Home cooking

3 make-ahead dishes to make your life easier

 

Main Dish

Beef and Guinness Stew

We bought a 3 1/4-pound boneless chuck roast, trimmed it of all visible fat, then cut it into 1-inch cubes, which yielded slightly more than 2 1/2 pounds.

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed

2 to 2  1/2 pounds cubed boneless chuck

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 medium-to-large onions, chopped (5 cups)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 cups no-salt-added beef broth

12 ounces Guinness Stout

1 tablespoon dried currants or raisins

1 teaspoon caraway seed

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more as needed

2 or 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

3 parsnips, peeled and sliced

1 (8-ounce) turnip, peeled and cubed

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Combine the flour, salt and meat in a large resealable plastic food storage bag. Seal and shake to coat evenly.

Heat a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add half the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add half the meat, shaking off any excess flour back into the bag. Cook for several minutes, until the meat is browned on all sides but not cooked through, turning it as needed. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cubes to a bowl; repeat with the remaining oil and meat. Discard any excess flour.

Use a wooden spoon to dislodge any browned bits on the bottom of the pot, then add the onions and stir to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until just softened, then clear a spot at the center of the pot and add the tomato paste. Cook for a few minutes, until the tomato paste is fragrant. Stir in the broth and beer.

Return all the meat to the pot, along with the dried currants, caraway seed and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture comes to a boil, cook for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, parsnips and turnip; reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover and increase the heat to medium-high; once the stew comes to a boil, cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Adapted from “The New Way to Cook Light” (Oxmoor House).

Per serving: 360 calories, 25 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 75 mg cholesterol, 470 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar.


Side Dish

Cranberry Rice

1 orange

8 ounces fresh cranberries

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

A few fronds dill

3 cups cooked long-grain brown rice

Grate the orange peel to yield 1 teaspoon, then cut several very thin strips of peel (no pith) and reserve for finishing the dish. Squeeze 3 tablespoons of juice from the orange directly into a large saucepan.

Add the zest, cranberries, honey, sugar and a pinch each of salt and pepper to the saucepan and heat over medium heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until all the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened. Taste, and add sugar as needed; it should be a little tart.

Finely chop the dill to yield 2 teaspoons.

Gently stir the cooked rice and dill into the cranberry mixture, cooking until just heated through. Garnish with strips of orange peel. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from “Whole Grains for a New Generation: Light Dishes, Hearty Meals, Sweet Treats, and Sundry Snacks for the Everyday Cook,” by Liana Krissoff (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

Per serving: 250 calories, 4 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 70 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 19 g sugar.


Soup

Spicy Carrot, Tomato, Chorizo and Cilantro Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped (1 cup)

8 ounces (2 links) fresh chorizo, casings removed

14 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks

14 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into very small chunks

3 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into small chunks

1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes

1 quart no-salt-added chicken broth

3 or 4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

14 ounces canned no-salt-added chickpeas, drained

Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime (1 or 2 tablespoons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion and chorizo, breaking the sausage into pieces as you drop it in. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the carrots, sweet potatoes and celery and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the crushed red pepper flakes (to taste), cumin seed, ground coriander and ground turmeric; cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes and the broth. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.

Transfer about four ladlefuls of the soup to a blender. Add half of the cilantro and half of the chickpeas. Remove the center knob of the blender lid to allow steam to escape and hold a clean kitchen towel over the opening. Puree until smooth, then pour the pureed soup back into the pot, adding the remaining cilantro and chickpeas and half of the lime juice. Stir to combine.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, adding the remaining lime juice as needed. Makes 10 (1-cup) servings.

Source: Adapted from “The Foolproof Freezer Cookbook,” by Ghillie James (Kyle).

Per serving: 230 calories, 10 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 30 mg cholesterol, 430 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar.


There are few things more welcome this time of year than a home cooked dish in the freezer, ready to bail you out on a particularly busy day. Here are three recipes from new cookbooks that fit the bill:

Beef and Guinness Stew: The meat is meltingly tender, the broth has hints of caraway and stout. With parsnips, carrots and turnips in the mix, you won’t miss the usual potatoes. Freeze the cooled stew in one- or two-serving portions for up to three months. Defrost in the refrigerator during the day; reheat in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

Spicy Carrot, Tomato, Chorizo and Cilantro Soup: This soup is bright and hearty, without being too heavy. Freeze the cooled soup flat, in quart-size freezer bags, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator during the day or place in a large bowl of tepid water, then transfer to a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until heated through.

Cranberry Rice: Tart-sweet with a hint of dill, this side dish would work alongside roasted fish or add color to a holiday table. The cooled rice can be frozen in a freezer-safe resealable plastic food storage bag for up to 1 month. To reheat, transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle with water and cover with plastic wrap. Reheat on low for 20-second intervals until the rice is steaming. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

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