Tag Archives: herbs

pork, fennel + white bean hand pies or: how to make it though the rest of the stew

12 Nov

so much stew…

For we noble and intelligent and attractive people trying to live and eat well on a tight budget, cold weather is our friend.  Cold weather means making huge pots of slow cooked meat, soups, stews, fresh bread; leaving the crock pot, oven, stove on all day and ending up with enough food to feed you for a week.

The key, however, is to not want to off yourself by the end of that week because you’ve eaten the same f***ing bowl of f***ing stew every day for a f***ing week.

So here’s an easy, cheap and tasty recipe that works well as a stew (either as is or with a little added broth), as a pasta sauce, and in flaky buttery hand pies.  Turning stew into pie is certainly not an innovation but these hand pies are a lot easier to make than a traditional pot pie and you get a much higher pastry to filling ratio which, for me, is a big big plus.

Makes 4 pies with 4 cups leftover stew

pork, fennel + white bean hand pies

ingredients

crust

  • 1 c unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • pinch salt
  • 2-3 tbsp cold water

stew

  • 1 lb pork (I used tenderloin because I had some in my freezer but almost any cut would work) cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ground pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 generous handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered and finely sliced
  • 1 550ml can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 300ml can diced tomatoes
  • 1 splash white wine vinegar
  • 1 splash balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

from stew to pie

preparation

crust

Get the crust ready first.  Add the cold butter to the flour and salt.  Mix with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles small peas.  Add water one tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together.  There should still be visible pea-sized butter chunks, that’s what will make your crust tender and flaky.  Divide the dough into 4 equal balls and wrap each one tightly in saran wrap, pressing down to make a small flat disc.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.

stew

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary and oregano and stir until onions are translucent.  Turn the heat to high and add pork.  Stir for a couple of minutes until pork begins to brown then deglaze the pan with white wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar.  Add carrots, bell pepper, fennel, white beans, tomatoes and parsley.

Turn heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the stew cool.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Roll out the pastry discs one at a time and place a few tablespoons of stew in the center of each one, leaving a 2 inch border around the filling.  Fold the top half of the pastry over the filling and fold the bottom edges in over the top crust.

Like a pizza pocket.

Brush the lightly beaten egg over the tops of the pies to make them nice and shiny – if you have a pastry brush that would be ideal, if you don’t then just dip your dainty little hands into the slimy egg and smush it all over the top of the pastry.  It works.

Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 30 to 40 minutes or until the crust turns light golden brown.

pork, fennel + white bean sauce

You can also turn the stew into a hearty pasta sauce by putting 2 cups of stew, a can of tomatoes, a pinch of salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar in a pot over medium heat while your pasta cooks.

from stew to pasta sauce

frittata with fennel + herbes de provence

1 Apr

Who doesn’t love brunch?  Curmudgeons and people who don’t have any friends to have brunch with.

You aren’t one of these unfortunate souls are you?  Of course not.

Invite some friends over and make this rather impressive brunch with very little effort and, as usual, very little money too.

Makes 4 servings

$4.75 per 2 servings

frittata with fennel & herbes de provence

ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp herbes de provence
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 c cherry tomatoes
  • 100g goat cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 slices of toast

sliced fennel

preparation

Whisk together eggs, milk, herbes de provence, salt and pepper in a bowl.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack positioned in the middle.

Cut the top off of the fennel bulb, then cut the bulb in half.  Cut each half crosswise into thin slices.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.

Heat oilve oil over medium-high heat in a heavy, ovenproof skillet.  Add sliced fennel and cook until it begins to soften – about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and continue to cook until fennel is soft and somewhat translucent – another 2 to 3 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add spinach, one handful at a time, and stir until wilted – 30 seconds.

Whisk the egg mixture to distribute herbs evenly throughout and pour over the vegetables in the skillet.  Distribute cherry tomatoes and crumbled goat cheese evenly over the top.

Let the frittata cook on the stove for 4 to 5 minutes then transfer to the oven for 10 minutes.  Switch oven to broil until the top starts to bubble – 1 minute.

Top each piece of toast with a quarter of an avocado cut into thin slices and rest a piece of frittata on top.

kalamata olive tapenade

20 Mar

Tapenade to go with portobello cap salad.  It’s also great on pretty much every sandwich ever.

If you want to make it vegetarian you can substitute an extra teaspoon of capers for the anchovy fillet.

oregano, sage, thyme & basil

kalamata olive tapenade

ingredients

  • 1 c pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1 tsp capers
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup olive oil

preparation

Put first ten ingredients (everything except olive oil) in blender or food processor.  Blend until well combined.  Add olive oil, continuing to blend, in a steady stream until mixture forms a smooth paste (should take less than a 1/4 c of olive oil).  Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or to a sealed container and refrigerate to store up to 3 days.