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Healthy Mediterranean Cooking at Home

Tag Archives: Roasting

pork

Roasting Basics

Today, pork is much leaner than ever before, so leaner pork also affects the way it should be cooked. Care should be taken to not overcook pork.

There are various methods that can be used to produce juicy and flavorful pork. Some methods work better than others on different cuts of meat. There are two basic methods: dry heat and moist heat. Dry heat is most often used on cuts that are naturally tender, such as loin roasts and tenderloins. Moist Heat is used on cuts that are less tender, such as a shoulder or boneless Boston butt roast.

Roasting, which is basically the same method of cooking as baking, is often used when preparing fresh ham roasts, smoked ham roasts, crown roasts, loin roasts, tenderloins and ribs. Marinating the meat before roasting or basting it with meat juices throughout the cooking time will also help produce tender and juicy meat. Roasting is a good method to use when preparing a special dinner because it consists of a longer cooking time than other methods and needs little attention during the cooking period. This leaves time for preparing other dishes.

Roasting is accomplished by cooking the pork, usually uncovered in a heated oven. Excess fat should be trimmed and, if necessary, it should be tied. A rib roast should be tied because the outside layer of meat has a tendency to separate from the inner rib-eye muscle. The rib roast is generally tied by wrapping strings around the roast, between each of the bones. Roasts that have been tied retain their shape and provide a more visually appealing roast when cooked. Most often any boneless roast will be tied to reshape it once the bones have been removed. If a boneless roast will be stuffed, the stuffing is added, the roast is then rolled up and tied to hold the stuffing in the roast.

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To cook the roast, it is best placed on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. The rack is not necessary but if not used, the bottom of the meat will sit in the juices and stew, which will not allow it to become brown and crisp on the surface like the rest of the meat. If the meat does not have any surface fat, it can be rubbed down with 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons of oil and then seasoned.

Meat is sometimes seared before roasting to brown the surface and add flavor. Searing can be accomplished by using several different methods. One method is to use a high oven temperature for a short period of time at the beginning of the roasting time and then reduce the heat for the remainder of the time. This quickly browns the outer surface to create a flavorful crust on the surface of the meat. Another searing method used, involves frying the meat in a very hot pan until all the sides have been browned and then placing it in the oven to finish cooking.

If the meat is not going to be seared in the oven, the oven should be preheated to either 325°F or 350°F (450°F for pork tenderloin) and the meat should be at room temperature.

The length of time a cut of pork will have to cook will depend on the size of the cut and whether it is tied, stuffed, bone-in or boneless. The best way to determine if the meat has cooked long enough is to check for doneness with a meat thermometer. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the cut should produce a temperature of 145°F.

Roasting Tips:

  • For a crisp surface on your roast, be sure the oven is fully preheated before placing the roast into the oven in an uncovered pan.
  • To add extra flavor, rub the surface of the meat with your favorite seasonings before roasting.
  • Roasting at a lower oven temperature (NEVER roast meat below 200°F) will result in meat that is more flavorful and moist, but It will take longer to cook.
  • A roast with a bone in it will cook faster than a boneless roast because the bone will conduct heat faster.
  • Do not use sharp utensils that may pierce the meat when trying to turn it because piercing allows valuable juices to escape. Use other utensils, such as wooden spoons and spatulas for turning the meat.
  • If cooking more than one roast, be sure that there is uniform space around them so that they will cook evenly. The roasts should not be touching and there should be enough space around them to allow air and heat to circulate.
  • When placing a thermometer in the meat to check for doneness, be sure that the stem of it is not touching a bone because this can result in a false reading.
  • Using the drippings from the roasted meat will provide great flavor when making a stock, gravy or sauce.
  • Let the roast rest for 5 minutes before carving to allow the meat juices to settle in the roast.

 

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Classic Tuscan Roast Pork Loin

Ingredients

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 4-pound center-cut bone-in pork loin (rib) roast
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
  • 4 russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk 1/4 cup oil, garlic, butter, sage and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Place pork in large roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Rub herb mixture over pork and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Cover pork loosely with foil and roast 2 hours.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Add the potatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until potatoes are golden but not tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to the roasting pan with the pork. Toss potatoes with pan juices. Continue roasting, uncovered, until pork browns, potatoes are tender and juices are slightly reduced, about 40 minutes.

Place pork in the center of large platter. Surround with the potatoes. Pour juices over pork and potatoes.

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Italian Spiced Boneless Pork with Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 6 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
  • One 3-pound boneless pork loin roast, trimmed of all fat
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound fresh, thin carrots, peeled
  • 16 large shallots, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a mini processor, combine the garlic, rosemary, fennel seeds, ground fennel, crushed red pepper, black pepper and olive oil and process to a paste. Set the pork roast on a sheet of foil and cut shallow score marks all over the fat. Spread 1 tablespoon of the garlic paste on the underside of the roast; spread the remaining paste all over the scored fat and meaty parts of the roast. Season all over with salt.

Spread the carrots and shallots around the edge of a shallow roasting pan, setting the shallots cut sides down. Leave enough room in the center for the pork.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pork loin and cook over moderately high heat until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Place the pork in the roasting pan with the vegetables and roast for 45 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees, add 1/2 cup of the stock and roast for 20 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F.

Transfer the pork to a board. Roast the vegetables on the bottom rack of the oven for 15 minutes longer and transfer to a bowl and keep warm.

Set the roasting pan over moderately high heat, add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock and simmer for about 1 minute, scraping up the browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the pork and serve with the vegetables and sauce.

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Sausage Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh parsley, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 cup pine (pignoli) nuts
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 lb boneless pork loin or sirloin roast, butterflyied
  • Kitchen string

Directions

Preheat oven to temperature 350°F.

Blend together basil, 1 cup parsley, pine nuts, garlic and cheese in a food processor or blender. Set aside.

Mix the sausage, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup parsley in a bowl.

Place pork roast fat side down. If the thickeness of the meat is uneven, carefully pound the meat to make it a unifrom thickness.

Spread the basil mixture over the pork and place sausage mixture lenghthwise down the center of the meat. Fold in half and tie the roast in four or five places.

Roast 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Let rest and slice.

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Pork Tenderloin With Roasted Apples And Pumpkin Risotto

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
  • 4 tart apples, such as Braeburn, McIntosh or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Directions

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt and maple syrup. Add the tenderloins to the bowl and turn them in the spice mix to coat. Reserve the bowl with any remaining spice mixture.

Heat a large oven-proof saute pan (large enough to hold the tenderloins and apples) over medium-high heat until hot. Add the tenderloins and sear on all sides. If the meat starks to stick, add a little oil.

Add the apples to the bowl that contained the pork spices and mix to coat. When the tenderloins are seared, remove the pan the from heat and scatter the apples around the tenderloins in the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the center of the tenderloins reaches 140 degrees F, 20 to 25 minutes, or to desired doneness.

Remove the pan from the oven and remove the tenderloins to cutting board to rest. Place the apples on a serving platter.

Place the pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any browned bits. Stir in the chicken broth and simmer until the sauce is reduced by about two-thirds and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter to further thicken the sauce and add a sheen.

Slice the tenderloins and arrange with the apples on the platter. Pour the sauce over the pork and apples.

Pumpkin Risotto

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups vialone nano or arborio rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • Walnut oil and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish

Directions

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer over medium heat.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and just beginning to color, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the rice and nutmeg and cook, stirring frequently and coating the rice with the fat, until the rice just begins to toast, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine and continue to stir, cooking until the wine is mostly absorbed.

Add a (soup) ladle of broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the broth is almost completely absorbed. Continue adding an additional ladle of broth as each is absorbed by the rice.

After 10 minutes of cooking the rice, stir in 1 cup of the pumpkin puree with another ladle of broth. Season with one-half teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper.

Continue cooking the rice, stirring in additional broth as needed, until the rice is slightly al dente, about another 10 minutes.

Stir in the remaining pumpkin puree, the chopped walnuts and 2 tablespoons walnut oil.

Serve each portion with a light drizzle of walnut oil and a sprinkling of freshly grated cheese.

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lambbasic1_wide-d28234fec2b2afb46e2aad61985c3d451a8870b6-s40-c85One of the best ways to cut the cost of your shopping bill but still enjoy good quality meat is by buying cheaper cuts. It’s easy to end up buying the same things each week, such as chicken breasts or pork chops, but these are the more expensive cuts of meat. Many of the cuts that our grandparents ate regularly are forgotten about, even though they make great tasting, inexpensive meals and can be used in a variety of recipes. Don’t be put off buying cheaper cuts of meat because you are unsure of what to buy or you don’t know how to cook them.

A great way of finding out more about the cheaper cuts of meat that are available in your area is to talk to your local butcher or your local supermarket meat department manager. When shopping for lamb, always check the dates that are stamped on the packaging to know if you are getting fresh meat. If lamb is not contained in a package, look at the color of the meat, as that is a major factor in determining how fresh it is. Lamb should be pink/red in color. Any meat that is dark red is older and will not be as tender. Also, look for other markings on the label that will give you more information about the lamb. USDA Prime will be the highest in tenderness and flavor. USDA Choice is still high quality meat, but slightly less tender. While USDA Prime has somewhat of a higher fat content, all grades of lamb have similar protein, vitamins and nutrients.

Cheaper cuts of meat often come from tougher, muscled areas of the animal and require slow cooking in stews or casseroles to soften them up. By slow cooking these cuts of meat, which can be done either in a slow cooker or in a covered pot in the oven, you can easily make tasty meals. Where dishes call for “braising” or “stewing”, you can often use any of the cheaper cuts of meat. Braising refers to the cooking technique, where the meat is browned first in a pan and then cooked for several hours in liquid on low heat in a covered pot.

Less Expensive Lamb Cuts

Lamb Breast

This is one of the cheapest cuts and can be very versatile – it can be roasted, stuffed or rolled.

Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks have become popular in recent years, which has pushed the price up a bit. But they are still a good value and are suitable for slow roasting, stewing or braising. Lamb Shanks are excellent on a dinner party menu. They also make for a delicious meal, when slow roasted in individual aluminium foil packs with white wine and herbs.

Whole Lamb Shanks

Whole Lamb Shanks

Shanks are a cut of lamb taken from either the shoulder (fore shank) and arm of a lamb or the upper part of the leg (hind shank). The fore shank includes part of the shoulder, as well as part of the leg, while the hind shank includes only part of the rear leg. Lamb shanks have a paper-thin membranous covering and a thin layer of fat. While a lamb shank is leaner than other parts of a lamb, the meat can be tough. This cut of lamb must be braised or roasted.

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Cross Cut Lamb Shanks

Osso buco is the name for a classic Milanese dish of cross-cut slices of veal shank, which are often labeled osso buco and slowly braised in a vegetable-rich, tomato-based sauce until the meat is so tender, it falls away from the bone with the merest nudge of a fork. The shanks are traditionally served over saffron risotto or polenta.

If you’ve ever seen a whole veal shank, you’ll understand why cutting it crosswise into thick sections makes complete sense. The same is true of lamb shanks, pork shanks and turkey legs. Ask to have them cross cut for a nicer presentation, because it is so much more appealing to serve shanks in slices rather than as joints on a platter. Most likely, you’ll have to place a special order with the butcher in your market, but lamb shanks are much cheaper than veal.

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Tips For Slow Cooking Lamb

  • Brown the lamb first, in batches if necessary. This will caramelize the meat and improve its flavor.
  • Although lamb is a little more fatty than other meats, don’t trim all of it away before cooking. The fat contains a lot of the flavor and helps make the meat tender. The excess will rise to the surface of the cooking liquid and can be skimmed away.
  • Remember to only lightly season slow-cooked dishes at the beginning of cooking. As the meat braises the cooking liquid reduces and concentrates the sauce, which can easily become too salty.
  • When simmering lamb, do it over a low heat so that the liquid bubbles only very gently around the meat. This will keep the meat tender.
  • Keep an eye on slow-cooked lamb. Unless you want it so tender it falls apart. Check it after about 45 minutes for tenderness, as lamb cooks much faster than other meats. 

lamb ossobuco

Lamb Osso Bucco

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  1. 2 lamb shanks trimmed of fat and cross-cut into 1 or 1 ½ inch thick pieces
  2. 2 heaping tablespoons flour
  3. 1 teaspoon salt
  4. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1 onion, chopped
  7. 2 carrots, chopped
  8. 1 stalk celery, chopped
  9. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  10. 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  11. 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  12. 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  13. 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  14. 1 bay leaf
  15. 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Directions

Heat oven to 325°F. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a paper bag. Drop the lamb pieces into the bag and shake, thoroughly covering the pieces with the flour mixture.

Pour the olive oil into a Dutch Oven and brown the shank pieces over medium-high heat. Remove the browned lamb and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, carrots and celery to the skillet. Cook for three to five minutes, stirring constantly. Add garlic, tomato sauce, wine, basil, thyme and bay leaf. Add the browned lamb and return to a simmer.

Place the pan in the oven, covered, and bake for 1 hour.

Turn the meat. Cover and cook another hour or until the lamb is tender enough to fall off the bone easily.

Remove the bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. It is traditional to serve this dish with risotto.

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Lamb Shanks in Foil Packets

Ingredients

  • 4 (2-1/2-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 (2-1/2- to 3-inch) strips orange zest
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lamb shanks (about 1 lb. each), trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 teaspoons unsalted butter

Directions

Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 300°F.

Arrange four 16×16-inch squares of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a work surface. Put 1 rosemary sprig, 1 garlic clove, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and 1 strip of orange zest on each square. Set aside.

Pat the lamb shanks dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, brown the shanks on all sides, about 10 minutes total per batch. Transfer 1 shank to each foil square, arranging it on top of the herbs. Draw up the edges of the foil to capture any juice, but don’t seal the packets yet.

Return the skillet to medium heat, add the wine and bring to a simmer, scraping the skillet with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. Portion the wine drippings evenly among the 4 packets, pouring it over the lamb. Dot each shank with a teaspoon of the butter.

Fold the foil to form rectangular packets, sealing the seams tightly. Arrange the packets on a baking sheet; it’s fine if they touch but they shouldn’t overlap. Bake for 2-1/2 hours; then check for doneness by carefully opening one of the packets (watch out for the steam) and testing the meat with a fork—it should be tender and pulling away from the bone. If necessary, continue to bake for another 10 minutes and check again.

Transfer the contents of the packets to large pasta bowls, surrounding the shanks with the liquid from the packets. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

lamb shanks and pasta

Pappardelle with Braised Lamb Shanks and Winter Vegetables

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 lamb shanks, cross-cut into 1-inch-thick slices, as for osso buco
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Juice and julienned zest of 1 orange
  • Juice and julienned zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 branches fresh rosemary
  • 1 thick parsnip, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 small rutabaga, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 small celery root, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 pound dried pappardelle, fettuccine or other wide, flat pasta
  • 1/4 pound button mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Directions

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Dry the pieces of meat with a paper towel, season them well with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides; set them aside. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan; cook until golden, about 6 minutes. Add in the wine; simmer 5 minutes. Add the stock, orange juice, lemon juice, tomato paste, rosemary, the browned lamb shanks and any juices they have released. Cover and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

Stir in the orange and lemon zest, parsnips, rutabaga, mushrooms, tomatoes and celery root. Cook, partially covered, until both the lamb and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes more. Set aside to cool. When the lamb is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and add it back to the stewed vegetables. Discard the bones.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, reheat the lamb and vegetable stew; bring to a simmer.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked pasta directly from its cooking pot to the pot with the stew. Add the cheese and parsley; toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper and serve in heated bowls, garnished with lemon wedges.

Jewish lamb shanks

Lamb Shanks – Jewish Style

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 Kosher lamb shanks (about 1 pound each), cross cut and visible fat removed
  • Kosher (coarse) salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium onions, halved root to stem and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic
  • 3 cups homemade chicken stock or canned, low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup prunes
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted
  • Black pepper to taste

Directions

Soak the lamb shanks in water to cover in a large bowl, changing the water frequently until it runs clear. (This will take about 15 minutes in all.) Remove the lamb shanks, dry them very well with paper towels and then season them all over with salt.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add the shanks and brown them on all sides, about 15 minutes altogether. Remove the shanks and set them aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions until they are soft, about 10 minutes.

Mix saffron with 1/4 cup of the chicken broth and add to the pan. Stir to mix well, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the remaining chicken stock and return the lamb shanks to the pot.

Place the pot in the oven and roast, covered, turning and basting the shanks frequently, for about 1 hour.

Add the apricots and prunes and continue roasting, covered, until the meat is very soft, about 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the shanks to a platter and keep warm. Remove as much fat as possible from the sauce, using a spoon or a fat separator. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Spoon the sauce over the lamb shanks, garnish with toasted almonds. Serve by itself or over couscous.

slow cooker lamb

Slow Cooker Wine Braised Lamb Shanks

Ingredients :

  • 4 large lamb shanks
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup Burgundy wine (or beef broth)
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

Directions

Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Place in a 5-qt slow cooker. Sprinkle with the parsley, garlic, oregano and lemon peel.

In a small saucepan, saute the onion and carrot in oil for 3 – 4 minutes or until tender.

Stir in wine or broth and bouillon. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour over the lamb.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove lamb and keep warm. Strain cooking juices and skim fat. In a small saucepan, bring juices to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Serve with the lamb.

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Expensive cuts of meat tend to be the ones that are tender and can be cooked quickly and easily. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create a great meal with a cut that costs less. Fresh brisket is an inexpensive boneless cut that requires long, slow cooking to break down the collagen in the connective muscle tissues to achieve tenderness. Because brisket is a tough cut of meat, it’s best simmered in a small amount of liquid, either in the oven, the slow cooker or on the stove top. Most recipes do not need much attention during cooking.

The secret to the tenderness is a long, moist cooking process called braising. Add a little liquid to the roasting pan – broth, wine, juice even water works fine. Season the beef and cover the pan tightly. The steamy environment created from the braising liquid will tenderize the meat. You’ll know that the brisket is done when you can easily insert and twist with fork the center of the meat without resistance. The important final step is to thinly slice the brisket across the grain.

Two different cuts of brisket are available. Unless the recipe specifies one or the other, either may be used in recipes calling for boneless beef brisket.

Beef Brisket Flat Half (also called thin cut, flat cut, first cut or center cut): With its minimal fat, this cut is generally the pricier of the two.

Beef Brisket Point Half (also called front cut, point cut, thick cut or nose cut): This cut is the less expensive of the two. It has more fat and more flavor.

How to Buy Brisket

Look for beef brisket that has a good color and appears moist but not wet. Avoid packages with tears or liquid in the bottom of the tray.

Plan on 3 to 4 ounces for each person you serve. Brisket comes in 3- to 3-1/2-pound sizes or larger. Unless you’re serving a crowd, you’ll probably have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches or future meals with 3 – 3 1/2 pounds.

Do not confuse a fresh beef brisket with corned beef.  Corned beef is a brisket that has been brined in a salt and herb solution.

Cooking Beef Brisket

Most briskets you buy will have a layer of fat on the surface. Trim this away using a sharp slicing knife. If needed, slice the brisket into two pieces to fit into your Dutch oven or slow cooker. Unless otherwise specified, you do not need to brown the brisket before cooking.

How to Cook Brisket in the Oven

The meat braises in a liquid (of your choice – broth, wine, barbecue) in the oven. No special equipment is needed — all you need is a baking pan.

1. Prep the Cooking Liquid

Here is a suggestion: In a small bowl stir together 3/4 cups beef broth, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar or white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 2 minced garlic cloves.

2. Bake the Brisket

  • Place a fat-trimmed 3 to 3-1/2-pound fresh beef brisket in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Pour the cooking liquid over the meat.
  • Cover the pan with heavy duty foil.
  • Bake in a 325 degrees F oven about 3-4 hours or until tender, turning once halfway through the cooking time. Discard the cooking liquid and, if desired, serve the sliced brisket with barbecue sauce.  (See “How to Slice Brisket,” below.)

How to Cook a Brisket on the Stove Top

1. Prep the Brisket and Cooking Liquid

  • Slice 2 medium onions; set aside.
  • Coarsely crush 1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns. Sprinkle a fat-trimmed 3- to 4-pound brisket with salt and crushed peppercorns.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a large heavy skillet with a tight-fitting lid. Brown the brisket on both sides in hot oil. Remove brisket from the pan.
  • Add onions to the skillet. Cook and stir onions until they are tender but not brown.
  • Return brisket to the skillet. Add one 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 1 cup lower-sodium beef broth, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning.
  • You can also add other liquids, vegetables or seasonings of your choosing to the pan.

2. Cook Brisket on the Stove Top

  • Bring mixture in the pan to boiling. Reduce the heat. Spoon some of the onion mixture over brisket.
  • Simmer brisket, tightly covered, for 3-4 hours or until brisket is tender.

3. Finish the Sauce

  • Remove brisket from the pan to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • Meanwhile, use a soup spoon to skim the fat from the top of the sauce. The liquid may be thickened with flour to make a gravy.
  • Serve the sliced brisket with the cooking liquid. (See “How to Slice Brisket,” below.)

How to Cook Brisket in a Slow Cooker

A slow cooker is ideal for braising brisket unattended for hours. In this preparation, the cooking liquid becomes a smoky barbecue sauce to serve alongside the tender, meaty slices of brisket.

1. Prep the Veggies and Sauce

  • Cut 2 stalks celery into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Combine the celery slices with one 16-ounce package of peeled fresh baby carrots in the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.
  • Season the brisket with salt, pepper and herbs of choice or use a rub.
  • For the sauce, crush 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca using a mortar and pestle (or place the tapioca in a resealable plastic bag, and crush with a rolling pin). In a small bowl combine the crushed tapioca, 1-1/2-cups smoke-flavor barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.

Slow-Cook the Brisket

  • Place the fat-trimmed brisket on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker. Note that you may need to cut the brisket in half to fit into the slow cooker.
  • Pour sauce over the brisket.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on the low-heat setting for 12 to 14 hours. Or cook on the high-heat setting for 6 to 7 hours.
  • Serve the sliced brisket with the vegetables and any liquid that forms in the pan. (See “How to Slice Brisket,” below.)

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How to Slice and Serve Brisket

  • Transfer cooked brisket to a cutting board. Let rest 10-15 minutes.
  • Using a slicing knife, thinly slice the brisket across the grain. (See photo above.)
  • If serving the cooking juices alongside your brisket, use a tablespoon to skim fat from the cooking liquid. Pass the cooking with the brisket.

How to Store Leftover Brisket

Divide leftover cooked brisket into small portions and place in shallow airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze (in freezer containers) for up to 2 months.

Here are some of my favorite brisket recipes.

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The Number One Family Favorite Is Not Italian!

Oven Barbecued Brisket

After several years of trying different spices and ingredients, I found the combination that everyone loves.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of fat
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 26 oz container Pomi strained Italian tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup

Directions

Combine shallots, garlic, chili powder, paprika,, oregano and salt in a small bowl. Rub onto both sides of the meat. Set the meat in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Mix tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar together in a large measuring cup.

Pour sauce over the meat. Cover the pan with heavy duty foil and set aside at room temperature while the oven heats to 350°F.

Bake the brisket, covered, for 2 hours. Turn meat over.

From this point on baste the brisket with pan juices every 30 minutes, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more, until the meat is very tender.

Remove the meat from the sauce. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice against the grain. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve.

Note: I like to make this dish the day before I plan to serve it, because the flavor improves so much sitting overnight. I slice the meat and place it in a baking dish, cover the dish and refrigerate overnight. I put the sauce in a separate container and place it in the refrigerator. The next day, I remove the chilled fat from the sauce and pour the sauce over the meat in the baking dish. Reheat the meat and sauce in a moderate oven for about 45-60 minutes.

Italian Braised Brisket

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Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pound boneless beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or water
  • 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 baking potatoes, peeled and quartered

Directions

Set the meat on the counter and let it come to room temperature. Salt and pepper the meat generously. Heat the oil over medium high in a heavy Dutch oven that will accommodate the roast and potatoes snugly in one layer. Add the meat and brown thoroughly on all sides, adjusting the heat if necessary to prevent burning. Transfer to a platter.

Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and herbs to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the celery and carrot are softened; do not brown. Push the vegetables to the edges of the pot and return the meat to the pan. Add the stock or water and tomatoes with all juices. Bring the sauce to a low boil, reduce to low heat and cover tightly. The liquid should be just bubbling throughout the cooling time, not a hard boil.

Turn the meat every 20 to 30 minutes and replenish the liquid if necessary. After 45 minutes, add the potatoes, nestling them in the liquid.

Check the roast after 2 hours and 30 minutes of cooking time; the dish is done when the meat is very tender. Serves 10 to 12.

Onion-Braised Brisket

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Ingredients

  • 4-5-lb beef brisket
  • 2 bay Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 3 cups beef stock; (homemade or low sodium canned)
  • 3 large yellow onions; (about 3 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Coarse salt; to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic; minced
  • Freshly ground black pepper; to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika; sweet or hot

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Pat brisket dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Sear brisket well on both sides, about 8 minutes, set aside.

Add remaining oil to in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and cook stirring, until softened and beginning to turn golden; add garlic, paprika, salt and pepper and cook 1 minute. Add bay leaves and beef stock and bring to a boil. Return brisket to the Dutch oven, leaving lid 1/2-inch ajar, transfer to the heated oven and bake, 3-1/2 hours or until tender. (Add more water or stock as needed throughout the roasting time).

Remove brisket from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Remove and discard bay leaves. Using a handheld blender, puree broth and onions to smooth sauce, if desired, or leave onions in the sauce without pureeing. Adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Slice brisket against the grain and serve with the onion sauce.

Makes 8 to 10 Servings

Some tips on this recipe:

This recipe is so much better the next day because the flavors blend together. Another benefit to this method is that it permits you to skim the fat from the pan juices. Also, once cooked and cooled, the brisket is easier to slice thinly across the grain. Prepare the roast the day before serving and simply reheat the sliced meat in the de-fatted pan juices in a moderate oven.

Italian Jewish Style Brisket

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Ingredients

  • 1 beef brisket, about 5 pounds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 sticks celery, cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • Garnish: parsley, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Trim the brisket of most of its fat and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large Dutch Oven and sear the brisket on both sides. Remove the brisket from the pan. Add the diced carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until onion is translucent. Add the rosemary, tomatoes and bay leaves and return brisket to the pan. Completely cover the meat with the wine, adding chicken stock if necessary so that the meat is covered.

Cover the pan and bake in the oven for 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender. If the liquid reduces by more than half during cooking, add a small amount of chicken stock.

Transfer the meat to a dish and keep warm. Remove the herbs and puree the liquid in a blender or with a hand held immersion blender until smooth. If the sauce is a little thin, return it to the heat and reduce over medium-high heat until it reaches the desired consistency. Slice the brisket and arrange it on a deep platter with the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Easy Smoked Brisket

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Don’t have access to a Smoker? Then try this oven roasted barbecue brisket that tastes pretty much like the real thing. This recipe makes great sandwich meat.

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 4 pound beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Directions

Combine everything but the brisket in a bowl. Mix well. Rub over the surface of the brisket and wrap tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place foil wrapped brisket in a roasting pan on a roasting rack and poke a couple of holes in the foil on the top. Cook for 4 hours.

Remove meat from foil and let sit for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.

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After an overindulgent holiday, nothing gets you back on track like some healthy veggies that are packed with fiber and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Roasted winter vegetables are a perfect side dish for roasted meats or poultry. You can add as many vegetables as you can fit in your roasting pan or include only vegetables that you like or what’s available in the market. Make sure to cut all the vegetables to the same size for even cooking. It also makes the finished dish look nicer.

Choosing Your Vegetables

Some vegetables benefit from roasting more than others, such as onions, potatoes, carrots and hearty root vegetables, but most vegetables will work. Green beans, broccoli and other green-hue vegetables are less suited for roasting because they tend to turn olive green and green beans shrivel before becoming tender. A real benefit to roasting is the ability to cook a combination of colorful vegetables, resulting in a full-flavor side dish or meatless entree.

Roasting Pointers

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roasting vegetables should be done at high heat so they caramelize on the outside. If the oven is too low, the vegetables will overcook before achieving the desired browning.

A heavy 13x9x2-inch roasting pan works well for roasting vegetables, but you can also use a large baking pan. To keep cleanup to a minimum, you can line the pan with foil. Place the vegetables that take the longest to cook in the pan. Do not crowd the vegetables or they will steam instead of roast. If you like, add 1 or 2 heads of garlic with the tops trimmed off, several sprigs of thyme, and/or snipped fresh rosemary, oregano or sage.

Tossing the vegetables with a seasoned oil mixture keeps them from drying out and helps to flavor the vegetables. In a small bowl combine several tablespoons of olive oil with lemon juice, salt and ground black pepper. Drizzle the seasoned oil over the vegetables in the pan and toss lightly to coat all of the vegetables. A basting brush also works well to help coat the vegetables with the oil.

If you prefer, you can omit the heads of garlic and fresh herbs from the vegetable mixture in the pan and add minced garlic and snipped fresh herbs or dried herbs (1 tablespoon snipped fresh herb equals 1 teaspoon dried herb) to the oil mixture.

Roast the longer cooking vegetables, uncovered, about 30 minutes, stirring once. Remove the pan from the oven and add vegetables with shorter cooking times. Toss to combine and return to the oven. Continue to cook about 10 to 15 minutes more or until the vegetables are tender and brown on the edges, stirring occasionally. The timings here are approximate and will depend on the vegetables you choose.

Use the chart below for vegetable roasting time as a guide.

Vegetables for Roasting

Preparation

Approximate Roasting Times at 450 degrees F. Roast vegetables until crisp-tender.

Carrots

Trim and peel or scrub baby carrots or regular carrots. Cut regular carrots into bite-size pieces or julienne strips.

40 to 45 minutes (julienne strips may cook faster)

Parsnips

Trim and peel parsnips. Cut into bite-size pieces or julienne strips.

40 to 45 minutes (julienne strips may cook faster)

New potatoes or regular potatoes

Whole tiny new potatoes, quartered, work especially well. For large potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces. Peeling is not necessary, but scrub well before using.

40 to 45 minutes

Sweet potatoes

Scrub and peel. Cut into bite-size pieces.

40 to 45 minutes

Onions

Remove papery outer layer. Cut into fairly thin wedges.

30 to 45 minutes

Fennel

Trim the stalks and cut a thin slice from the bottom of the bulb. Cut bulb into fairly thin wedges.

30 to 40 minutes

Brussels sprouts

Trim stems and remove any wilted outer leaves; wash. Cut any large sprouts in half lengthwise.

30 to 40 minutes

Baby beets or regular beets

Scrub and peel beets. Trim off stem and root ends. If desired, halve or quarter baby beets. Cut regular beets into 1-inch pieces.

30 to 40 minutes (you may want to cover the beets if they start to burn).

Roma tomatoes

Wash and halve lengthwise.

20 to 30 minutes

Zucchini, pattypan, or yellow summer squash

Baby zucchini, patty pan or summer squash can be roasted whole. For larger squash, cut into bite-size pieces or slices.

10 to 15 minutes

Small eggplant

Peel if desired. Cut into quarters lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

10 to 15 minutes

Sweet peppers, regular size or small

For regular-size peppers, wash, seed and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. For small peppers, if desired, roast whole, then remove stems and seeds.

10 to 15 minutes

Asparagus

Wash and break off woody bases where spears snap easily. Leave spears whole or cut into 1-inch pieces.

10 to 15 minutes

Baby leeks

Trim and halve lengthwise. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towels.

10 to 15 minutes

Cauliflower

Wash and remove leaves and woody stem. Break into florets.

10 to 15 minutes

Basic Recipe For Roasted Winter Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 5 medium carrots, peeled
  • 1 medium celery root, peeled (or 1 bunch celery, trimmed)
  • 2 medium turnips, peeled
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled
  • 6 small new potatoes, peeled (see note)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed
  • 8-10 shallots, peeled
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 450°F.

Separate the garlic cloves and peel them.

Pull the little leaves off of the fresh herb stems until you have a tablespoon. Set them aside along with another couple of whole sprigs of herbs.

Cut the carrots, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, squash and celery (or celery root) into about 1-inch pieces. Cutting the vegetables the same size will help ensure even cooking.

Transfer the cut vegetables, along with the shallots and garlic, to a large baking pan.

Drizzle with olive oil, season with Kosher salt and black pepper, sprinkle with the herb leaves and toss to combine. Place the whole herb sprigs in the pan with the veggies.

Roast for 35-40 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender but not too soft.

Remove the whole herb sprigs from the pan and let the vegetables cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 generous servings.

 

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Roasting the vegetables gives them a slightly sweeter flavor that pairs nicely with the tangy dressing.

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 small sweet potato, about 8-oz, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium white potato, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (peeled parsnip may be substituted)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 medium celery stalks, 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium beet, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Salad greens for serving

Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In large bowl toss potatoes, carrot, onion, celery and beet with 1/2 tablespoon oil, coating well. Arrange vegetables in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast, stirring several times, until tender and beginning to brown, about 35-40 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon with remaining oil and stir in parsley, oregano and walnuts.

Drizzle dressing over vegetables and gently toss. Serve over salad greens and top with crumbled feta.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Honey-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • One 1 1/4 pound celery root—peeled, quartered and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 1/4 pounds golden beets, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450° F. In a large bowl, toss the root vegetables with the oil, honey, thyme and season with salt and pepper. Divide between 2 large, sturdy rimmed baking sheets. Cover with foil and roast for 35-40 minutes, shifting the pans once, until the vegetables are tender. Remove the foil and roast for 10 minutes longer, until glazed. Return them to the bowl and stir in the vinegar then adjust season with salt and pepper, if needed.

MAKE AHEAD The vegetables can be cooked early in the day and kept at room temperature before rewarming.

 

Chicken and Pan Roasted Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, cut in 1-inch cubes (from one 2 1/2-pound squash)
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 large red onions, cut into thin wedges
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, plus more for serving
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Warm flatbread, for serving

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450°F and position rack in the upper middle third.

In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with the brussels sprouts, onion wedges and 1/4 cup of the oil; season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on a large, sturdy rimmed baking sheets.

In the same bowl, combine the cup of yogurt with the garlic, lemon juice, oregano and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil; season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and toss until thoroughly coated. Arrange the chicken and yogurt mixture on top of the vegetables.

Roast for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the vegetables are nearly tender and the chicken is nearly cooked through. Pour off any accumulated liquid in the pan and roast for about 20 minutes longer or until the the vegetables are tender and the chicken is lightly browned. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and serve with warm flatbread and additional yogurt.

MAKE AHEAD The chicken and vegetables can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently before serving.

 

Beef Tenderloin and Winter Vegetables

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 2 cups crimini mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed
  • 1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound mini carrots, well cleaned
  • 2 bunches mini beets, scrubbed, tops trimmed and halved
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Beef Roast:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons minced rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (6-pound) whole beef tenderloin (filet mignon)
  • Kosher salt

Directions

Cook’s Note: You can use any combination of vegetables or whatever looks good at the market. You want about 1 1/2 cups of vegetables per person.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Vegetables: Combine all the vegetables, garlic, olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl. Toss until well coated. Arrange in single layers on 2 baking sheets.  Roast until all the vegetables are golden brown and tender, about 35-40 minutes. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and keep warm until serving.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Roast: Combine the oil, mustard, garlic, rosemary and pepper in a small bowl. Coat the tenderloin with the mustard mixture. This can be done the day before and left in the refrigerator overnight. Just before roasting, season generously with salt, to taste. Set the tenderloin in a large roasting pan and put it in the center of the oven on the middle rack.

Roast until an instant-read meat-thermometer registers 135 degrees F, about 20 minutes. Remove the roast from the oven to a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes, tented with aluminum foil. Slice the meat and arrange on a serving platter. Serve alongside the warm roasted vegetables.


 

One of the most difficult things for a home cook to accomplish is a rich, smooth sauce to serve over steak. The answer isn’t in the “how to” but in what ingredients are used to create the sauce that makes the difference. In the days before refrigeration sauces were more often used to smother the taste of foods that had begun to go bad. However, in the 19th century, the French created a process for making sauces that is still being taught in cooking schools all over the world. The initial preparation of the key ingredients that go into the sauce takes a lot of time. The first step is making a stock with roasted veal and/or beef bones, simmering them for at least 12 hours, continuously skimming the pot, straining the liquid to remove the bones and reducing the liquid for making a successful base for the sauce.

A professional chef will then reduce this brown sauce further to make a demi glace, the ” supreme sauce”. (I have included a recipe, if you would like to try your hand at making it.) Stock reductions are the foundation to hundreds of classic sauces that are served in fine restaurants.

Stay away from bouillon cubes or instant sauce packets you see in your local supermarket. Just take a look at the ingredient list to see what the mix contains and, most likely, you will see a list of processed ingredients along with several preservatives. You can purchase demi-glace, ready made, at a gourmet supermarket to add to your homemade sauce to give it that rich flavor, if you do not have time to make it from scratch.

How to quickly create a rich tasting sauce:

1. Sauté a chopped shallot or small onion in one ounce of butter (1/4 stick) for 1-2 minutes until translucent.

2. Remove the pan from the heat and deglaze with 1/2-cup red win. Return pan to the heat and reduce liquid to half the amount.

3. Add 8 ounces of demi-glace and heat the sauce until it is thick enough to coat a spoon.

4. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

5. One last addition that is often used by professional chefs is a pat of butter to add flavor and shine to the finished sauce.

At this point you have a sauce that you can serve or use as a base and layer in more flavors by adding additional ingredients, such as fresh herbs and spices or cream. If you are adding mushrooms that need to cook, add them to the pan right after you add the wine and let them cook while the wine is reducing.

Homemade Demi-Glace

Ingredients

  • 10 lbs. veal/beef bones
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 white part of leek, roughly chopped
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste

1 Bouquet Garni: A bouquet garni is usually made by tying together herbs with kitchen twine or enclosing them in cheesecloth.

  • 2 outer green leek leaves
  • 15 flat-leaf parsley stems
  • 2 fresh thyme stems or sprigs
  • 2 dried bay leaves

Directions

1. Roast the bones: Browning bones and vegetables in a roasting pan in the oven before combining them in a pot with water gives the stock a more pronounced flavor and a deeper color. Veal bones have more collagen than beef bones; simmering the bones transforms the collagen into gelatin, which makes for a thicker, richer stock. Heat oven to 500°F. Put bones into a roasting pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and roast until lightly browned, about 1–1 1⁄2 hours. Add carrots, onions and leeks to the pan and spread them evenly around the bones. Roast the bones and vegetables until they are deeply browned, about 45 minutes more.

2. Deglaze the pan: Transfer bones and vegetables to a 15–20-qt. stockpot. Place roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove over medium heat. Add 3 cups water to the pan; begin scraping up any browned bits fromthe  bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as the water heats. These caramelized bits will enrich the stock. Simmer for 3 minutes; transfer liquid to the pot of bones. Add the bouquet garni and tomato paste. The paste will give the stock a deeper flavor and color. Cover bones with 6–8 qts. cold water; set pot over medium-high heat. Starting with cold water encourages the proteins and fats contained in the bones to rise to the surface in large pieces, where they can be skimmed and discarded.

3. Simmer the stock: When the first bubbles begin to appear on the surface of the liquid, reduce heat to medium-low and maintain a very gentle simmer; a bubble should rise to the surface about once per second. Simmering slowly prevents the fat and impurities from being churned back into the stock and clouding it. The strength and concentration of the demi-glace will be determined by the length of time the stock simmers. For the minimum amount of extraction, it should simmer for at least 6–8 hours, but 12 hours will produce a richer, more gelatinous sauce. Check every few hours and add more cold water, if necessary, so that bones are always covered.

4. Skim the fat: Skim fatty froth from the surface of the stock with a ladle every 5–10 minutes during first hour of cooking to prevent it from clouding the stock. After the first hour, skim the stock every 30 minutes or so.

5. Strain the stock: Set a chinois (a fine-mesh conical sieve) or a fine metal sieve over a clean 8-qt. pot. Strain stock through the sieve into the pot. Tap edge of sieve with a wooden spoon to loosen any solids that impede the straining of the stock, but do not force liquid through. Discard bones, vegetables and bouquet garni. The stock should yield 4–5 qts.

If storing stock for another use, you can cool it quickly by placing the pot in a sink half filled with ice water. Once it’s cooled, skim the surface again to remove any fat. Transfer the stock you don’t plan to use right away to storage containers and refrigerate. The stock will keep refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months. To transform the stock into demi-glace, proceed to next step.

6. Reduce the sauce: Traditionally, the stock for demi-glace was thickened with a roux, but modern chefs have shunned thickeners in favor of reducing stock to a pure, more syrupy consistency. Simmer stock over medium-high heat, skimming occasionally, for 4–5 hours until reduced to 2 cups. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

I freeze the demi-glace in ½ cup portions to add to sauces as needed.

Filet Mignon with Bordelaise Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 tablespoons Demi-Glace
  • 4 6-oz. filet mignons
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

Directions

In a 2-qt. saucepan, combine wine, thyme, shallots and bay leaf. Reduce wine over medium-high heat until reduced by half. Discard the thyme and bay leaf; stir in demi-glace. Cover, remove from heat and set aside.

Heat oven to 500°F. Season filets with salt and pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof 10″ skillet over high heat. Sear steaks, turning once, until browned, 4 minutes total. Transfer skillet to the oven; roast until steaks are medium rare, 4–5 minutes. Place steaks on a serving plate to rest.

Reheat sauce over medium heat. Whisk in butter. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in parsley and season sauce with salt and pepper.

Transfer steaks to a cutting board; pour juices from the serving plate into the saucepan and stir.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto each of 4 plates. Slice steak into 1/4″-thick slices; divide between plates. Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme; drizzle each steak with 1 tablespoon additional sauce.

Steak with Italian Herb Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tablespoon packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3⁄4 cups plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (24 oz.) 2″–3″-thick rib-eye, strip or porterhouse steak

Directions

Put the herbs and garlic on a cutting board and finely chop together with a large knife. Transfer herb mixture to a small bowl and stir in 3/4 cups oil. Season herb sauce with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 1 hour to let the flavors blend.

Meanwhile, put steak on a plate; season generously with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining oil. Let sit at room temperature for an hour.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high. (If weather permits.) Alternatively, heat an oiled grill pan over medium-high heat.

Cook steak, turning once, until browned and cooked to desired doneness, 8–10 minutes for medium rare. Transfer steak to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice steak against the grain and spoon some of the herb sauce over the top.

 

Espresso Spiced Steaks with Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (12-ounces each) rib-eye steaks or steak of your choice

Tomato sauce

  • 1 cup low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar

Directions

Combine first 6 ingredients; stir well. Rub spice mixture evenly over both sides of the steaks; cover and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

Preheat grill (indoor or outdoor) to medium-high heat.

Place steaks on greased grill; cook steak 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from grill; let stand 10 minutes.

Combine tomatoes and remaining ingredients in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and heat for 2 or 3 minutes.

Top steaks with tomato sauce just before serving.

Flank Steak with Garlic Wine Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head garlic
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup dry red wine

Directions

Cut head of garlic in half, place on a square of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap tightly and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of skins and mash into a puree. Set aside.

Sprinkle steak with salt to taste and the 2 teaspoons of freshly ground pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat, but do not add any fat.

When hot, cook seasoned steak until seared and well browned on both sides, about a minute per side. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Continue to cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove meat to a platter and keep warm.

Add the scallions and red wine to the skillet. Bring to a boil and whisk in the garlic puree. Boil until the wine is reduced by half and the sauce is thick and syrupy. As it boils, scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon.

Move steak to a cutting board. Stir in the meat juices from the serving platter that have accumulated under the steak. Boil for another second or so. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it is incorporated into the wine sauce.

Quickly slice the meat against the grain, into thin strips. Place them back on the platter and pour the sauce down the center of the slices.

Skirt Steak with Mustard Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 fat-trimmed skirt steak (about 1 1/4 lb.)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grained Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire

Directions

Wipe meat with a damp paper towel, then cut crosswise into 2 or 3 equal pieces.

Prepare an outdoor grill for direct heat or heat an indoor grill pan. When grill is medium-hot, place steak on grill. Cook, turning as needed to brown evenly, until meat is pink in the center of thickest part (cut to test), 5 to 7 minutes, total.

Meanwhile, in a shallow skillet combine butter, mustard, vermouth and Worcestershire; stir occasionally until butter melts. Keep warm.

Place cooked steak in the skillet, slice and stir meat into sauce. Serve immediately.


Nothing beats the winter chill like a steaming bowl of soup. Soup can be filling and also budget-friendly, since it can last for weeks or months in the freezer. Let the soup recipes below warm your cold bones. Soup doesn’t have to be rich and creamy to be satisfying, though. The soup recipes here include recipes for a vegetable soup, a chicken soup and several other easy soup recipes that are healthier versions of their more traditional counterparts. I have also added recipes for homemade broth, if you are so inclined.

Here are a few tips to help you add flavor to your soup recipes. These tips will help take bland tasting soups and turn them into delicious, full flavored soups.

Use fresh ingredients at their peak of flavor. Many make the mistake of using old or leftover ingredients, especially vegetables, to make soup. The basic soup vegetables needed for starting soups are, onions, carrots, leeks, celery, sometimes green and/or red bell pepper, parsnips and garlic. Of course you can add other vegetables depending upon your soup recipe.

Homemade broth can really make a difference in how your soup tastes. Soups need bones. Unless you are a vegetarian, this is important to develop a flavor base. You need a flavorful broth or stock and soup bones are key to making a flavorful broth. I save bones from steak, chicken or roasts, etc., in my freezer for this purpose. If not, you can buy soup bones or meat parts that have bone attached. You can buy a whole chicken and keep the non-meaty parts like the neck or back for soups. Chicken wings or a turkey carcass also make a delicious soup stock. Beef shanks make excellent beef stock.

Roasting the bones in a hot oven first also adds more flavor and you do not need to add fat to brown them in the soup pot. Delicious vegetable broth can be made by roasting the vegetables first.

Fish bones are needed for a good fish stock, even shrimp shells will work for this type of stock.

Remove Fat From Chilled Broth

An advantage to making the broth ahead of time, is that the broth can be chilled overnight and, the fat that accumulates on the top of the broth, can be removed before making the soup.

Use herbs and seasonings. Find good fresh, flavorful salt free seasonings. Experiment with different herbs and spices. Try different chilies (they range from mild to hot) and, they are especially good to add to bean soups. Adding freshly ground black pepper can also make a difference and increase flavor in a soup recipe.

Take your time and let good flavorful soups simmer for a few hours or use a crock pot. Make plenty and enjoy delicious, healthy soups even more the next day. Also, put some in the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner.

Stock Vegetables

Easy Method for Making Homemade Broth for Soup

Vegetables do not need to be peeled – just wash – peel and all. Use these broths in the recipes below. Of course, you can use canned broth, if you do not have time to make the broth.

CHICKEN STOCK

Roast 2 lbs. of chicken bones in the oven at 425 degrees F. for 30 minutes with 3 carrots, 2 onions halved, 2 leeks and 2 stalks of celery in a roasting pan. Transfer to a soup pot and add 2 gallons of water, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black whole peppercorns and simmer until reduced to half. Strain the broth and refrigerate overnight. Remove the fat and continue with your soup recipe or freeze in pint bags. This makes 1 gallon of chicken stock that will last over 1 year if frozen

SHELLFISH STOCK

Roast 2 lbs of shrimp or lobster shells or fish bones in the oven at 325 degrees F. for 40 minutes with 3 carrots, 2 onions halved, 2 leeks and 2 stalks of celery in a roasting pan. Transfer to a soup pot and add 2 gallons of water, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black whole peppercorns and simmer until reduced to half. Strain the broth and continue with your soup recipe or freeze in pint bags. This makes 1 gallon of fish stock that will last over 1 year if frozen

VEGETABLE STOCK

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. In a roasting pan add 4 carrots, 3 onions halved, 2 leeks, 3 stalks of celery, 2 shallots and 4 tomatoes cut in half. Roast for 45 minutes. Transfer to a soup pot and add 2 gallons of water, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black whole peppercorns and simmer until reduced to half. Strain the broth and continue with your soup recipe or freeze in pint bags. This makes 1 gallon of vegetable stock that will last over 1 year if frozen

BEEF STOCK

Roast 2 lbs of beef bones in the oven at 425 degrees F. for 30 minutes with 3 carrots, 2 onions halved, 2 leeks and 2 stalks of celery in a roasting pan. Transfer to a soup pot and add 2 gallons of water, 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black whole peppercorns and simmer until reduced to half. Strain the broth and refrigerate overnight. Remove the fat and continue with your soup recipe or freeze in pint bags. This makes 1 gallon of beef stock that will last over 1 year if frozen

Winter Soups

Potato and Kale Soup

Collard or mustard greens can be substituted for the kale.

Servings 8

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces bacon or turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned
  • 8 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, root ends trimmed
  • 1 bunch kale, trimmed, washed and thinly sliced
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

2. In a heavy stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potatoes and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and garlic to a bowl; lightly mash with a fork (or use an immersion blender). Return mashed vegetables to the soup pot and bring to a simmer. Stir in kale, a handful at a time. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the kale is tender. Stir in the reserved bacon and season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Root Vegetable and Apple Soup

Servings 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, large, peeled and diced
  • 8 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 small onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups homemade vegetable broth or low sodium canned
  • 1/2 cup Marsala (optional)
  • 2 ounces dried apples
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche or Greek yogurt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Place the diced vegetables and fresh apples on a baking sheet and toss with the walnut oil, honey, rosemary, five spice powder, salt and pepper. Roast, turning often, until vegetables are softened and lightly caramelized, 30 to 35 minutes.

3. Combine the vegetable broth, Marsala, and dried apples in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; simmer for 20 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables.

Immersion Blender

4. Working in small batches, puree the ingredients in a blender; (or use a hand immersion blender in the soup pot) and transfer to a saucepan. If the soup is too thick, thin with hot water or vegetable broth.

5. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle a little creme fraiche or yogurt over the top of each serving and swirl with a skewer or a knife. 

Easy Minestrone

Servings 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 leeks, medium-sized, washed and thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups homemade vegetable or chicken broth or low sodium canned
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 red potato, large-sized, scrubbed and diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves or Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup orzo pasta (whole wheat, if possible)
  • 15 ounces white beans, canned, drained and rinsed
  • 2 zucchini, trimmed, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh spinach, washed, stems removed or a bag of baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks, garlic and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in broth and water. Add potatoes, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

2. Add orzo and cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 5 minutes. Add beans and zucchini and continue to cook, partially covered, until the vegetables and pasta are tender, about 8 minutes.

3. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season the soup with vinegar. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan.

Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

Serves 8

To make a vegetarian version, use vegetable broth and substitute quartered button mushrooms and/or cubed firm tofu for the chicken.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups homemade chicken broth or low sodium canned, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 1 small chicken breast (about 6 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and leaves thinly sliced or other greens of choice

Directions:

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 1/2 cup broth to a simmer. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook about 8 minutes or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally.

2. Add remaining 7 1/2 cups of broth, water, rice, chicken and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook about 35 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through.

3. Remove bay leaf and stir in kale. Continue cooking just until kale is wilted and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Bean and Cabbage Soup

A thick, simple soup for a chilly afternoon, this dish is easy to make and tastes even better a day later.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red or white beans (1/2 pound), rinsed and picked over (or use low sodium canned beans)
  • 2 quarts water or homemade chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 head cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds), cored and shredded
  • 1 – 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each parsley, thyme, a bay leaf and a Parmesan rind
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

Directions:

If using canned beans skip step 1.

1. Combine the beans and broth or water in a large saucepan or pot. Discard any of the beans that float. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer one hour. Season to taste with salt. Do not discard bean cooking water.

2. In a large, heavy soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and add the onions, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring, until tender, five to eight minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for 30 seconds to a minute until fragrant, and add the cabbage and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, for five to 10 minutes until the cabbage has wilted.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, salt to taste and the red pepper flakes or cayenne, and continue to cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down and the mixture smells fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and their liquid. If the vegetables aren’t covered with liquid, add more so that they’re just covered. Add the bouquet garni, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes to an hour. The beans should be soft. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve, passing grated Parmesan, if desired, to sprinkle on.

Yield: Serves six.

Advance preparation: The cooked beans will keep for four days in the refrigerator. The soup also will keep for that long and can be frozen.



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