Cooks all over the world rely on the simplicity of gently simmering and transforming tough, flavorful cuts of meat into tender meals. Here’s how to create your own tender stew and add some of your own personality while you’re at it!
2 lb(s) (1 kg) of stewing beef, cut in large cubes
A sprinkle or two of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
2 large onions cut in 8
1 heads of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 lb(s) (1 kg) of any fresh mushroom assortment (button, Cremini, Portobello, Enoki)
1 bottle (750 ml/25 oz) of any hearty red wine
1 5 ½ oz can (154 ml) of tomato paste
1 Tbsp (15ml) or so of dried rosemary
A couple of bay leaves
1 Tbsp (15 ml) of any vinegar
Preheat a large thick-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Pat the beef pieces dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
Add a splash of oil to the pot and toss in enough meat to make one single layer. Patiently sear the meat on all sides, turning with a fork to ensure all sides are nicely browned. This step is important as it creates the all-important deep brown flavor base for your stew! Repeat with the remaining beef until it’s all browned then return it all to the pot.
Now pile the onions, garlic and mushrooms all in the pot together. Pour in your red wine and stir in the tomato paste. Add the bay leaves and rosemary and bring the pot to a simmer.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and adjust your heat to the lowest possible setting that will maintain a simmer. We want all that juicy goodness to stay right in the pot. Your stew is done when the meat is tender, which will take an hour or two.
Finish your stew by stirring in the vinegar. Dish it up and share over baby spinach, your favourite pasta, potatoes or bean sprouts!
Freestyle Twist: It’s easy to bring the flavours of the world to this heartwarming stew. For a Mediterranean twist leave out the mushrooms, toss in some dried apricots, raisins, or figs and some nuts. To bring an Asian flair add ginger, green onion, soy sauce and Chinese 5-spice. And if your tastes run Southwestern some dried tomatoes, black beans and chili peppers will do the trick. Whatever your mood, a good stew is the perfect place to twist in some personalized flair!
Salmon and sweet peas are the perfect pairing for a quick and satisfying supper. The salmon is roasted skin-side up, to protect the delicate flesh and keep the fish moist. Peppery radishes mellow during cooking, turning slightly sweet and juicy as they soften. Browned butter, mustard and capers coat the peas and radishes in a tangy sauce, and white miso provides depth. If there’s no miso to be found, just leave it out or sub with a splash of soy sauce.
4 (6-ounce) skin-on salmon or trout fillets
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 bunches radishes with greens (about 1 pound), radishes halved, 1 cup leaves reserved
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas (no need to thaw)
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 tablespoon white miso
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ cup chopped dill or parsley
Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, coat salmon with 2 tablespoons oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and arrange skin-side up. Roast until fish is just opaque throughout and cooked to medium, 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter in remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add halved radishes (not leaves), season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup water, the peas, capers, miso and mustard, and cook, stirring to dissolve the miso and mustard, until peas are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and simmer until a light sauce forms, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in radish leaves and dill.
Divide vegetables among plates or shallow bowls and top with salmon. Spoon pan sauce on top and serve warm.
Heat the olive oil in a flame-proof casserole pan and cook the pork, turning occasionally, until it is golden brown all over, about 10 mins. You need plenty of space in the pan, so cook in 2 batches if the meat starts to steam. Remove from the pan to a plate. Tip out any burnt bits, then add the butter and cook the onion for 3-5 mins until softened.
Stir in the flour, then return the pork and juices to the pan. Pour over the wine and enough stock to cover the meat. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, put the lid on and cook for 45 mins, stirring occasionally. Tip in the prunes, top up with stock or water if the meat isn’t covered, and cook 45 mins more, uncovered, until really tender. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Mexican crema for topping each taco (optional) or sour cream
Your favorite hot sauce
sea salt and black pepper for seasoning steak
Place a large cast iron griddle or pan on the stove, on high heat.
Add about 2 teaspoons of tallow or ghee to the steak and rub all over.
Very generously season the steak with salt and pepper.
Place the steak onto the hot griddle/pan and cook for about 5 min per side.
Remove from heat and let rest while you prepare the tortillas.
In a small pot/pan on high heat, add about 2 tablespoons ghee or tallow. When the oil heats up, add a tortilla for about 10 seconds per side and place onto a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Repeat with remaining tortillas and add more ghee/tallow to the pot as needed.
Slice the steak against the grain and then cut the strips into smaller 1-inch pieces for the tacos.
Assemble the tacos: Add steak, onion, and cilantro to a tortilla. Squeeze a bit of lime onto each taco. Top with hot sauce and Mexican crema or sour cream. Enjoy!
This is the secret to restaurant-quality fish. The magic happens on the bottom of the pan where the fish forms an even, crisp crust. The sauce seals the deal.
Hands-On: 20 mins Total: 30 mins Yield: MAKES 4 servings
4 (4- to 6-oz.) fresh grouper fillets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 425°. Pat fish dry with paper towels, and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place fillets, top side down, in hot oil. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer skillet to oven.
Bake at 425° for 4 to 5 minutes or until fish is opaque. Remove skillet from oven, and place fish, seared side up, on a platter.
Wipe skillet clean. Cook butter in skillet over medium heat 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Pour butter into a small bowl. Whisk in vinegar, shallot, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
SEARING IS BEST FOR: Nearly any type of fish, but is easiest with firm fillets that are at least 1 1/2 inches thick, such as grouper, halibut, sea bass, and striped bass.
EXPERT ADVICE: Make sure the pan is hot before adding fish. Press very lightly with a spatula while cooking for even searing.
A simple sauce made mostly with pantry staples, this spicy, tomatoey take on a ragù, which is traditionally long-cooked, is unapologetically lamb-forward. If you prefer, you could use pork, beef or a mix of all three. Whatever you do, try not to skip the anchovies — they add a depth of flavor typically achieved by a long simmer, and anchovy-haters won’t even know they are there.
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and black pepper
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
2 anchovy fillets (optional)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound ground lamb
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
12 ounces cooked pasta, noodles or tubes, for serving
A good hunk of Parmesan or pecorino, for serving
A small handful of marjoram, oregano or thyme, for serving (optional)
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have become translucent and have totally softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add a pinch of red-pepper flakes and anchovies, if using, and cook for a minute or two, just to toast the spices and melt the anchovies.
Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring occasionally so it has a chance to stick to the bottom of the pot and caramelize a bit, 2 or 3 minutes.
Add lamb and season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon or a spatula, stir lamb until the fat starts to soften and the meat begins to break down. Continue to cook, stirring rather frequently until the lamb begins to brown and sizzle in its own fat, 5 to 8 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes, stirring to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot. Fill the tomato can halfway with water and swirl around to get all the remaining tomato, then add to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce is thickened and insanely flavorful, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve sauce mixed into and over pasta with plenty of cheese for grating over the top, scattered with a small handful of marjoram, oregano or thyme leaves if you like.