A meal in and of itself or a prelude to one. Warm and steamy or cool and calmly they soothe the soul and there are flavors for all the seasons.

Porky’s White Chili

Fall is fall and whether you live in Montana with distinct climatic drops or Florida where it’s far more subtle it’s time for some stews and chili’s.  And what a pleasant surprise this white chili was without tomatoes and a distinct southwestern flavor that paired exceptionally well with some good old fashioned southern cornbread.

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Ingredients

3 tablespoons lard
2 pounds ground pork
2 cups chopped sweet onion
1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves finely diced
2 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chiles, undrained
3/4 – 1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 – 1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 – 1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 (15.5 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained
3 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 1/2 cups shredded Jack cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preparation

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Heat 1 tablespoon of the lard in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat.  Add pork and cook stirring until crumbled and no longer pink.  Drain and remove to a platter, wipe the pot clean.

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Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of lard over medium heat.  Add onion, pepper, garlic and spices and cook, stirring often for 2 to 3 minutes until vegetables are slightly tender. Add the green chilies and continue to cook for another minute.

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Stir in bean, broth and pork; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 40 minutes.

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Add cheese and lime juice, stir until cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

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Oh yea, it’s best with cornbread!

Spanish Bean Soup

It’s amazing what I find in my freezer sometimes. About three times a year I clean it out – re organizing and vowing to use things before they’ve been in there too long.  Come July it’s time to finally use that ham bone from Easter. . .

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Recipe & Ingredients

1 pound garbanzo beans, dried
1 tablespoon salt
2 quarts water
1 large meaty ham bone
1 teaspoon bacon grease
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 – 1 teaspoon turmeric
2 fresh chorizo (Spanish sausages) sliced into rounds

Preparation

Wash garbanzo beans.  Soak overnight with 1 tablespoon salt in enough water to cover. Drain the salted water from the beans.  Place beans in a 4-quart stainless steel soup pot or large dutch oven; add 2 quarts of water and the ham bone.  Bring to a boil skimming any foam from the top; reduce the heat and cook for 60-90 minutes over low heat until the beans are just slightly softened.

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Saute the onion in the bacon grease until just tender, add the garlic and saute for 1 minute longer.  Add to the beans along with the potatoes, paprika, oregano, bay leaf, salt & pepper and turmeric.  Cook at a low simmer for about an hour and a half. When the beans and potatoes are tender add the chorizo and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the sausage is just cooked through.

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Serve hot in a deep soup bowl.  For a thicker soup, stew it longer.

Nutritional information per serving:
8 servings
Calories: 396, Protein 20 g, Carbs 46 g, Fat 13 g

Bayou Stew

You don’t have to live in the Bayou to enjoy this delightful and filling seafood stew.  I found all the ingredients at my local seafood market.  Definitely worth the time it took and perfect for the steamy weather ahead.

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It’s crawfish season and they had live ones!  No I really didn’t use these for the stew–I bought a bag of shelled ones. These little babies were lunch!

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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds heads on unpeeled, large shrimp
2 celery ribs
1 large sweet onion
8 cups homemade chicken stock (organic chicken broth can be subbed)
12 oz andouille sausage, cut into 1/2 – inch pieces
1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh okra, sliced
1 tablespoon lard or coconut oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
12 oz dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
1 1/2 pound fresh white fish fillets (such as snapper, grouper or wild catfish), cubed
1 pound cooked crawfish tails
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Peel shrimp; place heads and shells in a saucepan. (Refrigerate shrimp until ready to use). Add celery ends and onion peel to pan; chop remaining celery and onion and reserve.  Add the stock; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat, stirring often until browned. Transfer to a plate.  Add the lard or coconut oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium.  Saute celery, onions, peppers and okra in the oil until tender.  Add the garlic and saute 45 seconds longer.  Stir in the potatoes and next 4 ingredients.

Pour stock mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into the Dutch oven or  soup pot, discarding the solids. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Add the fish; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until just opaque.  Add shrimp; cook 2-3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in crawfish and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until hot.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon into soup bowls and serve with a fresh salad and cornbread if desired.

Hale to Kale Soup

If you keep your freezer stocked (pun intended) with both chicken and beef stock homemade soups and stews are a snap on busy weeknights.  This one can be whipped up in a matter of minutes but will taste like you spent all day in the kitchen.

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Recipe & Ingredients

2 tablespoons of your favorite healthy fat (coconut oil, lard, tallow, gf butter)
1/2 pound or 2 large bratwurst, sliced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch organic kale, chopped
6 cups homemade chicken stock
1 can black beans, drained
1 can cannelini beans, drained
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat fat in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat; add the carrots, celery and onion and cook until slightly tender, about 5-6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.  Add the chicken stock and kale; bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the kale in tender.

Meanwhile slice the brats and brown in a cast iron skillet.  Set aside.  When the kale is tender season to taste with the sea salt and pepper, add the drained beans, browned brats and simmer 5 minutes more to heat through, uncovered. Stir in vinegar and rosemary and serve.

Hearty Beef Stew

A lot of people along with the press seem to be having a beef lately (pun totally intended) with eating red meat.  Well, go suck on a tofu stick I’m sticking to my red meat.  Like everything else that’s not good for you:  has it been tampered with by man?  Did you feed the cow GMO corn, keep him in tight confinement and give him antibiotics, growth hormone and other drugs?  It made him sick and most likely will make you sick too.  Common sense people.

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We’ve been eating beef for centuries with only positive effects until the 20th century when things started to go very wrong as man continued to go against nature.  Cows are herbivores; they are supposed to eat grass and roam freely. Thus being said I personally don’t need any research or proof to know that beef is good for you.

Time for dinner. . .

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Recipe & Ingredients

1 pound grass fed beef stew meat, cut into cubes
2 tablespoon beef tallow or coconut oil
1 large onion, dices
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 cups homemade beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup carrots, coarsely chopped
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1-2 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 ear of corn, cut off cob
1/2 cup green peas
1 tablespoon non GMO cornstarch

Preparation

Melt the fat in a large cast iron dutch oven or stew pot over medium heat.  Brown the meat and then transfer to a plate.  Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, cook 1 minute more.  Add the stock, tomato paste and put the beef and any juice back in the pot. Add water to cover ingredients if needed.  Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for one hour and 20 minutes.

Add in the carrots, green beans, mushrooms and potatoes.  Cover partially and cook for about 30 more minutes. Remove the lid, add in the corn and peas and simmer gently for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the stew has thickened slightly.

Mix the cornstarch in a small bowl with 1 – 2 tablespoons cold water.  Add to the stew, bring to a slight boil for about 1 minute.  Serves 6

Summer Stew

Stew in the summertime?  That’s what I thought when I was digging through my freezer to use the remains of my last Peaceful Pastures order to prep for the upcoming delivery and I found a package of stew meat.  Not one to waste any food especially grass fed beef I started thinking how I could lighten it up.  And with 3 weeks of a steady downpour this lighter stew was just the thing for a rainy day. . .

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Recipe & Ingredients

1 pound grass fed beef stew meat, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon beef tallow or other healthy fat
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 cups beef stock
1, 16 oz can diced tomatoes
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
1 yellow squash cut into 1″ pieces
2 teaspoons non GMO cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Preparation

Melt the tallow or healthy fat in a large dutch oven over medium heat.  Season the beef liberally with sea salt and black pepper.  Brown the meat and then transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon. Add the onion and saute until tender.  Add the garlic and saute for an additional minute.

Pour in the beef broth, tomatoes and remaining spices.  Bring to a boil, add the meat and carrots, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until the beef is tender.

Add the corn and squash and cook at a moderate simmer for 5 – 10 minutes or until squash is tender.  Bring to a boil, stir in the cornstarch and water mixture and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.