Friday, October 16, 2009

On smudged up recipes

JAN: Recently I took on a herculean task: I sorted through all the zillions of recipes in my file folders, armored them in plastic protectors, and organized them in a loose leaf binder.

I hate organizational tasks, so this was really a tedious sacrifice of time for me, but while I was doing it, I noticed that I’d linger over the icky, butter or gravy smudged recipes the longest.

And what was that about?? Fond feelings for my sloppy cooking?

Or maybe it’s because the spotless recipes signify a good concept that doesn’t apply to me. Messy means tried and true. Messy means real life.

So here are two of my messiest, most loved winter recipes.

Chicken Artichoke Stew:
3 lbs. broiler fryer cut in pieces, or three pounds skinless breasts cut into bite size pieces.
1 med-sized onion chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
2 to three cloves of fresh garlic minced or pressed
1 large can (16 ounces) crushed tomatoes.
1 8-ounce can diced tomatoes.
small can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
1 package frozen articholes thawed and chopped or a large can of articoke hearts quartered.
2 to three carrots peeled and chopped into small slices
1/2 lemon squeezed.
Sautee onions and garlic in a Dutch Oven or Stewpot in olive oi. Add childen and brown on both sides. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the squeezed lemon and artichokes and cook for forty five minutes to an hour on medium or medium low. Add artichokes and cook ten minutes more. Add lemon and take off the heat. Serve over pasta or rice or serve as a stew with a loaf of French bread.
Hot Ham in a crockpot
I'm not a big ham fan. I buy it once or twice a year because I need the ham bone for pea soup and I can never find one. So I buy the smallest but-end fully cooked ham I can find and take three quarters of the meat off of it. Probably a pound or two.
Then I take a crockpot (or you can use a dutch oven) and sprinkle olive oil on the bottom.
I peel and slice four to six potatoes, and slice three carrots. I slice a bulb of fennel (you can use celery instead) and chop half an onion (1/2 cup). For fun, I like to add two jalapeno peppers (optional) I layer this on the bottom of the crockpot, sprinking with salt, peppper and a mixture of 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
I cut the ham into medium sized hunks and put that on top. I mix two tsp. of brown sugar into ten ounces of low fat chicken broth and add to the concoction. In a crockpot, I cook it on high for four to five hours. In a Dutch Oven, I'd cook it on medium low for an hour or so. Ten minutes before serving, I add a half cup of light sour cream and I serve with sour dough bread. It's amazingly delicious -- even if you don't like ham!
Anyone else have an messy, winter recipes to share ?


  1. Oh boy, now I know what I'm making for dinner on the weekend. Thanks, Jan!

    I like making Beef Bourgignon in winter, and Coq au Vin (theme here? with a glass for the cook?).


  2. Hi Edith,
    I've tried several Beef Bourgignon recipes without any luck - and since my family alledgedly really came from Burgandy (Brogan was changed from Bourgoyne), I feel like I really need one. So if you have a good one -- please share!!


  3. I use the one in The New Basics cookbook, by the Silver Palate authors, Rosso and Lukins. Will type it out later today (since I am supposed to be WRITING this morning, not blog commenting!).

  4. I was good with the chicken until I got to the cinnamon. Are you sure??

  5. The cinnamon absolutely MAKES the dish. No point making it without...

    it's a Greek thing.

  6. Ah, don't have to type the recipe. Here it is, courtesy googlebooks:

    My modifications include not using pearl onions (too lazy), and replacing the bacon with olive oil (for heart health). It doesn't seem to suffer at all. As with most stews, even better the second day.


  7. Love beef stew and dumplings for comfort food! And homemade chicken pot pie (made low fat for the husband with the high cholesterol). And you're right, cinnamon makes a great companion for chicken.

  8. I went through recipes myself not long ago to compile the family favorites for the sons heading off into the world - it was an odd collection, much like us.

    Anyway, our winter favorite is homemade spaghetti sauce, percolating all day in the crockpot -- sugar gives it a touch of sweetness.

  9. It all sound yummy! I'm still in Indianapolis for Bouchercon (alas, I didn't win the Anthony for Best First Novel - Stieg Larssen did) and I wound up eating junk food for dinner last night as I watched the Yankees.
    Needless to say I don't have my bulging green looseleaf binder full of recipes here in my hotel room, but myfave fall/winter recipe is Chicken with roasted root vegetables. I never pay much attention to amounts (unless I'm baking and then I weigh everything on a food scale) but this is it, roughly.
    Fave chicken parts, skinned, not boned
    Cut-up pieces of carrots, parsnips, potatoes, turnips, beets, fennel, brussel sprouts, onion
    Whole garlic cloves
    Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices to taste (I like thyme, etc.)
    Put everything in a baking dish, bake at 375. Come back every once in a while and splash with chicken stock, baste to get the oil and vinegar all mixed in. Turn chicken.
    Depending on how thick the chicken pieces are and how big you cut the veggies should take 75 mins to 90 mins. Actually the longer you cook it the tastier it is, and if ypou keep adding chicken stock it won't dry out.
    BTW..there's an interesting typo in Jan's post..I read it quickly and thought she wrote "brown the children."

  10. Jan, I was suspicious about the cinnamon too, but going to print it out and try that recipe this week! I just made molasses sugar cookies last night from my recipe file. And my sweet husband had a marinated pork roast with sauerkraut, cabbage, carrots, and mashed potatoes ready for me when I got home from Indianapolis...

    Ro, it was an honor to be nominated for that Anthony! We are all glad you're alive to write another mystery:). And congrats to Rhys for her Macavity for best historical mystery!

  11. Welcome home guys, congrats to Rhys and Rosemary!

    And to Roberta for having such a thoughtful husband.

    I want to taste pat's spaghetti sauce, Kinggraham's stew and dumplings (i love dumplings) Edith's Beef Bougoyne, Ro's root vegetables, and Roberta's cookies

  12. Just saying, Jan's stew was very Excellent. I made a double recipe to have more anon. Omitted only the honey because I live with someone sensitive to main dishes that are 'too' sweet. The cinammon rocks, though. I did notice "Add childen and brown on both sides" and smiled...

  13. Jan -

    I'm late here, but I do need to say that your recipe showed up just in time. I like to surprise my wife and so I said I'm cooking our anniversary dinner, unless she wants to go to our favorite Irish Pub. That Chicken Artichoke Stew sounds awesome AND, I can make it! How good is that? If we wind up going out - I'll make it this Sat.

    Thanks for posting that!!!


  14. Hi Mike,
    Yes omit the children and use chicken instead!!!!