Friday, March 23, 2007

Meatball Soup with Broccoli Rabe

Introducing broccoli rabe, no, it's not broccoli!

Broccoli, we know. But broccoli rabe? broccoli raab? Both are pronounced ‘rob’ and it’s also called ‘rapini’.

Scientifically, broccoli and broccoli rabe belong to the same family of cabbages and by color, they might be twins.

But broccoli rabe is all about its slightly bitter leaves not its tiny top-side sprouts, and thus is treated like spinach or chard.

It’s found in Italian and Chinese cuisine and lucky for us, is also taking hold here. And it’s worth seeking out. I’ve seen it Kirkwood, Rock Hill and Webster Groves. If you don’t, ask your produce manager about a special order. I’m sure you’ll be greeted graciously.

RAPINI PANINI If the name alone won’t make the kids clamor for greens, well, perhaps hot bread and cheese will. Broccoli raab makes a great stuffing for hot sandwiches. Just sauté a couple of chopped handsful per sandwich in olive oil with chopped garlic and, yes! two or three mashed anchovies. Tuck between bread slices with mozzarella or goat cheese, roasted red pepper, thin slices of salami and grill like a grilled cheese sandwich. Or tuck into a soft roll, wrap in foil and warm in a 350F oven for 15 minutes.
ALANNA's TIPS The soup tastes just as good on Day Two but looks better on Day One. For more ideas about ways to cook broccoli rabe, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog about vegetables.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food writer Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite recipe for leafy greens to e-mail.


Hearty, heart-warming fare
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 6
  • 6 cups chicken or other broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 14 ounces white kidney beans, rinsed (also called cannellini)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • ½ cup dried pasta, preferably orecchiette, ‘little ears’
  • ½ pound broccoli rabe, heavy stems discarded, leaves chopped (or fresh spinach, tough stems trimmed)

  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ½ pound ground veal
  • ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (from about 2 square inches)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Bring broth to a boil in microwave. In a Dutch oven, heat oil til shimmery on medium high. Add carrot and onion as prepped, stirring to coat; cook til just beginning to soften. Add beans, garlic, hot broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil. (Stop here if cooking ahead of time.) Add pasta and broccoli rabe, cover and cook til pasta is nearly done.

Meanwhile, combine meatball ingredients. Shape into 18 balls. Drop all at once into soup pot, submerging throughout. Cook for about 10 minutes until fully cooked. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan on top.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 272 Cal (26% from Fat); 8g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 30g Carb; 5g Fiber; 963mg Sodium; 76mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Emerald Isle Stew

An Authentic Irish Recipe for St. Patrick's Day or a
Great Beef Stew Recipe for Year-Round

The Recipe: A hearty, gravy-rich beef stew with carrots and potatoes, authentic for St. Patrick's Day but a really good basic stew recipe all year round too. I especially like this stew because it needn't cook all day, it's ready in a couple of hours, the chunks of beef already tender, the carrots and potatoes firm and sweet, not mushy from long cooking.

The Conversation: Authentic Irish fare versus lusty American traditions.

~Recipe updated & republished 2015 for a little weekend cooking inspiration~

Emerald Isle Stew, a hearty, gravy-rich stew. Beef with onions, carrots and potatoes, seasoned with caraway.

Lucky are the leprechauns comin’ home from green-capped mischief on St. Paddy’s Day to stew a-simmerin’ a-stove.

Emerald Isle Stew is genuine Irish fare – though a mordant sort might contend that for authenticity, the plates be filled with naught – just meat and onions, carrots and potatoes that cook slowly over a couple of hours, filling the kitchen with earthy-sweet, jig-inducing aromas.

And even if it weren’t authentically Irish, isn’t it somehow authentically American to lustily celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with inauthentic Irish food like corned beef and cabbage and other revelries when the Irish themselves mark the day with little fanfare?

Still, for foodies, it is great fun to cook up something special, especially something special that’s easy to make – and make ahead – and authentic. You’ll have leprechauns dancing before y’r very eyes.

COLCANNON is an Irish potato dish of infinite variation. For my low-carb version, cook a half pound of diced potatoes with a pound of chopped cabbage. If you like, add some chopped kale or broccoli rabe to the pot near the end, then mash with butter and cream. Delicious!

ALANNA's TIPS Make sure to have on hand hot Irish soda bread or crusty rolls for dunking into the delicious gravy. Or substitute parsnips or turnips for potatoes in the stew, then serve it atop colcannon or potatoes boiled in their skins. A six-pack of Guinness stout is pretty expensive ($8.50 at my grocery in 2010). But look for a single large bottle of Guinness Extra Stout with the cold beers for less than $3 – a bargain and bonus! plenty of Guinness leftover to make Nigella's Chocolate Stout Cake too. The caraway seed somehow 'makes' the stew tastes like authentic Irish fare but thyme or rosemary work fine, too, especially during the rest of the year.


Hands-on time: 30 minutes to start, 10 to finish
Time to table: 2-1/4 hours
Makes 11 cups
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef top sirloin, fat trimmed, cut in one-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) stout beer such as Guinness
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cube concentrated beef bouillon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 1 pound new potatoes, cut in quarters or large chunks
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium high until shimmery. Add the meat, let it brown, stirring often. Stir in onion and garlic as they’re prepped, let cook til onions are soft. Add beer, water, bouillon, bay leaves, caraway, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a simmer, simmer 30 minutes. (Cook ahead to here if you like. Return to a simmer to continue.)

Add the carrots and potato, return to a boil, cover and let simmer 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaves. Sprinkle flour over hot mixture a bit at a time, stirring each bit in before adding more. Let cook 2 – 3 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 257 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 2g Sat Fat; 18g Carb; 3g Fiber; 852mg Sodium; 52mg Cholesterol; 30g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 5 & WW PointsPlus 6
My long-time friend Lisa and I have been swapping recipes since we met way-way back in 1985. Now that Lisa is blogging, she's posted this recipe too, which she calls Good Irish Stew which she serves (and which I must-must some time!) in Potato Bread Bowls.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send your own St Patrick’s recipe tradition to How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Become a Kitchen Parade fan on Facebook!

Colcannon = Irish "Potatoes"

Colcannon, the classic Irish potato dish, just potatoes cooked and mashed with cabbage and in my version, some greens. Lower carb and very tasty.

Everyone loves Colcannon! It's such a simple combination, just potatoes and cabbage cooked and mashed together but decidedly good and "lower carb" too for those who watch their carbs. Recipe is above, Colcannon.

More St. Patrick's Day Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Irish Soda Bread Muffins Caraway Corned Beef with Red Potatoes, Carrot Chunks, Cabbage Wedges & Cheese Sauce Irish Spiced Fruitcake with Brown Sugar Lemon Curd

More Beef Stew Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Winter Stew Beef Stew with Cranberries (Swedish Kalops) Beef & Mushroom Stew
~ more beef recipes ~

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