Pascale's Kitchen: Steaming Stews

On cold winter days, there’s nothing better than sitting down with friends and loved ones to eat a bowl of hot, slow-cooked stew.

(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
On cold winter days, there’s nothing better than sitting down with friends and loved ones to eat a bowl of hot, slow-cooked stew. I love preparing stews since they are the most amazing comfort food to eat when it’s storming outside. They require only the minimum of work, and over a few hours produce rich, creamy textures. You can also add grains or legumes to make stews even more distinctive. 
Last week, I met with food blogger Dafna Oster Michael, a mother of four who specializes in design and aesthetics in the kitchen. In addition to the blog she writes, called Matanot Ktanot (small gifts), and her active Instagram page, Michael also conducts cooking and baking workshops at her home in Kfar Saba. 
“I live and breathe food,” says Michael. “My true love is the kitchen, even though I spend most of my time working in fashion.”
She loves spending her free time preparing delicacies for friends and family and always uses the freshest and highest-quality ingredients. 
She draws on family links to both Romanian and Tripolitan cuisine, which she manages to combine to create her own unique style. She has also been known to include new elements she learns about in recipes she posts on her blog. For example, Michael has come up with creative vegan and sourdough bread recipes made with sourdough starter that she’s been maintaining in her kitchen for a number of years. 
I was lucky enough to meet up with Michael in her kitchen last week, where together we prepared a number of stews. We began with a vegetarian bean stew that’s cooked over a low flame for a few hours. Next, we prepared an osso buco stew made with wine that’s cooked in the oven. We also made a traditional Hungarian goulash, as well as an incredible Iraqi chicken and rice oven dish.
As these four dishes were slowly cooking away, the two of us sat in Michael’s kitchen to discuss the development of various flavors, techniques and ingredients in Israeli cuisine. 
Makes four to six servings.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1½ kg. chuck roast or osso buco, cubed
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green pepper, cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
½ spicy red pepper
1 heaping Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. spicy paprika
½ tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. ground caraway
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups water (so that it reaches 2-3 cm. above meat and vegetables)
3 medium potatoes, cubed
Heat oil in a large pot and sauté onion. Add the meat and sauté well on both sides. Add the garlic, peppers and spices. Pour in the water, stir and bring to a boil. 
Lower the flame and cover. Cook for another 90 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue cooking for another 90 minutes or two hours until the meat has softened. 
Makes four to six servings.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large white or red onion, chopped
1 medium leek, chopped
1 large ripe tomato, cubed
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, cubed
1 carrot, cubed
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
¼ butternut squash, cubed
1 large potato, cubed
1 light green zucchini, cubed
1½ cups cooked black-eyed peas
¼ cup barley
Handful fresh thyme
Handful fresh basil, chopped
½ tsp. ground caraway seeds
1 tsp. spicy paprika
1 tsp. sweet paprika
½ tsp. dry oregano
½ tsp. dry basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1½ l. water (so that water is 4 cm. above top of vegetables)
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion and leeks. Sauté for a minute and then add the tomato and garlic. Sauté a few seconds and then add the rest of the vegetables. Stir well and then add the beans.
Pour in the water and add the barley and spices. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the flame to medium strength and continue cooking, covered, for an hour or until beans are soft. 
This stew should be prepared in a pot that can also be used in the oven. 
Makes six to eight servings.
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 kg. short ribs (one large piece)
1 kg. osso buco
1-2 beef bones
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. spicy paprika
Coarsely ground black pepper
3-4 allspice berries
Salt, to taste
Handful fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
3 medium onions, chopped finely
1 head of garlic, chopped in half (remove outer layer, but leave inner skins intact)
5-6 medium potatoes, peeled and halved
1 medium butternut squash, cubed
2 carrots, chopped
1 kohlrabi, quartered
¼ celery root, cubed
4 black plums, pitted
2 cups dry red wine
2 cups water
3 Tbsp. silan or honey
Heat the oil in the pot and then add the meat and bones. Sauté beef pieces on all sides, until they change color. Remove and place in a separate bowl. Add the spices and herbs to the pot and sauté for a few seconds. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Pour the beef pieces back in and add the vegetables and plums. 
Stir well and cook for another minute or two. Add the wine, water and silan or honey. Stir and then cover. Cook over low flame for 90 minutes. 
Next, preheat oven to 170°. Cover the pot, place it on the bottom shelf of the oven, and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours. You can flip the beef over during the cooking so that it’s covered with sauce on both sides. Make sure the liquid doesn’t dry up; add another cup of water, if necessary.
Makes four to six servings.
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 chicken thighs
¼ cup flour
2-4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
3-4 ripe tomatoes or 10-12 cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 handful shallot onions or 1 large leek, chopped
2 potatoes, sliced to thickness of 2 cm.
1 tsp. cinnamon or baharat 
1¼ cups basmati rice, soaked in water at least 30 minutes
1½ cups water
In a medium pot, add paprika, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Mix and then add chicken pieces. Cover chicken with spice mixture and let sit for an hour. 
Sprinkle chicken pieces with flour and get rid of excess flour. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until they turn golden brown. Remove and place on a plate. Add onion to pan and sauté for two minutes. Add tomatoes and stir. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute. Pour into a pot that can be used in the oven. 
Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the onion mixture along with all the other ingredients. Pour the boiling water on top and then gently shake the pot so that the water covers everything. Cover and cook in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 40 minutes. 
Rinse the rice that has been soaking and place in a bowl. Season with baharat, salt and pepper. Pour rice in empty spots around chicken pieces and add another 1¼ cups water. 
Cover with baking paper and replace cover of pot so that it’s as airtight as possible. Place back inside the oven and cook for another 90 minutes.
For more recipes visit the website
Translated by Hannah Hochner.