Meats and Poultry





Alton Brown's Baby Back Ribs

Ingredients

  • 2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs

 

For the Dry Rub:

  • 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

For the Braising Liquid:

  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
 
Step 2: In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
 
Step 3: Place each slab of baby back ribs on a baking sheet. 
 
 
Step 4: Ribs should be shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. 
 
 
Step 5: In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
 
Step 6: Pour half of the braising liquid on the ribs. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
 
 
Step 7: Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. 
 
Step 8: Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. 
 
Step 9: Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.
 

Amy's Tasty Pot Roast





Ingredients

 

  •     3 pounds chuck roast
  •     3 tablespoons olive oil
  •     Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  •     1 onion, cut into quarters and then again into eighths
  •     2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  •     3 sprigs fresh thyme
  •     2 bay leaves
  •     1 bulb of garlic, cut in half and wrapped in cheesecloth
  •     2 cups of red wine
  •     2 cups of low sodium beef stock
  •     1 pound of baby carrots
  •     2 russet potatoes, cut into large cubes
     




Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Step 2: Heat olive oil over high heat in a dutch oven.  Salt and pepper the chuck roast and sear on both sides.  Make sure to sear well—this will improve the flavor of your roast.  

Step 3: Remove the roast and add onion, rosemary and thyme to the dutch oven, cooking for approximately 5 minutes.  Add the wine, broth and bay leaves to deglaze the pan.  

Step 4: Add the roast back to the pan.  Cover the dutch oven, place into the oven for 2 hours.   

Step 5: Remove the dutch oven and add the carrots and potatoes to the broth.  Submerge the vegetables into the liquid as much as possible.  Put back into the oven and cook until the roast and vegetables are tender—approximately 30 minutes.   

Step 6: Remove the roast and vegetables from the dutch oven and cover with foil to maintain their temperature.  Discard the rosemary and thyme stems and the bay leaves.  Place the dutch oven on a high-heat burner and reduce the broth until it is thickened.  Be careful not to over-reduce the sauce—it will be too salty.  

Step 7: Serve the pot roast and vegetables with a watercress salad tossed with a lemon vinaigrette.





Blanquette de Veau

Blanquette de veau, a classic french dish, is a veal stew in a rich, velvety white cream sauce. I had this dish on a recent trip to France and I just had to try to make it when I returned home.  Although veal shoulder is not readily available at the grocery stores in my area, I was lucky enough one Sunday to find it at a local grocery store. There are many steps in this Julia Child recipe, but it is fairly easy to make and very close in taste to the blanquette that I had in France.

 

Recipe adapted from Julia Child, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"

 
Makes 6 servings
 



 

Ingredients:

 

For the veal:

  • 3 pounds of veal stew meat (shoulder cut), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5-6 cups cold white stock or chicken broth
  • 1 large onion cut in half and studded with 1 to 2 cloves
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bouquet garni (combination of 2 stalks celery, bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh parsley and thyme)
  • Salt
 

For the onions:

  • 18 to 24 white pearl onions
  • 1/2 cup white wine or stock dipped from the simmering veal casserole 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Small herb bouquet (combinations of parsley, thyme, bay leaf)
 

For the sauce veloute' and mushrooms:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 3-1/4 cups veal cooking stock
  • 18 to 24 small white button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and white pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cream or stock
 

For the cream and egg yolk enrichment:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
 



 

Instructions:

 
Step 1: For the onions: Peel the pearl onions, place in a small pot, and cover wine or stock. Add one tablespoon of butter and the herb bouquet,  and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes then remove from the heat and set aside.
 
 
Step 2: For the veal: Place the cubed veal in the large pot. Cover with water and bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Drain veal and wash it rapidly under cold water to remove all traces of scum. Wash out the casserole and return meat to the casserole. 
 
   
 
Step 3: Add 5-6 cups broth, the bouquet garni, onion, and carrot to the meat and reduce to a simmer. Let cook over low heat for two hours, periodically skimming away and discarding meat scum, until the veal is fork-tender (meaning it can be easily cut with the side of a fork). Do not undercook and do not overcook to mush.
 
 
Step 4:  When the veal is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a colander set over a bowl. Rinse out the casserole and return the meat to the casserole, removing any loose bones, bouquet garni and the vegetables. Arrange the cooked onions over the meat.
 
 
Step 5: To make the sauce veloute' and mushrooms: In the medium pot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, and once it has foamed and subsided, whisk in the flour, making sure it is completely incorporated. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Gradually add the reserved hot broth, whisking constantly to incorporate smoothly and bring to a boil, cooking and stirring until the mixture begins to thicken. Simmer for 10 minutes.  
 
 
Step 6:  Sprinkle the mushrooms with a few drops of lemon juice. Add the mushrooms to the sauce mixture and simmer for another 10 minutes. Check the seasoning of the sauce and season with salt and white pepper and some lemon juice, if desired.
 
Step 7: Add the veal, pearl onions, and 2 tablespoons of cream. Set aside. 
 
 
Step 8: To finish: Just before serving, place the 3 egg yolks in the small bowl and add about 1/2 to 1 cup (50 mL) of cream.  Mix with a wire whisk. 
 
Step 9: Add 1/2 to 1 cup of the hot sauce from the stew to the cream and egg mixture. Whisk well and then add this mixture to the pot. Stir. Do not allow the sauce to come to a boil.  Add the lemon juice, season again as needed, and serve with white rice.
 
 



 

Braciole di Vitello

Adapted from Mario Batali: Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes To Cook At Home

Makes 6 servings






Ingredients

  •     12 thin slices of veal, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
  •     1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted in a 400 degree F oven 2 minutes and roughly chopped
  •     1/2 cup currants
  •     1/2 cup freshly-grated pecorino
  •     3 ounces prosciutto, cut into 1/8-inch dice
  •     1/3 cup Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  •     4 cloves garlic, crushed
  •     Salt and pepper
  •     1 egg
  •     1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •     1 large Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  •     2 ounces pancetta, minced
  •     1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes and their juices, crushed
  •     2 cups red wine

 





Instructions


Step 1: In a medium bowl, combine the pine nuts, currants, pecorino, prosciutto, parsley, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the egg and mix well to blend.

Step 2: Divide mixture into 12 equal portions. Spread the mixture onto 1 side of each of the 12 veal pieces, leaving a 1/2-inch perimeter uncovered on each.

Step 3: Roll each piece of veal tightly and bind with butcher's twine to ensure that filling stays intact. Season the veal with salt and pepper.

Step 4: In a large casserole or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until almost smoking. Sear the veal rolls, remove when brown.

Step 5: Add the onion and saute 2 minutes. Add the pancetta, tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen the browned bits.

Step 6: Reduce to a simmer and add the veal. Cover tightly and allow to braise for 1 hour. Allow to rest 10 minutes before serving with sauce
 

    
 





Calabrian Stuffed Eggplants

This is my parents' signature recipe and one of my favorite meals that they make.  It's very delicious, easy to make, and a must try if you love eggplant like I do.

 

Makes 8 servings




 

Ingredients

 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Cut eggplants in half lengthwise.  Scoop out center pulp leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch walls.   Reserve center pulp.
 
Step 2: Boil pulp until soft about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and puree cooked pulped in food processor. 
 
Step 3: Add eggplant puree to the 4 pounds of meatball mixture.  The meat mixture should be soft.  If not soft, add water to soften the mixture. Mix well. 
 
 
Step 4: Parboil the outer eggplant shells for 10 minutes.
 
Step 5: Stuff eggplant shells with meat mixture.  
 
 
Step 6: Add olive oil to glass dish and arrange stuffed eggplants in baking dish.  
 
 
Step 7: Bake at 350°F for at least 1 hour. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of simple red sauce to eggplants and bake for an additional 15 minutes.



 

Cheryl's Stove-Top Pulled Pork Barbecue

This is my favorite stove-top pulled pork barbecue recipe. It’s one that I’ve adapted from reading and trying many different recipes, including recipes from Tyler Florence and Bobby Flay. This pork barbecue is slow-cooked over a low fire for 6 to 8 hours so it’s something that you’ll want to do when you're having a lazy day at home.  The recipe calls for a 4 pound pork shoulder or butt but I rarely can find one that small. I doubled the recipe below and used an 8 to 9 pound shoulder. This will make a very large batch but share it with friends or freeze it for later to be reheated on those evenings after work when you're too tired to cook or have no other food in the house! I think it’s best served with coleslaw on a bun.

 




 

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder or Boston butt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt (season to taste)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or alternatively you many add chili powder (season to taste)
  • 4 to 5 cups of reserved cooking broth
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Trim fat off of meat. Place shoulder or Boston butt in stock pot and cover with water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat shreds easily. 
 
Step 2: Drain the pork but reserve at least 4 to 5 cups of the cooking broth. Shred the pork with a fork. 
 
Step 3: Saute celery and onions in olive oil. 
 
 
Step 4: Add ketchup, tomato sauce, and the next 6 ingredients. 
 
 
Step 5: Add shredded meat and the reserved cooking broth to sauce.  Cook at least 3 hours or until thick. 
 
 
 



 

Chicken Paillard with Fresh Peaches and Blue Cheese

Adapted from Tyler Florence: Tyler’s Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Anytime

Makes 4 servings






Ingredients


For the Vinaigrette:

  •     3 tablespoons honey
  •     1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  •     1 shallot, chopped
  •     1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  •     Juice of 1/2 lemon
  •     1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
  •     kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the chicken:

  •     4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  •     kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  •     1/2 pound pancetta
  •     Extra-virgin olive oil
  •     1/4 pound blue cheese, broken into hunks
  •     1 bunch of arugula, trimmed
  •     4 small fresh peaches, quartered (you can use a variety of fruit--figs, nectarines, peaches)
  •     Tarragon leaves, for garnish

 





Instructions


Step 1: First whisk together all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and set it aside.



Step 2: Sandwich the chicken breasts between 2 layers of plastic wrap and pound them very thin with the side of a meat cleaver or a rolling pin. Remove the chicken breasts from the plastic and season well on both sides with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Unroll the pancetta so it looks like big strips of bacon. Add it to the pan and fry it like a tangle of bacon until the fat is rendered, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Step 4: Drizzle a 2-count of olive oil into the pan with the pancetta drippings. Add the chicken and pan fry 3 to 4 minutes on each side to brown the breasts and cook them through.

Step 5: Use a spatula to remove the chicken to the paper towels with the pancetta.



Step 6: Add the vinaigrette to the saute pan and heat for a few minutes, stirring, to deglaze the bits of pancetta and chicken from the bottom of the pan; take the pan off the heat.



Step 7: To serve, arrange the chicken on a platter. Scatter the blue cheese, arugula, peaches, and pancetta over. Drizzle the dressing over everything and garnish with the tarragon leaves.





Chicken Parmesan






Ingredients

  •     1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
  •     1 medium onion, chopped
  •     2 garlic cloves, minced
  •     1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves
  •     2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed using a food mill
  •     3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste
  •     Pinch sugar
  •     Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •     4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts (about 11/2 pounds)
  •     1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •     2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •     1 tablespoon water
  •     1 cup panko bread crumbs
  •     1 (8-ounce) ball fresh mozzarella, water drained
  •     Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  •     1 pound spaghetti pasta, cooked al dente
     




Instructions


Step 1: Coat a saute pan with olive oil and place over medium heat. When the oil gets hazy, add the onions and garlic; cook and stir for 5 minutes until fragrant and soft.

Step 2: Carefully add the tomatoes and some hand-torn basil. Cook and stir until the liquid is cooked down and the sauce is thick, about 45 minutes; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Step 4: Get the ingredients together for the chicken so you have a little assembly line. Put the flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, combine the eggs and water, beat until frothy. Put the bread crumbs on a plate, season with salt and pepper.

Step 5: Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/2-inch thick.

Step 6: Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high flame in a large oven-proof skillet.

Step 7: Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off, then dredge in the bread crumbs. When the oil is nice and hot, add the cutlets and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crusty, turning once.

Step 8: Ladle the tomato sauce over the chicken and lay slices of fresh mozzarella on chicken, parmesan, and basil.

Step 9: Bake the Chicken Parmesan for 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve hot with spaghetti.





Chicken Piccata

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, January, 2001

Makes 4 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 2 large lemons
  • 4 boneless, skinless thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets (about 1-1/2 pounds) rinsed and dried thoroughly
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot , minced (about 2 tablespoons) 
  • 1 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons small capers, drained
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set large heatproof plate on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees.
 
Step 2:  Halve one lemon pole to pole. Trim ends from one half and cut crosswise into slices 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick; set aside. Juice remaining half and whole lemon to obtain 1/4 cup juice; reserve.
 
Step 3:  Sprinkle both sides of cutlets generously with salt and pepper. Measure flour into pie tin or shallow baking dish. Working one cutlet at a time, coat with flour, and shake to remove excess.
 
Step 4:  Heat heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes; add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl pan to coat. Lay half of chicken pieces in skillet. Sauté cutlets, without moving them, until lightly browned on first side, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Turn cutlets and cook until second side is lightly browned, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and transfer cutlets to plate in oven. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to now-empty skillet and heat until shimmering. Add remaining chicken pieces and repeat.
 
Step 5: Add shallot to now-empty skillet and return skillet to medium heat. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add stock and lemon slices, increase heat to high, and scrape skillet bottom with wooden spoon or spatula to loosen browned bits.
 
 
Step 6: Simmer until liquid reduces to about 1/3 cup, about 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and capers and simmer until sauce reduces again to 1/3 cup, about 1 minute.
 
 
 Step 7: Remove pan from heat and swirl in butter until butter melts and thickens sauce; swirl in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.
 




Ernesto's Peppercorn-Crusted Beef Tenderloin





 

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 pounds trimmed beef tenderloin, preferably center-cut 
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

 





Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F 
 
Step 2: Coarsely crack peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.
 
Step 3: Tie kitchen string around tenderloin in several places so the meat will hold its shape as it cooks. Rub with oil, sprinkle with salt and coat with the cracked peppercorns.
 
Step 4: Roast tenderloin undisturbed in oven for 20 minutes.
 
Step 5: Rotate the tenderloin 180 degrees, cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F (for medium-rare), 15 to 35 minutes more. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing




Italian Meatballs





Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef*
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cups pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cups water to make meatballs soft
  • *For the ground beef use a cut with higher fat content (less lean) to get softer meatballs. Or better yet, buy chuck roast and have your butcher grind it for you.

 





Instructions

 
Step 1: Place all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.
 
Step 2: After mixing it may be helpful to fry one or two small patties to determine if any ingredients need to be increased. Once mix is complete, roll into meatballs (about 1" diameter).
 
Step 3: An ice cream scoop can be a simple way to keep the meatball sizes consistent.
 
     
 
Step 4: Finish rolling into meatballs by hand.
 
 
Step 5: Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to boil. Drop meatballs in boiling water and cook until they float. This help meatballs to keep their shape when you cook them in the sauce.  Reserve 2 to 3 cups of the meatball broth.
 
Step 6: Bring simple red sauce to a boil. If sauce is thick, add some of the meatball broth to flavor the sauce. Drop meatballs into boiling sauce and let cook on low heat for 2-3 hours.
 
Enjoy! But remember, sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone, so best to serve the meatballs on a separate plate.
 




Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Greens

 

 
Adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2001
 
Makes 12 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 10 medium Swiss chard leaves (from 2 bunches), thick ribs removed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as portobello, cremini, and stemmed shiitake), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from day-old French bread
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 6- to 7-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied to 2-inch thickness, excess fat and sinew trimmed
  • 4 ounces ground veal or lamb
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced




Instructions

 
Step 1: Cook Swiss chard in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Squeeze chard dry, then finely chop enough to measure 1 1/2 cups. Transfer to large bowl.
 
Step 2: Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add wild mushrooms, onion and 1 minced garlic clove and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. 
 
 
Step 3: Cool mushroom mixture. Transfer to bowl with chard. Add breadcrumbs, cream, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1 tablespoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix to blend. Can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate. Before continuing, stir mushroom stuffing in skillet over medium-high heat until just lukewarm.
 
 
Step 4: Preheat oven to 425°F. Open butterflied lamb like book and place cut side up on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
 
Step 5: Mix veal and egg into mushroom stuffing. Spread evenly over lamb; press to adhere. 
 
Step 7: Starting at narrow end, roll up lamb tightly, enclosing filling. Fasten ends with poultry skewers. Rub outside of lamb with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then with remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, and 1/2 tablespoon thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie lamb with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals to hold shape. 
 
 
 
Step 8: Using small sharp knife, cut several 1-inch-deep slits in top of lamb, spacing apart; insert 1 garlic slice into each slit. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan.
 
 
Step 9: Roast lamb to desired doneness or until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 135°F to 140°F for medium-rare, about 1 hour 25 minutes.  Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Remove skewers and string. Cut lamb into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place on platter
 




Maria's Sausage, Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

 
Makes 6 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Andouille sausage, diced 
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 5 to 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, roughly cut into 1-inch cubes
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper 
  • 2 to 3 large onions, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 5 stalks celery, diced 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes 
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer
  • 3 cups converted Louisiana white rice 
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
 




Instructions

 
Step 1:  Heat a very large pot over high heat until it is hot, then reduce the heat to moderate. 
 
Step 2: Render the sausages in the olive oil in the hot pot, stirring slowly with a long wooden spoon. 
 
 
   
 
 
Step 3: While the pork is rendering, season the chicken thighs with salt and black pepper. Add the chicken to the pot, stirring, and cook until the chicken becomes golden brown, about 5 minutes.
 
 
Step 4: After the chicken has browned, add the onions to the pot and allow them to caramelize, about 15 minutes. 
 
 
Step 5: Add the bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, celery, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Continue stirring from time to time so that everything in the pot cooks evenly.
 
Step 6: Add the rice, thyme, bay leaves, paprika, cayenne, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and the celery salt to the pot and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
 
Step 7: Increase the heat to high and add beer, crushed tomatoes and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes to 20 minutes (or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed).
 
 
Step 8: While the rice is cooking in the covered pot, season the shrimp with salt and pepper and save them, along with the green onions, to be added at the last minute.
 
Step 9: After the rice has cooked, go ahead and remove the lid from pot and fold in the shrimp and green onions. Turn off the heat and let everything continue to cook in the hot covered pot for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff the jambalaya, and serve.




Mario Batali's Arista alla Porchetta

 
Adapted from Mario Batali: Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
 
Makes 4 servings
 




Ingredients

  • One 4-pound boneless pork loin roast, butterflied (have the butcher do this)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, fronds reserved and chopped, bulb thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds ground pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 red onions, cut in half
  • 1 lemon, halved

 





Instructions

 
Step 1. Lay the pork loin out flat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
 
 
Step 2. In a 10- to 12-inch saute pan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the sliced onion and fennel and saute until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 
 
 
Step 3. Add the ground pork, fennel seeds, rosemary, garlic, and 2 tablespoons pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is no longer pink, about 10 minutes. 
 
  
 
Step 4: Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
 
Step 5. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
 
Step 6. Add all but 1 tablespoon of the fennel fronds, the bread crumbs, and eggs to the pork mixture and mix gently. Spread the mixture over the pork loin. 
 
 
Step 7: Roll it up, starting from a long side, like a jelly roll, and tie with butcher’s twine. Place the red onions in a roasting pan and set the pork loin on top. 
 
                
 
 
Step 8. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 135°F (57°C). Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
 
 
Step 9. Slice the pork loin into 1-inch-thick pieces. Serve drizzled with the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon, garnished with the reserved fennel fronds, and with the onions on the side.




Martha Stewart's Braised Turkey Thighs with Applesauce

 
Makes 4 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 turkey thighs (about 2 pounds total)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 4 Cortland or Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 14.5 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Season turkey on both sides with salt and pepper and add to pot, skin side down. Cook until skin is golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. 
 
Step 2: Transfer turkey to a plate and add shallots to pot. Cook until shallots soften, about 5 minutes. Add apples and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
 
 
Step 3: Return turkey, skin side up, to pot; add cider and broth. Bring to a boil, cover, then place pot in oven. Cook 1 1/2 hours. Uncover; cook 30 minutes more.
 
 
Step 4: Remove pot from oven and transfer turkey to a plate. Skim fat from cooking liquid and stir in vinegar. Slice meat off bones (discard bones) and serve turkey with apples and pan sauce.




Meat-Stuffed Hungarian Hot Peppers




 

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 hot hungarian peppers (alternatively you can use 10 red, 10 yellow or 10 orange mini sweet peppers and serve as an appetizer)
  • Meatball mixture (click on meatball for the recipe)
  • Simple red sauce (click on simple red sauce for the recipe)
  • Olive oil

 




 

Instructions 

 
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
 
Step 2: Leaving the peppers stem intact, cut off tops of pepper. Remove seeds. Stuff with meatball mixture. The meatball mixture should be very soft before stuffing peppers.  Add 1/2 cup water to mixture to make mixture soft.
 
 
Step 3: In a 9 X 12 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or coated with olive oil, arrange the peppers in a single layer. If using hot banana or bell peppers, bake for at least 40 to 50 minutes until peppers are very tender. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of simple red sauce to peppers and bake for an additional 10 minutes. If using mini sweet peppers, bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until peppers are tender and meat is cooked.  Add 1/2 to 1 cup of simple red sauce to peppers and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
 

 




 

Moroccan Chicken with Eggplants, Tomatoes, and Almonds

 
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2004
 
Makes 8 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups sliced onions
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups drained canned diced tomatoes 
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 8 chicken thighs with bones, skinned
  • 8 chicken drumsticks, skinned
  • 1 large eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds or slivered almonds, toasted
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large wide pot over medium heat.
 
Step 2: Add onions and garlic. Cover and cook until onions are soft, about 10 minutes. 
 
Step 3: Add paprika, salt, turmeric, coriander, fennel, pepper, cumin, and ginger; stir 1 minute. 
 
Step 4: Add tomatoes, 1 cup water, and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; bring to boil. 
 
Step 5: Arrange all chicken in single layer in pot; spoon some sauce over. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Turn chicken over, cover, and simmer until chicken is tender, about 20 minutes longer.
 
Step 6: Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Brush large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Place eggplant and remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil in large bowl; toss to coat. Spread eggplant out on prepared baking sheet and bake until soft and brown, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. 
 
Step 7: Stir eggplant and marjoram into chicken. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes to heat through and blend flavors. Season stew to taste with more lemon juice, if desired, and salt and pepper. 
 
Step 8: Transfer chicken to large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and cilantro.




Osso Buco

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, published September 3, 2008
 




Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 veal shanks (8 to 10 ounces and 1 1/2 inches thick each), tied around equator with butcher's twine
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 medium onions , chopped medium
  • 2 medium carrots , peeled and chopped medium
  • 2 medium celery ribs, chopped medium
  • 6 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (14-1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, cut into quarters

 

For the Gremolata:

  • 3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons minced lemon zest (see note)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
 




Instruction

 
Step 1: For the Osso Buco: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. To keep the meat attached to the shank bone during the long simmering process, tie a piece of twine around the thickest portion of each shank before it is browned. 
 
Step 2: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium-high heat until smoking. 
 
Step 3: Meanwhile, dry shanks thoroughly with paper towels, then season generously with salt and pepper. 
 
Step 4: Place 3 shanks in single layer in a cast iron skillet and cook until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip shanks and cook on second side until golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.
 
 
Transfer shanks to bowl and set aside. Off heat, add 1/2 cup of wine to skillet, scraping bottom with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Pour liquid into bowl with flavorful browned shanks. Return pot to medium-high heat, add 3 more tablespoons oil, and heat until shimmering. Brown remaining shanks, about 5 minutes for each side. Transfer shanks to bowl with other shanks. Off heat, add 1 more cup wine to skillet, scraping bottom to loosen browned bits. Pour liquid into bowl with shanks.
 
Step 5: Set Dutch oven over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat until shimmering. Add onions and carrots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, about 9 minutes. Add garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute longer. 
 
Step 6: Increase heat to high and stir in broth, remaining cup wine, juices from veal shanks, and bay leaves. Add whole tomatoes, cut-up, fresh tomatoes and veal shanks to pot (liquid should just cover shanks). Cover pot, bring to simmer with lid slightly ajar, and place pot in oven. Cook shanks until meat is easily pierced with fork, but not falling off bone, about 2 hours.
 
 
Step 7: For the Gremolata: Combine garlic, lemon zest, and parsley in small bowl. Stir half of gremolata into pot, reserving rest for garnish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
 
Step 8: Let osso buco stand, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
 
Step 9: Remove shanks from Dutch oven, cut off and discard butcher's twine, and place 1 veal shank in each serving bowl. Discard bay leaves. Ladle some braising liquid over each shank and sprinkle with portion of remaining gremolata. Serve immediately.
 
To make ahead: Osso Buco may be prepared through step 6 up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The meat should be stored and reheated in the braising liquid to prevent it from drying out. Scrape the chilled fat off the top and bring the osso buco to a simmer over medium-low heat in a covered Dutch oven, adding broth or water to adjust the consistency, if necessary. The gremolata should be prepared just before serving.




Osso Buco a' l'Arman

 



 

Ingredients

  • 4 navel oranges, rinsed and drie
  • 2 cups water
  • About 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 
  • 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in tomato puree
  • 5 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 veal shanks, sawed into 2- to 3-inch lengths (osso buco)
  • 4 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and thinly sliced
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Remove the zest from the oranges with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to get any of the cottony white pith. Pour the water into a saucepan, drop in the zest, bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat so that the water just simmers and cook for another 5 minutes. Set aside.
 
 
Step 2: Put a Dutch oven or a very large oven-going skillet with a lid over medium heat and pour in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, and herbs and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, just to soften. 
 
 
Step 3: Using scissors, reach into the can of tomatoes and snip the tomatoes into pieces. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes, liquid included, the bouillon, and 2 tablespoons of the water in which the zest cooked — hold on to the rest of the liquid; you’ll need it later. Bring the sauce to a boil, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat, and let it simmer gently while you brown the veal.
 
Step 4: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
 
Step 5: Set a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and pour in 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Pat the veal dry and season sparingly with pepper. Working in batches if necessary, slip the pieces into the pan and brown them lightly on both sides. (If you’re working in batches, you’ll probably have to add more oil.) 
 
 
Step 6: As each piece of meat is browned, lift it out of the skillet with a slotted spatula (let the fat drip back into the pan) and lower it into the simmering sauce.
 
Step 7: Pour off the fat in the skillet and pour in the remainder of the liquid in which the zest cooked — reserve the zest. Turn the heat up and cook for a minute, stirring to get up whatever little bits of meat have stuck to the pan, then pour the pan juices into the Dutch oven. Add 8 to 10 strips of the zest to the pot - you can save the rest for pilaf and gremolata; and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix everything together as best you can — you won’t be mixing as much as gently sloshing, but that’s fine. Scatter the carrots over the veal.
 
Step 8: Cut a circle of parchment paper or two circles of wax paper (it’s good to have a double layer) just large enough to fit inside the Dutch oven and lay the paper on top of the osso buco. Simmer for 5 minutes more, then settle the lid on the pot and slide it into the oven.
 
Step 9: Braise the osso buco undisturbed for 2 hours, at which point the meat should be fork-tender. Carefully lift off the pot’s lid and the parchment paper and, with a large spoon, skim as much fat from the surface of the sauce as possible before serving. You can make the dish up to 2 days ahead, chill it, and then reheat it gently on top of the stove or in a 325-degree-F oven. It can also be frozen: cool the dish (or the leftovers), pack airtight, and freeze for up to 2 months.
 
Step 10: For the Orange-Basil Gremolata: While you can certainly make this from fresh zest, it’s foolish not to use the zest you blanched for the sauce. Pat the zest dry and finely chop enough of it to measure about 1/4 cup. Toss the zest with 1 garlic clove, split, germ removed, and minced, 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, salt (fleur de sel would be nice), and freshly ground pepper. You can make this about an hour or so before serving time, but keep it tightly covered with plastic wrap so that it stays moist.
 
Step 11: For the Orange Rice Pilaf:  Set a medium saucepan over low heat and pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it’s warm, stir in 1 onion, finely chopped, and about 3 tablespoons finely chopped orange zest (if you use the zest you cooked for the osso buco’s sauce, just pat it dry). 
 
Step 12: Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. 
 
Step 13: Increase the heat to medium, add 1 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice, and stir it around until it is coated with oil, about 1 minute. Pour in 2 cups chicken broth and stir. Bring the broth to a boil, add a little more salt and pepper if you think it’s needed, and stir, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. (White basmati rice usually needs about 11 minutes, but rice varies, so check the package and, most important, the pan.) 
 
Step 14: Remove from the heat, let sit for 2 minutes, and then fluff the rice with a fork. If you’d like, you can stir a little chopped fresh basil into the rice.



 

Pan-Seared Veal Chops

 





Ingredients

  • Six 12-ounce veal rib chops, cut 1 inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Rub the veal chops all over with the olive oil, chopped rosemary and black pepper. Let the chops stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
 
 
Step 2: In a very large skillet, cook the butter over moderately high heat until it starts to brown, about 1 minute. Season the veal chops with salt. Add them to the skillet and pan-fry over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of one of the chops registers 125°, about 15 minutes. 
 
 
Step 3: Transfer the chops to a serving platter.
 
Step 4: Add the lemon juice and water to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour the pan sauce over the veal chops and serve at once.




Pollo alla Cacciatora

 
Adapted from Mario Batali: Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes To Cook At Home
 
Makes 4 servings
 



 

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 branch fresh rosemary, leaves only, minced 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil 
  • One 3 pound chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 2 large yellow onions, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, stems removed, cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 ribs of celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups simple red sauce
  • 1 cup white wine 
  • 1 cup chicken stock 
  • Pinch sugar 
  • Pinch hot red pepper flakes
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Combine the garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and enough olive oil to make a somewhat dry paste. Divide the paste evenly among the 8 pieces and let sit, covered and refrigerated, for 2 hours.
 
Step 2: In a Dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over high heat until smoking. Brush the excess rub from the bird and sear each piece of meat on all sides in the hot oil. 
 
 
Step 3: Remove seared meat to a plate lined with paper towels. 
 
Step 4: Add the onions, the mushrooms, pancetta, and celery and cook over high heat until onions are golden brown and fat has been rendered from pancetta. 
 
 
Step 5: Drain the excess oil, then add the tomato sauce and wine and stir the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the browned bits. Add the chicken stock, sugar and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil. 
 
Step 6: Return the chicken to the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, covered, then 15 to 20 minutes more, uncovered. 
 
Step 7: Remove from heat, cut each quarter in half, and divide meat evenly among 4 warmed dinner plates, giving each plate a selection of light and dark meat. Top with the sauce and serve immediately.



 

Pollo con Melanzane (Braised Chicken with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Pancetta)

I had a craving for eggplant and stumbled upon this recipe in my collection of cookbooks. The original version of the recipe calls for the eggplant to be deep fried before adding it to the braised chicken.  I wanted to make a slightly healthier version so I decided to roast it instead.  The recipe is very simple and either way you decide to make it, by deep frying or simply roasting the eggplant, it's delicious and a must try.

 

Adapted from Rosetta Costantino, My Calabria, Rustic Family Cooking from Italy's Undiscovered South

 

Makes 8 servings
 



 

Ingredients

 
  • 2 large globe eggplants
  • Olive oil 
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 to 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cup fresh summer tomatoes, diced
  • 1 to 2 fresh hot Hungarian wax peppers, sliced lengthwise in half
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Cut eggplant into 1-to-2-inch cubes. Place on a paper towel, liberally sprinkle with salt, and let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
 
Step 2: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Place eggplant cubes on a baking sheet with sides and drizzle with olive oil. Roast eggplant for 25 to 30 minutes. 
 
 
Step 3: While the eggplant is roasting, generously season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper on both sides. In a Dutch oven wide enough to hold 4 chicken thighs in one layer, heat a thin layer of oil olive over medium heat. Add pancetta and garlic and sauté 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic is golden but not burnt.
 
Step 4: Sauté the chicken thighs in 2 batches. Add 4 chicken thighs skin-side down to dutch oven and brown on high heat until the skin is crispy, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and brown the other side for an additional 5 minutes.  Turn flame down if necessary to avoid burning the chicken. Transfer the 4 thighs to a plate and repeat the above procedure for the other 4 chicken thighs.
 
 
Step 5:  When the chicken thighs are browned, remove chicken to a plate, drain off the extra fat from the dutch oven, and retain the pancetta and garlic.  
 
Step 6: Return the chicken to the pot and add the white wine and cook on medium to high heat, until all wine is evaporated.
 
 
Step 7: Add diced tomatoes and hot Hungarian wax peppers to the chicken and pancetta and gently stir until the tomatoes break down and make a sauce, about 15 to 20 minutes.
 
 
Step 8: When the tomatoes have turned to sauce, the chicken should be cooked through. Add the roasted eggplant and gently combine the eggplant into the sauce and chicken. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
 
 
Step 9: Sprinkle with chopped basil or parsley and serve



 

Riso alla Pitocca (Traditional Rice with Chicken)

Recipe Adapted from Lidia Bastianich, Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy
 




Ingredients

 
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup onion, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup carrot, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup celery , cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups hot chicken or turkey stock, plus more if needed
  • 2 cups Italian short-grain rice, such as Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Grana Padano, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs, and cut them into 1-inch chunks. 
 
Step 2: Using a food processor, mince the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic into a fine-textured pestata. 
 
  
 
Step 3: Pour the olive oil in the saucepan, and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the pestata, and season with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the pestata has dried and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan. 
 
 
Step 4: Toss in the chicken pieces and the bay leaf, and sprinkle over it the remaining 2 teaspoons salt. 
 
 
Step 5: Tumble and stir the chicken in the pan until browned and caramelized all over, about 4 minutes. Raise the heat, pour in the white wine, and cook, stirring and scraping up the browned bits in the pan, until the wine has almost completely evaporated. 
 
 
Step 6: Pour in the hot stock, stirring, then all the rice. Bring to the boil over high heat, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to keep the riso bubbling gently. Cook for about 14 minutes, or until both the rice and the chicken chunks are fully cooked and the consistency is creamy. 
 
 
Step 7: Turn off the heat, drop in the butter pieces, and stir vigorously until thoroughly amalgamated, then stir in the parsley and 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Spoon the riso into warm pasta bowls and serve immediately, passing additional grated cheese at the table.
 
   
 




Roasted Stuffed Cornish Game Hens

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated,  Published September 1, 1997

Makes 2 servings





Ingredients

 

For the couscous stuffing:

 
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion , minced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup plain couscous
  • 1-1/3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots (8 to 9 whole), chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons dried currants
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachios , toasted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice from 1 small lemon
  • Salt and ground black pepper
 

For the cornish game hens:

  • 3/4 cups kosher salt or 1/3 cup table salt
  • 2 Cornish game hens (each less than 1-1/2 pounds if possible) trimmed of extra fat, giblets removed, rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons dry vermouth or white wine
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: To brine the cornish game hens: 1. Dissolve salt in 6 cups cold water in small clean bucket or large bowl. Add hens breast side down; refrigerate 1 hour. 
 
 
Step 2: To make the couscous stuffing: Heat butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. 
 
Step 3: Add onions, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric; sauté until onions soften, 3 to 4 minutes. 
 
 
Step 4: Add couscous; stir until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. 
 
 
Step 5: Add chicken stock, bring to simmer, remove from heat, cover, and let stand until couscous has fully rehydrated, about 5 minutes. 
 
 
Step 6: Fluff couscous with fork; stir in dried fruit, nuts, parsley, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to microwave-safe bowl; set aside.
 
  
 
Step 7: Remove hens from salt water, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and prick skin all over breast and legs with point of a paring knife.
 
Step 8: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
 
Step 9: Whisk balsamic vinegar and oil in small bowl; set aside. 
 
Step 10: Spoon 1/2 cup hot stuffing into cavity of each hen; tie its legs together with 6-inch piece of kitchen twine. Leaving as much space as possible between each bird, arrange them breast side down and wings facing out, on wire rack, set over roasting or jelly-roll pan. 
 
 
Step 11:  Roast until backs are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove pan from oven, brush bird backs with vinegar and oil glaze (re-blending before each bird), turn hens breast side up and wings facing out, and brush breast and leg area with additional glaze. 
 
Step 12: Return pan to oven, add 1/2 cup water, roast until meat thermometer inserted into the stuffed cavity registers about 150 degrees, about 15 to 20 minutes longer. 
 
Step 13: Remove pan from oven again, brush birds with re-blended glaze, return pan to oven, add another 1/4 cup water to pan and increase oven temperature to 450 degrees. Roast until birds are spotty brown and cavity registers 160 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes longer, depending on bird size. Remove birds from oven, brush with remaining glaze, and rest for 10 minutes.
 
Step 14: Meanwhile, pour hen “jus” from roasting pan into small saucepan, spoon off excess fat, add vermouth or wine, and simmer over medium-high heat until flavors blend, 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle about 1/4 cup sauce over each hen and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.
 
 
 




Rudy's Italian Sausage

 
Italian sausage, or salsicce, is generally made with finely chopped pork meat, some pork fat, seasoned with salt, pepper, and fennel, and is made in varying degrees of spiciness. My father's Italian sausage is the reason I am not a vegetarian. His is of the hot variety and in my opinion, the perfect combination of pork and spice. The recipe below is as close as I can get to his sausage recipe.
 




Ingredients

  • 10 pounds Boston butt
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons crushed red pepper 
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • Salted pork casings for stuffing
 




Instructions

 

Step 1: Debone and cut boston butt and grind coarsely. 
 
Step 2: Add salt, fennel seed, coarse black pepper, crushed red pepper and paprika to the ground pork. 
 
Different Options:
  • Increase the amount of crushed red pepper seeds to your taste
  • You may add 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper to make the sausage hotter.
  • You may add one cup of good quality wine.
  • You may omit the paprika if you do not want the sausage red.
 
Step 3: Mix thoroughly and let stand in container for 24 hours in refrigerator.  After sausage has been mixed, fry one or two patties to determine if more salt, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, or other seasoning is needed.
 
Step 4: Stuff in hog casings or make into patties.
 
 
Step 5: To cook: place water in bottom of skillet. Put sausage links in water and cook until water evaporates.  After water evaporates, add oil to skillet to brown links. Alternatively, you could place links in simple red sauce and cook thoroughly for at least 1 hour.
 
 
Below is a picture of my father and the rest of the "good fellas."  My Dad is the one in the middle. My Dad's brother is on the far right.
 




Rudy's Roasted Boneless Turkey Breast

 





Ingredients

  • One 4-pound fresh turkey breast, deboned, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 stalk celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fennel fronds, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups turkey or chicken broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
 
Step 2: Rub the turkey all over with the butter. Season generously with salt and pepper. 
 
Step 3: Scatter the vegetables on the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to hold the turkey. Set the meat breast-side up in the pan. 
 
Step 4: Roast for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast registers 160 degrees F. 
 
Step 5: Transfer the turkey to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 30 minutes. (The breast temperature will continue to rise to 170 degrees as it rests.)
 
Step 6: Pour any pan drippings into a small bowl. Discard the fat and add the juices to the stock.  
 
Step 7: Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the stock and continue to stir. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Strain the gravy, discarding the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Step 8: Carve the breast and serve with the gravy.
 




Slow Cooker Venison Stew

 
Makes 6 servings
 



 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold or red potato
  • 2 cups of cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 cup (1-inch) cubed onion 
  • 1 cup (1-inch-thick) slices celery
  • 1 cup (1-inch-thick) slices carrot
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound venison tenderloin, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 cup brown ale (such as Newcastle) 
  • 1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
 
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Layer first 13 ingredients in an electric slow cooker.
 
  
 
    
 
Step 2: Combine flour, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish; dredge venison in flour mixture. 
 
Step 3: Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add venison. Cook 4 minutes or until browned on all sides, turning frequently. 
 
 
Step 4: Add venison to slow cooker. Pour beer and broth over venison. 
 
   
 
Step 5: Cover and cook on low 7 1/2 hours or until meat is tender. Discard bay leaf. Stew can be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months; add a little more water or beer when reheating.



 

Twenty-Minute Honey Duck Breasts

 
Makes 4 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 2 large boneless duck breasts (about 2 pounds total), room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 
 
Step 2: Using the point of a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern, cutting deeply into the layer of fat but taking care not to nick the meat. Season both sides of the breast with salt and pepper.
 
 
Step 3: Heat a dutch oven over medium-high heat. You could use a regular pan here, but the Dutch oven really helps with the spattering. When the pan is really hot and a drop of water dance and evaporate quickly, add the duck breasts, skin side down. Cook for 8 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crisp.
 
 
Step 4: Turn the pieces over and cook for 3 minutes more for very rare breasts that will cook a little more in the oven. If you like the breasts slightly more cooked, keep the breasts in the pot for up to 2 minutes longer.
 
 
Step 5: Lift the breasts out of the Dutch oven and place onto a sheet of aluminum foil. Seal them loosely in the foil and put in the oven to keep warm.
 
Step 6: Pour off most of the fat from the pan and put the pot over medium heat. When the fat is warm, stir in the balsamic, honey, and lime juice, along with any duck juices at the bottom of the aluminum foil. Cook, stirring constantly and vigorously with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. 
 
 
Step 7: Return the breasts to the pot and turn once, cooking each side about 30 seconds. 
 
Step 8: Slice the duck and drizzle the sauce on top. Serve immediately.




Tyler Florence's Bistro Style Short Ribs with Pureed Parsnips





Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds short ribs, in 1 long piece or at least in pairs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, quartered
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1/2 head garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1-1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups low-sodium, organic beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

 

For the Pureed Parsnips:

  • 1 pound parsnips, peeled and slice
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
 
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat a cast iron grill or outdoor grill.
 
Step 2: Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, drizzle with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and brown on all sides.
 
 
Step 3: Place the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and tomato into a food processor and blend until you reach a consistent, smooth pulp.
 
Step 4: Take a large Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count of extra- virgin olive oil and add the thyme to infuse the oil. Next add the vegetable pulp, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for about 10 minutes.
 
 
Step 5: Pour in the red wine and stock and bring it to a boil. Using tongs take the ribs and nestle them into the braising mix; the liquid should just about cover the meat. Place the lid loosely on top, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the meat is very tender, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours. 
 
Step 6: When the ribs are about finished, remove about 1 to 2 cups of liquid and strain into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat the sauce until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes.
 
Step 7: For the Pureed Parsnips: Put parsnips in pot, season with salt and cover with heavy cream and milk and sprigs of thyme. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender - the tip of a paring knife should easily go through without resistance, approximately 15 minutes.
 
 
Step 8: Drain parsnips and reserve cooking liquid. Place parsnips in a food processor with butter, or extra-virgin olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid. Begin to process and add strained heavy cream mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and puree until very smooth.




Tyler Florence's Perfect Roast Chicken

 
Adapted from Tyler Florence: Stirring the Pot
 
Makes 4 servings
 




Ingredients

  • 1 4-5 pound whole free-range organic chicken
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 garlic bulb, have through the equator (I just used 4 cloves)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1/4 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (about 4 sprigs)
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 2 cups button mushrooms

 





Instructions

 
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400. 
 
Step 2: Rinse your chicken inside and out and pat dry. Season inside the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with the lemon, garlic, and rosemary, thyme, and sage.
 
  
 
Step 3: In a food processor, process the parsley and the butter until well combined and season with salt and pepper.
 
Step 4: Place the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan, tie the legs together, and rub the herb butter over the chicken. 
 
 
Step 5: Place the mushrooms in the bottom of the pan. Roast the chicken and mushrooms for about 1 hour 45 minutes, or until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 180 degrees. Baste with the drippings and rotate the pan every 30 minute so that the chicken browns evenly. 
 
Step 6: Remove the chicken from the oven, tent with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes.




Veal Stuffed with a Mosaic of Vegetables (Cima alla Genovese)

Adapted from Lidia Bastianich"s 'Lidia Cooks from the Heart of Italy"

 





Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 pound veal shoulder roast
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups onions, sliced in 1/4 inch thick half moons
  • 1 cup carrot matchsticks, 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cups zucchini matchsticks, 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips, 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 cups tender spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 6 large eggs, for the frittata
  • 1/2 cup Grana Padano, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • 1/2 cup milk
 

For the Poaching Pot

  • 1 medium onion, cut in chunks
  • 1 medium carrot, cut in chunks
  • 1 medium stalk celery, cut in chunks
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
 




Instructions

 
Step 1: To prepare the veal: Cut the strings or netting if the roast is tied (as it usually is), and lay out the meat in a slab. Trim off excess fat on both sides and any membranes or silver skin that cover the muscles. 
 
Step 2: Turn the slab so the inside (where bones have been removed) faces up-it will be a rough rectangle of uneven thickness. The next step, butterflying, will enlarge and even out the slab to a nearly square sheet of meat of even thinness. 
 
Step 3: With a long, sharp knife, slice into the thickest part of the meat, cutting from the middle of the slab toward the edge almost all the way through-then open up the flap you've created, like opening a book. Pound the butterflied section of meat to even it out. In the same way, butterfly portions of meat on other parts of the slab to spread and thin the veal, pounding each section after you slice and unfold it. Butterfly small mounds of thick muscle where necessary to thin it, or if a hole opens in the sheet-butterfly an adjacent portion of meat and use the flap to cover the hole. Continue the gradual butterflying until the veal is about 16 inches on the long sides and about 12 inches on the short edges-roughly square and about 1/2 inch thick. Cover the veal with plastic wrap while you prepare the stuffing frittata.   Alternatively you can ask your butcher to butterfly your veal for you.  In our case, we couldn't find a veal roast at our local Harris Teeter so we pieced together several pieces of thinly sliced veal.
 
Step 4: Pour the olive oil into the skillet, and set over medium- high heat. Toss in the sliced onions and carrot matchsticks; stir and cook for a couple of minutes, until sizzling, then toss in the zucchini and red- pepper strips. Sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon of salt and several grinds of black pepper, and cook, stirring and tossing, for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly caramelized but still al dente. Scatter in the peas and the spinach leaves, turning them over with the other vegetables until they start to wilt and release their liquid. Continue to cook the vegetables, stirring frequently, until the excess water in the pan has evaporated. 
 
Step 5: Meanwhile, beat the raw eggs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, then whisk in the grated cheese and milk. When the spinach is cooked and dry, pour the egg mixture into the skillet. Cook, turning and scrambling the eggs with the vegetables, until the curds set but still a bit wet and glistening. Remove the pan from the heat, and let cool briefly. 
 
 
Step 6: Uncover the flattened veal sheet, and season the top with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread the vegetable frittata in an even mound the length of the veal, leaving several inches of the meat uncovered on both long sides, and an inch or so on the ends, to form flaps. Arrange the frittata so the vegetable sticks are distributed evenly and somewhat aligned lengthwise to give a mosaic effect when you slice the cooked roll. Set the hard- boiled eggs in a line nestled in the vegetable frittata. Again, for the prettiest cross- section, align the eggs end to end. (If you can't fit in all the hard-cooked eggs, enjoy any extras in another dish!) 
 
   
 
Step 7: Fold one long flap of the veal over the filling, then the other, enclosing the eggs in a long oval. Starting at one end, tie the veal closed with loops of twine, spaced about 3 inches apart: use one long piece of twine to form a connected series of loops, or make several tight loops, to secure the roll all along its length. Tuck the open ends of the veal against the roll, and tie another length of twine lengthwise around it, so it is completely closed.  Spread out the cheesecloth, set the meat on one of the short edges, and roll it up tightly in the cloth. Twist the cloth on each end of the roll-like a candy wrapper, tightening it up against the meat-and secure the twisted ends with twine. (If there's lots of excess cheesecloth on the ends, cut it off.) Finally, tie three or four tight loops around the cloth- wrapped roll along its length, further compacting and securing it. 
 
   
 
        
 
Step 8: To poach the veal: Drop the chunks of onion, carrot, and celery, the bay leaves, and the 1/3 cup salt in the big saucepan, and set the tied roll on top. Pour in enough cold water to submerge the meat completely, cover the pot, and heat the poaching liquid to a gentle boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady, gentle bubbling, and let the veal cook, tightly covered, for 2 hours. The meat should remain completely covered while it cooks gently. Rotate the roll carefully in the pot once or twice, add water if necessary, and adjust the heat as needed. 
 
 
Step 9: Turn off the heat after 2 hours, and lift the roll out of the poaching liquid (use tongs to grasp the twisted ends). Let the water drain off, then set the veal on a wide sheet pan or cutting board on an even surface. Place another sheet pan on top of the meat, and weight it down with your big saucepan (you can discard the poaching liquid first) or heavy cans or other objects. Center the weights atop the veal roll so it is evenly compacted. 
 
Step 10: Keep the veal pressed for an hour or longer, until it cools to room temperature. Remove the weights, and pour off any liquid that has collected in the pan. Cut off the outer twine, and carefully unwrap the cheesecloth from around the meat; snip the inner loops of twine and remove it all. Transfer the veal to a cutting board, taking care to keep it intact. 
 
   
 
Step 11: When you're ready to serve, slice the veal crosswise with a sharp knife, first cutting off one of the meaty end pieces (tomorrow's treat!), until you expose the colorful mosaic of stuffing.
 
 
Step 12: Slice as many pieces of cima as you'll serve-about 2/3 inch thick-and arrange them overlapping on a platter.