Tag Archive | stew

Pumpkin Chowder

I called this stew a chowder because of it’s rich creamy thick broth. Traditionally chowders are made with heavy cream and have chunks of seafood. The most common being clam chowder. Nowadays there are many creative versions of chowder recipes and I’m adding one more to the clan!

My Pumpkin Chowder is a rich and delicious stew, and healthy. It will make a perfect appetizer or side dish for the winter holiday parties.


  • Roasted Sugar Pumpkin
  • Chicken Stock
  • Cranberry Chutney
  • Chicken Sausage with Apple
  • Yukon Potatoes
  • Celery

Pumpkin Chowder


Rich and Hearty Beef Stew

Every now and then I screw up a dish or meal I’m preparing. I did that on Christmas-eve with a filet mignon roast I had picked up on sale at the market. I’m not a big fan of roasts but I figured it was filet mignon surely I can work with it. I couldn’t and the meal was far from delicious! I couldn’t just toss out all this meat though, so after a day of contemplating what to do with my leftover disaster,  I made this very delicious stew!


Rich and Hearty Beef Stew


  • 1/2 lb filet mignon roast (or any beef roast)
  • 8-12 fingerling potatoes
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  1. let roast come to room temperature. season with salt and peppers and drizzle with olive oil.
  2. heat a large stock or soup pot over high heat. coat pot with olive oil and just when it starts to smoke, place roast in pot. sear on all sides until golden brown. remove from pot.
  3. while roast is searing; peel and slice carrots into hearty pieces, roughly chop onion, peel and finely chop garlic, slice potatoes in half and slice celery into hearty pieces.
  4. add half of the onions and potatoes to pot, lower heat to medium, season with salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes. put roast back into pot and cover with chicken stock, scraping bits off the bottom of pot. cover pot and let simmer 45-60 minutes until roast is tender and falling apart.
  5. remove any fat from roast now (should fall right off) and break meat up. add the rest of the potatoes and onion. add carrots, celery and garlic. cover again and lower heat to low. let simmer 30-45 minutes more until veggies are tender. (add more liquid if needed)

Serve up stew in a big bowl with some buttermilk biscuits and you’ve got a hearty, comforting and delicious meal!

Cooking Time: approximately 2 hours

JJ’s Minestrone Soup

Every week or two I do a little inventory on what’s in the pantry and fridge so I can restock and cook whatever I have left from catering jobs or video shoots. One of the best, yet easiest things to cook when cleaning out the fridge is Minestrone Soup. It’s never an exact science. Use whatever veggies and meat (if you’ve got it) in the soup. In my pantry, I like to keep stocked: canned tomatoes, chicken stock and different kinds of beans. And, I always have some kind of pasta or rice leftover from catering. I used sandwich bread for some garlic toast to serve alongside my Minestrone Soup. With these simple ingredients you can make a delicious, hearty and healthy pot of homemade soup!

What I had on hand…

  • 1 yellow onion

    Minestrone Soup

  • 2 handfuls turkey peperoni
  • 3 celery ribs
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbs fennel seed
  • 15 oz can cannellini beans
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • grated parmesan cheese
  1. heat soup pot over medium heat. dice onion, drizzle pot with olive oil and scoop in onions.
  2. rough chop turkey peperoni and add to pot. dice carrots and celery and add to pot. roughly chop garlic, add to pot. season with salt and pepper and mix everything up.
  3. pour in can of whole tomatoes. add fennel seed and grate in nutmeg. let simmer for about fifteen minutes.
  4. after soup has simmered, use a potato masher to break up tomatoes until tomatoes are a chunky consistancy. add cannellini beans and chicken stock and let come to a soft boil again then lower heat to low cover and let simmer about ten minutes more.

Serve alongside garlic toast and garnish with parmesan cheese.

Makes about 4-6 servings

JJ’s New Years Black-Eyed Peas and Lentils

Whether it’s superstition or tradition, I always make a pot of black-eyed peas for New Years. I did it a little different this year and decided to add other cultures superstitions. Italians eat lentils for New Years, symbolizing money and good fortune. In the south we eat black-eyed peas, symbolizing good luck and prosperity. I say it symbolizes yummy-ness!


  • 16 oz package of black-eyed peas

    Black Eyed Peas and Cornbread

  • 16 oz package lentils (only using 1/2 a bag)
  • 1 package spicy sausage (4 links)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 tsp salt & pepper
  • 1 tbs cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  1. soak 1 package of peas and 1/2 a bag of lentils either overnight or a few hours before cooking.
  2. heat oven to 375° drizzle head of garlic with olive oil and place on sheet pan. lay sausage links on pan and roast for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. drain water out from soaking peas and lentils. rinse and pour in a large soup pot or dutch oven. cover with water (water level should be just above peas). cook over high heat.
  4. add salt and pepper, cumin, garlic powder and smoked paprika.
  5. take roasted head of garlic and remove skin, give it a rough chop and add to pot.
  6. once beans come to a boil lower heat to low and let simmer for about an hour (uncovered) until beans are tender.
  7. after about an hour: slice sausage links into bite size pieces and add to pot. let it cook for about 30 minutes more.

Serve up JJ’s New Years Black-Eyed Peas and Lentils in a bowl with cornbread, of course!

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Lentil Stew

This stew was a big hit with my friends and clients! You got to give this recipe a try. You will love it too!


  • 1 small bag dry lentils
  • 1 package habanero green chili chicken sausage (4 links)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 white onion
  • 4 garlic
  • 2 tsp fennel seed
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • fresh sage
  • 6 cups chicken stock

Soak 2 cups of lentils in water for about 3-5 hours before cooking. (in a warm place or in hot water). Lentils will soak up a lot of the water.

I basically cooked this stew in layers all in one pot. Start with infusing spices in olive oil…

  1. cover bottom of heavy bottom pot with olive oil. turn heat to low. add in fennel seed, coriander, smoked paprika and garlic powder. mix spices together in olive oil, about 5 minutes.
  2. dice onion and toss into pot. season with salt & pepper, kick heat up to medium high and mix it all up.
  3. dice bell pepper, add to pot.
  4. slice sausage links in half lengthwise, then slice again in half again lengthwise, dice sausage and add to pot. stir.
  5. chop garlic cloves, add to pot. roughly chop fresh sage and add to pot.
  6. drain lentils and add to pot. cover with chicken stock. pop a lid on the pot and lower heat to low. let simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.

Add more stock if lentils soak up to much of the liquid. I like mine a little thicker.

Eat and Enjoy! Serves 4

Veggie Stew with Spicy Italian Sausage

A refreshing and flavorful stew that will you warm and full of comfort!


  • box of chopped tomatoes (or can)
  • 1 pkg spicy italian sausage
  • 4 – 6 yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 ribs of celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 small white onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 2 tsp fresh oregano, sage and basil
  • salt & pepper.
  1. heat stock pot up over medium heat and drizzle with a little olive oil. remove casing from sausage and add to pot. break up sausage with wooden spoon while it’s cooking.
  2. add fennel seed to pot. quarter potatoes, add to pot. season with salt, mix everything together.
  3. roughly chop carrots, onion and celery. put into food processor and toss in peeled garlic cloves. process until veggies are finely chopped. add to pot.
  4. pull oregano off stems and add to pot. chop up sage and add to pot. mix everything up, season with salt & pepper and let cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. add chopped tomatoes to pot and allow stew to simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes.
  6. add frozen corn (or fresh if you have it) to pot. pour in 1 cup of chicken stock and keep simmering about 15 minutes more.

Garnish with basil and serve with garlic bread and it’s a meal!

Makes 4 servings

Carne Guisada

I made this dish because I had been craving this Tex-Mex dish that you can not get in California. It’s called “Carne Guisada”. This is a pretty simple meal for those working people out there. I suggest not using the pre made mixes. It’s much better made form scratch. Before I head off to work I figured I’d  get this stew going. This way when I get home it won’t take much time to get dinner ready.

Ingredients: olive oil, stew meat, carrots, yellow onion, garlic. green bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno. butter, flour, salt & pepper, tequila. rice, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, chicken stock. (poblano peppers would be great too.)

  1. Heat a large roomy saute pan up, over high heat.  Season stew meat with salt & pepper, drizzle olive oil in the pan coating the bottom. Start placing the meat in the pan making sure not to over crowd pan. Let the meat cook for about 5 min. or until there is a crisp brown layer on the outside. Turn the pieces over until all sides are browned. If the meat sticks to the pan, that’s okay, just let it brown a little longer. Once the juices from the meat start to caramelize the pieces will loosen. (For browning or searing meat you want the outside layer to cook fast so it will be “brown” not “gray” so make sure the pan is hot. Brown the meat in batches, DO NOT over crowd the pan).
  2. Set crockpot on low (on high if cooking faster) and pour meat in.  Rough chop a few carrots, 1/2 yellow onion, and 3 garlic cloves, toss it all in the crock pot. Pour about 1/2 cup of chicken stock in and cover. Set the pan with all those browned bits aside, to use for the sauce later.
  3. About 5-7 hrs later…time to finish up.  Heat the saute pan from the browned meat back up, over medium heat. Dice 2 green peppers, 2 carrots, 1 red onion, and 2 jalapeños. Drizzle the pan with olive oil. Toss veggies in with all those yummy brownings, season with salt & pepper and let them sweat for about 15 min. (de-seed jalapeno for less heat)
  4. Add 2 tbs. of flour & butter, coating all the veggies. Turn heat down to low and de-glaze the pan with tequila pouring in slowly scrapping the bottom of the pan as you stir in the tequila. about 1/4 cup.  You should have a nice thick sauce now. Pour the meat from the crock pot into pan, cover and let simmer for about 30 min. stir occasionally. Thin with a little chicken stock or water if needed.
  5. For the rice: heat a pot up over medium heat, drizzle a few swirls of olive oil and a few pats of butter into pot. Add rice to pot and toast for a few min. Add salt & pepper, 1 tsp. dried oregano & cayenne pepper. Use chicken stock instead of water for liquid (follow directions on package for rice to liquid ratio). Cover and let simmer until rice is done.

Scoop the rice onto a plate and cover with JJ’s Carne Guisada! Serve with warm tortillas. It was sooooo damn good! A little bit spicy, a lot of flavor and boy did my man LOVE me!

Cocktail Suggestion: MexiMartini

in a martini shaker, fill w/ice, pour half tequila, half lime juice simple syrup(or limeade) and a splash of olive juice. shake and pour into chilled martini glasses.

lime juice simple syrup: 2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice (6-12 limes, depends on the limes) 2 tbls. sugar. heat juice and sugar over low heat, until sugar has dissolved. limeade works fine for this recipe and sometimes it’s just easier to use, since limes can be difficult to get juice out of.

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