Cooking class: Hot pot

Make a great new stew for dinner.

Lamb with quince and honey (photo credit: SHIRAN CARMEL)
Lamb with quince and honey
(photo credit: SHIRAN CARMEL)
As a busy working mother, I loved making stews for my family. It’s easy, and most of the cooking is done in the oven while I can attend to other chores. The problem is that I somehow always ended up making the same beef stew my family loved.
Well, despite the fact that there’s nothing wrong with always returning to the trusted recipe you know will please everyone, I sometimes feel that I want to introduce new recipes and different flavors.
Be it your favorite pot roast or the inevitable goulash, a stew is always welcome on a cold night. But instead of making the same beef stew over and over again, why not try making a fish stew or a lamb stew? You may just discover your family’s new favorite.
We asked Ilan Ben-David, the chef of the upscale Mazal Taleh Catering, to dish out three of the company’s favorite stews. This weekend, try introducing a new stew to your family.
Serves 6 to 8
For the sauce:
✔ 10 tomatoes, blanched and peeled (or use canned and strained)
✔ 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
✔ 1 level Tbsp. smoked paprika
✔ 1 cup olive oil
✔ 2 cups water
✔ 1 tsp. coriander seeds
✔ 2 red chilies
✔ Salt
✔ 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
For the fish:
✔ 2.5 kg. red grouper, whole or sliced
✔ 1 cup flour
✔ 1 tsp. sumac
✔ 1 tsp. cumin
✔ ½ tsp. black pepper
✔ 1 tsp. salt
✔ Canola oil for frying
To prepare the sauce: Heat oil and add the dried chilies, garlic, paprika and coriander seeds, and sauté lightly over low heat. Be careful not to burn the spices. Add tomato and cilantro, season with salt, add water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook until tomatoes are tender.
To prepare the fish: Mix flour and seasonings and lightly flour the fish. Heat oil in a deep skillet and fry the fish about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer fish into the hot sauce. If the liquid doesn’t cover the fish, add water until the fish is completely covered. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
The fish is ready to serve when the flesh falls off the bones. Serve with halla.
Serves 6
✔ 1.2 kg. lamb breast (about 3 pieces)
✔ 4 or 5 quinces, peeled and cored, cut into eighths
✔ 2 medium leeks, white part only, washed thoroughly and coarsely chopped
✔ 8 to 10 garlic cloves, unpeeled
✔ 1 onion, coarsely chopped
✔ ½ cup wildflower honey
✔ 2 cups lamb broth or water
✔ 1 cup white wine
✔ 2 parsley roots, peeled and coarsely chopped
✔ 1 head of celery root, peeled and coarsely chopped
✔ 2 or 3 sage leaves
✔ ½ tsp. Ras el-Hanut spice mix
✔ Salt and pepper
Heat oven to 180°.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper.
Heat an ovenproof pot with a lid and add 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Sear the meat on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. There is no need to brown the meat. Transfer meat to a plate.
Add to the pot leeks and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the root vegetables and the quince, mix and sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, honey, broth (or water) and wine, and return the lamb to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Cover the pot with aluminum foil and the lid and place in the oven for 90 to 120 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, the vegetables should be very soft and the sauce thick and rich.
Serve with rice.
Serves 4 to 6
✔ 1 kg. neck of veal, cubed
✔ 2 large onions, chopped
✔ 1 bunch chard leaves, chopped (separate the white parts from the green)
✔ 4 cloves garlic, chopped
✔ 2 celery roots, peeled and cubed
✔ 2 parsley roots, peeled and cubed
✔ 1 liter beef or veal broth
✔ Salt and pepper
✔ Pinch cumin
✔ 1 large brown loaf (lehem ahid)
Heat a wide pot with 2 Tbsp. oil and sauté the onions. Add the celery root, parsley root and the white part of the chard leaves.
Add the meat and brown for 5 minutes. Add the greens and the garlic and continue to cook over low heat. When the meat changes color, add the broth and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and cook until meat is tender.
Heat the oven to 180°.
Cut open a “lid” along the loaf of bread and scoop out the inner part of the bread, leaving a little. Fill the bread with the meat, and cover with the “lid.” Brush the bread with water and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Serve immediately.
Recipes and photos courtesy of Mazal Taleh Catering.