Category Archives: cooking slowly

orange stew

It is fall.  I know this because it’s been raining for what, like, two weeks, and the heat in my apartment magically turned on and I just keep listening to Nina Simone.  So, yeah, fall is here.  I have to embrace it or else I will just whine about how much I love summer and that is annoying.  Plus, I love cooking fall meals, not only because I get to use cast iron and heat, but also because they’re delicious and hearty and generally awesome.

I moved out of Kensington, which is hard, and sad, but I still work Sundays at Good Egg, which lately has meant that I buy one cookbook a week (except last week, when I bought two) and spend the day dreaming about delicious food.  So much so that I got home on Monday and made this stew from Diana Henry’s beautiful book Plenty with Katie.  This book is gorgeous and covered in post-its right now because I am just that lame.

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The problem with stew is that it’s kind of not too photogenic, and the lighting in my kitchen isn’t great and it’s fall, so natural light isn’t doing what I need it to, so there is a picture of this stew that is not the best.

  • olive oil
  • 15 new potatoes, halved
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 leeks, diced
  • 1 large bulb of fennel, cut into strips
  • 5 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 pinches of saffron (thanks, Jen, for all the saffron!)
  • 1 strip of orange zest
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil and sauté the potatoes, onions and leeks until the potatoes are browned a bit.  To be fair, I didn’t really want to wait that long because I was hungry, but if you can, it would probably be best.  Add the garlic and chili flakes and sauté for about a minute, then add in the soup stock.  Bring to a boil, then add the saffron, orange zest, thyme, salt and pepper and let everything simmer for about ten minutes.  Once the potatoes are basically cooked, add in the fennel and tomatoes, and cook for another ten minutes.

Diana Henry serves this with a rouille, but I don’t really love rouille so I just ate it as is.  The orange is surprising potent, and saffron really does make everything better.  I am into this stew, which is good because it made about a dozen servings.  Please call me if you want to come over for stew.

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best barbecue sauce

Awhile ago, Tony emailed me to ask for the recipe for this barbecue sauce. I can’t believe I haven’t put it up here yet; such a clear indicator of just how bad I am at blogging.  Basically, this barbecue sauce is the best, ever.  I can’t take much (any) credit for it, because I found it on Epicurious, but it is, for sure, amazing.

I love making pulled pork.  Everyone loves pulled pork, I think, or at least everyone I love loves pulled pork.  I love that it takes a long time and that it gives me an excuse to go to the butcher shop, and that I can then pour this amazing barbecue sauce all over it. I made about one million pounds of pulled pork for my birthday party (no pictures, I am the worst blogger, but I was too busy having fun, plus as much as I love it, I know pulled pork is not so pretty), and it fed a bunch of people pretty easily.

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It should really come as no surprise that the key to this sauce is bourbon.  I love bourbon.

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup bourbon (I use Bulleit, it is cheap and tastes like delicious bourbon)
  • 1/4 dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot, it is embarrassing how much I love this stuff ohhhh)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Simmer all the ingredients together until they thicken, which usually takes about 15 minutes.  This will keep for awhile, but I usually use it all in one go.

black bean soup, again

I love beans.  I love this black bean soup recipe, from the Moosewood cookbook, that uses orange juice to make everything tangy and delicious. But when I saw a recipe for black bean soup on the Kitchn, that claimed to be the best ever, I had to try it. They are totally different soups, different textures, different flavours, and I’m really not sure which I prefer. This one is smokey and so not vegetarian, thanks to the ham hock. Also, I can’t lie: ham hock looks kind of gross. But you really don’t end up eating it, just stealing the porky, smokey flavour.

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  • 2 cups dried black beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans overnight, exciting if you’re me and this is the closest you ever get to science.  Drain the rehydrated beans and add enough water so that they are covered with an extra inch of water.  Add the onion and pepper, the minced garlic, the olive oil, pork hock and a bit of salt and pepper.  Bring everything to a boil, skim the froth off the top and then let it simmer for four or five hours.  Add more water if you think it needs it (I didn’t, because I wanted a very thick soup and because the hock was bigger than I expected and I was running out of space in my pot…), and just stir it when you think of it.  After it seems basically ready, add the vinegar and let it simmer for fifteen more minutes.  Pretty, pretty delicious.  I ate this as a soup on its own, which is a lot of beans, seriously, but it was thick so I brought some to family fajita night and we ate them as a dip for chips and possibly as a spread on fajitas, too.  Versatile beans!

pulled pork.

Dan thinks pulled pork is going to be this fall’s trendy meat. While this is admittedly a weird conversation to have, we had it and I agree. Pulled pork is everywhere. It is recession-friendly (read: cheap) but not depression (delicious, so much delicious!). Usually I am pro-pulled pork (hello, Lakeview, hello, fun parties where I didn’t expect a sandwich!), sometimes I am decidedly against it (pulled pork poutine, no thanks!). Anyway, my lovely dad got me an awesome Le Creuset French Oven birthday present from Good Egg, and I broke it in with some pulled pork.

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See, hello, this oven is gorgeous! I really had no idea what I was doing, it was my first time making pulled pork, (though I’ve made pulled lamb, but it was in a slow cooker which for some reason I found less stressful…) and it was pretty fun. I’m now on a mission to try out many many varieties. I went with the Pan Chancho recipe, and it had a bit of a pan-Asian vibe to it, probably due to the many spices. It was good, I would definitely make it again, but not before trying out some other recipes…

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For the spiced mixture:

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Rub down a 1 1/2 pound boned pork shoulder with the spice mixture, and wrap it in saran wrap and let it sit overnight (this is probably unnecessary, but someone told me this would be a good plan and I had no idea what I was doing so I went for it).  Pre-heat the oven to 325.  Heat some olive oil on the stove in the dutch oven and sear the pork until all the sides are browned.  Cover the seared pork about 3/4 of the way up with water, and bring it to a boil on the stove.  Once the water is boiling, put the meat in the oven and cook for as long as you can, until the meat is falling apart, maybe 2 or 3 hours.

Meanwhile, make some barbecue sauce:

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup fancy molasses
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Thai chilis

Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until everything thickens up, which takes about ten minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

When the pork was ready, I pulled it all apart, getting rid of any excess fat.  Then, stir in as much sauce as you’d like.  I had people coming for dinner in a few hours, so I just kept it on low heat on top of the stove, adding sauce as I though necessary.  I didn’t make it too saucy, but I added some as a condiment.

wedding! tomatoes!

Emma and Tiff got married!  It was the best!  So fun, so pretty, so delicious, so wonderful!  Again, the best!  They are two of the most fun people ever to cook with, and they probably had the most fun making a gillion jars of tomato butter for wedding favours.  There are a few important things to know about tomato butter: 1) it’s delicious. 2) there is no butter involved. 3) it is especially delish with grilled cheese.  So good!

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The recipe comes from the Pan Chancho cookbook, and is pretty easy.

  • 3 whole cloves
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 2 28 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (with juice!)
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 cm-long stick of cinnamon

Put the cloves, allspice, and peppercorns in a big tea ball, and put it, along with everything else in a saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and boil gently for 30 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, and simmer stirring pretty often, for about an hour and a half.  Take out the cinnamon stick, then cook for another 3 to 3 and a half hours, until the mixture is thick and jammy.  Cool the butter, and put it in a pretty pretty mason jar.

Thanks Emma and Tiff for such a fun wedding!

curry and cornbread

Since it’s winter, all I want to do is eat stew. But, I kind of feel like I’ve over done meats these days, so I was looking for a new veggie stew with a bit of kick. I found this one, which I like, but I wish I’d thought to use coconut milk instead of water… Next time!

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This made a lot of stew, which is also pretty good since I’ve been working a lot lately, and also because it’s pretty delicious.

  • oil
  • 5 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of grated ginger
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups of dried green lentils
  • 2 sweet potatoes (large!), diced
  • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 bunch of red chard
  • juice from 1 lime

Fry up the onions, garlic, ginger in the oil and curry powder, until the onions are translucent. Add in the canned tomatoes, the lentils, the sweet potatoes, the lime juice and the water, and let everything boil then simmer for about 30 minutes. Add in the red chard, and stir, and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

I ate this with cornbread, which seems a bit incongruous, but actually worked well.

pulled lamb sandwiches

One of my favourite favourite meals is the cumin spiced lamb wrap from Pan Chancho in Kingston. Pan Chancho’s website is down, but it’s a cute and delish bakery. Today I tried to recreate the cumin spiced lamb, and it wasn’t as perfect, but pretty good. Also, thanks to the slow cooker, also easy. I think it really needs fluffy white bread, and luckily Ashley picked up some Naan that went perfectly.
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  • lamb shoulder, with the bone, about 7 lbs.
  • 1 can of whole tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 celery stocks, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (ideally, a stick of cinnamon, but we were out…)
  • 1 cup chicken soup stock
  • olive oil

Brown the lamb in the olive oil in a frying pan. Dice the veggies, and add them, along with the cumin and the liquids, into the slow cooker. Break up the tomatoes and let it stew for as long as you can. I think it slow cooked on low for maybe four hours and then on high for two. Longer would probably be better. Then, take the meat out, take off the fat, and pull of the meat, but keep the slow cooker on, letting the liquids reduce. Put the pulled lamb back in the slow cooker to simmer in the tomatoey-cuminy liquid. I topped this with tzatziki, but lots of things would work.

And! then I boiled the bones, and I’m trying to make lamb stock. What should I do with it? (Serious question!)