Week of January 8 – 14, 2018
Forgot to take a picture of the porridge, but that allowed us to share this cozy picture from John and Cindy Welsh’s Maryland Farm – Shrimp Risotto by firelight
Monday: Barley Porridge with Mushrooms, Onions and Pork
Tuesday: Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Anchovy Butter
Wednesday: Egg Salad with Capers, Dill and Homemade Chips
Thursday: Chicken Broth with Peppered Carrots
Day at home for Beez and the energetic Rusty
Friday: Roasted Oysters / Leftover Soup
Saturday: Roast Lamb Chops with Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Sunday: Kale, Sausage, Rib and Lima Bean Stew
Stewing and stewed might be the best words to describe Uncle Rick and myself after last Sunday’s Steelers game. Of course, the word ‘stew’ can mean either a confusion of things or ideas or a pot of meat and vegetables cooked in broth or gravy. As a verb it can mean to cook that pot of stuff or to worry or constantly revolve on a matter of concern or discontent. Which last definition is pretty much where Rick and I were, as we drowned our sorrows at the Clark Bar after the game, suspended between the shattered hopes that this Steelers team could win the Super Bowl and the bitter-sweet thought that there would be no more fraught Sundays, no more insulating yourself against single-digit temperatures and wind-chills that can shatter a block of aluminum. (Under the circumstances – brunch and drinks at Max’s, shooters of Auchintosh at a tail-gate, beers at the stadium and a couple of warming shots at the Clark Bar, ‘thought’ is perhaps too defined a word to use for the fog of perception and disappointment we were experiencing at the time.)
Note: Beez reminds me that ‘Stew’ is also the general nickname for 5 brothers from Point Breeze, of whom I am the oldest
How do you minister to two frozen, frazzled souls, befuddled with the Steelers’ loss, as well as a goodly amount of alcohol? Well, you could do worse than to nurse them back to sanity and sobriety with a goodly helping of Jacques Pépin’s Kale, Sausage, Ribs and Lima Bean Stew. In fact, take our advice and administer this savory, comforting potion to anyone suffering from a serious loss of heart or of feeling in their fingers and toes.
And the stew, while it did not take away the sting of the loss or sober us up immediately, helped us see things in perspective, regain control of our consonants, our emotions and one or two bodily functions.
What more can you ask for? [Well, perhaps the recipe, which you’ll find below]
KALE, SAUSAGE, RIB AND LIMA BEAN STEW
(adapted from Jacques Pépin’s Heart and Soul in the Kitchen)
Actual Cooking takes about 2 ½ hours – You’ll want to cure the ribs 24 hours ahead
Ingredients: (serves 8 or more)
1 rack of baby back ribs (between 2 and 3 lbs) cut into individual ribs
¼ cup curing salt [Jacques recommends Morton’s Tender Quick Cure – we used Morton’s Pickling Salt]
¼ cup brown sugar
5 cups of small, dried lima beans (called ‘baby limas’ – about 1.5 lbs. = 5 cups)
Note: We will use about 7 cups next time
10 Cups of Water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 lb. curly kale, cut into halves
1 ½ lbs. hot Italian Sausage, cut into 2 -inch pieces
1 ½ lbs of kielbasa cut into 2-inch pieces [We used Tuscan Sausages]
1 leek, trimmed, leaving most of the green, cleaned and cut into 2 inch pieces (2 cups) – NOTE: This would require a big leek – you’ll need 4 small or 3 medium leeks
3 cups of sliced onions (Jacques suggests 2-inch slices, we went for about 1 inch)
2 cups sliced carrots (1 inch slices)
2 cups sliced celery (2 inch slices)
3 tablespoons of coarsely chopped garlic
1 large jalapeño stemmed, seeded and finely diced [we used 2 serranos]
Tabasco sauce for serving – this enhances the flavor nicely
Cure the Ribs – up to 24 hours prior (optional – but as Jacques writes: “This really enhances the taste”
Place the ribs in a plastic bag and sprinkle with the curing or pickling salt and the sugar. Close the bag and shake to distribute the salt and sugar. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally and massaging to distribute the cure.
Slice and chop the vegetables and the sausage
Rinse off the baby limas, put them in a large pot [Unless you have a large stock pot, you’ll need to use 2 Dutch ovens to accommodate all these ingredients – or just cut the recipe in half.] Cover with the water, add the salt, bring to a boil and boil gently for 1 hour.
Drain the ribs and rinse them under cold water. Add the ribs and kale to the pot of beans, bring back to a boil and boil and cook gently, covered for 30 minutes.
Add the sausages, kielbasa, leek, onions, carrots, celery, garlic and jalapeño and bring to a boil, then boil gently, covered, for another 30 minutes (the beans should be very soft and the vegetables cooked through.
Divided the ribs, sausages, kale and ban among the plates. Pass Tabasco sauce.
Nearly every Sunday, we have BLT’s for brunch or lunch. This is maybe our favorite food. We offer no recipe, merely encouragement to remember this simple meal.