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Cincinnati Chili

19 Jan

cincinnati chili

Let’s talk about all the reasons I’m all about this recipe. 1. It comes from Mast Brothers new cookbook- elegant design- go Brooklyn [ if you have never watched this Mast Bro video– you must, now] 2. The ingredients are few, most of which I had lying around/in freezer. I love my vegetarian chili but requires much more chopping 3. The spice- I love the sheer quantity- ¼ cup of chili powder? Yes please. Plus cumin, allspice, and cloves. Now you’re talkin’. 4. The chocolate and sherry vinegar finish. Perfect- it adds so much depth and flavor 5. I’ve been curious about Cincinnati chili- the Mast Bro recipe heading says: “Found at chili parlors throughout Ohio.” Someone please tell me more about this. But I’m going to guess that most Cincinnati recipes don’t involve 2.5 oz chocolate 6. What I do know is that one generally serves Cincinnati chili over spaghetti with shredded cheese. This makes it not only an incredibly hearty dish… but to me the flavors rendered suggest like a Mexican chocolate/mole Bolognese? I hope those words convey how amazing this tastes, because damn, I am impressed with this recipe.

No idea if this is a sacrilege in Cincinnati chili but just because I like it-  I added carrots and beans to this recipe. I used only 1.5 pounds of beef (because that’s what I had on hand)- and i also made up for that weight in the carrots & beans.

Freezes well too.

A Mast Brothers Recipe. my adaptions in [ ]

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

[optional- snacko backo added 3 carrots, chopped and 14oz can of kidney beans]

2 pounds ground beef

¼ cup chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground cloves

2 bay leaves

¼ tsp of cayenne [this gives a nice subtle undercurrent of heat, if you are heat-averse, lessen]

1 ½ cups tomato puree [I used canned San Marzano- sold in giant cans, freeze the rest]

4 cups beef stock [see way too long note below]

2 ½ ounces dark chocolate [no, I did not use Mast Brothers ($), while I might have gone for like 70% cocoa or above, I used Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet. Worked grand]

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

2 pinches sea salt

2 pinches fresh ground black pepper

for serving: I used whole wheat spaghetti and Colby cheese. Cheddar or maybe even a smoked cheddar also came to mind.

In a large stock pot, heat the oil on medium. Add onions and simmer until translucent. [after a few minutes, I added the carrots]

Add ground beef, a cook until browned [just browned is fine, it will get lots more time]

Stir in cumin, chili, allspice, cloves and tomato puree. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes [on low]

Add stock and simmer, uncovered for 1 hour. [can add beans maybe 20 mins before finish]

[Turn off heat]

Stir in chocolate, sherry vinegar, remove bay leaves.

Season with salt and pepper [more salt to taste]

A note on stock: I happen to find the box stuff- even the fancy organic kind- unpalatable- it takes like salt water to me- but call me a snob, that’s fine. In Marcella Hazan’s recipes- she recommends make stock yourself- or you if you use the box stuff dilute one cup boxed broth + 3 cups water. So i’d follow her advice on that. I did not make the stock myself- but picked up house made veal stock from my trusty butcher- Savenor’s.  I think if you wanted to sub chicken stock- you could. OR- I don’t see why you couldn’t sub the quick to make-rich stock from dried mushrooms- as in this post (which has recipes for French Onion Soup, Lentil Soup, Mushroom, Meat and Chicken stock recipes). Or you could just not be a snob about it. Something else to keep in mind- is that Cincinnati chili as I understand it- is more liquid-y than your standard chili- so you can scale back on the stock if you want thicker stew- but keep in mind that leftovers- tend to suck up all the moisture so you will have to add a bit of stock or water when reheating.

Speedy Soup: White Bean, Sausage & Kale

29 Jan

speedy soup

This is less of recipe- then a call to throwing together the contents of your fridge- when it is too cold and you are too cheap to buy ingredients. Here’s to hearty weekday sustenance! Jess P. I feel like you make a vegetarian version of this? with tiny pasta (which has a special name) and maybe tomato?

This is also sort of a riff on italian wedding soup– which i love– but thought that sausage was a nice shortcut to making own meatballs. But a recipe for that soup– inspired the finish- crack an egg in a swirl around. Totally fine w. out this last step- but it makes it super extra hearty.

needless to say, you can increase recipe amounts and get more experimental with add-ins and spices.

4 cups chicken stock (homemade please!) [this is what i had, and mine had a pretty high stuff to soup ration- could prob use like 6 cups of broth- if you want it more… well, brothy]

1 bunch of kale (in a moment of true laziness i bought a pre-cut version from trader joes the other day. i am embarrassed and will never do it again. it was all stalk. but yes, totally convenient. used half a bag) escarole would also be perfect. other dark green also acceptable. if i had used a real bunch of laciento kale i probs would have taken out the stem.

1 or 2 sausage link (i think mine was hot italian- any kind will do. as Rach W. pointed out- i buy the good butcher kinds- and take out of the casing and slice into semi-circles)

1 small onion (half a large), finely chopped

1 or 2 cloves garlic

pinch of red chili flakes

1- 14oz can cannellini or other white beans

optional: add some cooked tiny pasta, arborio rice, orzo [one thing to know is that if you are planning to have leftovers it can be good to keep, especially the arborio, separately from the soup- because it will suck up the stock like a sponge]

parmesan cheese

1 egg

Pour a generous glug of olive oil (tablespoon or two) and tablespoon (or two) of butter. Saute onion for a few minutes. Add garlic and chili flakes until fragrant. When onion has begun to soften, add sausage. Once looking pretty cooked (a few minutes). Add Kale and cover to cook down. Once that is ready, add beans and stock. Simmer to blend all flavors.

Before eating, can crack and egg in a swirl w. a fork. I’d personally do this with only the portion i am reheating. But not sure that is totally necessary to keep separate like that.

 

 

Miso Soup and Ginger Pork

14 Jan

asian feast

 

miso soup

Miso soup- turns out- takes about 5 minutes to make. Who knew? A lot of people probably. Entire nations. First you have to make the dashi or fish stock. Then you add the miso and whatever other fixings you want. The fun thing is- this involves a trip to your local Japanese grocery- and if you look out for them- there is probably one not too far from you. [Porter Square, Williamsburg, near NYU- just to name a few]

These recipes come from Harumi’s Japanese Home Cooking. The book I bought when I got back from my trip to Japan- 2 years ago- thinking I would use all the time. And I just now- finally made the soup.

Dashi

5 cups water

3 1/3 tablespoons dried fish flakes (bonito) [i bought the kind that is separated into tiny packets which is great- because this stuff is Stank!]

Heat the water and just before it comes to a boil, add the dried fish flakes and simmer for 1-2 mins over low heat. Turn off the heat and leave the fish flakes to sink to the bottom of the pan, then strain. Can freeze extra dashi.

Miso soup

3 ½ cup dashi stock

4 tablespoons awase miso paste

8 inch piece dried wakame seaweed [I used this kind that’s already in little pieces]

5 ounces soft/silken tofu

finely chopped spring onion/scallion to garnish

Heat dashi stock in saucepan. Just before it comes to a boil, add the miso and stir until completely dissolved.

Soak the seaweed in water until soft. Drain and cut into bite size pieces. Cut tofu into ½ in square pieces. Add tofu then seaweed to the soup. Heat thoroughly, taking care not to let it boil. Garnish with spring onions.

 

Ginger Pork  (top left of first image)

3 ½ cups bean sprouts (mung)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons mirin

½-1 tablespoon grated ginger- to taste

2/3 lb. finely sliced pork [I cut these little chops in thin slices- horizontally- if that makes sense. And just a note- easier to slice when very cold/near frozen]

sunflower or vegetable oil for stir-frying the pork [I used grapeseed oil]

1 tablespoon oil for cooking the sprouts

¾ tablespoon sliced garlic (1 clove)

salt and pepper

Trim end off sprouts [Harumi makes a note, that yes, you might think this is not worth doing- but they look nicer and taste better so do it. Unfortunately, laziness got the best of me and I ignored her]

Mix together soy sauce, mirin and grated ginger and dip the pork into this marinade briefly just before cooking

Heat a little oil in a frying pan over med heat. Remove the pork from the marinade and add to the pan, making sure it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick together or curl up. Turn over after a couple of mins and cook until both sides are browned. Don’t leave pork for too long as it cooks surprisingly quickly- but make sure it’s cooked through

In a separate frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add sliced garlic. When aroma is released, add bean sprouts and stir-fry. Season w. salt and pepper.

Put bean sprouts onto a serving dish and lay the slices of pork on top. Pour any remaining juices from the frying pan over the pork.

 

Moroccan-Style Braised Vegetables

12 Nov

I’ve wanted to make this recipe every since I stole/borrowed this Alice Waters book from Chrissy. The book In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart has some great very basic techniques- for example- it taught me the proper way to fry an egg. Or, there will be a whole chapter devoted to the mortar and pestle- as I mentioned in the post on  green tomatillo salsa. She has her friends- share recipes. This one is by Joyce Goldstein and it is called Moroccan-style Braised Vegetables. And the reason why I finally made it- is because I was able to use a lot of vegetable from my CSA. So very seasonable, very fall. I’d say this is closer to soup/chunky stew. And before you ask, yes, you should use dried chickpeas. Not only do they taste way better- but this broth you cook it in- is the base for the braise. And man, it was tasty, I will definitely use for future chickpeas. What always deterred me is that this recipe seems a bit overcomplicated. But put on some Netflix and just let it ride. Oh and yes, you should also use the whole spice seeds- toast and grind- you will get way more flavor out of it.

½ pound (1 cup) dried chickpeas, picked over and soaked overnight [i left overnight because i had time, but could also do the speed up method Just the Tips #10]

1 small onion, peeled and halved

½ cinnamon stick

1 small dried red chile

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt

Drain the chicpeas, put them in a medium pot, and add water to cover by 1 ½ inches. Add the onion, cinnamon stick, chile, olive oil, and generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook gently until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes [check, a forgot to time it but I think they might have taken less.] Taste for salt. Remove from the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid.

For braised vegetables:

Salt

½ pound carrots

1 pound baby turnips [1 used two small turnips and 2 parsnips]

1 ½ pounds butternut squash [I substituted acorn squash because I had it at hand- though next time would go w. butternut]

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

a pinch of saffron threads

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 large onion, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

One 14-oz can whole tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

[optional: i threw in some currants my leftovers, yum. golden raisins would also work nicely]

Preheat the oven to 400. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with generous amount of salt. Peel and halve the carrots and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch segments. Trim the turnips and cut into halves and quarters. Cook the carrots and turnips in separate batches until just tender, about 5 minutes. Spread the vegetables on baking sheet to cool at room temperature.

Peel and seed the squash and cut into 1-inch chunks. Put squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Spread the squash out to an even layer, season with salt, roast in the oven until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside at room temperature.

Lightly toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and saffron [in a dry skillet], and grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder. Add the turmeric and cayenne, and stir to combine.

Warm a large [large- i used my 5 qt all-clad- this makes a ton], straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the onion, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the tomatoes and cut into ¼ inch dice. Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the spices, garlic, and ginger and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the chickpeas, and the cooking liquid, and bring to a simmer. Add the squash, carrots, and turnips. At this point there should be a nice amount of broth in the pan- like a chunky soup. If not, add water as necessary. Taste for salt, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Recommend to serve with buttered couscous or saffron rice (ask me for recipes- I haven’t tried yet) and pass a bowl of harissa at the table. I think this Moroccan couscous would work well too.

Harissa recipe- I didn’t make but would have if I had the ingredients so am including.

Toss 5 dried ancho chiles on a hot griddle until puffed and fragrant. Put the chilies in a bowl, cover with boiling water, soak for 20 minutes, and drain. Roast, peel and seed 1 large red bell pepper. In a blender or food processor, purée the drained chiles, and peeled pepper with 4 peeled garlic cloves, ¾ cup olive oil. 1 tsp red wine vinegar and salt to taste. Thin with water if desired.

Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho

22 May

Also made this week: Turkey Burger. Yum! Check out its hot new pic.

There was a phase where my mom made “fat burning soup.” I think the idea was similar to the (myth?) of celery– that it takes more calories to eat than you actually consume? Well, this tastes nothing like that soup– but gazpacho makes me think of it- as it always feels like the most healthy and fresh soup. This recipe is packed with flavor and comes from The Voluptuous Vegan. Obviously, I would never have found a recipe from this on my own. But last summer, this gazpacho was brought to the vegeatrian potluck thrown by the tech dept at the museum. It was so tasty, i asked for the recipe. Normally, I get lazy and skimp on garnishes. But these really add something- so I encourage you to use. I also had thought about adding a serrano pepper to add some heat to the soup or garnish— in the end, i didn’t- but the idea is out there, if you want to. I do also have a more traditional gazpacho- an Ina Garten recipe– elsewhere on the blog.

Also- check out my new rooster timer! I’m in love. Thanks to Alexis- for encouraging the purchase at Fish & Eddy’s.

4 thick slices of bread (preferably sourdough) [two slices go in the soup, two used as croutons]
2 cups cold water
2 pounds red tomatoes
1 large roasted red pepper
1 scallion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons paprika [i used 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 1 tablespoon sweet parika. this produced a strong smokey flavor, so adjust accordingly to your tastes]
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons salt
finely chopped red onion, for garnish
finely chopped green bell pepper, for garnish
finely chopped tomatoes, for garnish

To roast red pepper (directions as cribbed from swordfish recipe): Preheat to 400. Line baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat whole red peppers with olive oil. Cook for 30-40 mins. Flip over once during. The peppers will get charred and black on outside- that’s what you want. When done, take the peppers out. I put in a tupperware, and cover with lid for 15 mins. This steams and makes them worlds easier to get skin peel. When cool, using hand or knife, to slide off skin, seeds and top.

Remove crusts from bread. Place 2 slices of bread in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 5 minutes. Remove the bread and squeeze it like a sponge to rid of excess water. Discard the water.
Remove the stems from the tomatoes. Transfer tomatoes, soaked bread, and water to a blend/food processor to break up the tomatoes. Will probably need to do in 2 batches. [i regrettfully didn’t listen, and it caused a mess, so batch it]
Remove the charred skin from the pepper. Scrape of stems and seeds. and chop into 1-inch pieces.
To the blender, add the pepper, scallion, paprika, garlic, vinegar,1/4 cup of the oil, chopped basil and salt and blend until smooth.
Tranfer to a container and chill thoroguhly. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

[admittedly, I skipped this step- and just ate with bread] To make croutons: preheat oven to 350. Cut the remaining slices into 1/2-inch cubes. Put remaining tablespoon of oil in small bowl. Place the bread cubes in bowl and light toss around so bread touches oil. Spread cubes on baking sheet and bake about 15 minutes until crispy and golden.

Serve the soup garnished with a spoonful of red onion, green pepper, tomato and croutons. Gazpacho is one of those things that tastes even better the next day- when flavors have all spent the night together.

Sweet Potato Corn Soup

19 Jan

My mother used to make this soup— a great, thick and hearty soup. A few weeks ago, my sister  recreated it and had Terry and I over for dinner. Just as good as I remembered. It doesn’t make a huge batch- maybe 4 bowls, so feel free to double. Quick enough for a weeknight. The recipe comes from Moosewood low-fat cooking– so it is healthy but still flavorful. Don’t skimp on the lime garnish- it is the perfect finish. Cilantro garnish good too.

(Can we go entirely off topic for a moment and talk about Vita Coco– this coconut water fad. There must be some brooklyn brainwash b/c I literally cannot go to the co-op w. out hearing a page– “do we have any more half gallons of Vita Coco?” My sister- who doesn’t like coconut was drinking some- i asked her if she liked it- she just shrugged and kept drinking. so i thought i would give it another try– and i don’t really like it either. but some reason- it is totally addictive- it says it is more hydrating than water, more electrolytes than gatorade and more potassium than bananas. so yesterday when i was driving- and felt like shit– i was like what i could really use a VitaCoco (what has become of me?) and somehow they have it in the Plattsville(?) rest-stop and it really made me feel better. So I ask– is this some magic elixer– or is it some like brainwash cocktail? do they sneak some crack in there? who’s with me?)

And now back to the recipe…
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 small fresh chile, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups veg stock (I use chicken instead b/c i think it has more flavor)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 medium sweet potato, diced (about 2 cups)
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (no need to defrost)
salt to taste

lime wedges
finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

in a covered soup pot, simmer onions, garlic, chile and salt in 1 cup of veg stock for about 10 mins, or until onions are soft. In a small bowl, make a paste w. the cumin and 1 tablespoon of stock, stir into pot and simmer for another 1 or 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and remaining stock and simmer for about 10 mins, until sweet potatoes soften. Add bell pepper and corn and simmer, covered for another 10 mins or until all the vegs are tender.
Puree about half the soup in a blender, food processor or using immersion blender. And return to put. The soup will be creamy and thick. Add salt to taste and gently reheat on low heat. Serve w. lime and cilantro garnish.

Great served w. Kale Caesar- as Sam did- recipe to come.

French Onion Soup, Lentil Soup & Meat Stock

22 Dec

French Onion Soup
This was loosely adapted from a recipe on Tasting Table from John Mooney- chef at Bell Book & Candle  in the West Village- for an Irish-American riff on French Onion Soup. I made some changes– which all worked out surprisingly well– so see notes.  And holy moly– this stuff is delicious. Last time I was in Paris, I searched everywhere for some- with no luck. So a few weeks after I got back- and after an unsatisfying bowl at different w. village restaurant, I said fuck it- I’ll just make it myself. And by the way, what’s more comforting than soup+bread+mounds of melted cheese?

Note on stock: So instead of beef broth, this recipe uses mushroom stock, made w. 1 quart of water and 6 oz dried shiitake mushrooms. As the mushrooms cost $3.50 an ounce, I did not want to buy six. As I had homemade meat broth in the freezer, I thought maybe I would enrich beef broth with one ounce of dried mushrooms. Wow, this worked fabulously. This gave so much extra flavor to the broth– I most highly recommend. But if you don’t have beef broth in the fridge– I think you would be best served by enriching veg stock or maybe even chicken stock w. dried shiitake mushrooms. Or if you would rather just use water– I would use 2 oz shiitake mushrooms. Also- original recipe only used 1 quart water- but all that work for like 2 bowls of soup seemed cray cray. So I doubled and used 2 quarts of stock. But I have to say, in the end, I could have still used like a little extra broth, so I am recommending 3 quarts. Another adjustment– I added the rehydrated mushrooms from stock into the soup. Why throw them out— and they add like a great meaty texture to this potentially vegetarian soup.
Notes on cheese: The TastingTable recipe–  is also Irish in that at the w. Village restaurant they use some rare smoked cheddar. But since this is hard to find- they say you can sub half gruyere and half smoked provolone. Now, they had smoked cheddar at the co-op, but honestly that didn’t sound that appealing. So I went 3/4 gruyere and 1/4 smoked mozzarella. While I think the smoked mozz adds a fabulous note- I know some have an aversion to smokey cheese- so if you don’t like- i say forget it- and go all gruyere.
Notes on the serving vessel: Ok we all want those classic brown french onion soup bowls– with the melted cheese sealing the edges, making a nice cap around the rim. But honestly, who has those? I actually delayed making this for a long time because I was concerned I didn’t have the right bowl- well pish-posh. You can use anything. Though should be broiler safe (sometimes it says so on the bottom). First, I used a small ramekin so I could cover the edges like w. the brown bowl. It worked Ok. But for leftovers I used an oversized bowl- so instead it is like layers– soup, the bread layer, then cheese. The layer can expand across the whole surface area of the bowl– but it doesn’t need to be at the height of the brim- if you catch my drift. And it actually worked way better to get that lovely brown bubbly affect to have it a bit lower. Because the bread has enough room to be like a barrier between the broth and the cheese. Does that make sense or have I gone to far? Also- last night I came across one of those giant mugs in my cabinet- and I think that would have worked well too.

1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
3 quarts stock or water. I used homemade meat broth. Note above. Recipe below.
5 white onions, thinly sliced, I did in rings (didn’t have white so used yellow onions)
3 red onions, thinly sliced
Cheese- see notes. You want like one block per kind– each bowl gets a pretty big heap of cheese to cover the surface area
1 boule (round loaf) sourdough, cut into thick slices, toast to dry out a bit
butter
canola oil
salt
sugar

In a large stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tsp butter. Add yellow/white onions. And cook. After 10 minutes add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of sugar.
In a separate large skillet, do the same w. the red onions.
Now- the recipe says it takes 30 minutes to caramelize them. Perhaps I cooked them too low– because mine took an hour and a half. Oops. So while I did low heat- I would recommend you to do medium-low. And try not to stir them around too frequently, because then they don’t brown as easily.  If they start to stick, can add a bit of the stock to loosen them up. You want to make sure you cook them until they have that rich caramel color.
Meanwhile, bring stock or water to a boil. Then turn off heat and add dried mushrooms. You can put a plate or lid on the mushrooms to keep them submerged. I couldn’t quite manage this- and it was fine. Let soak for 30 minutes. When done, take out mushrooms. Chop them and set aside. Run your stock through a coffee filter to get out mushroom grit. Set aside.
When onions are done, combine red and yellow, add mushrooms and stock to the stockpot. Bring to a simmer, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Now– recipe says, preheat to 500. Then of course, ladle soup in a bowl- don’t go too high on the soup level. Then add a thick slice (or two) of toasted bread in a single layer. Cover w. a mound of shredded cheese. I tried baking at 500 for 4-7 mins as directed. This worked OK and especially good if you are not sure if your bowl can handle the broiler.  But I found it more efficient- and better bubble effect on the cheese- to heat/reheat soup separately– then add bread and cheese and pop in the broiler for 2-3 minutes– watch closely! Until cheese just starts to brown and bubble.

Lentil Soup– a Marcella Hazan recipe (Sorry no picture. I was like so hungry when I was making this and deliriously sick– so all my pictures were shitty- and I just couldn’t bother to get it right- but the Soup is great! I have tried other lentil soup recipes before– and this is definitely the best one I’ve come across– and of course, we can always rely on Marcella)

2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
2 tablespoons finely chopped carrot
1/3 cup shredded pancetta, proscuitto, or unsmoked ham
1 cup canned Italian tomatoes, cut up with their juice
1/2 pound dried lentils, washed and drained. I used dark green french lentils
4 cups meat broth or 1 cup canned beef both mixed w. 3 cups water (might need an extra cup of broth/water- lentils absorb a lot)
salt
freshly ground pepper, 4 to 6 twists of the mill
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Put onion in stockpot with oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter and saute over med-high heat until light and golden brown
Add celery and carrot and continue sauteing for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring from time to time
Add pancetta and saute for 1 more minute
Add the cut up tomatoes and their juice, and adjust the heat so that they cook at a gentle simmer for 25 minutes, uncovered. Stir from time to time with a wooden spoon.
Add the lentils, stirring and turning them two or three times, and then add the broth, salt (easy on salt if using canned broth), and pepper. Cover and cook, at a steady simmer, until the lentils are tender. (Cooking time is about 45 minutes, but it varies greatly from lentils to lentils, so that the only reliable method is to taste them. Not too, that some lentils absorb a surprising amount of liquid. If this happens add more homemade broth or water to keep the soup from getting too thick.)
When the lentils are cooked, correct for salt, then off heat, swirl in the remaining butter and the grated cheese. Serve w. additional freshly grated cheese on the side.

Meat Stock- recipe from The Silver Spoon. These things overwhelm me because there are like 100 different recipes– w. conflicting amount of meat, bones etc. But I think what is more important is– as this recipe says– the key is to cook low and slow– for a long ass time.
1 3/4 pounds lean beef, cut into cubes
1 pound 5 oz veal, cut into cubes (because I am cheap, i think i skimped a little bit on the amounts- but worked fine)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 leek, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
salt

I used the “soup sock” but not totally necessary- just makes the straining easier. Place meat in a large pan, add cold water to cover and bring to a boil, bearing in mind that slow cooking and gentle simmering are essential for a successful stock. Skin off any scum that arises to the surface and add all the vegs and season w. salt. [I always end up filling the whole pot w. water, and topping off as some boils off– because if you are going to bother making stock, might as well make a lot.) Lower heat and simmer for about 3 1/2 hours. Remove from heat. Strain into a bowl. Let cool. Chill in a fridge. When fat has solidified on the surface, carefully remove and discard. This stock can be used to soups, risottos and making gravy.

Let me also add for all stocks– best to make the night before you want to use it. Because when you chill overnight- it is much easier to skim off the fat. You can use it same day– but it is just greasier and harder to get the fat off the top.

Chicken Stock— Just in case you all are curious if stocks really need 3-4 hours. Others may disagree, but I say yes. I tried a quicker chicken stock this wknd- an America’s Test Kitchen recipe. It tasted fine– but it was more of a pain in the ass-  b/c you had to sever chicken wings, which is tricky w. out a meat cleaver- instead of just plopping in a whole chicken. Was also greasier because the wings have fattier ratios. So I say, stick with the slow stuff.

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