Published by

Justin Welsh

A native of Grand Forks, Justin Welsh has been working in kitchens for 20 years. In 2004, he attended school at Western Culinary Institute, a Le Cordon Bleu program in Portland, Ore. It was there he learned classical French cooking. Since graduation, Chef Welsh has worked at the North Dakota Museum of Art as executive chef and event coordinator, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks as food and beverage manager/executive chef and currently is the executive chef at the Grand Forks Country Club. While he enjoys cooking all types of food from many different cultures, French influence plays a heavy role in his technique.

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Split Pea And Ham Soup

Some chefs have those “hanging out in the kitchen” moments with a grandparent or a mother. I did not.

The style of food I grew up with was a budgeted one. The house bank account was structured that X amount of money went here or there, and that was that.

So, when it came time for a purchase at the grocery store, meals were set to that budget. There was no elaborate food being produced in the kitchen. No fresh pasta or homemade tomato sauce. Nothing fancy like lobster or beef tenderloin.  All of it came to a set price point per meal, and what was made is what you ate.  My father, of course, the provider for the family, always got the last bite.

This does not mean I don’t have memories of food. I was asked the other day what kind of cookie made me happy, and I remember this ginger cookie my stepmom made with an icing on it. She had to hide them from us, otherwise they didn’t stand a chance.

Another thing she made for us was split pea soup. I am certain I said yuck when I first saw it, but man was it good. I believe a ham bone was thrown in after a holiday, which really made it nice. Those extra little bits of the smoked hock would fall off into the soup and give it an added flavor that satisfied a hungry boy’s palette.

I made some at a previous job, and when my father came in to eat one day, he tried it and really enjoyed it. This made me happy. One, because I cooked something I knew he ate while we all grew up, and two, my dad is one the pickiest and most unadventurous eaters I know.

I have made a fresh version of this soup, minus the ham, and added some cream for richness. We grow peas each year, and I always make a batch using fresh peas. The color is super bright, and the taste is just as delicious. I will share both versions for you.

Split Pea and Ham Soup
3 cups split peas
2 tablespoons oil
2 diced carrots
1 diced onion
Ham soup bone (Best if it still has meat on it; if just the bone, also add ½ to ¾ pound diced smoked ham.)
Undetermined water
Salt and pepper, to taste
I will often say “to taste” with salt and pepper. This simply means add in small quantities and always check the levels at the end. Peas, beans and other legumes often will absorb a lot of the salt, which in turn hides it. Too much salt cannot be taken away, so adding in small doses is best.

1. Chop your vegetables. Make them a medium-sized diced. This soup takes a little while to cook, and the vegetables will add a nice flavor along with the ham.
2. Heat a soup pot and add oil. Once hot, add vegetables and cook on medium for about 5 to 8 minutes, at which time they will just start to brown.
3. Add peas and ham, then cover with water. I put undetermined before the amount of water. This is because it may change a little bit each time and because I have never measured the amount of water it takes.
4. Turn up to medium high and cook for roughly 45 minutes to an hour. Add more water as the soup thickens. When the peas begin to break down, test to see how done they are. When they are completely soft, you can add water if it is too thick. If it is too watery, then simply let it simmer and thicken.
Freeze what extra you may have for a future date. Holds well in a freezer up to six months. That, of course, if it lasts that long.

Fresh Pea Soup
2 to 3 cups fresh peas
½ small diced onion
1 tablespoon oil
¼ cup cream or half and half
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Dice onion small. Heat pan and add oil and onion. Cook lightly for about 5 minutes.
2. Add peas and cover with enough water almost to cover. Fresh peas have some moisture in them, so they don’t need to absorb as much as their dried counterparts.
3. Cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, just until the peas are cooked.
4. Add cream or half and half. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add to a blender and puree.
This one eats well both cold or hot. You can also get English about it, and cook it thicker and spread over a nice toasted and buttered slice of rustic bread.
Enjoy and stay warm!

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Another Year In Food

As I write this, today is my last day of cooking in 2016. Soon after I type these words, I am off to the store to pick out flowers and some last-minute items to prepare a four-course meal for members of the Grand Forks Country Club.

While many others will be celebrating the old and thinking of what needs to change for the new, myself, and many other chefs in the area, will be hard at work. For us, very little will change.

Maybe we will tell ourselves we will drink a little less, or maybe try to spend less time in the kitchen and more time at home with family. Maybe some will say after this year, it is on to something else, whether that be a new job career or a new kitchen to hone our skills in.

Here is my menu for this evening:

  • Amuse Bouche, Last breakfast of 2016: Buttered hash brown round topped with crispy pancetta, soft-poached eggs and spiked sour cream sauce with chives
  • Cheese course: Manchego, Tommes de savoie and Comte cheeses accompanied with dried apples, currants, roasted artichokes, crostini and crackers
  • Entree Choices: Wild boar rack with whiskey apples, bison T-bone, lobster tail, eggplant rollatini, chicken cordon bleu with creamy mushroom sauce.
  • Dessert: Tiramisu with strawberry rum sauce AND Rhubarb Fool with cardamom cream.

Twenty-two years have gone by quickly working in this business. I have missed many holidays at home with family to cook for others. It is what I do.

The coming year, 2017, will not be too different. I am not really into New Year’s resolutions. I do not feel I need a New Year to change, but I do plan on spending more time doing this. Sharing with you recipes and hoping that they work for you in your kitchen.

May 2017 be a year of good food, good eating and a little more time home with the family.  I wish you all the best.

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Crème Brûlée

I am not a big dessert guy. I rarely order them when I go out to dine, and putting a nice cake together isn’t a bug I get too often.

Baking in general has never been my strong suit. I blame that only on myself. I have never spent as much time working on it as I do perfecting other techniques. But when you put together a menu, dessert must be an option.

I pride myself in making most anything from start to finish. When putting together one of my first menus, I struggled to find desserts. After quite a bit of research, I found two that were quick, easy and incredibly good — Crème Brûlée and Bananas Foster.

Crème Brûlée has been on my menus since 2006. I love this dessert, and people love it, too.  I can whip it up in minute, and into the oven it goes. After that, I’ve got roughly an hour and 15 minutes to not have to worry about it. The water bath each dish sits in, along with the 300-degree air finish the work for me.

I have shared this recipe with only a few people over the years. The only thing that has changed is the way I handle the sugar. I now use a mortar and pestle to grind the vanilla beans into the sugar. Other than that, this a tried-and-true dessert that will make your guests wanting more.

Crème Brûlée
7 egg yolks
1 quart heavy cream
7 tablespoons sugar plus 7 tablespoons sugar for topping (Roughly 1 tablespoon for each)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise. (Use the back side of a paring knife and run it along the opened pod.  The beans will scrape off onto the knife. You can substitute the vanilla bean for 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.)

1. Separate the yolks from the white in a bowl. Whisk the eggs for 1 minute.
2. Add vanilla beans and sugar. If you have a mortar and pestle, place sugar and vanilla bean seed and grind it until the seeds have mixed into the sugar. Add to yolks. Whisk for an additional 30 seconds.
3. Using a spatula, add the heavy cream into the yolk and sugar mixture. DO NOT use a whisk. A whisk at this point will begin to introduce air into the cream, creating bubbles. Those bubbles will give your custard a rough topping. When cooking, the bubbles will cook the yolk faster than the custard will set up.  In other words, you will have scrambled eggs on top of your custard.
4. Place mixture into small custard cups, leaving up to 1 inch room from the top.  (I use restaurant style soup cups for this. They sell oval custard dishes in most stores. I like the taller dish for this to make the next steps easier.)
5. Place dishes into roasting style pan. Enough to hold all at once, without them touching.
6. Fill the roasting pan with enough hot water to just below the custard line of the cup. Place into oven and set timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Be careful as you lower it into the oven, making sure no water waves its way into the custard.

To check to see if the custard is done, tap the edges of roasting pan to see if the custard has a wiggle to it. If the custard mix is still loose, then continue to cook another 15 minutes.
Once the custard is finished, remove from the oven and let cool. Once warm enough to grab, let dishes cool at room temp for an hour. Place in fridge and let cool.

Once the mixture has cooled; this next step can be done in one of two ways.

  • Torch: A lot of places have Crème Brûlée torches. They are small handheld torches that use butane for fuel. I have used large torches that use propane, and they work just fine.
    1. Place sugar (1 tablespoon for each) on top of set custard. Move the dish around until the sugar has covered the top area.
    2. Light torch. With one hand, grab the dish and tilt it, bring the flame jut inches away from and move it around as the sugar melts. It will brown and spread around. Be careful to not get the flame to close if using a larger torch.
  • Pan: I like this technique a lot more. It gives it a glassier finish.
    1. Place sugar in small sauté pan. Turn on burner to medium high, and watch the pan. As the pan gets hot, the sugar will begin to melt. Once it starts to brown, it will become liquid quickly, so keep a close eye.
    2. Once sugar has melted, immediately pour over top of the Brûlée. You can melt all the sugar together if serving all at once, or just use roughly 1 tablespoon per custard. For both methods, then let the sugar topping cool. Once the sugar hardens, use the back of a spoon to break the topping.  The crunch adds a nice texture to the dish.

Enjoy!

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Walleye En Pappilote

I love old school technique in cookery. We as humans have come a long way from fire. Imagine the lessons learned along the way. Those lessons that later have become techniques — or rules — in cookery.

Why are the rules of a proper sauté important to follow? Hot pan, little oil/fat, ingredients cut very fine for fast finishing. You simply cannot place all those ingredients into a pan, turn on your burner and expect the same results.

One challenge I face often preparing for large groups of guests is always keeping the food hot and fresh. I often cook meals as close to the set eating time so the food is as good as it can be. Many factors can greatly effect achieving this, but when successful, it is a great feeling.

Fish, when ordered in bulk for guests, is a tough one. Cooking two to three at a time for restaurant service is easy and simple; cooking for 50 plus, there is little room for error. Cook it too soon, the fish may dry out, shrink, begin to fall apart, become tough and chewy. Cook it too late, and it may not be cooked all the way, which depending on the fish, may not be a bad thing.

The technique of this preparation gives the chef a little more wiggle room and shrinks down the chances of ruining the fish. The term is walleye cooked in paper.

Around here, we love to bread and deep-fry our walleye. This is sort of the same thing, just a much lighter and healthier version.  The breading protects the delicate fish and steams it within. Cooking it in paper does the exact same thing.

Parchment paper is used in most kitchens. If you want to get really old school, season the fish as you would and cover it in clay and bury into the earth over hot coals.

In kitchens, we often get precut sheets of parchment paper — halves and wholes.  For a fillet up to 8 ounces, I use half-sheets. These will typically be the right length for that size. Anything bigger you may need to use a whole sheet.

Walleye En Pappilote
1 half-sheet of parchment paper
1-8 ounce skinless fillet of walleye
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 small splash of white wine — something not too dry
¼ tomato chopped into small dice (seeded and skinned if preferred but not necessary)
1 lemon zested, halved (the first half sliced; the other part will be for juicing over fish)

Gremolata
Lemon zest chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
Fresh parsley chopped fine

Mix the minced garlic, parsley and lemon zest together.

Folding the parchment sheet in half lengthwise, you then begin to make a heart shape. Sort of like when you first used scissors in school. Starting a little farther in the sheet, you cut outward and back in. Open the paper up and reveal your heart shape.

I will take some melted butter and spread it over the sheet. Then I take the flat side of the fish and place it along the crease of the paper.

At this point, I will add a little more melted butter over the fish. Now you can season the fish further. Sprinkle your salt over top, a gentle squeeze of lemon juice, white wine, tomato and then your gremolata.

Now you can begin to close the sheet. I like to start from the tip shape of the paper, folding the paper in toward the rounded side of the fish and then working my way to the other side of the paper, where I will tuck the paper in to itself to prevent the juices from escaping.

Place your en pappilote on a sheet pan and top with a slice of lemon. Pop it into a 350-degree oven for roughly 8 to 10 minutes, all depending on the size of the fillet.

Once the fish has been removed from the oven, let cool for a minute or two before serving. This will not only let the fish rest for a short moment, but it will allow time for the steam to settle making the paper finger friendly from burn. When you open up the paper, you will have the most delicate fish that is sitting in a flavorful beurre blanc sauce

I enjoy this dish alone, followed by a vegetable side or salad. You can serve this for your next dinner party as a way to wow your guests.

Happy fishing and eating to all!

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Pasta e Fagioli

“When the stars make you drool just like pasta fazool, that’s amore.”

I heard this Dean Martin lyric a little differently one day while preparing for a day at work. I asked myself “What is this dish he croons over?”

After a little research, I stumbled upon a few recipes. My first reaction was not one of positive impression. My curious side got the best of me and decided to give it a try. I have been drooling since.

Pasta e fagioli, pronounced, “pasta fazool” or “pasta e fasule,” is an Italian peasant dish based on cheaper ingredients. Like many peasant dishes, the primary invention of them has been the result of cultures all over the globe that have been through periods of financial struggle, cooking what little is available for what little they have to pay for it.

Born as a meatless dish, pasta e fagioli has gone through some reinvention throughout the years. I often refer to it as an Italian chili. The heartiness of this dish fills your stomach — and your soul.

My version of this soup includes ground beef and pork with crunchy buttered baguette slices and Parmesan cheese. Make a full batch, and you can easily freeze the rest for colder days ahead. That is, of course, if it makes it that long. It can be stripped down to a vegan version quite easily, replacing vegetable stock for beef and chicken.

Pasta e Fagioli
¼ cup olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion diced
1 celery stalk diced
3 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground seasoned pork
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups beef stock
1 cup small noodles (Any kind will do. I like to use miniature noodles for this. Often times the larger ones absorb much of liquid and swell quite a bit. Smaller pieces tend to not do this.)
1 can northern beans drained and rinsed (Any white bean substitute will do.)
1 can Italian seasoned diced or crushed tomatoes
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese
Toasted baguette with butter

  1. Place soup pot on stove and set to medium high temp.  Once pan is heated, add oil.
  2. Place carrots, celery, and onion into pot and stir on heat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium high.
  3. Turn heat down to medium and stir vegetables for another 8 minutes.  Or until they soften slightly.
  4. Add crushed garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Crank heat back to medium high and add pork and beef and chop until broken into small pieces.
  6. Add Italian seasoning, and let cook until meat is almost fully cooked.
  7. Cover with the stocks. You may need more, or less. I usually add until the liquid is above the vegetables and meats.
  8. Add noodles and cook on medium until done. Depending on the noodle you use, you may need to add more stock.
  9. Once noodles are cooked, add tomatoes and white beans
  10. Once everything is hot, check seasoning and add salt, pepper and Tabasco to your liking.
  11. Toast baguette or any bread you have around and add butter.
  12. Place bread in a soup bowl. Cover with the pasta fagioli.
  13. Enjoy
    This dish is the ultimate when it comes to comfort food. As the temperature drops with each passing day, this recipe will bring back the warmth that winter sucks away.  It has always been a crowd pleaser wherever I have taken it, and even won “People’s Choice” at a soup competition years ago. I know now why Dean Martin crooned over this dish, it was love at first bite … and that’s Amore!

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Olé Mole!

Manchamantel is one of the many types of Mole sauces. (France has Mother sauces, Mexico has Moles!) This sauce is one of my favorites because it’s neither too spicy nor too sweet. It really has a great balance of flavor that perks up all of your taste buds.

Before we get started, here is a little background. A Mole sauce is a combination of one or more chilies, tomatillos and/or tomatoes, fruits, nuts, garlic, herbs and spice. Some Moles have 20plus ingredients and about one to two pages of instruction.

A lot of detail can go into preparation of these sauces. While looking at a recipe, it might seem overwhelming. But after making most of them once, they can be done in a shorter amount of time, since you will have a better understanding. And the rewards of this dish are worth the effort.

To make Manchamantel the list of ingredients and amounts follow in a kettle or sauce pan, boil about 5 to 6 cups of water. Then grab some dried Ancho and Guajillo peppers. (Using disposable gloves is a good idea here because the oils from the chilies might leave a burning sensation on your fingers. If you touch your eyes, or any other body part, you may experience irritation for a day or so.) Break the stem and remove the seeds. You don’t need to get every last one because you eventually will strain the sauce, which will remove them anyway.

Heat a pan and add ¼ cup of the vegetable oil. Once the oil is nice and warm, add the peppers a few at a time and turn them every so often. You do not want the heat on too high, as this will burn the pepper. The object here is to let them puff up a little. After working through the batches, set all the peppers in a small bowl. Pour boiling water over the peppers until just covered. Let them rest for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Now, let’s work on the vegetables. Turn oven on to 425 degrees. Take your onions, tomatillos (with husks), tomatoes and garlic (still in its skin) and place on a roasting pan with a little of the vegetable oil rubbed over them. Place into oven and let cook until all the vegetables begin to turn a deep brown, turning every 5 minutes. Some may become a little dark, and that’s OK! I would roast them around 30 minutes, maybe longer depending on your oven.

HERE IS A TRICK FOR WARMING AN OVEN FASTER! Turn broiler on high for about 2 to 3 minutes, then turn off and set oven to desired temp (the oven  may be ready to cook already!).

Going back to the chilies, drain the water off and place them into a blender with about ½ cup of water. Blend on high until smooth. The paste should be nice and thick but not soupy. You may need to add a little more water, but only go 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. Once blended, grab a mesh strainer and force the peppers through with a wooden spoon into a bowl. All you should have left is the skin and a few seeds in your strainer. Set the bowl aside.

Clean out the blender, and if by this time your vegetables are roasted, remove the husks from the tomatillos and the skins from the garlic which is easily done with a pinch on one end and place into the blender along with any juices that may be in the pan. Puree until smooth.

Mix the pepper and vegetable puree together in the bowl.

A preference of mine is to puree the pineapple and apple in the sauce as well. This gives the sauce a bit of sweetness. Or you can simply add the cut fruits to the roasting pan when cooking the meats.

Now, it’s time for the spices and herbs. Toast the canella, the fragrant cinnamon-like inner bark of a West Indian tree, peppercorns and achiote (a spicy seed from the Yucatan area of Mexico) in a pan until fragrant. Then add the cumin seeds. Once they have cooled, about 5 minutes, add them to a mortar and pestle or a spice blender along with the oregano and thyme and grind thoroughly. Add to the vegetable and pepper mixture. Place in a pan and cook on warm for 15 minutes to blend all the flavors together.

Were are almost to the finish line. (If you are feeling stressed, grab some cerveza!)

Now, grab a pan and add the rest of the vegetable oil and place on mediumhigh heat. Once the pan is up to temp, add your pork ribs and chicken and brown on all sides. Work in batches as to not crowd the pan, resulting in a golden brown crust. Place meat in a roasting pan and set oven temp to 350. Cover the meats with a generous helping of the mole sauce, cover and cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours, just until the ribs are nice and tender.

Remove from oven, serve with some cilantro, refried beans, corn on the cob and another cerveza and enjoy the deliciousness of a homecooked authentic Mexican Mole!

Also take note, Mole didn’t get the name “tablecloth-stainer” for nothing! A bib might be the way to go or a long neck reach over a plate!

Manchamantel
4 large Ancho chilies
10 Guajillo chilies
2/3 cup vegetable
10 garlic cloves unpeeled
2 medium onions chopped
4 red tomatoes
10 tomatillos with husks
6 sprigs thyme or 1 t
easpoon, dried
5 sprigs oregano or 1 tsp dried
1
1-inch piece of canella
2 t
ablespoons anchiote, or 1 cayenne pepper, seeded
1
½ tablespoons cumin
15 black peppercorns
4 leg/thigh chicken pieces, salted and peppered
1 rack pork baby back ribs, salted and peppered
1 pineapple, cut into chunks
2 red or green apples, cut into chunks

JUSTIN WELSH: Food Muse — Boeuf Bourguignon

Boeuf bourguignon is one of my favorite dishes in the world. This French stew was the first recipe (pilot) on the cooking show, “The French Chef,starring the great Julia Child. Julia was incredibly informative as she explained the procedures of each recipe. The show, which was partly done in black and white, didn’t bring justice to the beautiful color of a perfectly browned piece of meat.

I was never much of a stew guy. I hear people talk about stews all the time and how easy they are. Just throw a few vegetables, some seasonings, meats, water or stock, turn it on, leave the house and come home that night to supper all ready to eat.

I have had a good amount of over cooked beef stew in my life, and nothing is worse than trying to chomp through a piece of dry meat. On the contrary, I have had some wonderful beef stews in my life as well. When done right, it’s comfort to the core, and relatively inexpensive.

What makes Beef Bourguignon so special to me is the amount of work you actually have to put into it. This one makes you think a bit. There are quite a few steps. I enjoy making this dish for my family on a day off.

Also, when we talk about stews being inexpensive, I often have a tough time spending less than $50 making this dish. For this recipe, I tend to buy nothing but quality items from start to finish. However, if I were to bargain shop for this, I could most likely make it for half the price with the same outcome in taste.

The first step is boiling the bacon pieces. I like to buy the odds and ends package in the store. These chunks of bacon are all sorts of crazy in shapes, amounts of fat and thicknesses. I find the price to be appropriate and often portion and freeze what I won’t use that day for a later time.

I add cold water over about 8 ounces of bacon pieces, bring to a boil and let cook for about 10 minutes on medium high. This process removes the smokiness and a lot of the salt from the cured meat. After the time is up, I drain off the water, and place the bacon pieces into a cast iron skillet. I cook the bacon until it is nice and crisp. Once crisp, I reserve the fat in a small bowl off to the side, and chop the bacon into small pieces.

Then comes time for the meat. I find that a 3-pound, well-marbled piece of chuck shoulder is very suitable for this. Cut the meat into 3-inch cubes. Using paper towels, blot the meat quite well. The reason for this step is to make sure the meat is dry when it hits the pan. If it isn’t dry, it will steam in the pan, and you will not get the desirable seared brown color.

Once the meat is dry, I turn the cast iron pan back on to high heat. I return some of the fat — just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Once the fat begins to smoke, add your chuck meat. Do not overcrowd the pan, for again, this could result in steaming taking place. You may need to do this three or four times. Brown the meat on all sides until you get a caramelized appearance. Set the meat off to the side.

Grab a bowl and place the flour into it. I like to season the flour with some salt and pepper. Toss the meat pieces into the flour, remove and shake off excess flour and place back onto plate.

Grab your chopped onions and carrots. Add some of the bacon fat back to the pan and bring heat to medium high. Sauté the onions for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper to this mix as well. Remove, and place in your roasting pan.

Now for the mushrooms. Again, add your bacon fat and butter to the pan and bring to medium high heat. Let the butter and fat melt, foam slightly and brown. Add mushrooms, thyme, a pinch of salt and sauté until mushrooms have absorbed the fat. Remove and add to roasting pan.

What you have in your pan at this point should be nice brown bits at the bottom. With the pan still hot, we are going to deglaze the pan with the red wine first, and then add beef stock, tomato paste and bay leaf.

Add the floured chuck steak to the roasting pan and place into a 425-degree oven. At this point, you are browning the flour in the oven. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the flour on the meat has a nice brown color to it.

Once the floured meat has browned, add your stock/wine/tomato paste mixture and bacon bits to the roasting pan. The stock should just cover the meat. Cover with foil, turn heat down to 325 degrees and let cook for 2½ to 3 hours.

Every hour, check the amount of liquid in the pan. Make sure it has not completely evaporated. As the roast cooks, the liquid will reduce into a sauce like consistency. Too much reduction, and you run the chance of burning the vegetables.

To see if it’s done, sneak a piece of chuck out of the pan to check for tenderness. If I melts in your mouth, it is done.

I like to serve this over white rice, mashed potatoes or if you have the chance, boil peeled potatoes and place them whole around the roast on your serving platter. Garnish with parsley.

This recipe will make you look at stews in a whole new light. The instructions and ingredients for this also work for Coq au Vin, using chicken thighs and legs to replace the beef chuck meat.

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces chunk bacon
3 pounds chuck stewing meat, well-marbled with fat, cut into 2- or 3-inch cubes
½ cup flour (not all will be used)
2 carrots, peeled and diced medium
1 onion, diced medium<
2 to 3 cups mushrooms, quartered
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh or dried
3 cups of young red wine (Burgundy is classical, Chianti is good, but any full bodied red wine will work.
3 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 whole bay leaves
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butterReserved bacon fat
Reserved bacon crisps