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OLDE HUDSON

Recipe: Marinated Tomatoes

If you’re in the Berkshires and need to meet with someone, in a place where you can get a nice pastry and coffee or a local/organic/homemade meal in a convivial (and wired) setting, where do you go? Very likely, it’ll be one of the two Haven Café and Bakery locations (Lenox and Great Barrington, Mass.), which are favorites on just about everyone’s list. The cafes’ motto is “Taste the Love,” and you really can. Chef/owner Shelly Williams shares the recipes of some of Haven’s tastiest offerings with Rural Intelligence readers.

Summer is the best time for tomatoes hot off the vine, but with today’s modern growing methods, hot house tomatoes are tastier than ever, which means using them for cooking at any time of year is now an option. In this recipe, a simple marinade heightens the flavors of these winter tomatoes and gives us an opportunity to use the grill (or a good grill pan) in the winter. Pair these tomatoes with grilled herb chicken, fish or even tofu for an easy weeknight dinner. Haven serves them year round with everything from omelets to salads to sandwiches. The snow may still be here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the wonderful flavors of summer. 

Marinated Tomatoes
Makes 2 cups

8 oz grape tomatoes, halved
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs drained capers, coarsely chopped if large
1 tbs sherry vinegar
2 tsp lightly chopped fresh thyme
½ tsp minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix first six ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Store unused portion in refrigerator.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/08/16 at 02:33 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts With Butternut Squash And Apples

One of our favorite events every summer is The Sylvia Center’s Farm-to-Table dinner, hosted by Great Performances in the fields of Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, N.Y. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire young people and their families to eat well through hands-on learning experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. The Center does this by teaching skills that inspire students to establish independent healthy eating habits that lead to healthy and productive lives. Sounds like a good plan for all of us, which is why we’ve asked The Sylvia Center’s Liz Neumark, the founder of the farm and center, to share some recipes with us.

I like an all-inclusive side dish like this one. It goes with lots of main courses, chicken and duck to lamb and beef, and even substantial fish entrees, like roasted striped bass or salmon. This combination can be varied with pomegranate or pumpkin seeds, toasted walnuts or pine nuts, or bacon, all of which add some crunch along with their flavors. Needless to say, I always choose a type of Hudson Valley apple that will hold up during roasting, like a Baldwin, Cortland, or Rome.

Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Apples
Serves 6

2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved or quartered, depending on their size
2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 large apples, roughly cubed (about 2 cups)
1 shallot, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the Brussels sprouts, squash, apples, shallot, and olive oil in a large, shallow baking dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the dish in the oven and bake until the vegetables and apple and wrinkled and slightly brown, and the edges of the squash are beginning to crisp, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

(Excerpted from SYLVIAS TABLE by Liz Neumark. Copyright ©2013 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.)

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Posted by Lisa Green on 02/02/16 at 10:13 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Haven Cakes With Apple Syrup

If you’re in the Berkshires and need to meet with someone, in a place where you can get a nice pastry and coffee or a local/organic/homemade meal in a convivial (and wired) setting, where do you go? Very likely, it’ll be one of the two Haven Café and Bakery locations (Lenox and Great Barrington, Mass.), which are favorites on just about everyone’s list. The cafes’ motto is “Taste the Love,” and you really can. Chef/owner Shelly Williams shares the recipes of some of Haven’s tastiest offerings with Rural Intelligence readers.

When I was growing up, the smell of fresh pancakes in the morning just felt like home. As a mom, I knew how much kids love these warm, sweet little flat muffins and my kids were no exception. As a chef, I of course wanted to take them to the next level of delicious.

In this version, the use of cornmeal, clarified butter, cardamom apple syrup and crème fraiche does just that. At the café, Haven Cakes are a favorite among our regulars and even our staff. We also serve a pear and candied ginger version, but that’s another day… and worth a trip to Haven!

Haven Cakes
Makes 6 medium or 3 large

Apple Syrup
2 tbs unsalted butter
3 large Pink Lady or Golden Delicious apples (about 1½ lbs), peeled, cored, cut into ½” thick wedges
1 tbs plus ½ cup organic maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Pancakes
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ cup good quality yellow cornmeal
2 tbs light brown sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
2 tbs clarified butter
Additional unsalted butter
Additional maple syrup
Crème fraiche

For Apple Syrup
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and 1 tbs maple syrup; sauté until apples are tender and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add remaining maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom. Keep warm.

For Pancakes
Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl, whisk to blend. Whisk buttermilk, yogurt and egg in medium bowl to blend; add to dry ingredients and stir until just blended but still lumpy. Gently mix in the clarified butter.

Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spread a thin coating of butter over the griddle and let melt. Working in batches, drop batter by 1/3 cupfuls (or 2/3 cupfuls for large), spacing apart. Cook pancakes until brown on bottom and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes over and cook until bottoms are brown and pancake are barely firm to the touch. Transfer to plates. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to griddle as needed.

Spoon apple syrup over pancakes. Dollop crème fraiche over apples. Serve immediately, passing additional maple syrup and crème fraiche.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/25/16 at 10:42 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Haven Cafe’s Crab And Shrimp Cakes

If you’re in the Berkshires and need to meet with someone, in a place where you can get a nice pastry and coffee or a local/organic/homemade meal in a convivial (and wired) setting, where do you go? Very likely, it’ll be one of the two Haven Café and Bakery locations (Lenox and Great Barrington, Mass.), which are favorites on just about everyone’s list. The cafes’ motto is “Taste the Love,” and you really can. Chef/owner Shelly Williams shares the recipes of some of Haven’s tastiest offerings with Rural Intelligence readers.

Sweet juicy crab meets fresh briny shrimp: it’s one of those perfect friendships, two distinct personalities that are happy together. Mix it up with some lemon, fresh herbs and mayo? Perfection!

This recipe has had many stops and starts. I began making them about 20 years ago in my home kitchen. Over the years, I added a little of this and changed a little of that. Today, they are one of the most requested appetizers on Haven’s catering menu.

Be sure you find the highest quality crab meat and the freshest shrimp, because the end result will totally depend on it. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I have. Twenty years is a lot of crab cakes but they’re like a lifelong friend — I still love them!

Crab and Shrimp Cakes
Makes 8 cakes

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup good quality mayonnaise
½ cup scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 tbs mustard powder
¼ cup shallots, minced
1 tbs lemon zest
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lb crab meat (carefully picked over for shells)
1 lb shrimp, (de-veined, shelled, tails removed), roughly chopped
1 cup panko
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
½ cup vegetable oil, for frying

1. Combine eggs, mayonnaise, scallions, mustard powder, shallots, lemon zest, Worcestershire, ¾ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper in a large bowl. 

2. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the crab meat, shrimp and bread crumbs just until combined.

3. Form the mixture into 8 individual patties and place on a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 8 hours before cooking.

4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a baking sheet on the rack.

5. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Gently place 4 cakes in the skillet and cook until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Using a spatula, gently turn the cakes and cook the second side until lightly browned, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer the crab cakes to the warmed baking sheet to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining crab cakes. Serve immediately with aioli.

Chipotle Mayonnaise
Makes ½ cup sauce

½  cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tsp chipotle in adobo, minced
Zest and juice of one lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made ahead and kept, covered, in the refrigerator.)

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/18/16 at 10:10 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Homemade Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream

This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.

If you’re as obsessed with cooking, eating and entertaining as we are, the post-holiday weeks can be a bit of a food letdown. Some use this time to cleanse and purify, eating sprouts and celery sticks and carefully avoiding all the fatty, sweet and salty foods they’ve stuffed themselves with for the last two months. But not us.

We say “pshaw!” to that. Carpe diem! Look around – we’re deep into winter here in New England. It’s dark, it’s cold and the only way to stay in high spirits is to spend our short days in front of a hot oven and the long nights by the fire, nibbling on rich treats. Summer is the time for raw veggies and grilled fish – let’s indulge while we can!

In the spirit of extending the festive food period, we present one of our favorite post-holiday desserts: Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream. Though ice cream may seem counterintuitive given the recent sub-zero temperatures, trust us: nothing beats this yummy dessert, covered with some home-made hot chocolate sauce or accompanied by a steaming cup of cocoa. If you need even more justification, this recipe is a great way to get rid of all the candy canes you’ve accumulated from the holidays. And peppermint is one of those flavors, just like citrus, that cuts through fat. How could you resist?

Note: We like to use a simple “Philadelphia” style vanilla base for our Peppermint-Stick Ice Cream. You should feel free to make a French, custard base instead, though we find the Philly style to be a bit brighter to match the flavor of the candy canes.

Peppermint Stick Ice Cream
(adapted from The Joy Of Cooking)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
10-12 candy canes, crushed

Special Equipment:
Ice Cream Maker

Directions:
1. Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, the sugar, and the salt into a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean into the cream mixture, then drop the bean shell in as well.

2. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar.

3. Pour the cream mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream and milk. Refrigerate until cold, overnight if possible.

4. Remove the vanilla bean and seeds and discard. Pour the mixture into your chilled ice cream maker, then let’er rip. While it’s working its magic, crush your candy canes into small chunks. We like to put them into a plastic baggie wrapped up in a dishtowel. Then we go over it a couple times with a rolling pin.

5. Once your ice cream mixture is almost at the desired texture, throw the crushed candy into the mixture, letting the machine incorporate the chunks.

6. Serve immediately or put in the freezer for another hour or so. Philadelphia-style ice cream – well, any homemade ice cream, really – is best when served within a few hours.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 01/10/16 at 01:22 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Haven Cafe’s Sweet Carrot, Pear And Ginger Soup

If you’re in the Berkshires and need to meet with someone, in a place where you can get a nice pastry and coffee or a local/organic/homemade meal in a convivial (and wired) setting, where do you go? Very likely, it’ll be one of the two Haven Café and Bakery locations (Lenox and Great Barrington, Mass.), which are favorites on just about everyone’s list. The cafes’ motto is “Taste the Love,” and you really can. That’s why we’re delighted that chef/owner Shelly Williams will be sharing the recipes of some of Haven’s tastiest offerings with Rural Intelligence readers.

The secret to this soup is that not only does is consist of five simple, local ingredients but it’s also vegetarian and vegan friendly. I substituted the usual vegetable broth for carrot broth (both organic and flavorful), then added organic coconut milk. It ramps up the flavor and offers a beautiful base color on which to rest the garnishes. The ginger brings a magnificent smooth heat to the taste that pairs beautifully with the sweet mellow flavors of the pears and carrots. If you’re not concerned with the vegetarian or vegan aspect of the soup, you could even use it as a base for a quick Indian curry, paired with fish or chicken.

Sweet Carrot, Pear and Ginger Soup

Serves 6-8

Soup
6 medium organic carrots, washed and cut into ½” dice
2 tbs. rice or coconut oil
½ cup shallots, minced
2 tbs. fresh ginger, grated
3 medium pears, peeled, cored and cut into ½” dice
14 oz. organic coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional: ¼ cup apple cider

Garnish (optional)
¼ cup pear, diced
1 tbs. cilantro, chopped
2 tbs. pine nuts, toasted
1 tbs. fresh lime juice

1. Place carrots in large stockpot. Cover with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Strain the carrots, reserving the liquid. Set both aside.

2. Heat oil in stockpot over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add ginger and pears and continue cooking until pears are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the reserved carrots and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes.

3. Puree the carrot mixture with an immersion blender or food processor. Return mixture to the pot and add carrot water to desired consistency.

4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Option to sweeten: add apple cider. Garnish and serve immediately.

 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 01/04/16 at 03:58 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Caribbean Pot Roast with Seychelloise Squash Chatni

By Susan Simon

For me, one of the most satisfying cool weather meals involves either braising or stewing a nice chunk of meat. Over the years I’ve made assorted pot roasts and stews using a variety of ingredients.

Is there a big difference between braising and stewing? Well, yes. However, the choice of meat – beef, pork or lamb – used for both styles should be a tough cut from the outside of the animal (the shoulder, butt or ribs) with plenty of connective tissue that will break down and self-lubricate the dish as it slowly cooks. For both braising and stewing, the lid needs to be tightly secured to the cooking pot, but then their paths diverge.

A braised dish is cooked with enough liquid to cover the piece of meat about a third, or at the most, half-way and is usually cooked on top of the stove. A stew is cooked in enough liquid to cover the meat and then some, and can be cooked in the oven. While I like the results of both methods, I usually braise so I can more easily watch what’s going on.

I like the classic Italian brasato, and stufato – essentially, braised or stewed meat. Both dishes contain more or less the same kinds of ingredients; aromatic vegetables; carrots, onions and celery, hard herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage, tomato sauce, wine and broth.

I also like to both modify and ramp up the dish by adding different combinations of ingredients that I have discovered over the years. Years ago an Italian friend told me that she had arrived at her country home with a piece of meat that she fully intended to turn into a sublime brasato. Upon her arrival she discovered that her pantry was empty except for some coffee and a bit of vermouth. She cut up the beef, added it to a pot of coffee and vermouth then declared it the best brasato ever. 

I’ve fooled around with that recipe and combined aspects of it with a favorite West Indian pot roast to come up with this recipe. I like to serve the dish with another hot-island preparation – Seychelloise-style squash chatni (patois for chutney), which on those islands out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, is just about anything that’s made with lots of fried onions and a shot of something tart – in this case, lime juice.

Here’s a hot little meal for a cold winter’s day (if it ever arrives…).

Caribbean Pot Roast with Seychelloise Squash Chatni
Serves 6

2½ – 3 lbs beef shoulder plus the blood that has been released
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary needles
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
8 cloves
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
½ cup red vermouth
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons salt

1. Place the beef and blood in a large bowl. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, ginger, cloves, orange juice, and vermouth. Toss together to thoroughly combine the ingredients, then coat the meat with them. Let marinate for 3-4 hours.

2. In a brazier pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the onions in the olive oil until they are soft, 10-15 minutes. Remove the meat from the marinade and sear in the onions for 2 or 3 minutes on both sides. Stir the tomato paste and salt into the marinade and cover the meat with it. Place a lid on the pan and simmer, turning the meat every now and then, until it’s falling apart tender, 3-3½ hours.

3. Remove the meat from the pan, place on a cutting board and slice on the diagonal. Place the meat on a serving platter or individual plates and cover with the sauce to serve.

4. Serve with Seychelloise-style mashed butternut squash. Peel and seed a large butternut squash. Cut into 1-inch chunks and steam until tender. Meanwhile, slice 2 onions and fry in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until deep brown, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the steamed squash to a large mixing bowl. Mash, then add the fried onions, the grated zest and juice of a juicy lime, ½ teaspoon salt and stir to combine all of the ingredients. The mash can be made ahead of time and added to a baking dish. Heat to serve.

Susan Simon is the author of a James Beard award-winning book and a shopping guide to Marrakech, and has translated a culinary guide to Italy. She writes a weekly food column for the Hudson-Greene Media Group. She also writes the What We Eat Now series for Nantucket Today magazine. She lives in Hudson, N.Y.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 12/14/15 at 09:27 AM • Permalink

Recipe: Portuguese Kale Soup

This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.

It’s soup season! Like many people, this is our busiest time of the year, and at the end of the day we are too tired and too cold to put much energy or thought into cooking. More than once throughout the week, we pull some homemade stock out of the freezer, chop a few vegetables, and search our pantry for some meat, legumes and/or grains to throw together for a soup or stew.

Then — the best part — we sit down by the fire, watch TV, and let the soup cook and warm up the house. One of our favorite soups to make is also one the easiest. Based on a classic Portuguese soup, we adjust ingredients and proportions to what we happen to have laying around. While we prefer the classic version with smoked chorizo, red potatoes and lacinato, we’ve been known to use almost any kind of sausage, starch, and hearty green. So, don’t be afraid to adjust and adapt this recipe to what you like or have.

Portuguese Kale Soup

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
3/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 pound smoked chorizo cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 pound lacinato kale, cut into 1 1/2-inch strips
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1. Pour the oil into a heavy pot over a medium flame.

2. When the oil is hot, brown the chorizo (roughly 3 minutes), in batches if needed. Then remove chorizo and set aside.

3. Turn heat to medium-low and add garlic, onions and carrots in the sausage drippings. Saute, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned.

4. Add 4 cups of broth to the pot and bring to a boil.

5. Add the chorizo, kale and red potatoes, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 12/08/15 at 09:59 AM • Permalink

Everybody’s All-American: A Southern Spin on Chicken Potpie

By Paige Orloff

I’ve loved potpie since I was a little girl and my mother used to serve me the frozen ones as special lunch treats. (The fact that she’d do odd dances to entertain me while I endured their epic heating time in those pre-microwave days may have sweetened the memory, but only a bit.) As an adult, I discovered that potpie is one of those impressive-though-casual dishes that is way, way easier to make than it appears. You don’t even have to be able to make a decent crust (though that, too, is one of those things that is much simpler than most people think).

As a friend suggested, you can easily purchase frozen puff pastry to top your pie. This produces impressive, company-worthy results with next to zero effort. (Can you open a box? You’re set.) But the nearly-as-easy alternative is to make biscuits to top your homemade chicken stew. This Southern-influenced version of potpie is delicious, and a fine recipe to put together all at once, or to prepare in stages over a day or even a couple of days. Children will eat it, adults will marvel, and if you’re the kind of person who finds herself with stray vegetables in the produce drawer or in half-bags in the freezer, you can have the virtuous joy of cleaning house as well. Don’t get too obsessive about quantities of anything—except when making the roux—and you’ll do fine. 

Chicken and Biscuits
Serves 6

For the chicken stew:
1 roasting chicken, about 4-5 lbs
6 ribs of celery — two left whole, the rest sliced
3 onions — one peeled and sliced in half; the others chopped into coarse dice
6 carrots—two left whole, the rest cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 - 4 cups of other veggies to your taste: diced potatoes, parsnips or winter squash, frozen peas, pearl onions or mushrooms would all work.
1 bay leaf
10 peppercorns
salt to taste
1/4 c. flour
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
Water

First, make the stock. Put the chicken (rinsed, giblets, if any, removed) into a large stockpot with the whole celery, whole carrots, halved onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, and a teaspoon or so of salt. Cover with water, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for an hour. Remove the chicken to a bowl to cool, and strain the stock into another pot to cool.You’ll probably have a couple of quarts, most of which you’ll save for making soup or risotto another day. 

While the chicken is cooling, make the roux. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat so as not to burn it. When it starts to bubble and foam a bit, add the flour and stir vigorously. Cook the mixture over low-medium heat until it becomes fragrant, and a tiny bit golden, but not brown. Now add about a half cup of your warm stock, and whisk to combine. Cook until it thickens, and then repeat by adding additional half cups of stock, allowing the sauce to thicken before adding more liquid until you’ve incorporated about 3 cups of stock altogether. Don’t worry if it’s not extremely thick when you’ve finished adding the liquid. You’re going to keep cooking it down, and it will thicken on its own. Let the sauce simmer over low heat while you prepare the chicken and the rest of the vegetables.

If the chicken is now cool enough to handle, remove all the meat you can from the bones with your fingers. Pull apart into manageable pieces, but don’t get crazy. You can eat this with a knife; the pieces don’t have to be perfectly bite sized.

Now prepare the vegetables. Heat the olive oil for a couple on minutes in a Dutch oven (which you’ll bake the dish in so it needs to be oven safe.) Add the chopped onion, celery and carrots. (If you’re using mushrooms, add them now, too.) Sauté until the vegetables are just starting to soften, but still retain their color. Pour in the sauce, and continue to simmer over low-medium heat while you make the biscuits, and until all the vegetables are fork-tender. (If you’re using potatoes, parsnips or squash, add now so they have time to cook through. Pearl onions, too. Frozen peas should be added at the very last minute before the dish goes into the oven, so they keep some nice color.)

For the biscuits:
2 c. flour, preferably White Lily Self-Rising (hard to find unless you live in the South, but you can buy it online—see below.)
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 stick butter, cold, and cut into 1/2 chunks
2/3 c milk or buttermilk (low fat is fine)
2 T melted butter

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Stir flour, salt and baking powder together to combine. (If you’re using White Lily, you can even omit the baking powder, but if you use it, that’s okay, too.) Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This will take five or ten minutes—don’t lose heart! Just when you’re cursing the effort, the texture will magically change. Stir in the milk until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and knead two or three times. Roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch, and using a two-inch circle cutter, cut by pressing down without turning. Cut and re-roll until you’ve used up all the dough. You should have 12 - 15 biscuits.

Now it’s time to put everything together. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the shredded chicken into the pot. Add a half cup or so of frozen peas if you’re using them. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt and freshly ground pepper as needed. Place the biscuits on top to cover, and brush their tops with molten butter. Place in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Keep an eye on it; depending upon your oven, it could only take 10 to 12 minutes. 

Enjoy the meal, and the accolades. 

Note: Buy White Lily flour online here. I use White Lily Self-Rising for biscuits. 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/30/15 at 03:56 PM • Permalink

Recipe: Oven-Roasted Chestnuts With Spiced Melted Butter

By Lisa Green

If you’re reading this the day it’s posted — which happens to fall on Thanksgiving — well, then, good for you. You’re probably not hosting the feast. Or maybe you’re taking a little breather from basting. Either way, you might happen to have some chestnuts on hand, because it’s that season.

Honestly, I feel roasted chestnuts are a bit overrated. That might stem from my years living in New York, where the biting aroma of charred chestnuts wafting along Fifth Avenue enthralling tourists just made my throat itch. But ever since my husband and I moved into a house with a fireplace, he’s been seized with the romantic notion of roasting chestnuts on an open fire, and despite that acrid smell, I appreciate the sentiment. If he wants to get all romantic beside the fireplace, I’m not going to argue with that.

Still, it seems to me that the crackling chestnuts, once painstakingly peeled, could use a little boost in the flavor department, so I went looking for some kind of topping or sauce. Google never fails. It turned up Oven-Roasted Chestnuts with Spiced Melted Butter from Serious Eats, and everything is better with butter, right?

I’m not going to give directions for the actual roasting (they’re in the link below) — we chose the fireplace route over the oven, and we haven’t completely got that method perfected yet. Either way, however they’re roasting, make a potion of some unsalted melted butter, a cinnamon stick, salt, sugar and a little nutmeg. Voilà — a dipping sauce that gilds the chestnuts in their holiday finest.

You’ll find the full recipe here. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/23/15 at 10:01 AM • Permalink