Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Few of our Favorite Winter Recipes

With the winter solstice just around the corner, my culinary thoughts have turned to soups and stews!  We've made most of these recipes in both a counter-top slow cooker and in a cast iron Dutch oven - can't go wrong either way!  I love coming home to a fire in the wood stove and the aroma of dinner cooking slowly in the kitchen.

Beer Braised Mutton Rib or Loin Chops
  • 4 mutton rib or loin chops
  • 1 dark beer
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • salt, pepper and paprika, and Italian herbs to taste
Trim the fat from the chops.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and lightly brown in olive oil.  Remove from pan, retaining liquid and oil.  Add diced onion and saute' until nearly translucent, then add garlic and saute' for about 2 minutes more.  Place chops in slow cooker or Dutch oven.  Put onion and garlic mixture on top of chops.  Pour beer over the top and add other seasonings.  Cook in oven at 300F for 2-3 hours (until meat is tender).  Remove meat from pot, skim fat from cooking liquid and make a creamy gravy or reduction sauce.  Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.  Serves 4.

Scotch Broth
  • 3 lbs lamb or mutton neck slices (or shoulder chops)
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 2 carrots, diced fine
  • 2 stalks celery or fennel, diced fine
  • 2 small white turnips or rutabagas, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
Remove most of the fat from the meat. Put it in a pot with the cold water. Bring to a boil and stir in the barley. Simmer, partially covered, for 1-1/2 hours, or until the meat and barley are tender, adding more water if any evaporates. Remove the meat from the bones. Cool the soup and skim off the fat. Melt the butter in a skillet and add the carrots, celery (or fennel), turnip (or rutabaga), and onion. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook for another 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Serve piping hot.

Mutton Curry
  • 2 lbs boneless mutton shoulder - trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 cups lamb or chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion - chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 large potatoes - peeled and diced
  • 1 large carrot - diced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 3 fuyu persimmons or medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp meat curry seasoning (available from Spice Grills at the Auburn Farmers' Market)
  • Salt to taste

Cube the mutton shoulder and brown in olive oil.  After browning the meat, saute the onions until slightly browned.  Add all ingredients EXCEPT persimmons to slow cooker.  Cook on low all day if possible.  An hour before serving, dice the persimmons with the skins left on and add to the curry. (we used chocolate fuyus, but any fuyu persimmon will work).  If you're using winter squash, add earlier in the process.  Serve over rice.

Sheep Camp Beans
Note: this recipe changes every time I make it - depending on what ingredients I have on hand!

  • 2 lbs lamb or mutton shoulder - trimmed and cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • About a half cup of onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • Some red wine (not sure how much - pour till it looks good!)
  • Some water (same deal as above)
  • 1 can pinto beans (drained)
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes (I like the Italian seasoned variety)
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
I like to make this recipe in a cast iron dutch oven over a camp fire, but it can be made indoors as well!  A crock pot works great!

Prepare meat and brown in the dutch oven.  Remove from pot.  Add olive oil and saute onion and garlic.  Add sausage, beans, wine, water and chilies.  Season to taste.  Cook low and slow for several hours (or all day, if possible).  Have a taste of the red wine.  Cook a bit longer.  Serve with good bread!

Sheepherder Stew

  • 2 pounds lamb kabobs or stew meat (or mutton)
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
  • 1 medium winter squash (butternut or acorn) – peeled and cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cans beans (pinto, black and/or kidney)
  • 1 can diced Ortega chilies
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • Season to taste (we use salt, pepper, a pinch of cumin, bay leaves, paprika and basil)
Brown meat in olive oil.  Combine all ingredients in crock pot or dutch oven and cook until vegetables and meat are tender.  Serves 4 (with leftovers)

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