Tag Archives: bacon

ANOTHER TAKE ON RICH RAGU WITH CALAMARATA PASTA (serves 4-6)

Some nights I crave (in the biggest possible way) something like this! It has to be pasta, and that pasta has to be weighed down with something rich and luscious. There is no better combination of flavors and textures then a meaty pasta and sauce, (and of course a glass of good wine completes the picture of what my craving looks like!).

ragu with calamarata pasta

ragu with calamarata pasta

I discovered a new dry pasta that I have become addicted to, and look for ways and excuses to cook it as much as possible. When I was shopping in the pasta section of the infamous Eataly (read more on this wonderful Italian market HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE!) in NYC the for the very first time, I had never seen so many varieties of pasta since being in Italy. I choose a few different brands to try out and my very favorite was the Rigorosa brand. It is dense and chewy in the best possible way.

Bucantini

My favorite dried pasta brand, Rigorosa (love their Bucatini)

I now stock up on it every time I visit, but since I eat pasta more than I go to NYC,  I was very happy (and surprised) to discover that my mediocre supermarket stocked another brand that I also bought in Eataly. It is made by Garofalo and my favorite is their calamarata pasta, (or calamari pasta – aptly named!). It sops up sauce like no other and has a great toothsome bite. There is nothing remotely wimpy about this pasta and I would feel confident serving it to a table of hungry giants.

calamarata pasta

calamarata pasta by Garofalo

It handled this ragu marvelously, and if you can scour out a good thick-ringed brand of pasta like this, you should try the recipe too. It is served with a ragu, and this one, as with most of the ones I end up making, was determined but what I had to go with my big can of tomato puree (and you will see, I didn’t have much!). It was simple, but bursting with flavor and there wasn’t a scrap of leftovers!

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You will need:

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs unsalted butter

1 lb streaky bacon  – cut into pieces (I use a scissors)

4 tbs tomato paste

1/2 cup white wine (or red is just as good if you do not have white on hand)

1 cup grated or finely chopped carrots

28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 cup whole milk

1lb good quality big tubular pasta like Rigatoni or calamarata. A big shell type or fusilli would be great too.

Method:

1 – Put the oil in a big saute pan (big enough to hold the complete dish) and on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

saute onions with garlic in butter and oil

saute onions with garlic in butter and oil

2 – Add the chopped bacon and turn heat up to high/medium. Cook until bacon starts to get crispy (could take up to 15 minutes), stirring frequently.

*Put water on for pasta and when it boils, cook according to instructions. When you drain the water, reserve about 1 cup in case you need it for later in the finished dish, and do not rinse the pasta under cold water. You will be trying to time the pasta to be cooked at the same time as your sauce*

add the bacon and cook until crispy

add the bacon and cook until crispy

3 – Add the butter, carrots and tomato paste and cook for about 7 minutes. Add the wine and cook until half of the wine evaporates.

add tomato paste and carrots

add tomato paste and carrots

4 – Add the tomato puree and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook for about a 1/2 hour.

add tomato puree

add tomato puree

5 – Add the milk and continue to cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add milk

add milk

6 – Taste sauce and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and a little cayenne pepper flakes if you would like. Add the cooked pasta and stir gently. Add some hot pasta water if you desire a “looser” sauce.

serve with parmiagiano reggiano

serve with Parmigiano Reggiano

I served this with a good grating of Parmigiano Reggiano but you can eat it alone or with whatever you like!

Quick Pork Ragu (serves 6 with Pasta)

Okay, this is a crazy weekend with far too many things on my plate to wax on about how great this easy-peasy (lemon-squeezy!) pork dish tasted. As is pretty obvious I love to cook, but sometimes the pressure of time makes it an activity that is squeezed in between all the other things that are part of my life.

A great speedy ragu

A great speedy ragu

The same goes for the writing. I have only time enough to give the recipe before zooming off to do the million things that very inconveniently came crashing down on me all at one time! I don’t like when my weekend is taken up with things that are not so important to me but still need to be done.

On the bright side, if you only came to my blog for a recipe then it will be convenient as you to not have to scroll through a lots of extra stuff to get to it!

This is a great dish if you too find yourself short on time this weekend. You can also double up and feed a crowd!

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You will need:

1 lb pork tenderloin, thinly sliced

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 stripes bacon, roughly chopped or sliced

1 medium sweet or yellow onion, small dice

1 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes (chili flakes)

1/2 cup white wine

28 oz can tomato puree

1 tbs tomato paste (regular or smoked)

1 tsp salt

several grinds of black pepper

Method:

1 – Put sauce pot or deep saute pan on medium heat and add oil. When it warms add the onions and cook for 2 minutes before adding the chopped bacon. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally before adding the rosemary. Cook for another minute.

saute onions, bacon & rosemary

Saute onions, bacon & rosemary

2 – Season the pork with the sea-salt and pepper and turn up heat. Add the pork and cook for 5 minutes until it takes on a light brown color. Add the wine and turn the heat up to high. Let it bubble for about 1 minute.

add pork

Add pork

3 – Add the tomato puree, paste, and chili flakes and bring to a boil. Turn heat down, cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

et voila!

et voila!

Serve with spaghetti, ridged penne or pasta shells. A salad on the side would also be a nice addition.

The Slap-Dash Dinner instead of Eating Crap! (serves 4)

I just had to post this recipe, if for nothing else but to prove the point that you can make dinner without expending an ounce of energy or without dashing off to the supermarket for that missing ingredient!

yummy alternative to eating bad take-out

Yummy alternative to eating bad take-out

Have you ever been too tired to cook, but when you ordered out or drove 10 minutes each way for take-out, OR, stuck a frozen pizza in the oven and ending up being so dissatisfied with what you ate that you wished you had cooked something, or even settled for beans on toast: Of course you have!

The other night when it was time to make dinner my brain had stopped working and I started going through all of the ways I could get out of cooking dinner. Then I snapped out of it, that trap you get yourself into over what to eat and where to get it. If you live in a town as dismally lacking in food choices as I do, then you will have had the experience of settling for something, crossing your fingers it will be good, and then feel like you ate slop for dinner! That is when I figured out if I was going to eat slop, I might as well make it myself; it was bound to be better and I wouldn’t be charged for the pleasure.

It may look "thrown together" but don't let that fool you - it tasted delish!

It may look “thrown together” but don’t let that fool you – it tasted delish!

At that moment I put my trusty pan on the counter and started filling it with whatever came in contact with my hands. This is what we ended up with, a veritable smorgasbord of a feast, one I lapped up with immense satisfaction knowing I hadn’t wasted my money on what was sure to have been another disappointing dining experience.

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You will need:

freshly ground pepper

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 chicken breast fillets (or some chicken thighs or drumsticks)

5 Italian sausages (or whatever sausages you happen to have on hand)

6 stripes bacon

4 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed (but saved)

2 celery ribs, chopped or diced

1 cup matchstick, or thinly sliced carrots

6 cloves garlic, with skin on

1 cup chopped cilantro (if you don’t have this and you have flat-leafed parsley, use this instead!

3 tbs capers, rinsed (if you don’t have capers, don’t worry)

3 cups chicken broth OR 1 good quality stock cube and 3 cups water

Method:

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Place all of the prepared veggies in the bottom of a roasting pan or saute pan or low rimmed casserole dish. If you are using a bouillon cube, crumble it over the veggies. Wrap 1 stripe of bacon around each chicken bread and place on top. Place Portobello mushrooms and sausages in pan and put a stripe of rolled bacon on each mushroom. Grind some pepper over entire dish and drizzle with the oil. Place in oven for 25 minutes.

place on ingredients in pan

Place on ingredients in pan

2 – Remove dish from oven and turn the sausages, the bacon on top of mushrooms and the chicken breasts. Return to the oven for another 20 minutes.

slap-dash dinner is ready to eat!

Slap-Dash dinner is ready to eat!

Serve with whatever you like: pasta, bread, rice or on its own.

Bacon And Ham Soup With Broken Spaghetti (serves 4)

Necessity is most certainly the mother of invention when it comes to dinners some nights in my house, and this soup-y dish stretched that saying to the maximum. I suppose I could have called this “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink”  but I wanted it to sound as sophisticated as it turned out to be.

Bacon And Ham Soup with Broken spaghetti

Bacon and Ham Soup with Broken Spaghetti

I love to cook but don’t always love to shop for ingredients (unless it is a great outdoor market in some far-flung part of the world, or a really dynamite foodie emporium like Eataly in New York City!), especially if it is just to rush for supplies to my dreary supermarket for one measly dinner.

I was down to the dregs as far as choices go but was determined to find what I could and make a meal out of it. I literally put the pot on the stove with the bacon and onions before I knew what I was making. As I found things, I just added them to the pot (like the cooked ham I had mistakenly tucked into the cheese drawer in my fridge).

I ended up with a really great zesty soup that appeared out of nowhere and disappeared quickly. So, never underestimate the power of a bouillon cube, a few stripes of bacon and a 1/4 box of spaghetti!

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You will need:

1 tbs olive oil

1/2 lb cooked ham, large dice

1/2 lb bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 medium onion, (yellow or sweet), diced

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

juice of 1 small lime (3 tbs approx)

1 cup peas (I used frozen baby peas)

6 cups spinach leaves (if they are large, chop them)

1 tbs curry paste (I used a Patak brand medium paste)

1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes

1 veggie or chicken bouillon cube (I used Rapunzel brand)

10 cups water

1/4 lb spaghetti, broken into short pieces

Method:

1 – Prep all ingredients and put large soup pot on medium heat. Add oil and when it is warm add the chopped bacon and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onions and garlic and continue to cook for another 8 or so minutes (until onions are soft and bacon more crispy). Next add the other seasonings (pepper flakes, stock cube) and stir.

kjb

Cook the base ingredients

2 – Turn heat up to high and add the water and curry paste.  Bring liquid to a boil.

jhv

Add the liquid

3 – Add the peas, spinach and bring stock back to a boil, while giving the pot a stir.

add greens

Add greens

4 – Turn the heat to medium and add the spaghetti, lime juice and diced cooked ham.

yg

Add pasta, ham and lime juice

5 – Cover and simmer until pasta is almost cooked (about 6 minutes). Turn heat off and let pot sit for about 10 minutes, in which time the broth will thicken and the pasta will completely cook through. Taste and add seasonings to your taste (sea-salt and/or freshly ground black pepper)

add ham and cook spaghetti

add ham and cook spaghetti

Serve in warmed bowls with lots of crusty bread, more cayenne flakes or sriracha sauce.

serve with toasted bread

Serve with toasted bread

PORCUBANETTA Sandwich! For Mario! (a Porchetta/Cuban variation on lowly street food!) Serves 4

what can only be described as downtight lucious!

The debut of my Porcubanetta Sandwich, (What can only be described as downright luscious!)

I have wanted to make something and pretend that my friend Mario would show up for dinner for a long time now, and last night was that night. It had to be something special, after all, my friend Mario is very special to me. It also had to be pig!

hj

PIg is Mario’s animal of choice (Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Florence)

I met Mario for the first time a year ago in Italy when he was teaching in Cortona at the same time as Dave, and we hung out together the entire 3 months of our stint in Tuscany. Besides being a Doctor of the Classics, specializing in all things related to ancient Rome, he has an insatiable zest for life that borders on surpassing mine! His “to-do’ list when he hit the city streets of Rome or Florence would read like an encyclopedic guide-book, taking in not only the most beautiful and important churches and museums, but where we ate and had our coffee or gelato was an integral part of the planning.

This waiter could carry any amount of pizza!

pizza in Rome at the famous Pizzeria la Montecarlo

For some, I can only imagine that his wide-reaching and expert knowledge of Italian culture (and sub-culture) could result in your  running in the opposite direction for fear of your head exploding from too much of a good thing, but I stuck with him, willing to take that chance. We had the best Spring ever!

Cul de Sac restaurant in Rome

Cul de Sac restaurant in Rome ( Mario managed to snag a table for lunch despite it being full to the rafters!)

I dedicated this really great pork sandwich to Mario for a few reasons, the first being that everywhere he went in Italy it was imperative that he sample the most popular street food of Italy: the Porchetta sandwich. I never knew a man so in love with fresh crusty bread filled with juicy pork, be it slow-roasted pork belly like in the Porchetta Sandwich, or some of the many other meats I saw peeking out of his daily sandwich when teaching at the hilltop school in Cortona, like… salami, capicola, sopressata, pancetta or one of his favourites, mortadella studded with slivers of pistachio nuts.

succelent pork tenderloin with garlic, cumin, oregano adn olive il

Succulent fried pork tenderloin with garlic, cumin, oregano and olive oil

Porchetta is singularly Italian and deeply embedded in its food culture. In the strictest sense (and not my wildly loose interpretation) porchetta is the whole pig, cleaned,  deboned and infused with pungent seasoning like garlic and a variety of easily found herbs like rosemary, cumin, fennel and oregano. It is then rolled and cooked whole on a spit for hours and hours until it is tender, juicy and unctuous. If you ever buy a pork sandwich in Italy from a big white van, you are most likely going to be served porchetta on a piece of lovely grilled bread with peppers and some sort of green. 

bacon added for the fatty pork flavor

Bacon added for the fatty pork flavor

I was in no position to cook a whole pig but I pulled the most important flavors from the original to make my sandwich: bacon fat (from the bacon) and richly seasoned, tender meat (from the tenderloin). There is no way this marriage of meat could disappoint my friend. It wasn’t quite enough however, I needed this to be really special and not just play second fiddle to the Italian masterpiece. So, I threw in some ingredients from another iconic street sandwich, the Cuban sandwich.

Dill pickles, essential to a Cuban Sandwich

Dill pickles, essential to a Cuban Sandwich

The Cuban Sandwich is probably the equivalent of the porchetta sandwich in that pork takes center stage, this time in the form of ham and sometimes roasted pork. The sandwich is also made on the grill but is lushified (there really should be such a word!), with swiss cheese, mustard and dill pickles. The combination makes for another addictive taste which if you get hooked on, you can’t live without!

pickles, a must ingredient in a cuban Sandwich

My rivalling Street Sandwich

I must say that this little sandwich of my own creation wins over either a Porchetta or Cuban sandwich; it is the absolute best of the two combined. I made it my own when I used my favorite cuts of pork: the tenderloin and streaky bacon. I marinated the thinly sliced pork in a garlic herb paste that included cumin seeds and dried oregano, and fried it quickly on the pan. I added roasted cherry tomatoes to up the sweetness factor imparted by the slivers of dilled pickles, and rounded it all out with soft white gooey cheese, and spinach leaves for a splash of color and crunch. I am thinking that if I owed a lunch truck people would be lined for miles just to get a taste of my “Porcubanetta” Sandwich!

the best quaity fresh bread is an important player in this recipe

The best quality fresh bread is an important player in this recipe

I did mention there were a few reasons why I created this dish for Mario, and this factor is huge: NO DAMN ONIONS! What I mean is, when we spoke a few days ago he announced that if he saw so much as 1 thread of an onion cooking in a skillet on my blog, he would do himself in!! He has had it with my over-zealous use of onions, and he may have a point (right now he is screaming “DUH!”). I thought of what I could make without using onions (oh God, he does have a point!), and as I was trying to come up with something to please his very particular tastes my thoughts were distracted by pigs. You know, like when your brain goes into Surreal mode and floating Dali-like images dominate you to distraction. I saw pigs in fields, in pens, flying pigs, then pigs languishing on sandwiches, pigs tucked into sweet sauces, and on and on.

Porcubanetta sandwich by Crappy Kitchen

Porcubanetta sandwich by Crappy Kitchen

It was then it dawned on me that a pork sandwich would be the one place I could forfeit onions without guilt and also the one thing I could make for Mario that would be his ultimate last supper (well maybe a close second to Fritto Misto). So, this is for you Mario, and now get off of my back!

This beautiful mosaic tile scene of a truffle pig with his spoils in the Museum of animals in the Vatican Museum remined me of a possible outing to forage for mushrooms in the woods around Cortona...

A truffle pig with his spoils (Museum of animals in the Vatican Museum, Rome).

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You will need:

3 cups cherry tomatoes, pricked once with a toothpick or sharp knife

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp coarse sea-salt

8 strips bacon

1 lb (or a little over is fine), thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tsp whole cumin seeds

3 tsp dried oregano

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

bunch of spinach leaves (about 2 cups)

20 -24 slices mild cheese (Munster, Fontina)

8 dill spear quarters, thinly sliced vertically

4 tbs strong mustard

4 tbs unsalted butter, room temperature (might need a little more)

freshly ground back pepper (optional)

8 slices of good quality fresh white bread

Method:

Preheat oven 500*

1 – Roast cherry tomatoes: combine first three ingredients on a baking tray and mix well with your hands until tomatoes are coated with oil. Place in oven for 12 minutes.

mix cherry tomatoes with salt adn oil

mix cherry tomatoes with salt and oil

2 – Take out of oven and turn tomatoes and place back into the oven for another 8 minutes or until black in spots and very soft. Remove to a plate .making sure to scrape in all of the escaped juices and set aside

roast adn set aside

Roast, and set aside

3 – In the meantime fry the bacon until crispy. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Fry bacon

Fry bacon

4 – While bacon is frying mince the garlic.

my son loves nothing better than pulverizing garlic

My son loves nothing better than pulverizing garlic

5 – Combine the oregano, cumin, minced garlic and 1/2 cup olive oil in mortar and pestle and grind until it is paste-like.

more pulverizing by Calder1

More pulverizing by Calder!

6 – In a bowl, combine the herb mixture with the sliced pork and set aside. Let it sit for up to a 1/2 hour, adn can be prepped and left in the fridge up to 24 hours. To cook pork: put big saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs oilive oil. Fry in batches about 2 minutes per side in a single layer (make sure not to crowd the pan or it will steam, not fry!). Add more oil as needed and continue cooking until you are done. set aside, ready to be used when assembling sandwiches.

marinate the pork for up to a 1/2 hour before cooking 9can be made ahead and left in the fridge overnight)

Marinate the pork for up to a 1/2 hour before cooking (can be made ahead and left in the fridge overnight)

To cook pork: put big saute pan on high heat and add 2 tbs olive oil. Fry in batches about 2 minutes per side in a single layer (make sure not to crowd the pan or it will steam, not fry!). Add more oil as needed and continue cooking until you are done. Set aside, ready to be used when assembling sandwiches.

fry pork in batches on high heat.

Fry pork in batches on high heat.

7 – Slice pickles and cheese. Butter each slice of bread on one side and put mustard on the other side of 4 of the slices. Wash & dry spinach.

Ready to cook and assemble Porcubanetta

Put large enough pan to hold one sandwich on medium steady heat. Place  slice of bread butter side down in the pan and immediately layer as follows:

Layer first with 2 or 3 pieces of cheese, then tomatoes

Layer first with 2 or 3 pieces of cheese, then tomatoes

next, add 1/4 of the pork tenderloin

Next, add 1/4 of the pork tenderloin

followed by a layer of spinach, bacon, then pickles

Followed by a layer of spinach, bacon, pickles and finally cheese

top with 2nd slice of bread mustard side down adn butter up. Press everything down ever so gently.

Top with 2nd slice of bread mustard side down and butter up. Press everything down ever so gently.

Turn very carefuly adn fry on the other side until browned, pressing on the top to unify all of the ingrediets

Turn very carefully and fry on the other side until browned, pressing on the top to unify all of the ingredients

Continue until all sandwiches are made. Remove each one to a plate and after waiting a minute or two for it to cool, slice diagonally and serve.

time to chow

Time to chow


 

Colorful Rice with Asian Chicken or Salmon (serves 8)

 I have been luxuriating in Ireland for the past six days, and what a glorious few days it has been. I have left the Crappy Kitchen to embark on a trip that has taken me back home to Ireland, then on to Italy to work, before winding up the adventure back in Ireland in May.

I have been in the best company ever; my sisters! Each day we take mini trips to town for lunch, or to some historical site (to satisfy the children), and in the evening, wine is opened, and the cooking begins.

Colorful Rice with Asian Chicken (option 1!)

It is not surprising that on the second day of my visit, I was whisked away to town to buy an apron (also, I didn’t want to get any olive oil on my new clothes and boots!).

I have been enjoying my time in a kitchen that is quite the opposite of “crappy”, and staying up way too late basking in the company of my favorite people in the world.

This dinner was concocted amidst loud talk and laughter.

More please.

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You will need: 1 onion, small dice, 1 large carrot, small dice, 2 celery ribs, small dice, 1 red pepper, small dice, 1/2 lb streaky bacon, chopped, (* omit pepper and bacon if blood type A devotee), 8 to 10 cups cooked basmati rice, 1 1/2 cups chicken stock (or, 1 good quality bouillon cube & 1 1/2 cups water), 4 chicken fillets, 4 salmon fillets, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin, 1 tsp fine sugar, 2 tbs finely grated ginger (peeled).

1 – To cook rice for eight people you will need about 3 cups of rice or 4 cups of rice if you are making rice in a rice cooker, and using a rice-cooker measure. Cook according to instructions, and set aside to use later in the recipe.

2 – Prep all veggies before you start cooking. Put big saute pan on medium heat and cook bacon for about 10 minutes. Add the oil and allow to warm., Add all of the vegetables (except the ginger), and saute for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

saute veggies and bacon

3 – While vegetables are cooking, mix the mirin, soy, sugar and 1 tbs of ginger in a bowl. Place the chicken and salmon in shallow bowls and divide marinade between the two dishes.

marinate chicken

Allow to marinate for about a 1/2 hour.

marinate salmon

4 – Add the thyme to the veggies after about 15 minutes. Turn heat up to high and add the stock.

add herbs

5 – When it comes to a boil,  turn down, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the cooked, rice and stir all of the ingredients together. Turn off heat (or keep warm while frying fish and chicken).

add stock, then rice

6 – Put two pans on stove top on medium/high heat (or 1 pan at a time, if that is what is available to you). Add 2 tbs of oil to each and when it is hot, add the chicken and/or fish to each pan. Cook chicken for about 7 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.

Cook fish for about 3 1/2 minutes per side.

Colorful Rice Salmon, (option 2)

Serve rice with either a piece of fish or a portion of chicken.

Bread Stuffing with Cherries & Bacon; Maureen & Tess Collaborative (serves 8)

 There are foods that remind us of our childhood, foods that when tasted, make you feel instantly like a little girl or boy again. As I write this I am reminded of the scene from the animated film Ratatouille ( you have to see this, or, if you have, you need to see it again!).

The food critic is being a “food critic” in that he is using his power to either shoot an unknown chef to stardom, or plummet a known chef to the status of “has been”

So, he is presented with the rustic dish, Ratatouille, and is surprised that the restaurant owner would try to impress him with such a lowly entrée, that is, until he tastes it. Hmmmm, when it hits his mouth, he is immediately transported to his grandmother’s house, and he is a seven-year old boy again, and life is good, and he is happy. He becomes sublimely happy, sublimely.

I think of my childhood whenever I attempt to make my mother’s christmas stuffing. She threw it together in a blue basin in our kitchen with such deftness, one would have presumed it was a hum-drum affair. Not so, it was special.

I have never been able to reproduce it, and it is because of this I know that each cook has his or her own special gift, something that comes to them because of how they lived their lives.

She had a touch only she possessed, and I can never capture that taste, no matter how I try.

This Christmas I decided to work with her to make something that involved both of our personalities and experiences. Sadly, she is not here to guide me, but I felt her, every step of the way.

I made her bread stuffing so that my Christmas table would feel familiar to me. I added new ingredients of my own to make something new, something that she would like and approve of, but something that still retained the essence of her recipe.

It was a lovely collaboration, and my kitchen smelled of both of us, the old and the new.

I can see my children puzzling over this recipe in years to come, and perhaps deciding to also add something of themselves to it, something to hand down to their children. I think that would be nice.

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You will need: 6 cups bread crumbs, 2 medium potatoes, 3 tbs unsalted butter, t tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 cups milk, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 rib celery, small dice, 1 onion, finely diced, 1 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp Herbes de Provence (this is a mixture of dried thyme, marjoram, rosemary, basil, lavender, & fennel. It can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets), 1/3 cup dried cherries, 1/2 lb bacon, cut into smaller pieces, 1 tsp sea-salt, freshly cracked black pepper.

Preheat oven 375*

1 – Peel and boil the potatoes until soft. Drain the water and mash with 1 tbs butter, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp sea-salt, several grinds of black pepper. Set aside.

2 – Fry bacon and set aside.

fry bacon

3 – Put saute pan on medium heat and add 1 tbs butter, and 1 tbs olive oil. Add onions and celery and cook for about 15 minutes, until very soft. Add another tbs of butter, the rest of the milk (1 1/2 cups), chicken broth, herbs and spices, and heat until everything is warm. Add cherries and turn off heat. Set aside.

add milk, herbs & spices

4 – Put breadcrumbs into big bowl and add the cooked potatoes, bacon, and milk mixture. stir it all together (or use your hand, like I did). It should come together into a loose ball. If it is very sticky, add more bread crumbs until you are happy with the consistency. Taste for addition of salt and pepper.

5 – Butter an over proof casserole or pan and add the stuffing. Cover with foil, and bake in oven for 30 minutes.

I presented the stuffing in a beautiful wood-fired bowl by Shawn Ireland

Take out and cool before cutting into triangles or squares. You can also do what I did, and turn the cooked stuffing into a nice dish and set on the table for everyone to help themselves.

*This dish can be made ahead and reheated at 350* for 15 minutes (or until warm). It is also great fried on the pan, and served with eggs or anything else you fancy*