Tuesday, February 12, 2019


We had a major snowstorm last night and I wanted to make something warm and special for dinner for my husband and me. I got out my old recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon and it was simply delicious. The meat was "melt-in-your-mouth" tender. The only time-consuming part was browning the meat. I had a chuck roast thawing in my refrigerator, but I did not have pearl onions, so I substituted cipollini onions instead. 

6 slices bacon, chopped
3 T avocado oil, divided
1 3 to 3½ lb chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 carrots, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup Cognac or brandy, optional
2 cups Burgundy, Merlot, or Pinot Noir
2 cups beef stock
2 T tomato paste
1 t dry thyme
2 bay leaves

4 T unsalted butter, softened

3 T all-purpose flour
8 oz small button mushrooms, wiped clean and trimmed
1 package frozen pearl onions
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cook bacon over medium heat in a large Dutch oven until crisp.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a large bowl and set aside.
Pour off most of the bacon grease and discard.

Pat the beef dry and season with salt and pepper.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add one tablespoon of the oil and one-third of the meat. 
Brown on all sides, then remove with a slotted spoon to the large bowl with the bacon. 
Repeat two more times with the rest of the oil and meat.

Add the carrots to the pot and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the diced onion and cook another 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another minute. 
Deglaze the pan with the Cognac or brandy and then add the wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute.
Add the beef broth, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves.

Return the beef and bacon to the pan, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 3 hours.

Lightly brown the mushrooms and in a skillet with a little butter and set aside.

After 3 hours, place pan on top of the stove and combine the softened butter with the flour in a small bowl.

Stir the flour-butter mixture into the stew and add the browned mushrooms and pearl onions.
Bring stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and slowly simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and ladle onto plates or shallow bowls with a side of grits, mashed potatoes, or wide egg noodles.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serve with a green vegetable or salad.

Serves 6

Monday, February 11, 2019


Mama served corncakes with fish on Friday evenings. I loved slathering them with butter and grape jelly; not sure if I’d like the jelly with them today. They are so delicious for breakfast or dinner. My mom said she served them just in case you swallowed a fishbone. The corncake would push the fishbone down your throat. Serve them with butter and maple syrup for breakfast. It is said, that the name Hoecake came from the field hands in the South who cooked them over an open fire on the blades of their hoes, which were wide and flat. New Englanders have something similar called Johnnycakes. 

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 T melted butter and 1 T of bacon grease, room temperature (you can use all butter)

2 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
½ cup unbleached flour
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
1 T sugar
Bacon grease or avocado oil, for frying

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, butter, and bacon grease. 

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the milk mixture.  
Gently whisk together, being careful not to over mix. Batter should be lumpy. 
Let batter stand on counter for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 225 degrees F.

Heat griddle and brush lightly with bacon grease or oil. 
Pour batter (about 2 tablespoons worth) on hot griddle about 2 inches apart.
Cook in batches until golden brown on each side.

Keep cooked hoecakes warm in oven while cooking the rest.

Monday, February 4, 2019


This is my version of an old tavern entree. You can buy puff pastry at your supermarket and serve puff pastry biscuits with the stew. The stew bakes in the oven for 3 hours. If you have a crockpot, you can let it cook even longer. If you prefer to make the stew without ale, just add another 1 ½ cups of beef broth.

2 T avocado oil
3 T unsalted butter
2 lbs beef chuck, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
16 white mushrooms, trimmed and cut in half
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme
6 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 small rutabaga, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bottle (12 oz) brown ale 
2 cups beef broth or stock
2 bay leaves
3 T softened unsalted butter
3 T all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup water
12 brussels sprouts, cut in half
8 broccoli florets
8 cauliflower florets
3 T unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown beef very well on both sides in oil.
Remove meat and set aside in a bowl.
Add butter and sauté the onion and mushrooms for a couple of minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Add thyme, carrots, and rutabaga.
Deglaze the pan with ale, scraping up all of the brown particles with a wooden spoon.
Return the beef to the pot and add the beef broth and bay leaves.
Mix softened butter with the flour and add to the pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover pot and bake in the oven for 3 hours.

About 30 minutes before beef is finished, bring water to a boil in a skillet.
Add the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. Cover and let steam for 2 minutes.
Remove vegetables to a plate and pour out water.
Return skillet to the stove and melt butter, over medium heat.
Add vegetables and sauté for 2 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Evenly divide the beef and broth with vegetables into four individual bowls.
Top with a puff pastry biscuit or serve with crusty bread or country rolls.

Serves 4

Sunday, February 3, 2019


Cornbread in the South is normally made without sugar. I added a small amount of sugar but you can leave it out if you wish. The jalapeño peppers are also optional. I also add one tablespoon of bacon grease to the skillet to give the cornbread a nice brown crust. This is also optional but if you choose not to use bacon grease, use the same amount of butter to season the pan.

cups stone ground yellow cornmeal (I use Palmetto Farms)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t sea salt
3 T granulated or brown sugar (optional)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups buttermilk
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (optional)
7 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T bacon grease or unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Stir in the beaten eggs, buttermilk, jalapeño peppers, and melted butter. 

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, carefully remove skillet from oven and add the tablespoon of bacon grease or butter.
Set aside to let melt.

Pour the batter into the seasoned skillet and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Cut into squares.

To Make Cornbread Muffins:

Pour batter into a buttered muffin pan and bake 20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


Chili freezes well and if you don't have a crowd for the Super Bowl game or other football games, make this amount of chili and freeze the rest for another time. Use your favorite ground chile powder, but the combination of ancho, chipotle, and New Mexico gives this chili a wonderful smoky flavor.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

There is a difference between chili powder and chile powder. Chili powder (ending with an "i") is a blend of ground chile pods and other spices. Chile powder (ending with an "e") is pure ground chile pods with no additives. 

4 slices applewood smoked bacon, diced (or your favorite bacon)
2 T avocado oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, finely diced   
1 large green bell pepper, finely diced  
1 Jalapeño chile pepper, seeded and minced  
1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced                                                              
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 lbs ground sirloin beef
3 (14-oz) cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
2 T ancho chile powder, or your favorite 
1 T chipotle chile powder, or your favorite
1 T New Mexico chile powder, or your favorite 
3 T brown sugar    
1 T smoked paprika                                                
1 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T freeze-dried or dried oregano
½ t cayenne pepper
¼ t allspice
¼ t ground cinnamon
1 bottle of your favorite beer
3 cups beef broth
1 (14-oz) can chili beans or pinto beans, your choice, rinsed and drained. 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 T masa or corn flour

In a large Dutch oven, add bacon and cook over medium-high heat until crisp.
Pour off grease but save 2 tablespoons in a small bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onion and peppers.
Sauté for 10 minutes.

Spoon into a large bowl and set aside.

Add the other tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and brown the beef in two batches while breaking up with a wooden spoon. Spoon the browned beef into the bowl with the onion mixture.
Brown the second batch of beef and when brown, return the onion mixture to the Dutch oven and add the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients, except the flour, and stir to combine.

Simmer partially covered for 1 ½ hours, stirring often.

Mix the masa or corn flour with the tablespoon of bacon grease or beef broth and add to the chili.
Stir to combine and simmer another 10 minutes.

Suggested condiments for toppings:
Shredded cheddar or pepper-jack cheese
Sliced black olives  
Scallions, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves
Lime wedges

Serve with Skillet Cornbread with Jalapeño peppers.