Beef Stew Recipe to Warm Up Cool Nights

Le Creuset Blue

Created for the 5 1/2 qt. round French oven
Serves 8

This beef stew is certainly perfect for Christmas, but you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll make it several times throughout the year. It’s a great make-ahead meal, and the Le Creuset oven looks marvelous on the range top and buffet. Serve it with Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.

The preparation time is only 20 minutes, but the total cooking time is 4 hours. This is a great dish to prepare ahead of time, and the oven will warm up the house while slowly cooking the stew. Enjoy!!


Beef Stew Recipe to Warm Up Cool Nights

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

  • ¾ pound shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 2½ pounds beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch slices
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Season the beef liberally with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in the French oven over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring as needed, until browned on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Discard any excess oil from the pan and return to medium-high heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and stir, scraping the bottom and sides with a wooden spoon. Stir in the stock, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Return the meat and any juices that have collected to the pot. Add the potatoes and carrots, then cover and bake for 3 hours. Stir in the peas and bake for 1 hour. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Charleston Gumbo


Ahhh… The first snow of 2012 got us thinking of a warming stew for dinner. So we tried this spicy thick seafood ‘soup,’ the Charleston Gumbo.  It’s easy to make and cleaning up is also easy because there’s only one pot to clean! This dish will definitely warm you up, and when served in one of Le Creuset‘s colorful Cast Iron Casseroles it will cheer up a wintry night.

Serves: 4/6                  Preparation and Cooking 1 1/2 hours

  • 125 grams chopped bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 500 g peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 500 g new potatoes cut into 1cm dice
  • 225 g okra, cut into 1 cm slices
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cups fish stock or water
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 450 g cod fillet, cut into 6 cm pieces
  • 1 kg large raw shrimp
  • 1 kg small raw clams
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley, to garnish
  1. Preheat a Casserole on a low to medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Add the bacon and cook, stirring until the fat begins to run. Add the olive oil with the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and chillies. Reduce the heat to low and cook these vegetables until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients, except the seafood.
  4. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the vegetables are very tender. Add all the seafood, stirring well.
  5. Cover again and cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer until the cod is cooked and the clams are open; discard any clams that remain closed.
  6. Just before serving, stir in the chopped parsley and season.
  7. To serve: Ladle over cooked long grained rice.
  8. Bon Appétit!

Peanut Turkey with Apples and Carrots

Photo: Tasting Table

Whoa… Hold the press! When I first got an email for Southern-inspired Thanksgiving recipes from Tasting Table, a daily “food culture” newsletter, I was immediately drawn to the peanut aspect of the recipe. Over the years I have read many turkey recipes that involve exotic spices, rubs, and brine liquids… But peanuts?? I have never heard of combining peanuts with turkey before! I would like to share this with our Cook and Craft family… Hope you enjoy it and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

— Mel Harjono

Yield: 6 servings    Cook Time: 2 hours
One 12-pound turkey–giblets removed, turkey rinsed and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, plus 3 sprigs fresh sage, divided
4 baking apples (such as Macintosh)–cored, halved and divided
1 shallot, peeled
Half a medium lemon
8 large carrots, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil
Peanut-Butter Gravy
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup apple cider2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Salted peanuts
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Sprinkle the cavity and skin of the turkey liberally with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mash together 3 tablespoons of the butter with the chopped sage, salt and pepper. Carefully rub the seasoned butter under the turkey’s skin. Stuff the cavity with the remaining sage springs, 2 apple halves, shallot and lemon. Truss the turkey’s legs.

2. In a large roasting pan, add the 3 remaining apples and the carrots. Toss with the remaining teaspoon of sage butter. Season with salt and pepper and add the chicken stock. Transfer the turkey, breast side up, to a wire rack and fold the wing tips under the turkey; rub with the peanut oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the rack on top of the vegetables.

3. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the turkey is golden, about 45 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375° and roast, basting every 20 minutes with the pan sauce until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh reads 165°, about 1 to 1½ hours.

4. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

5. Make the gravy: Transfer the apples and carrots from the pan to a bowl and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim the fat off of the pan drippings and set the pan on two burners over medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the cider vinegar and whisk, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Add the flour to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, whisking constantly, until the gravy is thickened and the starch flavor is cooked out, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the apple cider and chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes. Whisk in the peanut butter and cook another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

6. Carve the turkey and serve warm with the caramelized carrots, peanut-butter gravy and salted peanuts.

Do a Thanksgiving Feast Like a Pro… Avoid these 10 rookie’s mistakes

So you wanna create an awesome, memorable Thanksgiving party?

The food editors at Bon Appetite magazine (clearly a source you can trust!) compiled these 10 most common Thanksgiving mistakes and gave us some common sense tips to avoid them. Believe it or not, we are guilty of committing at least a couple of mistakes on this list in the past. This list is a good reminder (like, read the recipe first!) for novice and pro-alike. May we all have a stress-free, delicious Thanksgiving this year… Cheers!

10 Most Common Thanksgiving Mistakes

Not reading the recipes first — This classic mistake results in a lot of “Oops, I don’t have that pan” or “oops, I didn’t know it needed to brine overnight.” Avoid these disasters by reading the recipes! Make sure you have the dishes needed and ample time to get things done.

Picking dishes that all require last-minute preparation… When designing the feast, figure out how it’s going to get put together and on the table at the same time. Know what can be done ahead, what can be warmed in the oven while the turkey rests, etc.

…Or that all need to be in the oven at the same time — Choose recipes that require different preparation and can be served at different temperatures; oven versus stovetop and hot versus room temp.

Not having all of the serving dishes and utensils needed — Reading the recipes will help you figure out what you might need, but you can always rearrange the dishes you have to fit with the right recipe. If you are short, borrow from friends and family.

Undercooking the turkey — Rely on internal temperatures rather than cooking time to determine when your bird is done. Don’t even think about roasting a turkey without a thermometer.

Overcooking the turkey — Start checking if it’s done about 1/2 hour before the recipe says it will be. But make it fast! The more you open the door, the more heat the oven will lose, making roasting time longer. OR, use a probe thermometer that stays in the turkey while it roasts, with an alarm that goes off when it’s ready.

Making lumpy mashed potatoes — Buy a potato ricer! It’s the best guarantee for a silky, lump-free mash.

Not serving hors d’oeuvres — Even if you’ve been tasting (read: snacking) all day as you cook, your guests haven’t. Put out something light, like cured salmon and crisps, to keep them hungry–but not ravenous–for the big meal.

Dishing out cold gravy — You can keep your gravy at serving temperature indefinitely by keeping it in a pot of barely simmering water that comes halfway up the sides of the gravy boat (although if you’re using grandma’s china, you might want to use a ceramic bowl).

Setting the table at the last minute — Set the table one day ahead. You can even put Post-It’s on serving dishes that say what recipe will go with which platter or bowl.

French Toast + Pancake = Awesomeness

photo: A Cozy Kitchen

File this under “Why did I not think of this genius idea before??” This scrumptious dish is a modified French toast… instead of the regular egg batter, dip the toast in pancake batter. The result is a firm yet moist toast with amazing crust. Give this recipe a try this weekend!

4 whole Large Eggs
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 cup Milk
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla (optional)
½ teaspoons Cinnamon, Optional
12 slices Bread (you’ll Want Something Thick And Hearty To Stand Up To The Heavier Batter)
Beat eggs until fluffy. Beat in remaining ingredients (except bread). Heat a griddle over medium high heat until a drop of water skitters across the pan. Dip one slice of bread at a time in the batter until it is completely covered. Place on the griddle and cook until brown on one side. Then, flip and brown the other side. You will know the bread is ready to flip in the same way you know pancakes are ready: the edges look dry and bubbles have formed in the batter along the crust. Slather with butter and drizzle on some maple syrup. These also freeze well for breakfast later in the week.

Red Tomato and Garlic Chutney

ToMAYto, toMAHto… Let’s not call the whole thing off, and make some chutney instead! The middle of summer is usually filled with an abundance of tomatoes. One can only eat so much of tomato salad. A great way to preserve this summer fruit is by canning, freezing, or making chutney with them. This recipe is an easy classic. Chutney sounds fancy, but it is so easy to make!

Ingredients — Makes about 6.5 cups

  • 1 tsp. whole allspice
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 2 pieces fresh ginger, approximately 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches, bruised
  • 3 1/4 pounds red tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1 pound cooking apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 pound onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup (250 ml) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 7/8 cup packed (200 grams) warmed good brown sugar

Methods —

  1. Place the whole spices and bruised ginger in a piece of muslin and tie it into a bag with string.
  2. Place all the ingredients except the sugar in a stainless steel preserving pan and bring to the boil, then simmer until tender. Add the warmed sugar and stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil, then simmer gently for approximately 1.5 hours until the chutney is think but still juicy, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the muslin bag, then pour the chutney into hot, sterilized jars and seal.

To sterilize the jars —

European-style canning jars, which have glass tops, secured by a thick wire clamp are best for chutneys. Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse in hot water, and leave to air-dry. Place a folded dish towel on an oven shelf and lay the jars on their sides on top. Shortly before you need to use them, heat the oven to 225 F/ 110 C and leave the jars at this temperature for 20-30 minutes. The jars should still be hot when you fill them with hot jam or chutney.

Equipment note —

Preserving pan: a noncorrosive, nonreactive preserving pan, big enough to hold large quantities of boiling jam. Also known as a maslin pan or a jam pan, is wide and shallow to encourage rapid evaporation when bringing jam to setting point. A good quality pan will have a thick, heavy base, which will prevent any preserve from burning.

Cassoulet, Cassoulet…

Wow, just as we thought winter is almost over, Old Greenwich received another 5  inches of snow!  During the snow storm a few weeks back we were hunkering down in our homes and made some cassoulet from Amateur Gourmet‘s recipe. It was absolutely delicious and easy, the perfect dish to make in this kind of weather.

Cassoulet is a dish that just makes sense. Why does it make sense? You take fatty, flavorful meat, put it in a big pot with moisture-hungry beans and bake the whole thing until the beans are infused with all that fat and flavor and the meat is cooked. It’s not meant to be a fancy dish–this is the kind of food French people make at home–and it’s infinitely variable, as evidenced by the infinite cassoulet recipes you will find in my infinite cookbook collection, recipes that vary the type of meat, the type of bean, even the amount of time it takes to make the dish…

Follow Adam’s step-by-step (with pictures!) recipe: Cassoulet in 10 Easy Steps — you won’t be disappointed!

We Are Thankful For…

… for friends and family, for gorgeous and sunny autumn day, for items lost and then retrieved, for laughter and smiles, for aching muscles that remind us that we’re here, for moments shared, for music, for silence, for opportunities to share, for peace, for life…

Now, who wants to eat? 🙂

photo credit: NY Times

New York Magazine is featuring recipes from eleven top chefs in New York City. Many interesting variations and ideas shared by these chefs, as each bring their cultural backgrounds into the traditional thanksgiving fares.  Below is our favorite recipe from the bunch… it’s a Portugese-inspired roasted turkey recipe from chef George Mendes. For more recipes, from appetizer, side dishes and dessert, check out My Mother’s Thanksgiving in New York Magazine.

Marinated and Roasted Turkey

Provided by: Chef George Mendes

  • Type of Dish: Main Courses
  • Servings: 8


12-lb. turkey (farm-raised):
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped

4 cups sugar
2 cups kosher salt
12 cloves
1 tbs. fennel seeds
1 tbs. coriander seeds
1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
5 pieces star anise
5 bay leaves
2 tbs. white peppercorns

Paprika marinade:
2 cups olive oil
1 cup vinho verde wine
2 tbs. Spanish sweet paprika (available at Despaña; 212-219-5050)
2 bay leaves, torn
1/2 small onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves, crushed


In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients for the brine with 3 quarts water, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat, and pour into a container set over ice to chill.

Place the turkey in a large pot, cover with the cold liquid, and allow the bird to brine overnight.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade, and stir. Rinse the turkey under cold water, washing off all the spices. Pour the marinade over the turkey. Cover with plastic, and allow to sit for a minimum of 2 hours (preferably overnight).

Preheat the oven to 325°. Place the neck and trimmed wing tips, coarsely chopped onion, celery, and carrot at the bottom of an oval turkey roaster, and add 1 cup of water to the pan. Remove turkey from marinade, reserving remaining marinade. Place the turkey on top of the bones and vegetables in pan. Cover the turkey with the lid, and roast in the oven, brushing the bird with the reserved marinade every 30 minutes. After 1 hour, start checking the internal temperature. When it reaches 150°, remove the lid and increase the temperature to 425°. Continue roasting for another 15 to 25 minutes, constantly brushing with marinade until the turkey reaches a deep orangey-brown and the internal temperature reaches 165°. Remove from the oven, and allow the turkey to rest for half an hour to 45 minutes in the roasting pan. Remove the turkey from the pan, and strain the juices into a medium saucepan. Skim the fat from the surface, bring the sauce to a simmer, and season to taste. (Published 2010)

Red Velvet Cupcake

photo: LaLa Castro

The origin of red velvet cake is long and debatable… But one thing for sure is, this American creation is delicious!  The recipe below is from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book…

The Cupcake…


Makes 24

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  • Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.
  4. To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

The Frosting…


  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 pound (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.

Read more at Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe –