way.

First course, second course, lunch or dinner!

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette

For the vinaigrette:

Zest from 1 navel orange, about 2 teaspoons

Juice from 1 large navel orange, about ½ cup

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar

½ teaspoon chopped garlic

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 tablespoons toasted pecans

For the salad:

4 cups arugula

1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel, about 1 small bulb – white portion only

1 large navel orange, chopped

1 avocado, cubed

½ cup shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese blend

½ cup chopped toasted pecans

To make the vinaigrette:

Combine the orange zest and orange juice with the champagne vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds to blend together.

Add the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds. Toss in the toasted pecans and process until the vinaigrette is blended and the pecans are finely chopped, about 1 to 2 minutes.

To assemble the salad:

Mix the arugula with the sliced fennel and orange pieces in a large bowl.

Add the shaved cheese, the avocado along with the toasted pecans.

Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.

Fennel, Arugula and Orange Salad with Orange Pecan Vinaigrette, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 27, 2019
: Makes 4 servings for entrees, 6 for first course servings.

Take the brightness of fennel mingle it with peppery arugula and toss with orange, avocado, toasted pecans and some fresh Parmesan and Fontina. Then dress it with orange pecan vinaigrette – absolutely wonderful for a midweek or weekend meal!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • Zest from 1 navel orange, about 2 teaspoons
  • Juice from 1 large navel orange, about ½ cup
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons toasted pecans
  • For the salad:
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel, about 1 small bulb – white portion only
  • 1 large navel orange, chopped
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan and Fontina cheese blend
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the vinaigrette:
  • Step 2 Combine the orange zest and orange juice with the champagne vinegar, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and sugar in a food processor. Process for about 20 to 30 seconds to blend together.
  • Step 3 Add the olive oil and process for about 30 seconds.
  • Step 4 Toss in the toasted pecans and process until the vinaigrette is blended and the pecans are finely chopped, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 5 To assemble the salad:
  • Step 6 Mix the arugula with the sliced fennel and orange pieces in a large bowl. Add the shaved cheese, the avocado along with the toasted pecans.
  • Step 7 Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat.
Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes

Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes

Take a blend of ricotta swirl in a touch of tangy Caesar dressing and smear it on a toasted ciabatta roll. Then layer it with slices of savory chicken. Top with cherry tomatoes roasted with garlic, rich olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add crisp romaine, shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese and you have one extraordinary chicken sandwich!

Sandwiches need not be a mere slice of cheese with cold cuts on sliced white bread. Years ago on a trip through Oklahoma we stopped at a restaurant claiming to be “all things meat”. That intrigued the Engineer and assumed we were in for a mouthwatering treat. As we stood in line to order we found our options were limited. Sliced white bread, American cheese and a choice of ham or roast beef. That was it. Not a leaf of lettuce or a slice of tomato in sight. There should be a multitude of taste and color and texture!

A chicken Caesar sandwich is nothing new but Emily and I wondered how we could elevate it, creating additional layers of flavor. Cherry tomatoes, always wonderful seemed to be a good addition. Roasting them with cloves of garlic tossed in extra-virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar brought a beautiful dimension.

Then to tackle the sandwich spread. Sometimes a Caesar dressing straight up on a sandwich is overwhelming. Folding it into a creamy ricotta cheese hit the right note.

For the bread, a lightly toasted ciabatta roll is a fabulous vessel for these ingredients – but feel free to use your favorite.

An easy meal and a mini feast for your taste buds!

Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes

For the roasted tomatoes:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

One large carton of cherry tomatoes, about 30 tomatoes

8 to 10 cloves of garlic, halved

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to season the sandwich

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra to season the sandwich

For the sandwich spread:

1/3 cup Caesar salad dressing

2/3 cup ricotta cheese

For the sandwich:

½ pound roasted sliced chicken, such as EverRoast Oven Roasted from Boar’s Head

¼ cup shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese blend

Romaine lettuce

4 ciabatta rolls

To make the roasted tomatoes:

Pour the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar into a small baking dish. Toss the cherry tomatoes into the dish then add the garlic cloves. Season with the kosher salt and pepper.

Roast in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, until the tomatoes and garlic are very soft. Stir after the first 15 minutes of roasting.

For the sandwich spread:

Stir the Caesar salad dressing together with the ricotta cheese.

For the sandwiches:

Warm the ciabatta rolls in a 375-degree oven for about 6 minutes or until the bread is warm and soft. Using a serrated knife slice the rolls in half. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the liquid from the roasted tomatoes onto the thicker top portion of the roll. Spread the ricotta-Caesar dressing on the bottom half of the roll.

Divide the sliced chicken and place it on the bottom of each roll. Top with some of the roasted tomatoes including pieces of the roasted garlic.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the shaved cheese on top of the tomatoes and add a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly black pepper.

Add a small piece of romaine lettuce, top and serve!

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Chicken Caesar Sandwich with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes. courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 25, 2019
: Makes 4 sandwiches.

Take a blend of ricotta with a tangy Caesar dressing and smear it on a toasted ciabatta roll. Then layer it with slices of savory chicken. Top with cherry tomatoes roasted with garlic, rich olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Add crisp romaine, shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese and you have one extraordinary chicken sandwich!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the roasted tomatoes:
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • One large carton of cherry tomatoes, about 30 tomatoes
  • 8 to 10 cloves of garlic, halved
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra to season the sandwich
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus extra to season the sandwich
  • For the sandwich spread:
  • 1/3 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 2/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • For the sandwich:
  • ½ pound roasted sliced chicken, such as EverRoast Oven Roasted from Boar's Head
  • ¼ cup shaved Parmesan and Asiago cheese blend
  • Romaine lettuce
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the roasted tomatoes:
  • Step 2 Pour the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar into a small baking dish. Toss the cherry tomatoes into the dish then add the garlic cloves. Season with the kosher salt and pepper.
  • Step 3 Roast in a 350-degree oven for 35 minutes, until the tomatoes and garlic are very soft. Stir after the first 15 minutes of roasting.
  • Step 4 To make the sandwich spread:
  • Step 5 Stir the Caesar salad dressing together with the ricotta cheese.
  • Step 6 Assemble the sandwiches:
  • Step 7 Warm the ciabatta rolls in a 375-degree oven for about 6 minutes or until the bread is warm and soft.
  • Step 8 Using a serrated knife slice the rolls in half. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the liquid from the roasted tomatoes onto the thicker top portion of the roll. Spread the ricotta-Caesar dressing on the bottom half of the roll.
  • Step 9 Divide the sliced chicken and place it on the bottom of each roll. Top with some of the roasted tomatoes including pieces of the roasted garlic. Place about 1 tablespoon of the shaved cheese on top of the tomatoes and add a sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly black pepper.
  • Step 10 Add a small piece of romaine lettuce, top and serve!
Cheese Tortellini with Chicken and Creamy Walnut Pesto

Cheese Tortellini with Chicken and Creamy Walnut Pesto

A slightly nutty crunch blends into a rich, green pesto sauce wrapping tender tortellini – those delicate little bundles of pasta filled with cheese. Toss everything together with chunks of roasted chicken. It’s rich, easy and quick!

Our lives get so busy and even though I spend hours in the kitchen there are weeks I look for a great meal with a few shortcuts. This is one of those recipes on that list. I frequently take advantage of roasted chicken found in the food markets and the beautiful fresh pasta readily available in the refrigerated cases.

Using both makes quick work of this delicious dish.

Making fresh pesto takes minutes to whip up and the combination of flavors is quite wonderful. It’s a simple but classic sauce made from toasted walnuts, bright Italian parsley, garlic and nutty Parmesan cheese.

A fruity extra-virgin olive oil brings these fresh gorgeous notes together blending them into a savory sauce.

Then add a touch of richness with a splash of heavy cream. Toss in the cheese-filled tortellini – cooked al dente – along with the roasted chicken and you have an easy and elegant meal on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Rushed for time, no worries. They’ll think you’ve spent hours in the kitchen!

Cheese Tortellini with Chicken and Creamy Walnut Pesto

2 cups toasted walnuts

1 packed cup flat leaf parsley, lower stems removed

1-1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic

½ cup shredded Parmesan

1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus salt for cooking the tortellini

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

2/3 cup olive oil

1 large package cheese tortellini, 20-ounces

½ cup heavy cream

3 to 4 cups chopped or shredded roasted chicken

Extra walnuts, parsley and Parmesan for garnishing

Toss the walnuts into the bowl of a food processor along with the parsley, chopped garlic, Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and pepper.

Pulse about 8 to 10 times to combine.

Pour the olive oil through the feeding tube and process until the pesto sauce is mixed well.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil over medium heat. Add the tortellini and cook until the pasta is tender, about 7 minutes if fresh or about 10 minutes for dried.

Transfer the cooked tortellini to a large pan placed over medium low heat. Add the cream along with the pesto and chicken. Stir to combine and heat until warmed through, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve topped with chopped walnuts, parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 generous servings.

Cheese Tortellini with Chicken and Creamy Walnut Pesto, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

March 18, 2019
: Makes 4 generous servings.

A slightly nutty crunch blends into a rich, green pesto sauce wrapping tender tortellini – those delicate little bundles of pasta filled with cheese. Toss everything together with chunks of roasted chicken. It’s rich, easy and quick!

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups toasted walnuts
  • 1 packed cup flat leaf parsley, lower stems removed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus salt for cooking the tortellini
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large package cheese tortellini, 20-ounces
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 to 4 cups chopped or shredded roasted chicken
  • Extra walnuts, parsley and Parmesan for garnishing
Directions
  • Step 1 Toss the walnuts into the bowl of a food processor along with the parsley, chopped garlic, Parmesan cheese, kosher salt and pepper.
  • Step 2 Pulse about 8 to 10 times to combine.
  • Step 3 Pour the olive oil through the feeding tube and process until the pesto sauce is mixed well.
  • Step 4 Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil over medium heat. Add the tortellini and cook until the pasta is tender, about 7 minutes if fresh or about 10 minutes for dried.
  • Step 5 Transfer the cooked tortellini to a large pan placed over medium low heat.
  • Step 6 Add the cream along with the pesto and chicken. Stir to combine and heat until warmed through, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 7 Serve topped with chopped walnuts, parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Hot Chicken Salad

Hot Chicken Salad

An old twist on the traditional chicken salad served hot! This dish brings plenty of crunch along with loads of tender chunks of chicken – a delicious savory chicken salad.

Quite possibly your Mother or Grandmother made this classic chicken casserole – mine certainly did. In the days of bridge clubs and canasta groups my Grandmother, Grace Pearl served this to her guests alongside one of her delightful cold salads.

It’s a simple dish to make and actually it’s just as good, if not better, the next day. To minimize the prep work pick up a roasted chicken at the market and you can pull this dish together in no time. Toss in celery, cremini mushrooms, sweet onion and toasted almonds for a little more crunch.

Then stir in luscious, creamy mayonnaise and add a gentle brightness with fresh lemon juice.

A little chopping then a quick stir and this dish will be off to the oven in no time.

And for good measure and one more touch of crunchiness, top it with crushed potato chips and a bit of cheese!

Then heat until the topping is toasted and golden and the chicken salad is hot and bubbly!

A recipe from the archives of the 50s and 60s – still comforting and classic!

Hot Chicken Salad

2 cups cubed roasted chicken

2 cups chopped celery, about 2 to 3 stalks

1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1-1/4 cup chopped cremini mushrooms, about 5 mushrooms

½ cup toasted sliced or silvered almonds

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. 1 small lemon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1-1/4 cup crushed potato chips

½ cup shredded or shaved cheese, fontina, Parmesan, cheddar or a blend

Mix the chicken along with the celery, onion, mushrooms, almonds, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with the kosher salt and pepper.

Spoon the chicken salad into a small baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. (I use an oval dish that is 12” x 9” x 2” deep.)

Mix the crushed chips with the cheese. Sprinkle the chips and cheese over the top of the chicken salad.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes until the chips are toasted and the chicken salad is hot and bubbly.

Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

To reheat any leftovers, place the chicken salad in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Serves 6.

Hot Chicken Salad, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 27, 2019
: Makes 6 servings.

An old twist on the traditional chicken salad served hot! This dish brings plenty of crunch along with loads of tender chunks of chicken – a delicious savory chicken salad.

By:

Ingredients
  • 2 cups cubed roasted chicken
  • 2 cups chopped celery, about 2 to 3 stalks
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1-1/4 cup chopped cremini mushrooms, about 5 mushrooms
  • ½ cup toasted sliced or silvered almonds
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-1/4 cup crushed potato chips
  • ½ cup shredded or shaved cheese, fontina, Parmesan, cheddar or a blend
Directions
  • Step 1 Mix the chicken along with the celery, onion, mushrooms, almonds, mayonnaise, and lemon juice. Season with the kosher salt and pepper.
  • Step 2 Spoon the chicken salad into a small baking dish that has been lightly sprayed with a cooking spray. (I use an oval dish that is 12” x 9” x 2” deep.)
  • Step 3 Mix the crushed chips with the cheese. Sprinkle the chips and cheese over the top of the chicken salad.
  • Step 4 Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes until the chips are toasted and the chicken salad is hot and bubbly.
  • Step 5 Let the dish rest for about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
  • Step 6 To reheat any leftovers, place the chicken salad in a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes.
Mediterranean Stew

Mediterranean Stew

This is a surprisingly fresh and light stew. Full of amazing flavors courtesy of gorgeous eggplant, fresh fennel and Kalamata olives. An unusual combination perfectly brightened with herbs and lemon zest!

If you overdid it on the Valentine’s Day candy this dish is a great antidote! I’ve flipped past this recipe for years and finally decided to give it a try – feeling it would either be wonderful or “what was I thinking”! It is wonderful!

There are recipes I try when the Engineer is out of pocket. Though he is far more willing to try new foods and dishes than he was when we first met, he still has his moments. (It’s a work in progress!) The ingredients are all things I love – eggplant, fennel, sweet onion, garlic, Kalamata olives, plump tomatoes – and a splash of white wine!

This is a great meal for a relaxing weekend. Once you prep the ingredients it comes together quickly. Start with the eggplant. Though it’s not always necessary to peel eggplant, I tend to err on the side of caution. Sometimes the peel of an eggplant can be tough and bitter.

Season the tender chunks of chicken with a simple sprinkling of kosher salt. The chicken is cooked in the essence of the fennel and onion. You can certainly use shrimp – just toss them in the stew the last five minutes or so – you don’t want to overcook them or they’ll become tough.

Infuse the freshness of herbs while the stew simmers through a bouquet garni.

It’s a simple thing to make – all you need is cheesecloth and kitchen twine. But if you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can use dried herbs.

Lemon zest and an additional pop of fresh parsley added at the end subtly elevate these spectacular flavors.

Serve with an extra dash of parsley, a sprinkling of Parmesan and a toasted baguette.

Mediterranean Stew

For the bouquet garni:

6 sprigs fresh parsley

6 sprigs fresh thyme

3 bay leaves

For the stew:

1-1/2 to 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into 2” pieces

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 medium eggplant – about 1-1/2 pounds, peeled and cubed into 1” pieces

1 large fennel bulb, cored and sliced very thin – about 2 cups

1 large sweet onion, chopped, about 1-1/2 cups

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

¾ cup dry white wine

1 can Italian or San Marzona tomatoes – 28-ounces, broken up into pieces

2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon concentrated chicken base – such as “Better Than Bouillon”

¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives

Zest of 1 small lemon, about ½ teaspoon

2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus additional for serving

Shredded Parmesan for serving

To make the bouquet garni:

Gather the parsley, thyme and bay leaves together and wrap them up in a piece of cheesecloth.

Tie the bundle together with kitchen twine to secure the herbs inside the cheesecloth. Loop a long piece of the twine through one the ties. Hang this piece of twine outside the Dutch oven – this makes it easy to remove the bouquet garni when the stew is finished.

Spread the chicken breast out and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Set the chicken aside while you cook the eggplant.

Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large Dutch oven. Warm the oil over heat slightly above medium. When the oil is hot drop in half of the cubed eggplant. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until the eggplant softens and is cooked down a bit. Transfer to a bowl. Add an additional 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the remaining eggplant then transfer it to the bowl with the first batch.

In the same pan add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken.

Stir in the sliced fennel and the chopped onion. Cook until the chicken is mostly cooked through and the fennel and onion are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Pour in the white wine and stir to deglaze, removing any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, the chicken stock and the concentrated chicken base.

Return the eggplant to the pan along with the olives, the bundle of herbs and the remaining kosher salt and the black pepper.

Bring the stew to a boil over medium heat then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 35 minutes. Remove the bundle of herb and stir in the lemon zest and the chopped parsley. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Note: If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can add 1 teaspoon dried parsley and ½ teaspoon dried thyme along with the bay leaves.

Mediterranean Stew, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

February 15, 2019
: Makes 6 servings.

This is a surprisingly fresh and light stew. This beautiful stew is full of amazing flavors courtesy of gorgeous eggplant, fresh fennel and Kalamata olives. An unusual combination perfectly brightened with herbs and lemon zest!

By:

Ingredients
  • For the bouquet garni:
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • For the stew:
  • 1-1/2 to 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant – about 1-1/2 pounds, peeled and cubed into 1” pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and sliced very thin – about 2 cups
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped, about 1-1/2 cups
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 can Roma tomatoes – 28-ounces, broken up into pieces
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon concentrated chicken base – such as “Better Than Bouillon”
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • Zest of 1 small lemon, about ½ teaspoon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus additional for serving
  • Shredded Parmesan for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 To make the bouquet garni:
  • Step 2 Gather the parsley, thyme and bay leaves together and wrap them up in a piece of cheesecloth. Tie the bundle together with kitchen twine to secure the herbs inside the cheesecloth. Loop a long piece of the twine through one the ties. Hang this piece of twine outside the Dutch oven – this makes it easy to remove the bouquet garni when the stew is finished.
  • Step 3 Spread the chicken breast out and season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Set the chicken aside while you cook the eggplant.
  • Step 4 Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large Dutch oven. Warm the oil over heat slightly above medium. When the oil is hot drop in half of the cubed eggplant. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until the eggplant softens and is cooked down a bit. Transfer to a bowl. Add an additional 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook the remaining eggplant then transfer it to the bowl with the first batch.
  • Step 5 In the same pan add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken.
  • Step 6 Stir in the sliced fennel and the chopped onion. Cook until the chicken is mostly cooked through and the fennel and onion are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Step 7 Pour in the white wine and stir to deglaze, removing any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Step 8 Stir in the tomatoes, the chicken stock and the concentrated chicken base. Return the eggplant to the pan along with the olives, the bundle of herbs and the remaining kosher salt and the black pepper.
  • Step 9 Bring the stew to a boil over medium heat then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 35 minutes.
  • Step 10 Remove the bundle of herbs and stir in the lemon zest and the chopped parsley. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Step 11 Serve with a sprinkling of shredded Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
  • Step 12 Note: If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can add 1 teaspoon dried parsley and ½ teaspoon dried thyme along with the bay leaves.