Posts tagged ‘stew’

Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

I love stews.

Stew is a relative term though. It’s basically just a chunky, hearty soup, right?

Okay, I just checked. According to a stew is, “a preparation of meat, fish, or other food cooked by stewing, especially a mixture of meat and vegetables.”.

Something cooked by stewing…yeah, I guess I left that part out.

Evidently, a stew is also a brothel, and “stews” is a neighborhood occupied mainly by brothels. Who knew, right?! Thanks! What would we do without you?

Now that it’s no longer in the 80’s here (it’s even been getting into the 40’s at night!), I no longer have to pretend it’s cool out when I make fall food, and I actually feel a need for warmer foods. It’s great. I admit, I have a terrible fear it’s going to get back into the 80’s, but I won’t go into that…

This stew is hearty, filling, and (drum roll please) healthy! But tasty-healthy, not meh-healthy.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, who found it on Cookin’ Canuck, and I honestly have no idea where it originated from. Isn’t the internet great?

This is a chicken broth based soup with pieces of chicken breast, chunks of butternut squash, spinach, tomatoes, and cooked brown rice in it. It’s very tasty, very filling, and the butternut squash adds a lovely sweetness to it.


Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew

(serves 6)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
  • Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 c. cooked brown rice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F. Spread out cubed squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat squash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. In a large pot, heat 1 – 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken, onion, garlic, oregano, and sage, and cook gently 8 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broth and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes.
  4. Add squash, spinach, and rice. Cook until heated through and spinach wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

November 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

It’s November!
That means soup and stew season is on!

Of course, here in Houston it’s still in the 80’s and everyone is wearing shorts and t-shirts/tank tops….

But it’s the spirit of the season that’s important!!
Heck, if all else fails, I can still turn my air conditioner way down and pretend it’s cold outside, so I can make hot soups and stews. That’s just the kind of commitment I have as a food blogger. Electric bill be damned!

So if you’re ready to get on the ball with fall/winter soups and stews, and want to warm your bones on those chilly fall evenings (or at least pretend you need to) here’s a great one to try out.

I found this in my Jamie Olive cookbook, Jamie’s Dinners. It’s a hardy stew full of sausage, tomatoes, spinach, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), a little ham, diced onion, celery, and garlic all in chicken stock. The interesting addition to this stew, however, is crumbled hard-boiled egg. It sounds strange, but it really goes well in the soup.

Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 2 Tbsp.  extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 1/2 oz. chorizo sausage, chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14 oz.) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. diced ham
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and crumbled
  1. Add oil and sausage to a large pot over medium heat. Cook until sausage starts to brown, 3 – 4 minutes.
  2. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover the pot, and let it gently cook without coloring for about 15 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and add spinach, tomatoes, chickpeas, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 40  minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in ham and crumbled boiled egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

November 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Fish Chowder

I love fish chowder.

When I was a kid, it was my favorite dish that my mom’s cooking. I even found my old diary from elementary school, and in the beginning it had a fill in the blank section where you listed your favorite things, and for favorite food I wrote, “Mom’s fish chowder”. Incidentally, one of my brother’s hated this soup as a kid, but only because he hated carrots (he still hates carrots as a matter of fact…).

It’s a a very simple soup, but really good. The secret is the seasoning. You use one package of the Ranch Buttermilk Salad Dressing spice mix as the seasoning of the soup. If this sounds odd, trust me, it’s not. It doesn’t make the soup taste like ranch dressing either. It just gives it great flavor.

And it goes great with plain scones (made the same as my dark chocolate chip walnut scones, just without the chocolate and walnuts) with honey and butter on them. That’s how my mom always served it. Ah, memories!

To start, chop up a whole onion, a few carrots, and a few potatoes, and saute them in some butter or olive oil in a large pot for about 8 – 10 minutes.

Add as much fish as you want, but on average use 15 – 16 oz. boneless skinless white fish fillets. Saute them in a skillet with some butter or olive oil until slightly browned, then flip them and cook them on the other side until cooked through and flaky.

Add two cups of water and the fish to the vegetables. Break up the fish into chunks with your spoon, and turn up the heat. Bring the soup to a boil then turn down the heat so it’s just simmering, cover the pot, and let it summer until the vegetables are tender, about 5 – 8 minutes.

Whisk together two cups of milk (or 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup cream or half and half) with the contents of one package of Ranch Buttermilk Dressing mix. Pour the mixture into the soup, mix well, adjust the seasoning to taste, and then heat the soup through before serving.


Fish Chowder

(serves 4 – 6)

  • 3 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 large russet potatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • About 16 oz. boneless skinless white fish fillets
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. milk (or substitute 1/2 c. of the milk with cream or half and half)
  • 1 package Ranch Buttermilk Dressing mix
  1. Saute onion, potatoes, and carrots with 2 Tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium heat for 8 – 10 minutes.
  2. Saute fish fillets with 1 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat until fish has slightly browned on one side. Flip the fillets and cook on the other side until cooked through and flaky.
  3. Add water and fish fillets to the pot with the vegetables and turn up the heat. When mixture starts to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, 5 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Whisk together milk (and cream/half and half if using) and dressing mix in a small bowl. Pour mixture into the soup, mixing evenly, and then return soup to heat and cook until heated through. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

October 31, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment


I love gumbo.

Mainly because it’s spicy and has okra in it; two things I love dearly.

Did you know “gumbo” is the Bantu (language spoken in certain parts of Africa) word for okra? That is why no matter what gumbo recipe you use, you must always have okra in it. Okra-less gumbo is just wrong. I will be morally offended if you make gumbo with no okra in it. Okay, so maybe I won’t be offended, but seriously, the okra makes gumbo so good. Just sayin’.

I keep my gumbo pretty simple. Saute onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper, make a roux with flour and oil or butter, add broth, whisk to thicken, and your spices, okra, and 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, add your chicken and sausage/ham (if using), let it simmer a good 30 minutes, and you shrimp, let it cook another couple minutes, and serve. Bam. Some people will only eat gumbo with rice, but I prefer it with some fresh crusty bread or even cornbread.




(serves 6 – 7)

  • 4 – 5 Tbsp. melted butter or oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 – 5 Tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 4 c. chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 3 – 4 tsp. cajun seasoning (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 c. sliced okra (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2/3 c. sliced andouille sausage or diced ham
  • 2 c. chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If using andouille sausage, heat a skillet to medium-high heat. Add sliced sausage. Stir sausage and cook until slices browned on each side. Drain off fat, and set aside (if using ham, you can skip this step).
  2. In a large pot, heat butter/oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and bell pepper, and saute gently until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour and stir until all oil is absorbed. If flour is still powdery add a little more oil. Cook 2 – 3 minutes.
  4. Whisk in chicken broth, and continue whisking until broth thickens slightly.
  5. Add bay leaves, thyme, cajun seasoning, oregano, okra, tomatoes, sausage/ham, and chicken. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves. Taste and check spiciness. If you want it spicier, add more cajun seasoning.
  7. Add shrimp, and cook for 3 – 4 more minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste [note: a lot of cajun seasonings already have salt in them, so you may not need to add any extra salt].
  9. Serve with fresh crusty bread, steamed rice, or cornbread.

February 22, 2012 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

Japanese Curry Soup

They were showing “Star Wars – Return of the Jedi” last night on TV.

…in Japanese.

Usually when they show movies on TV in Japan, they’re bilingual. Most TVs have the option of changing the language to either the original language (for non-Japanese movies) or the dubbed Japanese version.

I have nothing against dubbing, but personally I would much rather see movies (and TV shows) in their original language with subtitles.

So you see, I’ve always been highly appreciative of the language change function on TVs, and I’ve always used that function, as seeing a lot of Hollywood movies dubbed in Japanese is just not my thing. Especially when it’s a movie I’ve seen many times and that is dear to me, it just weirds me out seeing all the characters speaking Japanese.

Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, when Japanese television switched to digital from analog this past summer, our TV mysteriously lost the ability to switch languages for foreign movies and TV shows.

Thus, Hisa and I ended up watching the second half of “Return of the Jedi” on TV last night in Japanese.

At first, I thought it was just too weird to watch, but after awhile, it began to turn amusing for me. I actually burst out laughing the first time I heard Darth Vader speak, and Luke sounded extremely girly.

The only character whom the Japanese voice over worked really well for was… you guessed it, Yoda.

Sadly, after the movie I went to bed, had weird dreams, and slept badly, again.

I blame the Japanese-speaking Darth Vader.

Japanese curry soup is a wonderful, hearty, spicy stew that’s absolutely perfect for a chilly fall night. It’s also a nice change from your thicker regular curry.

This soup is full of rich vibrant flavors, but a small warning. This soup is not something you can whip up 30 minutes or even an hour before dinner time. This soup takes time. Around three to three and a half hours to be precise.

If you want to prepare something a little special for someone, or you’re home on a cold cloudy day with time to spare, this is the recipe for you. You won’t be disappointed!

And now, one word of caution. If you use a regular blender to blend the soup in batches, be sure you let the soup cool sufficiently before you blend it! If you try to blend it while it’s still super hot, it may splatter out of the blender all over everything, including you. The first time I ever made this soup I made that mistake, and I still have the burn scars on my arm where the soup splattered on me to prove it. I recommend making this soup early in the day, and then turning the heat off and letting it cool after it’s finished simmering for two hours. When dinner time rolls around, you can just blend the soup and then re-heat it. Easy peasy.

I definitely need a bigger pot.

Serve with steamed rice or fresh nan bread.

Japanese Curry Soup

(serves 6)

  • 4 onions, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 dried chili, diced
  • 1 chunk dark chocolate
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried coriander
  • 2 tsp. tumeric
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 – 2 tsp. garam masala  (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 c. chicken stock
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Any meat and vegetables you want (recommended: chicken, potato, carrot, bell pepper, sweet potato, squash, broccoli, etc.)
  1. Heat olive oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until amber brown and paste-like in texture (about 20 minutes).
  2. Add ginger, garlic, and apple to pot, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes, mashing well.
  3. Add spices, chocolate, chili, and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and mix. Continue cooking until thickened to a heavy paste. Add stock and increase heat to boiling.
  5. Lower heat to simmering and add carrot, celery, and bay leaves.
  6. Simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Use an immersion blender to blend soup, or let cool and then blend in batches in a blender. Return to pot and re-heat.
  8. Boil, fry, or roast chicken and vegetables. Add to serving bowls, and pour soup over meat and vegetables. Serve with steamed rice or nan bread.



October 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm 2 comments

Guinness & Red Wine Stew – The Perfect Food for Fall

Summer is finally officially over here, and we’re not in the depths of Fall.

I love it.

It actually got a bit cold last weekend. More like November temperature rather than October. Now it’s back to more normal October temperatures for this area; high temperatures in the low to mid 70’s and low temperatures in the low 50’s. Perfect. The air has also gotten a bit drier, so the oppressing humidity of summer is also over (thank God!).

Due to the much cooler temperatures, I’ve been in full Fall foods mode this week. I’ve made stew and fresh bread, pumpkin soup, Japanese croquettes (actually this isn’t really a fall dish, but it is really good), and mushroom cream pasta (fall is mushroom season in Japan, or so I’m told).

I’m planning on making pumpkin pancakes for breakfast tomorrow morning. Ah, pumpkin! I love anything made with pumpkin in the fall. My particular favorite is kabocha, Japanese pumpkin. It’s less watery and naturally very sweet. I love it! I’m a little worried I won’t be able to find kabocha after we go back to the U.S. this December. I don’t really now if it’s readily available in the U.S. or not. If you know of somewhere I can buy it, please comment and let me know!

This stew recipe is really really good. It takes quite awhile to make (about 2 1/2 – 3 hours), but it’s very easy, and so worth it. Most of that time is spent just letting the stew simmer, so you can go off and do other things while it’s cooking (although if you have small children or large dogs, make sure they don’t go near the stove unattended! I worry you know…).

A lot of stew recipes out there involve adding red wine, while others involve adding beer. The thing I love about this recipe is that it involves adding both red wine and beer, and a stew with red wine and beer in it can’t be bad! Although the alcohol cooks off (did I just here some of you sigh dejectedly?), the beer and the wine give the stew great flavor, and it makes the meat soooo tender and wonderful. You won’t be disappointed.

Heat a little olive oil in a pan. Lightly salt your stew beef and add it to the pot. Let it brown on each side. This is not actually a pound and a half of meat like the recipe calls for. I didn’t have enough meat, so that’s why it looks like less in the picture. Don’t commit this travesty like I did.

When it’s browned on each side, add six cloves of minced garlic and saute one minute. I know it seems like a lot of garlic, but trust me, it’s not.

Add 6 cups of beef stock, 1 cup of Guinness beer, 1 cup red wine, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 1 Tablespoon sugar, 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and 2 bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover it, and let it simmer for an hour. When you add the beer, it’ll make the stew all foamy like in the picture. I always find this amusing, but then I’m easily amused. 🙂

While the stock and beef are simmering, heat 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes, carrots, and onion and saute for about 15 minutes. Then add the green beans and corn and saute for another 5 minutes.

For some reason I took this picture and then added the green beans. I don’t know why. I’m weird.

When the beef and stock are done simmering, add all the vegetables, and let it simmer, uncovered, until the veggies are tender, about 40 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Stew goes best with fresh hot bread in my opinion, so I made some homemade whole wheat bread to go with the stew. Heavenly, and perfect for a crisp fall night!


(serves 4)

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb. stew beef
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 c. beef stock
  • 1 c. Guinness beer
  • 1 c. red wine
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 lb. potatoes (2 – 3 large russet potatoes will probably work fine)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 c. carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 c. fresh green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 c. frozen corn, thawed
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over med-high heat. Lightly salt beef and add to the pot. Cook without stirring until browned on one side, then turn pieces over. Repeat until all sides are browned.
  2. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add stock, beer, wine, tomato paste, sugar, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low, then cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. While the meat and stock are simmering, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes, onions, and carrots. Saute for about 15 minutes, then add the green beans and corn. Continue sauteing for about 5 more minutes. Set aside until beef and stock done simmering.
  4. Add all vegetables to pot with beef and stock. Summer, uncovered until vegetables are tender, about 40 minutes.
  5. Discard bay leaves, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with fresh hot bread.

October 7, 2011 at 3:15 pm 1 comment

Menu Plan Monday for Oct. 3 – 7

This past Saturday, Hisa applied to several different moving companies for a quote on moving our stuff to his parents’ place when we move out of our apartment next month. Some companies sent quotes by email, and some companies sent a representative to our apartment to see everything we have to move, and then give us a quote (it was like having a car salesperson in our apartment. Bleh).

Most of our remaining furniture and our large appliances (kitchen, washing machine, etc.) we’ll be sending to Hisa’s parents’ house, as they wanted it. I’m happy they can use it all, because otherwise we would have had to mess with trying to sell the stuff, or just throw it away (which I would have hated doing, because it’s perfectly good stuff, and not that old, and gosh darnit, I hate waste!).

The downside to all of this, is that we have to hire a moving company to move everything, and moving companies cost money. They don’t have rental trucks (ala U-Haul) in Japan, and large pick-up trucks are practically none existent, so when people move, they always hire a moving company.

Moving companies in Japan are both a blessing and a curse in my opinion. If you absolutely hate packing, cleaning, hauling boxes and furniture, then moving companies may be your best friend in Japan. They will do everything for you. With the most basic service, they’ll simply come to your home, haul all of your boxes and furniture to the truck, load it, drive it to your new place, and unload everything where you want it. You can purchase additional services, however, like having the movers pack everything for you, and then clean your entire place after everything is loaded into the truck. If you want, and if you pay, and won’t have to do a thing when you move.

Oh, did I mention they’ll also cover all your large appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, etc.) with protective covering and padding so that it won’t get scratched while being moved? It’s brilliant.

Like I mentioned before though, moving companies cost money (no, I know you already know this, but let me get to the point), and when I say that, I mean a lot of money.

To give you an idea, we’re just having the movers come and move our stuff (no fancy add-on services), and we don’t really have that much stuff to move (our futons, table, one small bookshelf, some plastic drawers, my stationary bicycle, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave, some small odds and ends, and maybe three boxes). That’s it. But the average price from the different moving companies we got was around $600.

Yeah… I don’t know. Maybe that’s not a lot to some people, but I’m used to moving with the use of a U-Haul truck or by borrowing someone’s pick-up, so $600 seems like a lot of me. Still, it’s really nice not having to move everything ourselves. Especially since our apartment is two floors and the entrance is on the 2nd floor (weird, I know), so the movers will have to carry everything (including our full-size refrigerator) up the steep narrow stairs of our apartment to get it out. Not fun. Good luck mover people!

Menu Plan for October 3 – 7:

  • Stew and homemade bread
  • Homemade pizza
  • Coconut curry pumpkin soup, salad, and
  • Japanese Nabe
  • Japanese croquettes (korokke) with shredded cabbage, steamed rice, miso soup, and stir-fried burdock root and carrot (kinpira gobo)

October 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

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