Bodacious Goatherd’s Pie – A New Take on Shepherd’s Pie

Yes it is summer and yes it is not exactly hot weather food.  But I wanted to make a shepherd’s pie and wanted to spin it differently.  Use goat instead of lamb.

Goat is a very healthy alternative to other red meat.  A 3-ounce serving of cooked ground goat meat contains about 120 calories, of which 75 percent comes from protein and the remaining 25 percent coming from fat, far less than beef or pork.  I bought my ground goat from a local farmer’s market.  The vendor raises the goat in Oregon and brings the meat down to the market.

This is the best ground goat I’ve had.  My friends who are not lovers of goat meat are skeptical of the taste.  They love it too.  Not gamey, just beautiful tasting meat.  Very little fat was rendered when I was cooking it up.  Very lean ground goat!

This recipe is an adaptation of a shepherd’s pie recipe that I got from my friend Nuala, an Irish gal who knows about Shepherd’s Pie.  I think the version made with goat is a very tasty alternative to the more traditional shepherd’s pie.  I hope you think so too!

Goatherd's Pie
Goatherd’s Pie – Bodacious Style

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground goat
  • 1 1/2c sliced mushrooms
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2c beef stock
  • 1 tbl worchestshire sauce
  • salt/black pepper
  • 4-6 large potatoes (yukon gold)
  • 1/4 cup hot milk
  • 2 tbl butter

Method

  1. In a large pan (I use a copper Mauveil pan) render fat from goat – drain off fat
  2. Remove goat from pan and add 1 tbl of fat back into the pan
  3. Add vegetables to fat
  4. Cook until soft
  5. Return goat, add flour and cook stirring for a minute
  6. Add stock, worchestshire sauce, salt pepper, bring to a boil
  7. Turn down the heat, simmer covered for 30 minutes
  8. While simmering make the mashed potatoes (with the quantity of potatoes, milk and butter listed above).  I like to put my potatoes through a potato ricer as I find I get a nice texture.
  9. Cool goat mixture before assembling
  10. Put goat mixture in individual serving dishes, top with mashed potatoes.  Or you may put in a larger baking dish, cooking time goes up a bit.
  11. Bake for at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

Remove from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy!

This recipe is easily doubled and freezes very well.

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Serendipity: Green Lipped Mussels – Thai Style

I went downtown to the Asian market to buy herbs and other food.  I found the best fresh food at the market including the most beautiful fresh galangal that I have ever seen.  It was so fresh.   Galangal is a rhizome of plants in the ginger family.  It’s culinary uses originated in Indonesia.  It is used in various Asian cuisines (Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Vietnamese and throughout Indonesian cuisine).  While it is related to ginger it does not taste similar,  It is more like a combination of citrus, black pepper, cedar and ginger.  I love this stuff and I have never seen such a gorgeous selection of galangal.  It was very well priced too.

Fresh galangal
Fresh galangal

While I was shopping I ran into Melanie and she told me that there was a Songkran (Thai New Year) celebration happening in downtown San Jose, just 1 block from the market. It is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Year’s Day from April 13 – April 15. So after I finished my shopping I packed my car with my goodies and wandered over to the street party.

Songkran
Songkran – Thai New Year

It was a beautiful sunny day with festivities and fun happening everyone.  There were tents and booths over a two block stretch. There was also a beauty pageant taking place at a stage at the end of one of the streets.  Another event that was taking place was a wrestling competition.  Can’t say I expected that.

As I walked through the festival I noticed people walking around with what appeared to be powder on their faces.  I asked someone about the significance of the powder on their faces.  A lovely young woman responded that a big part of the  celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water upon others. People roam the streets with containers of water or water guns. Also, many people  have bowls of beige colored powder and they mix it with water.  This paste  is then smeared on the faces and bodies of random people as a blessing for the new year. That’s what I saw everywhere, faces smeared with powdery paste.  After I asked, I thanked them and one of the guys squirted me with the water gun.  I laughed and said spray me more as it is hot.

After I finished my exploration of the That New Year celebration I came home and decided to make a mussel dish to celebrate the new year at home.  I had picked up the ingredients at the market earlier and thought how appropriate it would be to make Thai influenced green lipped mussels.  What a coincidence, go to the market to buy food, find out it is Thai New Year and then I make Thai green lipped mussels.  Serendipity for sure.

Songkran
Thai green lipped mussels in celebration of Songkran

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green lipped mussels (I used frozen green lippped mussels on the half shell as that is all I could find)
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 3/4 cup white wine (I used Austrian Gewurztraminer, an old one that I lost in the cellar, I wanted the foral aromatics of the Gewurtz)
  • 3 tsp fish sauce
  • 14 oz can coconut cream
  • 1 1/2″ knob of fresh galangal (mine was about 1 1/2″ diameter) cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass – smashed to open up the fibers and cut into 2 ” lengths
  • 3 tsp green curry paste
  • 15 leaves of Thai basil
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tbl coconut oil

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a deep pot.
  2. Add onions and saute until softened
  3. Add curry paste and saute to extract the flavors
  4. Add white wine and continue to saute for a couple of minutes
  5. Add coconut cream, galangal, lemon grass, thai basil leaves, a handful of cilantro and bring to a simmer.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes until thickened, reduced and until the flavors are incorporated.
  7. Add green lipped mussels and cook for 12-15 minutes or until done.
  8. Serve in a deep bowl with lots of liquid to soak up the juices, Garnish with fresh cilantro.  I topped mine with a mint/cilantro/basil pesto as well.
Yummy, all gone.
Yummy, all gone.

ประเสริฐ (Sublime)Thai Influenced Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

thaicurrysoup

I adore winter squash and especially Blue Hubbard squash and Kuri squash. These two varieties of winter squash are really sweet.  They keep for a long time (I keep mine in the basement) so when I want to rustle up a comforting soup I have one on hand. I wanted to have a super comforting soup on this particular day and opted to go for a Thai influenced squash soup made with Blue Hubbard Squash.  Oh yes it had coconut cream in it, rich and decadent and brimming with flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds of Blue Hubbard Squash – cut into pieces
  • 1 large leek – 2 cups diced
  • 1 medium onion – 1 cup diced
  • red curry paste – 2 tbl
  • fish sauce – 1 tbl
  • Thai basil leaves – 10 leaves
  • galangal – 1 1/2″ knob
  • 5 kafir lime leaves
  • chicken stock – 4 cups
  • 1 can (14 ounce) coconut cream
  • 2 tbl olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast Blue Hubbard squash for 1/2 hour or until softened and slightly caramelized
  3. Heat 1 tbl olive oil in soup pot.  Add leeks and onions to pot and saute until softened.
  4. Add roasted squash and red curry paste and briefly saute until curry paste mixed through the vegetables.
  5. Add fish sauce, chicken stock, and spices to the pot and incorporate all ingredients.
  6. Simmer the soup for 1/2 hour until cooked through.
  7. Puree soup.
  8. Add coconut cream and mix through.
  9. Serve piping hot.

I chopped up batwan fruit as a garnish.

What is Batwan (Binucao) fruit? Batwan is a fruit of a forest tree native to the Philippines and is common and widely distributed throughout Luzon and the Visayan Islands. I bought it preserved in a jar (mine was reddish in color) but if fresh it is a large green fruit with large seeds. It is commonly used as a souring ingredient in Filipino cuisine. I thought, why not try it with Thai food as a garnish.

I also made a mint/cilantro/Thai basil pesto, as a garnish. Along with mint, cilantro and Thai basil I also used peanut cookies, sesame oil, garlic, fish sauce and olive oil. Quirky but unusual. Recipe to come later.

Garnish with large shrimp, mint/cilantro/basil pesto, Batwan fruit and peanut cookies. I know unusual combination instead but tasty.

I paired this decadent goodness with an old German Riesling from a favorite producer 1996 Grunhauser Abtsberg Riesling.  Perfect amount of petrol and acid. Decadent goodness with decadent goodness.

thaicurrysoup1

Seductively Creamy Stinging Nettle Soup – Bodaciously Healthy

Seductive Stinging Nettles
Seductive Stinging Nettles

The wonder plant, stinging nettles, the plant that is good for – almost everything that ails you; it provides a cure for arthritis, it’s an herbal treatment for allergies, relieves hair loss, treats Celiac disease, bleeding, bladder infections, skin complaints, neurological disorders and a long list of other condi      tions.

It grows wild across the U.S and is highly nutritious.  But beware, one must handle the leaves with care as they sting.  The leaves and stem of a stinging nettle plant are lined with fine hairs (stingers), which give the plant its sting (and its name). Handle them with gloves!  However, that is easily rectified, blanch the tender leaves for 30 seconds to 1 minute and the little stingers are rendered harmless.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds nettles
  • 2 small onions (roughly 3-4 ounces) diced
  • 2 leeks (white part only) diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1/3 cup red rice
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 1/2 tbl salt
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water

Directions

  1. Bring pot of water to a boil
  2. Add nettles to water
  3. Blanch briefly and then remove nettles from the water and chop
  4. Add olive oil to soup pot and heat up
  5. Add diced onions to pot – saute until softened
  6. Add leeks to pot and saute until softened
  7. Add celery to pot and saute briefly
  8. Add garlic to pot and stir through
  9. Add chopped nettles
  10. Add chicken stock and water
  11. Add rice, bay leaf and salt
  12. Cover and simmer until rice is cooked
  13. Turn off heat and allow the soup to cool down (about 1/2 hour)
  14. Puree the soup until it is seductively creamy
  15. Season to taste (add salt and pepper if needed)

nettlesoup

Sablefish with Japanese Influence

misoblackcodopt

Lunch for the day was broiled miso black cod accompanied by a daikon, cucumber, red onion salad dressed with a ponzu, ginger dressing.

I had picked up black cod at the market yesterday and was looking forward to eating this delicate lovely fish that was marinated with miso, sake and mirin for about 4 hours. The recipes for miso marinade vary but usually call for miso, sugar, ginger and rice wine stirred together. Some people marinate salmon, ahi and aku in this mixture, but the favorite is black cod, also known as sablefish. I started with a recipe from Nobu Matsuhisa found here: However, I didn’t want the sugar so I tailored it quite a bit for flavoring.

The filets were quite small so I marinated them the night before and then removed them from the marinade so they would not be overly salty.

Black cod, it’s not a cod, it’s a sablefish belonging not to the codfish family, but to another family its own. They have black skin and get their name from the sable, a North Asian marten with black fur. This was my first time cooking black cod and I admit I found it to be intriguing. My filets were quite tiny and smelled beautiful.

I made a daikon, cucumber, red onion salad to accompany the cod prepared with my handy, dandy Japanese spiral slicer. It had been collecting dust in the box since the day I bought it over 6 ago. I had never used it so I thought, this is the time to break in the device. The slicer allows me to create ribbons of zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, and daikon radish. It grips the top of any firm vegetable and rotates it against the changeable stainless steel blade. My slicer comes with 3 removable serrated blades to cut thin ribbons and a non removable blade to cut larger ribbons.

I started first by slicing the daikon and then salting it and putting it in a strainer so the excess liquid would drain out. Next I sliced the ribbons of cucumber and added them to the strainer. Finally I sliced the red onion.

japanesespiralsliceropt

While the daikon was straining I removed the black cod from the marinade and then put the reserved marinade into a small pan and reduced the marinade down to a thick syrup.

The black cod was then put under the broiler to broil for about 8 minutes (be careful not to overcook).

To serve, I combined the daikon, cucumber, and red onion and then topped it with a bit of ponzu and ginger dressing. Then the black cod was served on the side topped with the reduced marinade.

Lovely combination of crunchy, sweet, peppery salad with the sweet delicate black cod!

misoblackcodoptimized

Blue Hubbard Squash Soup

bluehubbardsquashsoup

I love farmer’s markets and the beautiful winter squashes that are available in the fall.   I recently found a squash that I just love, the Blue Hubbard Squash. These babies are beautiful, blueish hue on the outside with bright orange flesh.  They are super sweet and make amazing soup as they take on flavors wonderfully.  They used to be very common in the early 20th century as they were one of the few foods that could be counted on to pass through a long winter unspoiled, if  stored properly.  Legend has it that Hubbard squashes came from South America where apparently they have been cultivated for some 4000 years. Stories say that that they were brought to  Massachusetts in the late 1700’s. A woman named Elizabeth Hubbard may have been responsible for spreading and endorsing the seeds.

pumpkin_bluehubbardopt

These squashes can be beasts –  some can weigh thirty pounds or even more – and with a tough rind that makes getting to the flesh quite difficult.   I’ve heard that the best way to open the large ones is to wrap them in a plastic bag and drop them with some force to the ground.  They apparently split open easily.  I didn’t have to worry about it as my hubbard was just a baby, at least it was small. I managed to cut it open with a sharp knife and then cut off the rind with the same knife.   After that I cut it up into cubes so it could be roasted.

bluehubbardinterioropt

I looked in my pantry to see what I could find to complement the squash.  I didn’t want to mess around with too many other vegetables so I opted only to use leeks and shallots to keep the flavor of the squash pure.  At the end I added some apples as I thought the apples would work perfectly.  I wanted just a hint of aji panca (a chili native to Peru)   in the soup.  This is my favorite chili powder these days, I love the flavor of this chili powder.  I added some half and half to finish the soup and to round it out.

I think it worked out well, but you be the judge.

Ingredients

¼ tsp ground aji panca chili powder

aji-panca-powder_lg

¼ tsp Alderwood sea salt

1 tsp French thyme

1 bay leaf

3 1/3 cups roasted blue hubbard squash (cut into 1 cubes)

1 ½ cup diced leeks

½ cup dice shallots

2 small fuji apples that have been cut into 1 inch pieces

5 cups organic chicken stock

1 tbl olive oil

½ cup half and half

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roast blue hubbard squash (that has been coated with olive oil) for 45 minutes or until soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven
  3. In soup pot, sauté leeks and shallots in 1 tbl olive oil until softened.
  4. Add roasted blue hubbard squash to leeks and shallots
  5. Add chicken stock and spices
  6. Add apple pieces
  7. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes until apples are softened
  8. Puree soup
  9. Add  half and half

bluehubbardsquashsoup

Enjoy!

Duroc Pork and Fuji Apple Stew – Bodacious Food for Cool Fall Evenings


Bodacious Pork and Apple Stew

I love the fall and fall weather. Warm days and cool fall nights beg for food that is comforting and warming for the body and soul. Lately the evenings have been particularly cool, perhaps I am not used to the cool weather yet. I went out to find some meat to prepare a comforting, soul soothing fall meal. I happened up locally raised, Napa Milk-Fed Duroc pork (in many cuts) that I thought would fit the bill perfectly and make for a special treat. But what is so special about Duroc pork and Duroc pigs.

Duroc pigs were used as the foundational genetics of the pig industry beginning in the 20th century. In 1812, early “Red Hogs” were bred in New York and New Jersey and these would be the ancestors of Duroc pork today. The meat and the fat are superb in taste, texture with a sweetness to it. Dairy raised pork is said to be the best, the creme de la creme, with best of pork.

Milk-fed pigs are very special pigs that are selected for the great honor of being fed fresh Jersey cow milk every day of their lives. This creates a sweeter, more tender meat that really looks and tastes unlike most other pork I’ve ever tasted. Duroc meat is clean and crisp. Its taste and texture are easy on the taste buds. Duroc pork is not too fatty, not too lean, not too strong but certainly more flavorful than its farm raised counterparts.

So what to make with this delicious meat? Well fall is the time for the new crop of apples. I found some fresh fuji apples at the market. Fuji apples were first developed in 1962 at the Tohoku Research Station in Morioka, Japan. They quickly became one of the most commonly grown apple varieties in Japan and in the 1980’s they were made available in the United States where they are primarily grown in Washington State and California, my state. Fuji apples have flesh that is dense, juicy and crisp. Low in acid its flavor is mild and sweet with hints of both honey and citrus. The thick skin of the fuji apples and their dense flesh helps them hold up well in when cooked. So decided, fuji apples to pair with the Duroc pork. Apples and pork are a match made in heaven. So there was my recipe to take the chill out of the cool nights; Duroc Pork with Fuji Apples, sweetened with leeks and red onions. Perfect in fact.

Ingredients

One pound 1 ounce Duroc pork stew meat – cut into 1 inch pieces

¼ cup flour

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp alderwood smoked sea salt

2 tsp olive oil

1 cup diced leeks (about 1 large leek)

¾ cup red onion diced

1 cup diced celery

½ tsp smoked Spanish paprika

½ tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

½ tsp dried French thyme

2 cups organic beef stock

2 medium apples – cut into cut into 1/8ths

Method

  1. Mix flour, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper together
  2. Dredge meat with flour/salt/pepper mixture
  3. Sauté meat until browned
  4. Remove meat from pan
  5. Add diced leeks and red onions
  6. Sauté until softened
  7. Add diced celery and continue to sauté
  8. Add meat with juices back into pan
  9. Add beef stock and spices to pan
  10. Simmer for 20 minutes
  11. Add apples to pan
  12. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes until apples are softened. Add additional water if needed.

Bodacious Duroc Pork and Apples

Serve with rice and enjoy the ultimate of fall comfort foods. Wrap yourself up in a cozy blanket next to the fire. Pour yourself a nice glass of crisp German Riesling (the sweetness and acid pair perfectly with this dish) and enjoy the body warming Duroc pork and apple stew.

Bodacious Duroc Pork and Apple Stew