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Cassoulet

Cassoulet from Karista's Kitchen // A slow cooked French stew

Classic Cassoulet is a hearty slow-cooked dish originating in the south of France.  It’s often referred to as the “unofficial” national dish of France.

Traditionally, cassoulet includes what my Grandmother would refer to as “everything except the kitchen sink”.  Meaning that almost any meat, poultry, skin, gizzards, beans and whatever was available went into this succulent dish.

I’ve had a few truly authentic and amazing cassoulet’s in the past. All filled with decadent duck confit, pork skin, pork belly, mutton, sausages, fava beans and white beans. A meal so rich and lush, it’s everything you’d expect from a slow cooked French dish.

My cassoulet however is slightly less time-consuming, and not to worry, it doesn’t contain duck confit, mutton or pork belly. Although those ingredients are delicious in a cassoulet, I wanted to create this recipe to be simple, yet flavorful.

I also wanted this slow cooked stew to reflect the bounty of the Willamette Valley here in Oregon.  We’re so lucky to have an abundance of small farms and ranches nearby that raise grass-fed and pastured pigs, cattle and chickens. Not to mention all the gorgeous produce and fresh herbs.

I’ve included locally raised meat and poultry (chicken thighs, pork shoulder, sausages), white beans and lots of fresh herbs and aromatics.  You could also substitute with beef chuck roast, lamb or pork belly – and any type of sausages that you love.

This meal is perfect a la carte with a glass of French Burgundy or a Oregon Pinot Noir. It’s also quite lovely paired with a Salad Lyonnaise or Ratatouille, which I’ll get around to posting soon.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love,

Karista

Cassoulet

Serving Size: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch or all-purpose flour
  • 2lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 pork or beef sausages (I used my favorite German pork sausages)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 3-inch sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried herbs de Provence
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2-4 cups chicken broth, enough to just cover the meat
  • 2-3 15ounce cans white beans, drained (cannellini beans work best)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, heat about 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and then add them to the pot and brown on both sides. Transfer to a bowl or platter.

Next season the pork cubes with salt and pepper and then toss with the tablespoon of corn starch or flour. Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pot and brown the pork. You may need to brown the pork in batches, otherwise the pork won’t brown if the pot is over crowded. When the pork is browned, transfer to the bowl or platter with the chicken.

Next brown the sausages, adding additional oil if needed. Once the sausages are brown, transfer them to the bowl or platter with the chicken and pork.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and then stir in the onions. Saute the onions until wilted and fragrant and then add the garlic and cook for one minute longer.

Stir in the ½ cup of white wine, scraping up all the brown bits at the bottom. Add the fresh thyme sprigs and dried herbs. Place the chicken thighs, pork cubes and sausages back into the pot and then add the chicken broth. Enough to cover the meat.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Let the meat simmer in the broth and veggies for about 30-45 minutes, or until the pork is tender.

Remove the lid and then stir in the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. The longer this stew sits the more flavor it will develop. I like to make this the day before I’m serving it, however, if I make it the same day I’m going to serve it, I’ll make it several hours prior and then let it sit for about 30 minutes on the stove top before serving. If you feel the flavors need a little boost, sometimes a teaspoon of white wine vinegar will bring all the flavors together.

Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh chopped Italian parsley and a basket of crusty French bread.

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Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly Pork

Slow Oven Baked Ribs

oven baked baby back ribs from www.karistaskitchen.com

www.karistaskitchen.com

If there is one thing the Bennett Crew loves, it’s a barbecue.  The deck table filled with Grandma Eilene’s Macaroni Salad, Chipotle Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob, Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes and this weekends highlight, Slow Oven Baked Ribs.

Once the weather turns lovely, we dine outside every evening.  A tradition since the two sassy gals were little ones.  Running around the house with bare feet, sliding across the wood floors, onto the earthy wood boards of the outside deck.  Clean fresh breezes with the scent of pine and fresh turned garden dirt – all ceremoniously accompanied by the melodies of returning songbirds.

After a few glorious minutes savoring the beautiful and fragrant evening, I can always count on a scruffy little terrier patiently sitting by my chair hoping a crumb will drop.  Life around my table is filled with continuous laughter, bright and cheerful eyes gleaming and sweet souls comforted by the connection of family and the love of good food like these favorite Slow Oven Baked Ribs.

Ranger Craig’s grilled baby back ribs are a must at every barbecue. As well as his secret spice grilled chicken and bleu cheese burgers.  But this weekend I decided to make these slow oven baked ribs and then finish them off on the gas grill.  Perfectly seasoned and perfectly “fall of the bone” tender with just a little crisp on the outside.  You’ll want to make extra because everyone will want seconds.

This gorgeous meal is complete when served with my favorite DaVinci Chianti and a sunset filled sky that is gracefully announcing the return of summer.

Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!

Karista

Slow Oven Baked Ribs

Serving Size: 6-8

Slow Oven Baked Ribs

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 slabs baby back ribs
  • For the Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons dark brown sugar or homemade preserves
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Dash of cayenne

Instructions

Line a baking sheet with foil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, onion powder, ground cumin, ground chili powder, smoked paprika and cayenne.

Rub the spice blend over both slabs of ribs. Let the ribs sit while you preheat the oven to 300F.

When the oven has reached temperature, place the baking sheet in the oven and let them bake for about 1 ½ - 2 hours, or a little longer should they be meaty ribs. The meat should be tender and easily separate from the bone when the ribs are done.

Once the ribs are done, brush with your favorite barbecue sauce, or use the sauce recipe below. If you like a crisp outside texture, fire up your gas grill and let the ribs crisp a bit over the grill. Or place directly under the broiler until you achieve the desired amount of crisping.

Slice up the ribs and place them on a platter. Serve immediately. These are also delicious re-heated the second or third day… if they last that long.

To make the barbecue sauce, mix all the ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust sweet and spicy according to taste.

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