PASCALE'S KITCHEN: Warming winter stews

This week's top recipes.

Colorful lentils, grains and pastas (photo credit: PASCALE PERETZ RUBIN AND CHAGIT GOREN)
Colorful lentils, grains and pastas
Now that the cold rainy days of winter are here, it’s time to start preparing hearty comfort foods. I love preparing dishes that require the soaking of legumes overnight or long hours of simmering to soften the meat and expand legumes.
Even days that start out sunny can quickly become cold and stormy. As soon as the first winter storm hits, I scurry to my pantry and check my stock of basic stew ingredients and make a list of everything I’ll need for the season to cook filling soups and stews for my friends and family.
I love gathering all the colorful lentils, grains and pastas. Some of my favorites are buckwheat, dried peas, beans and chickpeas. When I arrive home from the store, I immediately pour all the different legumes into glass jars that I keep on my kitchen counter all winter long, so that I can see the entire assortment of colors and textures. This makes it easier for me to pick what I want when planning a soup or stew.
The following are a number of recipes that will keep you warm and toasty this winter.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
This tasty stew can be served with slices of bread, couscous or white rice. Also note that it tastes even better the day after.
Makes 6-8 servings
3 Tbsp. oil
3 medium onions, peeled, rinsed and chopped finely
1 tomato, rinsed and cubed
2 bell peppers, seeded, rinsed and cut into small cubes
5 cloves of garlic, peeled, rinsed and crushed
600 gr. beef (shoulder, head or brisket) cut into medium cubes, rinsed and dried
4 Tbsp. tomato paste
½ Tbsp. spicy paprika
1 level tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
5-6 cups water
3 cups dry white beans, soaked in water a day ahead, rinsed and drained
½ kg. pumpkin, peeled, rinsed and cubed
4 large red potatoes, peeled, rinsed and cubed
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic. Stir. Add the beef, tomato paste, paprika, cumin and salt. Stir again. Pour in 4 cups of water, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
Add the beans, pumpkin, and potatoes. Add more water to cover if necessary. Stir and cover. Cook over a medium flame for 90 minutes until half of the water has been absorbed and the beans have softened. If needed, add another ½ to ¾ cup water.
Beef, beans and pumpkin stew. (photo credit: PASCALE PERETZ RUBIN AND CHAGIT GOREN)Beef, beans and pumpkin stew. (photo credit: PASCALE PERETZ RUBIN AND CHAGIT GOREN)
Most often, we see wheat in cholent, but it is also a tasty and colorful ingredient in stews.
Makes 6-8 servings
4 Tbsp. oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. filfel chuma or harissa
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 cups water
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. ground caraway seeds
¼ tsp. ground coriander
2 cups wheat, soaked in water for 10 minutes
1 cup brown lentils, cooked and drained
Heat the oil in a medium pot and sauté onion and garlic for 2-3 minutes.
Add the filfel chuma, tomato paste and 1 cup of water. Stir and then add the spices and the rest of the water. Bring to a boil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the wheat, stir and cover pot. Cook over a low flame for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed (mixing every once in a while). Remove from the flame, stir and add the lentils. Serve hot.
Citrus fruits ripen in the winter, and so one of the most popular winter desserts is orange cake. And, of course, orange mixed with chocolate is always a hit. This chocolate orange cake is perfect for serving on a cold, rainy day.
Use a greased 26-cm. or 28-cm. diameter pan.
300 gr. bittersweet chocolate, broken into squares
200 gr. butter, cut into cubes
8 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp. orange or chocolate liqueur
100 gr. finely ground almonds
200 gr. finely ground walnuts or pecans
Zest from one orange
100 gr. milk chocolate, broken into squares
50 gr. bittersweet chocolate, broken into squares
50 gr. butter, cut into cubes
3 Tbsp. sweet whipping cream
3 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. orange liqueur
Candied oranges or candied orange peels
Walnut halves
Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a pot over a low flame. Add the butter and stir until smooth.
With an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and gradually add the sugar until it is light and fluffy. While mixing slowly, add the melted chocolate, orange juice and liqueur. Transfer to a separate bowl and clean mixing bowl.
Beat the egg whites in mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate and mix well. Add the almonds, nuts and orange zest. Mix.
Pour mixture into baking pan and flatten. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170° for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooling rack.
To prepare icing, melt both chocolates and butter in the microwave or in a small pot over a low flame. Stir until smooth. Gradually add the cream by the spoonful while mixing vigorously. Add the orange juice and liqueur and mix well.
Pour icing over cake and adorn with sugared oranges and nuts. Store in the fridge until serving.
For more recipes from Pascale's kitchen, visit her website.