Butternut Squash Soup
1 Butternut Squash
1 medium yellow onion
6 c chicken stock (or canned low-sodium chicken broth)
2 T unsalted butter
Salt, white pepper, nutmeg to taste
Carefully peel the squash and scoop out seeds and cut into a large dice. Cut the onion into a large dice.
In a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes while stirring. Add the squash. Reduce the heat and cover the pot.
Let sweat for 10-15 minutes until the squash is somewhat tender. Add the chicken stock and bring heat back to medium. Simmer uncovered until squash is fully tender (enough to be blended).
Puree the soup in a blender. You will need to do this in 3 or 4 batches. For each batch, ladle a portion of the liquid and solids into the blender. Put the top on the blender but leave the "feeder" in the lid open. This is important because hot liquids can bubble and can be dangerous. Cover the top with a dish towel and lightly hold down in case the mixture bubbles. Pulse a few times to get it going and then blend. Pour puree through a strainer into a clean stockpot. Repeat this until the all batches are complete.
Over very low heat, stir the soup and season to taste with salt, white pepper (this is very strong - use sparingly), and nutmeg (also sparingly).
Serves 4 to 6 people.
German Style Sauerkraut
2-3 slices bacon - diced
1/2 medium yellow onion - diced
1 jar Sauerkraut (16 oz.)
8 oz good German Lager/Pilsner
1 tsp ground allspice
1 bay leaf
Salt/Pepper to taste
Empty the sauerkraut into a colander and rinse well with cold water. After rinsing, drain as much water as possible.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, render all the fat from the bacon over low heat until the meat is fully cooked. Using a slotted spoon, remove the
bacon meat leaving the rendered fat.
Add the diced onions and saute over medium-low heat until onions are translucent - 5 to 10 minutes.
Add the drained sauerkraut, beer, bay leaf, bacon meat and spices. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.
Alternate: Sear 4 lightly floured pork chops seasoned with salt and pepper on both sides in a pan. After adding the sauerkraut as above, add the 4 pork chops. Cover and place in a 350° oven for 30-40 minutes.
3 large baking potatoes (or 4 medium)
All Purpose Flour (amount depends)
Easy Tomato Sauce:
1 28 oz can quality diced tomatoes
2-3 mashed garlic cloves
2 T Olive Oil
4-5 Basil Leaves
Salt/Pepper to taste
Peel and quarter the potatoes. Cook in salted water until cooked through (a knife easily penetrates the potato). Using a potato ricer or food mill, immediately process the potatoes into a large bowl. Place the bowl with potatoes into a bowl with ice and water and cool down the potatoes as quickly as possible. It should take 15 minutes or so.
Add egg to potatoes and mix in. Begin to add flour to potatoes 1/4 c at a time and work in. Continue to add flour until the dough is the consistency of biscuit dough. It should be dry enough to roll, but still somewhat wet.
On a floured surface, take a small handful of dough and roll into flour on the table. Begin to roll with both hands to achieve a long rope 1/4" - 1/2" in diameter. With a knife, cut into 1/4" - 1/2" dumplings and place on a sheet. It helps if there is a little bit of flour from the table still on each dumpling so that they don't stick. Continue with the remaining dough. As you get to the center of the bowl of dough, you may want to add and work-in a bit more flour.
The dumplings can be used immediately or frozen for later use. To freeze, place the sheets in a freezer until the dumplings are semi-solid, they can then be put in a bag and frozen solid.
In a large saute pan heat 1 T of the olive oil over hight heat. Add one of the mashed garlic cloves while the oil is heating. After 2-3 minutes, add the can of tomatoes (no need to drain them). Add the other T of olive oil and the remaining garlic. Saute to reduce the liquid from the can. Salt/Pepper to taste. At the very end, hand tear the basil and stir in. Set the sauce to low and prepare the gnocchi.
In a large pot, bring salted water to boil. When a rolling boil is achieved, add the gnocchi dumplings a few at a time to avoid sticking. With a slotted spoon or spider, move the gnocchi around in the water to avoid sticking. When the gnocchi float to the top (about 2-3 minutes), immediately move the gnocchi directly into the sauce with a slotted spoon or spider. It's good to let a bit of the water cling to the dumplings as they go into the sauce. Stir the dumplings in the sauce for just a minute or so and serve.
Fusilli with Caramelized Onions
1 lb fusilli pasta
2 Medium yellow onions
2 T Canola oil
2 T Butter (unsalted)
1/4 c chopped cilantro (or herb of your choice)
3-4 cloves of garlic, pressed
Red pepper flakes
Some water ready at hand
The most difficult part of this recipe is caramelizing the onions. To get them just right takes care and time.
Cut the onions in half through the root and peel. Slice very thinly (using knife or mandolin). In a skillet, heat the
2T of canola (or any neutral) oil over high heat. Once hot, add the onions, toss/saute and immediately reduce heat to
medium. Sprinkle onions with some salt to help draw out moisture and toss to coat. Cover
the pan and let the onions sweat. Every few minutes check the onions. You want to get color on them as slow as possible.
It should take 20-30 minutes to caramelize them. As the pan dries out, add a few tablespoons of water, stir the onions
and recover. Continue this process until the onions have cooked down and are a nice caramel color. Add two of the cloves
of smashed/pressed garlic and stir. Remove the onions to a dish to hold.
About 10-15 minutes into the onion caramelization, bring a large pot of water to boil. Make sure the water is nicely salted.
When the water comes to a rolling boil, add the fusilli and stir. Cook fusilli to desired doneness (al dente is preferred).
Just before the fusilli is done, melt 2T of unsalted butter in a pan until completely melted. Add the remaining pressed garlic.
Add the fusilli directly to the pan with the butter (let a tiny bit of the pasta water drop into the pan). Toss the fusilli in the
butter. Turn off the heat and add the caramelized onions and chopped cilantro (or other herbs). Add ground black pepper and
red pepper flakes to taste.
4 as a main course.
8 as a side dish.