Choux de Bruxelles Gratiné

Tender baby Brussels sprouts get the royal treatment.. pan-roasted in bacon fat with onions and lightly drizzled with champagne vinegar, then bathed in seasoned Béchamel and topped with shredded Cantal entre deux, hickory-smoked bacon and fresh breadcrumbs with parsley..

For the Béchamel

2-1/2 cups fresh, whole milk
2 ounces cold roux blanc (recipe follows)
a pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan until simmering, then whisk in bits of roux one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next.  This will help to ensure that the sauce is creamy and without lumps. Add the nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

For the Roux Blanc

3 ounces organic flour (can use soaked or sprouted flour if desired)
2 ounces clarified butter or ghee

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan over medium heat then whisk in the flour. Continue whisking and cooking until past the raw flour taste and completely smooth in texture, maybe 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

For the Brussels Sprouts

1 pound baby Brussels sprouts
6 thick slices uncured, hickory-smoked bacon
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar

Rinse the Brussels sprouts in cold water, then peel off the outermost layer of leaves and trim off the stem. Split the larger sprouts in half lengthwise, leaving the smallest ones whole.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a skillet until well-browned and crisp, then transfer to the side to drain and pour of all but about 1 tablespoon of the the fat.

Add  the Brussels sprouts and butter to the pan and cook until the cut edges begin to brown.  Add the onion and continue to cook, stirring often until the onions are brown and the Brussels sprout are crisp/tender, maybe 8 minute. Remove from heat, add vinegar and toss to coat.

Use a slotted spoon the transfer the cooked vegetables to a casserole dish and pour the béchamel over the top.

Add a layer of shredded Cantal, then arrange bacon pieces over the top.

Add a light layer of fresh breadcrumbs and chopped parsley.

Place casserole in a 375 degree oven and cook until brown and bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Serve hot.

Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Roasted Chouxfleur

A seasonal, Franco-Italian dish of fresh cauliflower, EVOO, homegrown garlic and thyme and the zest & juice from a Meyer lemon. Topped with sea salt, cracked pepper and local sprouts. Slightly crisp on the outside, with a luxurious, creamy interior.  Look for the recipe in the comment section at the bottom of this post..

From Wikipedia..

Cauliflower has a long history. François Pierre La Varenne employed it in Le cuisinier françois after it had been introduced to France from Genoa in the 16th century. Cauliflower is featured in Olivier de Serres’ Théâtre de l’agriculture (1600), as cauli-fiori “as the Italians call it, which are still rather rare in France; they hold an honorable place in the garden because of their delicacy”, but they did not commonly appear on grand tables until the time of Louis XIV.

Cauliflower is low in fat, low in carbs but high in dietary fiber, folate, water, and vitamin C, possessing a high nutritional density.

Cauliflower contains several phytochemicals, common in the cabbage family, that may be beneficial to human health.

Sulforaphane, a compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed, may protect against cancer.
Other glucosinolates
Carotenoids
Indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that enhances DNA repair and acts as an estrogen antagonist, slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Boiling reduces the levels of these compounds, with losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving, and stir frying, had no significant effect on the compounds.

A high intake of cauliflower has been associated with reduced risk of aggressive prostate cancer.

100g of cauliflower contains the following nutritional information according to the USDA:

Calories : 25
Fat: 0.28
Carbohydrates: 4.97
Fibers: 2
Protein: 1.92

Andouille, Crab and Oyster Gumbo

Chocolate-colored roux, the Cajun/Creole “holy trinity” of red bell pepper, celery and roux, homemade shrimp stock, pecan wood-smoked Andouille, fresh crab and oysters..

For the Gumbo  (from a recipe by Andrew Zimmern, with slight modifications)

1/2 cup organic, all-purpose flour
4 ounces pastured butter
1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 fresh bay leaf
5 cups homemade shrimp stock (substitute chicken stock)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 pound fresh okra, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 cups bottled clam juice
1 pound lump crabmeat, picked over
2 dozen shucked oysters and their liquor
3 tablespoons organic Worcestershire sauce
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons filé powder (divided)
3 large celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
sea salt and black pepper
parsley, chopped for garnish
green onions, sliced for garnish

In a large pot, stir the flour and butter until smooth.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring every 45 seconds, until the roux turns a rich brown color, about 20 minutes.

Add the Andouille, celery, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, garlic, okra, thyme, bay leaf and half of the filé powder and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the stock, clam juice, Worcestershire and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the remaining filé powder and add the crab, oysters and their liquor.  Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 1 minute to just cook the oysters.  Serve the gumbo with rice or bread.

Not the same recipe, but who doesn’t miss Justin Wilson?

 

Thunder Heart Bison Chili

Free-range, pastured American bison, onions, garlic, chilies, homemade stock and a selection of herbs and spices simmered on the back burner for hours..

For the All-Important Stock

2 pounds meaty, cross-cut oxtail
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup onions, chopped
2/3 cup celery, chopped
2/3 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup Madeira
8 cups cold, filtered water
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme

Scatter the chopped vegetables in a cast iron skillet.  Place the oxtail sections over the vegetables and top each with a spoonful of tomato paste, then place the skillet in a 350 degree oven and roast until the meat is brown, the tomato paste has caramelized and the fat has rendered, about 75 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meat and vegetables to a heavy-bottomed stock pot, leaving the fat behind.  Pour in the wine and enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and skim off any foam.  Add the garlic, peppercorns and thyme and slowly simmer until reduced in volume by half, about 6 hours.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer and store in clean glass jars for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 year.

For the Chili

1 pound bison stew meat
1-1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 tablespoons beef tallow
1 teaspoon cracked cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cracked coriander seeds
1 quart brown stock, divided (from recipe above)
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup New Mexico chili powder
1/4 cup smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 tablespoon granulated piloncillo (optional; use if the chili powder tastes bitter)
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel, crushed (cuts through the fat and brightens the dish)

Melt the tallow in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the meat without crowding (you may need to do this in batches) and brown on all sides.  Add the onions, cumin and coriander and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 2 cups stock, tomatoes, paprika, chili powders and oregano and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the bison is tender, about 1-1/2 hours. Add remaining stock a little at a time as the chili reduces and thickens.

Add the piloncillo, cocoa and lemon peel, stir and simmer 20 minutes.

Ladle finished chili into bowls, top with Queso Manchego and chopped cilantro and serve immediately.

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