'Stewed: A Collection Of Soups, Braises And Stews From Sweet Basil'08:03

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Beet Cured Salmon
Beet Cured Salmon

Many of us are still hunkering down after the weekend's snow storm — and what better way to pass the time than to whip up a soup, stew or braise to warm your body and soul?

Chef Dave Becker's new cookbook, Stewed: A Collection Of Soups, Braises, And Stews From Sweet Basil, is the perfect antidote to the winter chill. The book is a collection of hearty takes on classics as well as less recognized creations that showcase the kitchen maverick's inventive approach to cooking authentic, rustic cuisine with simple, fresh ingredients.


Dave Becker, chef and owner of Sweet Basil in Needham, Mass.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup carrots, scrubbed, ¼” dice

2 cups Spanish onions, ¼” dice

1 cup celery, ¼” dice

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 pound ground lamb meat

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

2 cups heavy cream

5 cups Chicken Stock (page 72)

2 tablespoons spelt grains

2 tablespoons cornmeal

1 cup freshly shucked corn kernels

1 cup freshly shucked peas

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


Fresh mint sprigs

Chopped chives

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, allow it to heat for a few seconds, and then add the carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 10 minutes or until the veggies are browned. Add the ground lamb and the powdered ginger, and stir all of the ingredients to combine. Add the cream, stock, and the spelt grains, and slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Decrease the heat to low, and allow the porridge to cook 30 minutes, or until the spelt is no longer hard. Add the corn kernels at the very last minute, remove from the heat, and add the fresh peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Evenly distribute the porridge among serving bowls, garnish with the fresh mint and chives, and serve.

Veal Shanks

Serves 4 to 6 

1 cup dry vermouth

1 tablespoon fresh tarragon

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus 4 more if burnt while searing the veal

3 pounds veal osso bucco, cut into 2” thick pieces

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Flour, for dusting

1 cup carrots, scrubbed, ¼” dice

2 cups yellow beets, scrubbed, ¼” dice

2 cups Spanish onions, ¼” dice

½ cup celery, ¼” dice

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

1 teaspoon capers

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 quarts Chicken Stock (page 8)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup plum tomatoes, ¼” dice


Lemon zest

Chopped fresh parsley

Freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Preheat the oven to 300º.


In a small bowl, combine the vermouth with the tarragon. Set aside (see NOTE).

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, and heat for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, dust the veal with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and flour. Place the dusted veal in the pan, and sear on all sides. Place in an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven. Set aside.

If the oil with the brown bits is not burnt, reuse it; if it is, discard, wipe the pan clean, and add an additional 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Allow the oil to heat, and then add the carrots and the beets. Sauté for a couple of minutes, and then add the onions. Continue to sauté this mixture for an additional minute, and then add the celery, garlic, and capers. When these ingredients begin to brown, deglaze the pan with the reserved tarragon-infused vermouth and the lemon juice, and then immediately add the stock. Bring this to a boil, and remove from the heat.

Cover the reserved veal shanks with the stock and sautéed vegetables, making sure to add enough stock to cover the shanks. Wrap the pan with aluminum foil, place in the oven, and braise for at least 2 hours, or until the meat feels tender when you jab it with a fork (see NOTE).

Transfer the hot shanks to serving bowls. Swirl the butter and tomatoes into the broth, check for seasoning, and ladle over the shanks. Garnish with the lemon zest, parsley, and grated Pecorino, all to taste, and serve.


Soaking the tarragon in the vermouth infuses it with a licorice flavor, while also preserving the quick-wilting herb. If you won’t be dining on the shanks the same day you prepare them, reserve them in the braising liquid to maintain the moisture.
Seafood Chowder

Serves 4 to 6

1 stick unsalted butter

½ cup flour

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for roasting the clams

2 cups Spanish onions, ¼” dice

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

¼ cup celery, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

3 cups Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, ¼” dice

1 cup fresh corn kernels

1 cup sherry

1 ½ quarts Fish Stock (page 93)

2 cups heavy cream

½ pound fresh mussels, scrubbed

½ pound Maine baby shrimp

½ pound squid, tentacles and rings cut

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

½ pound whole clams, scrubbed


Chopped fresh parsley

Chopped fresh basil

Preheat the oven to 400º.

In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter over low heat. When the butter melts, slowly whisk in the flour. Allow the roux to cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture turns brown

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and thyme. Sauté the mixture for 5 minutes or until the ingredients begin to caramelize. Add the potatoes, corn, and sherry. Continue cooking for 1 minute or until the liquid is reduced. Add the Fish Stock, bring to a boil, and then add the boiling soup to the roux, maintaining the medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the cream, and then add the mussels, shrimp, and squid. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mussels open, and remove from the heat. Season to your liking with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, arrange the whole clams on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a few pinches of kosher salt and drizzle with a few splashes of olive oil. Roast in the oven until the clamshells open.

Ladle the soup into bowls, evenly distributing the roasted clams. Garnish with the parsley and basil, and serve.

This segment aired on February 11, 2013.