Thursday, February 12, 2009

Smokey Paprika Stew with Orange Gremolata - dinner for 8 under $4 a person.

Smokey Paprika Stew with Orange Gremolata
Based on shopping at Safeway Feb. 10 2009, this entire menu cost less than $4.00 per person. We served a pre-dinner assortment of olives and almonds and a store bought sorbet for dessert.

Ingredients in order of use
Slow Cooker or heavy duty casserole. Skillet, mesh sieve.
  1. 3 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon cut into 1" pieces
  2. 1/2 llb parsnips peeled and cut into small dice - about 1/4 inch
  3. 2 medium sweet onions cut into small dice
  4. 1 cup flour in either a large bowl or plastic bag, seasoned with sea salt and coarsely cracked black pepper
  5. 3 lbs boneless chuck cut into 2" chunks
  6. 1 TBS sweet smoked Spanish paprika
  7. 1 bottle red wine (I used a Beringer Merlot $4.89)
  8. 1/2 lb baby carrots
  9. 2 Cups diced butternut squash (bought it already cut)
  10. 2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and quartered
  11. 2 yams (about 1/2 llb.) peeled and cut into chunks
  12. Butter, additional sea salt and pepper for the mash.
For the Gremolata

  1. A handful of Italian parsley, off the stem
  2. 1 scallion
  3. 2 cloves garlic
  4. zest of an orange
Note: If you are using a casserole instead of a slow cooker and it is stove top proof, use it for the slow 'frying'. Same goes if your slow cooker insert can go on the stove top. Mine can't so I use the skillet.

  1. Place the bacon in the skillet on medium heat and fry slowly letting it release fat. meanwhile prep the parsnips and add them to the skillet. As the parsnips cook, prep the onion and add it to the mix. Continue cooking on low heat, stirring occasionally. The parsnips will take on a lovely golden color and brown little on the edges. You do NOT want the onion to brown. This stage will take about 20 minutes total cooking time.
  2. As the base ingredients cook, dredge the meat in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess and put the seasoned, floured meat in the slow cooker. You are NOT going to brown the meat.
  3. Once the parsnips have taken on color, add the paprika to the skillet, mix thoroughly, turn up the heat until the entire mix is deep red in color and you can smell the paprika cooking.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of wine to the skillet and let it absorb into the mix.
  5. Scrape the parsnip, bacon, onion mix into the slow cooker with the meat. Return the skillet to the stove top, pour in about a cup of wine and swirl to gather up any remaining vegetables. Pour into the slow cooker. Add the rest of the wine. Cook on high for 1 hour. Turn to low and set the timer for 6 hours. Alternately, cook on low for 8 hours. *
  6. 5 hours into cooking, or one hour before serving, add the carrots to the slow cooker.
  7. 30 minutes before serving add the butternut squash to the slow cooker.
  8. Meanwhile prep, cook and mash the potato yam mix.
To Prep the gremolata
  1. Use a zester or sharp knife to pare thin zest strips from the orange - you don't want any white pith.
  2. Coarsely chop the scallion.
  3. Peel garlic
  4. Pull leaves from parsley.
  5. Pulse all of the above in a mini processor or chop by hand to a fine mince. Do NOT over pulse. You want to identify leaves and zest.
Serve with the mashed root vegetables and sprinkle with gremolata.

*If using an oven and casserole. Cook at 325 for an hour and then turn down to 300 for 4 hours.

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