Tag Archives: slow-cooked

Lamb Meatballs and Napoli Sauce

30 May

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I acquired these traditional Italian recipes, passed down through generations, from a chef in LA. As per usual, I added my own touches to make this dish sing. The simplicity of the sauce highlights the succulent, herbaceous lamb and everything is in harmony – the pleasant tune of spring.

Time: 30 minutes + simmer Serves: 5

Ingredients


  • Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cubed bread (I used Udi’s Gluten Free White)
  • milk, enough to cover bread cubes
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste (about 1/4 tsp each)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only – carefully cleaned and cut into thin half moons
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sauce


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 a medium-large onion)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • sea salt and black pepper – to taste
  • 8 basil leaves, roughly chopped or chiffonade

How to make it


  • Meatballs


  • Combine bread cubes and milk in a small bowl to soak.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Once hot, add leeks and cook for about 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Transfer soaked bread to a large mixing bowl. Discard excess milk any remains. Add lamb, parsley, rosemary, thyme, beaten egg, salt, pepper, and cooled leeks & garlic. Mix just to incorporate.
  • Form mixture into 2-inch balls and set on a lined baking sheet.
  • At this point you can bake them in a preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Or you can braise them in the sauce by allowing them to cook for 25 minutes. Finally, you can pan fry them in batches with a bit of olive oil over medium-high until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.
  • I always cook my meatballs, let them cool, then put them on a baking sheet and into the freeze. Once frozen, pop them into a freezer bag or container and you’ll have homemade meatballs waiting for you anytime.
  • Sauce


  • In a medium stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add onions and cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, some salt & pepper and stir. Bring to a boil. Then reduce to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours. Add basil during last 30 minutes of simmer.
  • Serve meatballs tossed in sauce and spaghetti. Top with shaved Parmesan Reggiano Asiago blend and garnish with small basil leaves.
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Bacon Jam

19 May

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Oh yes I did!!! I whipped this up to go with the turkey burgers (recipe to follow) but the possibilities are endless! It takes some time to cook, but not long to prepare, and it is well worth it. Here are some ideas of how to enjoy this sweet, savory, and smoky delight: spread on toasted baguettes or crackers for a savory appetizer, pour some on top of brie and bake, spread on biscuits, waffles, pancakes and various sandwiches like fried egg, make a grilled cheese with it or a bacon jam BLT!

Time: 20 min prep, 1 hour+ cook                   Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients


  • 1 pound apple wood smoked bacon, roughly chopped
  • 4 large red onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup water

How to make it


  • Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook until it begins to render fat crisp a bit.
  • Add onions. Turn temperature up to high until they start caramelising slightly.
  • Add the garlic and bay leaf and fry for another minute.
  • Add the smoked paprika, salt and balsamic vinegar and stir to combine.
  • Add the sugar, apple juice and water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a boil.
  • Cook for about 5 minutes, then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered, until the liquid has reduced to about 1/4 and thickened to the consistency to be able to cover a spoon easily but not be too syrupy or thick.
  • Skim excess fat off top if needed. Then transfer to a food processor fitted with an S-blade or use an immersion blender to blend the jam until there are no big chunks of onion/bacon left.
  • Carefully transfer the jam into a sterilised jam jar and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature.

Guinness Stout Beef Stew

13 Jan

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A dish like this has such comforting qualities about it, especially in the winter in Michigan. I love my Apple Cider Beef Stew version, but a friend left a couple of Guinness Stouts in our fridge the night of our Annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Party and I wanted to try something different. I guess it’s a little late, but would you want to see our sweaters? We made them ourselves! Oh, and the stew was just what I was after. Serve your favorite way, mine is with a scoop of mashed potatoes in the middle but I know some people prefer it with dumplings. Whatever strikes your fancy!

Time:           Serves: 4

Ingredients


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into about 2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • sea salt & pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 pound carrots, sliced on an angle into 2-inch chunks
  • 3/4 cup Guinness Stout
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • freshly ground sea salt & pepper, to taste

How to make it


  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan.
  • Combine flour with salt, pepper, paprika, and parsley in a zipper bag. Toss to mix. Add half of stew meat and seal bag. Shake to coat. Add coated meat to heated oil in saucepan.
  • Cook meat until deep brown on each side, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat procedure with remaining meat. Add rosemary and more oil as needed. Once both sides are browned, transfer to a plate and brown the second batch.
  • Transfer second batch to plate. Add onions and garlic to pan. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add carrots. Saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add Guinness, stock, and thyme. Season with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil.
  • Add browned meat and turn down to a simmer. You may cover the pot completely for more liquid or vent for a thicker stew.
  • Simmer for about 2 hours. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper, several times throughout.
  • I love mashed potatoes in my beef stew and this is how I made them: 12 small Yukon gold potatoes, cubed & cooked in boiling water until fork tender, splash half & half, 2 tbsp Irish butter, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1 tsp garlic powder, freshly ground sea salt & pepper, to taste.