Wednesday, January 15, 2020

VIVE LA SAUCE!

Sauces really do make the difference and they are not all that hard to make. The most iconic sauces are the 5 French Mother Sauces: Béchamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise and Tomato. All of these sauces, except the Tomato, traditionally begin by making a roux (equal parts melted butter and flour), then adding a liquid. In the case of Béchamel it is generally a dairy-milk or cream or both. The liquid Veloute uses is chicken, vegetable or fish stock. Espagnole uses brown stock-beef or veal. Hollandaise-clarified butter, egg yolks, acid-like lemon or white wine. And Tomato uses, you guessed it, tomatoes!

JULIA CHILD'S EASY 'BLENDER' HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
This Hollandaise Sauce is fool proof
and only takes about 3 minutes to make.
Ingredients:
3 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt
Pinch pepper (I like to use white pepper so as not to mar the beautiful color of the sauce.)
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Preparation:
Place egg yolks, salt, pepper, and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice in the blender jar. Cut the butter into pieces and place it in a small saucepan. Heat until melted, hot and foamy. Cover the jar of the blender and blend the egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds. Uncover, still blending at top speed and immediately start pouring the hot melted butter in a very light stream of droplets. Be careful that the contents don't spew out. Use your hand to cover part of the opening if necessary. By the time 2/3 of the butter has gone in the sauce will be thick and creamy. Do not pour the milky butter residue at bottom of pan. Taste. Blend in more seasonings and lemon juice to taste.
Use immediately. If not using right away set your blender in a bowl of lukewarm water to 'hold' the sauce. The sauce changes consistency pretty fast so use right away. You can keep it overnight in the fridge, but it will not have that luxurious creamy hollandaise consistency next day, but still tastes good!

Classically this sauce is used with Eggs Benedict, but there is no law saying you can't use it over a lovely chicken breast stuffed with lots of spinach.

BERNAISE SAUCE
I wonder why Bernaise was not gifted the title of "Mother Sauce", but it's probably because it is so close to Hollandaise she could be considered a sister. This recipe is from Ina Garten-The Barefoot Contessa. I changed the vinegar she recommended to Tarragon vinegar, but I will give you her recipe as she makes it. This recipe is easy to double if cooking for a crowd.
New Year's Eve dinner: Tenderloin of Beef with Bernaise,
Hasselback potatoes and roasted asparagus with a little more Bernaise.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Champagne or White wine vinegar (or in my case, Tarragon Vinegar)
1/4 cup good white wine (I used a Savignon Blanc-not too sweet, but lots of flavor.)
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper (I used white pepper.)
3 extra-large egg yolks
1 pound (equals 1 cup; equals 2 sticks; equals a lot of butter!)

Preparation:
Put the vinegar, white wine, shallots, 1 Tbsp. tarragon leaves, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper in small saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to a few tablespoons. Cool slightly.
Place the cooled mixture with the egg yolks and 1 tsp. Kosher salt in the jar of a blender and blend for 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly pour the hot butter through the opening in lid. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp. tarragon leaves and blend only for a second. If the sauce is too thick add a tbsp. of white wine to thin it out. Keep at room temp until serving. Similar to the Hollandaise, Bernaise does not have a long shelf life so eat it all right away!

This next recipe is not exactly a sauce, but I made it recently to use with a Pork Tenderloin and it was really scrumptious.
 
SPICED APPLE CHUTNEY
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Apple Cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tart apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (I used Granny Smiths.)
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup raisins, golden or brown
1/4 cup shallots, diced
5 thick slices fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp. chili pepper flake (more or less to taste)
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of sweet Hungarian paprika
A few red peppercorns, crushed (Optional. The red peppercorns are sweet and deepen the flavor, but not totally necessary.)
2 whole star anise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Kosher salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp. mustard seed.

Preparation:
Whisk vinegar and sugar together in a large saucepan. Add apples, apricots, raisins, shallots, ginger, pepper flakes, and star anise. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in garlic, salt and mustard seed.
Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally, until fruit is soft and liquid is reduced, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Remove ginger pieces and star anise. Transfer chutney to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled. Serve either at room temperature or slightly warmed. Flavors continue deepen as the chutney sits so make a day ahead of time. It keeps well in the fridge for a week. I love combining sweet and sour (a gastrique) with fruit and spice. You can play with combinations of spices to create a chutney that becomes your favorite, but this one is pretty good!

ALL FOR TODAY...
 
CAN'T BELIEVE WE'RE HALFWAY
THROUGH JANUARY 2020!
 
NEXT TIME WE'RE GOING BACK TO THE PHILIPPINES FOR ANOTHER FILIPINO TASTE TREAT!
 
TUNE IN AGAIN SOON...
Me and my husband, Jerry, enjoying a beautiful
weekend at the historic Arizona Inn in Tucson.
Talk about good eats!!







Wednesday, December 25, 2019

CHRISTMAS TIDINGS!

My internet has been on the fritz so I didn't get this posted in time for Christmas, but it's a good, old-fashioned treat for any cocktail party at any time. The home-made version tastes nothing like the ones you buy in the store!

CLASSIC CHEDDAR CHEESE BALL
There are many variations on a cheese ball, but I went with 13 year aged cheddar ball.

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preparation:
Process all ingredients except nuts in a food processor until very smooth. Transfer the cheese to the center of a large piece of plastic wrap.
Pull all 4 corners together and twist so cheese forms a ball. It will be a little squishy.
Form it with your hands into a round shape. Once the cheese ball is chilled you can fine-tune the shape. Refrigerate until firm; at least 3 hours, or overnight. The cheese ball can be chilled for up to a week.

Lightly toast the sliced almonds in a dry pan. Watch closely as they burn easily. Cool.

Once the cheese ball is firm, reshape if necessary. Unwrap the cheese ball and roll it in the toasted nuts. Serve with your favorite crackers!

SWEET SPICED NUTS
These nuts are addictive and a treat any time, but I like them during the Christmas season. Use unsalted nuts. They store well in airtight containers for up to 3 weeks. Recipe is easily doubled or tripled. They make a nice hostess gift!

Ingredients:
2 large egg whites, slightly beaten
2 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. salt
2 pound nuts: unsalted raw pecans, cashews, walnuts or whole unblanched almonds, or combo of all
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. coriander

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites with water and salt in a large bowl. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Drain in a colander for 5 minutes.

Mix sugar with spices in a large bowl. Add the drained nuts and toss to coat thoroughly. Spread nuts evenly on prepared baking sheets and bake until dry and crisp, 40-45 minutes, rotating and switching position of baking sheets halfway through. Cool nuts completely. Break apart and store in airtight containers.

Sorry, no photo!

AND I DID MAKE THE CRESCENT CRANBERRY BRIE WREATH I TALKED ABOUT LAST TIME...

CRANBERRY AND BRIE CRESCENT WREATH

The home-cured prosciutto from Jay Bileti paired perfectly with this not-too-sweet breakfast roll.

Ingredients:
2 packages crescent dough
8 oz. good quality brie
About 1 cup home-made cranberry sauce
1 egg, slightly beaten
Fresh thyme
Coarse salt
This Tripe Crème Brie worked perfectly!

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Open all crescent triangles and join together at wide end. Place a tablespoon of cranberry on each roll. Cut brie into thick wedges and top the cranberry with the brie.
Fold the pointed end around the cheese and cranberry and tuck underneath the wide end of crescent dough forming a circle, aka wreath!

Brush with egg. Sprinkle on a little coarse salt and fresh thyme leaves. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

CHRISTMAS DAY IS COMING TO AND END,
BUT THIS IS A SEASON SO KEEP ON ENJOYING
RIGHT INTO THE NEW YEAR!






Thursday, December 19, 2019

IT'S CHRISTMAS COOKIE TIME!

I love this time of year. Filled with festive gatherings, lots of hustle bustle, and much cooking and baking! I have started my Christmas cookies and added a new one I want to share with you. This recipe is from my hairdresser's grandmother, Irma Kidwell.
And here is the grand lady! I wished I had a chance to meet her!
My hairdresser, Patreese Flores, tells me it's been a family favorite for generations and I can see why. My husband, Jerry, said it is one of the best cookies he's ever eaten.
CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES

Ingredients:
2 cups shortening (That is 4 sticks. I used European style unsalted butter.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 packages chocolate chips (24 oz.)
3/4 cup white corn syrup
5 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
6 tsp. baking soda
2 oz. pure peppermint extract

Preparation:
Cream shortening and sugar. Add eggs until creamy. Add peppermint. Melt chocolate chips.
I made a make-shift double boiler by placing
a bowl in a saucepan of water. Bring water
to a boil and stir until chocolate melts.
Add to mixture. Add corn syrup. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet.

Roll into balls and then roll in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes. For chewier cookies take them out before they crack.
This recipe does not disappoint! Thanks for sharing Patreese. To get a great haircut call Patreese Flores at her salon on the W. Frontage Road in Rio Rico. Aqua Salon, 520-841-2639.

CLEVER GIFT IDEA!
My good friend and golf buddy, Peachy McQueen, gave each in our 4-some a very thoughtful Christmas cookie gift.

She attractively layered the ingredients in the jar in the order given:

1/2 up white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk biscuit & baking mix
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk biscuit & baking mix.
Attach the gift tag with finishing instructions. To this you add: 1 stick melted butter; 1 egg, slightly beaten; and 1 tsp. almond extract. Press into an 8x8 inch pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Fabulous!

And finally, here are a few shots from a cookie making adventure with my dear brother, Skip!

Carefully measuring ingredients! Go to:
http://cookwithcindy.blogspot.com/search?q=gingerbread
for gingerbread cookie recipe and my favorite, sugar cookies!
We used stars, trees, angels...
every shape except gingerbread people...fun!
 

NEXT TIME I'M GOING TO SHARE A SIMPLE RECIPE
FOR AN OLD-FASHIONED CHEESE BALL.
MUCH BETTER THAN STORE-BOUGHT
AND VARIATIONS ARE NEARLY ENDLESS!
GREAT CHRISTMAS HORS D'OEUVRE!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!






Sunday, December 8, 2019

TINOLA-FILIPINO CHICKEN SOUP

I have a good friend who is currently challenged by some medical issues. I wanted to make her chicken soup, which always makes me feel better. My husband, Jerry, suggested I make Myrna a Filipino Chicken Soup since that is her homeland. Also known as Tinolang Manok this soup is rich, delicious, nourishing and very tasty. I didn't realize papaya, green or ripe, was so good for you. Filled with enzymes and essential nutrients, it is excellent for digestive health. Ginger is also believed to help reduce nausea, pain and inflammation. These are the two predominant flavors in Tinola. I found the recipe online and wasn't sure how authentic it is, but when Myrna said it tasted like "home" it made me very happy. I did change things up a bit and will give you my recipe diversions as we go.

TINOLANG MANOK
This is the second batch of Tinola and the papaya had ripened
a bit more than they should, but soup was still delicious!
Ingredients:
1 whole chicken, chopped in serving pieces (I used 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts.)
1 medium piece fresh ginger root, about 2 inch piece, julienned
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 Tbsp. patis (fish sauce) (I used Oyster Sauce as that's what I had in the pantry.)
2 medium green papayas, peeled and sliced diagonally (My one large papaya had started to ripen, but still had more green than red/orange flesh when I made the first batch for Myrna.)
1 bunch chili leaves (can use spinach--which I did; if chili leaves are not available)
1 Tbsp. olive oil (Not called for in the recipe, but I used to saute ginger and garlic.)
Dash of pepper to taste (I used a big dash of white pepper.)
4 cups low salt chicken stock (I had a very rich, not LOW-SALT chicken stock in the fridge already made.)


Here's Myrna recently in New York City!
Preparation:
In a medium sized pot, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil, saute ginger until golden brown, followed by garlic and onions. Then put the chicken, fish sauce, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes.

I brought the chicken broth to a boil, reduced heat and added the 3 whole large chicken breast. Reduce heat to simmer and gently poach the chicken until cooked through; about 15 minutes. Remove the breast to cool and when cooled shred the chicken.

Add the sliced papaya, white pepper, and fish sauce to the pot with ginger, garlic and onions. Add shredded chicken and the chicken stock. Simmer over medium heat for about 1/2 hour. Remove from heat and add 3-4 large handfuls of fresh spinach. The spinach will cook/wilt in the hot broth. Check for seasoning and add salt/more pepper as needed.

Serve over hot, steamed rice.

CHRISTMAS IS FAST APPROACHING...
GET READY FOR SOME HOLIDAY COOKING!
 
UNTIL NEXT TIME, THANKS FOR TUNING IN
TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF:




Sunday, November 17, 2019

CHICKEN CORDON BLEU MEETS FLORENTINE MEETS PROSCUITTO!

I love stuffing chicken breasts! A plain, rather ordinary piece of chicken becomes instantly fancy. This time I stuffed with Ham, Parmesan Reggiano, and Spinach; rolled the breasts and then wrapped with Prosciutto before pan searing and baking.

PROSCUITTO CHICKEN FILLED WITH HAM,
CHEESE, SPINACH AND TOPPED WITH
FRIED SAGE AND POMEGRANATE SEEDS

Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/4" thickness
Salt/Pepper
1 large Tbsp. mayonnaise per breast
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 slices ham per breast. I used a very good quality ham. (not deli ham).
1 cup of spinach leaves per breast
3 thin slices Parmesan Reggiano per breast (or cheese or your choice)
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Sage leaves for garnish
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
 
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pound chicken breasts evenly to about 1/4" thickness. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chicken. Spread a generous tablespoon of mayonnaise (this keeps the chicken very moist) on each breast. Top each breast with 1 clove of finely minced garlic. Lay on 4 slices of ham. Next, add about 1 cup of spinach leaves.
 

Add the cheese and gently roll the chicken breasts stuffing spinach back in the ends if it starts to fall out. Wrap the breasts with prosciutto and secure with toothpicks or tie with kitchen string. The chicken breasts I used were so large I should have used the kitchen string, but I got lazy. The prosciutto is fairly effective in holding the breasts together. Bring a cast iron or heavy bottom skillet to nearly smoking hot. Add butter and olive oil and pan sear the chicken breast on all sides until the prosciutto becomes crisp. Spoon the oil over the breasts as they cook.
 
Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken breasts. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that internal temp has reached 165 degrees.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.

While cooling heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a frying pan and drop in the sage leaves to quickly fry on each side. Reserve the oil for drizzling over the chicken once it has been sliced. Slice the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces and serve topped with the fried sage and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle the sage oil over the chicken and serve.

Endless variations on stuffing and rolling chicken! That's what makes it so fun!!

UNTIL NEXT TIME...
 
THANKSGIVING IS SO CLOSE AND THIS YEAR WE ARE GOING TO THE BEACH IN MEXICO TO CELEBRATE
OUR FABULOUS DAY OF THANKS, WHICH ALSO HAPPENS TO BE OUR 26TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!
Here we are in Virgin Gorda, BVI, on our 20th wedding anniversary!


Sunday, October 27, 2019

BEST BIRTHDAY CAKE!

Today is my good friend, Debby Vis's birthday! She had my husband and me over to dinner last week to celebrate and made some fabulous short-ribs. I must get her recipe so I can make them myself and share the recipe with all of you. They were really sweet, tender and delicious. I made her favorite cake...
VANILLA CAKE WITH BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Happy Birthday Debby!
 
I found the recipe on this site: https://preppykitchen.com/1448-2/. Unlike the author of this blog, I am not a big-time baker so am always a bit trepidatious when undertaking a cake. John had some wonderful tips including using "cake strips" to keep your cake from rising in the center. I bought them online and they really worked. You soak the strips at least 5 minutes in water and then wrap them around your cake pan.
Ingenious! I am not sure, but believe the reason they work is the moisture makes the cake bake more evenly without rising in the center. John's recipe calls for making 3 layers in 6" cake pans. I had 8" pans only. He recommends if using 8" pans to double the recipe, but that seems like a lot of cake to me so I made his proportions and poured into two 8" pans. He also recommends weighing flour, sugar, etc. so you know he is a REAL baker. I used measuring cups, fluffing flour and leveling off with a knife. In case you are weighing, I will include his weights. Here's the recipe..

Ingredients:
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour (200 g)
1 cup granulated white sugar (200 g)
1 tsp. baking powder (4 g, heaping)
1/4 tsp. baking soda (1 g, heaping)
3/4 cup unsalted butter (171 g), room temp. (I used Kerry Gold, my favorite!)*
3 egg whites, room temp
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (15 mL) Note: Tablespoon; not teaspoon
1/2 tsp. salt (3 g)
1/2 cup sour cream (120 mL), room temp
1/2 cup whole milk (118mL), room temp

* 3/4 cup butter is 12 Tbsp. or 1 1/2 sticks American butter. If using Irish Kerry Gold, keep in mind that the measurements are different as it is packaged differently.
I love how shiny the batter is!

Preparation:
Butter and flour three 6" pans or two 8" cake pans. Wrap the pans with damp cake strips, if using. Preheat over to 340 degrees. Note: 340 degrees; not 350.
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the wet ingredients together. Add the wet to the dry and mix until combined. John's tip--do not worry if you see little chunks of butter in your batter. They will melt as cake bakes. Divide the mixture evenly into cake pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the centers are set and springy.
Let the layers cool in the pans for about 4 minutes, then dump each layer onto a cooling rack.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
Ingredients:
1 lb. confectioners sugar (454 g)
2 sticks unsalted butter (226 g), room temp
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (118 mL)
1 tsp. vanilla (5 mL)
Pinch of salt
Drop of food coloring, if using. I thought making the frosting pale pink would be very "girly".

John decorated his cake with a huge peony. Very lovely. I used fresh strawberries and raspberries.
Beautiful!
Preparation:
Beat the room temperature butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, vanilla, food coloring and heavy cream. Mix together until a desired consistency is reached. Transfer to a piping bag. I did not do this. I simply frosted the cake, but here is what John recommends...Pipe buttercream between cake layers. Cover the cake with a thin layer of buttercream. Use an offset spatula to smooth the frosting.
If using a flower to decorate, wrap the stem with floral tape.
 

BIRTHDAYS ARE SUCH A
WONDERFUL CELEBRATION OF YOU!
 
UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP ON CELEBRATING!
 
WE HAD A FABULOUS 4 MONTHS IN IRELAND, BUT IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK IN THE SUNNY SOUTHWEST!
Killary Harbour, in the village of Leenaun.
Ireland's only fjord.
 
 



Saturday, September 14, 2019

TRADITIONAL AND UPDATED IRISH LAMB STEW!

Starting to feel a bit of fall chill in the air here in Ireland so what better time to make stew. The first recipe is my own, but please take lots of liberty to change it up.
CLASSIC IRISH LAMB STEW
Ingredients:
1 quart lamb stock (or combination of Chicken, Lamb or Vegetable stock)
1 1/2 lb. Lamb shoulder, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup uncooked barley
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup flour for coating lamb
2 Tbsp. Oil for Browning lamb (or use 1 Tbsp. Fat skimmed off the top of your stock and 1 Tbsp. Oil)
Sprig of sage
A few stems of fresh thyme
Salt/pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish
I happened to have a huge bowl of lamb
stock all made. Look how gelatinous it is!
Preparation:
Place lamb chunks I'm a large plastic zip-lock bag. Very liberally salt/pepper--at least a tsp. Salt and 1/2 tsp. Pepper. Add flour and shake to coat.
In a large soup pot, heat oil (or fat) until bubbling. Drop in lamb and gently stir to brown all sides--about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add 1 quart stock and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Reduce to simmer and add carrots, parsnip and celery. Add sage and thyme. Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir in 1 cup barley, cover and simmer another 30 minutes.
The stew will thicken as it cooks.  Check to make sure veg is tender. Barley should be tender, but still have a little chewiness. Also check tenderness of lamb. Shoulder can be a little tougb, but has wonderful flavor.  Remove stew from heat and add the cup of peas. I like to make stew the day before serving to really bring flavors together, but you can also eat it immediately!
NEXT, AN UPDATED CONTEMPORARY VERSION...

SWEET POTATO, WHITE BEAN
AND LAMB STEW
This recipe comes from my new Irish cookbook, Wild Atlantic Way. I had made a batch of cannellini beans on the weekend and also had more stock on hand so this stew went together very quickly. 

Ingredients:
1 kg (that's about 2 lbs.) Lamb shoulder, cut into bite sized pieces
10 g plain flour (1/8 cup)
Salt/freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc--I used 1 cup
500 ml (2 cups) chicken or veg stock (I used 3 cups half lamb/half chicken stock)
1 cinnamon stick (I didn't have whole cinnamon so used 1 scant tsp.)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 400g (that's about 1 1/2 cups) tin canellini beans, drained and rinsed

To serve: Bread crumbs, crusty bread with creamer butter (I made big toasted croutons and garnished with a little chopped, fresh parsley.)

Preparation:
In a plastic bag, toss together the lamb and flour until meat is well coated. Season with salt/pepper. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat and saute the onions and garlic until garlic is aromatic. Add the lamb and sear until it is golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pot.

NEXT, add the stock, cinnamon, and sweet potato and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let the stew bubble away. Add the beans after 20 minutes, then allow the meat and sweet potato to simmer until they are tender, for about a further 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with toasted breadcrumbs and serve with crusty bread slathered with creamer butter.

Both the sweet potato and cinnamon give this soup an exotic sweet flavor. 

I prefer to make my own beans. Simple, quick and much better texture and flavor than canned. Rinse the dried beans well and check for stones. Bring a quart of Chicken or veg broth to boil. If you are using a very flavorfull well-seasoned broth, no need to add anything else. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook beans until just barley tender, about 1 hour. Cooking time depends on age and size of the bean.

I made a WHITE BEAN, CARAMELIZED ONION AND BLACK PUDDING dish with some of the cannellini beans. This would also be excellent with grilled and sliced Italian sausage, if you don't have blood pudding in the fridge! 😊
I also cooked 1 cup of the cannellini's until very tender, then mashed with a fork, added 1 clove minced garlic, lots of freshly ground black pepper, fresh thyme, a dash of smoked paprika, squeeze of fresh lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil. Place into a small serving bowl, top with a little more olive oil, lemon zest and chunky sea salt (such as Maldon) and serve with crackers, small toasted breads or veg. Delicious bean dip!
THAT'S ALL FOR TODAY!

PLEASE JOIN ME AGAIN 
FOR MORE FUN IN THE KITCHEN!

WWW.COOKWITHCINDY.COM
Me and my hubby in Copenhagen enjoying a canal cruise.
The Regal Princess showed us a fantastic 11-day
adventure throughout the beautiful Baltic!