Stewed Black-Eyed Peas

2 pounds dried black-eyed peas
1 sweet onion, such as Vidalia, peeled and halved through the root end (keep the root attached)
4 whole cloves
1 garlic head, cut in half
10 black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
1 chile de árbol or other small dried chile
1 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
Hot sauce, to taste

Put the peas in a large bowl, add water to cover by 2 inches, and soak overnight.

Blacken the onion: If you have a gas stove, turn one burner on high and place the onion halves directly on the grates next to the flame and cook, turning occasionally, until the onion is charred on all sides, about 5 minutes. Otherwise, heat the broiler and broil the onion on a baking sheet a few inches from the heat, turning occasionally, until charred, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

When the onion is cool enough to handle, poke 2 cloves into each half, and add the onion to a large stockpot. Drain the peas, discarding the liquid, and then transfer the peas to the pot.

Place the garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and chile on a 12-inch square of cheesecloth and wrap tightly, using twine to seal the packet.

Add 6 quarts water and the spice packet to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim any foam that collects on the surface, then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the olive oil and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring and skimming occasionally, until the peas are fully cooked and the cooking liquid has thickened, 1 to 2 hours.

Discard the spice packet, season with the remaining 1 tablespoon salt (or to taste) and the hot sauce and serve.

Succotash with Mint and Goat Cheese

2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
3 GREEN ONIONS, white and pale green parts and some of the dark green tops, thinly sliced
1 1/2 CUPS FRESH CORN KERNELS (2 medium ears)
1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS, cooked and drained
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
1/2 CUP HALVED CHERRY TOMATOES
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH MINT
1/4 POUND FRESH GOAT CHEESE

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the green onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the corn and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat, and toss in the tomatoes and mint.

Serve immediately, crumbling a little goat cheese over each portion.

Substitution Note: Try this recipe with Christmas lima beans or with fresh lima beans if you have them.

Pork, Pork, Pork, and Beans

Serves 6-8

1 pound Rancho Gordo Yellow Eye Beans
1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in Pork Butt (Shoulder)
5 slices Uncured Rustic Bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips (lardons)
4 links Rustic Pork Sausage, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mirepoix:

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
14 ounce can diced tomatoes with the juice
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
5 branches fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Beans:

3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, preferably Rancho Gordo Sal de Mar sea salt (from the Yucatan)
2 cups panko crumbs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Seasoning the pork butt: Remove the bone from the pork butt and cut the meat into 1 1/2-to-2 inch chunks. Season all sides of the meat with salt and pepper, and refrigerate it (uncovered) for a day.

Soaking the beans: Put the beans in a bowl and cover with 2-inches cold water. Soak the beans for 4 to 6 hours.

Begin the cooking: Put the bacon into a cold 5 quart enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven and place the pan over medium heat. Cook the bacon from for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is just beginning to color. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix the mirepoix vegetables together and reserve 1/2 cup for cooking the beans. Add the remaining vegetables to the pan and sauté in the bacon fat, stirring from time to time for about 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to color.

Stir in the tomatoes and their juice. Add the wine, thyme and bay leaf. Tuck the pork chunks into the vegetables, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and put (uncovered) in the oven to cook for about 2 hours.

Cooking the beans (while the meat is in the oven):
Heat a medium size enamel cast iron or other heavyweight Dutch oven. Add the oil and the reserved mirepoix and saute about 10 minutes to soften.

Add the beans and their soaking water, adding additional water to reach 2-inches above the beans. Place over medium-high heat, cover and bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil rapidly for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary.

Place the lid slightly ajar (to allow evaporation), and reduce the heat to cook the beans at a gentle simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add additional water as needed to be sure the beans are covered by 2 inches of water at all times; use the lid to control the heat.

After about 1 hour, the smell of beans should be pronounced and you can salt the beans at this point. Add 11/2 tablespoons of salt. Continue to cook until the beans are just tender.

Completing the dish: Once the pork is tender, remove the pieces from the pan. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard.

Put the cooked vegetables and any juices into a food processor. Add the smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, a few grinds of black pepper and lemon juice and puree.

Drain the beans and put them in the Dutch oven. Stir in the bacon pieces and the vegetable puree.

Nestle the pork meat and sausages into the beans, leaving the top half of the meat exposed and return to the oven (uncovered) to cook for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the panko crumbs in a bowl and stir in the butter. Remove the pot from the oven and sprinkle the panko over the top. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until the crumbs are a rich golden brown.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.

Bean and Vegetable Posole

1 cup dried Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 cup dried heirlooms beans such as Pinto, Eye of the Goat, Lila, or Moro
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp. New Mexican Red Chile Powder
1½ tsp whole cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
1 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 small calabacitas (small squash) or zucchini, sliced ¼” thick
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans
1 T. vegetable bouillon
2 T. chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

Rinse and soak posole and beans, in separate bowls, for about 6 hours.

Drain posole and discard water. Add posole to a pot, fill pot with fresh water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.

Meanwhile, pour beans and their soaking liquid into another pot and add more water if needed to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until tender, adding water as necessary (timing will vary depending on type of bean).

In 4 qt. pan, saute onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin seed and oregano in 1 T. oil for 7 minutes until onion is soft.

Add squash and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooked beans and cooking liquid, posole, green beans and bouillon. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water if stew is too thick.

Add cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas.

Summer Posole

1 pound dried Rancho Gordo White Corn Posole (prepared hominy)
1 large white onion, finely diced?
3 cloves garlic, minced?
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano?
6 large New Mexico green chiles (or poblanos)?
1 bunch scallion, finely chopped?
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped?
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground?
1 pinch sea salt?
1/4 cup olive oil?
1 whole avocado, diced into chunks?
4 whole corn tortillas, slivered?
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced?
1 lime, quartered

Put the posole in a large soup pot with onion, garlic, oregano and a gallon of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender. This can take as long as 3 hours, so check pot occasionally and add water as it boils away. The posole will swell considerably, and the kernels will split open.

While the posole is cooking, roast the chiles, then place them in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam for 15 minutes. Slip off the skins, pull out the seeds and chop. Add the chopped chiles to the simmering posole along with 4 teaspoons salt. Continue cooking until the posole is completely tender. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the salsa, combine the scallions, cilantro, chiles, cumin and salt in a bowl. Stir in the oil, add water as needed to thin, and add avocado. Toast the tortilla strips in the oven until crisp, or fry them in vegetable oil.

To serve, stir the salsa into the posole and garnish with a nest of cabbage and tortilla strips and a wedge of lime. Accompany with warm tortillas.

Posole Blanco

For the broth:

1 whole chicken, cut into parts, including the back
1 yellow or white onion, sliced
4–6 garlic cloves, cut in half (skins on is fine)
3 bay leaves
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 stick Rancho Gordo Canela/Soft Cinnamon
3 cloves
3 whole allspice
3 whole peppercorns
Salt

For the hominy:

1 pound Rancho Gordo Posole/Prepared Hominy, soaked for 6–10 hours
3 slices of white or yellow onion

For the Chile Manzano Salsa:

4 Manzano chiles, seeded and finely sliced
1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
1/4 cup Rancho Gordo Pineapple Vinegar
1 teaspoon salt

For serving:

Chile Manzano salsa
Thinly sliced radishes
Shredded lettuce
Quartered limes (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
White onion, finely chopped (optional)
Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio or Mexican Oregano (optional)
Rancho Gordo New Mexican Red Chile Powder (optional)

Add the chicken to a large stockpot and add 2–3 quarts of water. Turn the heat to high. Once the water starts to boil, reduce to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer. After about 5 minutes, check for scum on top of the water and remove with a small sieve or slotted spoon. Add the rest of the broth ingredients and continue simmering until the individual chicken pieces are cooked through. Remove the breasts after about 20 minutes; thighs, drumsticks and wings will take about 40 minutes.

Allow the chicken pieces to cool. Remove any remaining skin and shred the meat with your hands. Strain the broth and reserve. You should have one bowl of shredded chicken and one large amount of broth.

While the chicken cooks, in a large stockpot, combine the hominy, onion and 3 quarts of water and bring to a full boil over high heat; boil for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until the corn kernels are tender, 2–3 hours. Once the hominy is cooked, strain it, reserving both the corn and the liquid.

For the salsa, in a serving bowl, combine all of the ingredients and toss well. Check for seasoning and add salt to taste. Let rest while the chicken and hominy cook.

When all the preparations are done, add the cooked hominy and shredded chicken to your pot. Add a total of 2 quarts plus 1 cup of liquid from the chicken broth and the hominy water (1 quart plus 1 cup of chicken broth added to 1 quart of hominy water is a good suggestion but some people prefer all chicken or all hominy).

Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Once warmed through, serve in individual bowls and allow guests to dress up their bowls with radishes, lettuce and the Chile Manzano Salsa, along with whatever else you choose.

Posole Verde

Serves 6

1/2 pound Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 1/2 onions, white or red, peeled and halved
Salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled
15 to 20 tomatillos, paper skins removed
2 poblano chiles
1 serrano chile
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mexican Oregano
1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper

Soak posole overnight in water to cover generously. Drain.
Place it in a saucepan with fresh water to cover generously.

Add 1/2 onion, bring to a simmer, cover partially and cook at a gentle simmer until the corn kernels are tender, 2 to 3 hours; many will split open. Season with salt and cool in the liquid.

On a hot, dry griddle or skillet, roast the remaining halved onions, garlic, tomatillos and chiles, turning occasionally, until they are charred and slightly softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Work in batches if necessary.

Put the roasted poblano chiles in a paper bag to steam until cool.

Transfer the other vegetables to a bowl and let cool, collecting their juices.

Skin the poblanos, discarding seeds and stems. Discard the serrano chile stem but don’t skin or seed.

Put all the roasted vegetables in a blender, in batches if necessary, and puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over moderate heat.
Add the vegetable puree and adjust heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

In the blender, puree the cilantro, oregano and 1 cup of the broth. Add to the vegetable mixture along with 4 cups additional broth.

Drain the posole and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper and return to a simmer. Thin with additional broth if necessary. Serve in warm bowls.

Argentine Beef and Potato Pie

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 pounds ground sirloin
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons pimentón dulce (sweet Spanish smoked paprika)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 cup dry red wine
1 pound ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large Idaho (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup whole milk
6 large egg yolks
2 hard-boiled eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

Combine the olive oil, onions, and carrots in a large cast-iron skillet and sauté over
medium-high heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables soften and begin to
brown.

Crumble in the ground sirloin and cook for about 4 minutes, breaking up the
meat with a fork, until it loses its pink color.

Stir in the bay leaves, rosemary, oregano, cumin, pimentón, pepper flakes, and mustard.

Add the red wine and let it bubble gently for 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

Stir in the tomatoes and olives and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and the liquid is reduced but not totally evaporated. (It is important that the finished dish be moist.)

Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in a medium pot with cold water to cover, add salt to
taste, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly and boil for about 15
minutes, until the potatoes are very tender when pierced with a fork.

Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander, and pass through a food mill or a ricer back into the pot.

Bring the milk to a boil, and beat it into the potatoes with a wooden spoon.

One by one, beat in the egg yolks, and continue beating until well blended, fluffy, and yellow.

Heat an horno or home oven (with the rack positioned in the lower third of the
oven) to approximately 375°F.

Slice the hard-boiled eggs 1/3 inch thick and arrange them over the meat mixture.

Spoon the mashed potatoes on top and smooth the surface with a spatula. Use the tines
of a fork to press a pattern of fine decorative ridges over the entire surface of the
potatoes. Sprinkle with the sugar, if using.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the potatoes are nicely browned on top.

Potato, Leek, and Fennel Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small fennel bulb—halved, cored and chopped
1 medium celery rib, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 thyme sprig
1 large garlic clove, minced
Salt 8 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
1 cup heavy cream
White pepper

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the leek, onion, fennel, celery, shallot, thyme, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the stock, potatoes, 2 tablespoons of the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the tarragon. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 40 minutes.

Add the cream to the saucepan and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon each of parsley and tarragon and season the soup with salt and white pepper; discard the thyme sprig.

Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!

Sheet Pan Stuffing with Chestnuts and Cranberries

6 tablespoons(3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 ribs celery, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
7 ounces vacuum-packed shelled, roasted chestnuts, cut or broken into chunks
8 ounces challah bread (half a store-bought loaf), cut into 1-inch cubes and air-dried (see headnote)
One 8-inch square corn bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and dried (see not)
2 teaspoons dried sage, crumbled between your fingers
1 tablespoon dried herbes de Provence
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large Bartlett pear, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks (not peeled)
1-2cupdried cranberries, some coarsely chopped
1-2cuppacked chopped curly parsley
1 3/4 cupsvegetable broth, preferably no-salt-added, or more as needed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Position racks in the upper and lower parts of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Have one or two rimmed baking sheets at hand.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once the butter shimmers, stir in the celery and chestnuts. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the dried cubes of challah and corn bread. Season with the sage, herbes de Provence, paprika and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper, tossing to coat evenly. The mixture should be fragrant.

Transfer to a bowl; add the pear, dried cranberries, parsley and broth, stirring to coat evenly. Add more broth if the mixture seems quite dry. For a moister stuffing, mound all the mixture on a single pan, gently pressing it together. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, portioned or cut into small pieces. For a drier stuffing, divide the mixture between two baking sheets, and then dot with the remaining butter.

Roast (upper rack for single pan; upper and lower racks for 2 pans) for about 25 minutes, or until browned and fragrant. If you are using two baking sheets, you may want to rotate the from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.

Transfer to a serving bowl; serve warm, drizzled with some oil.

MAKE AHEAD: Dry out the cubes of challah and corn bread by spreading them on a rimmed baking sheet and leaving them to air-dry for a day or so, or bake in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes, then turn off the oven and let them cool in there.

Cranberry-Pomegranate Relish

12 ounces fresh cranberries (3 cups)
1/3 cup honey, or to taste
3/4 cup chopped pistachios
3/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Place cranberries and honey in a food processor. Pulse until chopped (but not too finely), then taste and stir in more honey if needed. At this point, the relish can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving. If the liquid separates, give it a stir.

Stir pistachios and pomegranate seeds into cranberry mixture and serve.

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Brown Sugar

3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork (10 to 12 sweet potatoes)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon or orange juice
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Large pinch of ground cloves

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap potatoes in foil, place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let rest until cool enough to handle but still warm, then remove the foil and peel off the skins.

Add sweet potatoes to a food processor, along with butter, brown sugar, bourbon or juice, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, pepper and cloves. Purée until smooth. (Or, for a chunkier texture, mash them by hand.) Taste and add salt, sugar or both if you like. Serve while still warm or reheat before serving.

Tip
This recipe can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat just before serving, either in the microwave or in a pot on the stove over low heat.

Duck Fat Potatoes

3 pounds baby or small potatoes, halved if large
1/4 cup duck (or chicken) fat, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss together the potatoes, duck fat, salt and pepper. Lay thyme sprigs and bay leaves on top.

Roast for 30 minutes, then toss the garlic into the potatoes and reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until potatoes are fork-tender, another 15 to 25 minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaves and serve, or let cool for up to an hour then reheat, uncovered, at 350 degrees just before serving.

Brioche Chestnut Stuffing

1 (14- to 16-ounce) brioche loaf, torn into 1-inch pieces
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for the pan
1 large onion, diced
2 large celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup diced fennel (about 1/2 small fennel bulb)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
5 ounces roasted, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Arrange brioche pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Let them dry out overnight, or place them in a 200-degree oven for an hour or two. (They’ll be ready when they feel stale to the touch but haven’t taken on any color.)

Heat oven to 375 degrees, and butter a shallow, 2-quart casserole or gratin dish.

On a pot on the stove or in the microwave, melt 4 tablespoons butter.

Put bread in the prepared baking dish and toss with melted butter. Bake until golden and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Let cool, then transfer toast to a large bowl. (Don’t wash the baking dish; you’ll use it again for the stuffing.)

In a 12-inch skillet, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in onion, celery, fennel and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook until soft and just starting to brown, about 12 minutes.

Stir in thyme and sage, and cook for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and transfer to bowl with brioche. Gently fold in chestnuts and pepper and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups stock, eggs, parsley and remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Fold gently into bread mixture, then scrape it all back into prepared baking dish.

Drizzle on remaining 1 cup stock until the mixture is moist but not squishy; you may not need all the stock.

Cover dish with foil and bake until lightly springy, about 25 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake until golden brown, another 20 to 30 minutes.

Skillet Pear Custard Cake

2-4 ripe Bartlett Pears (red are nice if you can find some)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp salted butter, diced
1 Tbsp icing/confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cut pears in half and core with a spoon, also removing the woody spine leading up to the stem. (You can cook pears in halves or cut each half in to slices and arrange them in a fan pattern). Toss in lemon juice and set aside.

Grease a skillet (or several smaller skillets), an 11×7-inch baking dish, or several wider/shallow ramekins. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla.

Whisk egg milk mixture in to flour mixture until combined.

Arrange pears in prepared baking dishes (I like to put a cored half pear in the centre, if space permits, with sliced pears around the outside OR cut cored half pears in to slices and arrange in fan patterns). Pour batter over-top, filling your shallow baking dish to about 2/3 full or to cover a half pear by about 2/Dot the top with diced butter. Place baking dish on to a baking sheet (just in case!).

Bake in preheated 375 oven until pears are tender and custard is puffed, set and golden, about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with some icing sugar and place under oven broiler until bubbly and glazed, about 1 minute. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes before serving. Lovely served slightly warmed with a dollop of whipped or ice cream.

Invisible Apple Cake

6 average-sized Golden Delicious apples, peeled
2 eggs
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
6 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla until very light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Melt the butter in saucepan or microwave bowl. Add the milk and stir well to combine. Allow to cool slightly, then add to the egg/sugar mixture. Mix to combine.

Sift together the flour and baking powder, the sprinkle over the egg/sugar mixture. Mix just until combined.

Quarter the peeled apples and remove the core. Use a mandolin to slice each quarter into thin slices. Add the apple sliced to the batter regularly (don’t wait until you’ve done them aland push them below batter, so they don’t brown. Reserve the last handful of apple slices to scatter on top of batter.

Gently stir the apples in the batter to ensure all apples are coated. Pour in to prepared springform pan and scatter the reserved apple slices randomly over-top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until set. If desired, you can turn on the broiler for a minute to brown up the top of the cake.

Leave in pan to cool, then run knife around edges and remove outer springform pan ring.

Serve slightly warm, at room temperature or cold dusted with icing sugar.

Colicchio’s Dinner Rolls

Dough:
3/4 cup warm milk about 110F
1 tsp instant or dry active yeast
1 tsp Barley malt or 2/3 tsp molasses
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp coarse Kosher salt, or 1 tsp fine table salt *reduce if using salted butter
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter softened

Topping:
Melted butter for brushing
Finishing Salt such as Fleur de Sel or Maldon’s

Stir together milk, yeast, and malt syrup in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a kneading hook. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add to milk mixture along with softened butter and stir with a wooden spoon or mix with mixer until a dough forms. Knead 5-6 minutes, adding additional flour as needed, to produce a smooth, moist dough.

Remove to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 – 3 hours. *Trust your eyes here and not the clock. You will want to let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, however long that takes. I find it helpful to rise in an 8-cup glass measuring cup, so it’s easy to see when it has doubled.

Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled again, about 2 hours (or until doubled in size).

Meanwhile, melt a bit of butter and brush on a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.

Remove dough to a floured surface and divide into 8-10 equal sized pieces. Form pieces into balls and place into the buttered 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (4 or 5 rows of two rolls, spaced evenly in the pan).

Cover pan with a clean tea towel and let rise until puffy and about doubled, about 2 hours more.

Preheat oven to 350F. When rolls are risen, brush with melted butter and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

Remove from oven. Let stand a minute, then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle tops with finishing salt.

Remove from pan and serve warm.

Apple Pandowdy

1 roll puff pastry thawed

Filling:
5-6 large apples cooking/pie apples, peeled and cored
6 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp white sugar
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:
2 Tbsp white or turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low to keep warm.

Grease an 8-inch round skillet, pan, pie plate (or equivalent sized) pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside.

Peel and core apples, then thinly slice. Add to prepared baking pan, filling the pan about 2/3-3/4 full.

Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut thawed puff pastry into irregular, 1-inch-ish shapes. Scatter about 1/3 of the pastry pieces randomly over top of apples. Slowly pour the sugar mixture over-top, pouring all around the pan to make sure the filling reaches all parts of the pan. Pour slowly so it drips down into the apples and not over the side.

Place the remaining pastry pieces on top, overlapping, as necessary and leaving a few small open spots (to allow steam to escape). Sprinkle a bit of sugar on to the top of pastry.

Place into preheated oven (on baking sheet to catch overflowing juices!) and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350F and continue baking for an addition 35-40 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and pastry is golden brown and puffy. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Lovely served with a dusting of icing sugar and a scoop of ice cream.