December 30, 2014

Sweet and Sour Beef Brisket - 100th Post!

Happy 100th post to us!  We've been through our ups and downs with this blog over the years but Mostly Soup is still kicking.  Thanks to all those who read our stuff.  We like keeping this blog up for a reference journal of our own accord and those who follow along are icing on the cake.  So raise a glass to you - THANK YOU!

I made this classic beef brisket when the rain first started in and paired with some red wine and a warm fire it was just the trick for coziness.  It would be the perfect dish to make for a stay at home New Years Eve celebration.  It feels decadent and rich but is really hands off and easy.  I didn't feel the need to make any sort of adjustments to this recipe; it was great just the way it is.  Just a heads up that you do need to start this recipe the night before you plan to serve it, or in the morning time so you have the whole day to rest it.

I roasted up some carrot and potato "coins" to go along with it.  If you have the Smitten Kitchen cookbook this recipe is in there but it's as easy as cutting up the potatoes and carrots in coin shapes and roasting until done with your favorite seasonings.

In any case I hope you get to try this out before winter is over.  Have a very happy New Years (with or without this brisket)!!

Sweet and Sour Beef Brisket
not adapted at all from Smitten Kitchen cookbook

•  4-to-5-pound (1¾ to 2¼ kg) piece beef brisket
•  1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for initial seasoning of meat
•  Freshly ground black pepper
•  1 cup (235ml) beef stock
•  3 tablespoons (50 grams) tomato paste
• 1/4 cup (50 grams) brown sugar, light or dark
•  4 teaspoons paprika
•  2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
•  1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes
•  1 teaspoon garlic powder
•  2 tablespoons (15 grams) onion powder

Season the meat generously on both sides with salt and pepper.  Whisk all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Place the meat in a dutch oven (or any other sturdy pot with a lid) and pour the sauce over it.  Put the lid on and roast for 3 hours, or tender enough to pull apart with a fork.

Chill the entire dish in the fridge for several hours or up to one day.  This resting time will enhance the flavor and texture of the meat.  An hour before you are ready to serve it heat the oven to 300 degrees and remove the dish from the fridge.  Skim off any fat that has congealed at the top of the meat.  You can leave some if you like but I skimmed it all for a less oily finish.  Remove the meat and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch slices and put back into the sauce in the pan.  Replace the lid and put into the pre-heated oven.  Reheat until the sauce is bubbly around the edges.  Serve immediately with sauce on the side to pour or spoon over meat.

2014-11-10 19.45.59-1

December 29, 2014

Quick-Braised Chicken with Fennel and Endive

It is officially winter, and I have comfort food on the brain.  I cannot for the life of me figure out how I found this recipe, but it was probably from some one-pot meal round-up which I always love because who wants to clean more than one pot?  

Other things that I liked about this: I had never used endive in a soup before, I am slightly obsessed with fennel, and I love anything with white wine and cream, so this was a no brainer.  

This actually isn't a soup, but because I used boneless/skinless chicken thighs, I probably should have used more or reduced the liquid a bit more.  We ate it just as is with some bread, but it would be great over mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice to soak up the yummy juices.  If I make this again, I would add some mushrooms and saute some of the veggies a bit, maybe caramelize the fennel.  The endive was great, it held a bit of crunch and surprised me!

In any case, this was super tasty and really hit the spot, as far as winter comfort goes.  Here is the recipe as I made it.

Quick-Braised Chicken with Fennel and Endive
Serves 4

2 pounds skinless/boneless chicken thighs
2 Tbls butter 
1 Tbls canola oil
2 medium fennel bulbs
4 heads belgian endive
1 large shallot
4 small carrots (optional)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Italian parsley
salt & pepper to taste

Sprinkle chicken with 1 tsp. each salt and pepper. In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbsp butter with the oil. Add chicken in a single layer and cook, without moving, until browned underneath, about 5 minutes. Turn over and cook until second side is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, drain fat from pan. (This is where I wish I would have browned the veggies up a bit but it did not even occur to me.)

While the chicken is browning, trim fennel bulbs (reserve 1/4 cup fronds) and cut bulbs into quarters, core and thinly slice. Trim ends of endive and quarter heads length­wise. Chop shallot. chop carrots into bite sized chunks.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add wine and broth and stir, scraping bottom, to release browned bits from pan. 

Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add chicken, fennel, endive, shallot, carrots and re­­maining butter. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.

Add cream to pan, increase heat to high, and cook uncovered, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a shallow bowl and sprinkle with parsley and reserved fennel fronds.

2014-12-09 Quick Braised Chicken 008

December 23, 2014

Savoy Cabbage Soup with Meatballs

Meatballs! I love them so much. I used to buy a bag of frozen meatballs at Ikea on every visit but then sometime in the last couple years they started to seem different, different texture or something. I stopped buying them but I never bothered to figure out a replacement to the handy little dinner-savers! Sunset saved me!

This soup was delicious, but I am super excited about the meatballs included in the soup!  They are pretty dang close to those Swedish meatballs I miss so much and I highly recommend doubling the meatball portion of this recipe and freezing them for later (you better believe that I did)!  Throw them into a soup or warm them up in the oven to have with roast veggies, or with mashed potatoes, gravy, and lingonberries!

Okay but back to the soup.  This was in the December issue of Sunset, in a feature that was singing the praises of the under appreciated Savoy Cabbage.  I fixated on the meatballs and decided to make this immediately.  Requiring few ingredients (even the meatballs are simple) and a super satisfying end result, I will be making this again for sure.

This recipe does make a lot of soup so you could freeze half (like I did) or just cut it in half. I made the full amount but doubled the meatballs.  Here is the original proportioned recipe.

Savoy Cabbage Soup with Meatballs
From December 2014 Sunset
Serves 8-10

1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs 
1/4 cup milk (I used half and half)
3/4 teaspoon salt divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper divided
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
5 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
medium carrots, sliced into half-moons to make 1 cup
medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), trimmed, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and sliced into half-moons
head savoy cabbage (about 1.5 - 2 lb), quartered, cored and thinly sliced
7 cups chicken broth (reduced-sodium if store-bought)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

First things first, make the meatballs!! Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, stir together bread crumbs and milk. Add 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 Tbsp. parsley, the pork, and the beef. Mix gently but thoroughly with your hands. Scoop mixture by slightly rounded teaspoons and roll into small balls, plopping them onto a cookie sheet as you go, about an inch or so apart.  Cook in the oven for about 12-15 minutes until internal temp is 160. (Double this part if you want to stockpile them in your freezer!)

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrots and leeks and cook, stirring, until leeks are soft but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in cabbage and remaining 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper and cook until slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.  (It looks like way too much cabbage, but it shrinks down I promise.)

Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let simmer until cabbage is quite tender, about 20 minutes.

Gently stir browned meatballs into soup and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are warmed up and flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream, 3 tbsp. parsley, and remaining 1/8 tsp. nutmeg (take a microplaner to a whole nutmeg if you want an extra flavor boost!) and ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. parsley. 


2014-12-21 Savoy Cabbage Soup 006