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Sherpherd’s Pie

In Fun Foods, Meats On February 27, 2015 0 Comments

Don’t you just love the winter months? This is when we can eat foods that warm the heart and soul. One of my fav’s is Sherpherd’s Pie – our family recipe is made with mashed organic potatoes, corn and ground beef or turkey. Enjoy this one-dish dinner next to a fireplace and let the evening linger with a few glasses of wine…

Prep time: 30 to 40 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds Yukon Gold organic potatoes (or other favorite variety)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound organic ground beef or turkey
3/4 cup finely chopped white or brown onion
1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth (optional – for mashed potatoes)
One 15-ounce can organic corn, drained, rinsed & drained once more

Prepare the Mashed Potatoes:

1. Peel the potatoes, cut them into 3-inch chunks.

2. As you cut the potatoes, immediately place them in a 4 to 5-quart sauce pot, covered with cold water (this will avoid blackening of potatoes).

3. After all potatoes have been placed in sauce pot, drain them and cover them with cold water once more.

4. Bring potatoes to a boil.

5. Boil potatoes on medium heat until they are cooked through – about 7 to 10 minutes.

6. After 7 to 10 minutes, test the tenderness of potatoes by piercing one of the chunks with a fork or pointed knife.

7. When potatoes are cooked, drain them in a metal colander.

8. Return potatoes to the sauce pot and mash the potatoes with a masher; stir in the butter or olive oil.

9. Add salt, ground black pepper and the broth, to taste.

10. Cover the mashed potatoes in sauce pot and set them aside.

Prepare the Ground Meat Filling:

1. In a 12-inch skillet and on medium-high setting, heat 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

2. When oil is hot, add the ground meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon continuously (this will avoid large clumps).

3. As soon as the meat turns gray, stir in the chopped onion with salt and ground black pepper, to taste.

4. Cook the meat mixture for 5 to 7 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and onions are translucent.

5. When meat is cooked, transfer it to a clean, metal colander to drain over a bowl.

6. Let meat drain for about 5 minutes.

Assemble & Bake the Sherpherd’s Pie:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Oil or butter a 10 X 10-inch baking dish (alternatively, a rectangular or oval dish can be used).

3. Transfer half of the mashed potatoes to the baking dish, spreading the potatoes evenly.

4. Add half of the drained meat mixture, spreading it evenly over the mashed potatoes.

5. Spoon the drained corn over the meat.

6. Top the corn with remaining mashed potatoes.

7. Cover the Sherpherd’s Pie with baking dish cover or with aluminum foil.

8. Set Shepherd’s Pie on a rack positioned in center of oven and bake for 20 minutes.

9. After 20 minutes of baking, uncover the Shepherd’s Pie and place it underneath oven overhead grill.

10. Grill the Shepherd’s Pie for 4 to 5 minutes (stand watch in order to avoid charring).

11. Serve Shepherd’s Pie immediately. If desired, add a little ketchup on the side.

Wine Pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon (with ground beef version)
Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio (with ground turkey version)
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Eggplant-Turkey Moussaka

In Holidays, Meats, Soups and Stews, Vegetables On November 23, 2014 0 Comments

Moussaka is an eggplant dish from Greece and Turkey. In Greece, it is layered with ground lamb and served hot. In Turkey, the eggplant is stewed with lamb and served warm or at room temperature.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m making eggplant moussaka from Turkey. It contains ground meat of the same name – lol! For those of you who are vegetarian, simply omit the ground turkey. Bon appetit!

Prep time: 1 hour
Serves: 4 to 6 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 medium eggplant
1 large tomato
extra virgin olive oil (to brush eggplant and tomato)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (for sautéing the moussaka)
1/2 pound dark ground, organic turkey meat (or lamb)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium brown or white onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a green bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 of a red bell pepper, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup Muir Glen Organic Diced Tomatoes® (canned)
1 cup tomato purée
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Dash freshly-ground nutmeg

Grill the Eggplant & Tomato:
1. Line a 12 X 18-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil; brush foil with olive oil and set aside.

2. Cut off and discard top and bottom of eggplant.

3. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices and place the on foil-lined baking sheet (previously oiled).

4. Cut the tomato in half and place it (cut-side up) alongside eggplant slices on baking sheet.

5. Brush the eggplant and tomato with olive oil; lightly sprinkle each with salt.

6. Place the baking sheet on a rack positioned 6 to 7 inches away from top broiler element inside oven.

7. Grill the tomato and eggplant for approximately 8 minutes or until eggplant has turned golden brown.

8. When eggplant has turned golden brown, wearing oven mitts, transfer the baking sheet to a counter.

9. Transfer the tomato pieces to a bowl to cool.

10. Turn the eggplant slices over; brush them with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

11. Grill the eggplant slices (on other side) for 6 to 8 minutes or until they have turned golden brown.

12. After eggplant is done, set the baking sheet to a counter; transfer eggplant slices to a plate to cool. Set aside.

Prepare the Moussaka:
1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch skillet.

2. When the oil is hot (do not let it smoke), add the ground turkey (or lamb).

3. On medium-high heat, stir-fry the meat, constantly breaking it up with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the garlic, onion and chopped peppers.

5. Cook the mixture on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes.

6. When onion is translucent, stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato purée.

7. Cook the moussaka for about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce has thickened.

8. After 4 to 5 minutes, stir in the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

9. Cook the moussaka for 5 to 6 minutes longer. Taste and adjust seasonings.

10. Serve moussaka alongside one or more recipes from this website:
Hummus Heat with Pitas and Vegetables (see recipe index – Appetizers/Starters);
Persian Cucumber Salad (see recipe index – Salads);
Butternut Squash Risotto (see recipe index – Pastas, Rice & Legumes).

Text & Photograph © 2014 Nancy DeLucia Real

Buzzzin’ Chili

In Meats, Soups and Stews On October 4, 2013 8 Comments

Homemade chili is always so comforting, especially with some freshly baked cornbread and a nice glass of red wine. This one-dish meal gets its “buzzz” from chipotle ahumado powder which will definitely warm you up in autumn weather. The flavors of this dish are enhanced when the chili is made a day ahead. This means that leftover, warmed-up chili tastes great up to three days later – and there’s no need to cook for a while!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Inactive prep time: 30 minutes (for cooking)
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
4 large vine-ripened tomatoes, boiled, cooled and peeled
One 14.5-ounce can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Chipotle
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds extra lean ground beef or organic, grass-fed extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle ahumado powder or regular chili powder
2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained, or one 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1. Purée the boiled tomatoes and canned tomatoes together in a blender and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepot. Add the ground beef and the onions and, with a wooden spoon, stir fry on medium-high heat until meat is broken up and turns gray, about 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Pour in the puréed tomatoes and stir. Cook on medium-low heat, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Stir in the salt, sugar and the lesser amount of chili powder and cook 2 minutes.

5. Stir in the kidney beans and cook for about 2 more minutes. Taste and adjust the chipotle ahumado powder or chili amounts.

Serve immediately in individual bowls accompanied by Columbus Day Cornbread (previously published on this blog).

Wine suggestion: Pinot Noir – this red wine pairs well with chili.

Note: You can find chipotle ahumado powder online at gourmetsleuth.com.

Text and Photographs ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

No-Frills Fajitas for Two

In Meats On September 27, 2013 4 Comments

Not in the mood to cook for an hour? The only ingredients you need are two steaks, a couple of bell peppers, an onion and jalapeño. After minutes in the kitch, you can both sit down and enjoy this no-frills fajita lunch or dinner (our featured photo is also a no-frills photo). After a long day, make sure to accompany this dinner with a good vino!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 7 to 8 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and sliced
1 medium-large white or yellow onion, sliced
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped (optional)
1/3 cup (equivalent to 6 tablespoons) olive or vegetable oil
Two 8-ounce New York or Sirloin steaks, fat trimmed and meat cut into strips (3/4-inch wide X 3 inches long)
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch skillet.

2. Add the peppers, onion and jalapeño; stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until onion is translucent and begins to turn light golden brown.

3. Transfer the cooked pepper-onion mixture to a plate; set aside.

4. In same skillet heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil; add the meat.

5. Stir-fry the meat for about 2 to 4 minutes. After 2 minutes, taste one fajita strip. If needed, cook fajitas for 1 to 2 more minutes.

6. After 1 to 2 minutes, stir in the cooked pepper-onion mixture. Heat through and serve immediately.

Note: The bell peppers can be substituted with pasilla peppers or a mix of both pasilla and bell peppers.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Cuban Shredded Beef (Ropa Vieja)

In Meats On April 13, 2012 0 Comments

Ropa Vieja is Spanish for “old clothes”. This Cuban recipe’s title describes shredded meat and colorful bell peppers which resemble tattered rags.
I learned how to make this recipe from Cuban friends who are fantastic home cooks.

Serve Ropa Vieja with a side of white or brown rice, accompanied by your fav red wine – a true comfort!

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 pounds flank steak, boiled, cooled and shredded*
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 white or brown onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
One 15-ounce can Muir Glen® Organic Crushed Tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dry Sherry or white wine
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar or brown sugar
Dash ground black pepper

1. In a 12-inch skillet or 8-quart saucepot, heat the oil on medium-high setting.

2. Stir fry the garlic, onions and bell pepper strips for 2 to 4 minutes or until the mixture is soft.

3. Stir in the shredded beef, tomatoes, cumin, bay leaves, wine, 1 teaspoon salt, sugar and dash pepper.

4. Cook on medium-high heat for 8 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon to prevent sticking.

5. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper levels. Remove and discard bay leaves.

5. Serve immediately with steamed white or brown rice. This dish can also be served with a green salad.

*Note: The flank steak can be cooked for 45 minutes a day ahead and refrigerated overnight. On day of usage, shred the cooled flank steak into shreds.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux (reds).

Text & Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real