Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Jamie Oliver's Spicy Pasta with Mushrooms and Lamb Sausage & Upcoming CSN Stores Product Review

First off, a note, I will be publishing a product review in an upcoming post of a great serving product from CSN Stores.  I am thrilled to be doing a product review for CSN Stores, as they have so many great options for service on your dining room tables. An upcoming post from me on A Kitchen In Brooklyn will showcase one of the great products that CSN stores has to offer for chefs and home entertainers! CSN stores is a great retailer that has a fantastic selection of items for your homes and kitchens.  So stay tuned for a review of a really fun product from CSN stores to spice up any dinner party!

Jamie Oliver is one my my favorite chefs. His cooking style is so organic and raw - it really showcases the ingredients that he uses. Many of his recipes are quite simple, actually and they are always improved by using the best fresh ingredients possible.  Jamie is a big meat lover and loves to use interesting and flashy meats in his cooking. I love lamb and lamb sausage so when I saw Jamie's recipe for pappardelle pasta with spicy lamb sausage and wild mushrooms in one of my old Jamie Oliver books, The Naked Chef Takes Off, I knew the recipe was one I was going to have to try. I did a few variations to use the quality local ingredients in my grocery store and the result was quite delicious.

Jamie Oliver's Pappardelle with Spicy Sausage and Wild Mushrooms (with some variations by me)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
8 oz spicy lamb sausage, skin removed, and chopped into small pieces (I got some great lamb sausages at Fresh Direct)
2 handfulls fresh thyme, leaves picked from stems
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (Jamie uses dried red chiles crumbed, but the effect is the same as it adds some heat)
14 oz wild mushrooms (I used cremini, but you could use oyster, shiitake or chanterelles), torn or sliced
[note - I omitted the butter, you don't need it, and added a bit of olive oil]
handfull of fresh parsley
grated parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh pappardelle (although Jamie made his own, I got mine fresh at Fresh Direct)

So I didn't make my own pappardelle, but a pasta machine is an inexpensive kitchen appliance I plan to get soon so I can start making my own ravioli, tortellini and fresh pastas.

To make this recipe, saute the onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil with the sausage meat. Remember to remove the skin from the sausage meat and chop into small pieces. Add the thyme, red pepper flakes and mushrooms and a bit more olive oil. Cook the pappardelle and combine with the mushroom mixture. Throw in some fresh parsley and grated parmesan cheese and serve hot.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Belgian Beef Carbonnade

My husband Brad and I are going on vacation to Europe for two whole weeks soon, and one of our stops (a brief stop and not the focus of this trip) will be in Brussels, primarily so we can eat our way through Belgian cuisine. Our brief visit to Brussels is planned to include eating the very best moules (mussels), frites with spicy mayo, Belgian waffles, Belgian beef stew and of course Belgian chocolate, that we can get our hands on.   Planning this made me really hungary for some Belgian cuisine.  I have already made Belgian waffles, which were delicious and easy to make.  I decided to try my hand at two of my favorite Belgian dishes this week - frites with spicy mayo (coming soon) and Belgian beef carbonnade, or beef stew.

Belgian beef stew is very simple.  My recipe is a variation of a Jacques Pepin recipe that I found on the internet.  They key to this stew, and quite frankly any classic Belgian carbonnade is the quality of the Belgian pale ale that you use to make the broth, as well as the quality of the beef in the stew.  Pepin uses flatiron steaks, which are expensive and contain a bit too much fat for my style of cooking.  Instead, I elected to use lean stew beef from Fresh Direct, a great NYC area provider of quality meats.  For the beer, I went for the real deal - my favorite Belgian pale ale, Leffe Blonde, a great Belgian Abbey beer.

Belgian Beef Carbonnade
2 T unsalted butter (can be replaced with olive oil if you prefer)
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 lbs lean stew beef, cut into chunks
salt and pepper to taste
3 T all purpose flour
2 bottles of Leffe Blonde Belgian Pale Ale
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
5 thyme sprigs
2 cups baby carrots
1 cup peas

In a large Dutch Oven, melt 1 T of butter with 1 T of olive oil until it sizzles. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sear until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Cook for about two minutes.  Transfer the meat to a large plate and add the remaining butter and olive oil. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the pale ale and bay leaves, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the chicken stock and thyme and return the meat to the pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover the Dutch Oven and simmer on low heat until the meat is tender - it took me about an hour.  Add the baby carrots and simmer for 15 minutes. Then, add the peas and simmer for an addition five minutes until the peas are cooked (but not faded in color) and the carrots are tender.  This was delicious and exactly how I hoped.  I can't wait to eat this dish with some steak frites in Brussels!
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