Archive for the ‘Soups and Stews’ Category

Irish Beef Stew

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Irish beef stew web

Top o’ the mornin’!
I know I published a recipe for beef stew EXTREMELY RECENTLY. We’ve been enjoying (if that’s the word) stew weather in the northeast a lot lately, however, so I’m posting another beef concoction for Saint Patrick’s Day.
The Irish stout in the recipe lends the dish a smoothness and a sweetness that suit this sentimental holiday.
My mother and I ate the stew three times for supper. We then chopped the beef and vegetables a bit more finely, added some beef stock and canned tomatoes, and enjoyed vegetable beef soup for a couple of additional meals.
As you smell the stew simmering on your stove you’ll find yourself singing “Danny Boy” (or maybe “Tinky Girl”).
Be sure to buy a little extra stout to sip on the side.
Next year, I hope to brine my own brisket for corned beef and cabbage. In the meantime, I highly recommend this recipe from the talented Michael Ruhlman.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you all………
extra-virgin olive oil as needed
2 bay leaves
1-1/2 pounds stew beef, cut into small pieces and dried with paper towels
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup Irish stout
4 cups beef stock
several sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 generous teaspoon dried)
several sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 generous teaspoon dried)
salt and pepper to taste
6 carrots, cut into chunks
1 pound fingerling potatoes plus a few more for good luck
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)
chopped parsley as desired for garnish
In a Dutch oven warm a small amount of oil. Throw in the bay leaves and let them flavor the oil for a moment or two. Add the pieces of beef and cook them, stirring frequently, until they brown.
Remove and reserve the beef and bay leaves, and sauté the onion and garlic pieces for a few minutes. Toss the flour onto them and cook for another minute or two. Add the stout a bit at a time to absorb any gunk on the bottom of the pan; then stir in the stock, herbs, salt, and pepper.
Add the meat and vegetables and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the stew over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Your pot should be ALMOST covered. (If it looks as though it is losing too much of the liquid, cover it.)
If you would like your gravy a little thicker, just before serving take a bit of juice out of the pot and whisk in the cornstarch. Return the cornstarch mixture to the pot, bring the stew back to a boil, and boil for at least a minute. Sprinkle the parsley over the stew, and dish it up.
Serves 4 to 6.



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Cannellini Bean and Tomato Soup

Saturday, March 6th, 2010


Denise DiPaolo always wanted to run a business of her own that combined food and people. She waited a number of years and worked her way through a variety of jobs (including stints as a community organizer and an educator) before she finally opened the doors of the Ristorante DiPaolo in Turner’s Falls, Massachusetts.
Asked why she finally decided on an Italian restaurant, she said, “It represents who I am … It’s family. It’s the passion, the comfort, the drama, the challenge, and the fun all wrapped in one!”
The restaurant opened in March 2006 as a partnership between Denise and Chef Hilton Dottin.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Hilton went to restaurant school in New York and became an American citizen. He and Denise planned a menu that would draw on all regions of Italy, spiced up a little by Hilton Dottin’s Caribbean roots. Within a year the restaurant became a destination for food lovers in western Massachusetts.
On a fall afternoon I joined Hilton in the restaurant’s compact but well laid out kitchen to watch him prepare one of his specialties, cannellini bean soup. The soup as he prepares it takes a while to make, but it’s a substantial dish that warms the kitchen and creates mouth-watering odors.
On the day on which I visited, the chef happened to have a small winter squash on hand so he cooked its pulp in the bean water and pulverized it in a blender with a little broth after it softened, adding it eventually to the final product. He also added a few extra pieces of Prosciutto and uncooked bacon to the pancetta in the recipe for extra flavor.
He explained that he often varies a recipe, which he views as a guide. “When I follow a recipe in a book, I usually make it the way the book says, and then I add to it the next time,” he noted.
Watching Hilton chop, stir, and taste was inspiring. He stressed getting the freshest ingredients possible and looking for organic produce whenever possible.
Nevertheless, he admitted that economy and availability of foods force him to be practical in his shopping. If dried cannellini beans for this soup are hard to find, for example, he suggested substituting white navy beans.
Hilton didn’t need much help from me in the kitchen. I skinned a few tomatoes for him, but he managed to peel more than 20 in the time it took me to do three. I received some of the rewards of participation in the cooking process, however.
When I got home, my family told me that the soup “perfume” I had acquired in the kitchen of the restaurant was tantalizing—a mixture of garlic, vegetables, pancetta, and love. I also left with a little care package of the soup, which was everything soup should be. It tasted warm and hearty, complex yet perfectly blended. Best of all, Hilton shared his recipe with me.
We’re not in fall anymore, of course, so when I made it recently I used canned tomatoes. (Sorry, Hilton!) I also used canned beans because we had them in the house. I’m giving you the recipe as I prepared it because it was quick (no soaking of beans overnight) and ALMOST as tasty as the original version. If you want that one, do visit the Ristorante DiPaolo.
Buon appetito!
Hilton Dottin and Denise DiPaolo (Courtesy of the Ristorante DiPaolo)

Hilton Dottin and Denise DiPaolo (Courtesy of the Ristorante DiPaolo)

Cannellini Bean and Tomato Soup
2 cups canned tomatoes, drained but with the liquid reserved
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus a little more for drizzling over the tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces pancetta, diced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 onion, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 can (14.5 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 cups chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle the tomatoes with a little olive oil, and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper. Roast them until they smell good—about 20 minutes.
In a 4-quart Dutch oven sauté the pancetta in the olive oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir constantly.
Add the cumin, oregano, onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Sauté until the onion pieces become translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the roasted tomatoes and continue to sauté for 3 more minutes.
Add the beans and the chicken stock. Bring the soup to a boil. When it boils reduce the heat, cover the soup ALMOST completely, and simmer it for 20 minutes.
Serves 6.

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Hamentaschen Drawing

Monday, February 8th, 2010
(Courtesy of

(Courtesy of

Purim is almost upon us, and the nice folks at have offered to send a tin of gourmet Hamentaschen to one of my blog readers or Twitter followers.
I highly recommend the holiday of Purim to those of you who are unfamiliar with it. It may well be the most joyous holiday in the Jewish calendar.
It celebrates one of the relatively few heroines in the Bible—Queen Esther of Persia. Here’s a brief rundown of her story:
A young Jewish girl in the fourth century B.C.E., Esther won a beauty pageant held by King Ahasuerus (a.k.a. Xerxes), who was looking for a new wife. He had executed the previous one in a fit of pique. He replaced her with Esther.
Esther’s cousin and former guardian, Mordecai, warned her not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish. Living in exile in Persia, the Jews were often subjected to anti-Semitism.
The king’s evil counselor, Haman, took offense when Mordecai refused to bow down to him and arranged to have all the Jews in the country killed. Esther went to the king and revealed her identity. This act took great courage, given the fate of her predecessor. Esther pulled it off, however.
In the end, the horrible Haman was hanged at the gallows he had erected for Mordecai. Esther and the Jewish people were given permission to defend themselves against their enemies. Jews in Persia held a HUGE party to celebrate their brave, beautiful queen and their enhanced status.
To commemorate Esther’s resourcefulness Jewish people party on Purim. It’s a time for dressing up in costumes and playing pranks. It’s also a time for giving to the needy and for exchanging gifts of food. And it’s a time for getting drunk—or at least for seeing the world from a new, youthful perspective. 
"Esther" by John Everett Millais (Courtesy of the Tate Online)

"Esther" by John Everett Millais (Courtesy of the Tate Online)

Hamentaschen are a sweet Purim treat. I’ve loved them all my life. They rank somewhere between a cookie and a small cake in bakeries. They are triangular (some say to mimic the shape of nasty Haman’s tricorn hat). And they’re enhanced with poppy seed or fruit filling.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, Hamentaschen are occasionally filled with and/or covered with chocolate in our chocoholic culture!
I’ll be posting a traditional Hamentaschen recipe soon. Meanwhile, I encourage you to enter the drawing from Here’s what you have to do:
Leave a comment on this blog or post a tweet from now through this coming Friday, February 12. I’ll cut off entries at midnight EST.
The comment or tweet should contain two pieces of information.
First, it should tell me what YOUR favorite food holiday—religious or non-religious—is.
Second, it should provide a link to the web site. Find something on the site that intrigues you—a recipe, a product (they have tasty foods available year round, not just for Purim!), a piece of information about a Jewish holiday.
If you choose to tweet rather than post a comment here, please send a tweet to me (remember, my Twitter name is LaTinque) so I won’t miss your contribution!
Next Monday, February 15, I will randomly select a winner from the comments and tweets. will send that lucky person the tin of Hamentaschen. It should arrive in plenty of time to help you usher in Purim on February 28.
As they said of Levy’s rye bread, you don’t have to be Jewish to love Hamentaschen!
While you’re thinking about your comment and/or tweet, you might like to try this recipe from’s Chef Jamie Geller.
Jamie has provided several recipes that enable readers to consume alcohol during Purim without getting drunk. She calls them her “saucy” selections. This soup will enable you to celebrate this holiday without going overboard.
I look forward to reading your comments……
Jamie's Soup (Courtesy of

Jamie's Soup (Courtesy of

Kosher Italian Bean Soup
(Courtesy of and Jamie Geller)
1 medium onion, quartered
6 cups water
3 cups Imagine Organic No-Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
10 baby carrots
10 baby zucchini
1 frozen crushed garlic cube
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Place all ingredients in a 6-quart stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook it uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve. Serves 8. 
Jamie Geller (Courtesy of

Jamie Geller (Courtesy of

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January Tomato Soup

Sunday, January 31st, 2010
My neighbor Jim enjoyed the January Tomato Soup.

My neighbor Jim enjoyed his January Tomato Soup.

National Soup Month is about to end—so here’s a quick soup recipe to warm your house and your body.
Like the Campbell company, I have always considered tomato soup one of the mainstays of an American larder.
The first known published recipe for tomato soup appeared in The Appledore Cook Book, an 1872 work by Maria Parloa (1843-1909).
An early supporter of home economics, Parloa lectured at the Boston Cooking School and ran versions of her own academy, Miss Parloa’s School of Cookery, in both Boston and New York.
She wrote regularly for the Ladies’ Home Journal. She also served as a spokeswoman for the Baker Chocolate Company and contributed to its recipe books.
The charming blog Maria Parloa describes Parloa’s teaching, which she called late in her life “a magnificent work for any young woman to take up.”
The Appledore Cook Book was Parloa’s first book and stemmed from her work as a pastry cook on the Appledore Island summer resort in Maine. Most sources I have found on the internet call her soup a “tomato chowder.”
I called the public library in Bethel, Connecticut, for more information. Parloa spent the last few years of her life in Bethel and left money to establish a library there. According to the library web site the town proudly houses copies of her works in its local-history collection.
I asked one of the reference librarians to read me the recipe for tomato chowder. I was told that Parloa’s creation was not in fact a “tomato chowder” but rather a “tomato soup.” (So much for research on the internet!) The librarian read it to me:
Tomato Soup
Peel and slice tomatoes enough to fill a two-quart basin; put them into the soup-kettle with six quarts of water and two pounds of beef; boil three hours; season with pepper, salt, and a spoonful of butter. Strain, and serve with toasted bread.
I may try this recipe in the summer when I have fresh tomatoes (although two quarts of tomatoes would be A LOT of tomatoes!). Meanwhile, I recently made a much quicker soup taking advantage of canned tomatoes.
Here is that simple recipe. It makes a versatile soup; if you have other veggies and/or herbs in the house, throw them in. Next time I’m trying a few carrots plus some cilantro for garnish.
Tinky's tomato soupeb
January Tomato Soup
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 cups salsa (the ingredients and heat are your choice)
2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups water (or 4 cups vegetable stock)
a splash or two of cream, milk, and/or half and half (optional)
grated cheese (optional)
Combine the onion, pepper, celery, tomatoes, salsa, and stock (or water or whatever) in a Dutch oven.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover it, reduce the heat, and simmer for half an hour. Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes; then puree it in batches in a blender. Add a little cream and/or cheese at the table if you like. Serves 4 to 6.
(Courtesy of the blog "Maria Parloa")

(Courtesy of the blog "Maria Parloa")


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Chowder Challenge

Friday, January 22nd, 2010
My neighbor Kathy contemplates the bacon atop her chowder.

My neighbor Kathy contemplates the bacon atop her chowder.

I was recently asked by Elizabeth, organizer of the New England Bloggers, to post a recipe or two that would speak particularly of New England.
Elizabeth is putting together a web-wide gathering of her bloggers to celebrate the first anniversary of this group. On Monday night we will somehow link our Yankee posts together.
I’m a little fuzzy on the technological aspects of this, but Elizabeth assures me that it will happen. (Note from Tinky later: IT HAS HAPPENED!  Visit Elizabeth’s Blog to see all the blog posts for this anniversary celebration.)
In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens has featured quite a few New England recipes, from Maple-Glazed Carrots to Strawberry Scones. I wanted to post something new for this event, however.
I asked Elizabeth what she would like me to write about. Her very first suggestion was Corn Chowder, a worthy addition to any collection of New England recipes.
Corn is perhaps the quintessential American—certainly the quintessential American—food. This native to our shores is versatile: it can be used in soups, breads, stews, and even desserts.
Chowder is ideal fare at this time of year. Somewhere between a soup and a stew, it blends warmth and comfort into its mixture of chunkiness and creaminess.
The recipe below isn’t cutting edge, but Corn Chowder isn’t supposed to be cutting edge. It’s supposed to be New England Comfort Food.
If you get a chance, leave a comment below describing YOUR favorite New England food!
New England Corn Chowder
Those who are lactose intolerant might try omitting the milk or cream. If you want to make the soup that way, puree a little more of it than I recommend below so that the mixture seems creamier. Or try using canned cream-style corn.
Those who love corn chowder but don’t eat pork should try the Chipotle Corn Chowder recipe I posted a while back.
5 thick pieces of bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper (preferably not yellow; I used orange!), finely chopped
1 pound very tiny potatoes, cut into quarters
3 cups corn kernels (I used frozen kernels defrosted)
2 cups chicken stock plus 2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk and/or cream
In a Dutch oven brown the bacon pieces to release their fat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces. Drain and save them.
Quickly sauté the onion in the bacon fat, followed by the pepper. Add the potatoes to the pan, and toss them to coat them very lightly in any remaining bacon fat.
Add the corn, liquid, salt, and pepper. (Don’t salt too heavily; remember, the bacon fat is salty. You can always add more salt at the end if you need it.)
Bring the chowder to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 1/2 hour.
If you have time, allow the chowder to come to room temperature and then chill it. This way the fat will rise to the top and you can remove most of it. (The soup is quite filling without that additional fat.)
Puree about a third of the soup in a blender or food processor in order to make the consistency more uniform. The soup needs a few pieces of potato and some corn kernels to seem like chowder so don’t overdo the puree-fication.
Stir in the milk and/or cream and adjust the seasonings. Heat the chowder through but do not return it to the boil. Garnish with the reserved pieces of bacon. Serves 4 generously.

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