Well Dined

9Dec/130

Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Is there anything better than a big pot of comforting beef stew in the Winter?  Maybe if you add a lot of veggies, Middle Eastern spices, and some apricots for sweetness.  Yum, yum, yum.  At least I thought so - my husband wasn't really sold on the whole sweet things in a stew concept, and he doesn't like all those vegetables getting in the way of his meat.  But whatever, I thought it was awesome.  If you are not limiting carbs, you could serve this over some couscous and let it soak up all the juices.

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Start by cooking some red onion and browning some beef chuck that has been seasoned with cumin, ginger, and cinnamon.  I feel like red onions only work well in specific places, and this is one of them.  Cooking them enough that they start to caramelize and release some sweetness is the way to go, here.  Remove the meat to a plate temporarily and deglaze the pot with some red wine to scrape up all those browned spices and good bits that are stuck to the bottom.

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

Add in some sweet potato, apricots, and a can of whole tomatoes in their juices; then add enough water to cover and let simmer for a few hours.  Your house is going to smell AWESOME.  For reals.

Well Dined | Spiced Beef and Sweet Potato Stew

After it is done simmering and the meat and potatoes are all soft and luscious - throw in some chickpeas and spinach.  Oh my gosh.  There is so much going on here!  The apricots absorb the liquid and plump up, and the sweetness from them and the sweet potatoes contrasts the warm spices.  I love all the different colors and textures, too.  Let's get cooking, peeps!

9Sep/130

Roasted Bone Marrow

Well Dined | Bone Marrow

The other day, I was perusing Red Apron Butchery and saw that they had marrow bones.  I LOVE marrow, but I had never made it at home before.  It was time to fix that!  You might be interested to know that while marrow is made up of fat, it is largely unsaturated; plus it has lots of vitamins and minerals like iron and Vitamin A, and it has been shown to boost the immune system!

Well Dined | Bone Marrow

Now you actually want to soak these bad boys in salt water overnight to draw out the blood.  It's not going to kill you or anything if you don't, but it won't taste as good.

Well Dined | Bone Marrow

Then you just pop them into a hot oven and roast for 20 minutes.  You could just sprinkle it with coarse salt and eat it with a spoon, I wouldn't blame you.  But if you want the full experience, spread it onto some toasted challah bread and top with a tangy parsley salad to balance out the rich fattiness.  Prairie butter, poor man's foie gras, pure heaven - whatever you want to call it, this stuff is delicious decadence.

Roasted Bone Marrow
serves 4

8 3'-4'-long pieces beef or veal marrow bones (cut lengthwise or crosswise, doesn't matter)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 small shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/3 cup)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp drained capers
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2-inch thick slices challah or rustic white bread, toasted

To remove the blood from the marrow, place the bones in a bowl of ice water with 1 tsp coarse sea salt per 1 cup water. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time. Drain and refrigerate until you are ready to cook the marrow. Be sure to use it within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place bones in an ovenproof skillet or roasting pan - wider cut side down for crosswise, cut side up for lengthwise. Roast bones until marrow is soft and begins to separate from bone but before it begins to melt, 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness of bones. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Meanwhile, toss parsley, shallots, oil, lemon juice, and capers in a medium bowl to coat. Season salad to taste with sea salt and pepper.

Serve bones with toast and parsley salad. Use a long, thin spoon or knife to scoop marrow onto toast and top with salad.

31Jul/130

Meat Ravioli

Well Dined | Homemade Meat Ravioli

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about some gorgeous beet and goat cheese raviolis that I made.  Jasper enjoyed those, but what he really wanted was meaty ravioli - so of course I made some for him!

Well Dined | Homemade Meat Ravioli

The process is exactly the same, just with a different filling.  And let me say, I REALLY like this filling.  My favorite mixture of beef, pork, and veal (sold as "meatloaf mix" in most stores) is browned with butter, olive oil, onion, and garlic.  Then prosciutto, Parmesan, nutmeg, and an egg are added, along with salt and pepper.  The filling is completely cooked (except for the egg) before it goes into the ravioli because fresh ravioli only cook for a minute or two.

Well Dined | Homemade Meat Ravioli

I served them with a creamy tomato sauce, yum!

9May/130

Moroccan Meat Pies and Afghan Pumpkin

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This post got lost and forgotten somewhere, so it's not very seasonal and I apologize.  But you can look forward to making it next Fall.

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And you should look forward to it.  Sweet, caramelized pumpkin with spices, creamy yogurt, and tangy tomato sauce?  Yes, please.  This is one of my favorite Afghan dishes, called kadu bouranee.

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And these delicious Moroccan inspired meat pies made with phyllo, ground beef, and spices are the perfect main to complement the pumpkin.  You could also make the Afghan meat dumplings called mantu, of course, but they require a little bit more work.

23Apr/120

Beefy Macaroni and Cheese

Who doesn't love macaroni and cheese?  Seriously.  Because I do.  I even love the kind from the box, powdered cheese and all (I know it's wrong, don't hate me).  Growing up, Hamburger Helper was a special treat that we would get really excited for - so when I found this recipe for a homemade version, I couldn't wait to try it.

12Apr/120

Anniversary Dinner

A few weeks ago, we celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary!  We went on a lovely trip to Texas over the weekend, but our actual anniversary fell on a Tuesday.  We had plans to eat at some very nice restaurants on our trip, so we decided to stay in on our anniversary and have a nice home-cooked meal.  I made steak with compound butter, spinach and Gruyere souffle, and vanilla bean panna cotta with mixed berries.

17Nov/110

Pumpkin and Butternut Squash Chili


I saw this recipe on the Food Network while getting my nails done and immediately wanted to make it. We didn't have any plans for Halloween night, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. It turned out to be a pretty fortunate decision, because Jasper came up with the idea to invite some friends over to play a horror board game at the last minute (read 5PM Halloween night). I had already started making the chili and I knew it would be great for a crowd. Funny thing was, we hadn't seen each other in so long that we wound up talking all night and never getting to the board game!