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    Miatake Barley Stew

    I got the inspiration for this stew from one of my neighbors Greg. I had given him a bag of Miatake (Hen of the Woods) mushrooms I harvested and dried and he provided me with a taste of his effort. As has been my bent I’ve improvised a tad adding stuff I thought would be interesting. This batch makes about 6 pounds of finished stew but it’s easily freezable and it’s almost impossible to make a small amount. Enjoy!

    You will need:

    6 oz. Dried Miatake Mushrooms – alternatively you can use other types as long as they are dried and robust. Save the soaking liquid.
    2 Cups Barley
    6 cups Beef Stock – Greg used homemade however unsalted store bought will work.
    1 medium onion – diced
    2 or 3 small carrots – diced, try to equal the volume of the onion
    3 or 4 sprigs fresh thyme
    3 or 4 sprigs fresh marjoram
    Beef Shortribs – I used about 4 pounds however the amount is up to you.
    Olive Oil
    Salt/Pepper – to taste

    In a bowl large enough to hold all of the dried mushrooms with room for expansion add the mushrooms and warm water set aside to soak. In a stock pot large enough to hold all of the shortribs add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot turn heat to medium. When the oil starts to shimmer place the ribs fat side down sauté until well browned repeat with non-fat side. Once the ribs are browned place fat side up and add enough stock to fill pot about ⅔ way up the thickness of the ribs. Reduce heat to low and braise the ribs until the meat pulls away from the bone which should take 2 or 3 hours.

    While the ribs are cooking dice the onion and carrots about ¼ in size. Remove the mushrooms from the soaking and cut into spoon size pieces, remember to reserve the soaking liquid. Once the ribs are tender remove from from liquid and let cool until you are able to handle. Cut beef into spoon size pieces. Pour cooking liquid through a strainer into a vessel that allows you to de-fat the liquid.

    Add olive oil to the stock pot, heat until it shimmers then sauté until lightly browned. Combine the mushroom soaking liquid (careful not to let any dirt drain out) and the beef stock to equal at least 4 cups. Add the chopped mushrooms and beef and all of the barley. Continue to cook until barley is soft (you might need to add more liquid as the stew cooks.)

    Remember this freezes well so don’t worry about the total amount of the stew produced.l

    Pork Stew – Mexican style

    I rarely, if at all, have come up with a recipe using what might be considered Hispanic products. It’s not that I have thought about using them it’s just that nothing came to mind until this gem. My local grocery store had a sale on pork shoulder the price was too attractive to pass up. I pondered what to do with it dismissing my tried and true recipes. I walked around the produce department looking for something to use. I happened upon a large display of tomatillos also on sale. The die was cast.

    Using these two items as a basis point I began to consider what might work well to add to the stew. Browsing the international section of the store I found a tomatillo cooking sauce and white hominy. I added some pearl onions to my basket, went back to produce to pick up some cilantro. My creative juices started to flow. The pork shoulder I bought was around six and a half pounds so the recipe below is based on that size.

    You will need:

    Pork shoulder or butt approximately 6 pounds.
    Herdez mexican cooking sauce – Two 12 oz. jars.
    Bush’s White Hominy – Two 15 oz cans
    Tomatillo – approximately 4 cups medium dice
    Pearl onions – Two 10 oz packages ( they come frozen)
    Vidalia Onions – approximately two cups finely diced.
    Fresh Cilantro – optional and to taste.
    Flour – enough to coat pork.
    Vegetable oil – enough to brown the pork.

    Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the pork into bite size pieces and loosely coat with flour. Put oil into a large stock pot and heat to medium high. Put coated pork pieces into the hot oil, you will need to do this in batches so as to not crowd pork. Saute pork until brown on all sides remove to a large bowl until all the pork is cooked. In the same pot add the onion and sautë until translucent.
    Add the cooking sauce to the pot then put the pork pieces back into the pot. Drain the canned hominy and add to the pot along with the pearl onions Using a large spoon mix all the ingredients to coat. Cover the stock pot and place into the preheated oven and cook until pork is fork tender, should take two to three hours.
    Serve over cooked rice, enjoy!

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