Apple Chestnut Stuffing
Adapted from www.foodandwine.com.
This stuffing is delicious: made with rich challah bread and loaded with sweet chestnuts, tart apples, and fresh herbs.
- 2 lb. challah bread, diced into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 cups cooked, peeled chestnuts (see recipe for Classic Roasted Chestnuts)
- 4 oz. unsalted butter
- 5 large ribs celery, any tough strings removed, cut into 1/2-inch dice, plus 1/2 cup chopped celery leaves
- 2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice (Empire or Jonagolds are nice)
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cupshomemade turkey stock or low-sodium chicken broth, divided
Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Arrange the cubed challah in a single layer on 3 large rimmed baking sheets, and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the chestnuts to the bowl of challah. Turn the oven to 400ºF.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the celery (ribs and leaves), onions, and parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Transfer to the mixing bowl with the challah. Fold in the apples, thyme, and sage, and toss well to incorporate.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and 2 cups of the stock or broth. Whisk in 1 Tbs. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper. Pour over the challah mixture, and mix well. Add an additional 1/2 cup to 1 cup of stock; you’ll want the stuffing to be moist, but the bread cubes should remain intact.
Butter 2 large, shallow baking dishes, and spread out the stuffing in them. Bake stuffing uncovered for 20 minutes, or until heated through and lightly crisp on top. Serves 14.
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Orange Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Hazelnuts
Adapted from www.frugivoremag.com.
This sweet potato side dish would be perfect on the Thanksgiving table—you can easily double or triple the recipe for a larger group.
- 1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes
- olive oil
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup plain, Greek-style yogurt
- 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbs. brown sugar (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tbs. dark rum (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Set aside to cool. Slice the ends off the sweet potatoes, then peel and discard the skin.
Place the peeled sweet potatoes in the bowl of a food processor (see note). Add the orange zest and juice, then pulse just until smooth. Transfer the sweet potato purée to a mixing bowl, and fold in the yogurt, a pinch of salt and pepper, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar and rum (if using).
Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a baking dish and top with the chopped hazelnuts. Bake at 350ºF, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 4 large servings.
Note: you can easily use a potato masher instead of a food processor.
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Classic Roasted Chestnuts
Adapted from www.theyearinfood.com.
Even if you didn’t grow up eating roasted chestnuts, there’s something very nostalgic about them that makes them a perfect treat during the holidays.
- 1 lb. chestnuts
Directions: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Use a sharp paring knife to slice an x into the skin of each chestnut. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the skin starts to peel away and the shells turn darker. Remove from oven and cover with a clean dish towel. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. While they’re still warm, peel the outer shell from the chestnuts and remove the inner brown skin. Enjoy the chestnuts out of hand, or in a recipe.
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Sweet Potato and Rosemary Gratin
Adapted from www.spoonforkbacon.com.
This gratin, with a crispy crust and a soft, creamy filling, is surprisingly easy to make.
- 1 lb. sweet potatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 1 Tbs. fresh minced rosemary, plus 1/2 tsp. for topping
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for topping
Directions: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment, and set aside.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the buttermilk and 1 clove of minced garlic, and toss to coat. Set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Line the prepared pan with one layer of slightly overlapping sweet potato rounds. Sprinkle with a bit of minced garlic, rosemary, and Parmesan and some salt and pepper. Continue to layer sweet potato rounds and garlic, rosemary, and Parmesan until all the ingredients are used.
Tightly cover, and bake for 25-30 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Uncover, and carefully invert the gratin onto an oven-safe dish. Sprinkle with more Parmesan. Immediately turn the broiler on (see note), and broil gratin for just 2-3 minutes, until the top is crisp and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Note: It’s important to broil the gratin quickly after inverting it, or it can lose its shape. Makes 8 servings.
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Pot Roast with Cranberries
Adapted from The Diner’s Journal in The New York Times.
This complex-flavored pot roast with cranberries is rich and warming, with a light sweetness from caramelized sugar and citrus.
- 1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 12 oz. cranberries (use fresh if available, otherwise frozen)
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- cayenne powder
- 3 lb. beef chuck
Directions: Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Place the sugar in a shallow dish and dredge the chuck in it until nicely coated on all sides. Reserve the remaining sugar and set aside. Set the meat in the hot skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 15 minutes, browning on all sides. When browned, stir in the sherry vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the cranberries, reserved sugar, and orange zest. Add a pinch of cayenne, and pour in the orange juice. Stir well, reduce heat to low, and cover. Cook at a low, gentle simmer for 2 hours or more, until tender, stirring the meat every 30 minutes or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Remove from heat, and allow to rest for a few minutes. Carve, and serve with the sauce. Serves 6.
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Cranberry Curd Bars with Walnut Shortbread Crust
Adapted from www.thekitchn.com.
The hardest part about making these bars might be refraining from eating the vibrant-hued cranberry curd straight from the bowl.
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, lightly pressed into the measuring cup and leveled off, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. salt, divided
- 1 cup butter, unsalted, softened and cut into cubes, divided
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries (frozen will work fine if needed)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
Directions: Line a 9x13” baking pan with parchment. Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until coarsely ground (see note). Add the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and pulse to finely grind. Add 1/2 cup of the cubed butter, and pulse just until it comes together. If you scoop some of the mixture into your hand and press it, it should hold together.
Press the shortbread dough into the parchment-lined pan, pressing it down in an even layer. Place in the freezer, and freeze for at least 30 minutes, and up to 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the shortbread crust for 20-25 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
Combine the cranberries and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the cranberries have popped and turned soft. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl, and use a spatula to press the cranberries through the strainer. Allow the cranberry purée to cool, discard the cranberry skins, and clean the strainer.
When the cranberry purée has cooled to room temperature, fold in the granulated sugar, eggs, egg yolks, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir until evenly combined.
Transfer the cranberry mixture to the saucepan, and heat over a medium flame. Stir constantly, scraping the bottom and corners of the pot. Cook 10-12 minutes, until the curd starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. It should read 150ºF on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from heat, and stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of cubed butter. Stir until melted.
Set the fine-mesh strainer over a clean bowl, then strain the cranberry curd. Pour the warm cranberry curd onto the walnut shortbread crust. Bake at 350ºF for 10-15 minutes, until the curd has just set, but still wiggles in the center. Cool completely. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar, then use a sharp knife to slice into squares. Keep refrigerated.
Note: If making these without a food processor, use a chef’s knife to chop the walnuts as finely as possible. Stir in the remaining dry crust ingredients, then cut the butter in, until the mixture resembles coarse corn meal. Press into the pan and proceed with recipe. Makes 24 squares.
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Maple-Dijon Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffed Squash
Adapted from www.sundaymorningbananapancakes.yummly.com.
This is a festive, straightforward recipe, and is easily doubled for company.
- 2 medium carnival squashes, cut in half and seeded
- 2/3 cup quinoa
- 3 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- large pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 leeks, trimmed and cleaned well, white and light green parts only, sliced into rounds
- 2 Tbs. fresh sage
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme
- 1 1/3 cup fresh cranberries
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
Directions: Preheat oven to 425ºF. Place the squash, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the thickest part of the squash can be pierced with a paring knife.
Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the quinoa and the salt, and lower the heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook undisturbed for 25 minutes, or until tender. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and sauté until softened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the sage, thyme, and cranberries and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the maple syrup and Dijon mustard and cook for 1 additional minute. Add the 2 tablespoons of water, turn the heat to medium-low, and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Fold in the cooked quinoa and the toasted walnuts. Toss well to combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the squash halves. Top with additional walnuts, and serve. Serves 4.
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Sweet Potato and Sausage Soup
Adapted from www.bonappetit.com.
Hearty enough to be a one pot meal, this soup is richly flavored, easy to make, and adaptable—use kielbasa instead of the andouille sausage or substitute the sausage entirely with a couple of cans of drained white beans.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
- 10 oz. fresh andouille sausage, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled or scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 10 oz. fresh spinach
Directions: In a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently, until brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add onions and garlic to the pot, and sauté, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring often, about 12 minutes, until they begin to soften. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, 19-20 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash some of the sweet potatoes. Return the cooked sausage to the soup, and fold in the spinach. Stir in the last tablespoon of olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.
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