Tag Archives: cold weather food

Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew aka Perfection in a pot

Me oh my.  Growing up, my mom loved to make Mulligan Stew.  I truly detested that stuff.  Not sure why…it just didn’t flip my switch I guess.  As a result, I rejected stew for many years.  Of course, as we grow up, thankfully our tastes change and we expand our palette.  Now, before you read the ingredients list for this recipe, let me go on ahead and tell you…this recipe calls for turnips.  Go on…ewww…gag…gross…I don’t eat those.  Trust Cajun Mama, you will eat them in this stew.  Unless you are allergic to them…then I don’t know what to tell you.  They give this stew a sweet flavor that is unlike any other and this stew is absolutely perfect.  I promise.  Big Daddy loves him some turnips.  Remember he is country as all get out.  His theory is…”if there are turnips in it, I know I am gonna like it”.  He LOVES turnips.  He wants to grow turnips in his garden.  So, when I came across this recipe, I figured I would give it a try, knowing he would love it.  Oh he loved it alright.  And so did I.  It is one of my favorite dishes to make during the winter.  I really hope you won’t let your dislike of turnips turn you away.  It is almost like they are potatoes in this recipe.  So flipping good.

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Perfection in a pot I tell you.

Pioneer Woman’s Sunday Night Stew

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon real butter

2 pounds stew meat or a 2 pound chuck roast cut into chunks

1 medium onion, diced

2 turnips, peeled and diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

4 cups of beef stock or beef broth

a few dashes of Worcestershire

4 oz. of tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon sugar

chopped parsley, optional

Directions:

Salt and pepper your stew meat.  Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot over medium high heat.  Add your pat of butter and let it melt.  When it is melted, put add half of your stew meat to the pot.  Brown it until the outside get nice and brown or about 2 minutes or so.  Make sure you stir it to turn as it browns.  Once it is nicely browned, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and  put  it on a plate. Do the same thing with the other half.  Remove from the pot and set aside.  Now, add the onion and garlic to the pot.  Stir to coat in all the brown bits in the bottom of the pot…my daddy calls that the gremille.  Cook for about 2 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste.  Stirring constantly, let this cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Pour in your beef stock, stirring constantly.  Add a few dashes or splashes of Worcestershire and sprinkle in the sugar.  Give it a nice stir to let all the flavors combine.  Now, add the beef back to the pot.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  After the time is up,stir in the diced carrots and turnips to the simmering stew.  Let this simmer for about 30 more minutes.  The sauce will be rather thick, but if you think it is too thick, you can add a little more broth or stock until it is thin enough for your liking.  Once the turnips and carrots are fork tender, you can add some parsley if you like.  I do this once I serve the stew in bowls.  My kids tend to ask “Ewww what is that green stuff?!!” and the inspections begin.  So I try to not raise any red flags early on.  Sigh.  Anyway, ladle some of this absolute utter deliciousness into bowls over mashed potatoes (how I like it) or cooked rice (how Big Daddy likes it…yes, we are a couple divided…again…sigh).  If you make up a pan of cornbread, you will be golden and loved forever.  You will be hailed as queen of your castle and you will get a crown.  Oh wait, no, that was a dream I had.  Never the less, this is a WONDERFUL meal, especially on a cold windy and rainy day.  Hope you love this recipe as much as we do in Cajun Mama’s kitchen.  Cest bon ma chere!!  Joyeaux Noel!  Thank you for being a part of this journey so far.  You are a blessing to me!!!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ya’ll know I am a soupaholic right?  Right.  And I love, love, love me some Mexican.  So chicken tortilla soup is a no brainer for me.  One of my favorites ever is the chicken tortilla soup at Catina Laredo here in Shreveport.  I am sure some of you have one near you.  It is so delicious and simple and filling and just the best thing ever.  I have made several different variations over the past few years since first trying it.  This recipe I am about to share with ya’ll is not the same as that one or any of the others, but it is the one I tried last week when every person in our house was down with the flu or a virus.  And Big Daddy was up at my in-laws’ hunting lodge in Arkansas (www.bayoulagruelodge.com) nearly the entire time.  It was not pretty.  It would have been funny had it not been so hard and maybe one day I will laugh, when I am old and senile.   Me plus 4 sick kids equals help me Rhonda, SOS, call in for reinforcements, and making soup.  Chicken tortilla soup to be specific.  This recipe is a Pioneer Woman recipe which means it would be pretty fool proof and guaranteed to be muy delicioso. Unlike most chicken tortilla soups I have made, this one called for 2 cans of black beans, making it a little more filling, packed a good protein punch and added some texture.  Ding ding…we’ve got a winner.  This soup is the perfect thing to make on a blustery winter night.  It will warm you from your head to your toes.  MMMM good.  Yes, that is Campbell’s thing, but it goes for all yummy soups, right?  Right.

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holy cow that is some good stuff right there!

Chicken Tortilla Soup (from Pioneer Woman’s cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks:  Food From My Frontier)

Stuff you need:

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

approx. 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more according to your taste

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup diced onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup diced green bell pepper

1/4 cup diced red bell pepper

one 10 ounce can Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles (I used the kind with cilantro and lime…it was like Ole!!)

4 cups or 1 quart low sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons tomato paste

4 cups hot water

2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained (I use the reduced sodium kind because canned beans have a crazy amount of sodium in them.  I have the best luck finding these at our local Super Target)

3 tablespoons cornmeal

5 small corn tortillas

diced avocado, for garnish

sour cream, for garnish

What to do with the stuff:

Preheat your oven to 375 degreees

Now, mix the spices together in a small bowl.  Drizzle your chicken breasts with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. of your spices over the chicken breasts.  Set your bowl of spices aside for later.  Bake your chicken busoms (Kylie , that is for you) for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.  Remove from oven and shred the chicken using two forks.  Set aside.

Now, you are going to heat the remaining olive oil in your soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.  Toss in your veggies and a teaspoon of your spices you used to season the chicken breasts.  If you are feeling frisky, toss in an extra dash of chili powder for some added heat.  Stir the veggies around until they begin to get a nice golden brown color, about 5 minutes or so.   Inhale.  smells good doesn’t it?

Throw your shredded chicken breasts into the pot.  Now, pour the can of Ro-tel in, juice and all.  Stir in the chicken broth, tomato paste and the 4 cups of hot water.  Stir this around to combine and bring this pot o yumminess to a boil.  Reduce to heat to low once it comes to a boil.  Now, add in your drained black beans.

Ok, now in a small bowl, mix together the cornmeal with 1/2 cup of water.  Whisk this mixture into the simmering pot o’ yum.  (What?  I am like 1/8  Irish too! ha ha!!  but I am)

Cut the tortillas into uniform 2 to 3 inch strips.  Cut those in half.  Stir them into the soup. Your tortilla soup is almost ready.  Are you ready?  Smells so good, huh?  Mouth is watering.  Ladle some of this wonderful stuff into bowls.  Garnish with chunks of avocado, shredded monterey jack cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and maybe some cilantro if you feel like it.  Serving it with extra tortilla strips is great or some crushed tortilla chips.

Enjoy!!