Slow Cooked Beef with Pappardelle and Mint

I LOVE eating pasta.  To the point that it’s not terribly healthy for me to have leftovers around as I end up picking at it.  But on the other hand, this braised beef with mint seemed like such an interesting combination that I had to try it.


Luckily for us our grocery story only seems to sell fresh pappardelle in 12 oz portions so between us we had not worries about leftovers.  When I first set about to marinade the beef for this, we were rushing home after a fun dinner out (since it’s always nice to pepper in date nights) to get to the grocery store before it closed.  We were able to get in and out in the nick of time, but I realized upon coming home that I had totally forgotten the mint.

I did however have fresh thyme lying around, and so threw that in the marinade for the meat, and then after doing some research, felt okay about continuing with add the mint in the next day for the final product.  It’s not clear to me that the thyme made that much of a difference, but I’m including it here since that’s how we made this pasta that ended up being spectacular.


  • 2 lb trimmed boneless beef shank, cut into 2-inch pieces (or just beef stew cubes)
  • One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
  • 15 mint sprigs, stems reserved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 35-ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 pound fresh pappardelle
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp fresh thyme (optional)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


  1. In a large resealable plastic bag (or a glasslock container or just a big mixing bowl), combine the beef with the wine, thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Drain the beef, reserving the marinade; discard the mint stems. Pat the beef dry. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add half of the meat to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned all over, about 12 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate. Brown the remaining meat over moderate heat.
  3. Return all of the meat to the casserole. Add the marinade and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and braise in the oven for about 2 hours and 15 minutes, until the meat is very tender.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate and shred with 2 forks. Boil the braising liquid until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pappardelle until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the meat and the reduced braising liquid and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the pasta is well coated with the brasato, about 2 minutes.
  6. In a small skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the mint leaves and cook for 10 seconds. Pour the garlic-mint oil over the pasta and toss. Serve in shallow bowls, passing the cheese alongside.

Crockpot Chicken Tagine

I’m often convinced that Lisa and I are communicating on some other cooking channel that we don’t even realize.  I love all the recipes she sends me and just wish I had more patience to cook them all!  I was delighted to find that we both made a Moroccan Chicken with preserved lemons dish last Friday, although mine was the simplified “still feeling under the weather and resorting to a crock pot” version.  Nevertheless, we were in some ways all eating together!


I happened to have preserved lemons on hand from ages ago when I (thankfully) had the forethought to make them, but I’ve also recently discovered that you can buy them!  As Lisa says, the internet has everything.


I served my tagine over simple couscous made in leftover chicken stock, and making it took maybe 10-15 minutes max!


6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into large chunks
2 tablespoons flour
2 large onions, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 inch fresh gingerroot, finely chopped
6 ounces dried apricots
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (14 ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 pint chicken stock
1 pinch saffron
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 teaspoons ras el hanout spice mix (or make up spice mix below)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and black pepper
chopped fresh coriander, to serve (Cilantro)
1 bag baby carrots
1 preserved lemon, chopped into small wedges
harissa (optional)

  1. Heat up olive oil in a frying pan/skillet & saute chopped onions & garlic for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Add chicken stock & gradually mix in flour until well mixed & not lumpy. Add honey & tomato paste & mix well.
  3. Add herbs,spices & finely chopped ginger with salt & pepper to taste. Finally add tinned tomatoes & mix well.
  4. Pour the above tomato,onion & spice mix into slow cooker. Add chicken & chickpeas & mix well.
  5. Add dried apricots making sure they are covered by juice. Add the carrots if using and preserved lemons
  6. Give it a gentle but good stir to mix everything together well.Crock Pot or Slow Cooker – Cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours OR automatic with keep warm facility for up to 8 hours.Serve with freshly chopped parsley on couscous.  Serve harissa on the side, so that guests can add according to how spicy they want their dish.

Adapted from Epicurious Easy Moroccan Chicken Tagine.


Lamb Tagine with Chickpeas and Cilantro

One day I will buy myself a fancy tagine (or even not so fancy tagine).  But realistically speaking that’s not going to happen until my kitchen doubles, and for now I’ve been content to make braises and slow cook the heck out of meat in my Staub Dutch oven.  lamboncouscous2

I had a hankering for cooking something that wasn’t just chicken or beef, and so Matt suggested lamb, which of course triggered a rabbit hole search on some of my favorite recipe sources — Food52 and Epicurious.

Lamb browning

Since I trust Epicurious ratings, it was pretty easy to narrow it down to this delicious looking tagine.  Slow cooked all day and with some cilantro thrown on top, it was so good that I was only sad that we hadn’t doubled the recipe.  The original recipe called for a spice blend that I did not have on hand, but I had a Baharat mixture that I made a while ago and just stored for all my Moroccan recipes and so I tossed that in instead.  I also did not have quite enough dried apricots (time for a order!) but I did have a bunch of golden raisins on hand and threw those in.  The result?  Fantastic.



  • 3/4 cup dried chickpeas
  • 5 garlic cloves (2 whole, 3 chopped)
  • 1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds 1″ cubes lamb shoulder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 teaspoons Baharat spice blend
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled ginger
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 1/2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup halved dried apricots (or golden raisins)
  • Steamed couscous
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Place chickpeas in a medium saucepan. Add water to cover by 2″. Let soak overnight.
  2. Drain chickpeas; return to same saucepan. Add 2 whole garlic cloves and cinnamon stick. Add water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until chickpeas are tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer lamb to a medium bowl. Add onion to pot; reduce heat to medium, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and beginning to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic, Baharat , and ginger. Stir for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and lamb with any accumulated juices. Bring to a boil. Add 2 1/2 cups stock. Return to a boil, reduce heat to low, partially cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in chickpeas; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in apricots; simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon couscous onto a large, shallow platter, forming a large well in center. Spoon tagine into center. Sprinkle cilantro over.

Adapted from Epicurious