Main Course Recipes

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Pumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good

accidental-locavore-stuffed-pumpkinsThere are certain recipes you just don’t mess with.

Pumpkin stuffed with everything good is not one of them.

It actually begs to be messed with.

And is a great way to use up some of those bits of leftovers in the fridge.

It’s from Dorrie Greenspan’s Around My French Table (where you can find the original recipe) and this is my recent riff on it for 2 people:

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-stuffingPumpkin Stuffed With Everything Good

  • 2 small pumpkins
  • A handful of croutons
  • 2 cooked Italian sausage, sliced
  • 3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup thinly sliced leeks (green tops fine)
  • ¼ pound any cheese cut into ¼” cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment and set aside

Carefully cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin (like you were carving a Halloween pumpkin), clean off the bottom edge and set aside.

accidental-locavore-pumpkin-for-stuffingClean out the seeds and guts of the pumpkin. If you want to roast the pumpkin seeds just put all the stuff in a bowl for later. Salt and pepper the insides of the pumpkins.

Toss everything except the heavy cream and nutmeg in a bowl and toss.

Pack the mix into the pumpkins. They should be well filled because some of the stuffing will condense when it’s cooked.

Mix the cream and nutmeg together and pour into the pumpkins. You don’t want the stuffing to be drowned in cream, but you want it be moist.

Put the caps back on and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove the caps and back for an additional 20-30 minutes. The pumpkins should be tender and easily pierced by the tip of a knife.

Serve and enjoy!

accidental-locavore-finished-pumpkinMy verdict: This is a great way to use up leftovers and it tastes great! You can use a single (larger) pumpkin and either serve it in wedges or just bring the whole thing to the table and let everyone scoop out a serving (much more impressive). It takes time to cook and a little prep time to clean the pumpkin, but that can be done ahead of time.

Let me know if you try it and what you put into it.

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushrooms RisottoDon’t you have some dishes that you love to eat and rarely cook?

Risotto is one of them for me. It’s really easy, just requires a bit of a commitment and you have a delicious dinner.

When I came upon an incredible bunch of chanterelles at the farm recently, I knew immediately what they were destined for.

This is tweaked from Fine Cooking and serves 2:

Wild Mushroom Risotto

  • 3 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade; more if needed
  • 1 handful dried porcini mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in 1 cup warm water; mushrooms roughly chopped, soaking liquid strained and reserved
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups assorted fresh wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and roughly chopped
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepan, add the chicken broth and the reserved strained porcini soaking liquid and cook over medium heat. When the broth starts to simmer lower the heat and keep in on a slow simmer.

In a medium, heavy-gauge saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.

Stir in the rice, toasting just until it starts to sizzle and pop, about 1 minute. It should not color. Stir the porcini, the wild mushrooms and the wine into the rice.

Accidental Locavore Wild Mushroom RisottoWhen almost all the liquid has disappeared, after about 2 minutes, add just enough hot broth to cover the rice. Lower the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer; stir occasionally. When the broth is almost gone, add enough to cover the rice, along with a pinch of salt. Check on the risotto every 3 or 4 minutes, giving it an occasional stir to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan and adding just enough broth to cover the rice when the liquid has almost disappeared.

Continue this way until the rice is just al dente, about 20 minutes total cooking time. Bite into a grain; you should see a white pin-dot in the center. Take the risotto off the heat. Add the remaining butter and stir vigorously for a few seconds. Add the parsley, cheese and more salt, if needed. The risotto should be moist and creamy, not runny. Stir in more broth to loosen the risotto, if you like. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 My verdict: Great! Need to make risotto more often. I was lucky to have good rice, homemade chicken broth, fresh and dried mushrooms. I like this recipe because the addition of the soaking water for the mushrooms gives it a great depth of flavor. Just make sure to strain it before using it as sometimes dried mushrooms can be gritty.

I was worried that the chanterelles wouldn’t last, so I sautéed them in butter with a little garlic and salt. Because they were pre-cooked, I waited until the rice had been cooking for about 15 minutes before adding them in. They were delicious!

So, pull out some arborio rice, and a chair and make yourself some risotto. 30 minutes later you’ll be happy.

 

 

 

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Eggplant Parmesan My Way

Accidental Locavore Striped EggplantSince I first posted this, it’s become my go-to recipe for eggplant Parmesan. It’s lighter (but still no diet dish) than traditional and I do it in stages when we get a couple of cooler hours in a day. It’s inspired from Mark Bitman’s How to Cook Everything and really good because it’s dredged in flour, not heavily breaded. Serves about 4.

Eggplant Parmesan My Way

  • 3 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 cup of flour (for dredging)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella grated (about 2/3 of a fresh ball)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • About 30 basil leaves (or a mix of oregano and basil)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce

Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. While the olive oil is heating, pour the flour, salt and pepper into a shallow bowl. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour and shake off the excess. Saute the slices in the olive oil until golden brown. You’re going to need to do this in batches, and don’t crowd the pan! Let the cooked slices drain on paper towels while you saute the rest. You’ll need to keep adding olive oil to the pan, and it will seem like a lot; it is, but this is not a low-fat dinner.

Accidental Locavore Eggplant Parm My WayWhen you’ve finished sauteing the eggplant, take a gratin pan, or several small ones, and lightly grease with olive oil. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, a layer of eggplant slices, a sprinkling of mozzarella, a sprinkling of Parmesan, and a few basil leaves. Keep repeating until you reach the end  of the eggplant. On top of your last layer of eggplant, more tomato sauce, the rest of the mozzarella, a good sprinkle of Parmesan, and your best looking basil leaves (style points). Bake for about 20 minutes until it’s warm all the way through and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Frank paid this the ultimate compliment last night, when he said I did for eggplant what Bill (the former chef at Rancho la Puerta) did for salmon. In other words, made him love something he’s not generally fond of. This recipe works well because the eggplant is thinly sliced and not heavily breaded. Since sautéing the eggplant, is what takes time, I often do it ahead of time and just pull it out when I’m ready to bake it. We thought, last night, that some Italian sausage might be a nice addition to this, so maybe next time.

Update: This is my go-to way of making eggplant Parm. I generally do add some Italian sausage, crumbled, into the layers. Frank loves this and now looks forward to having eggplants from our CSA share. I ususally find a cool morning to fry up the eggplant and try to do a big batch, as it freezes and reheats well. If it’s going to be hot out, I’ll just carefully bag the cooked eggplant, and wait for a cooler day to assemble and bake.

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Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti with CrabIf you raided my freezer you’d find a stash of crabmeat I’ve brought back from Maine, waiting to be made into crab cakes, a crab roll, or in this case, dinner. Fed 2 happily.

Spaghetti with Crab and Zucchini

  • 8 ounces picked crab
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced (more or less to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
  • 1 medium summer squash (yellow or zucchini)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves, cut in slivers
  • 6 ounces thick spaghetti or bucatini
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Accidental Locavore Crab MixCook your pasta al dente. We like to use the FastaPasta gadget in the microwave, but feel free to do it the traditional way. Save 2 tablespoons of the cooking water.

While you’re waiting for the pasta to cook, combine the crab and jalapeño in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Chop half the mint and add that to the crab. Mix well and set aside.

Sliver the remaining mint and put that in a second, larger bowl. Cut the ends off the squash, then julienne or grate it, stopping when you reach the seedy core (save for another use). Add the squash to the bowl with the slivered mint. Add the remaining oil, vinegar, and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Accidental Locavore Squash for Crab SpaghettiHeat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated crab and zucchini and the basil. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and the pasta. Heat everything together, tossing to mix well. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Crab and Spaghetti CookingMy verdict: Super easy and delicious! A good use for all the zucchini and summer squash you may be bringing home from your CSA or farm share.

The difference in textures, especially with the squash and spaghetti made this a winner. The summer squash stayed a little bit crunchy which was a nice contrast with the pasta and crab. If you wanted to add even more texture, you might try adding some fresh breadcrumbs to the crab and jalapeño mixture and sautéing them together. Since our jalapeño wasn’t terribly spicy, I used the whole thing and could have added a bit more.

The original recipe was to serve 4-6. We ended up with a generous amount of sauce for 2 greedy people. If you wanted to stretch it out, just cook more pasta and julienne another squash.

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Easy Pork with Bok Choy

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy CutWe had some beautiful bok choy from the first CSA pickup of the season and a recipe from the NY Times inspired this recipe:

  • 1 head of bok choy (or 3 or 4 heads of baby bok choy)
  • 1 ounce ginger root (1 fat 2” piece)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh Thai or habanero chile, seeded if desired, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil, more for drizzling
  • Cilantro or torn basil, for serving
  • Black vinegar, for serving

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy and PorkTrim bok choy and separate dark green tops from white stems; thinly slice stems and slice tops into 2” strips.

Peel ginger and finely chop half of it. Slice remaining ginger into thin matchsticks.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook, breaking up with a fork, until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar. Use a slotted spoon to transfer meat to a bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet. Stir in half the scallions, the finely chopped ginger, the garlic and the chile. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add bok choy stems and a pinch of salt. Cook until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in leaves and return pork to skillet.

Add remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar into the pan. Cook until just warmed through.

Transfer to a large bowl and toss with remaining scallions, sesame seeds, sesame oil, herbs, ginger matchsticks and a splash of black vinegar. Serve over cooked jasmine rice and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Bok Choy FinishedMy verdict: This was so good, Frank picked up another bunch of bok choy the week after! It’s a recipe that you can easily do variations of. The original recipe called for it to be served with rice noodles, which is probably great, but we had rice in the house so used that. In my quest to eat down the contents of the freezer (yes, again) I had some red curry lamb sausage that I removed from the casing and crumbled up instead of the ground pork. Hot Italian sausage would work well too.

If you don’t have black vinegar, you could easily forget it, or use a mix of balsamic and rice wine vinegars.

 

 

 

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Lemon Chicken Thighs

Accidental Locavore Chicken Thighs With LemonI love chicken thighs and this recipe from bon appétit looked easy and delicious. Serves 2-4 depending on appetite and size of thighs.

• 4 chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
• Salt & pepper
• ¼ cup white wine vinegar
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• 2 lemons, halved
• 1 ½ teaspoons honey
• ½ teaspoon Aleppo style pepper
• 3 tablespoons olive oil

Pat chicken thighs dry and season well with salt and black pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add vinegar. Seal bag and gently massage chicken to ensure all thighs are coated in vinegar. Chill 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Remove chicken thighs from bag and pat dry with paper towels; the drier the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.
Place chicken thighs, skin side down, in a dry large cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until they easily release from the pan, about 4 minutes. Continue to cook, moving chicken around occasionally to ensure the skin is cooking evenly, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes. Transfer chicken and garlic to a plate.
Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook lemons, cut side down, until edges are deeply charred (they should be almost black), about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken and garlic and let cool slightly.
Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl; add garlic, honey, and Aleppo-style pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.
Drizzle half of vinaigrette on a platter and set chicken on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lemons for Chicken ThighsMy verdict: This was good, tasty, but not one of the best (or easiest) chicken thigh recipes I’ve made. One of the major issues I had was that you’ve got a pan full of great browned chicken bits (fond, if you want to get technical) and there’s no call to do anything with them.
I couldn’t let all that great flavor go to waste so after cooking the lemons, I deglazed the pan with a little white wine (chicken stock or water would work fine), scraping up the browned bits. Once that was done, I added the vinaigrette, let it cook down a bit (smashing up the garlic as it cooked) and served that as a sauce over the chicken.
The other problem came juicing the lemons. They were slippery from being in a greasy pan and I ended up picking countless pits out of the bowl, so using a juicer or reamer might be a better idea than just juicing them into a bowl.
I’m thinking this might be just as good (and easier) done on a sheet pan in a 400° oven and roasting the lemons and garlic along with the chicken. What do you think?

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Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

Accidental Locavore Mustard Chicken With AsparagusFrank requested chicken with mustard “like the pork chops you make” last night.

I had just enough bandwidth to get it done (being in the throes of putting the house on the market) and thought it would be a good recipe to remind you of.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of David Lebovitz’s new book My Paris Kitchen. 

The recipes look great and the first one I put to the test was this one for poulet à la moutarde. It was one of those “what’s not to like?” recipes, with bacon and so much mustard I actually ran out of Dijon – something I wouldn’t have thought possible! This serves 4.

Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
  • 4 chicken legs and 4 thighs
  • 1 cup bacon, thick cut and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

In a bowl big enough to hold the chicken, mix ½ cup of the Dijon with the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the mustard, coating the pieces well, and rubbing some of it under the skin.

Heat a big skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is just starting to brown. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest.

Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, cook for another few minutes and scrape everything into a medium-sized bowl.

Accidental Locavore Mustard ChickenIncrease the heat to medium-high, add a little olive oil if needed and the chicken pieces in one layer. Don’t crowd them and cook in two batches if necessary. Brown them well on one side and then flip them over and brown the other side. Give it time as you want the chicken to be really browned as this is where the flavor comes from.

Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the pan and scrape off the bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the chicken, onions and bacon back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes (165° on an instant-read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, stir it a couple of times, to coat with the sauce.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard seeds or grainy mustard and the crème fraîche into the sauce. Sprinkle the parsley over the top, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Wonderful! An important lesson I learned from Gabriel Rucker and again, making this recipe, is that you really have to have some patience (something I have in terribly short supply) and let the meat really brown – it makes a world of difference! This is a pretty classic recipe and I’ve done a variation of it with rabbit – also delicious! Since Frank isn’t fond of chicken legs, I just used thighs and that worked fine. As you read in the intro, I ran out of smooth Dijon, so added in about 3-4 tablespoons of grainy Dijon, which was fine. If you used a good, strong Dijon, it will give you more of a pronounced mustard taste (which is a good thing – right?). He suggests serving it with some fresh pasta, but rice or mashed potatoes would soak up the sauce nicely too. Definitely give it a try, it’s probably under an hour, start to finish.

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Lamb Larb

Accidental Locavore Lamb LarbAs part of our lamb CSA share this year we got a lot of ground lamb, so I’ve been trying to think of interesting new ways to use it. This recipe from bon apétite seemed similar to a pork recipe we’ve loved.

It was quick and easy and served 2 greedy people with a smidge leftover.

  • ½ cup peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or pork, or beef)
  • Salt
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 red or green Thai chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bottom third only, tough outer layers removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup torn mint leaves
  • Cooked jasmine rice and lime wedges (for serving)

Preheat oven to 350°. Toast peanuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until nuts are golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop or crush into small pieces.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, smashing down on cloves to break into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon, until some parts are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Push garlic to one side of pan, then add ground meat and a pinch of salt to the other side. Cook, smashing and stirring meat and garlic together, until no clumps remain and meat is no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook; as soon as you can’t see any pink, remove from heat.

Mix in shallot, scallions, chiles, lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce, and half of peanuts. Let larb cool slightly, then stir in mint. Taste and season with more salt and fish sauce if needed.

Serve over rice, garnish with remaining peanuts and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Lamb LarbMy verdict: Now I know where the rest of the ground lamb is going! This was really good and easier than the pork recipe we’ve loved. I started a pot of rice and by the time the larb was finished the rice was done.

The original recipe called for serving it with cabbage leaves, which we might have switched out for some bibb or Boston lettuce cups, but no one wanted to go to the store, so we just did it over rice and were perfectly happy.

I roasted the peanuts on a plate in the microwave, for about 3 minutes in 30 second bursts. The oven, or even a dry frying pan would probably work just as well.

I have some ground lemongrass that I keep in the freezer and used about a heaping tablespoon of it for the larb and probably a scant tablespoon of fish sauce. Both worked out perfectly. We were low on limes and I thought the larb could have used a little more lime juice, and possibly another Thai chili or a squirt of Sriracha for a little more kick.

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Sheet Pan Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt Sauce

Accidental Locavore Sheet Pan ChickenThis sheet pan chicken dinner came about because I was stuck in the house on a snowy day, and come across a recipe (this from the NY Times Cooking) for something that sounds perfect for dinner and…

I had all the ingredients!!

Bonus points because it all got prepped in the time it took to thaw out the chicken thighs and clean off a car.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed

Accidental Locavore Chicken Sheet Pan MakingsCombine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.

Heat oven to 425°. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Sheet Pan ChickenMy verdict: Like I said in the intro, miraculously all the ingredients were in the house! I did all the prep and made the yogurt sauce (adding about ½ teaspoon of lemon juice) while the thighs were thawing. Then, all I needed to do was pop it on a sheet pan (which I’ve taken to lining with parchment to make cleaning up easier) and bake it.

It was delicious! The potatoes were amazing, and the chicken was great! We’ll definitely be having this again.

A few comments from readers who had made it, taught me to keep the potatoes on the outside perimeter to help them crisp and try to put the leeks under the chicken and potatoes so they wouldn’t singe. Both worked well. The next time, I might slice the leeks a little thicker, it wouldn’t hurt the cooking time, and there would be less chance of singeing them.

The third helpful comment was to put the arugula on the plates and then plate the chicken and potatoes on top, so the arugula doesn’t get too warm and wilted. Also, a good idea.

If you’re not a fan of spicy food, you might want to go easy on the harissa. My favorite brand is spicy and flavorful, but not killer.

The dill is probably optional, if you have it great, if not cilantro might even be better. I added lemon juice to the yogurt, so went a little easy with it on the chicken.

You’ve got lots of options here and any of them will make an easy, tasty dinner.

 

 

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Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shank With HerbsThis is one of those recipes that you struggle with seasonality-wise. While it’s most likely a winter recipe—braising lamb shanks until tender, the handfuls of herbs get a little costly when you can’t run out and grab them from your garden.

However, I had a few beautiful shanks from some local lamb that were crying out to be used, so I splurged and bought all (well, almost all) the herbs for this. This needs time, but it’s an easy recipe. From the NY Times Cooking this feeds 6-8.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Lots of Herbs

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 pounds lamb shanks (5 to 6 shanks)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion (white or red), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 ½ cups dry white wine
  • 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped spicy greens such as mustard greens or arugula
  • 1 ½ cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup chopped mint or dill or a combination
  • ½ cup chopped tarragon
  • ½ cup chopped chives
  • About 1 cup chicken or lamb stock, or water
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon juice, as needed (optional)

Accidental Locavore Herbs for Lamb ShankIn a large bowl (or Ziploc bag) large enough to hold the lamb, mix together salt, paprika and pepper. Add shanks and rub all over with spice mix. Cover and marinate for at least 4 hours (or up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator.

Heat oven to 325°. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, over medium heat, heat a splash of olive oil. Sear the lamb in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan, adding more oil as needed. Take your time with this, making sure to brown the lamb all over. Transfer browned lamb to a plate.

When all the lamb is cooked, add onion to empty skillet and cook it in the lamb drippings (adding a more oil if pan looks dry) until limp and lightly browned at the edges, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, coriander, cayenne and allspice and cook until the garlic is very fragrant and opaque, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Pour in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan. Let mixture simmer until thickened and reduced by about a third (about 5 minutes). Add lamb back to pan and coat with the mixture.

In a bowl, toss together scallions, spicy greens, and herbs. Sprinkle lamb with half the herb mixture and set remaining half aside for serving. Cover pan and bake until meat is falling off the bones, 3 to 3 1/2 hours total, turning shanks every hour so they cook evenly. If the bottom of the pan starts to dry out before lamb is done, add a few tablespoons of the stock or water to moisten it.

When shanks are tender, transfer to a heated serving platter and cover with foil to keep warm. If you like, at this point you can tear the meat off the bones; or, serve the shanks bone-in.

On top of the stove, heat roasting pan over medium-low heat. If pan is dry, add remaining stock or water and bring to a simmer. (If drippings in pan seem very fatty, spoon off some of the fat.) Bring drippings to a simmer, scraping up the browned bits on bottom of pan.

Once the liquid is reduced to a thin glaze, add butter to pan along with all but 2 tablespoons of the remaining herbs (save those for garnish). Whisk sauce until smooth, then taste and add lemon juice as needed. Pour sauce over the lamb and garnish with chopped herbs. Serve and enjoy!

 

Accidental Locavore Lamb Shanks in PotMy verdict: This might be my new favorite way to do lamb shanks! The shanks were so tender and the combination of cooked down and fresh herbs was delicious.

I halved the recipe because I only had a couple of shanks. Didn’t buy parsley or chives, and just added more arugula and chopped some of the green parts of the scallions finer. Would probably not bother with the tarragon either if I wasn’t doing the whole recipe.

This could easily be done in a slow cooker or Insta-Pot (and that might be my summer choice when the herbs are all in the garden), but it was pretty easy in a Dutch oven. The only issue I had was that it kept drying out, so I added more wine and when that bottle was empty, went to water.

I served it over orzo, but couscous, polenta or rice would work well.

Since it was such a success, I did it a couple of weeks later with a leg of lamb. Everyone loved it and Frank said it was the best leg of lamb he’d ever had!

 

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