Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

bourbon-maple-potatoes

Maple Bourbon Glazed BBQ Pork Chops with Maple Bourbon Potatoes with Green Peppercorns, Olives, and Scallions

Ingredients:
4-6 medium sized “new potatoes”, Red Pontiac, Melody, or Russet, cut in bite size pieces
6-8 large pimento-stuffed Manzanilla Olives, sliced in thirds perpendicular to the pit (optional)
4 Scallions, cut in 2-3mm pieces, white separated from the greens
1 Tbsp Green Peppercorns
1/4 cup Bourbon
1/8 cup Maple Syrup
1 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic powder
1/2 tsp Onion powder
1/2 tsp Light Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp White Pepper
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, toss the Cumin, paprika, Chipotle, Garlic powder, Onion powder, Brown Sugar, Salt, and Black & White Pepper. Use a fork to mix well.
  • In a saute pan, on medium heat, add the Potatoes and cook until browned, about 7 minutes–you want a crust on them.
  • Toss in the white portion of the Scallions, Olives, Green Peppercorns, and Spice mixture, and stir while it cooks for 1 minute.
  • Remove the pan from the stove, and pour in the Bourbon. Replace the pan to the heat, mindful that the alcohol may flare up. To avoid injury, keep your body away from the pan, and do not have your face near it.
  • Drizzle in the Maple Syrup and adjust the seasonings. Let cook for 1 more minute, allowing the maple syrup to glaze over everything.
  • Plate, and garnish with the green portion of the Scallions.

Makes about: 4-6 servings

Notes: I cannot emphasize enough the need for caution when adding the Bourbon to the hot pan. The risk of flare up is decreased by removing the pan from the heat. I recommend you have a lid ready, just in case, and of course a working fire extinguisher. In general, if you remove from the heat to add the alcohol, the likelihood of it flaring up is much reduced, verses if you were to just add it while over the flames, the vapors could ignite like flash paper.

The Olives are optional–but I recommend trying it with them because they offer a flavor contrast to the spicy and sweet bbq glaze.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Apple Chicken Meatballs in a Spinach Vermouth Sauce

12265847_779290548826_2173721953493967764_oPumpkin Gnocchi with Sage-Apple Chicken Meatballs
in a Spinach Vermouth Sauce

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Gnocchi
2 Russet Potatoes, skinned, cubed
1 cup prepared Pumpkin
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1 – 2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Egg

Sage Apple Chicken Meatballs
1 lb Ground Chicken
1/2 cup Sage, finely chopped
1/2 Vidalia Onion, minced
1/2 Granny Smith Onion, skinned & minced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper, coarsely ground
1 Egg
Olive Oil for cooking

Spinach Vermouth Sauce
6 cups Baby Spinach
1/2 Vidalia Onion, Sliced
1/2 Granny Smith Apple, sliced
1/4 cup Vermouth
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
1/8 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Black Pepper

Shaved Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

  • Prepare the Gnocchi: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the Pumpkin pulp, Spices, & Egg.
  • Start incorporating the Flour into the mixture. You may not use all the flour, or you may need more. What you are looking for is a dough forming that you can handle, and roll. It should be cohesive to itself, but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into six parts.
  • On a floured surface, start rolling each part into a rope, about 1/2″-1″ thick in diameter.
  • Start cutting into 1/2″-1″ pieces. Think little pillows for the shape. You do not want to saw, you want to come down with your knife.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough. Set to the side.
  • Prepare the Meatballs: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
  • Form into 1 1/2″ balls.
  • Heat the Olive Oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the balls to the oil, but do not over crowd them.
  • Let the balls cook a minute and then roll them to a raw side. Repeat until all sides are cooked. Let cook an additional minute so that they cook through. Remove to a plate and repeat until all meatballs are completed.
  • Cook the Gnocchi: Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add all the Gnocchi. They will sink.
  • As the Gnocchi start to float, they are done, and can be ladled out.
  • Prepare the Sauce: Using the skillet that was used to cook the meatballs, deglaze with the Vermouth, and add the Butter.
  • Add the Onions and Apples, and cook till tender.
  • Add the Oregano and Crushed Red Pepper.
  • Toss in the Spinach until it wilts.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.
  • Add the Gnocchi and Meatballs and toss well.
  • Plate and garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Serves 6.

NOTES: Gnocchi are simple to make for scratch. I’ve seen many recipes that exclude the use of Potatoes, but in my opinion, it is the Potato that makes the Gnocchi.
This dish was inspired by a recipe that I found through a cooking club, but I decided to improve upon it and make it in my own way.

Pommes de Terre Gratin avec Chèvre et Emmental

Ingredients:
6 lg Russet Potatoes, clean, skin-on
4 oz Chèvre Goat Cheese, room temperature
6 oz Mozzarella or other mild semi-soft cheese
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Butter
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 oz Emmental or Swiss Cheese, sliced thin

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F.
  • Slice the Potatoes in 1/4″ disks slices, discarding the ends.
  • In a sauce pot, bring the Heavy Cream and Milk to a simmer on medium heat–stirring with a wooden spoon. Do not bring it to a boil, and do not let it scald.
  • Break the Goat Cheese up and slowly add it to the Milk/Cream mixture, stirring constantly and allowing it to melt.
  • Do the same with the Sour Cream, Butter, and Mozzarella–not all at once, just in small portions, stirring as it mixes.
  • After all is melted and mixed well, remove from heat.
  • Line the Potato Slices in a 9×13 casserole dish. The slices should overlap like fallen dominoes. You can either put all the potatoes in one layer or divide into two layers–up too you. I prefer one Layer.
  • Sprinkle with the Herbes de Provence, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Cover with the Cheese/Cream/Milk Mixture.
  • Layer the Emmental cheese slices on top, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake covered for 45min to 1 hour, or until the top begins to brown and it is bubbly on the sides.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTES: So this is really a Cheesy version of Scalloped Potatoes–scalloped referring to the shape of the potatoes and how they are placed in the dish. “Gratin” on it means there is a cheese covering–which is the only way to do potatoes like this, if you ask me. I incorporated two specific mountain cheeses–Emmental from Swizerland and Chèvre from France. In most parts of the US, one will just find them listed as “Swiss Cheese” and “Goat Cheese”. So don’t worry if you don’t find those specific names.

Roasted Winter Root Soup

Ingredients:
1 med Yellow Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Carrot, skinned, chopped
1 Parsnip, skinned, chopped
1 Turnip, skinned, chopped
1 Sweet Potato, skinned, chopped
2 Potatoes, chopped
2 Kielbasa Sausages, sliced in 1 cm thick rounds
6 cups Vegetable Stock/Broth
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Herbes de Provence
2 Tbsp Dill
2 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 400°F.
  • Add all Root Vegetables and Kielbasa to a Dutch Oven, coat with the Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper.
  • Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and then another 10 minutes.
  • Remove and scrap into a large Soup Pot.
  • Add the Vegetable Stock and heat on high heat until it boils.
  • Add the remaining Herbs and Spices, reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until vegetables are fork tender.

Makes 4 Servings.

NOTES: This is a family recipe from my Slovakian side of the family, originating from Medzev, Slovakia (formerly Metzenseifen).

When chopping the vegetables, think of bite-size/spoon size pieces. You can substitute Mushroom Broth or Chicken Stock for the Vegetable Stock. You can also utilize any other cooked Sausage instead of Kielbasa if you like.

This simple, healthy dish will keep you warm on a blustery winter night.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Ingredients:
3 medium Russet Potatoes, skinned and diced
1 medium Yellow Onion, diced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
3 pieces of Bacon, diced
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Clam meat, diced
1 cup Clam Juice
1 cup Heavy Cream
2 cups Milk
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Parsley

Directions:

  • In a saucepot, cook the Bacon until crisp on medium heat.
  • Add the Onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the Potatoes and Garlic, coating with the Oily Onion/Bacon mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
  • In a bowl combine the Butter and the Flour to form a paste called a beurre manié.
  • Add the beurre manié, Clams, and Clam Juice to the pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the Milk, Heavy Cream, and Herbs.
  • Reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring often.

NOTES: I prefer to use bigger chunks in my Clam Chowder, so my dices are a little bigger than others…especially the Clams. However you should avoid having whole clams as they can be chewy–quartering is the best. I have no problem using high-quality canned clams for this, so long as preserved in water and not oil. Oh, and you’ll notice that I omitted the use of Salt in this recipe. This is because of the salty bacon and salty clam juice, and the lower amount of potatoes, however you can always add salt to taste.

There are other types of Clam Chowder — Manhattan, Rhode Island, and Outer Banks (from the Carolinas), but none of them have the appeal of New England Clam Chowder to me. This is a true comfort food, and reminds me of the days when my family would go to buffet restaurants like Ryan’s Steakhouse and Golden Corral. I would always start with a big bowl of New England Clam Chowder, and pick out the potatoes which seemed to take away from the clams!

Variations:
Cassava Clam Chowder – Substitute Cassava for the Potatoes.

Rhode Island Clam Chowder –  When adding the Clams, also add 1 cup diced Tomatoes.

Pumpkin Gnocchi in a Maple Sage Sauce

Ingredients:VegetarianNut Alergy Warning
2 Russet Potatoes, skinned, cubed
1 cup prepared Pumpkin
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Black Pepper
1/8 tsp Salt
1 – 2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 Egg

Maple Sage Sauce
1/2 cup Butter
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
2 Tbsp Sage, minced

Garnish:
1 cup Walnuts
Grated Parmesan

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the potatoes until fork tender.
  • Drain the potatoes and mash in a large bowl.
  • Incorporate the Pumpkin pulp, Spices, & Egg.
  • Start incorporating the Flour into the mixture. You may not use all the flour, or you may need more. What you are looking for is a dough forming that you can handle, and roll. It should be cohesive to itself, but not sticky.
  • Divide the dough into six parts.
  • On a floured surface, start rolling each part into a rope, about 1/2″-1″ thick in diameter.
  • Start cutting into 1/2″-1″ pieces. Think little pillows for the shape. You do not want to saw, you want to come down with your knife.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to boil.
  • Add all the Gnocchi. They will sink.
  • As the Gnocchi start to float, they are done, and can be ladled out.
  • In a saucepan, start heating the stick of Butter on low heat. Use low heat to prevent smoking
  • As the Butter melts, it will start to caramelize along the edges.
  • Stir in the Maple Syrup and the Sage, cooking for an additional 30 seconds or so.
  • Pour on the Gnocchi, and garnish with Walnuts and Parmesan.

Serves 6.

NOTES: Gnocchi are simple to make for scratch. I’ve seen many recipes that exclude the use of Potatoes, but in my opinion, it is the Potato that makes the Gnocchi. This is a dish that is great for an Autumn night. I recommend it with a side of green beans.

Skordalia – Σκορδαλιά – Garlic Potato Dip

Ingredients:Nut Alergy WarningVegan
Water for Boiling
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Russet Potatoes, skinned, cut into chunks
8 – 10 cloves of Garlic, crushed
1/2 cup blanched Almonds
1 cup Olive Oil
1/3 cup White Wine Vinegar
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/4 tsp White Pepper

Directions:

  • In a large pot place the Water, Salt, and Potatoes, and bring to a boil. Cook until fork-tender.
  • Drain the Potatoes and add put them in a Food Processor.
  • Add the Almonds and Garlic, and pulse.
  • Drizzle in the Olive Oil, Vinegar, and Lemon Juice.
  • Add the Pepper, then Salt to taste.

NOTES: I live in Astoria, and this dish is served with several other dips as an appetizer with Pita. It is also commonly paired with fried fish and vegetables. The name is probably a pleonastic compound or combination of two languages: σκόρδο which is Greek for “garlic” and agliata which is Italian for “garlicky”. Very appropriate.

Variations:
Macedonian Skordalia: substitute Walnuts for the Almonds

Ɲ – Leave out the Nuts; this does not take away from the authenticity of the dish, as many do not include nuts in the recipe.

Shepherd’s Pie – Cottage Pie

Ingredients:
4 Potatoes, skinned, and cubed
1/2 cup Milk
3 Tbsp Butter
1 large Onion, diced
1-2 Carrot, diced
1 1/2 cups Peas
2 Tbsp Flour
2 cups Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 Tbsp Thyme
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Paprika
1-2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 lb minced or cubed meat:
  • For Shepherd’s Pie – Lamb
  • For Cottage Pie – Beef
Directions:
  • Preheat the Oven to 350°F
  • Boil the Potatoes until tender.
  • Drain and mash with Milk and Butter with the Salt and Pepper. There should be no lumps. Use more Milk if needed.
  • In a Dutch Oven, brown the meat.
  • Top with the Herbs, Onions, Flour, and Vegetables (except the Mashed Potatoes) and mix well.
  • Pour in the Beef Stock until it reaches the top of the mixture.
  • Cover in the Mashed Potatoes.
  • Sprinkle with Paprika and Cheese.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.

NOTES: Traditionally, there is no Cheese on this dish. If so desired, leave it off. The name is often called “Shepherd’s Pie” regardless of the meat, however some naming conventions differentiate based on the type of meat used. I follow this convention that Shepherd’s pie uses Lamb whereas Cottage Pie uses Beef.

My first time eating this dish was in Boy Scouts. We used to make it in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven over open coals. It was always one of my favorite meals on camping trips.

Variations:
Use left over Roast Beef, minced up and Veggies and Mashed Potatoes. This is probably where the dish originally came from!

Lancashire Hotpot

Lancashire Hotpot

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lb Lamb meat, remove bones, fat, and cubed
2 Onions, cut in rings
1 Parsnip, cleaned and chopped
1 Carrot, cleaned and chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4-6 Potatoes, sliced (1/2″)
2 cups Beef Stock
1 Tbsp Thyme
1/2 Tbsp Rosemary
1/2 Tbsp Sage, minced
1 Tbsp Parsley
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
4 Tbsp Butter, room temp
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

  • Preheat the Oven to 300°F.
  • Season the Lamb, and brown in a Dutch Oven with half the Olive Oil.
  • Remove and set to the side.
  • Brown the Onions in the Dutch Oven with the remaining Olive Oil and Garlic, and set to the side.
  • In the base of the Dutch Oven or a Casserole Dish, place the Lamb and sprinkle with Herbs.
  • Layer with the Parsnips and Carrots.
  • Next layer with the Onions and Garlic.
  • Pour the Stock over the Mixture. The stock should come to the top. If you reach the top, stop. If you run out of liquid add more Stock or water.
  • Cover with the Potatoes as a top layer.
  • Divide the Butter around the Potatoes.
  • Bake for about 2 hours.

NOTES: To add browning to the potatoes, turn heat up to 400°F for the last 10 minutes.

This dish comes from Lancashire, as the name suggests, and dates from the industrial revolution, although similar baked stews probably predated it. It is always made with Lamb, originally tougher pieces or mutton, but beef could also be used. It is called “hotpot” because it is essentially made in one pot. This is a simple dish that can be used for a large group of people with little effort.

Variations:
Shepherd’s Pie/Cottage Pie

Potatoes au Gratin

Ingredients:Vegetarian
4 large Russet Potatoes, skinned and sliced into ¼” slices
1 large White Onion, sliced into ¼” rings
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 cups Milk
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • In a large skillet, melt the Butter.
  • Add the Flour to the Butter, and make a paste.
  • Slowly add the Milk, Salt, and Pepper to the paste and make a white sauce.
  • Melt 1 cup of the Cheddar Cheese into the Sauce.
  • In a large greased baking dish, place half the Potato slices and Onion slices in a layer.
  • Cover the Potato/Onion layer with half of the sauce.
  • Place remaining Potatoes and Onions on top and cover with remaining sauce.
  • Cover with lid or aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Remove cover, top with remaining Cheddar Cheese, and sprinkle with Paprika.
  • Bake for 15 more minutes, or until Cheddar Cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • NOTES: Scalloped Potatoes are the same thing as Au Gratin. Au Gratin refers to the French style in which the Potatoes are cooked, i.e. covered in a white sauce and baked. Scalloped Potatoes refers to the shape of the potatoes and is the common name used in North America.