Seafood Gumbo (Silver Palate's "The New Basics")

This is a simple dish to prepare, but the plentitude of seafood used makes it very impressive (and a bit expensive.) It's been a hit at a few Christmas parties (where I double or triple the recipe.)

Seafood Gumbo

8 ounces kielbasa or Cajun sausage, cut into 1-inch slices
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound okra, stems removed
2 cups diced onions
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups chopped plum tomatoes,
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper slightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 ounces sea scallops
12 ounces Maine cooked lobster meat
8 ounces lump U.S. crabmeat, cartilage removed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

In a large pot or Dutch oven, saute the sausage over medium heat until brown, about 15 minutes. Remove it from the pot and set aside.

Add half the oil to the pot. Then add the okra and cook over medium heat until slightly soft, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining oil, onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Stir, and cook another 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, salt, black pepper and bay leaf. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Add the shrimp and scallops to the gumbo and simmer another 5 minutes. Then add the lobster, crabmeat, and parsley, adjust the seasonings, and heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Short Ribs With Coffee And Chilies (Mark Bittman)

I've cooked this one a few times now, twice for large dinner parties - always gets a great reaction. I can never find the pasilla chiles locally (I substituted some dried 'california' chiles) and the only chipotles I can find are the canned ones. But it still tasted great!

Short Ribs With Coffee and Chilies

Published: February 13, 2008 (original recipe here)

Time: At least 3 hours

1 tablespoon oil
4 large or 8 small short ribs
Salt and pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 dried pasilla chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 dried chipotle chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup strong coffee.

1. In a heavy pot that can later be covered, drizzle oil. Over medium
heat, brown ribs well, adjusting heat as necessary to get a dark
crust. Take your time, and season with salt and pepper as they cook.
Remove them to a plate and turn heat to low.

2. In same pot, cook onions, garlic and chilies, stirring
occasionally, until onions are soft, about 15 minutes. Add wine and
coffee and reduce over high heat by about half. Return ribs to pot,
cover, and cook over low heat (or in a 300-degree oven) for 2 to 3
hours. Cook until very tender — beyond when meat falls off the bone —
turning every hour or so. Taste and adjust seasoning and serve.

Yield: 4 to 8 servings.