6.25.2016

Summer Nights

You might think that when the mercury soars above 100°F (38°C), the idea of a hot meal would be unthinkable. Alas, for this cook, it is not.

We are very fortunate to have air-conditioning so dishes that might normally be winter comfort food, can comfort us year-round.

Heating up the kitchen in summer is not something I like to do. Even with the AC, it gets stuffy. However, we have found a really great solution that doesn't involve a $40,000 outdoor kitchen.

We bought a propane grill with a side burner. Honestly, it is a marriage saver!

First, one of us (no names, but his initials are Markipedia) hates it when I cook onions in the house. The smell, and the idea that there are tiny fat globules floating through the house - through the ventilation, lodging themselves in our clothing, in our hair, in the upholstery, on the paintings, - is unacceptable. Now, I simply sauté the onions outdoors - especially if there is a large quantity.

Second, that burner allows us to make wonderful stove-top comfort dishes like today's Argentinian Carbonada Criolla without heating up the kitchen.

You might well ask, "Why are you making something so wintry in the summer?" It's a great question. The answer is pretty simple: look at the ingredients and ask yourself, "When are these ingredients in season?" Summer. If you use frozen or dried corn, and dried mango, most other ingredients hold well into the fall and winter. But, pretty much, this is a summer stew.

Our recommendation? Make this stew (indoors or on your patio), put on some tango music, and enjoy the summer heat.

¡Bajá un cambio¡ (Chill out! in Argentinian slang.)

Carbonada Criolla

1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 14-ounce can plum tomatoes, with juices
2 cups beef broth
2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 white potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 firm-ripe mango, peeled, seeded, and diced - or - 1 cup diced dried mango
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup corn kernels from 2-3 ears of corn

In a large pot, sauté the onions and green pepper in the olive oil until golden and soft. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook on medium-high heat, turning to brown all sides.

Add the plum tomatoes, beef broth, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, butternut squash, and mango. Break up the tomatoes with a spoon or fork. Add sugar, and mix well. (If dried mango is sweetened, cut the sugar by half.) Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for one hour. Taste for seasoning. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes longer, until beef is tender. Stir in the corn and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Serve with a crusty bread.

Serves 6 to 8.

28 comments:

  1. Oh David, this sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, the flavors on this sound unreal! And I woulod love to eat this any season - for some reason sometimes hot food in hot weather is extra soothing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahu - so many people say they like soup in the summer! I thought it was only me!

      Delete
  3. Yum! I do so love a bowl of "stew" or "soup."
    I made a green lentil and vegetable soup the day before yesterday and we really enjoyed eating it out in the garden for dinner. I would make this one and would have to leave out the meat because we went totally vegan a month ago. Eating a plant based diet just might reverse heart disease. Hubby says that after his next checkup he will consider eating elk from time to time so then I could make this delicious sounding recipe with elk meat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Caterina - this would be wonderful with Elk, but you could also make it with more vegetables, too. I hope your husband's next checkup has a good outcome.

      Delete
  4. We got our fancier grill with the side burner before we remodeled our kitchen. The last really brutal (yes, I know you are chuckling at the idea of a Wisconsin brutal summer), I used it a lot. I also took the slow cooker outside (and regretted giving away the breadmaker). I can see why you wouldn't want to wait for cool weather for this stew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really do love that side burner, Inger - regardless of the heatwaves! I have also made waffles outside, and pancakes using our electric skillet.

      Delete
  5. Looks really good, David! I'm a summertime soup-lover too and that outdoor burner sounds like a great idea. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear David - summer time soups and stews will always be a hit - especially with the kind of weather we are having this year. Rain, rain, and more rain...this would be a most welcome lunch then...
    Liebe Grüße,
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, this is quite the different summer from the one we had in Germany, isn't it? I hope you get some sunshine soon!

      Delete
  7. This soup would be perfect here in Switzerland where there is rain on n the weather forecast every day😒.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just heard the same forecast from our friends in Germany - so sorry to hear that, Gerlinde!

      Delete
  8. I wouldn't want to be outside grilling right now in AZ! I love the smell of cooking onions - but I cracked up at "His initials are Markipedia"! This stew looks great, and so unique!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Caroline. You and Mike need to try this! I, too, love the smell of cooking onions but have gotten to the point that I don't like smelling them all night while I am trying to sleep. Maybe Mark has changed me, like I conned him into liking my carrot cake!

      Delete
  9. I'm not use that I could make this and hide the fact that there's mango in there. Dean would put the fork down, get up and make some toast. And you know what? I don't hesitate cooking onions inside. Yes, there's a bit of beautiful sautéed onion smell wafting about the house and perhaps in my hair, but most of it gets extracted through the back wall and into the backyard for the neighbours to enjoy. Mark is so funny!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No mangos for Dean? So sad, John! Yes, Mark is a riot but, as I said to Caroline above, I have now gotten to the point where I don't like smelling the food in the middle of the night, either!

      Delete
  10. One thing that surprised me when traveling in Latin America is how substantial many of the dishes are, even in countries where and at times when the temperatures are really high. In Nicaragua, for example, the diet is quite heavy, consisting mostly of what we would call "winter food", and yet it's a tropical country where it never gets anything near chilly, let alone cold. I'm sure there are historical reasons, I've always wanted to look into it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't noticed that about Latin America, Frank - but now that you mention it, I have seen it in the cuisine of the islands (Jamaica, Cuba, Bahamas, etc.) Maybe there is something to the idea that hot food makes you feel cooler? (I don't think so, personally.)

      Delete
  11. I think your soup would be delicious anytime of the year. In the Dominican Republic, they serve sancochao a hearty soup like this year round.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen - I will have to look up sancochao!

      Delete
  12. David, I could enjoy this pot of deliciousness any time of year. I like the idea of cooking onions outside because I've gotten to really not like the cooking odor that lingers long after the onions are gone. Maybe I'll set up a little hotplate on the patio.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jean - it really does make a difference cooking them outside. Speaking of hotplates, I am dreaming of a magnetic induction hotplate...

      Delete
  13. Hi David, we enjoy soup all year round, love this summer masterpiece. Last year I started using a crock pot, only made a few things but it is another great way to keep the heat down. Have a wonderful 4th!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's so funny, Cheri - my very first crockpot dishes were last summer, as well! Great minds...

      Delete
  14. This looks great...here, without AC, I think that fall may be a better time but, if I had AC...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AC does help, Susan, but it would be worth putting up with a little extra heat for this dish!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a note - I really appreciate hearing from you and welcome any ideas you may have for future posts, too. Happy Cooking!

If you would like to receive follow-up comments, simply click the "Subscribe by E-mail" link to the right of the "Publish" and "Preview" buttons.