Recipes

 

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

This dish is my favourite way to eat Spaghetti Squash!  It helps having great sausage and home-grown roasted tomato sauce too 🙂

Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca Bake

1  spaghetti squash, halved, with seeds removed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground pork* or sausage, casings removed, or sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (24 oz.) jar tomato/marinara sauce, or just roasted, diced tomatoes
3 Tablespoons capers, drained
1/4 cup chopped green olives
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

*If using ground pork instead of sausage, season with salt and pepper.

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place the spaghetti squash halves on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30-45  minutes, or until it can be pierced with a fork. You want it good and roasty. Set aside until it’s cool enough to handle. I usually do this in the morning or the night before so that the rest of the recipe doesn’t take too long to make. 

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Meanwhile, add the olive oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up. (I find our sausage has enough fat that I don’t need the olive oil.)  When it’s nearly cooked through, add the bell pepper and cook until the peppers have softened.

Add the pasta sauce, capers, olives, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, shred the flesh with a fork, creating spaghetti-like strands, and add them into a 13″x9″ casserole dish.  Discard the squash skins. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti squash and mix it together until it’s totally combined.

Sprinkle with the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bubbling and the cheese has browned slightly.

 

 

Not your average Pot Roast

This recipe is the key to transforming your tougher shoulder roasts such as blade, crosscut and short rib roast into succulent comfort food with loads of flavour.  I admit to having a bias against these roasts until I discovered how to cook them properly.  This recipe is adapted from The Complete Meat Cookbook and is entitled “Lisa’s Lazy Pot Roast”, though a better title might be “Lisa’s Amazingly Delicious And Tender Pot Roast”.  Ideally, coat the roast in the rub the night before so the flavours have time to penetrate the meat.

Spanish-Style Beef Brisket

This recipe is so good that it took me 3 years of cooking briskets before I would even try another brisket recipe.  This will knock your socks off, and it makes a lot- so you can confidently cook this up for a big feast- serves about 10.  I like to serve it on top of a heap of mashed potatoes to soak up the juice.  Make it the day before or the morning of because the flavour improves over time.  From Food and Wine magazine, Nov 2007.

Lamb Shoulder Recipes

One of the greatest injustices in the meat world is that lambs only have 2 shoulders. And yet there are so many amazing lamb shoulder recipes!  Braised shoulders, slow-roasted shoulders, and of course you can always cut the shoulder into stew-sized chunks and use in stews and many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. If you prepare a lamb shoulder using a recipe that doesn’t make you weak in the knees, you need a new recipe.

One amazing lamb shoulder recipe is Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Smashed Vegetables and Greens.   The sauce uses fresh mint, which pairs beautifully with lamb, but I rarely see it in forms other than jelly, which doesn’t excite me.

Another good one is the Rosemary and Thyme Braised Lamb Shoulder .

Finally, if I haven’t yet convinced you that you need to buy The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, there are two insanely good recipes for lamb shoulder in there:  the Basque Sheepherders Lamb Stew and Lamb Braised with Fresh Coriander and Fenugreek.

Slow-Cooked Grassfed Lamb Ribs

Also known as breast of lamb,  this is a cut you don’t see very often, but they are undergoing a renaissance as people start to remember how delicious they are!  A few years ago I had a hard time finding recipes online, but that is starting to change. Unfortunately I can’t remember the source for this recipe, but it’s very good.  If you want more ideas I recommend googling ‘slow cooked lamb ribs’ for good results. Whatever recipe you go with, be sure it involves slow cooking to allow the fat to melt away from the meat.  Any recipe that works for lamb shanks will work beautifully for lamb ribs. This recipe makes enough for 4 lbs of lamb ribs, so if you have a whole lamb, you should use them all.  You can cut it in half if you have less, or follow the recipe as is….you’ll just have extra sauce.

Lamb Chops and Leg of Lamb Primer

It’s a tough call, but I’m pretty sure that of all the cuts of all the meats we produce, lamb chops are my favourite.  I have brought tears to peoples’ eyes upon serving them perfectly seasoned and grilled lamb chops.  Plus that beautiful rind of grassfed fat which you can enjoy knowing all the benefits grassfed fats have to offer is irresistable.

I like to make a salty paste of garlic, rosemary and/or thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper, and usually a bit of lemon peel or lemon juice and coat my lamb chops in before cooking.

Here’s a combination that can also be rubbed on a leg of lamb, which is one of the most impressive roasts you can serve.  Feel free to play around with the proportions and ingredients.

Pork Chop Basics – Brining and Cooking indoors

Brining pork chops is a great way to ensure your chops are tender, very juicy, and full of flavour.  In this recipe, I explain how you can cook your chops inside, but you can also grill them as we do here.   This brine makes enough for 6 chops.

Pork Chop Basics – Herb Rub

Thick, pastured pork chops are a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately many of us were raised on overcooked pork chops as a preventive measure against trichinosis.  The good news is that cases of trichinosis have all but disappeared, and the trichinae are killed at 137˚F, so if you cook your pork to 148˚F, you are guaranteeing safety from pathogens and ensuring your pork will be juicy. We like to rub our chops with an herb or spice rub, like the one below and then grill them, but brining, as well as pan-frying will also yield delicious results, and you can learn those techniques here.  This herb rub is found in The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, and they provide several other rub and brine recipes in their book as well.

Green Lentil and Bacon Salad

from Bon Appetit, May 2001

Yes, a “salad” made with ham and bacon!  But lots of parsley and plump little lentils add balance, resulting in a very tasty, substantial dish. This recipe sounds a whole lot more delicious in french: “Salade de Lentilles Vertes au Lardons”, but it is fantastic no matter what you call it.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Probably any recipe for short ribs that involves braising will yield succulent, fall-apart-on-your-fork tenderness and be worth trying.  Braising is essentially slow cooking in liquid, and works wonders on tougher cuts like ribs and shoulders.  Another indicator that a braising recipe will be good is if it tells you to brown the meat first.  Also, if it includes red wine you can almost never go wrong!  This is a classic example of a perfect short-rib recipe that would also work well with lamb shanks, lamb ribs or even pork ribs.  It comes from Epicurious, probably my favourite online source for recipes.  Here it is:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/red-wine-braised-shortribs-367736 .  Note:  if you are not making your own beef stock, see if you can find some from Stock Exchange.  They make very high quality broths from bones coming from ecologically and locally raised animals (including ours!)