Maque Choux (Corn Vegetable Stew)

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This is a purely Cajun dish. But, up here in the Midwest there is wonderful sweet corn. In fact, the best sweet corn I ever ate. Between my garden and my neighbor’s garden, there are enough veggies and fresh herbs around to make a fresh Maque Choux (corn vegetable stew). The corn came from a farmer nearby.  The really nice part about growing vegetables versus playing golf or fishing, you can drink a LOT of beer and wine waiting for your vegetables to grow. Just sayin.

I add a little sausage for flavor. My mother used to make it this way. Other recipes I’ve seen use andouille sausage, bacon or tasso (Cajun ham). The reason I chose Kielbasa is I will share this with my neighbor and as a plain Midwestern version. You can spice this up all you want, I’m not a big cayenne pepper fan.

I want the browned meat b/c I will use the meat “fond” for added flavor. As you know a “fond” is a French term that means “base” or remaining little bits of meat. But, there are many versions that do not include meat served as a side. I will serve this as a main dish.

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Ingredients:
10 oz. Turkey, Beef and Pork Kielbasa (Brown sausage in olive oil)
1 TBSP olive oil

6 uncooked fresh ears of corn – cut the corn using a sharp knife digging into the cob and getting the milk of the corn (There is no way you can do this without getting corn on the floor.)

Mirepoix (Used at first for the natural sugar and flavors)
½ cup quarter chopped celery stalks, I prefer the center stalk
1 cup or 1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of green bell pepper, chopped

2 cups diced tomatoes – I used one Roma and one yellow

¾ cup scallions (green onions)

8 TBSP unsalted butter
Thyme – fresh
Kosher salt (pinch)

Dash of white wine
½ cup of chicken stock

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Cooking Directions:
• Lightly brown the sausage in olive oil and remove
• Add the (Mirepoix) onion, celery, bell pepper and sauté four minutes. Add the dash of white wine to release the fond while sautéing and scraping the bottom of the pot
• Add the butter and melt
• On low heat add the corn and mix until the corn is buttered.
• Add thyme, return the meat, pinch of salt, ½ cup chicken stock and cook covered on medium heat 15 minutes
• Watch the pot, don’t let it over cook
• Add the remaining ingredients and cook another 15 minutes on medium to low heat. Add more chicken stock if necessary (There should only be just enough fluids to steam the corn and release the corn milk)

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Pollo Mole and Pipian Sauce

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This is the Little Woman’s dish.  She makes this once a week we love it so much.

There is this very big process in making mole sauce and in making pipian sauce. The sad part is no one will make this dish if they had to go through that process each time. So we made it easy on our self and bought Dona Maria mole and pipian sauce from the store.  It is really, really good.

As you know mole is made with dried guajillo, ancho and chipotle peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, peanuts, raisins, cinnamon, garlic, cumin, allspice, thyme, sugar, dark chocolate, salt and chicken broth – oh my lambs, I’m worn out thinking about it.

Pipián Rojo sauce has the same ingredients but leaves out the chocolates and adds ground pumpkin seeds. Like I said, this is way too much work for the average person cooker.

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Brown chicken and remove.

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Add one TBSP olive oil, sauté onions and sliced mushrooms.

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Add
4 TBSP Dona Maria Mole sauce
2 TBSP Dona Maria Pipian Rojo

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Add chicken stock and cook slow 15 minutes.

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Return chicken and add carrots and cook covered 30 minutes

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Serve in a bowl with cilantro topping over a bed of couscous.

Stir Fry Sweet Beef with Veggies and Turmeric

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(click on pics to enlarge)

This is my own formula. I’ve been working on the exact right flavors and found it. It is kind of a Thai assortment and has a little heat with the chili sauce and then sweetness with the sherry, turmeric and brown sugar.

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Marinade:
3 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP brown sugar
1 TBSP corn starch

Sauce:
1/3 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube smashed
1 ½ TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp. chili sauce
1 TBSP cornstarch (added to the cold chicken broth and whisked, the cornstarch thickens the sauce)
½ tsp. Turmeric
1 ½ TBSP sherry

Veggies:
Select and prepare vegetables.
The basic veggies are Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage), carrot sticks, mushrooms; scallions and broccoli (chop broccoli heads and slice the stalk into matchsticks)
½ TBSP garlic – minced
½ TBSP fresh ginger – minced
½ small yellow onion chopped into half moon pieces
½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ orange bell pepper, thinly sliced

Meat:
½ Lb. beef chuck, sliced into small pieces

Oil
3 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP sesame oil

Prepare the veggies, ginger, garlic and meat

Marinade: Place the beef in a bowl and mix with the marinade listed above and leave on the counter several hours.

Sauce: Mix all ingredients in the 1/3 cup of cold water and let stand.

In a wok:

Sauté the ginger and garlic in a TBSP of oil for a minute or so on a low heat and remove. This avoids burning the ginger/garlic.

Brown the meat in the oil in batches. Add more oil as you need. Remove and set aside.

Sauté the onions for a minute or so and then add the veggies. Add more oil as needed. Cook those about 4 to 5 minutes – stir often.

Return everything to the wok and then add the sauce. Get the sauce hot until it thickens, mix everything together and then cover and cook on low for several minutes.

Serve over rice.

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Kale and Kielbasa w/baby Dutch Yellow Potatoes

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One of the many things we found real fast about living near Wisconsin and Iowa is there is no shortage of sausage and cheese. I also found no shortage of kale (one of my favorites) even during the winter. It has 133% of the daily values of Vitamin A and 134% of Vitamin C. Since I like a good soup or gravy, I put together this dish.

Meat
½ lb. sliced kielbasa (pork or turkey)

Mirepoix
1 onion – chopped
2 carrots – peeled and sliced ¼”

Vegetables
1 bunch kale – chopped
8 small baby Dutch yellow potatoes – rinsed with skin and chopped into bite-size squares
1 clove garlic – minced

Sauce
½ cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 TBSP corn starch – mix first in two TBSP of cold water then add to the pot

Seasoning and Herbs, Oil
Salt and Pepper
3 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Dijon mustard
1 TBSP dry mustard
1 tsp. marjoram

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In a large 5 quart sauce pan add meat and one TBSP oil and brown. Remove the meat. Add the potatoes and a dash of sea salt and fry to a point where there is a little crisp on the skin. Make sure to fry the potatoes real good as the flavor adds a lot to the pot.  Remove the potatoes. Add a little more olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots. Add the wine and deglaze the pan. Return everything to the pot and add the kale and one cup of chicken stock. Cover and cook down the kale about 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir in the corn starch, herbs, mustard and seasonings and cook covered on warm for 30 minutes. Serve.

Chili

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My recipe for Superbowl 50.

Meat
½ lb. ground beef
½ lb. ground turkey

Mirepoix
1 onion – chopped
1 orange bell pepper – chopped
½ green bell pepper – chopped

Beans
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

Other Vegetables
4 scallions chopped
1 large Jalapeño pepper – sliced
2 large garlic cloves – sliced into coins

Sauce
1 (15-ounce) can whole and peeled tomatoes – crushed
2 TBSP tomato paste
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12-ounce) bottle Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
¼ cup veal, beef or chicken stock

Seasoning and Herbs, Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. saffron
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 TBSP olive oil
(Shredded Cheddar, for garnish)

In a large 5 quart sauce pan add meat and one TBSP oil and brown. As the meat browns drain the water several times. Remove meat after brown. Add two TBSP oil and add the mirepoix and sauté several minutes. Return meat and add everything else to the pot. Cook on low 1.5 to 2 hours. Serve with cheese.