Well, according to Phil Punxsutawney, the
famous ground hog, an early spring is on his way
as I sit here today in late February and look out my window
all I see is an endless blanket of snow. Now, according to
Phil, El Nino has caused high winds, snow and freezing temperatures
in the West (which is where I live) and a much milder, warmer
winter in the East. So for those of you who reside in the
West and are still waist deep in winter with its frigid temperatures
and white fluffy snowflakes you will certainly appreciate
our editorial focus this month on Comfort Foods. After all,
nothing seems to beat the chill like a hearty stew, a succulent
roast or a hot and steamy bowl of soup! For those of you in
the East enjoying the warmer temperatures
.well a healthy
soul-satisfying bowl of soup might be just what you need to
make up for the "lost winter".
This month we bring you several soul-satisfying
meals that truly fall within the comfort food category. Coincidentally
these also happen to be some of our most favorite meals for
family dinners or even elegant entertaining. We hope you enjoy!
Coq au Vin
This wonderful French classic (translated
as "rooster with wine") is a French fricassee of
chicken cooked with wine, mushrooms and garlic. The resulting
sauce is finished with a roux to make a wonderful French chicken
stew. It truly doesnt get any better than this!
Makes 4 servings.
- 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 7 ounces gf bacon, cut into 1/4" pieces
- 3 onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 pound mushrooms, quartered
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/2 cup brandy
- 4 cups dry red wine
- Bouquet garni: 1 parsley sprig, 1 thyme
sprig, 1 bay leaf tied with butcher string or cheese cloth
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons gf flour
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet
over medium heat. Salt and pepper chicken pieces and add to
skillet. Brown chicken on all sides. Transfer chicken to a
large casserole with a lid or a Dutch oven. In the same skillet,
fry the bacon pieces until the fat is rendered. Sprinkle the
bacon pieces over the chicken. Sauté the onions and
garlic in the bacon fat for about 5 minutes. Add the onion
and garlic to the chicken mixture. Add the mushrooms to the
skillet; season with salt and pepper and sauté for
5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms, without their liquid to
a plate; set aside. Add the tomato paste and brandy to the
pan with the chicken mixture; stir and ignite with a match.
When the flames subside, add the wine. Add the bouquet garni,
salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over low heat for
45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with
foil to keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat
and reduce by half. In a small bowl, mix softened butter and
flour into a paste and add to the sauce. Cook until smooth
and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and add chicken
and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat through.
Pork Tenderloin with Fennel Sauce
This dish is another hearty dish but the
fennel sauce is truly what shines through. This dish is great
for company its always a big hit.
Makes 6 servings.
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,
plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Two 3/4 pound pork tenderloins, trimmed
of fat and membrane
- 1-1/2 cups fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-1/4 cups de-fatted gf chicken stock
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-fat sour cream
- Fennel fronds for garnish
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
Using the flat side of a large knife, mash together garlic,
fennel seeds and 1/2 teaspoon salt together on a cutting board.
Place in a small bowl and stir in pepper and 1/2 teaspoon
Rub fennel-seed mixture evenly over tenderloins, pressing
it into crevices. Fold the thin tails underneath and secure
with butchers string or a toothpick.
Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add
tenderloins and cook until lightly browned on one side, about
1-1/2 minutes. Turn tenderloins over, transfer skillet to
oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until internal temperature
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon
of oil over medium-low heat. Add fennel and onions; Cook,
stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add stock
and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until
vegetables are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender
enough to mash vegetables on side of pan.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.
Return to saucepan and keep warm.
When pork is ready, transfer it to a carving board, cover
loosely and keep warm.
Place skillet (do not wipe it) over medium-high heat. Pour
in wine and stirring, bring to a boil. Boil until reduced
by half, about 2 minutes. Add to fennel sauce, along with
sour cream, if using. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Remove string or toothpicks from tenderloins and carve into
1/2" thick slices. Spoon the sauce onto plates and fan pork
slices over top. Garnish with a few fennel fronds.
Country Beef Stew
Sometimes the ol hearty favorites
are the best during the cold season. In my mind there is nothing
more satisfying after a long day playing outside in the snow
than a bowl of stew especially when the vegetables
are cooked just right and the meat is so tender it melts in
Makes 8 servings.
- 3 lbs. Beef-stew meat, in 1" cubes
- 6 carrots, cut into 1/2" thick slices
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
- 1 large onion, quartered and sliced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1-1/2 tablespoons toasted onion flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup gf ketchup
- 1 tablespoon gf soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Place beef, carrots, potatoes, onion, mushrooms,
and garlic in slow cooker. In bowl, whisk together 2 cups
water, onion flakes, salt, cornstarch, onion powder, sugar,
gf ketchup, and gf soy sauce. Pour over beef and vegetables;
toss to combine. Cover and cook on low-heat setting 6 to 8
With a slotted spatula, transfer meat and vegetables to a
serving bowl. Increase heat to high setting. Skim fat from
sauce. Whisk together cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water to
make a paste. Stir mixture into sauce and cook 15 minutes,
until thickened. Return meat and veggies to cooker and mix
well; heat through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This is a great recipe for those who like
it hot and spicy! A different spin on traditional chili but
the combination of the spinach, tomatillo's, roasted peppers,
black beans and pork shoulder is heavenly. Serve with a dollop
of sour cream and some gf tortilla chips and youve got
the perfect late winter meal.
Makes 6-8 servings.
- 1-1/2 cups dried black beans, picked
over and rinsed
- 4 medium poblano chiles
- 4 medium cubanelle chiles
- 3 medium green bell peppers
- 1 medium habenero chile
- 1 pound fresh spinach, stemmed
- 10 medium tomatillos-husked, rinsed
- 5 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound gf bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds trimmed boneless pork shoulder
or butt, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- GF tortilla chips and sour cream, for
Place the black beans in a medium saucepan
and add 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high
heat and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let
stand for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, roast the poblanos, cubanelles, bell peppers and
habanero under the broiler as close to the heat as possible
or over a gas flame, turning frequently, until blackened all
over. Transfer them to a paper bag and let steam for 10 minutes.
Remove the skin, cores, seeds and ribs. Drain and pat dry.
Place them all in a food processor with the spinach, tomatillos
and scallions and puree until smooth.
Drain the black beans and return them to the saucepan. Add
the gf bacon, bay leaves, and 6 more cups of water. Bring
to a boil over moderately high heat. Cover and simmer over
low heat until the beans are tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Drain
the beans, reserving 1 cup of the liquid; discard the bay
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large enameled cast-iron
casserole. Season pork cubes with salt and black pepper. Add
some of the pork to the casserole in a single layer and cook
over high heat until well browned all over, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked pork to a plate and brown the remaining
meat in batches.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the casserole. Add
the onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring,
until softened, about 3 minutes.
Return the browned pork to the casserole with the chili and
spinach puree, sugar, cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to
a boil over moderately high heat. Lower the heat and simmer
gently until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Stir
in the black beans with the reserved cooking liquid.
Season the chili with the cilantro and salt. Spoon the chili
into bowls and serve with gf tortilla chips and sour cream.
Stay warm & enjoy it while it lasts!