Although I would love to be the proud owner of a tagine, a special cooking pot with origins in Morocco, at this point in my life, I don't have the funds or space for this utilitarian cooking vessel. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a homemade tagine every now and then — I simply use my slow cooker to braise the meat for a long period of time. This lamb version is my current favorite tagine. It combines chunks of savory lamb shoulder with aromatic spices (like cumin, cinnamon, and saffron), sweet dates, and lots of broth. The resulting dish is an exotic blend of flavors and textures that's ideal for entertaining. Get the surprisingly simple recipe after the jump.
Ever since I made cioppino, I've been craving brothy, tomato-based seafood stews. When I saw a recipe for a Catalan one in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine, I had to give it a try. Unlike most variations, which call for canned tomatoes, this one uses the pulp of fresh tomatoes. It makes for a stew that's light in texture and full in flavor. The ingredient list doesn't include capers, but I threw some in for extra salty brininess. At my local market, halibut was expensive, so the fish monger suggested I use a cheaper firm white fish. The results were superb. This is a definite must make for seafood lovers! Check out the recipe now.
When I learned that the concept of white chili is foreign to a number of you, I took it upon myself to make the case for why this stuff is better than a bowl of red. I love tomato-based chili — especially when it's conveniently made in a slow cooker — but I positively crave the white kind. Not just any kind: Paula Deen's white bean chili.
It's green chilies (I prefer the Hatch variety), white beans, chicken, and cilantro, slow-simmered for hours to become a stew that's creamier and more tender than its tomato-based counterpart. Make this white chili, and you'll be the talk of any tailgate. To take a peek at how it's done (like all things Paula, it starts with butter!), read more.
OK, I gave in, but just a teeny tiny bit. I'm still grilling, but I was so chilly last night and today that somehow a chuck roast found its way into my grocery cart and lo, a pot roast was born. We need some braising birth control around here stat — aka sunshine! warmth! — or I'm going completely over to the dark side of soups, stews, and all things slow-roasted.
This can't happen.
See the three keys to a perfect pot roast — and her recipe — when you read more.
BellaSugar recently asked me to recommend a few polenta recipes that are simple, affordable, and healthy. Although I often serve this dinner basic as a creamy side with with meatballs and tomato sauce or sliced into squares with vegetables, I've recently discovered a new pairing: polenta with chili.
I never tire of the bold spices that go into chili, but I like to play around with its accompaniments. Sometimes I'll reach for a hunk of white bread, and other times I'll ladle chili over a plate of pasta, Cincinnati-style. For a soothing meal, try the stew over an ultracreamy bowl of quick-cooking polenta. For the recipe, read more.
A compote is fresh or dried fruit that's been stewed or baked in a syrup. The dish is slow-cooked on low heat to break the fruit down gently and allow it to retain some shape. Compote may involve one or a variety of fruits, and may be spiced with the addition of citrus peel, cinnamon, or cloves, or with alcohol. The dish can be served warm or chilled for breakfast or dessert, either on its own or as a topping for another dessert, such as ice cream.
Compote also refers to a deep, stemmed dish that's used to retain fruit, nuts, and candy.
Source: Flickr User jules:stonesoup
Hoping to steer clear of a hectic Monday night? Consider putting together a seafood stew that makes use of leftover scallops and doesn't require too much attention.
This recipe calls for white fish, scallops, and shrimp, all of which can be purchased frozen and defrosted beforehand — a great way to enjoy the bounty of the sea on a shoestring budget.
Since all the ingredients cook quickly, dinner will be ready in less than half an hour. Make this tonight when you get the recipe.
For Easter this year, I decided that rather than serving my usual glazed ham, I'd opt for another meat that's emblematic of the season: lamb. This Sunday, I'll be making navarin d'agneau printanier, a classic French stew of young lamb with springtime vegetables. With its colorful turned vegetables floating in light broth, and the use of lamb shoulder, fresh peas, and sprigs of chervil, this classic is like Spring comfort in a bowl. For a stunning and seasonal dish that's sure to impress guests, read more.
After a long week of admittedly too much partying, I'm in the mood for an easy, nourishing meal. Tonight, I'll be using my slow cooker to make a bacon-flecked stew with white wine and a whole cut-up chicken, reminiscent of the French countryside favorite coq au vin.
Hours later, when the scent wafting from the crockpot tells me that dinner's ready, I'll enjoy it at the table with the rest of the leftover wine. Sound like a relaxing close to a long, busy week? Then make the recipe yourself when you read more.