Tag Archives: stew

Indianish Turkey Chili

9 Jan

Finished chili

This recipe comes from Aarti Party on the Food Network- she was the winner of The Next Food Network Star over the summer, and is basically my food idol.  From the first episode of Food Network Star you could tell she had an extremely camera-ready, bubbly personality, and, just as importantly, knew how to cook some seriously good food.  Her show focuses on Indian flavors that can be used in everyday dishes- she injects Indian flavors and spices into many different dishes.  While Indian food can seem intimidating, Aarti takes the fear factor out of it, and doesn’t only do complicated curries and masalas (although I love both of these things, and hopefully she will showcase some more classic Indian recipes on this season of her show), but salads, stews, and simple appetizers inspired by Indian flavors.

The turkey mixture. It is totally ok to spill some over the side of the pan.

This chili-type stew was on the first episode of Aarti Party, and I had been looking to start experimenting with Indian food and this seemed like a good place to start.  She makes this as a kind of sloppy joe with buns, calling it Bombay Sloppy Joes, but I forgo the buns and eat it as a chili with pita bread or on top of a baked potato.  I’ve made some modifications to the recipe to use a couple less ingredients, and I do usually add the half-and-half at the end, but don’t feel it’s totally necessary.  Buying spices for dishes like this can be expensive at first, but they really do last a long time, and you can put them into so many different things.  A lot of the spices used in this dish are also staples for basic hummus recipes, and add extra warmth and flavor to certain soups or stews, even if they are not at all “Indian”.  If you think you don’t like Indian food, please try this sometime- I promise it’s not overwhelmingly spicy, and makes a great lunch or dinner.

Indianish Turkey Chili

Equipment: Large saucepan, large skillet, knife, wooden spoon/spatula

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 seranno chile, seeded and minced finely (use other half for turkey)
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 15-oz can basic tomato sauce
1 cup water
For the turkey:
3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil
Small handful shelled pistachios, about 1/4 cup (optional)
Small handful raisins, about 1/4 cup (optional)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds/cumin powder
1/2 seranno chile, seeds intact (not chopped)
1/2 large white onion
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup half-and-half (optional)

Make the sauce first, warm the oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers.  Then add the ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper. Saute until the ginger and garlic brown a bit, then add the garam masala and paprika and saute for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until thickened.

For the turkey, if using the raisins and pistachios, warm 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet, add the pistachios and raisins and cook until the raisins swell up and pistachios are slightly toasted (only a couple of minutes). Remove from the pan and set aside.  Heat 1-2 more tablespoons of oil, then add the cumin and saute for about 10 seconds.  Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano pepper and saute a couple more minutes, seasoning with a little salt.  Stir in the turkey, breaking up the big lumps with a spoon, and cook until opaque- about 5 minutes.

By now the sauce should be ready- pour the sauce into the skillet with the turkey.  Stir and bring to a boil, the lower the heat and simmer about 10 minutes. When turkey is cooked and sauce is thickened, add the pistachios and raisins back to the pan, with the honey and half and half.  Remove the serrano pepper and taste for seasoning.  Serve with warm pita bread or naan, or on top of cous cous, baked potato, etc.


Boeuf Bourguignon/Winter Beef Stew

8 Dec

Beef and carrots and mushrooms, oh my!

It seems that winter has at long last arrived to DC, unfortunately bringing with it a sudden 20 degree drop in temperature and winds that make my ears numb a minute after stepping out of the house.  The good things about this are 1) Christmas, by far my favorite holiday, is almost here, 2) It’s time to switch to red wine drinking and 3) Cold weather begs for my favorite category of comfort food- stews, soups, and hearty pastas.  A couple of weeks ago I wanted to make a pretty classic boeuf bourguignon (beef stew for you non-Europeans), so turned to the master of French cooking, Anthony Bourdain, for his recipe.

Mushrooms and onions co-mingling for a few minutes

I first read Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential when I was about 13, which is arguably too young to be reading a book primarily about the not-so-PG goings on behind the scenes at restaurants.  But I loved it immediately, have re-read it about 4 times, and encourage everyone to pick up a copy.  Even if you don’t love food and backstage restaurant musings as much as I do, it’s a hilarious, witty read that everyone will enjoy.  My parents, knowing of my love of this book, got me his Les Halles Cookbook one year, and it’s signed to boot, with a drawing of a knife and an inscription “To Roxana, Cooks Rule!”.  This cookbook is basically everything one needs to know about classic French cooking, with tips, techniques, basic and not-so-basic recipes.  I’ve loved French food (and wine) ever since the infamous consecutive summers my family spent hiking in the south of France, the first nick-named “The Summer of the Steak Frites”, and the second “The Summer of Duck”.  If you ever need a funny story, ask my dad to tell you about the time the steak frites DID NOT COME WITH frites (Crazy, I know! Frites are fries, btw).  The children of the group were not amused by this.

Two hours later, the finished product

My point of this is, French food is good.  Seriously, those guys know their stuff.  I would be happy eating boeuf bourguignon, mussels, rabbit, duck, pate, stinky cheeses and baguettes for the rest of my life.  And now I have convinced myself that it has been far too long since our family has gone to France.  This summer perhaps parents? I promise not to complain too much on the hikes through the Pyrenees.  The recipe for boeuf bourguigon I ended up using was a combination of the classic Les Halles recipe and Pioneer Woman’s beef stew with mushrooms, as I wanted to experiment with mushrooms and make it a meal that didn’t need any additional vegetables.  Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list, this is really quite easy to make, it just requires some time as you leave it to reduce for a couple of hours.  The best thing is, it gets even better overnight, so can easily be kept in the fridge (or frozen) to enjoy a few nights in a row.  And if you’re planning a dinner party, this would be a fantastic and easy way to impress your guests.  Look up the correct pronunciation of the dish and people will take you very seriously.

Boeuf Bourguignon

Equipment: Large, heavy-bottomed pot, wooden spoon, knife

1 1/2 to 2 pounds cubed beef (I used 1 package pre-cut “stew beef”)
1 onion, sliced
8 oz cremini/baby portobello mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red wine
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, tied together with a string, or whatever fresh herbs you have)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter and oil in the pot over high heat, add the meat in batches and sear on all sides until it is well browned. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot so the meat is well-seared. Remove meat to a plate and add the onions and minced garlic, sprinkle flour over them and cook over medium-high heat until they are soft and brown (about 10 minutes).  Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Next add the red wine and scrape the pan to get all of the flavor from the bottom of the pan.  Bring the wine to a boil. Return the meat to the pot and add the carrots and bouquet garni.  Add enough water so the liquid covers the meat by one third (so 3 parts liquid to 2 parts meat). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and let cook for about 2 hours, until the meat is very tender.  You should stir the dish every 15 to 20 minutes, and skim off any foam the appears on the surface.  When done, remove the bouquet garni, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy with warm bread, potatoes, or by itself.