The aromas that fill the kitchen and house when you are roasting potatoes and carrots infused with balsamic vinegar and combined with herbs like thyme and rosemary, will leave you salivating in anticipation of the finished dish.
Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots
Roasting potatoes and carrots infused with aromas of balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic makes for a wonderfully aromatic side dish to serve with pretty much any cool weather main dish.
- 1.5 kg baby mixed colour potatoes cut in half
- 500 g carrots peeled baby or baby cut
- 8 cloves garlic peeled, germ removed and smashed
- 2 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
- 75 ml balsamic vinegar
- 50 ml butter melted
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme (2 ml dried)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (see notes)
- 5 ml salt
- 2 ml pepper freshly ground
Preheat oven to 220°C
Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil
Arrange potatoes, carrots, shallots and garlic in a single layer on sheet
Combine the balsamic vinegar, melted butter, dried thyme, (if using), salt and pepper
Pour over vegetables and toss to coat
If fresh thyme and rosemary is used, insert the sprigs among the veggies
Cover the sheet with aluminum foil sealing the edges
Roast covered for 45 minutes giving it a good shake every now and then
Remove foil and roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until potatoes and carrots are tender and golden
Remove any remaining sprigs or stems of the fresh thyme and rosemary (if using) before serving
I do not recommend using dried rosemary in this recipe as the needles will not soften sufficiently to make for a pleasant eating experience.
Some notes to the recipe below: I typically cook some dried green beans as an additional side. These I soak for a few hours ahead, drain and add to the dutch oven a half hour before time is up, continuing to cook while the hock and potatoes are roasting.I also frequently add a couple of carrots to the dish by tossing the peeled carrots into the dutch oven about a half hour before time is up (i.e. along with the above beans, if using). The precooked carrots are added to the roasting dish along with the other ingredients.
Smoked Ham Hock with Roast Potatoes
Slowly cooked and roasted smoked ham hocks are another one of my favorite cool weather foods. This recipe takes on a Canadian flair with a maple glaze on the hock and potatoes.A very simple, inexpensive and highly satisfying main course.This recipe uses a ham hock of about 1.2 kg (2.6 lb)
- 1 smoked ham hock 2 if small
- 0.5 – 1 Kg (1 – 2lb) potatoes
- 3 garlic gloves
- 1 Onion chopped into 8 pieces
- 3 Cloves optional cut into quarters
- 5 ml (1 tsp) Fresh chopped ginger
- 2-3 bay leaves
- A few pepper corn
- 5 ml (1 tsp) thyme
- 5 ml (1 tsp) paprika
- 2.5 ml (1/2) tsp coriander
- 120 ml (1/2) cup butter, melted
- 60 ml (1/4) cup mayonaise
- 60 ml (1/4) cup dijon mustard
- 60 ml (1/4) cup maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place ham hock, onion, pepper corns, clove of garlic, ginger (optional cloves) and bay leaves into a suitable Dutch Oven or Casserole
Add a few cups of water and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cover the Dutch Oven or Casserole and slowly simmer for 2-3 hours depending on the size.
Take out the pork hock and place it on the baking tray.
Prepare the glaze by combining mustard, mayonnaise and maple syrup.
Add peeled and cut potatoes to the baking tray with ham hock.
Add chopped garlic and season everything with paprika, thyme, coriander, salt and pepper.
Using the cooking brush cover everything with the glaze.
Preheat the oven to 215 C (420 F).
Melt ½ cups of melted butter and pour it over potatoes.
Roast pork and potatoes until browned for about 20 minutes.
Carve and serve
An all important piece of equipment for any recipes like this one is a Dutch Oven. The one I use and am extremely pleased with is the 5.6 liter (6 quart) “Lodge” seen below.
Beef Wellington is one of those dishes that is hard to beat as a classy dinner such as Christmas, New Years, Anniversaries or other special occasions. It’s got the wow factor. It looks great, tastes great and is loved by all. It may be expensive because we are using one of the most expensive cuts of beef and it may not be the easiest to make but when the occasion calls for it, it’s all worth it. So let’s get to it. A few things to note. You may need to order the meat ahead from your butcher. If you can’t find ready made cooked walnuts, skip them or substitute with cashews or pine nuts. If anyone in the dinner party is allergic to nuts, skip them altogether or substitute with shallots. For the mushroom Duxelles, I use cremini. You also can use portobello mushrooms or then white button mushrooms if you prefer a more subtle taste.
Classy Beef Wellington
Classic Beef Wellington Recipe
- 450 g (1 lb) cremini mushrooms
- 100 g (3.5 oz) cooked chestnuts
- 2-4 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves only
- 900 g (2 lb) piece beef tenderloin fillet, centre cut, trimmed
- Salt coarse, kosher, sea
- Pepper fresh, ground
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 8-12 slices of prosciutto
- 500 g (1 lb) puff pastry, all butter, ready made
- flour to dust
- 2 egg yolks lightly beaten with 1tbsp water (egg wash)
If tenderloin is tied, leave tied. If not, tie with butcher string in 4 places to hold its shape while searing.
Season with salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in large frying pan to high heat, add fillet and quickly sear on all sides including ends until evenly browned. Transfer to a plate and while still hot, brush with Dijon mustard all over, then set aside to rest.
To make the Duxelles, put the washed and trimmed mushrooms in a food processor. Add chestnuts, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Pulse processor until you obtain a finely chopped mixture.
Heat up a large dry frying pan and add the mushrooms. Add the thyme leaves and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, driving off the moisture until most of it has evaporated. Spread out on a tray to cool off.
On a clean surface, roll out a good 50 cm (18 in.) of cling wrap. Place prosciutto on wrap, overlapping each piece in such a way as to form a rectangle that will completely wrap the fillet with the Duxelles and the prosciutto. As an example, a fillet of 8 cm in diameter and of 16 cm in length would need a rectangle of about 20 cm wide by 25 cm long. Don’t skimp here. Make good overlaps in both axis and give a couple of extra cm in both directions and ensure there are no gaps. 2 rows of 4 pieces is usually perfect for a fillet this size.
Season the prosciutto with fresh ground pepper, then spread the Duxelles evenly on top leaving a gap of about 2 – 2.5 cm along the edges.
Place the fillet in the middle of the rectangle.
Grab the cling wrap at the edge in front and slowly start to pull up and wrap it and the prosciutto layer over top of the fillet and keep rolling until you have a nice tight barrel shape making sure no cling wrap gets trapped between the fillet and the prosciutto. Grab the ends of the cling wrap and twist them really tight and secure. Place in refrigerator for 20 min. to let it set up.
Now roll out the pastry dough on a lightly flour dusted surface. Again, make a rectangle large enough to wrap the beef and keeping it about 5 mm thick. Brush lightly with egg wash, unwrap the fillet and place it in the middle of the rectangle. Use your judgement to trim off any extra dough but making sure you have enough. Wrap the pastry around the beef, overlapping the edge along the length of the fillet and pressing to seal. Pinch the dough at the ends to seal and trim as necessary.
Wrap the log tightly in cling wrap, again twisting the end to make a firm log and refrigerate for 10 min. (overnight if making ahead.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (180 convection). Remove the cling wrap from the filet and brush with egg wash. With the back of a small knife, score the pastry lightly in a decorative pattern if you wish (see the image above for an example) and place it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt, the bake for about 40 min. If the pastry is browning up to quickly, reduce the temperature 5 or 10°C. You should end up with the meat at medium rare. If you or your guests like the meat well done, cook longer.
When done, rest the Wellington for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Cut into thick slices (4 – 5 cm) and serve with your sides of choice.
Recipe loosely based on Gordon Ramsey’s found in this book:
Slowly braised lamb shanks, particularly as in this recipe, are among my favorite cool weather foods. This recipe has incredible depth of flavour. A key ingredient are the dried juniper berries.These may be hard to find but worth the effort. I used to collect juniper berries at the same time I was collecting blue berries on many a canoeing trip in the Kawartha’s of Ontario (Google it).I would occasionally also buy them at a Pharmacy in Switzerland where they are commonly sold for medicinal purposes or in one of the super markets as of course they are also used in many wild game recipes.
Lamb Shanks Braised In Red Wine And Juniper
Slowly braised lamb shanks that leverage the flavours of rosemary, juniper and red wine.
- 4 lamb shanks
- salt and fresh ground pepper
- 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 bottle of red wine e.g Rhone, Grenache
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) juniper berries
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) black pepper corns
- 15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 garlic bulb sliced in half radially
- 5 ml (1 tsp) salt
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) port ruby
Preheat the oven to 160 °C (325 °F)
Liberally season the shanks with salt and pepper
In a large, heavy bottom roasting or frying pan, heat oil on medium high and brown the shanks on all sides.
Put aside the shanks on a plate in a warming drawer
Transfer oil and juices from pan to a large dutch oven, adding more oil if needed
Add onions and cook until translucent
Add carrots and celery and cook for a couple more minutes
Add wine, bay leaves, juniper berries, pepper corns, rosemary, garlic and salt
Place the shanks into this braising mixture, cover and cook in the pre-heated oven for 3 hours
When cooked, gently remove shanks to a platter, tent with aluminum foil and keep warm in a warming drawer
Strain the braising liquid into a sauce pan
Bring to a boil and add the port
Reduce to 250 ml (1 cup)
Serve along side, pour over shanks or use as garlic mashed potato gravy
An important piece of equipment for any recipes like this one is a Dutch Oven. The one I use and am extremely pleased with is the 5.6 liter (6 quart) “Lodge” seen below.