3/4/15 ChefElla's Irish Lamb Stew

IMG_0764.jpg

On St. Patrick's Day it is traditional for people to wear something green and eat corned beef.  Everywhere you go during the week you can find, ruben sandwiches, corned beef and cabbage, little red potatoes, and carrots.  While eating corned beef on St. Patrick's Day has become an annual American tradition a there are other great foods from Ireland.  Shepard's Pie, Cottage Pie, Oatmeal, Soda Bread, Black Pudding, and of course Irish Stew.  While you can still eat corned beef this St. Patrick's Day suprise your friends and family this year by making them something a little different, and remember to wear green so you don't get pinched.

1.  Wash your hands.

2.  For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a large saute pan, a wooden spoon, a small bowl, a potato peeler, a knife, a cutting board, and a large stock pot.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla's Irish Lamb Stew (Yields 4-6 servings )

Ingredients:

1 lb.        Lamb Stew Meat, Cut Meat Into Bite Size Pieces (If you do not like lamb you can substitute beef)

2 ea.       Leeks, Medium Diced, (about 2 cups diced)

-Cut off root end.  Cut leeks where the light green and dark green leaves meet.  Discard dark green leaf ends.  (If you make your own vegetable stock leek leaves are a great addition)  Cut leeks in half the long way.  Put the leeks flat side down, and cut halves in half again the long way.  Cut leeks into ¼ inch pieces.  Leeks are generally dirty and you may need to rinse them under cold water to wash away any dirt.

1 ea.       Large Carrot, Medium Diced, (about 1 ½ cups diced)

2 ea.       Celery Stalks, Medium Diced, (about 1 ½ cups diced)

1 tsp       Garlic, Minced

1 tsp       Rosemary, Dried, If you have fresh Rosemary you can substitute 1 tsp of fresh Rosemary leaves

            -Chop fresh or dried Rosemary on your cutting board until it is minced.

1 tsp       Kosher Salt

½ tsp      Black Pepper

2 Tbl       All Purpose Flour, or Gluten Free Flour

4 Tbl       Olive Oil

4 Cups   Beef Stock, Low Sodium

1 Cup     Water

12oz       Guinness Beer, 1 bottle

-Guinness is a traditional Irish dry stout beer that was first brewed in 1759.  When you cook the beer in your stew it will cook out the alcohol and leave a rich full flavor in your stew.

-If you would prefer not to use alcohol in your cooking simply add one more cup of beef stock in place of the Guinness.

1 ½ lb     Baking Potatoes, Peeled and Medium Diced

3.  In a large sauté pan heat 2 Tbl of olive oil over medium high heat.  When the pan is hot carefully add the lamb pieces.  Turn pan to high heat.  Let meat cook for 2 minutes and then turn meat over and cook for another 2 minutes.  Put meat on a plate.  Pour the juice and oil over the meat.

4.  Heat soup pot over medium high heat.  Add 2 Tbl of olive oil.  When the pot is hot add the leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic.  Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the pot and mix well.  Cook for 2 minutes stirring frequently.  Add Guinness to the pot and mix thoroughly with the vegetables.

5.  Add lamb and left over juices, beef stock, salt, pepper, rosemary, and water to the pot.  Bring to a slow simmer and cook for 30 minutes. 

6.  Add Potatoes bring back to a slow simmer and cook for 20 more minutes.  Check the potatoes for doneness.  If the potatoes are not done cook for 5 more minutes and check again.

Serve your stew with Irish Soda Bread, a traditional dark brown bread, or serve with your favorite bread.

Remember to wear something green and have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Enjoy.

-ChefElla

2/11/15 ChefElla's Valentine's Strawberry Shortcakes

There is nothing more fun than giving your friend's and family something nice for Valentine's Day, except making something for them.  I don't know why everyone eats and gives strawberries on Valentine's Day, maybe it's because they are red, or maybe it's because they are shaped like hearts, but either way they taste good.  Nothing tastes better than a good strawberry shortcake, and nothing makes it taste better than when someone makes it for your.  So enjoy making your shortcake, and enjoy your Valentine's Day. Who knows, maybe someone will make some strawberry shortcake for you.

1.  Wash your hands.

2.  For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a large bowl, a small bowl, a knife, a cutting board, a whisk, cookie sheets, a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, a rolling pin, a heart shaped cookie cutter, and a stand or hand mixer with a bowl and whisk.

If you are not allowed to use a knife or the oven by yourself you can ask an adult for help.

ChefElla's Valentine's Strawberry Shortcakes (Yields 12-14 servings / 24-28 three inch biscuits)

Ingredients:

Biscuits

1 ¼ Cups                All Purpose Flour, also known as AP Flour

½ Cup                    Whole Wheat Flour

½ tsp                       Salt

1 Tbl                        Baking Powder

3 Tbl                       Sugar

1 ½  Cups                Heavy Cream

1 Tbl                         Vanilla (You could substitute orange, almond, or lemon extract if you prefer)

Strawberries

1 lb.                          Fresh Strawberries, Small Dice

         -Wash strawberries.  Cut off the green or stem parts.  Place strawberry, cut side down

         and quarter the berry.  Cut quarters into pieces.

2 tsp                        Granulated Sugar

Whipped Cream (optional)

-If you would prefer to buy whipped cream it will work just as well.

1 ½ Cups                Heavy Cream

3 Tbl                       Granulated Sugar

1 Tbl                        Vanilla

 

3.  Preheat your oven to 425F.  Line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Spray aluminum foil with pan spray.

4.  In your large bowl mix AP flour, whole wheat flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.  Add heavy cream and vanilla.  Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  As soon as the flour and cream start to blend into a dough ball begin using your hands to mix.  The dough will be sticky but you want to make sure all of the flour gets mixed into the dough.  There is no need to be rough with it.  Just keep folding it over until all of the flour is mixed in.

5.  Sprinkle some AP flour onto your counter.  Place the dough ball on the counter.  Sprinkle a little more flour on the dough ball.  Begin to pat the dough ball out into a disc shape.  If the dough begins to stick to the counter lift it up and sprinkle a little more flour underneath.  Begin to roll out your dough with your roller.

6.  If the dough begins to stick on top or underneath sprinkle with a little flour as necessary.  Roll the dough out until it is about ½ inch in thickness.  A little thinner is ok. 

7.  Start cutting out your biscuit hearts.  Try to keep the cutter close to the last cut out piece to decrease waste.  If the cutter sticks just rub a little flour on it.  Cut out all of the biscuits and place them on your cookie sheet.  Take the left over dough and gently mold it back into a disc shape.  Roll out to ½ inch.  Cut out biscuit hearts and place onto your cookie sheet.  Throw out remaining dough, or cut into pieces and bake them for a snack. 

IMG_0734.jpg

8.  Pour a little heavy cream into a small cup.  Dip two fingers into the cream and spread a thin layer of cream over the top of each biscuit.

9.  Bake biscuits for 10-12 minutes, or until they are a light golden color on top.

10.  Mix diced strawberries with sugar in a small bowl and refrigerate.

11.  To make whipped cream, pour cream, sugar and vanilla into your stand mixing bowl.  Using the whisk attachment, mix the cream for one minute on a higher speed.  As the cream begins to stiffen slow the mixer to a medium speed.  Watch the cream mix until it begins to set or become pudding like in appearance.  Stop the mixer occasionally to test the consistency.  Test the consistency by pulling the whisk out of the whipped cream.  If the whipped cream stands up on its own (stiff peaks) it is done.  If it is not done, mix a little longer and test again.  Do not over mix or the cream if you do it will look a little like cottage cheese and turn into butter (literally).  Refrigerate when done.

12.  To make your strawberry shortcake, take a heart biscuit and spread a little whipped cream on it.  Put the heart, cream side up, on your plate.  Top the biscuit with some of your strawberry mixture.  Top the strawberries with a spoonful of whipped cream and top the shortcake with another heart biscuit.  If you really like whipped cream you can top your strawberry shortcake with more whipped cream.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Enjoy

-ChefElla