Monthly Archives: April 2014
Spring has finally arrived in New England, with a vengeance. I love this time of year with all the trees budding and flowering. The forsythia bloomed this week, and my magnolia is about to burst! The world is finally green.
This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie is aptly named. We made Green-As-Spring Stew. The stew features long-simmered chunks of meat finished in a bright emerald green herbaceous sauce. The recipe is actually for a veal stew, but because we don’t usually eat veal, I used pork tenderloin instead. (An internet search for alternatives also suggested turkey.) It worked quite well.
The stew was quite simple. The meat cooks in chicken stock enriched with vegetables. After a long simmer, the vegetable solids are removed, but their flavors are left behind. The stock gets boiled down to further concentrate the flavor (why does this step always take so long???) Finally, a variety of greens and herbs are wilted in the stock before being pureed and mellowed with some tangy creme fraiche.
At the very end, I added a can of artichoke hearts that I drained and quartered along with the remaining sugar snap peas from last week’s vegetables en papillote to give the meat some company.
The first night, I served the stew over couscous, but it worked better when I served it over egg noodles on Night #2.
I enjoyed the pure spring-y flavors of this stew. It was just what we needed after a VERY LONG winter that seemed like it would never end. I hope I remember to make this again next March to remind me that spring will arrive, eventually.
“En papillote” or in parchment is a technique that I’ve tried a few times before for French Fridays with Dorie. Each time, I marvel at its brilliance, and then promptly forget it about it until the next “en papillote” recipe gets selected. Well, this week, we’re making Baby Bok Choy, Sugar Snaps and Garlic en Papillote. Once again, en papillote made me smile.
The recipe name kind of says it all. Spring vegetables are sealed up in foil packets along with some orange zest and sprigs of mint. One packet for each person is baked, allowing the vegetables to steam in their own juices, infusing with the orange and mint flavors.
I liked the combination of vegetables: the baby bok choy with the peas, baby onions, and sliced garlic. It was so lovely to enjoy fresh sugar snap peas. My only complaint was that I wasn’t completely sold on the orange zest or the mint. I might have preferred lemon and chives or thyme.
I served the veggies as a side to baked chicken with artichokes and couscous, but it would have been good with anything.
Hopefully, I remember this easy technique over the summer. We’ve got plenty of vegetables coming when our CSA starts up in June.