Winter Recipes -November/December 2011

SWEET POTATO SOUP WITH CRISPY PANCETTA AND GRATED BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE

Fat from rendered pancetta
4 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 medium celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 medium Idaho potato, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 rosemary sprig, stem removed
4 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1/4-pound pancetta, cut into 1/8-inch squares and rendered
1/4-pound piece of bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Place a five-quart sauce pot over medium heat with the fat from the rendered pancetta. Add the onions, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes and potato, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cloves and cinnamon and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add the water and the chicken stock, bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft to the touch.

Place the cooked vegetables and liquid into a blender and purée until a smooth texture has been made. You may need to do this in stages and place the purée in a new five-quart sauce pot. After all the mixture has been puréed, place the pot over medium heat for 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve: place a six-ounce ladle of soup in a bowl and garnish with the crispy pancetta and grated bittersweet chocolate.

Serves 6 to 8.

KALE SALAD WITH CREAMY FETA DRESSING AND POMEGRANATE SEEDS

1 bunch Black Tuscan kale, cleaned and stem removed
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 small shallot, peeled
1 sprig thyme, stem removed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds, picked
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

In a blender place the feta cheese, heavy cream, shallot, thyme leaves, olive oil and vinegar and blend until mixture is creamy in texture. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large salad bowl, place the roughly chopped kale and three-quarters of the dressing and toss thoroughly until evenly disbursed. Drizzle the remainder of the dressing over the top of the salad.

Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top and serve.

Serves 6 to 8.

LINGUINE WITH NANTUCKET BAY SCALLOPS, BLACK GARLIC AND GRATED RICOTTA SALATA

1 pound good-quality dry linguine
1 pound Nantucket bay scallops, cleaned
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 cloves black garlic, puréed
Pinch hot red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
Lemon juice from half lemon
2-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Ingredient note: black garlic is not widely available and is a specialty item that can be found online at http://kalustyans.com It is. mainly used in Korean cuisine but can be adapted in many different ways and has a sweet, syrupy flavor.Place a five-quart sauce-pot with water and two tablespoons of salt over high heat and bring to a boil. In the meantime, place a 10-inch skillet over medium heat with grapeseed oil and black garlic. Add the red-pepper flakes and scallops and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce for 2 additional minutes. Turn heat off. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the skillet and place off to the side. Add pasta to boiling water and follow cooking instructions on the package.

Strain the pasta from its water, keeping 6 ounces to add to the skillet of scallops. Toss thoroughly, making sure the pasta turns slightly black in color from the garlic purée. Season with remaining salt and pepper.

To serve, place pasta in a bowl and garnish with grated ricotta salata.

Serves 6 to 8.

CURRIED BRAISED CHICKEN THIGHS WITH ROOT VEGETABLES AND PLUMPED CURRANTS

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
6 pieces chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
1 medium Spanish onion
1 medium carrot
2 medium white turnips
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium parsnip
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
4 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dry currants, rehydrated
1 cup water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Method note: The currants should be placed in a bowl of water in the refrigerator 24 hours in advance to fully rehydrate.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place a large braising pan over medium heat with grapeseed oil. Heat the pan until you see a slight smoke rise from the oil. Season the chicken thighs and place in the pan (skin-side down). Sear for approximately 3 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and turn over to cook the other side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate off to the side. Keeping the heat medium, add the onion, carrot, turnips, sweet potato and parsnip, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, water and white wine. Place the chicken thighs back into the pan with the root vegetables, making sure they are submerged into the liquid. Place the pan into the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the meat easily comes away from the bone and the vegetables are tender to the bite.

To serve, place the stew into a serving platter and garnish with the plumped currants.

Serves 6 to 8.






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