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Yucatecan Chicken and Lime Stew (Sopa de Lima)

Absolutely delicious, this Sopa de Lima is a classic Mexican soup from the Yucatán Peninsula. Brothy, spicy and usually chicken-based, the juice of limas counts as a key ingredient, or Mexican bittersweet limes, a variety of citrus that is difficult to find here in the U.S.

So in a clever twist to approximate the flavor of limas, Milk Street used a combination of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and standard lime juice. They tell us the credit for this substitution goes to J. Kenji López-Alt of Serious Eats. To keep the flavors clear and bright, add the citrus juices at the very end after cooking is complete. Warm spices add complex flavor and aroma to this version using cinnamon, allspice and cumin, along with dried oregano.

Simmering bone-in chicken thighs in store-bought chicken broth yields a deeply flavorful base for the soup, however, we included our homemade chicken stock which amped up that flavor base even more! But before simmering, you need only to brown the skin side of half of the chicken thighs; which will develop enough caramelization to build depth of flavor but spares the time and mess of browning both sides of all 3 pounds of thighs.

Once the requisite amount of chicken thighs were browned, we chopped them in half. This multi-pronged approach released the marrow from the bones, plus quickened the heating process once in the pot, then the cooling down process just before shredding the meat.

Sopa de lima is garnished with strips of fried corn tortillas that, when lightly soaked with broth, take on an appealing chewy-crunchy quality that adds textural appeal to the soup. For simplicity, however, we used tortilla chips.

Yucatecan Chicken and Lime Stew (Sopa de Lima)

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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NOTE: It is highly suggested that you don’t use grapefruit juice that’s not freshly squeezed. Pasteurized juice or juice from concentrate lacks the peppiness that the soup requires. (Although since we had some already on hand and opened, we did use it.) Any variety of grapefruit—pink, red or white—works well. You will likely need 1½ grapefruits to get ¾ cup juice.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
  • 2 large white onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems minced, leaves roughly chopped, reserved separately
  • 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 qts. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup grapefruit juice
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice, plus more as needed
  • Tortilla chips, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add half the chicken, skin side down, and cook without disturbing until well browned on the bottom, 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pot.
  2. Chop both the browned and and raw chicken thighs in half, set aside.
  3. Return the pot to medium-high, add the onions and ½ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and cilantro stems. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes with juices, then the broth. Bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the raw chicken and the browned chicken, along with any accumulated juices, then bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce to low and cook, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until a skewer inserted into the chicken meets no resistance, about 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside. When cool enough to handle, use 2 forks or your hands to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones. Add the shredded meat to the pot and bring the soup to a simmer over medium, stirring occasionally.
  6. Off heat, stir in the grapefruit and lime juices, then taste and season with salt, pepper and additional lime juice (if desired). Ladle into bowls and top with tortilla chips and cilantro leaves.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Original recipe compliments of Milk Street

Hearty Beef Braciole

If you’re not familiar with Beef Braciole (I had never heard of it until I moved out East in my early twenties), it’s a classic Italian dish with many variations. It can be made with thin, individual slices of beef such as round or as one large roll using flank steak. It can also be made with pork and it always has a savory filling. But first, get the pronunciation right: [brah-chee-oh-ley, brah-choh-; Italian brah-chaw-le].

For this take on stuffed beef rolls, Cook’s Illustrated chose flank steak rather than top or bottom round because its loose grain makes it easier to pound thin and its higher fat content means that it emerges from the oven tender and moist. And that it did!

This filling is on the bold side, with the inclusion of umami-rich ingredients such as prosciutto; anchovies; and fontina, a good melter that also brings much-needed fat to the dish. In addition, a gremolata-inspired mix added to the filling provides a jolt of flavor and freshness. Right up our alley! Finally, beef broth is added to the tomato sauce to integrate the beef and the sauce into a unified whole.

This is not your quick weeknight meal. It takes the better part of 4 to 5 hours before you will be serving it on the dinner table, so plan accordingly.

And below is a bonus Roasted Broccoli Rabe recipe to accompany the main dish; this recipe hailing from Milk Street. It takes about 30 minutes max, so you can make it just as the braciole is getting done.

NOTES: Before you begin, cut sixteen 10-inch lengths of kitchen twine. You can substitute sharp provolone for the fontina, if desired. For the most tender braciole, be sure to roll the meat so that the grain runs parallel to the length of the roll. Serve the braciole and sauce together, with pasta or polenta, or separately, as a pasta course with the sauce followed by the meat.

Hearty Beef Braciole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 7 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, divided
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
  • ⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
  • 3 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (3⁄4 cup)
  • (2- to 2½-pound) flank steak
  • 8 thin slices prosciutto
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Your choice of pasta, optional

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Stir 3 tablespoons oil, half of garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Add ⅓ cup basil, parsley, Pecorino, and bread crumbs and stir to incorporate. Stir in fontina until evenly distributed and set aside filling.
  3. Halve steak against grain to create 2 smaller steaks. Lay 1 steak on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge. Holding blade of chef’s knife parallel to counter, halve steak horizontally to create 2 thin pieces. Repeat with remaining steak.
  4. Cover 1 piece with plastic wrap and, using meat pounder, flatten into rough rectangle measuring no more than ¼ inch thick. Repeat pounding with remaining 3 pieces. Cut each piece in half, with grain, to create total of 8 pieces.
  5. Lay 4 pieces on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge (if 1 side is shorter than the other, place shorter side closer to you). Distribute half of filling evenly over pieces. Top filling on each piece with 1 slice of prosciutto, folding to fit, and press firmly. Keeping filling in place, roll each piece away from you to form tight log. Tie each roll with 2 pieces kitchen twine to secure. Repeat process with remaining steak pieces, filling, and prosciutto. Sprinkle rolls on both sides with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown rolls on 2 sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer rolls to plate.
  7. Add onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in pepper flakes and remaining garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Return rolls to pot; bring to simmer. Add parchment paper to cover the entire pot opening, then cover tightly and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, 2½ to 3 hours, using tongs to flip rolls halfway through braising.
  9. Transfer braciole to serving dish and discard twine. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of the sauce, skim off as much as you can with a large spoon.
  10. Meanwhile, if serving pasta, cook according to package directions.
  11. TIP: If your sauce reduced too much (ours did), add up to a cup of the pasta water to thin it. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons basil into tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over braciole and serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated

Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes

The high heat renders the stems and florets tender while the leaves crisp around the edges, like kale chips with a spicy broccoli bite. Make sure not crowd the pan or everything will steam rather than roast. In the end, they may not look real pretty, but they are fantastic in the taste category!

If possible, use whole toasted fennel seed then grind it down yourself either with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. There was a sweet-and-sour mint dressing that was also part of this recipe, but we omitted it. And in a word, the rabe was “Delish!”

Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, well dried
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 500°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss broccoli rabe with olive oil, fennel, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  3. Transfer the broccoli rabe to the baking sheet and roast until just beginning to brown, stirring halfway through, 12 to 15 minutes total.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe courtesy of Milk Street

Stir-Fried Pork and Green Beans

Sweet, Sour and Hot… no, this is not a romantic novel review. Hitting all the right notes, this quick and easy stir-fry, packs in savoriness from fish sauce and garlic, sweetness from a little sugar and spicy heat from pepper flakes. Thin slices of ultra-tender pork contrast the crisp snap of green beans, preferably haricot verts.

We took it a step further and added a bunch of scallions, the white and light green parts were stir-fried with the green beans, and the dark green slices were added as a garnish along with the chopped cilantro. Next time we intend to toss in some red bell pepper strips too, which will add a nice pop of color along with extra nutrients.

In addition, we doubled the sauce, which at first we thought might have been too much. But in the end, it was the perfect amount to coat the pork and veggies. I made the adjustments in the list of ingredients below. Serve with steamed rice, and if you like, additional fish sauce at the table.

Caution, don’t stir the beans and pork too often. Stirring just once or twice during cooking allows them to char and develop flavor. Also, don’t forget to stir the sauce mixture just before adding it to the skillet, as the cornstarch settles to the bottom upon standing. In our opinion, we feel using a wok is a much better vehicle for getting a good char when stir-frying.

Stir-Fried Pork and Green Beans

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp.white sugar
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut oil, divided, plus more as needed
  • 8 oz. green beans, cut on the diagonal into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced thinly, white and light green parts divided from dark green
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, halved and cut into 1/4″ slices (optional)
  • 1¼ pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup lightly packed cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the fish sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, sugar, pepper flakes and ¼ cup water. Set aside.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet over high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until barely smoking. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the beans and scallion whites and light green slices. Cook, stirring once or twice, until charred, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. If you are using red bell pepper, stir-fry them next as you did the green beans. When slightly charred, add to same bowl as beans.
  4. In the same pan over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until barely smoking. Swirl to coat the pan, then add the pork in an even layer. Cook, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Return the beans (and red pepper, if using) to the pan, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  5. Whisk the fish sauce mixture to recombine, then add to the pan and reduce to medium. Cook, scraping up any browned bits, until the sauce thickens slightly and clings to the meat, about 60 seconds. Off heat, stir in the cilantro. Garnish with scallion greens.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe from Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Chiringuito Seafood Paella

Chiringuitos are humble seaside establishments that are to the Spanish coast what clam shacks are to New England; thus the name of this recipe. According to Anya von Bremzen’s cookbook “The New Spanish Table” there is usually a pretty terraza with a view of the sea and a menu that revolves around salt-baked fish, fried baby squid, clams, and invariably a simple mixed seafood paella like this Chiringuito Seafood Paella recipe.

Well, it was Christmas eve in our Bucks County home, so there was no terraza with a seaside view, let alone salt-baked fish or baby squid. But, The Mr. has made many a paella on both his outdoor paella grill and on the stovetop, which happened to be our only choice on that particular night. Yes, the Winter holidays have come and gone, but no need to wait for a major holiday to treat yourself with this elegant meal.

You know my mantra, use homemade stock if at all possible. If you can manage to make a stock from shrimp shells (save them in a plastic bag in the freezer when you peel shrimp), it is even better. But bottled clam juice diluted with some water, can work too. 

The original recipe called for monkfish and baby squid, neither of which we included (I can’t stand squid). However, eight large sea scallops made the ingredients list, and I love them! The rest of the seafood consisted of shrimp, little neck clams (half of which did not open much to Russ’s chagrin), and a sprinkling of crabmeat leftover from our starter course of Crab Louie, recipe below.

TIP: If you’re making the recipe for a dinner party, you can prepare it up to the point just before you transfer the paella to the oven; just remove it from the heat and leave it on top of the stove up to a half hour, until you’re ready to proceed. That leaves you with 15 minutes baking time after you press the seafood into the rice and 10 minutes for it to rest.

Chiringuito Seafood Paella

  • Servings: 4, as a main course
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 5 cups homemade shellfish broth, OR make from diluting 3 1/2 cups bottled clam juice with 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • Sea or kosher salt
  • 8 large dry-packed sea scallops
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half and grated on the medium holes of a box grater, skins discarded
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sweet (not smoked) paprika
  • 1 3/4 cups short-grain rice such as Arborio or Bomba
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 12-18 small clams, such as Manila or littlenecks, scrubbed
  • 12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the shellfish broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crumble the saffron between your fingers and drop it into the broth. Keep it at a slow simmer until you’re ready to use it.
  2. Place 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 15- or 16-inch paella pan set over a burner and heat on medium heat until it starts to smoke. Add the scallops and cook until barely seared, 1 to 2 minutes, seasoning it lightly with salt. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Add the shrimp to the pan, stirring, until just seared, about 2 minutes, seasoning it with salt. Transfer shrimp to the bowl with the scallops and cover with foil.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the center of the pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant, less than 15 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the center of the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring the tomatoes several times, until they are thickened and reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Season lightly again with salt. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds.
  4. Add the rice to the paella pan and stir it gently to coat with the pan mixture. Pour in 3 1/2 cups of the simmering stock (5 cups if using Bomba rice), keeping the remaining stock simmering in case it is needed later. Stir in the parsley and a sprinkling of salt, and shake the pan gently to distribute the rice evenly. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Periodically move and rotate the pan so that the liquid boils evenly. 
  5. Press the clams into the top of the rice and cook until the cooking liquid is almost level with the rice but the rice is still rather soupy, another 2 to 3 minutes, again moving and rotating the pan periodically to keep the liquid boiling evenly. If the liquid is absorbed too fast and the rice still seems too raw, sprinkle on some more stock. (NOTE: At this point you can turn off the heat and set it aside for up to half an hour, if you like.)
  6. Transfer the paella pan to the oven and bake until the clams open and the rice is tender but still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Check the paella a few times and sprinkle more stock over the rice if it seems too al dente. Remove the paella from the oven and discard any clams that have not opened. Distribute the shrimp and scallops over the paella, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and let stand for another 5 minutes (the rice gets better as it stands).
  7. To serve, arrange the lemon wedges around the edge of the paella pan and decorate the top with the shrimp. Serve the paella straight from the pan, along with allioli if desired, for stirring into the rice. 

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe in “The New Spanish Table” by Anya von Bremzen

Crab Louis Salad

Crab Louie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup ketchup-based chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced scallion
  • 2 Tbsp. minced green olives
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. bottled horseradish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 lbs. jumbo lump crabmeat
  • Bibb lettuce leaves, washed, dried and divided
  • Capers
  • Tomato wedges
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Lemon

Directions

  1. Whisk scallions, mayonnaise, chili sauce, lemon juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. (You will most likely have leftover dressing.)
  2. Line four salad plates with Bibb lettuce leaves and top with crab meat, avocado, and tomatoes. Drizzle dressing over, then top with capers and parsley.
  3. Garnish with capers and wedges of tomato, hard-boiled egg, and lemon. Serve with additional dressing alongside.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from epicurious.com

Tagliatelle with Portobellos and Chive Ricotta

In this hearty vegetarian dish borrowed from Milk Street, an umami-rich mushroom sauce combines with tarragon-tossed tagliatelle pasta. Red miso and mild portobellos ground the flavors in earthy richness that contrasts well with a finishing spoonful of chive-seasoned ricotta cheese. It is rich and filling, so a simple side salad makes a nice accompaniment.

Tagliatelle, which oddly enough we were unable to find, is an egg noodle similar in shape to fettuccine, but with a finer texture and richer flavor. Dried versions are often sold bundled in nests. In its place, we substituted pappardelle, where the only difference is in dimension—pappardella is one and a half wider than tagliatelle and slightly thicker (although Cipriani is a very thin pasta).

Milk Street notes that the time table for this recipe is 30 minutes. It took us double that even though our brand of pasta took only 4 minutes for al dente. Not sure why, maybe the prep took longer?? Just want to give you a heads up on that possibility.

TIP: The mushroom gills will give the sauce a murky appearance if left on, so make sure to scrape them off.

Tagliatelle with Portobellos and Chive Ricotta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. dried tagliatelle
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter, divided
  • 2 lbs. portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, quartered and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbsp. red miso
  • 1/2 cup fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the ricotta, chives and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt and cook until al dente.
  2. Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and ½ cup of the reserved cooking water; toss to coat.
  3. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter until foaming.
  4. Add the mushrooms, shallots and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms have released their moisture and are well browned, about 10 minutes.
  5. Pour in the wine, scrape up any browned bits and simmer until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour in the remaining 1½ cups reserved cooking water, bring to a simmer and cook over medium-high until the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes.
  7. Off heat, stir in the miso and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add the tarragon to the pasta and toss, then transfer to a serving bowl. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the pasta. Serve dolloped with the ricotta mixture and drizzled with olive oil.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe courtesy of Milk Street

Mozzarella Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

If chicken breasts brimming with lots of flavor is one of your goals, then this recipe is for you. Golden, crusty chicken on the outside; juicy and buttery on the inside; filled with two different types of cheeses, with the most delicious garlic butter mushrooms.

If there is not enough butter left in the pan after making the mushrooms, heat 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan and when it is done foaming, sear two breasts at a time for about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with the other two pieces of poultry.

And if you so choose, there’s an additional Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce to take it over the top, which we opted not to make. Rather, we deglazed the pan with dry vermouth (wine) when finished browning the stuffed breasts. Before the wine fully evaporates, add the poultry back into the pan with accumulated juices, cover and cook for the allotted 20 minutes.

Most likely, you will have some seepage of cheese oozing out into the pan, as you can see on the right-most two pieces in the top photo. But don’t waste it, use that along with the brown juices to pour over over your platter of chicken.

And because we couldn’t possibly stuff any more ingredients into the slits after the mozzarella and mushrooms, we saved the grated parm for a topping. Sprinkle equal amounts over each breasts, return to the oven for two minutes, then top with a few leftover mushroom slices. We paired ours with a homemade rice pilaf and steamed green beans with a garlic butter finish.

Mozzarella Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Mushrooms:

  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine, optional
  • 12 toothpicks to seal the stuffed breasts

Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced or finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1-1/2 cups half and half or use reduced fat cream or evaporated milk*
  • 1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to your tastes
  • 1/2 tsp. cornstarch cornflour mixed with 2 teaspoons of water, optional
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley

Directions

Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt butter in a large oven proof pan or skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in mushrooms, salt and pepper (to your tastes), and parsley. Cook while stirring occasionally until soft. Set aside and allow to cool while preparing your chicken.
  3. Pat breasts dry with a paper towel. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder and dried parsley. Rub each piece to evenly coat in seasoning. 
  4. Horizontally slice a slit through the thickest part of each breast to form a pocket. Fold and place 2 slices of mozzarella into each breast pocket. 
  5. Divide the mushroom mixture into four equal portions and fill each breast with the mushroom mixture (leave the juices in the pan for later. If there are any left over mushrooms, don’t worry. You’ll use them later). Top the mushroom mixture with 1 tablespoon of parmesan cheese per breast. Seal with two or three toothpicks near the opening to keep the mushrooms inside while cooking.
  6. Heat the same pan the mushrooms were in along with the pan juices (the garlic butter will start to brown and take on a ‘nutty’ flavor). Add the chicken and sear until golden. Flip and sear on the other side until golden; about 3 minutes per side. You may have to do this in two batches so that the meat sears instead of steams.
  7. OPTIONAL: With pan empty, add 1/4 cup dry vermouth or white wine into hot pan and stir to loosen fond and browned bits. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan.
  8. Cover tightly and continue cooking in preheated oven for a further 20 minutes, or until completely cooked through the middle and no longer pink.
  9. Move to serving platter and remove toothpicks. Serve, with pan juices and any remaining mushrooms, on top of pasta, rice or steamed vegetables.
  10. To make the optional cream sauce, transfer chicken to a warm plate, keeping all juices in the pan.

Sauce:

  1. Fry the garlic in the leftover pan juices until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low heat, and add the mustard and half and half (or cream)
  2. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and add in any remaining mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Allow the sauce to simmer until the parmesan cheese has melted slightly. If the sauce is too runny for your liking, add the cornstarch/water mixture into the center of the pan and mix through fast to combine into the sauce. It will begin to thicken immediately.
  3. Season with a little salt and pepper to your taste. Add in the parsley and the chicken back into the pan to serve.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Karina of cafedelites

Cabbage Roll Casserole

LOVE this main dish inspired by classic Eastern European cabbage rolls. The super-cozy bake from recipe developer Asha Loupy takes a spin from the lasagna handbook—a Polish Lasagna if you will. Blanched cabbage leaves are stacked with spiced beef ragù and lemony herbed rice for a casserole that’s chock-full of all the flavors of cabbage rolls, without the rolling.

Asha shows us two tricks for the perfect cabbage roll casserole—no mushy rice or soggy bottoms here, thank you. First, reduce the tomatoes until they reach a thick, almost paste-like consistency. This ensures that you’ll get neat slices, without a runny, liquidy sauce. Second, parboil the rice (as you would for tahdig or biryani) and sprinkle it lightly between the layers. This gives the grains room to cook to fluffy perfection while baking.

It took both of us two full hours from start to finish, so it’s not necessarily a quick, easy weeknight meal. However, some make-aheads are the meat sauce, parboiling the rice, and blanching the cabbage leaves up to three days ahead. Cover and chill separately. Then when ready, assemble the casserole just before baking.

If you are not a red meat eater, switch out the ground beef for ground turkey or even plant-based meat to make it vegetarian.

Cabbage Roll Casserole

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch dill (save some fronds for garnish)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ lbs. ground beef; or plant-based meat, or ground turkey
  • 3 tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for pan
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large head of savoy or green cabbage
  • 1¼ cups long-grain rice (such as basmati)
  • 1 lemon, zested over cooked rice (see Step 7)
  • 8 oz. crème fraîche
  • 8 oz. shredded, low-moisture mozzarella

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Start by prepping the beef filling. Coarsely chop 1 large bunch dill (you should get about ¾ cup), then crush and finely chop 3 large garlic cloves. Transfer a third of dill and a third of garlic to a large bowl. Add 1½ lb. ground beef or plant-based meat, 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ kosher salt, and ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper and mix with your hands to incorporate. Set remaining dill and garlic aside separately.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high until shimmering. Add half of beef mixture, dropping into pot in small clumps. Cook, undisturbed, until deeply browned underneath, about 5 minutes (or about 3 minutes if using plant-based meat). Stir and continue to cook 1 minute (it’s okay if the meat is not fully cooked through, it’ll finish cooking in the sauce). Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef mixture. Wipe out pot.
  3. While the meat is cooking, finely chop 1 large onion.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil in same pot over medium. Add onion and remaining 1½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt. Cook onion, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until softened and starting to turn golden, 6–8 minutes. Add ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, and reserved garlic, and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
  5. Return beef mixture to pot and add one 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes. Break up meat and tomatoes into smaller pieces with spoon. Add ½ cup water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is cooked off and mixture is just a little looser than tomato paste, 20–25 minutes.
  6. While the sauce is cooking, line a large rimmed baking sheet with kitchen towels and bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Using a paring knife, cut about 1″ deep circle around core of 1 large head of savoy or green cabbage. Gently pull off 16–20 cabbage leaves, cutting away from core if needed. (Save any extra cabbage for another use.) Cut a small V in the bottom of each leaf, about ½” big, to remove the thickest part of the fibrous stalk. Working in batches of 3–4 leaves at a time, cook cabbage until just pliable, 10–15 seconds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet with tongs. Pat leaves dry.
  7. Return water to a boil, add rice, and cook, stirring occasionally, until barely al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain rice and rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking. Shake rice well to remove most of the water, then transfer to a medium bowl. Finely grate zest of 1 lemon on Microplane over rice and add reserved dill; mix well to combine.
  8. Rub bottom and sides of a 9×13″ deep lasagna dish with oil. Cover bottom of dish with a single layer of cabbage leaves, overlapping slightly. Set ½ cup sauce aside and spread half of remaining sauce over cabbage. Sprinkle half of rice mixture evenly over sauce. Top with another layer of cabbage leaves, then remaining half of sauce, and remaining rice. Top with a final layer of cabbage leaves.
  9. Spread 8 oz. crème fraîche evenly over cabbage. Dollop reserved sauce on top. Grate 8 oz. low-moisture mozzarella on the large holes of a box grater and sprinkle over. Cover dish with foil and set on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Uncover dish and increase oven temperature to 425°. Continue to bake until cheese is golden brown and bubbling, 18–20 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Garnish lightly with dill fronds.
  10. Any leftovers can be cooled, sliced into squares, packed in lock-n-locks with a tight lid and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Do ahead: Meat sauce can be made, rice can be parboiled, and cabbage leaves can be blanched 3 days ahead. Cover and chill separately. Assemble casserole just before baking.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Asha Loupy for Bon Appétit

Indonesian-Style Ham Stir-fry Revisited

It was finally the last of our 8-pound ham which was earmarked to be used in this Indonesian-Style Ham Stir-fry recipe. Nearly seven years had passed since we resurrected it from when I first started this blog. Why did we wait so long? Who knows, but it’s not often that we have a large ham with plenty of leftovers.

Once we practically licked our plates clean, we decided the next time we make this we’ll double the sauce (we are saucy people!) And as with most stir-fries, make sure to prep all of the ingredients ahead of time because the actual on-hands cooking portion takes just minutes.

Spicy and sweet, this quick stir-fry dinner needed only short-grain sticky rice to complete it. In lieu of waiting to have leftover ham, you could always buy 1 1/2 pounds of ham steak and cube that up.

Indonesian-Style Ham Stir-fry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbs. kecap manis*
  • 2 Tbs. plain rice vinegar
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. sambal oelek
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 6 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh lemongrass
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3/4 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces (2-1/2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into medium dice
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1-1/2 lb. leftover ham, cut into medium dice (4 cups)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth

*TIP: If you don’t have or can’t find keycap manis (and again we couldn’t), a syrupy Indonesian soy sauce, you can substitute 1-1/2 Tbs. soy sauce combined with 1-1/2 Tbs. unsulfured molasses.

Directions:

  1. Whisk the keycap manis (or your substitute), vinegar, and sambal oelek in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Heat a 14-inch wok or heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, then swirl in the oil. Add the scallions, lemongrass, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry until softened, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the green beans, bell pepper, and peanuts and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the ham and stir-fry until warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the broth, scrape up any browned bits, and bring to a boil.
  6. Pour in the kecap manis mixture and stir-fry until bubbling and the ingredients are thoroughly coated in the sauce, about 2 minutes.
  7. Serve over hot rice.

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Recipe adapted from By Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein for Fine Cooking

Spicy, Garlicky, Citrusy, Herbal Roasted Potatoes

Yummy, right? Inspired by a recipe from “Falastin” a cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley, these Spicy Roasted Potatoes with Cumin, Lemon and Cilantro are chock-full of bold flavors. Milk Street made some adjustments to the original and created the following adaptation. Loving all things potatoes—and robust flavors—these spuds caught my attention immediately.

A couple of notations that are worth heeding: So the seasonings don’t scorch in the high heat of the 475°F oven, toss them into the potatoes about two-thirds of the way into cooking. For more heat, leave the seeds in some or all of the chiles. (We used jalapeños, but I did seed them.) A perfect pairing with our reverse-seared strip steak entrée, the potato recipe was halved for just two of us.

Halfway through the meal Russ asked me where the recipe originated from. When I read the excerpt for Milk Street Magazine and mentioned the title of the cookbook “Falastin” he immediately recognized the name because he had heard about it on a podcast and subsequently added to his Christmas wish list. And yes, he did receive it as a gift—he just hadn’t had an opportunity to go through the recipes.

Don’t forget to oil the baking sheet with cooking spray to ensure the potatoes won’t stick to the surface.

Spicy Roasted Potatoes with Cumin, Lemon and Cilantro

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. medium Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, quartered lengthwise then cut crosswise into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 Tbsp., plus ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3-4 Fresno or jalapeño chilies, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. cumin seeds, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro 

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 3 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Transfer to the baking sheet, arranging the pieces cut side down in a single layer; reserve the bowl.
  4. Roast until light golden brown and a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets just a little resistance, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in the reserved bowl, stir together the remaining ¼ cup oil, the chilies, garlic, cumin and coriander.
  6. When the potatoes are almost tender, use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to the reserved bowl; leave the oven on. Gently toss the potatoes until well combined with the seasonings, then scrape the mixture back onto the baking sheet and distribute in an even layer. Roast until the garlic is light golden brown and a skewer inserted into the potatoes meets no resistance, another 10 to 15 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the lemon zest and cilantro over the potatoes, then toss. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with lemon wedges.
We served ours with a reversed-seared sirloin steak and a side of broccolini.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Creamy Braised Chicken with Jura Wine and Morels

Or, as the French would say “Poulet au Vin Jaune de Jura” — which is the best chicken you can find slowly simmered in wine. Now obtaining the Jura wine was problematic, but we found you can substitute 1 1/3 cups white wine with 2/3 cup dry sherry (fino) for the 2 cups of vin juane de Jura. If the end result was any indication, the Jura wine was not missed at all—the meal was fabulous!

According to the online article that accompanied this recipe “The luxurious recipe typically calls for an AOP Poulet de Bresse, a super-high-quality chicken raised in the Alpine region of the same name. While some American farmers are raising the breed stateside, the original French specimens are rarely available in the United States, so in the absence of the “real deal,” use the nicest free-range chicken you can find.” And so we did…

To the sauce, add as many morels as you can afford. When in season, fresh morels are easily substituted for dry—just replace the soaking liquid in the recipe with an equal amount of chicken stock. Well, finding dried morels was easier said than done. After scouring four different grocery stores with no luck, oddly enough it was the least upscale supermarket where we finally scored!

And even though the directions do not indicate to cut the morels, ours were quite large so we quartered them after their 30-minute soak.

Creamy Braised Chicken with Wine and Morels

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 oz. dried morels (about 1½ cups)
  • 14 cup plus 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, divided
  • One 3- to 4-lb. free-range chicken
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (¾ cup)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped (1 tsp.)
  • 2 cups vin jaune de Jura, divided*
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 oz. crème fraîche
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Crusty bread, noodles, or rice, to serve

Instructions

  1. In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Inspect the morels for visible dirt or grit, and brush them off with a moist paper towel. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and add the morels to the water, and set aside to soak. (If the morels aren’t fully submerged, stir them occasionally to make sure they all become rehydrated.)
  2. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and use kitchen shears or a boning knife to trim off the wing flats and tips, reserving them for another use. Separate the chicken into 7 pieces: 2 breasts (on the bone and connected to the wing drum), 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks and the backbone. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl, season lightly with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with ¼ cup of flour and toss until the chicken is coated evenly on all sides.
  3. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. When the butter begins to bubble, and working in batches as needed so as to not crowd the pan, add the chicken parts (including the backbone) skin side down in one layer and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 25 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a platter and set aside.
  4. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots soften and lose their color, 3–4 minutes. Using your fingers or a slotted spoon, scoop the morels out of their soaking liquid (reserving the liquid), then add them to the pot and continue cooking for another minute.
  5. Add 1½ cups of the wine to the pot and cook for a few seconds, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot and bring to a simmer. Strain the reserved morel soaking liquid through a very fine mesh sieve or coffee filter and add it to the pot along with the thyme and bay leaf. Lower the heat to low, partially cover, and cook at a gentle simmer, turning the chicken occasionally until the thigh meat is very tender, 40–50 minutes.
  6. Use tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to the platter and set aside. Return the pan to medium heat and continue simmering the cooking liquid until it has reduced by about a third, 10–12 minutes. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  7. On a cutting board or a plate, use a fork to mash the remaining butter and flour together to form a paste. Whisk the paste into the braising liquid and cook until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat to low, then whisk in the crème fraîche and ¼ cup of wine. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer together until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 10–12 minutes.
  8. Remove and discard the bay leaf, thyme stems, and chicken backbone. Add the remaining ¼ cup of wine and cook one more minute more, just to combine the flavors. (Do not cook off the alcohol in this final addition, which is meant to enhance the flavors of the wine added earlier in the process.) Serve hot, with crusty bread, noodles, or rice on the side.

*NOTE: If unable to locate Jura wine, substitute 1 1/3 cups white wine with 2/3 cup dry sherry (fino).

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe by Tammie Teclemariam for Saveur

Eggplant Involtini

Here’s a lighter version of Eggplant Involtini that focuses on the eggplant. Baking instead of frying allows you to skip the salting and draining step, since the eggplant’s excess moisture evaporates in the oven, and it means that the eggplant’s flavor and meaty texture are not obscured by oil and breading. This was sooo good, we can’t wait to make it again!

Swapping the usual ricotta-heavy filling for one that’s boosted with a generous dose of Pecorino Romano means we can use less filling without sacrificing flavor. Lastly, make a simple but complementary tomato sauce in a skillet, add the eggplant bundles to it, and finish it under the broiler, which decreases the number of dishes required—always a plus in our book!

Of course we put our own spin on the dish, first by utilizing the pieces of eggplant cut away before planking them. What a waste it would be to discard all of that—about 3 cups worth! So we cubed those leftover pieces into about a 3/8″ dice and sautéed them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until softened before adding the tomatoes to the same skillet.

Now here comes the real twist. We added very thin slices of prosciutto on top of the eggplant slices before spooning on the cheese filling. Of course this step makes it no longer vegetarian, but that extra ingredient added even more depth of flavor. And we served ours with a side of gemelli pasta, which negates the low-carb factor, if you’re not concerned with that aspect.

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (1 1/2 pounds each), peeled
  • 9 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed coarsely in their juices
  • 1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. very thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half crosswise (optional)

Directions

  1. Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks (you should have 12-15 planks). Trim rounded surface from each end piece so it lies flat.
  2. Cut up those leftover rounded pieces into a 3/8″ dice and sauté them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in your large skillet until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 8 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray generously with vegetable oil spray. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush 1 side of eggplant slices with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Flip eggplant slices and brush with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Bake until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip each slice over. Heat broiler.
  5. While eggplant planks cook, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the diced eggplant in same broiler-safe skillet over medium-low heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in hand crushed tomatoes and their juice. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  6. Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Combine bread crumbs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/4 cup basil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
  7. With widest ends of eggplant slices facing you, place a half slice of prosciutto, if using, on the wide end of each plank. Next, evenly distribute ricotta mixture on bottom third of each slice. Gently roll up each eggplant slice and place seam side down in tomato sauce.
  8. Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until eggplant is well browned and cheese is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil and serve.

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Adapted from The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook for America’s Test Kitchen

Spanish Chorizo, Ham and White Bean Stew

Having made the traditional recipe—which takes hours—we were thrilled to find this quick-and-easy version of the Spanish tapa known as Fabada Asturiana, a hearty stew of dried beans, sausage and other smoky, porky ingredients.

A number of years ago on our first trip to Spain, we were lucky enough to enjoy an authentic fabada, shown above, in the little Austurian town of Cabrales in Northern Spain. The Hubs liked it so much, he bought the ingredients and smuggled them home. Luckily (or not), because I had suffered a broken foot a few days earlier, we were whisked through airport customs back home, preventing our illegal meats and beans from being confiscated. (I don’t advise this tactic as a long term plan 🤣 )

I digress, back to the recipe at hand… Based on the changes from Milk Street, we pared back on the meats, using only chorizo and ham, both of which lend deep flavor to the broth. The dish gets its name from the large beans that are traditionally used in its preparation, but canned white beans work quite well. Preferred are the relatively large size and creamy texture of cannellinis, but great northern and navy beans are fine, too.

A pinch of saffron adds a very Spanish flavor and fragrance, while giving the stew an alluring golden hue. The color and flavor were also amped up from our homemade ham stock, which replaced the chicken broth.

The Hubs was sorely tempted to add a pinch of pimentón, but restrained himself from adding it to the stew. However, he did decide to sneak it onto the toasted crusty bread. BTW, it will serve six as a first course, or four as the main entrée.

TIP: Don’t overcook the chorizo and ham after adding it to the sautéed onion mixture. If the pieces begin to sear or brown, they’ll be chewy and rubbery in the finished dish. Cook only until the chorizo begins to release some of its fat.

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Tbsp.  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. Spanish chorizo, casings removed, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. ham steak, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1½ qts. chicken broth, or ham stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 15½-oz. cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Warmed crusty bread, to serve

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, saffron and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly softened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the chorizo and ham, then cook, stirring, just until the chorizo begins to release its fat, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, beans and bay. Bring to a simmer over medium-high, then reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat as needed to maintain a simmer, for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove and discard the bay, then stir in the scallions. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve with bread.

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Recipe adapted from Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Cellentani with Spiced Beef, Onion Sauce and Feta

This savory pasta dish was inspired by kawarma, the spicy ground beef topping spooned over hummus in Israel. Milk Street re-envisioned it over pasta with just a few adjustments, resulting in a ground beef sauce seasoned with fragrant spices and generous amounts of onion and garlic, all lightened with a good dose of mint at the end.

I was scratching my head over the ingredients, wondering how they would all come together. Well we were both surprised how delicious the meal was! While we didn’t change anything dramatically, the amount of ground beef was a stretch over the one-and-a-half pounds by another four ounces, no biggie.

Milk Street warns not use ground beef fattier than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. However, we happened to have an 85 percent lean ground beef in the house and just made sure to siphon off the grease after Step 2, before adding the tomatoes. The type of pasta was switched from linguine to cellentani because that’s what we happened to have on hand, plus I think the feta clung to those curves more willingly.

And by all means, make sure to use authentic Greek block feta, not the already crumbled bits packaged in plastic containers—the taste is immeasurably more pleasant. Rather than sprinkle the feta as a garnish, it is tossed in with the just-cooked noodles so it melts and coats the strands, or in our case, the cork screws because we used cellentani pasta.

Perhaps because of the extra beef and thicker pasta, our version would easily feed five.

Cellentani with Spiced Beef, Onion Sauce and Feta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. 90 percent lean ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 8 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 12 oz. cellentani, linguine, or your choice of pasta
  • 8 oz. block feta cheese, shredded on the large holes of a box grater
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper and ¼ cup water. Mix with your hands until homogenous.
  2. Add the beef mixture, onion and garlic to a 12-inch skillet. Set the pan over medium-high and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spatula, until the onion has softened and the beef is no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes with juices and bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium and cook uncovered, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 2 tablespoons salt; cook until the pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water (you probably won’t need it all), then drain the pasta.
  5. Return the pasta to the pot. Add about ¾ of the feta and toss. Taste and season with salt and pepper, add reserved pasta water a bit at a time to loosen if needed, then transfer to a platter.
  6. Stir the mint into the sauce, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta and sprinkle with the remaining feta.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Ham and Gruyere Quiche

Quiche is one of those versatile dishes that can be served at any meal, be it breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. Once baked and cooled slightly, it can be eaten right away, or refrigerated for another time. Using a combination of milk and heavy cream, it yields the richest, creamiest filling ever.

With a large amount leftover from a recent dinner party featuring Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns, and a block of gruyere that never got used, we had the starter ingredients for our filling. To that we included some diced shallot and chopped fresh thyme.

We are “those” people that thrive on culinary challenges, but if you don’t have the time, or the stamina to create your own crust, by all means purchase a pre-made store bought variety. But be forewarned, this crust recipe is fabulous, and according to The Hubs, the best he’s ever made! He really liked the trick of adding the leftover dough to the edges for crimping and fluting. This also helped prevent the crust from sinking down.

Ham and Gruyere Quiche

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Homemade Buttery Flaky Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 1/2 cup ice water

NOTE: This recipe is enough for a double crust pie. If you only need 1 crust for your pie, cut this recipe in half OR freeze the other half.

Directions

  1. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface.
  2. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats.
  3. Form it into a ball. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky.
  4. Cut the dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 5 days. Or freeze.
  6. When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with your rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Visible specks of butter and fat in the dough are perfectly normal and expected.
  7. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle so that there is enough crust to go up the edges of the glass pie dish. Cut away extra dough but leave about an inch overhang.
  8. Gather all of the extra dough pieces, mush together and roll out into a thin rectangle. Cut 1-inch strips and add them to the top edge of the pie crust. Crimp or flute the edges.
  9. Chill the shaped pie crust for at least 30 minutes. This prevents shrinking. Remember that pie dough must be cold.
  10. Fill with pie weights (or dried beans). As the pie dough bakes, its fat will melt. The melting fat causes the pie crust to shrink down the sides of the pie dish. To prevent the pie dough from completely losing its shape, weigh it down with pie weights. Carefully line the pie dough with parchment paper first, then pour in pie weights/dry beans.
  11. Bake until the edges are lightly brown, about 15 minutes.
  12. Remove pie weights, then prick the crust with a fork.
  13. Bake crust for about 8 more minutes.

The Perfect Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 unbaked flaky pie crust (recipe above)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup cubed ham
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup minced shallot
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  2. Partially blind bake your pie crust as indicated above. Crust can still be warm when you pour in the filling. (You can partially pre-bake the crust up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover cooled crust tightly and refrigerate until ready to fill.)
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When melted, add shallot pieces and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, whole milk, heavy cream, salt, and pepper together on high speed until completely combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in ham, cheese, shallot and thyme.
  6. Bake the quiche until the center is just about set, about 45-55 minutes. Don’t over-bake. Use a pie crust shield to prevent the pie crust edges from over-browning. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  7. Top with optional toppings before slicing and serving, if desired. Or you can cool the quiche completely before serving– it’s fantastic at room temperature!
  8. This quiche makes great leftovers! Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Make Ahead Freezing Instructions: The pie dough can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can pre-bake the crust ahead of time too. To freeze, cool baked quiche completely, then cover tightly with a couple sheets of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or on the counter, then bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipes adapted from sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns

It’s not often we serve a large ham, but when we do, it’s nice to make it a bit special, such as this Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns by Molly Stevens. After 11 months of still dealing with all of the pandemic restrictions and social isolating, we took a plunge and had good friends Rosanne and Gary over for dinner.

One of the main changes we made to this recipe was the use of our homemade ham stock in place of chicken or veal stock. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s homemade and not the bland canned or boxed varieties.

I want to give a shout out to our company Rosanne and Gary for starting the party with a beautifully plated appetizer and a good bottle of red.

After a first course of Cream of Clery and Celery Root Soup, our sides included Carrots with Maple and Cider Vinegar, and Potato Gratin with Bacon, Gruyere and Leeks. The White-Wine Poached Pears with Lemon and Herbs was just the right light touch to end the feast.

Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. green peppercorns, in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 3-inch leafy fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 small or 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry madeira wine
  • 1 cup chicken or veal stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 6 to 8 lb. bone in ham, fully or partially cooked, preferably shank or rump

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. The aromatics: In a large dutch oven or deep braising pan large enough to hold the ham, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the carrot, onions, and celery. Sauté, stirring a few times, until the vegetables brown on the edges and begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the peppercorns, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf, stir and sauté for another 2 minutes.

3. The braising liquid: Pour in the madeira and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes to meld the flavors and reduce the liquid somewhat. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer and simmer for another 5 minutes.

4. The braise: Whether you bought a fully cooked or partially cooked (sometimes labeled “ready to cook”) ham will affect the cooking time. Lower the ham into the pot, setting it either flat side down or on its side, whichever fits best. Cover tightly with the lid or heavy duty foil and slide the pot into the lower part of the oven. For a fully cooked ham, braise until fork tender and heated all the way through, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. For a partially cooked ham, braise until the ham is fork tender and an instant-read thermometer reads 155 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the ham, closer to 2 1/2 hours. (Be careful that the thermometer does not hit the bone, which will give you a falsely high reading.)

5. The finish: Transfer the ham to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid, and discard the vegetables as they will be too salty. Skim as much fat from the surface of the braising liquid as you can without losing patience. Taste, if the liquid tastes a bit weak, pour it into medium saucepan and simmer to reduce until it tastes like a mild broth, 10 to 15 minutes. If the liquid is already tasty as is, set if over a low burner to keep warm. The sauce will not need any salt, in fact, if you do reduce it, be careful not to go too far, as it can quickly become too salty.

6. Serving: Carve the ham into think slices and serve warm or at room temperature with a bit of the warm sauce spooned over the top.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe from “All About Braising” by Molly Stevens