Healthy Stew Recipe Roundup

Phew…you’ve made it through another frantic holiday season.  It seems life has been one giant party from Halloween through New Year’s. It’s now time to relax a bit! While many people feel blue during January, we love to enjoy the slower pace. Feel the warmth and quiet while enjoying one of these wonderful hearty, stews. We’ve got easy recipes for Truffled Italian-Style Beef and Porcini Stew, Spicy Pork Posole & Moroccan Chicken Tagine. Try any one of these at home on a cold winter’s night.

Truffled Italian-Style Beef and Porcini Stew

The mushroom-infused broth, from soaking the dried porcini, is incorporated into this hearty beef stew for a rich earthy flavor. 

1 Tbs. vegetable oil; more as needed 

½ C. diced pancetta

3 lb. boneless beef shoulder roast or   

    chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat   

    and cut into 1-1/2- to 2-inch pieces 

Truffle salt and freshly ground pepper 

1 medium purple onion, chopped 

2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped 

4 medium cloves garlic, minced 

1 Tbs. tomato paste 

2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 

    2 C. warm water until soft, then   

    chopped,  strain and reserve liquid

1 Tbs. minced fresh rosemary 

1 dried bay leaf 

1 C. dry red wine 

3 C. peeled pearl onions (or use frozen)

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained 

1/4 C. chopped fresh basil 

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position rack in the bottom third of the oven. 

In a 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot, cook the pancetta in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned but not crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and set aside. Do not wipe out the pan.

Heat the accumulated fat, over medium to medium-high heat, until shimmering hot. Season about one-third of the beef with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot (there should be at least 1/2 inch of space between the pieces). Brown well on at least 4 sides, adjusting the heat as necessary; each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the beef to a large bowl or rimmed baking sheet as it browns and repeat with the rest of the beef, seasoning with salt and pepper before browning. Once all of the beef is browned, remove the pot from the heat to let it cool for a few minutes.

Pour all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. (If there is not enough, add oil to equal 2 Tbs.) Return the pot to medium heat, add onion, celery, and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula, until the vegetables begin to soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic, tomato paste, soaked porcini, rosemary, and bay leaf and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Return pancetta to the pot.

Add the wine, stirring with a wooden spatula to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about half; about 8 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a boil.

Return the beef to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Cover and place in the oven to cook for 1 hour.  After 1 hour, add the pearl onions to the pot. 30 minutes later, add the tomatoes. Cover and cook until the beef is fork-tender. Add in the fresh basil.

*Skim the accumulated fat from the stew. Season to taste with truffle salt and pepper and serve.

*Note: They say that stew gets better by the second day. That said, wait to skim the fat until the pot has been refrigerated and the fat has congealed. It’s so much easier on day 2.

Spicy Pork Posole 

We love this aromatic, flavorful stew which can also be made with chicken.  

4 medium onions, divided

7 Tbs. vegetable oil, divided

4 Tbs. ancho chile powder,*divided

2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. dried oregano, divided

1 6 lb. bone-in pork shoulder (cut into 4- 

   to 5-inch pieces, some meat left on 

   bone

5 C. chicken stock

28 oz. canned diced green chiles, 

5 large garlic cloves, minced

4 tsp. ground cumin

4 15 oz. cans hominy, drained

4 limes, each cut into 4 wedges

Thinly sliced green onion

Fresh cilantro – chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Thinly slice 2 onions. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and sauté until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano; stir to coat. Sprinkle pork with salt and add to pot. Add 5 cups stock. Bring to boil. Cover and transfer to oven.

Braise pork until tender enough to shred easily, about 2 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large bowl. Pour juices into another large bowl. Refrigerate separately uncovered until cool, then cover and keep chilled overnight.

Discard fat from top of chilled juices; reserve juices. Dice  pork into 1/2-inch cubes, discarding excess fat. Thinly slice remaining 2 onions. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano, diced chiles, garlic, and cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add pork, reserved juices, and hominy. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend, adding more broth to thin, if desired. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cool. Cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before continuing.

Ladle the posole into bowls. Garnish with lime wedges, green onion, and cilantro.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Serve this bright tangy chicken dish over couscous for a crowd pleasing dinner.

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 whole chicken – cut into 8 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large yellow onions, sliced
2 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. crushed saffron threads
1½ cups chicken stock
6 oz. green olives, cracked
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
2 tsp. finely chopped cilantro
2 jarred *preserved lemons, cut into slices

Heat oven to 350°. Heat oil in an 8–qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper; add to pot and cook, turning, until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add onions to pot; cook until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add spices; cook for 2 minutes. Return chicken to pot with stock; boil. Bake chicken, covered, until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Stir in olives, butter, parsley, cilantro, and lemons, and cook for 6 minutes. Serve with a yummy rice pilaf or couscous and  warm pita bread.(to soak up the yummy sauce)

*available at specialty markets or online.