Category Archives: Fall

Multi-Grain Stuffing

My mother would often make this, not fully cooking the grain, and use it to stuff the Thanksgiving turkey. The excess would sit around the turkey in the roasting pan. At other times, she’d cook it as I do, in a skillet cooking to completion, and serve it as a side dish.

The day before you plan to make the stuffing, pick over

  • 1/2 cup barley

and soak it overnight in water.

Start heating some 2 quarts of water, almost to a boil. You will use this to cook the grain. Meanwhile, finely mince

  • 1 very large onion or 3 of the medium-sized onions often sold in bulk
Also finely mince, keeping separate from the onion
  • 1/2 pound peeled carrots
  • 3 ribs of celery

In an electric frying pan or large skillet, heat

  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Add the onions and cook until soft. After 5 minutes add the carrots and celery.

Meanwhile, in a smaller skillet over medium heat, add

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup uncooked orzo

Stir from time to time and continue to cook until most of the orzo have reached the color of chestnuts, a very dark brown. Don’t worry, it won’t taste burnt, and don’t wimp out and just have them lightly browned.

This batch has a way to go… it needs to be much darker.

When the vegetables have softened, add the drained barley, the cooked orzo and

  • 2 cups of mixed grains (See the note at the end of the recipe.)

Use caution with the next step as ATTN the water will splatter as you begin to add it to the pan. Add:

  • 1 TBL mushroom soup base or some dried bouillon
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 6+ cups of hot water.

Reduce to a simmer and cover. Every 5-10 minutes check on the water level and the consistency of the grains. If it’s dry and the grains aren’t fully cooked, add water. When it’s done and the grains are easily chewed check the seasoning. Serve right away or let cool and reheat later. This makes about 10-12 cups depending on the grains you use. For a very large crowd at Thanksgiving I generally double this recipe.

NOTE: Typically I’ve used 2/3 brown rice, 1/3 cup bulgur wheat, 1/3 cup whole buckwheat (kasha), 1/3 cup millet and 1/3 quinoa. You should feel free to experiment with the grains. What I’ve learned is that white rice cooks a little more quickly than some of the others, so I prefer brown rice. Kasha has a strong flavor some people don’t like, although I prefer to toast the kasha in a skillet briefly after I finish frying the orzo; this enhances the flavor. I believe that using bulgur wheat causes the dish to be a little softer. I’m still playing around with this to refine the grain mixture.

Delhi ‘dempte

Saute a diced medium onion and 2 21/2 cloves garlic, minced, in oil in a stew pot. When soft, add

  • 3/4 tsp garam masal
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups canned tomatoes and their juice
  • 12 chicken thighs (skin removed)

Bring to boil, lower immediately to lowest possible temperature at which it can simmer. Cook for 40 minutes; occasionally move things around in the pot so the chicken is covered in the sauce. Add

  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

Cook 20 minutes more. Serve over basmati rice.

Mexi-Dempte

Flavors of enchiladas and pozole.

In a stew pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Saute 2 minced onions and 3 cloves garlic. Add a teaspoon of salt. Continue to cook until golden without browning. Add 12 skinless chicken thighs and cook until meat gets some color; turn to cook other side.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil —not olive oil, please.  (Each time I make this the amount of oil grosses me out, but then I remember back to all the lard that got used when I worked in a Mexican restaurant and I somehow accept what I’m doing.) As it heats up, add 1/4 cup flour and stir to make a roux. Make sure it cooks long enough so it won’t have a floury taste.  Add 1/3 cup (medium-hot) chili powder and stir in 3 cups of water, stirring until smooth. Add 11/2 tsp salt. Add mixture back in with the chicken.

Add drained cans of pozole (a.k.a. white hominy): I used 3 29-ounce cans for this batch but I really love hominy. You can probably get by with less.

Bring to a simmer and cook covered on lowest possible heat. Stir from time to time so all the chicken gets moved around in the sauce. Make sure nothing sticks or burns. Serve with Sadie’s Spanish Rice and refried beans.

Apple Maple Cobbler

Well, cake-y cobbler, but yummy.

Peel

  • 5-6 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Place in a greased 3-quart casserole or a 9×13-inch pan.

Measure

  • 2 tsp vinegar

into a liquid measuring cup and add

  • milk to make 3/4 cup

Let sit while you cream together

  • 11/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Combine

  • 11/2 cups flour
  • 11/2 tsp baking soda
  • 11/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Add soured milk, dry ingredients and

  • 11/2 tsp vanilla

and beat to combine. Spoon mixture over apples, distributing evenly. Over top, pour

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 11/2 cups broken walnut pieces.

Bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes, until golden. Let rest for 10+ minutes before serving.

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.[/source[

Gedempte Chicken

Dice one large onion and mince 2 cloves garlic. Heat oil in stew pot, saute garlic and onions. It’s okay if they brown a little. Season with salt, pepper and paprika (or cayenne, my personal preference). Push vegetables to one side of pan and chicken pieces (one whole chicken cut in pieces or use your favorite parts) in one layer. Brown on both sides. Continue until all meat is browned, lifting vegetables on top of meat. The more color the meat gets, the more flavor the dish has.

Add about 1/3 cup water, cover and lower heat to lowest possible temperature you can just get a slight simmer. Every 15 minutes. turn pieces of meat so each side of each piece gets to cook at the bottom of the pan, making sure it doesn’t dry out — but don’t add any extra water beyond the minimum needed. When the meat is tender, it’s done.

Some variations: This recipe was originally for beef, but chicken works well, or meatballs. You can add potatoes cut into large chunks just as you turn down the temperature. The recipe works well in a pressure cooker, but be careful to add enough water so you don’t risk cooking the pressure cooker dry!

Winter Squash Soup

Chop, clean and saute 1 large leek in some olive oil. While it softens, trim 4 cups of winter squash into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Add to pot and add a mixture of water and chicken stock to cover. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne and either 1/2 tsp cumin or 1/4 tsp pimenton. Bring to simmer for 35-45 minutes (until squash is soft). If using a pressure cooker, it will need about 10 minutes. Puree in blender and strain. Add a bit of light cream and serve.

NOTE: If saving for later, reheat and then add the cream.

Braised Chicken with Mushrooms

This is a complete reworking of a recipe that started out with rabbit meat and cooked in the oven for hours. Years ago, I started cooking this recipe using chicken meat but only recently did I realize how perfect it is for the pressure cooker. It’s much faster, simpler and every bit as tasty.

In a pressure cooker, brown

  • 6-8 skinless chicken thighs

Work in batches if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove from pan.

Over medium high heat add

  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced

Season with salt and pepper, stirring until softened. Add

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 to 16 ounces of chopped, mixed mushrooms (see notes, below)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp dried thyme

Stir occasionally and cook for about 10 minutes, until all liquid is gone. Add

  • 1 cup white wine

and raise heat and reduce by half, then add

  • 2-3 cups chicken stock

Close pressure cooker and cook at high heat for 24 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then use a quick release technique.

The meat and bones will separate so working carefully, remove chicken pieces from pot. Add

  • 2/3 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped

ATTN I like oil-cured Moroccan olives although they can be too salty for some people. Cook until flavors have blended and sauce has thickened a bit (10-15 minutes). While it cooks, remove bones and gristle from the chicken pieces and return the meat to the pot.  Let chicken heat up completely, or remove from heat and reheat completed dish when ready to serve.

This is delicious served over Creamy Polenta, Whole Wheat Pappardelle or Fried Polenta.

Note: I like to use about 4 ounces of any exotic mushroom (such as Maitake or Oyster) except not Shiitake plus about 8 small Cremini mushrooms. I break or cut the caps of the exotics into recognizable pieces. chop up the stems finely and slice the Creminis finely. You could use button mushroom for a less expensive alternative. Sometimes I use rehydrated porcini mushrooms, saving the liquid to replace some of the chicken stock.

Andouille Sausage with Black-Eyed Peas

In a 6-quart (or larger) pressure cooker, heat 1+ TBL oil. (Don’t use less, as it keeps the beans from foaming and causing problems later on.) Saute 1 medium onion, diced, until soft. Add 1 cup dry, rinsed black-eyed peas, 1 minced stalk celery, 1 diced large red pepper, 1 minced jalapeno pepper, 1 minced carrot, 5 andouille sausage cut diagonally into thirds, a chunk of smoked turkey meat, 3 cups canned diced tomatoes with liquid, 1/2 cup water, 1 bay leaf and 1/2 tsp dried oregano.

Cover pressure cooker and bring to high pressure following directions for your model. Cook at high pressure for 11 minutes. I let the pressure come down naturally, but if you’re in a hurry to serve it right away, you may need to cook it for a few minutes longer after you open the cooker. Once it’s done cooking, check the salt level and add salt after cooking, if necessary.

Serve with rice.

Note: I used a 12-ounce package of Bilinski’s chicken-meat sausage.

Celery Root Saute

Peel 2 celery roots, trimming as needed to clean. Slice thinly across the root to make even slices and then cut these cross-wise to make julienne. (The safe way to do this is to cut the root lengthwise and then work with each half to make the thin slices.) Set the julienne aside. Despite what you might read elsewhere, they will not brown if you are going to cook with them for 3-4 hours.

When you are ready to cook them, heat some olive oil to coat the saute pan. Add the julienne and saute for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft and have some color. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with some chopped fresh parsley.

Fennel-Mussel Soup

Wash off and debeard 2 pounds of mussels, discarding any dead ones. While wet, put them in a covered pot and cook on medium-high heat until they have opened; discard any that remain closed. Remove meat from all but 12 of the mussels, reserving the meat and the 12 fully-intact mussels. Strain liquid through a coffee filter to remove any sand and reserve that, too. Do this in advance of making the soup, for up to 2 days.

In a soup pot, saute a chopped onion in a little olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper and some whole fennel seeds. While that’s cooking, trim off the stalks from 2 fennel bulbs, reserving a few of the wispy fronds for a garnish. Dice the fennel bulbs and mince a clove of garlic. Open a 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes; remove seeds, chop tomatoes and reserve liquid.

When the onions are soft (maybe 5-10 minutes), stir in the fennel bulbs, garlic, 2 bay leaves, 1 quart of chicken stock, the tomatoes and tomato juice, the mussels (both the one in and out of their shells) and the mussel liquid, 1/2 cup of clam juice and 3 tablespoons of Pernod. Simmer for 10 minutes and check seasoning.

Serve in bowls, placing 2 or 3 of the mussels (in their shells) on the top. Garnish with fennel fronds. This makes 4 to 6 servings.

Magret de Canard

That's French for duck breast.
Serves 3 people, depending on the size of the duck breast and your appetites
Shopping List

1 thick duck breast (magret), preferably very thick

Score the skin side  in 1/2-inch diamonds, only cutting into the fat layer and not into the meat. Make a mixture of 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground black or green pepper. Rub the generously all over the magret.

Magret de Canard scored and seasoned
Magret de Canard scored and seasoned

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and as it nears the desired temperature heat an oven-proof pan on medium heat. I prefer a cast iron pan. When the pan is hot, place the magret skin-side down. Cook for 7 minutes on that side. Drain excess fat and turn over magret.

Notice the duck fat which needs to be drained away.
Notice the duck fat which needs to be drained away.
The skin is nicely crisp before it goes in the oven.
The skin is nicely crisp before it goes in the oven.

Place pan in oven for 5 to 7 minutes (for rare center). Remove pan from oven, place magret on board and let rest 3 to 5 minutes in a warm place before slicing. Be sure to slice across the grain of the meat.

Let the slicing begin...
Let the slicing begin…

ATTN These times are for a thick magret: if yours is thinner, the cooking time will need to be reduced.

When sliced, it will make about 12-15 slices and serve 3 people.