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January 1
Black-eyed Peas



This dish is served in many areas of the South on New Year’s Day and is said to bring good luck and prosperity. It is typically served with greens and cornbread. The black-eyed peas signify coins, the greens represent dollar bills, and the corn bread represents gold. So cook up plenty if you want to have a prosperous New Year!

1 pound dried black-eyed peas
1 (28-ounce) can whole, peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 pound kielbasa in one piece
2 quarts chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the peas in a pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let them soak for 1 hour. (Or cover the peas with cold water and let them soak overnight.) Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes and reserve the liquid. Hand crush the tomatoes into a saucepan and add the sugar and 1/2 cup of the stock or water. Cook over medium low heat, being careful not to let it burn, until the liquid has evaporated and the tomatoes are thick, about 30 minutes.

In a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the soaked peas, the kielbasa, and the remaining stock and cook, covered, until the peas are tender, about 20 minutes. Add some water if you need more liquid. Take out kielbasa and chop roughly into cubes and then add back to pot. Fold in the tomato sauce and mix well. Taste, season with salt and pepper, reheat if needed, and serve with cornbread or cornbread muffins and with sautéed greens like spinach or kale.

Or you can serve this hearty dish with a green salad on the side for some freshness.
Best wishes for a very prosperous New Year to all our readers!









January 8
Bigos - Hunters Stew



Bigos is a traditional Polish dish made with a variety of meats that have been cut into bite-sized pieces and stewed with sauerkraut, cabbage, and mushrooms. Also called “Hunter’s Stew,” this delicious and hearty one-pot meal can be made with just about any sort of meat you have handy, including pork, poultry, beef, or game. There are many recipes for bigos – and you really can use any ingredients you have on hand. Bigos is served all year-long, but especially in the winter time and in the weeks following Christmas. And it only gets better the longer it sits. Make a huge pot for your family and serve it over a few days. It freezes well, so any leftovers can be saved for another time. Serve with rye bread, dill pickles, and roasted potatoes on the side, if desired.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound pork stew meat or pork butt, diced
1 pound kielbasa, quartered (it gets sliced at the end of the cooking process)
1/4 pound thick cut bacon, cut into half inch strips
3 cups yellow onion, diced
2 cups carrots, cut into half circle slices
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons fresh garlic, chopped
6 cups shredded cabbage (about one small head)
1 1/2 cups red wine, such as burgundy or merlot
3 cans sauerkraut, drained (14 oz cans)
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 quart beef broth
1 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon dry marjoram
1 teaspoon allspice
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons paprika
1/8 teaspoon teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup pitted prunes, quartered


In a large 5 - 6 quart dutch oven, heat oil over high. Pat the pork stew meat dry and sauté half to sear both sides, about 4-5 minutes, remove to bowl, then repeat with second half. Remove second batch to a bowl and reduce temperature of pot to medium high.

Add the four kielbasa quarters to dutch oven and brown all sides, for about five minutes total. Remove to the bowl with stew meat.

Add bacon and onions to the dutch oven and sauté for three minutes. Add carrots and sauté for two minutes.

Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for two to three minutes. Add the cabbage and cook two minutes more.

Add the wine and scrape up brown bits from the bottom, if any; let cook for a few minutes for the wine to reduce. Then add the drained sauerkraut, canned tomatoes, beef broth, thyme, marjoram, allspice, bay leaf, paprika and cayenne pepper to the Dutch oven.

.In a mortar and pestle, place caraway seeds with the salt and pepper and crush until the seeds are fine, then add to the dutch oven. Also add the seared pork and kielbasa.

Raise the heat to high and once the pot is bubbling, reduce to low and cook partially covered for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally; add more water or beef broth as needed.

Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove four whole pieces of Kielbasa to your cutting board. Add the prunes and simmer ten minutes. Slice the kielbasa into bite sized slices and add back to pot and serve in bowls with rye bread and pickles.

 

 

January 15
Mustard-Roasted Potatoes



This potato dish is easy to make -- and it is delicious! You can serve it as an accompaniment to the bigos recipe above, the chicken stew recipe below, or with any fish or meat dish you prepare for your family. Everyone is sure to love it!

2 1/2 pounds small red potatoes or small Yukon Gold potatoes
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on their size, and place them on a sheet pan. Remove the ends of the onions, peel them, and cut them in half. Slice them crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices to make half-rounds. Toss the onions and potatoes together on the sheet pan. Add the olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper and toss them together. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the potatoes are lightly browned on the outside and tender on the inside. Toss the potatoes from time to time with a metal spatula so they brown evenly.

Serve hot, sprinkled with red pepper flakes, chopped parsley, and a little extra salt.





 

January 22
Chicken Stew



This hearty one-pot chicken stew practically cooks itself! It’s made all in one pot, with tender chunks of chicken and lots of savory veggies. Enjoy it with crusty bread for an ultimate quick-and-easy cold weather meal!

1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, cut into bite size pieces
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3 medium carrots, sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 12 wedges
6 garlic cloves, chopped
5 cups chicken stock, divided
1/2 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 dried bay leaf
12 oz. baby white potatoes, quartered
1 cup frozen peas (or edamame)
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add carrots and onion to the dutch oven and cook, stirring often, until onions begin to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring nonstop. Add ½ cup chicken stock and ½ cup white wine while stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the dutch oven; let reduce by half.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and ½ cup broth; add to the dutch oven. Stir in chicken and remaining broth. Add bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, partially covered.

Add potatoes and cook uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 15-18 minutes. The liquid will slightly reduce even further. Stir in peas 5 minutes before serving; add parsley and discard bay leaf just before plating. Serve with crusty white bread to sop the juices, and with a green salad on the side to add some balance and freshness to the meal. Smacznego!

 


January 29
Game Day Nachos



Super Bowl is next Sunday, February 4th. Here is a tasty nacho recipe you can make for your family and friends to enjoy while watching TV during the biggest sports Sunday of the year! Even if you are not a football fan, you will enjoy snacking on this Game Day treat!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large bag tortilla chips
2 plum tomatoes (diced)
6 green onions (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and thinly sliced
Jalapeno pepper rings (or diced jalapeno peppers)
4 cups shredded cheddar and monterey jack cheese blend
Sour cream, cilantro, avocado for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Brown the ground beef and onions in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat until beef is no longer pink and onions are softened, about 7-8 minutes. Drain off any extra fat.

Add green bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, refried beans, and tomato sauce to skillet. Simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.

Spread some of the beef and bean mixture on each tortilla chip and arrange the chips in a single layer on large baking sheets or in glass baking pans. Sprinkle the tortillas with a little of the diced tomato, sliced green onions, olives, and jalapeno peppers, and then cover each chip with the cheese mixture.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately, with sour cream, avocado slices, and chopped cilantro on the side, if desired.


 

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