Magazine article Sunset

Four Really Great Stews

Magazine article Sunset

Four Really Great Stews

Article excerpt

California bistros share their secrets

These stews highlight the innovative ways French classics have been reinvented in California restaurants - as described starting on page 88. Although the steps to make each of these dishes are simple, you need to allow up to several hours for them to cook. Once ingredients are assembled and prepped, they take little attention while simmering or baking. The reward of superb flavors is well worth the wait.

Twin Palms Streamlined Cassoulet --Michael Roberts, Pasadena

1 pound dried white navy beans

1 duck (4 to 5 lb.), cut into 8 pieces

1/2 pound fat-trimmed, boned pork butt or shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 pound fat-trimmed, boned lamb shoulder or neck

2 large (about 1 lb. total) onions, chopped

1/4 pound bacon, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

4 cups regular-strength chicken broth, heated to boiling

Bouquet garni (directions follow)

2 garlic sausages (about 1/2 lb. total), sliced

Italian parsley sprigs

Salt

Sort beans and discard debris. Rinse beans and put in a 4- to 5-quart pan; add 6 cups water. Cover and bring to boiling over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand at least 1 hour or up to 6 hours.

Meanwhile, rinse duck and pat dry. In an 11- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, brown duck pieces well, about 20 minutes. Do not crowd - cook pieces in sequence. As meat is browned, arrange pieces in a 6- to 8-quart casserole.

Discard fat in pan and add pork and lamb. Brown well over medium-high heat, about 10 minutes. As pieces brown, add to duck.

Discard fat from pan and add onions, bacon, and garlic. Stir often until bacon is browned, about 10 minutes. Scatter mixture over meats in casserole. Drain beans and pour into casserole along with broth and bouquet garni; cover casserole tightly. Bake in a 325 [degrees] oven until beans are tender to bite and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 3 hours. Gently mix in sausages, cover, and let stand until sausages are hot, about 10 minutes. Uncover, discard bouquet garni, and garnish cassoulet with parsley. Add salt to taste. Serves 8.

Per serving: 774 cal. (53 percent from fat); 47 g protein; 46 g fat (16 g sat.); 42 g carbo.; 598 mg sodium; 139 mg chol.

Bouquet garni. On a 9- to 10-inch cheesecloth square, place 12 black peppercorns, 4 fresh or dried bay leaves, 2 sprigs (3 or 4 in.) fresh thyme, and 1 sprig (about 3 in.) rosemary. Bring edges of cloth together and tie with cotton string to enclose seasonings.

Savoy Brasserie's Rabbit Pot au Feu --Dean Max, San Francisco

1 rabbit (about 3 lb.), cut into 4 pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups diced onions

1 1/4 cups diced celery

1/2 cup diced carrot

6 cups low-sodium regular-strength chicken broth

Bouquet garni (directions follow)

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

1/2 pound smoked ham hock

12 tiny (about 1 in. wide, 1/2 lb. total) turnips, rinsed and ends trimmed

8 red or white tiny (about 1 in. wide, 1/2 lb. total) onions, peeled

2 leeks (about 1 in. wide), root ends and tough leaves trimmed, rinsed well, and cut crosswise into 16 equal pieces

16 tiny (about 4 in. long) carrots, scrubbed and tops discarded

8 medium-size (about 1-in.-wide caps, 1/2 lb. total) mushrooms, rinsed and stem ends trimmed

1 cup finely shredded red cabbage

Fresh chervil, parsley, or thyme sprigs

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

In a 5- to 6-quart oven-proof pan over medium-high heat, brown rabbit in oil without crowding, about 10 minutes. As pieces are browned, set aside in a rimmed pan; add remaining meat to oil to brown. To oil, add diced onions, celery, and diced carrot; stir often until vegetables are limp, about 10 minutes.

Stir broth into pan, then add bouquet garni, garlic, ham hock, rabbit, and any juices. …

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