Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's All In The Pot

Le Creuset

I love cooking, but if you're doing it every day it can become a little mundane. That's why it helps to have cute professional-looking cookware to give you a boost.  What more could you ask for than cookware that coordinates with your kitchen decor.  Le Creuset comes in so many amazingly vibrant colors {teal, purple, sky blue, yellow, orange, green apple} but of course my favorite is the red cookware.  But I'm becoming a little partial to the eggplant purple color {see below}.

The cookware also pairs lovely with the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer.  And of course they are great to cook with. The cast iron cookware distributes heat evenly and because it can go from the stovetop to the oven, you can cook certain recipes all in one pot keeping the flavors from being washed away or left behind.  Like in this delicious dish:

Moroccan Lamb Stew
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 lb. cubed lamb for stewing
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄4 tsp. saffron threads
1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 1⁄2 cups beef stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup chopped dried dates
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Pat the lamb dry with paper towels. Place the flour in a large bowl or sealable plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the lamb in batches and stir or shake to coat thoroughly with the seasoned flour.

Warm the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in the pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the lamb and brown on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes for each batch. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Return the onion mixture and the lamb along with any accumulated juices to the pot. Add the garlic, cumin, saffron and ginger and stir to coat the meat and vegetables. Add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Add the tomatoes, dates, and orange zest and juice and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover the pot, transfer to the oven and bake until the meat is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If the sauce seems too thin, using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat and vegetables to a bowl and boil the sauce on the stovetop until thickened. Return the meat and vegetables to the pot. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer the stew to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Soup & Stew, by Diane Rossen Worthington (Simon & Schuster, 2004).

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