One Step Tamale Pie – Casserole

Casserole comfort food.

1 pound ground meat (beef)|
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped

Saute in skillet until onions are clear and meat is thoroughly cooked.

2 – 8 oz cans seasoned tomato sauce
-12 oz can corn, drained skillet
1/2 cup pitted olives, sliced
Few dashes hot pepper sauce
2 – 2 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons salt

Add above to skillet.

1 cup chicken broth
2 eggs slightly beaten
3/4 cup cornmeal

Blend in a bowl until smooth then add to skillet & cook for a few minutes.

Cook in a baking dish in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

Add cheese, if desired, in the last ten minutes.

Lisa’s Adaptations:

Same way of prepping and cooking – slightly different ingredients

1 pound ground elk meat
1 chipotle pepper
1 – 12 bag frozen peas, corn & green beans, thawed
1 large onion, chopped
1 entire bulb of garlic, chopped
two pinches salt
6 shakes chili powder

Saute in skillet until onion and meat are cooked.

To pan, add

1 cup polenta
1 – 6 oz can green olives with juice ( I like them whole)
1 – 7 0z can Embasa Salsa Casera
1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tblsp. oregano
1 tsp. Better than Boullion Chicken Base (water from olives adds more salt and dilutes chicken base)
3 eggs, slightly beaten

Mix thoroughly & cook for a few minutes.

Cook in a baking dish in 350-degree oven for 45 minutes.

Add 1 lb of shredded cheddar cheese, if desired, in the last ten minutes.

 

 

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Polish Stuffed Cabbage

cabbage-roll-makingMeat Stuffing

1 1/2 – 2 cups Panko or Italian bread crumbs – soak in water then drain with a strainer (press firmly to remove as much water as possible).

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground beef

1 lg. yellow onion chopped

1 egg

salt and pepper

Mix together like a meatloaf.

*Stop here if you prefer mild meat stuffing.

 

Since my tastes run more toward zippy, I also add;

juice from one lemon

1 tsp. Hungarian paprika

1 tsp. celery salt

1 tsp. dill

1 full pkg. of fatty bacon – cooked until drippings are obtainable

2 –  14.5 oz cans chicken broth

Cabbage Leaf Stuffing

1 large head cabbage with the core cut out.

Fill a large soup pot with water, add salt and boil.

Place the entire head of cabbage into the boiling water. Watch for the leaves to begin to separate.  Remove the leaves when they become soft or take the head out of the water, put it in a strainer, and peel the leaves.

The leaves are ready when they are translucent and soft. Continue boiling and leaf peeling until the entire cabbage is disassembled.

On a cutting board, spread a leaf out as flat as possible. Cut a “V” to remove the thickest parts.

Cut a small palm-sized portion of the leaf. Hold it in your hand and place 1 tablespoon of the meat stuffing on it. Turning it over onto the larger leaf, fold the leaf around the palm-sized portion. *The goal is to have no spaces where the meat squeezes out.

Secure with a toothpick.

Continue stuffing leaves until they’ve all been used.

Cook the Cabbage Rolls

In a large soup pot, bring 1 can of chicken broth + some water to a simmer.  Add 3 tblsp. of bacon fat.

Place stuffed cabbage rolls into the bottom of the pot in a single layer, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove cooked rolls, add another batch to the pot to cook for 30 minutes. Add more water / broth as needed.

*The brand of bacon that I had didn’t yield much fat, so I added three full strips of bacon to the chicken broth in the pot.

Gravy

Add 1 can of chicken broth to the remainder of the bacon grease. Heat till warm.

*I had more meat stuffing than the cabbage leaves would hold, so I fried it up and added it to the gravy.

Blend a couple of tablespoons of flower with water and slowly add to broth mixture, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Storage

Place cabbage rolls in a casserole dish and cover with gravy. Heat them at 350 degrees in the oven for 45-50 minutes if you have a large group to feed or place the dish in the refrigerator and eat them a couple at a time.

with-vinegar-and-creme-fresh2

 

Being a vinegar fan, I liberally douse my stuffed cabbage rolls with red wine vinegar. London Malt vinegar is good too as is rice vinegar – though milder. Top it off with Crème Fraîche, plain yogurt or sour cream.

Sauce Series – Taste Testing – 1 of 5

Learn the skill of sauce making.

To begin this process, start with an exercise program…taste testing. By exposing your taste buds to a variety of seasonings, you’ll increase your flavor recall and you will know what to add to develop the flavors that you desire.

(Start with items that you have on-hand in your cupboard or pantry.)

Set up a side-by-side comparisons to discover the subtle differences between varieties of sweeteners, salty flavors, and vinegars.

Sweet flavors – maple syrup, honey, agave syrup, molasses, etc.

Salty flavors  – soy sauce, tamarind sauce, liquid aminos, Worcestshire sauce, etc.

Vinegarsfruit vinegars, balsamic, white wine, rice, red wine, white, etc.

Arrange the tasting items from mildest to strongest; taste them in this order.

*If you begin to loose sensation in either your taste buds or in your sense of smell, take a break. Drink some water or milk, eat a few plain crackers, bits of bread, or sniff coffee grounds to clear your pallet.

The Sauce Series is organized into three basic sauce categories; red, brown, and white. Each blog post contains recipes for several simple sauces to make and taste.  Number three in the series includes in-depth tutorials about working with thickening agents. Finally, the series is wrapped up with a humorous cooking challenge modelled after one of my favorite cooking shows, ‘Chopped‘.

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

 

 

 

Sauce Series – Brown Sauces & Thickeners – 3 of 5

Meat based liquids with thickening agents. Start with simple pan sauces or gravy and extend it into soups and stews.

 

Basic Brown Sauce

2 tblsp. Butter

3 tbslp. Flour

1 cup beef stock

½ tsp salt

Pinch of pepper

 

Melt butter in pan. Stir in flour and cook until browned, stirring continuously.

Little by little, add beef stock. Stir until it boils and thickens, continue to cool three more minutes.

Add any desired seasonings.

 

Pan Gravy

Approximate the amount of flour needed to thicken the volume of meat drippings available. Place flour in a dressing / gravy shaker or whisk with cool water and shake or blend till smooth.

To meat drippings (fat) [from a turkey, chicken, bacon, or roast] in a deep pan over medium heat, slowly add flour and water mixture. Stir continuously. After the mixture has thickened, continue cooking for a few more minutes to make sure that the raw flour taste has been dispelled.

 

Peanut Sauce

¾ cup organic creamy peanut butter

¼ cup + 2 tblsp. Water

½ tsp. Hoisin sauce

2 tblsp. Freshly squeezed lime juice (approx. 1 ½ medium limes)

4 ½ tsp. soy sauce

3 tblsp. Maple syrup

1 ¼ tsp. chile-garlic paste

1 med. Clove garlic, mashed to paste

½ tsp. toasted sesame oil

Blend, whisk or stir all ingredients together till smooth. Store in refrigerator, but let warm to room temperature before using.

Can be used a dipping sauce, over noodles, as a salad dressing or in spring rolls.

 

Cilantro Sauce (It’s green)

 

THICKENERS

Flour  – velvety texture – opaque

(can be stirred directly into fat – butter, meat drippings, etc.  If mixing with water first, it must be cooked for a while to eliminate the raw, starchy taste)

Instant Blending Flour – Wondra or Shake & Blend

Can add to liquids without lumps

Kneaded Butter (Beurre Manie) – equal parts butter and flour – kneaded till smooth and rolled into teaspoon sized balls (can be frozen for storage). Drop a ball or two into sauce when needed.

Cornstarch – smooth – glossy – clear

Mix starch with equal parts water, then add to warm liquid

Arrowroot flour | tapioca flour, rice flour

Gums – Xanthum gum, agar agar, pectin, and guar gum

Egg Yolks – velvety – smooth

Add to heated liquids (no hotter than 190 degrees) slowly and stir constantly – or scrambled eggs will be the result

High fat cream / yogurt – thick – smooth

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Additional Resources

WikiHow – thickeners

A Life of Geekery – guide to thickening sauces, soups, and stews

Youtube Videos

French Cooking Acacemy – What is a Roux – white, blond & brown

Beurre Maniékneaded butter

French Cooking Academy –  Hollandaise sauce tutorial for beginners (w/o double broiler)

Julia Child – The Hollandaise Family

Harvard University – Science in Cooking class – Working with Modern Thickeners

 

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Check out the other videos in this Sauce Series

Sauce Series #1 – taste bud training

Sauce Series #2 – red sauces

Sauce Series #3 – brown sauces & thickening agents

Sauce Series #4 – white sauces

Mock ‘Chopped’ #5 – group cooking challenge how-to

 

 

Boiled & Spiced Citrus Chicken (or Pork)

It takes time and patience to prepare chicken this way, but it is so worth it!

6 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs OR about a 4 lb bone-in pork shoulder – chunked into quarters

Rinse, pat dry and place meat into a large food-safe plastic bag

Add to the bag;

1 tblsp. cumin powder
1 tblsp. sea salt
1 tblsp. garlic powder
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. cayenne pepper (reduce to half or less if you don’t like spicy food)

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup lime juice

If you remember Shake-n-Bake …do that. If that reference is meaningless, then shake everything inside the bag until the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.

Place the spiced chicken and citrus juice in a pot. Fill it with water – just until the chicken is covered. On the stovetop (uncovered), cook on high until the chicken begins to boil, reduce heat, but still keep it bubbling.

This where the patience comes in. Keep an eye on the pot as the liquid boils. This can take anywhere between 2 and 3 hours. Once the liquid is almost gone, let the meat brown – turn it so it cooks evenly – but not so much that it burns.

Liquid almost all-the-way boiled down.

 

The chicken meat can be shredded, chunked or eaten off the bone. Use it in salads, soups, on tostadas or in tacos…and the list could go on and on!

Next time I make it, I will double this recipe so that leftovers will linger longer.

boiled and spicked chicken

 

Gumbo

image by: Jmprouty, wikimediacommons

image by: Jmprouty, wikimediacommons

Okra as a thickener?  I must say it is a little ‘weird’ to observe the clear slime (mucilage) that interconnect slices of okra like spider webs when they are moved around in a saute pan. [It is also interesting to note that the viscosity of this substance increases with heat.]

No matter – the okra entertainment value is a ‘plus’ and it is delicious when combined with the other ingredients that make Gumbo!

 

Gumbo is a stew that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century. It consists primarily of a strongly-flavored stock, meat or shellfish, a thickener, and the vegetable holy trinity of celery, bell peppers, and onions. Gumbo is often categorized by the type of thickener used: the African vegetable okra, the Choctaw spice filé powder (dried and ground sassafras leaves), or roux, the French base made of flour and fat. The dish likely derived its name from either the Bantu word for okra (ki ngombo) or the Choctaw word for filé (kombo). – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Basic Gumbo Components:

Sauce:

6-8 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 med. or lg. onion – chopped
meat | protein of choice chopped into bite sized pieces (my favorite is chicken thighs)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (regular mustard also works fine)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all and refrigerate for several hours to overnight.

In a large soup pot start with 2 tbslp. olive oil . Add 1 large package of frozen okra (thawed). Saute until brown. Add whatever other vegetables you wish to include.

In the version pictured at the far right, I used broccoli, turnips, carrots, onions and green beans. Cut these into bite sized pieces and saute with okra for about 10 minutes. gumbo

Spices:
1 tblsp. thyme
1 tblsp. oregano
1 tblsp. basil
2-3 bay leaves
salt to taste

*2 bunches of fresh cilantro – finely chopped – added right before serving

To soup pot, add 1 large can of diced tomatoes and 2 cups chicken stock –  set on low while you work on stage two.

Stage Two:

In a saucepan, saute sauce mixture from above until meat is cooked. Add this to the soup pot.

Stage Three: Additional thickener – roux

In a saute pan, melt 1/4 cup butter over low heat. Slowly, whisk in 1/4 cup flour until it is smooth and smells slightly nutty (about 3-4 minutes). Add to soup pot.

Simmer until Gumbo is the consistency of gravy.

Shrimp_gumbo

“Gumbo isn’t so much a recipe as it is a state of mind, complete with secret language and poetic license.” – Peggy Lampman, author of Simmer and Smoke and culinary food blogger. [click here to see Peggy’s Gumbo ya-ya reicpe]

 

Chicken with Rice – Pollo Con Arroz

chicken with rice

A recipe from ‘Life at Home in Mexico’ cookbook [1944].  It is one of those simple comfort foods that satisfies with every bite.

The recipe was incorporated into an encaustic (hot wax) art piece. (An interesting side note. When working with hot wax, one uses tools that heat it until it turns, temporarily, liquid.  While heating the wax with the dried onions in it, the onions gave off a smell like they were being cooked…which they were!)

 

1 frying chicken – cut up

1/2 cup oil

1 cup rice, uncooked

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup tomato puree

21/2 cups boiling water

Salt and Pepper

Cut chicken in pieces and fry in oil until a delicate brown. Remove from pan. rice1Add the unwashed, uncooked rice to the oil in the pan and fry until golden, stirring frequently. Add onion, garlic, tomato puree and boiling water.rice 2 Season with salt and pepper. Add the browned chicken, and let simmer covered,f or 30 minutes. Do not remove cover. It must steam thoroughly. Serves 6-8.

 

* Lisa’s note:  I added cumin seed (about a teaspoon per serving) at the end to jazz it up.
chicken and rice

 

Slumgullion Stew – A Historical Mystery

Stew and the making of it has been going on for centuries.  Ancient Greeks (8th – 4th centuries BC) put ingredients into a stomach-like (paunch) of an animal and cooked it over an open fire.

Miriam Webster

slum·gul·lion    noun \ˈsləm-ˌgəl-yən, ˌsləm-ˈ\
Definition of SLUMGULLION
:  a meat stew
Origin of SLUMGULLION
perhaps from slum slime + English dialect gullion mud, cesspool

 

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

National Archaeological Museum in Athens

A variety of cultures lay clam to the name ‘Slumgullion’; English, Irish, Pirates, Pioneers and many more. Some folks have negative associations with it (Ancestral Dish?)‘Slumgullion’ denoted fish offal of any kind. It also has meant “the watery refuse, mixed with blood and oil, which drains from blubber.  Later, ‘slumgullion’ was the name for the muddy deposits at a mining sluice. And finally, it came to mean “a kind of watery hash or stew.

 

One of the earliest mentions of Slumgullion in literature comes from Mark Twain’s book “Roughing It” (1872) where it was a vile drink served at a roadside way station.

 

In 2013,  a visiting friend from the United Kingdom (Paul W.) described an ‘If It’s Stew’ that his mom makes. “Basically, if it’s in the refrigerator, it goes into the mix,” he said.

 

By all accounts, Slumgullion Stew falls into the category of a ‘clean-out-the-refrigerator,’ ‘everything-but-the-kitchen-sink’  type of meal.

 

I think that there is no reason that the dish cannot be delicious and delightful as long as the preparer has a good sense about flavor, texture and spice combinations.

 

 

slumgullion mystery

 

Redfern Slumgullion Stew

1 large onion, peeled & chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
1 medium sized yellow beet, peeled & chopped
1 large turnip, peeled & chopped
4 medium sized yellow potatoes, peeled & chopped
6 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 can tomato paste
4 slices bacon – cut into small bits
4 tblsp. olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 pkg. Saag’s Asiago Fennel Chicken Sausage – cut into bite sized slices
salt & pepper to taste

Start with olive oil and uncooked bacon bits in a pot. Heat on medium heat until bacon starts to release it’s fat. Add all peeled & chopped vegetables. Saute till lightly browned.

Add tomato paste and chicken broth. Simmer for several hours until vegetables are done.

About 20 minutes before serving, add sliced Asiago Fennel Chicken Sausage and salt & pepper.

Serve with Baking Powder Biscuits.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Historical research for Slumgullion Stew came about as part of a fiction series that I wrote (Haylee and the Traveler’s Stone).

Haylee is an illustrated, paranormal, adventure. A young woman struggles to understand and control an unusual power that causes her to steal something that should never be stolen.

In Haylee The Traveler (book #3 of the trilogy) , the main character is suddenly transported to San Francisco in 1849 where she directed to find another Traveler who carries a stone with answers to some of her problems.

Excerpt:

Maybel and Song from the Bella Union on Portsmouth Square. [ Fictional characters from the book Haylee: The Traveler, by Lisa Redfern ]

Maybel and Song from the Bella Union on Portsmouth Square. [ Fictional characters from the book Haylee: The Traveler, by Lisa Redfern ]

Stepping into the dimly lit interior, Haylee was assaulted by the smell of cigar smoke and cheap perfume. Underneath those layers of smells was the cloying scent of unwashed bodies.

Maybel led them through the room, winding between gaming tables crowded with men. A few women served drinks, one woman led a man up a set of stairs, and several more leaned over the balustrade at the top, wearing…not much at all. Haylee’s cheeks flamed.

Focusing her attention away from those disturbing sights, she watched the layers of clothing sway back and forth over Maybel’s behind. Haylee thought that the dress must be hot, heavy, and uncomfortable. She was glad to be wearing men’s clothes.

People glanced curiously at Homer as he clomped along in the rear. Moving through a set of curtains, they were led into a small room with only a few tables, one of which was occupied by a tall, thin man in formal attire and a woman dressed similarly to Maybel. The hostess’s eyes met the other woman’s. An imperceptible nod communicated across the space between the two. Maybel seated Haylee and Homer farthest from the couple.

A hearty Slumgullion Stew with biscuits arrived. It smelled wonderful! Haylee would have liked nothing more than to shovel it down. But she noticed that the woman at the other table, although chatting and interacting with her partner, kept sending quick glances in their direction.  The woman looked familiar but Haylee could not place where she could have seen her before. It made her nervous.

Eating slowly, pausing to put spoons of thick broth to Homer’s lips, Haylee surreptitiously studied the other woman as well. Dressed in a ruffled, deep purple gown, dark hair swept up on her head revealed clear olive skin. Tendrils that escaped confinement snaked their way along her graceful neck.

Her table partner leaned in close to whisper in her ear. She laughed, placing her hand on his cheek. He moved his head down to nuzzle her neck. Letting her head fall back, her eyes met Haylee’s.

Haylee could feel the burn of embarrassment scorching her face.

The man stood, making a curt bow to the woman as he took his leave. “Until next time, Martina.”

 

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More about Slumgullion Stew – History & Culture

Grim to the last drop. – Word Dective

In the 1880s, “slumgullion” was apparently also used to mean the watery refuse from processing whale blubber as well as the muddy sludge created by mining operations. 

The late Eric Partridge, in his Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, sees the “slum” as being a variant on “slob.” A related word, “slubberdegullion,” meaning “a slobbering or dirty fellow.”

So the root sense of “slumgullion” appears to boil down to “unappetizing liquid concoction.”

The Lost Slumgullions of English – New York Times Opinion by Kate Manning

– Informative and entertaining piece about lost words in vernacular.

Slumgullion Fest – East Bay Express (Oakland, CA) – Pirate Food

 

 

A few more interesting Slumgullion recipes from Cooks.com

 

MOOSE SLUMGULLION
In large skillet or kettle
brown 1 1/2-2 pound mooseburger and
one large minced onion,
seasoned with a good sized slug of
garlic salt and
enough salt and pepper to suit.

When meat is nicely browned,
add a #2 1/2 can of tomatoes or tomato puree.

Simmer about an hour and add one package of previously cooked spaghetti or noodles. Season to taste and serve.

 

GRAMMA’S SLUMGULLION (TAMALE PIE)
Brown:
1 lg. lean ground beef, drain grease
Add:
1 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped bell pepper
1 clove minced garlic

Cook 5 minutes – until onions are translucent.Add:
1 (16 oz.) can “Mexican” tomatoes
1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (16 oz.) can cream style corn
1 (16 oz.) can pitted olives, drained
3/4 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Bake in casserole dish 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with grated Cheddar cheese and bake 5 minutes.
SLUMGULLION
Boil rice until tender, not mushy. Drain and shake-up fluffy.
In meantime, slowly fry plenty of bacon until crisp. Drain and crumble. Use fat to saute
finely sliced cabbage, onions, and celery until tender. Drain if necessary.
Make white sauce; add bacon to sauce and pour over combined rice and cabbage mixture. Stir thoroughly and add pepper – no salt.
SLUMGULLION
1 1/2 c. potatoes, sliced thin
1 1/2 c. cabbage, sliced thin
1 c. diced onion
1 1/2 c. flour
1 lg. egg
Salt & pepper
1/2 stick butter
1 qt. water

In large skillet, cook potatoes, cabbage, onion, salt and pepper over medium heat until tender. Add butter and cook until well-seasoned. Water may need to be added.In a small bowl, mix egg and flour with a fork. Drop onto boiling vegetables a forkful at a time. Cook about 10 minutes more. Serve hot.

California Stuffed Ham

Putting a spin on the Stuffed Ham of the east coast, I altered the ingredients to take advantage of greens in season in Northern California.

2 – 4 tbslp. olive oil
2 tbslp. fennel seeds

finely chopped greens approximately 4 cups worth:

bok choy
green onions
cabbage (for this recipe, I used red cabbage…but with a red sauce, the green cabbage would be better – for contrasting color)
pinch of salt
*chard, spinach or kale could also be used

In pan, heat oil till it starts moving around. Add fennel seeds to flavor the oil. Cook till slightly browned.
*be sure to watch this step closely as it is easy to burn the spice.

bok choy red cabbage web

Add chopped vegetables to seasoned oil. Cook only long enough to slightly wilt greens. Set aside.toasted fennel in olive oil

Heat whole ham in oven to about 3/4 done. Take out of oven, cut slices and fill the spaces with the greens.

ham stuffing

Top with Cranberry Clove Sauce – add water to some of the sauce so that it will drizzle down in between the slices.

Place ham back in the oven to finish heating.

finished

Squash (Pumpkin) Shepherds Pie

A good sized squash –  cooked **
Potatoes  – cooked

Vegetable_pumpkin
In approx. 2 tblsp. oil – saute in saucepan till done:
4 cloves fresh garlic – chopped
4 stalks celery – chopped
3 carrots – chopped
1 onion – chopped
1 lb. ground meat (beef/ turkey/ chicken/ pork)

add:
approx. 1/4 cup flour
approx. 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce) to taste
salt & pepper to taste
add about 1/2 of the cooked, mashed squash

Shepherds Pie

Mash remaining squash & potatoes together
add approx. 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (sharp)
add a little milk to desired smoothness

Place thickened meat / vegie mixture into the bottom of an oven safe baking dish
Top wth squash /potatoe mixture

Broil for 5 minutes until browned

Top with pumpkin seeds

** Lisa’s squash cooking method:  Rinse the outside skin of the squash then place it (whole) into baking dish in a preheated oven at 400 degrees. After about an hour, pierce it with a knife or press on the outside to see if it  is soft. Once the squash is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature before slicing it in half and scooping out the seeds.