Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold Nights, Warm Dinners

Cool nights lately have had me in the mood to cook warm, satisfying, comfort foods. So far, they have all be hits with us. Just in case you find yourself on a cool night wondering what to cook for dinner, I've decided to share a couple of the newest recipes with you.

Savory Venison Stew
In the current issue of "Homegrown: Good Sense Organic Living for Texas" I found this scrumptious recipe from the Broken Arrow Ranch in Ingram, Texas. (My changes/suggestions are in italics.)

1 lb. Broken Arrow Ranch Venison Stew chunks, cut into bite-size pieces (I used ground venison as that was what I had handy.)
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp pickling spice (wrapped in cheesecloth)
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1/8 tsp garlic powder (I used fresh garlic..several cloves worth cause, well... we like garlic)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, and 2 red potatoes, cut into ½ “ pieces (I didn't have red taters around so used russets)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cups water
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 8oz can tomato sauce

Spray a nonstick skillet with vegetable cooking spray and quickly brown the chunks on all sides. Wrap the pickling spice in cheesecloth and tie with a string. Slowly simmer all ingredients for 1 ½ hours or until venison is tender and vegetables are cooked. Remove cheesecloth wrapped spices before serving. We served it with cornbread, of course. A wonderful blend of some of my favorites, it was a mix between pot roast, stew and sauerbrauten.

Lentil Chili
Recently, a co-worker passed on this recipe. Upon first glance I was thinking, uhhhhh... I don't know about this. Went ahead and tried it and by-golly, she was right... it is delicious!

2 t. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T chili powder
1 T ground cumin
1 t dried oregano leaves
1/8 t cayenne pepper
4 Cups water
1 cup lentils (the dry beans), rinsed
1/2 cup tomato puree (I used diced tomatoes from the can)
1/3 cup plus 2 T chopped green onions
Polish Sausage (or similar), chopped up

Heat oil in heavy, large saucepan (like a 3 qt.). Add onion and saute 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add chili powder, ground cumin, oregano leaves, and cayenne pepper - stir 30 seconds. Add 4 cups water, lentils and tomato puree. Increase heat and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam from surface (I didn't see any foam when I made it). Reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are tender, adding more water by 1/4 cupfuls as needed if dry, about 30 minutes. Add sausage. Stir in 1/3 cup green onions. Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Divide chili among 4 bowls. Sprinkle with remaining green onions and shredded/grated cheese and serve.

Hope you enjoy!

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