« October 2007 | Main | January 2008 »

December 30, 2007

Ropa Vieja

I made this recipe, which comes from the January/February issue of Cooking Light for dinner tonight. It fulfilled a culinary ambition of mine, which is to become more familiar with braising. As a braised dish, it takes a couple of hours to prepare, but almost all of that time can be spent lounging around with a book, enjoying how good the house smells.

Braising really ought to be done in a proper dutch oven. I only have a biggish soup pot, which is a bit too tall. I improvised by putting a layer of aluminum foil just over the surface of the stew, and then putting the lid on the top of the pot. It seemed to work fine. I certainly had no complaints about how the dish came out.

We folded the beef and peppers into warm tortillas, and then ate the broth with a spoon.

The Ingredients

The Steps

  1. Heat a bit of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak for about 2 and a half minutes on each side. Set aside on a plate.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, peppers, and garlic to the pot, and cook, stirring, until tender (about 7 minutes).
  3. Stir in the olives and the spices and cook for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the vinegar and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve any browned bits. Cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.
  5. Stir in broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Add the steaks and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1.5 hours or until steaks are tender.
  7. Remove the steaks from the pan and shred with two forks. Stir the shredded beef and cilantro into the pot. Serve in shallow bowls with warm tortillas on the side.
Serves 6-8

Posted by spaceling at 08:21 PM

December 27, 2007

Vaguely Asian Chicken Soup

I'm not dead! And to prove it, I made chicken soup. It was tasty, although I think the next time I make it, I may increase the amount of 5 spice powder ever so slightly.


The Steps

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot, and saute the vegetables and aromatics until the onion starts to get soft and everything smells good. (Maybe 5 minutes or so.)
  2. Add the five spice powder, the bay leaf, and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken thighs and poach them at a simmer until they are cooked through, perhaps 15 minutes or so.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred it. Put it back in the pot, taste, and add soy sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  5. Finish off each serving with a squeeze of lime juice.

Posted by spaceling at 09:57 PM