Tag Archives: winter recipes

Red Wine Braised Pork and Chestnut Stew

At this time of year, I find joy in putting some great ingredients together and letting them braise slowly in the oven. This is inspired by a dish I had once in a London restaurant. When I returned from my trip, I worked on recreating my meal. Over the years I have tweaked the ingredients. I believe this version is actually better than the original! I attribute it to the final ingredient added in this last version the juniper berries, it adds a nice herbal under note to the favor of the stew. On the next cold wintry night fill your kitchen with the warmth and fragrance of this delicate stew.


From by the bay wishing you warm food memories!

Maryann


blog pork and wine



Red Wine Braised Pork and Chestnut Stew

Serves 4-6


2 ½ lbs cubed pork loin

¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bottle red wine

2 bay leaves

4 juniper berries

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

15 oz whole roasted chestnuts from jar


Directions


Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour together flour with salt and pepper in bowl. Add pork cubes and coat well. In dutch oven heat both oil and butter, sauté pork cubes until browned on all sides. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Next add the red wine, bay leaves, juniper berries, sage and chestnuts. Bring to a boil, then turn off flame. Cover and place into the oven for 2 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Serve with noodles, rice or steamed spinach.

 

 
 

The ABC’s – Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

This aromatic, velvety, orange colored soup is a perfectly satisfying lunch or dinner along with your favorite salad or it could be a great starter to a special meal. Either way, you’ll want to try this flavorful soup made with sweet potatoes, carrots and red lentils. Not only is this soup delicious it’s packed with vitamins such as A, B and C. How good is that?From by the bay, wishing you aromatic food memories!
Maryann
blog sweet potato lentil soup
Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup
Serves 6
Ingredients
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
3/4 cup red lentils
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced in rings
4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 lime
optional: creme fraiche
Directions
In a stock pot add all ingredients except cilantro and lime. Bring to a boil , reduce heat to simmer and cover. Simmer until the potatoes and lentils are cooked about 20 to 30 minutes.
Let cool, then puree in a food processor with the juice of the lime and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat to serve . Add a teaspoon of creme fraiche and a few cilantro leaves as garnish and serve.
*Note : I suggest vegetable stock , but you can also use chicken stock.

Porcini Mushroom and Chestnut Dressing

Once the holidays end, I think we forget how good a side dish dressings are during the winter. This dressing recipe is inspired by my mother. I tried to recreate one of her food memories from her childhood. My grandfather cooked with many Italian influences that he gathered from both his childhood and his days working at sea. This recipe is based on my mother’s memory combined with my own Italian food memories. The results is a delicious combination of ingredients featuring both porcini and baby bella mushrooms combined with chestnuts . It’s a perfect complement to roasted pork or poultry. This one is for you Mom with all my love !

From by the bay wishing you porcini food memories!

Maryann

 

 

blog chestnut stuffing

 

 

Porcini Mushroom and Chestnut Dressing

Serves 6 to 8

 

Ingredients

8 cups country bread, cut into ½ inch cubes with crust, approximately 1 loaf bread

1/2 cup olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

4 ounces pancetta, cubed

8 ounces mushrooms such as Baby Bella, cleaned and sliced

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 leeks, cleaned and sliced in rings

2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced

11/2 tablespoons fennel seed

1 jar whole roasted chestnuts, 14.8 ounces

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 cups low sodium chicken stock

1 cup porcini liquid

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons fine sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

In a medium bowl add the dried porcini mushrooms and cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degree F. On two baking sheets toss the bread cubes  with 1/2 cup olive oil and then spread the bread in a single layer on two rimmed large baking sheets. Bake about 10-12 minutes until bread is golden brown. Set aside to cool, then place in a large mixing bowl. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, add pancetta and cook until crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and place in the mixing bowl with the bread. To the same skillet used for the pancetta heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat and then add the leeks. Saute until softened about 10 minutes, separating the leek rings, then add the Baby Bella sliced mushrooms and red chili flakes and saute until softened another 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the bowl with the bread and pancetta. To this bowl add the chestnuts crumbling them.  Add the cheese, thyme leaves, fennel seeds and parsley to the bowl.  Take the bowl with the porcini and remove the porcini mushrooms keeping the soaking liquid. Coarsely chop the porcini mushrooms and add to the bowl with the dressing.  Strain the soaking liquid to remove any dirt or grit at the bottom of the bowl and add one cup of this liquid to your dressing. Add 2 cups of chicken stock. Mix the ingredients together and season with salt and pepper. If dressing is not moist add some additional chicken stock. Mix well. The dressing can be made up to this point one day in advance and refrigerate until ready to bake. To bake the dressing, remove from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, until dressing is heated through the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and serve warm.

blog chestnut stuffing 2

Potato Soup with Small Dumplings

There is nothing better on a blustery cold day then a warm bowl of soup. I have fond memories of my grandmother taking out her dutch oven on such days and making this soup from the staples she always had in her pantry. Her original recipe didn’t include the bacon. I happened to have some bacon leftover in the fridge and decided to use it. You could just as easily not use the bacon and just throw all the ingredients for the soup into the pot and simmer away, making this about as easy as any soup you could make. If you are feeling up for it by all means take the extra steps to fry the bacon and saute your onions and celery, the results were delicious. What really makes this potato soup so magnficent to eat, is not the bacon, it’s the dumplings you simmer into the soup at the end. Again, these are no fail dumplings just stir and drop into the hot soup to simmer into yummy small white balls soaked with the flavor of the soup. It’s the perfect comfort food to warm you from the harsh cold of winter.From by the bay wishing you warm potato food memories!
Maryann
blog potato soup
 
Potato Soup with Small Dumplings
Serves 6
Ingredients for soup
4 ounces thick bacon, chopped
6 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup onion, chopped
5 cups water
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3-4 cloves
optional: chopped parsley for garnish
Ingredients for drop dumplings
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Directions
In a Dutch oven cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon onto paper towel and set aside. In the bacon fat saute the celery and onion until softened. Add the potatoes, water, salt, pepper and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove the cloves out of the soup. With a potato masher, puree most of the vegetables.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick for your preference you can add some water and continue to simmer. To make the dumplings, combine the egg, water, salt and flour mixing until smooth. Drop by teaspoonfuls into the boiling soup. Cover and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with chopped parsley and crisp bacon pieces.

Leftover Eggnog? Try Eggnog Pancakes!

blog eggnog pancakes

Every year as I am looking towards the holiday, I’m stocking up on all kinds of food items for entertaining my family and friends. Once we get past Christmas I’m beginning to see what I still have left and how to use it. Something I buy every year is eggnog, I can’t help myself, but no one really seems to drink it anymore. It doesn’t stop me from buying it though, in fact, I like to use eggnog to transform something ordinary into a delicious holiday or post holiday treat. This year was no different as I looked into the refrigerator to see a bottle of eggnog with a mid january expiration date, I decided  to make pancakes for a weekend brunch with fantastic results. The eggnog gave a richer egg taste to the pancakes, but the pancakes were still light and fluffy. I think it’s the perfect comfort food for a cold January weekend morning to bring some warmth and a little post holiday cheer into your day.

 

From by the bay wishing you, eggnog food memories!

Maryann

 

 

Eggnog Pancakes
Serves 4-6


Ingredients

11/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 cups eggnog
2 large eggs, at room temperature
optional: confectionery sugar and maple syrup

Directions
In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients and mix. To this add the eggnog and eggs and combine. Do not over mix. Batter will be a little lumpy.  Set aside for 20 minutes. Heat a griddle pan and spread 1/4 cup of batter for each cake, Cook two minutes on the first side until the edge starts to bubble and flip and cook another minute. Place on baking sheet and keep warm in oven until all cakes are made and ready to serve. Serve with confectionery sugar and maple syrup