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Tag Archives: Stock (food)

Goat Stew

Recently I spotted some goat chops at the local health food store. Goat is a hearty flavour rich meat that lends itself beautifully to stewing. It was organic, and at the right price for me to imagine a rich hot dinner full of gorgeous gamey meat. This is my goat stew adventure.

[ Serves: 6  |  TIME: 3+ hours  |  COST: $18  ]
[  Joe’S RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING: 4.5  / 5 ]

Ingredients

500 grams organic goat chops
2 potatoes, diced
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 tin chopped roma tomatoes
1 litre vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 tablespoons  parsley, shredded
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon basil, shredded
4 – 6 bay leaves
splash oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. In a hot sauté pan, add a little oil and saute the onion. Add the garlic, celery, carrot and herbs. Fry until tender and fragrant.
  2. Add the goat chops and fry until browned. Top stop the vegetables scorching, either remove them from the pan or place them on top of the chops.
  3. Once the chops are semi cooked, deglaze the pan with some wine. Add a tin of tomatoes, potatoes and bay leaves. Add enough stock to ensure everything is covered and braise on a low heat with the lid on for 3 or more hours. Check the pot ever 15 minutes to ensure there is enough liquid covering the ingredients. Stir frequently and top up with stock when needed.
  4. When the meat is tender and the sauce is rich and well infused with flavour, remove the lid and allow the sauce to thicken.
  5. Remove the bay leaves before serving it hot on a bed of polenta, pasta or with hot crusty bread.

Observations

  • I adore meats that have been braised in a stew over a long period of time. There is nothing like the fall off the bone type hearty meat of a stew. Adjust your cooking time to suit your taste. If you require a firmer meat, shorten your cooking time, or length it for tougher cuts.
  • You could serve this with hot crusty breads, polenta, rice, pasta or just on its own! It is so versatile.
  • Notice how my vegetables haven’t fallen apart to mush even though this was cooked for almost 4 hours? Well, that is because I cooked it at a low heat. The trick here is longer cooking times over a lower temperature and careful stirring during fluid checks. A gentle, loving and patient hand will produce better results here.
  • Diabetic Note: What is not to love about this dish? It ticks all my diabetic boxes and my blood glucose levels were fine following this meal (and lunch the next day!!)
  • Ethical Note: I am almost certain that this is farmed goat, but some markets source wild goat that was culled as pest management. Where possible, I would choose the latter. It generally has a gamier flavour and is a wonderful choice for the environment. If you use wild bush meats, ensure that you cook it very well to kill off any parasite eggs and routinely worm your family ever six months.
 

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Slow Cooked Pea and Ham Soup

I stepped outside of my comfort zone today and bought a ham hock that wasn’t free ranged. Why isn’t it free ranged, I hear you ask? Because free ranged pork or ham hocks are almost impossible to source! While the hunt continues for a reliable source of free ranged pork products, I decided to do Pea and Ham Soup in the slow cooker.

I love slow cooked / crock pot recipes during winter. It’s so easy to toss ingredients into the cooker and forget about it while you go off to work only to become a champion at dinner time by presenting you with mouth-watering food. This is one such recipe.

[ SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 6 hours  |  COST: $8  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  4  / 5 ]

Ingredients

1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 600 – 800 gram ham hock
2 onions – chopped finely
1 cup dried green split peas
1 cup dried yellow split peas
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste
4 – 6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Thyme Paste
splash of oil

Method

  1. Add the oil to a warmed skillet. Add the onions, garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant and browned. Add to the slow cooker.
  2. Rinse the split peas until the water runs clear, removing tough husks that float during the process. Add to the slow cooker.
  3. Cut loose fleshy bits from the ham hock revealing as much of the bone as possible. Add both meat, skin and bone to the slow cooker.
  4. Add the bay leaves to the slow cooker and cover the ingredients with 1 litre of stock.
  5. Cook on high for 4 – 6 hours or until tender.
  6. Remove the bay leaves, ham skin and bones before adding the lemon juice and mint leaves.
  7. Purée the soup in a blender for a smoother soup consistency (optional step).
  8. Garnish with a spring of mint and serve hot.

Observations

  • Served with hot crusty rolls, a soup like this is hard to beat on a cold winter night like tonight!
  • I like a rustic, chunky soup, so I don’t purée the soup at all. I cook it long enough so the peas dissolve giving it that lovely rich, thick consistency without the need to blitz it.
  • Pea and Ham Soup is somewhat of a classic, and I usually like to include some carrots and celery but today the fridge was bare. If you happen to have some on hand, consider including 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 celery sticks to your soup for vitamin contribution and texture.
  • Diabetic Note: For some reason, yellow split peas are higher in carbohydrate content than the green version. Having said that, though, there is only about 40 – 50 grams of carbohydrates in this entire pot! If you are a pumper or insulin dependent diabetic, you may need a slice of bread with this meal to increase the carbohydrate content.
  • Ethical Note: I wish I didn’t have to resort to using a commercially produced ham hock today but I was limited in options. The use of this commercially produced ham hock gave me some ethical dilemmas and I wanted to walk through them not as justification, but as way of educating. Although ham hocks are considered a waste or by-product of pork farming and are therefore a good ethical choice, animal ethic debates regarding commercially produced pork / intensive farming practices are ever-present. Many animal welfare groups decry such intensive farming practices as cruel and unnecessary. For all of our food options, there are both positive and negative externalities and hidden costs. I urge people as always to become better educated on their meal choices.
 

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup

I do love it when friends visit. I love it even more when they come bearing gifts! A friend just dropped a pumpkin in to me and in this chilly weather, all I could think of was soup!

[  SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 40 MINUTES  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  4  / 5  |  MY RATING:  4  / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 litre vegetable stock
3 cups diced pumpkin
2 cups diced potato
1 onion
½ – 1 teaspoon paprika
½ – 1 teaspoon ground cummin
½ – 1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Method

  1. Cut the pumpkin and potato into bite size chunks. Dice the onion finely.
  2. In a large pot, saute the onion with the garlic until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, pumpkin and spices to the pot and stir well to coat. Cover with stock and cook until tender.
  4. Using a blender, stick mixer or a masher, pure the soup. If it is too thick, add a little more stock as required.
  5. Season and serve hot with freshly grated parsley as garnish.

Observations

  • I have to admit that I am not a fan of boring pumpkin soup but this addition of spices really jazzed it up for my taste buds.
  • I have left a large variation for the spice usage depending on your tastes. Use your own discretion.
  • Diabetic Note: I used potatoes in this dish to introduce some carbohydrate content. If you would rather, cut back on the potatoes and have it with some hot crusty bread.
  • Ethical Note: This pumpkin was growing wild from my friends compost pile. Using backyard compost is better for your soils compositions and is a wonderful nutrient source for your own gardens. Ornamental gardens are nice, but consider a ground cover vegetable like pumpkin as a wonderful feature for your yard!
  • Note to self: I must remember to wipe down the bowl before I take photos. Excuse my messy photos!  =s

 

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Red Vegetable Curry

After yesterdays massive meat pizza of awesomeness, it was time to get a veggie fix. Today’s meal is more about using what is available rather than being creative.

[  SERVES: 4  |  TIME: 20 MINUTES  |  COST: $3  ]
[  JOES’ RATING:  3.5  / 5  |  MY RATING:  4  / 5 ]

Ingredients

500 ml vegetable stock
400 ml can coconut cream
1 onion
½ cup potato
½ cup  sweet potato
½ cup pumpkin
½ cup carrot
½ cup cooked chick peas
½ cup mixed frozen corn and peas
½ cup cauliflower
1 teaspoon red curry paste
½ teaspoon garlic
splash of oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Dice the onion finely. Cut the remaining vegetables into bite size chunks.
  2. Over a medium heat, add a little oil to a frying pan. Add the onion and saute until transparent. Add the garlic and red curry paste, stirring well until fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, sweet potato, carrot, chickpeas, coconut cream and enough stock to cover the vegetables. Cover the frying pan with a lid and saute gently until par cooked. This may take 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining vegetables and top up with stock as needed. Cook until cooked throughout.
  5. Serve hot on a bed of rice.

Observations

  • I really love this style of meal. It has everything you could want, including firm delicious vegetables and nutty brown rice!
  • To prepare the chickpeas, soak the raw dried peas over night in water, refreshing it in the morning. Before use, boil the chickpeas in water for about 10 – 15 minutes until tender.
  • By cooking the dense root vegetables for 20 minutes before adding the softer vegetables, the colour and texture of the soft vegetables is preserved rather than allowing them to dissolve into the sauce.
  • Diabetic Note: As always, the wiser diabetic option would be Basmati rice. If only I could drag myself away from my delicious brown rice… At any rate, this meal is no problem as far as Blood Glucose Levels is concerned.
  • Ethical Note: I do cook this style of meal quite often as a way of using up the veggies still sitting in the crisper at the end of the week. I hate seeing good food go to landfill, so consider making soups and stews like this to avoid waste.
 

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Vegetable soup fit for the gods!

When I was a child, my Grandmother would make her version of vegetable soup. It was rich, hearty and full of gooey chunks of rich cheese. This is my version of her dish.

[  Serves: 6 – 8  |  TIME: 3 HOURS  |  COST: $6 per pot  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

1 – 2 litres vegetable stock
1 cup potato
1 cup sweet potato
1 cup pumpkin
1 onion
1 tomato
½ cup  carrot
½ cup  zucchini
½ cup  squash
½ cup  cauliflower
½ cup  broccoli
¼ cup green lentils
¼ cup yellow split peas
¼ cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons shredded parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Garnish

4 bite size pieces of pecorino per bowl
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish

Methods

  1. Dice the onion. Skin the tomato and put aside. Cut all remaining vegetables into bite size pieces.
  2. In a large pot, heat a little oil. Add the onion and garlic and fry off until transparent and fragrant.
  3. Add the potato, sweet potato, pumpkin carrot, split peas, lentils, barley and stock. Reduce to a slow simmer and cook with the lid on for an hour or two. The pumpkin should dissolve to enhance the stock while the sweet potato and potato hold their form.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients including the tomato and simmer lightly with the lid off for a further hour or so until all vegetables are tender. The stock should thicken to the desired texture.
  5. To serve, add a few small chunks of pecorino cheese to the bowl and cover with hot soup. Season with salt and pepper and serve with crusty bread.

Observations

  • This is a perfect dish for a slow cooker. Sauté the onions and garlic in a saucepan before adding them to the slow cooker with peas, lentils, barley and root vegetables and cook for 4 hours. Add the softer vegetables and cook for an additional two hours before serving.
  • I grew up with this soup so I know the awesomeness of the cheese in the soup. I realise it sounds exceptionally strange and I would only do it with a very strong sharp cheese such as a pepper pecorino, but the cheese melts to a chewy gooey consistency that mostly holds its form. Finding a piece on your spoon is like a sudden surprise and burst of flavour – the pot of gold beneath the rainbow. I highly recommend you try it for yourself! (So what if I had six pieces of cheese in my bowl. Who’s counting, right?)
  • Serve it hot for the best taste. I always make a huge stock pot full and we have it for lunches for days without anyone getting bored with it.
  • Diabetic Note: This soup is the very picture of hearth, healthy winter dinners. There is such a small amount of barley and potato in the meal that it doesn’t really count towards carbohydrate exchanges. I usually have it with a slice of hot crusty bread (divine for dipping!) to make sure I have enough carbs in the meal.
  • Ethical Note: Using vegetables in season means that they have not been shipped from far and wide (often overseas!). All the better for the economy and environment if you use local produce. Finally, organic lentils and legumes mean the very best in farming practices for sustainability and that one small purchase wont hurt the hip pocket because of their low price.
 

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Chicken and Corn Soup with Cheesy Garlic and Herb Bread

When I was little, I use to love getting Chicken and Corn Soup from the Chinese Restaurant when we would eat out. It was one of my absolute favourites. When I learned what MSG was, and how it affected us, I stopped buying it. This new-found knowledge didn’t stop me from craving it and lamenting it when I saw it on menus.

It wasn’t until the early 90s when my Uncle Joe made this delightful substitute that fell in love all over again. It doesn’t have that creamy thickness that the MSG provides, but the flavour is still there! I hope you will enjoy this easy but healthy substitute.

[  SERVES: 6  |  TIME: 25 MIN  |  COST: <$6  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4.5 / 5  |  Brittanys rating:  5 / 5  ]

Ingredients

400 grams shredded cooked chicken
2 cans creamed corn
1 can baby corn (cut)
1 can corn nibbles (pieces)
400 ml chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Add the chicken stock to a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the chicken, corn pieces and baby corn, stirring to incorporate.
  3. Add the creamed corn slowly til desired thickness has been achieved.
  4. Season and serve while hot.

Observations

  • You may remember me talking about making home made chicken stock a few weeks ago? I make this soup when I make stock as a way to use up the chicken meat from that process.
  • Sometimes, if the meat is a little light on, or the stock is a little bland, I will turn this into a egg drop variety (which is actually a favourite too!). To create an egg drop effect, whisk two eggs in a bowl and use a spoon to slowly drizzle the egg into the boiling soup. This method cooks the slow steady stream of egg instantly and creates a delicious creaminess to the soup. You will also see this technique utilised in my recent won ton soup recipe.
  • If you prefer a thicker soup texture, you can thicken it up slightly using some cornflour with water. Add the cornflour slowly, a little at a time to ensure that the soup doesn’t become a gluteus mess!
  • Diabetic Note: What’s not to love here? The corn does have carbs, so be careful with adding things such as herb bread!
  • Ethical Note: I turned some day old bread rolls into cheesy garlic and herb bread! Mince some garlic into a bowl and add some shredded parsley, grated pecorino cheese olive oil and butter. Coat evenly on the bread before baking in a moderate oven for 15 minutes, until crispy. Serve hot for a delicious side dish.

 

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Potato, Leek and Garlic Soup

Ahhh winter. The time for fluffy pajamas and hot soup! And today, I get to eat hot soup while wearing fluffy pajamas! WIN!

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