The Chili Con Carne recipe in last Sunday's Food section included some confusing instructions caused by a computer error. The corrected recipe follows: CHILI CON CARNE (6 to 8 Servings) Good chili must be made with chopped, not ground beef. In preparation, cut the beef into slices, cut the slices into narrow strips, and cut the strips across into tiny pieces. * 1 tablespoon oil 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion 1 cup chopped sweet green pepper 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef, all fat removed 2 tablespoons finely minced garlic 3 tablespoons chili powder (note: most contain some salt)* 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon cayenne 1 teaspoon oregano 1 bay leaf 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 cups canned, unsalted tomatoes with their juice, chopped 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) crushed red pepper flakes. Heat the oil in a heavy-duty casserole and add the onion and green pepper. Cook until the onion is wilted. Add the chopped meat and sprinkle it with the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne and oregano. Stir as the meat browns. Add the bay leaf, pepper, chopped tomatoes with their juices, vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Be aware that it is against the law in most jurisdictions to add beans of any sort to chili con carne. *You can make your own chili powder by pulverizing dried chilis in your blender. Adapted from Craig Claiborne's "Gourmet Diet"
T.S. Eliot wrote that "April is the cruelest month," but we know better. February is the cruelest -- only 28 days but they seem like 56. We need hearty, stick-to-the-ribs meals to get through February. Yet that isn't easy for those of us on low-sodium diets. Low-sodium cookbooks seem to be written with the light touches of summer in mind, for times when the stores and our pantries overflow with the largesse of the garden.
It is true that the stews, the chili, the hearty soups of winter are among the first casualties of diets restricted in salt content. But the situation is improving all the time. Just a few years ago, we would pay a premium for a can of tomatoes to which no salt had been added. Now major processors offer entire lines of no-salt-added vegetables, and chains such as Giant have their own no-salt house brands -- at house-brand prices. The little goodies we keep handy for emergencies -- canned button mushrooms, quality sardines, even pickles -- are available in salt-free versions. In addition to the naturally low-sodium cheese such as swiss and gruyere, there are many new low salt cheeses on the market and a wide variety of crackers made without salt to eat them on. More no-salt and low-salt products arrive in the supermarkets, not just the health food stores, every week.
Much of the secret of preparing tasty, low-salt dishes lies in using stock instead of water in most recipes. Chicken stock, beef stock, veal stock and even lamb stock can be made ahead of time, frozen -- your freezer should never be without a bag of ice cubes made from chicken stock -- and used to enhance everything you cook from osso buco to a hearty casserole.
To make a satisfactory stock, follow any standard recipe, but omit the salt, be a little heavy handed with the parsley, celery tops, or bouquet garnis, and cook it down some to make it "extra strength."
I am one of those who finds the taste of salt substitute unpleasantly metallic. Besides, I suspect that using a salt substitute would impair the ability to detect salt in foods eaten outside the home.
There is likely to be a great deal of truth stretching about the salt content of restaurant dishes. There are exceptions: at the old Bagatelle, chef Robert Greault would make a bearnaise sauce to order without salt, and Jacques would make a delicious salad dressing with oil, vinegar, shallots, and freshly ground pepper. Away from home you can order your fish grilled and served with lemon slices and ask for oil and vinegar on the side with your salad. But there is little chance of getting pasta that has not been cooked in heavily salted water, or almost any oriental food which will not contain more grams of sodium in a few mouthfuls than your diet allows for the day. Eat pasta and Chinese food, if you must, at home.
The following recipes observe Craig Claiborne's fool-the-palate principle in which a flavor or combination of flavors eliminates the desire for salt. When you experiment on your own, see how a tiny bit of sugar and a few drops of vinegar can transform a dish you are preparing without salt. Try sweet and sour red cabbage as a side dish. Try various curries. Make your own mustard sauce. See how various fruits, pureed and added to a simple white sauce, make a freshly poached fish fit for a king. Try some of the more unusual vegetables, such as salisfy, or mash sweet young turnips with a bit of butter and a little madeira. It is February. Eat hearty! LENTIL SOUP FROM LAMB STOCK (Makes 3 quarts)
4-5 pounds of lamb neck bones (or meaty bones from three legs of lamb plus two lamb shanks)
1 onion, chopped
1 onion, peeled and stuck with 3 cloves
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley (or celery tops)
6 quarts water
*Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly, uncovered, about four hours. If necessary, add more water so you end up with 3 full quarts of stock.
Strain the broth, and when it is cool, refrigerate until you can remove the solid fat from the top. LENTIL SOUP (8 servings)
3 quarts lamb stock
1 pound (2 cups) dried lentils which have been soaked overnight, drained
2 carrots, diced small
2 onions, chopped fairly small
1/2 green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Combine all ingredients except the lemon slices and bring to the boil. Simmer, covered, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Serve garnished with lemon slices. MARINATED TURKEY DRUMSTICKS (4 servings)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
4 turkey drumsticks, about a pound each.
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon aromatic bitters
*Place the wine, oil, oregano, thyme, cayenne, garlic and bay leaves in a blender and emulsify.
Place the drumsticks in a baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Turn to coat all surfaces. Refrigerate 12 to 24 hours, turning to renew the coating of marinade three or four times.
Lift out the drumsticks and dry with paper towels. Pour the marinade into a small bowl. Rinse the dish with the water and add the water to the marinade.
Place the drumsticks in a baking dish and brush all surfaces with the marinade. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the drumsticks, brush with the marinade again and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn, baste, and bake for two more 15 minute periods or one hour total baking time.
Add the brandy and butter to the remaining marinade, heat gently and pass separately. (Adapted from a recipe by Carol Cutler). UNBELIEVABLE VEAL (6 servings)
2 1/2-3 pounds boneless veal cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2/3 cup chopped scallions, including the tops
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, or more to taste
3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
2/3 cup hot water
1 cup yogurt at room temperature
Dredge the veal in the flour and white pepper. Saute the veal with the scallions in the oil and sprinkle with the paprika when the meat is nicely browned.
Add the tomatoes, the hot water and simmer gently, covered, for one hour and fifteen minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Keep warm but do not boil until ready to serve over noodles or rice. BRAISED CROSS-CUT BEEF SHANKS (4 servings)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cross-cut beef shanks
2 tablespoons oil
1 large onion
1 cup or more salt-free beef stock
2 bay leaves
12 small white onions
2 carrots, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 turnips, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into strips
1 cup frozen peas thoroughly rinsed under running water to remove salt
Mix the flour, allspice and pepper and dredge the beef shanks in it. Brown well in the oil. Remove the shanks when nickely browned on both sides, drain, and place in a baking dish.
Cut the onion in half and slice each half thinly against the cut side. Sprinkle over the beef shanks. Add the beef stock and bay leaves, cover with foil, and bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 375 degrees.
When the meat has cooked for an hour and a half, add more stock if necessary, add the onions, carrots and turnips, recover with foil and return to the oven.
When the meat seems almost tender, add the peas and cook for ten more minutes.
Remove the shanks and vegetables to a serving platter and keep warm. Strain the liquid from the baking dish, thicken it, and pass separately. EGGPLANT-LAMB LASAGNA (8 servings)
3 pounds of ground lamb
1 large eggplant (about 2 pounds)
3 medium onions, chopped fine
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 can (1 pound, 12 ounces) unsalted tomatoes (preferably plum), chopped
6 ounces tomato paste
6-12 ounces ? unsalted tomato juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepepper to taste
1/2 pound lasagna noodles
4 ounces mozzarella cheese (Polly-O brand makes a no-salt mozzarella)
Cook the lamb until the redness disappears and drain off all the fat. Mince with a fork and set aside.
Remove the stem from the eggplant and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Put 1/4 cup oil in a skillet and heat. Add more oil as needed. Add the eggplant and fry on both sides until fork tender, drain, and set aside.
Saute the onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet until soft. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 6 ounces of tomato juice, oregano, marjoram, red pepper flakes, and ground black pepper, and cook slowly, uncovered, for 30 minutes. If mixture becomes dry, add more tomato juice. Stir in the lamb and cook for another five minutes. Remove from heat.
Cook the lasagna in boiling water until tender and drain well. Arrange half the lasagna in a buttered 3-quart shallow baking dish. Top with half the sauce, then half the eggplant. Repeat the layers of lasagna, sauce and eggplant.
Cut the mozzarella into strips and place over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. agcrdt3 (Adapted from kay Shaw Nelson's "Pasta Plan and Fancy"). CHILI CON CARNE (Serves ?)
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
1 cup chopped sweet green pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef, all fat removed
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder (note: most brands contain some salt)*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspon oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups canned, unsalted tomatoes with their juice, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon (or more to taste) crushed red pepper flakes
* Good chili must be made with chopped, not ground beef. In preparation, cut the beef into slices, cut the slices into narrow strips, and cut the strips across into tiny pieces.
Heat the oil in a heavy duty casserole and add the onion and green pepper. Cook until the onion is wilted.
Add the chopped meat and sprinkle it with the garlic, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and oregano. Stir as the meat browns.
Add the bay leaf, pepper, chopped tomatoes with their juices, vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for one hour, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Be aware that it against the law in most jurisdictions to add beans of any sort to chili con carne.
*You can make your own chili powder by pulverizing dried chilis in your blender. (Adapted from Craig Claiborne's "Gourmet Diet")