Monday, January 21, 2008

Potato Stew with Olives, Mushrooms, Bacon & Onions...

Inspired by a Recipe from Michel Richard's Happy in the Kitchen

picture photograph image potato stew with mushrooms and bacon and olives and onion 2008 copyright of sam breach
I don't like stew. I don't like wet stew. I don't like photographs of stew. But you, ugly, dry stew, I do like you. You are my easier, less fussy, slightly healthier version of Michel Richard's Potato Stew and I do love you. You are the stew where I use small potatoes instead of wasting time and vegetable turning larger potatoes into spherical rounds. You are the stew where I use slices of bacon cut lardon-style instead of a slab because it's not only easier to find, it disperses itself more equally through the dish as well. You are the stew where I decide that at $10 per mushroom I am not going to use Porcinis because cheaper King Trumpets and Portobellos taste quite delicious instead. You are the stew where I can easily leave out the sugar and cut down on the oil so you fit in with my healthier eating plan. You are the stew who tastes more savoury and meaty than a mere two rashers of bacon would ever have you believe. You are the stew who is a perfect foil to cold, wet, miserable weather. You are the stew I make again and again. You, stew, are the stew for me. Are you the stew for you too?

2 lbs small potatoes (substituting half these potatoes for sun chokes works too).
3 oz tasty black pitted olives
1/2 lb portobello mushrooms
1/2 lb king trumpet mushrooms
2 rashers of good, thick bacon (add much more bacon if you like!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch Madras curry powder (I made mine using this recipe from Coconut & Lime)
1/2 cup shallots
A few sprigs of time
12 large garlic cloves, peeled,
1/2 cup reduced chicken, goose or duck stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de Sel

- Heat up your your oven to 325F.
-Peel potatoes (and sunchokes if you are substituting any of the potatoes with them) and put aside in a bowl of cold water.
- Put pitted olives in a small pan, cover with cold water and then bring to the boil.
- Drain, rinse, repeat.
- Cut Portobellos into thick slices and King Trumpets into halves.
- Cut bacon into lardon style pieces.
- Peel the shallots
- Find out a frying pan or skillet large enough to fit all the mushrooms without any overlap, if possible.
- Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over high heat. Add the bacon lardons and fry for a couple of minutes to render out some of its fat.
- Remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on a plate.
- Add all the mushroom pieces cut-side down into the hot frying pan, sprinkle with madras and leave without turning for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown on one side only.
- Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set the aside on a plate too.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the shallots to the pan. Cook gently until caramelized on the outside.
- Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with paper towel.
- In a large Le Creuset or oven proof casserole dish with a lid, put the drained olives, mushrooms, bacon, potatoes, thyme, garlic, stock, salt and pepper.
- Close the lid and cook in the 325F oven, centre shelf for one hour.
- Open up the lid and baste all of the vegetables and meat in their own juices before returning to the oven with the lid on for a further 45 minutes.
- When the vegtables are glazed and tender and the liquid has reduced, the stew is cooked. Leave it in a warm place to allow the flavours to mingle before serving with fleur de sel and pepper to taste.

This healthier version of M. Richard's stew serves 4 people at a cost of 7 WeightWatcher [WW] Points per person.

QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
?Have YOU made any recipes from Happy in the Kitchen? If yes, how did you get on with Michel Richard's book?

In addition to the Potato stew [page 26], I have had enormous success with the Leek Tartare [page 97] and the Thyme Glazed Baby Back Ribs [page 210] all of which I have made several times. Despite being somewhat expensive to make, the 'shroomwhich [page 56] was a hit at the first ever Samanda dinner party. And although they didn't turn out quite as large as I expected, the Orange Cheesecake flans [page 264] which I made a lighter version of, without crust, went down extremely well when I served them up for a friend's birthday dinner. There are several other recipes in the book I can't wait to try, too. How about you?

Local Resources
Bacon and Duck stock from The Fatted Calf
Potatoes from David Little
Shallots from Dirty Girl
Garlic from Chue's Farm
Thyme from Eatwell
Olive Oil from Bariani
Mushrooms from Far West Funghi

Other people cook from Happy in the Kitchen
Happy in the Kitchen experiences on Chowhound
Chicken Faux Gras by Little Bouffe
Thyme Glazed ribs also by Little Bouffe
An Entire Happy in the Kitchen feast including Low Carb-o-nara by The District Domestic
Happy Kid Pudding by MaiaPapaya
Foie Gras Brulee from Veronica's Test Kitchen
Filet Mignon with Simple Syrah Sauce by Other People's Food
Carrot Ribbon Salad with Aromatic Spices, Mint, and Oranges from Jumbo Empanadas
Lamburger by Other People's Food
Chicken Faux Gras by Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
Reconstructed Lemon Egg by Wine & Dine

More Michel Richard
Q&A: Michel Richard [Washington Post]
His Collard Greens and Lentils by the Wednesday Chef

2007 | Overheard at the Fancy Food Show
2006 | The Hungry Hedonist
2005 | Moshi Moshi visit #1

© 2008 Sam Breach
Potato Stew with Olives, Mushrooms, Bacon & Onions...


  • At 21/1/08 22:56, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    no no no I don't have this book, but yes yes yes the first time I heard about my husband, twelve years ago, it was because of his stew.

    Supposedly better than mine.

    Maybe I should buy this book and practice in secret?

  • At 22/1/08 00:37, Blogger Beccy said…

    Sounds like that could be the stew for me.

  • At 22/1/08 04:06, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Oh yes!! but without the olives for me.

  • At 22/1/08 05:05, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've had Happy in the Kitchen for about a year now, but somehow I just haven't gotten around to trying any of the recipes in it yet. Maybe it's finally time. I really want to try that onion carbonara one first.

  • At 22/1/08 08:05, Blogger Sam said…

    For the Europeans - if you decide to go half sunchokes that would be "jerusalem artichokes" or "ompinabour" in translation. But all potatoes is as good if not even better. um if you skip th eolives definitely add more bacon as the olives add quite a lot of salty rich flavour. Make sure you use large firm mushrooms if you can;t get king trumpets. Del - this stew is so easy it hardly needs practice. Danielle - I was a bit slow off the mark geting into thi book too - but now I have searched out other blogs cooking from it I am even more inspired to try even more of his recipes. I think the problem is that some of hs stuff seems ore fiddly than it really is. It's definiteyl a "puttering in the kitchen makes you happy" kind of book.

  • At 22/1/08 11:58, Blogger SteamyKitchen said…

    Since that Chicken Faux Gras, I haven't made anything else yet. I should pick the book up again and thumb through it this week!

  • At 22/1/08 12:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    sounds like a book to buy and a stew to make. thanks sam! (ps isn't it topinambour in french?)

  • At 22/1/08 12:08, Blogger Sam said…

    yes it is and its my new favourite French word but i just made a typo which is different to a mistake :P

  • At 22/1/08 13:30, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think everyone should have an ode to their favorite stew! Nope don't have the book but would love to of course.

    mmm mushrooms.... mmmm

  • At 22/1/08 16:15, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    this sounds like the perfect meal for this evening (cold, rainy san francisco)- thank you for sharing it sam!

  • At 23/1/08 08:55, Blogger Katia Mangham said…

    I gave Happy in the Kitchen to my husband who is a chef. I think I liked the book more so than he did. We haven't made anything out of it. I think the dessert section will be where I tackle the first recipe. Those seemed a little more aproachable. The photos in the book are beautiful, which really is the reason I bought it!

  • At 23/1/08 16:26, Blogger Alice Q. Foodie said…

    I also have this book but have yet to try anything out of it. This sounds really good though, and I am encouraged by your success!

  • At 23/1/08 19:18, Blogger Sam said…

    Everyone who is scared of the book - please note - I was overhelmed by it at first until I made the leeks tartare recipe at coking school not realising it was one from the fearful book. On closer inspection I found many of his recipes aren't scary at all and that you can even cut some corners without affecting the end result too. Please give it another chance. Use the links to the other bloggers who have cooked from him a encouragement before you start!

  • At 23/1/08 21:45, Blogger Catherine said…

    Nice "Ode to Stew". And olives, way to go!

    Still I like a somewhat we stew that I can dip a little bread in. I made some nice ricotta dumplings recently for that too.

  • At 23/1/08 21:53, Blogger FaustianBargain said…

    i did not like Happy in the Kitchen even if i was attracted to it in the beginning. it did not have you say...the integrity of his first book.

    his first book, cooking with a french accent was infinitely better and i have reproduced several recipes from that one.

    amazon for book#1

  • At 25/1/08 10:47, Blogger Telesto said…

    I made this last night for dinner, and it was excellent - thanks very much for the recipe! I used 500g each of baby new potatoes and jerusalem artichokes, oil-cured olives, shiitake rather than king trumpet mushrooms, 4 rashers of smoked back bacon, and 200ml waitrose stock (couldn't be bothered to reduce it). Turned out brilliantly - just the ticket on a dark winter evening here in the Big Smoke :-)

  • At 27/1/08 07:27, Blogger DC Food Blog said…

    We made Le Kit Kat and it was fabulous! I haven't posted our pics and story yet, but will. I urge people to make this when you are having company over. Onward!

  • At 27/1/08 09:36, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That stew sounds (and looks) really amazing. I'm going to have to try that later this week. I've looked at this book before, but never bought it because it didn't seem like something where I'd turn to it again and and again and again, and I'm much choosier these days about which books I buy because I have so many and not very much shelf space. :)

    Thanks for writing about this! :D

  • At 3/2/08 08:14, Blogger Unknown said…

    I do like stew, the ordinary wet kind, but I also liked this one. I used half portobellos and half (dried) shitakes. I simmered the shitakes in dry white wine to rehydrate them, strained that and used it in place of the reduced stock. More meaty mushroomy goodness.


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