Sunday, January 26, 2014

Winter's journey and braised beef shanks

Tora's real food

Virginia in winter is subtly beautiful. Delicate, blackened bone trees. Raw, sweeping curves of hills. A colorbox of strange halftones: olive green, bleached orange, gray-brown, salt white. Sometimes hard to perceive, the beauty is always there if you look for it: the eerie, lonely noise of geese ringing through cold, bell-clear air; the hazy bluish-purple of a certain kind of shrub; a splendid sunset.

  

Virginia's winter beauty wasn't really on my mind yesterday when I set off on a little trip to The Whole Ox, a wonderful artisanal butcher shop in an old railway station in the Plains. I just needed a respite from being stuck at home for a week, first because of school closings due to snow and bitter cold and then due to sickness. I also wanted to find an excuse to have the oven running all day to dispel some of the chill. But as I sailed along the roads, rising and falling with the curves, that beauty took hold of me again and reminded me why I love Virginia.

Coming back, stocked with a meaty pair of beef shanks and some other odds and ends (The Whole Ox is a lot like a treasure cave; I can never leave with just what's on the list), I passed a pair of foxes in a field. Their red bodies echoed the reddish-orange grasses that stuck up through the snow. Robin's egg sky and tumbledown wooden fence framed the scene. The foxes ignored me as I slowed to watch them--a pair of teenagers getting into trouble: one the instigator and the other slightly hesitant, hanging back. I longed to take a picture of them, but the stretch of road was too dangerous to stop for long. And so I've turned the image over and over in mind like a smooth stone, polishing and holding on to it. Maybe it was just as well I didn't get the picture. It wouldn't have been as good as the one in my mind. 

Once home with my goodies, I quickly started the braise. After three hours of slow cooking in the oven, we had a gorgeous meal of braised beef shanks (so tender the meat fell off the bones), mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts slaw. A wonderful meal that made a cold and ordinary Saturday into a special occasion.

Tora's real food

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs (or thereabouts) beef shanks (preferably big meaty ones with big bones)
  • 1-1 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2-1 cup soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsps vegetable oil (for searing)
  • 3-4 Tbsps flour (for dredging)
  • salt, pepper
  • smoked paprika (optional but oh so nice)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 whole head of garlic, individual cloves peeled
  • 5-6 whole medium carrots, peeled and ends trimmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Pat the beef shanks dry with paper towels and very liberally sprinkle salt, pepper, and smoked paprika all over them. Rub the seasonings into the meat.  Then dredge the meat with flour.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil to medium-high heat in a frying pan. Sear the meat on all sides, for about 1-2 minutes per side. (You should have a nice golden brown crust on the meat.)
  4. Transfer the meat to a Dutch oven. Arrange the garlic cloves and carrots around the meat. 
  5. Add the orange juice, soy sauce, cumin, and coriander to the hot frying pan. Scrape at the browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the mixture cook for a minute or two, just enough to bring all the ingredients together. Taste the braising liquid. It should be quite strong. Make any tweaks you like at this point (such as add a touch of honey, a splash of vinegar, more spice) and then pour the braising liquid over the meat and vegetables. Then slide it into the oven for about 3 hours. 
  6. Take the meat out of the oven about 20-30 minutes before serving to let it cool down a little before eating. Use the braising liquid as a sauce over mashed potatoes or something that will soak up the juices. And do not forget to suck the marrow out of the bones, for that is truly one of life's pleasures (if you're an omnivore, at least). 
Now, I also promised my friend Clythie at Run Cook Eat Repeat to share the recipe for the Brussels sprouts slaw, so here it is:

Brussels Sprouts Slaw

  • Rinse and grate 1 to 1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts that are brilliant green without brown blemishes on a coarse grater. Use the hard whitish ends to hold onto the sprout and then discard that part. I highly recommend getting a protective glove for doing this job. Alternatively, you could shred the sprouts in a food processor. If you do it this way, trim the hard white stem ends first. Add the shredded Brussels sprouts to a medium salad bowl.
  • Coarsely grate about 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Mix with the shredded sprouts.
  • In another bowl, whisk together
    • 6 Tbsps good quality oil (I used avocado oil, but a good quality extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil would be wonderful too)
    • 4 Tbsps red wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp honey (ish, more or less to taste)
    • 1/4 tsp (or so) salt
    • pinch of pepper
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Taste the vinaigrette for seasoning and adjust according to your taste.  
  • Pour the vinaigrette over the sprouts and cheese and mix it all together. Eat! 
 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Snow day chili with beans and a hint of cocoa


Yesterday it snowed--the first significant snow in a few years here in Northern Virginia. On the tail of the snowstorm came the polar vortex--a mass of cold, hard air as inexorable and weighty as a glacier. Warmth flees before it. And the cold wind blows snow devils into the air, glittering in the sun. It's beautiful, stark, and harsh.


Cold days are good days to make chili. Filling chili, with a touch of warming spice (or a lot, depending on your taste) that satisfies hunger and banishes the cold. Serve it on rice with sour cream, a sprinkling of cheese, and some chopped onion (or any combination that you like).

What's a little different about this chili is the addition of unsweetened cocoa powder. Not to worry, it doesn't make the chili taste like chocolate, but it adds depth to the flavor and a beautiful dark color. And yes, this chili has beans, which I know  is sacrilege in some food circles, but I will gladly offend in this case, ha ha. Beans are incredibly nutritious, full of protein and fiber that will make you feel full for a long time. In this recipe I've used canned beans (organic, of course) for convenience (I know, I'm slipping), but if you are in the mood to cook your own beans, use this no-soak method, which works well for me.

Another nice thing about this chili is that you can switch up the protein: Use ground pork, ground beef, ground turkey, or ground lamb, whatever you have handy. The same is true of the beans. I like a two-to-one combination of white and pinto beans, but you can use any combination of beans.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef or pork or turkey or lamb (or a combination?)
  • 3 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 15-oz cans of white beans (such as cannelini or Great Northern), rinsed and drained
  • 1 15-oz can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 28-oz can of ground tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1-3 Tbsps chili powder
  • 2 tsps unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt (or to taste)
 

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat (or other large-ish, heavy pot with a thick bottom). Add the onions and cook them until they are soft and slightly brown, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and adjust the heat as needed so that the onions don't burn.  
  2. Add the ground beef/pork/turkey/lamb and cook through.
  3. Add crushed garlic and stir until you can smell it, about a minute. 
  4. Add tomatoes, beans, chili powder, cocoa powder, brown sugar, and about half of the salt. Stir everything together and let it simmer for at least 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Longer is fine if you want to start it early in the day and just let it stew. If so, keep the heat on the lowest setting, keep the lid on, and stir from time to time.
  5. Before it's time to serve, have a taste and add salt as needed. Then sever it over rice and with any additions that you like. I prefer sour cream and sometimes some chopped onion. Also, if you like it hot, you could always add some sliced jalapenos.   
 Now enjoy the cold weather and keep warm.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lemon sweetie pies, or an exercise in turning a kitchen disaster into pop art

lemon thumbprint cookies

I know, I know. I am totally off schedule. Right now I should be posting healthy, fresh recipes for getting back into shape for the new year. Instead I am writing about this delicious, lemony cookie. But I made a promise to my friend Clythie (who recently started her own blog about running and cooking called Run Cook Eat Repeat), and dammit I will keep my promises, even though it may take a while.

I made a batch of these cookies for a cookie exchange a few weeks ago. When I had finished the lemon curd to fill in the center of the cookies, I was so enamored of the glorious yellow and the sweet, tart, and fresh scent of lemon, I decided I had to get a picture of the stuff to spiff up a blog post and to brag on. Of course, this happened:


Argh! Catastrophe!

But then I had to admire the rather pleasing effect of the splatter pattern. And that lemon, placed just so! (It really landed just like that.) When I posted the photo on Facebook, a friend commented that the white sock disturbed the composition, and I agreed. For better effect next time, I need to coordinate my clothes to amp up the contrast (perhaps a blue sock?). Anyway, I had to laugh because the vanity of trying to get a good picture of this glorious lemon curd ended up in a big mess.

About 24 hours later, I had more lemons, made another batch of curd, and baked the cookies. And I finally got a good picture of the curd, which is like sunshine in a bowl, perfect to light up deepest, darkest winter. And the cookie tastes that way: the sweet, sour, fresh bite of curd paired with sweet, crispy cookie.

 
The recipe for these cookies comes from The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett. I gave the book to my husband for Christmas in 2001 (I wrote an inscription on the inside cover). I've made a lot of the cookies in this book, but this one may be my favorite.

Ingredients

For the curd:
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • finely grated zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
For the cookie dough:
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
 

Instructions

For the curd: In a heavy, nonreactive (non-aluminum, typically) pot, combine the curd ingredients. Whisk continuously while bringing the curd to a boil. Let it boil for a minute (keep whisking). Then remove the pot from the heat and keep whisking for another 30 seconds. Strain the curd (you may need to help it along through the strainer with the back of a wooden spoon) and let it cool completely. The curd can be made up to 4 days ahead of time.


For the cookies:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare baking sheets (grease or cover with parchment paper or silpats).
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make sure everything is evenly mixed together. 
  • In a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest until it's very light and fluffy.  
  • Add the egg, 1 tablespoon water, vanilla, and lemon juice to the sugar-butter mixture. Keep beating until these are thoroughly mixed in. 
  • Reduce the speed to slow and mix in about half the flour mixture. Then slowly add the rest of the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. 
  • Shape the dough into a little ball (about 1 1/4 in) by rolling a piece of it in the palms of your hands. (Using a small scoop would be useful here to keep the balls evenly sized and the right size; I always make these too big!)
  • Place the ball of cookie dough on the cookie sheet. With your thumb, press into the center of the ball until a well is formed and the dough sort of flattens out into a cookie-like shape. Don't push all the way through the dough.
  • Place about 3/4 tsp of the lemon curd in the well.
  • Repeat until you have used all the dough. (You may have some curd left over. Like I said, I always make these too big, so I end up with a lot of leftover curd. But you could put that on toast, or cake, or something. Or eat it with a spoon. Whatever makes you happy.)
  • Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10-13 minutes. Turn the baking sheet about halfway through the baking time so that the cookies bake evenly. Let them cool on wire racks. 
  • Nancy Baggett warns that these cookies should be eaten fairly quickly because they grow softer after a few days. So far that hasn't been too much of a problem.    

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Two-potato hash with ham: Fall comfort food


I try to plan meals. I really do. But I end up improvising dinner far more often than I'd like to admit. And some nights, I have a plan to try something new and perhaps a little healthier, but find myself craving something comforting. Especially on a cold night like tonight.

Hash is the perfect food for cold nights. It's the food equivalent of your oldest, most comfortable sweats; a soft blanket; and a good book. And I've almost always got something I can use to improvise a decent hash.

The key to a good hash is balance. It should have a bit of this and a bit of that. A little bitter or mild to play against something sweet. Some salt from bacon or ham. The vegetables should be cut pretty small, but not so small that they lose their individual characteristics altogether. And of course, a good hash is incomplete without a fried egg or two with runny yolks to break and bring all those nicely roasted vegetables together into the perfect bite. I've just had a bowl and am still craving more, but I have to leave some for my sweetheart (oh the agony!).



This particular version of hash includes sweet and regular potatoes and ham. However, hash can have lots of different things, and it's a great way to clean out any root vegetables that are slightly past their prime (at the end of the post, I have some suggestions for variations).

I like to start the hash off on the stove top while I dice the vegetables and then finish it in the oven, and my beloved cast iron skillet lets me do that. Make sure that whatever pan you use is safe to use in the oven.

Ingredients


  • 2 Tbsps vegetable oil (whatever your preference, lately I've taken to using avocado oil)
  • 1 onion, diced finely
  • 2-3 medium potatoes (my preference is yellow, but any potato on hand will work fine), cut into 1/2 inch dice (peeled or not, your call)
  • 1-2 small, medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch dice (peeled, generally, sweet potato skins are very thick)
  • 1/2 lb ham steak, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • smoked paprika
  • thyme
  • salt and pepper 

Instructions

The nice thing about making hash is that you can cut vegetables as you go, and that's usually what I do. (In other words, you don't need to dice everything before you get started.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (F).
  2. Heat the oil in the skillet over medium low heat. 
  3. Chop the onions and add them to the pan. Stir a few times and let them cook slowly until they are slightly shiny, about 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, cube the ham and add it to the skillet. 
  5. Next, cube the potatoes and sweet potatoes and add them to the skillet. Start with the potatoes because they need just a little longer to cook. 
  6. Let everything get a little brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Then season with smoked paprika (about 1/2 tsp or to taste), a generous sprinkling of thyme, and some pepper.
  7. Slide the pan in the oven and let the vegetables roast for 30-40 minutes. Stir at least once about halfway through the cook time. 
  8. When the vegetables are cooked through and a little brown and crispy around the edges, the hash is ready. Season with salt and more pepper and serve with a sunny-side up egg (or two).

Variations

I almost always include a few potatoes, but feel free to switch up the rest of the vegetables (or add more). The quantities are whatever fits somewhat comfortably in the pan. I like having a distinctly sweet vegetable matched with a more bitter one, here are some examples:

  • sweet potatoes
  • golden beets (red ones will work, but they will make a red mess of your hash)
  • brussels sprouts
  • kale, chopped (add at the last minute before sliding into the oven)
  • turnips
  • carrots
  • parsnips.
You can also mix up the protein. I love bacon in hash and let the fat melt into the onions before I add any vegetables. Other options are to add some leftover turkey (Thanksgiving is coming up soon) or chicken.

The quantities don't matter, and the hash isn't always perfect, but it's almost always deeply satisfying. I love the improvisational character of it, the add a bit of this, and some of that, and see how it turns out.   

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn Comfort: Cream of Cauliflower Soup


I haven't posted in an age. And the longer the time stretches out since that last post, months and months ago, the harder it gets to start writing again. Blogging is chock full of do's and don'ts. Experts all around explain the importance of SEO, of building community, of being consistent, of being yourself, of strategy, and on and on and on. All the rules overwhelmed me. Every post turned into a challenge to do something different, something that stood out from the pack, or really expressed who I am deep down as a person, or showed my marvelously quirky personality. As though I really know myself all that well and can express it in pretty pictures and words or am all that quirky and visionary and unique.

But I want to write. I want to think about things that I care about and express ideas about them, whether they be food, art, literature, nature, or the thousand other things that are dreamt of in my philosophy. I think I need to get away from the do's and don'ts and start over. I need to post imperfect pictures, meander to and from my topic, and simply enjoy this blog again. It won't be perfect. It won't always be about food (perhaps it will rarely be about food). Hopefully it will be fun, thought provoking, funny, informative, and interesting for me and for you, dear reader.

I am starting back with a recipe today. This one is for homemade cream of cauliflower soup, a rich, creamy dish that still warms the air here after dinner. When I was a child, my favorite soup was cream of cauliflower soup made with a powdered soup mix from the store in Sweden. I've never found that kind of soup here in the United States, and even if I had, I rarely make anything packaged now. But I wanted my son to try this soup because I always loved it so, and I thought he might as well. I've tried a few different recipes, but I think this one is perfect. It makes a rich, smooth soup that's warm and mild, as pleasing as a warm bed on a cold morning. It is also surprisingly simple for how good it is. The recipe derives from a recipe in The Joy of Cooking, the old classic cookbook (incidentally one of the first Christmas gifts my husband ever gave me; that first copy disintegrated about a decade ago).

Ingredients


  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins
  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into about 1-inch pieces (trim off any leaves and the woodiest part of the stem)
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or broth)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • dried or fresh finely chopped parsley
  • salt and white pepper        

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter with the water in a large soup pot. (By the way, the water is there to help keep the onion and garlic from burning or turning too brown, which will affect the appearance of your soup.)
  2. Cook the onion and the garlic in the butter-water mixture over medium-low heat until the onions are very soft (but not burnt or browned), about 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the carrots, cauliflower, and stock or broth to the pot. 
  4. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let the vegetables simmer until soft, about 15-20 minutes. 
  5. If you have a stick blender, now is the time to use it. Blend the soup until very smooth. (If you don't have a stick blender, you can use a blender or a food processor just as well. Just be careful to blend the soup in batches so it doesn't overflow or explode. Hot soup can hurt. When you have blended the soup to a smooth consistency, return it all to the pot and return the pot to the stove.) 
  6. Add the cream and parsley to the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  7. Serve the soup hot with toasted bread and cheese for a nice winter meal. Also, if you have any leftovers, this is a good soup to pack for a school lunch with some crackers. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Reflections on winter and a bowl of beef stew with Guinness and bacon

Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels'
hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.

- Rainer Maria Rilke, The Duino Elegies (1)


Snow came down last night, leaving pretty patterns on the brick patio in the back yard. A cold, raking wind also scoured the world, now alternately lit too brightly to bear or cast in gray gloom, under scudding clouds. A winter day to burrow into the soul and reflect.

Rilke's poem calls beauty the beginning of terror that we are just able to bear; this terrible beauty is like winter. Winter is the country of sorrow and cold, silent magic. Winter flays us bare as it does the trees. Cold winds scour the soul, exposing rock, snapped branches, the bones of our architecture. 

A deep, cold, and savage beauty exists only in winter, but we must have courage to stop and look at it, to let the blinding light fill up the cavities of our eyes and brains, to take in the bleak landscape, stripped to its wild, naked, indifferent truth. We can only bear to look at it for a short time, to allow the terror of beauty to howl over us like a wild windstorm, until it's time to come inside, into the warmth of home and family, and have a bowl of stew.

Beef stew with Guinness and bacon

 
This stew is perfect for a cold winter day. I've slightly adapted the recipe from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook's (2) recipe for carbonnades a la flamande. It is rich and hearty and exactly what you want when you are cold and hungry. I served it with some kale-mashed potatoes, but you can serve it over rice, or with noodles, as long as it's something that can soak up the incrediblly rich and delicious gravy. I definitely recommend using grass-fed beef. To find sources, check out Eat Wild, a fantastic source for information about grass-fed meats all over the country. 

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, sliced thinly
  • 3 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 pounds stew beef, preferably grass fed, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 Tbsps flour
  • olive oil as needed
  • 16 oz. Guinness beer (most of one large bottle, either drink the rest or save it for another day)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 3/4 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsps red wine vinegar 

Instructions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). In a large frying pan, cook the bacon until it's crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and put it in a Dutch oven.


Add the thinly sliced onions to the pan and let them cook until they are softened and a bit browned. Add the onions to the Dutch oven. Add some olive oil to the pan and brown the beef cubes in batches. (Be sure to give the beef plenty of room to brown all the way around. Add more olive oil to the pan as needed.) Add the browned beef cubes to the onions and bacon in the Dutch oven. 

   
Add two tablespoons olive oil and two tablespoons flour to the pan. Let the mix cook until a bit brown. Slowly add beer, water, bouillon, bay leaf, sugar, salt, thyme, and pepper to the pan. Let the mixture cook until it thickens slightly. Add it to the meat and onions in the Dutch oven. Stir it all together, cover, and let it cook for 1.5-2 hours, stirring occasionally. After removing it from the oven, stir in two tablespoons red wine vinegar. Taste for seasoning and serve. 


(1) Rilke, Rainer Maria. (1989). "The First Elegy." The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. Edited and translated by Stephen Mitchell. New York: Vintage International. 
(2) Carter, John Mack, Minda W. Mulvey, and Mary E. Powers, eds. (1989). The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, revised edition. New York: Hearst Books.   

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chicken liver paté: #SundaySupper is home for the holidays


Every family has its own holiday traditions. For example, my husband and I have had a fake banana on our Christmas tree since we first started living together more than 20 years ago. It's a little cracked now, but it still goes up on the tree every year. Another tradition we have is to buy one new ornament per family member per year. As time has passed, we have collected lots of fun things, which we love to unpack every year and exclaim, "Oh yeah, I remember that one! And this is one of my favorites. And so is this!" The tree gets more and more crowded every year, and that's just how I like it.


Of course, many of those traditions revolve around special foods. As a child, one of the holiday foods I looked forward more to anything else was my mother's chicken liver paté. It is still one of the best things I have ever tasted, even though it's hideous to look at. The first time I saw my mother making the stuff, I said it looked yucky. She told me, "Sometimes the best-tasting food is the ugliest. Try it before you make any judgments." So, with great trepidation, I did. And loved it.


Unfortunately, this post is not about her recipe, which is a secret process and recipe she invented and guards as though it could topple regimes. I have made attempts to duplicate it, trying several recipes that require baking in the oven in a pan of water (which is how my mother's recipe is made), but, although good, they just aren't worth the effort. In the last few years, I have turned instead to this much simpler recipe, which was adapted from a recipe in Allt om Mat, a Swedish food magazine. It's delicious, easily doubled (or even tripled), and easy to freeze. I always make a huge batch of the stuff and freeze about half. It never lasts long enough. It's especially good served with some sweet gherkins, but simply slathered on bread or crackers works just fine. Some of the butter may separate out during cooling, but you can mix it right back in to the paté. (Note that you will need a food processor or blender to make this.)


Ingredients

  • 1 lb frozen chicken livers, partially defrosted
  • 5 slices smoked bacon, diced
  • 1 stick butter (4 oz)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1-2 Tbsp brandy (optional)

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a deep pan or a large pot over medium-low heat. 
  2. Add the diced bacon and onions and let the onions soften in the butter for about 10 minutes. (Keep the heat low to medium. You don't want the onions or the bacon to brown.)
  3. Roughly cut the partially defrosted chicken livers into pieces that are about an inch in size. Add the livers to the onions, butter, and bacon in the pan. Add salt, herbs, and brandy (if using). 
  4. Bring the mixture to a slow simmer and then let it simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. 
  5. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Then blend it until very smooth in a food processor or blender. (Let the machine run for a good, long time so that the mix is evenly smooth.)
  6. Taste the paté for seasoning. Add salt if needed while the mix is still hot and liquid.  
  7. Pour the mixture into containers to chill. It will set up on cooling. Spread the paté on bread or crackers and enjoy. 
This week, #SundaySupper is sharing all kinds of special family treats for the holidays. Check out all the goodies and don't forget to participate in the chat on Twitter by following the hashtag #SundaySupper at 7 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, 12/23/12. Also feel free to share your favorite holiday recipe on the #SundaySupper Pinterest board. 


Breakfast



Appetizers & Snacks


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Main Dishes



Desserts



Drinks



The posts are more than recipes. They are also wonderful stories of holidays and traditions. Please take the time to visit and read each heartwarming one.