Caramelized Onion & Apple Slab Tart

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Caramelized onion and apple tart by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Onions and apples and cheese, oh my! The combination of gooey, rich cheese, nutty, mellow onions and sweet apples is not to be missed.

Apples by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I made this one by rolling out a batch of pie crust into one flat sheet, layering on the onions, apples, cheese and thyme and then baking until golden and crisp. The easier option would be to use puff pastry and the results would undoubtedly be buttery, crispy and delicious.

In terms of cheese, I used Cabot sharp white cheddar which I find to be quite tasty and some Parmesan. I'm also a big fan of Kerrygold's Dubliner Irish cheddar for its sweet, nutty flavor, and Gruyère would also be nice.

CABOT Seriously Sharp Cheddar by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

The prep consists of making the dough (or skip this whole step and just use puff pastry - Dufour's is the best you can get, in my opinion.)

Stretching the tart dough out by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Followed by a bunch of slicing of apples and onions and shredding of cheese. I'd recommend using a hand-held mandolin for the apples to speed things up and to get really thin slices.

Grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Followed by a long, slow saute to get everything really soft and sweet.

Caramelizing the onions by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then some spreading.

Spreading the caramelized onion and apple mixture out on the tart dough by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

And sprinkling.

Sprinkling shredded cheese on the tart by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then some baking.

Caramelized onion and apple tart just out of the oven by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then you eat it. Simple and delicious.

Caramelized onion and apple tart by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Caramelized Onion & Apple Slab Tart
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entree with a hearty salad

Ingredients

* A single pate brisee dough or 2 sheets of puff pastry
* 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced or mandolined - you can leave the skin on or peel them, it's up to you
* 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
* Leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
* 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
* 1 cup grated Parmesan, Romano or Gruyère cheeses
* Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
* 2 Tbsps butter or olive oil - or a mix of the two
* A splash of stock, balsamic vinegar or water to deglaze the pan

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Caramelize the onions. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a large heavy frying pan then add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for a loooong time, stirring every 5-10 minutes to keep them from burning. Once they're finished cooking, deglaze the pan with a little wine, stock or balsamic vinegar and salt to taste. Please note that to truly caramelize onions, it can take up to an hour, depending on how big the onions are. If you don't have time for this, just saute them for a few minutes - they'll still be delicious.

3. Roll out the dough or lay out the puff pastry on a heavy baking sheet. Top with the caramelized onions, the thinly sliced apples and the cheese then sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes (checking it at 15 just to be sure you're not burning the crap out of it somehow) or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly with nice crisp areas.

You might also like:


For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Goat Ragout with Figs & Rosemary Over Pappardelle

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I recently spent some time researching goat meat for an article I wrote for Chronogram. My conclusion is that goat is in the process of transforming from an "ick" meat to the "it" meat.

If you're like the vast majority of Americans, you've never eaten goat meat. If that's the case, you're missing out because goat meat is good on so many levels:
  1. Taste - the meat is mild with a pleasing flavor. It's not gamy or "goaty" at all. In fact, I find the flavor to be a lot milder than that of lamb.
  2. Nutrition - goat meat is higher in protein and iron and lower in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, lamb and chicken. It's very lean and has almost exactly the same amount of calories as chicken!
  3. Environmental impact - goat is a more eco-friendly meat than beef and many other meats. They require few inputs and less space to raise than beef and lamb, reducing the size of their carbon footprint. What's more, they have a taste for many of the problem weeds and bushes like multiflora rose that plague farmers so browsing goats on disrupted pasture can help reclaim that land without the use of fossil fuels.
I especially loved meeting this herd of inquisitive Kiko-Boer goats at the lovely Karl Family Farms in Modena, NY, one of which was determined to eat my jeans and rubber boots!

Boer and Kiko goats browsing at Karl Family Farms in Modena, NY by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Rather than making me shy away from eating goat, meeting these animals and seeing firsthand that they live a good life, doing what goats are meant to do, made me feel good about choosing to eat this meat rather than buying beef or lamb from a faceless herd of miserable animals raised on a factory farm thousands of miles away.

Breeding stock for the goat herd at Karl Family Farms in Modena, NY by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

In addition to interviewing a bunch of Hudson Valley goat farmers, I also talked to a bunch of Hudson Valley chefs who are big fans of goat meat. This hearty, flavorful recipe for goat ragout with figs, rosemary and thyme over pappardelle comes from chef Rich Parente at the Clocktower Grill in Brewster, NY - one of the restaurants I wrote about for Hudson Valley Magazine's best new restaurants of 2014.

Ingredients for the goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You stew the goat meat slowly with figs, fresh rosemary and thyme with beef stock and tomatoes and a base of carrots, onions and garlic. When the meat is meltingly tender to the point of falling off the bone, you serve it over wide ribbons of pappardelle pasta topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Fresh rosemary and thyme for the goat ragu by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

It is savory and sweet and warm and comforting and was a hit with my whole family, which is saying something these days since my kids are usually not into anything that does not come in a box labeled Annie's mac n cheese.

Start by dredging the chunks of goat stew meat in flour.

Dredging the chunks of goat stew meat in flour, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then brown the chunks in a Dutch oven in batches to avoid crowding them so that you can be assured of an even sear.

Browning the goat stew meat by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then remove the meat and set it aside. Deglaze the pan with a little red wine then add the carrots, onions and garlic to the pot and saute them for a few minutes.

Onions, garlic and carrots form the base of this goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Once the vegetables are softened, you add the tomato puree and the beef stock and simmer for a few minutes before adding a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce and tossing in the chopped dried figs and the fresh herbs.

Adding diced figs to the goat ragu by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then you cook it 'til it's falling off the bone, remove the bones and serve over pasta.
Goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Go get your goat! There's a listing of places you can find this humanely, sustainably raised meat available here. If you're not in the Hudson Valley, ask around at your farmers market, check with your local butcher or, if all else fails, order it via mail from from Heritage Foods USA, a Brooklyn-based mail-order operation.

Goat Ragout with Rosemary and Figs over Pappardelle from Chef Rich Parente of the Clocktower Grill in Brewster
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

* 2 lbs bone-in goat stew meat
* 2 large onions, diced
* 3 medium carrots, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
* ¼ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
* 1 quart beef stock
* 1 quart tomato puree or diced fresh tomatoes
* 1 cup diced dried figs
* ¼ cup all-purpose flour
* ½ cup red wine
* ¼ cup cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in roughly ¼ cup warm water)
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 lb pappardelle pasta, cooked, drained, and tossed with olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Mix the flour with a teaspoon or so of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then dredge the stew meat in it, doing your best to coat all sides with the mixture.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven (you can also use a wide-bottomed metal pot or sauté pan with high sides, but it must be oven-safe since you'll be finishing this dish in the oven) until it begins to shimmer, then add the meat to the pan, turning it to brown it on all sides— roughly two-three minutes per side. You'll most likely need to do this in two batches to avoid crowding and achieve the proper sear.

3. Remove the meat and set it aside in a bowl. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan and sautè for 3-5 minutes, until the onions start to become translucent and the carrots begin to soften. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any odds and ends and ensure that nothing is stuck to the bottom.

4. Add the meat back to the pan along with the beef stock and the tomato and bring to a simmer. Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce and stir thoroughly with a fork to distribute it throughout. Simmer for roughly 5 minutes before adding the chopped herbs and figs, then season with more salt and pepper, cover, and place in the oven for three to four hours, checking a few times to stir and make sure there's enough liquid, until the meat is fork tender. Take the meat off the bones and return the shredded meat to the pot before serving over your favorite pappardelle pasta.

Wine pairing: Parente recommends Warwick Winery's Black Dirt Red for its fruity forward notes of cherry, plum, and fig.

You might also like:


For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie

Monday, December 1, 2014

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I'm not sure I really need to write anything - Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie pretty much tells you everything you need to know. But old habits die hard so here goes...

Some of the ingredients for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

This is a decadent variation on my aunt Maggie's pecan pie which is hands-down the best I've ever tasted. Smokey, sweet, nutty, crunchy and gooey at the same time. I just want to jump in there and roll around with my mouth open. I attribute its enhanced tastiness to three things:
  1. Maple syrup - instead of corn syrup, which is a yucky, highly processed product, Maggie's recipe calls for maple syrup and good old fashioned sugar. The smokey flavor that the maple syrup imparts is a perfect complement to the nutty, toasted pecans.
  2. Espresso - she adds two teaspoons of instant espresso granules for an even richer, gooier filling. 
  3. Crust - this is not the pate brisee recipe I typically use but calls for an egg yolk and has slightly different proportions.
Pie dough for maple pecan chocolate pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Although I could happily eat Maggie's pecan pie (with whipped cream) forever, I was curious to see what would happen if I added chocolate because it seemed like a natural pairing for the nuts and maple syrup. So I chopped some up and I'm happy to report that adding a little bittersweet chocolate to the filling takes this already divine pie up to 11...

Chopping the chocolate for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Since the crust calls for egg yolk, you'll get to do a little separating - a task that I always find remarkably satisfying. Since my kids also refuse to eat egg yolks, this is a great way to avoid wasting anything - I just fry up the whites for them and everyone is happy.

Egg yolks separated for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You need to chop and toast the pecans before baking - doing this brings out their nuttiness and helps keep them from getting soggy in the filling.

Toasting the pecans for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

While you're toasting the pecans, you blind-bake the crust for about 10 minutes to ensure that it does not get soggy. You can use pie weights if you have them (one of my friends reuses the same dried beans on a sheet of tinfoil over and over for this purpose, too) or just poke some holes in the crust with a fork to prevent it from ballooning up while you pre-bake it - even easier.

Crust for maple pecan chocolate pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

We get our maple syrup from our next-door neighbor (talk about eating locally!), Matt, who runs the Longyear Farm, a wonderful place that raises Texas Longhorn cattle, pigs, turkeys, and laying hens. They also do field trips and run an all-too-brief summer camp that our older son LOVES. I am very thankful that we get to raise our kids next-door to this lovely family and their farm.

Maple Syrup from the Longyear Farm for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You mix the maple syrup, the sugar, the melted butter, coffee and eggs together into one glorious, gloppy mess. Just FYI, there are four eggs in this photo because I baked two pies so this is a double batch.

Mixing the filling for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then you scatter the toasted pecans and chocolate chunks in the pre-baked pie crust and pour the filling over them. I topped mine with a handful of whole, raw pecans to pretty the whole thing up a bit.

Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then into the oven to bake for about 50-55 minutes. You'll want to leave yourself plenty of time to let the pie cool after it comes out of the oven so that the filling sets properly - and a little refrigeration before serving can't hurt, either.

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

If you're not a chocolate lover, I'm not sure we would have enough in common to ever be close friends :( But the good news is that you can still make Maggie's divine maple pecan pie without the chocolate, just use three eggs instead of two and bump the maple syrup up to a full cup instead of a half - all the rest of the proportions stay the same.

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients

For the filling
* 2 eggs (try to get pasture-raised from a farmer near you)
* 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1/2 cup maple syrup
* 4 Tbsp (1/2 a stick) organic butter, melted
* 1/2 tsp sea salt
* 2 Tbsp instant espresso or coffee, mixed with 1 Tbsp water to make a thick paste
* 6 oz pecans, chopped

For the crust
* 1 cup flour
* 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 6 Tbsp organic butter, chilled
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1-3 Tbsp ice water

Directions

Make the crust: 

1. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a medium bowl and mix to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces - I usually slice the stick into 3 or 4 long pieces, then flip it over and do the same thing along the other side and then cut it into small slices to create little cubes.

2. Using two sharp knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal.

3. Then add the egg yolk and one tablespoon of ice water and stir with a fork until it starts to stick together and form dough. You may need to add more ice water as you stir to get it to begin sticking together.

4. Give it a quick kneed until you've incorporated everything and then wrap the dough in waxed paper and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. You can make the crust ahead of time or even use a store-bought crust.

5. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and lay it out on a floured surface - you can use the counter or an upside down baking sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll it out in a rough circle until it is about 10-12 inches in diameter than gently pick it up and drape it in the pie dish. Roll any excess under and then crimp the edges with your fingers or the tines of a fork. If you won't be using pie weights, poke the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of the fork.

Make the filling & assemble the pie

6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the chopped nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to toast while it's heating up - I'd set a timer for 5 minutes to ensure that you don't end up burning them. Once they're browned, take them out and set them aside to cool.

7. When the oven reaches 400°F, blind bake the pie crust for 10 minutes (again, use a timer!) until it is looking golden brown. Don't freak out if it starts to balloon up, just gently poke it back down. Set it aside on the counter to cool.

8. Turn the oven down to 350°F! Combine the melted butter, salt, sugar, maple syrup, coffee and eggs and whisk to combine. Lay the toasted pecans and chopped chocolate in the bottom of the pie crust then pour the filling over it and top with a few whole, raw pecans. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes. The outer edges should be firm while the center should be a little bit jiggly. Take it out and let it cool fully before serving. This will allow the center to finish cooking completely and set fully. Serve on its own or with whipped cream.

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Caramelized Onion & Apple Slab Tart

Caramelized onion and apple tart by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Onions and apples and cheese, oh my! The combination of gooey, rich cheese, nutty, mellow onions and sweet apples is not to be missed.

Apples by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I made this one by rolling out a batch of pie crust into one flat sheet, layering on the onions, apples, cheese and thyme and then baking until golden and crisp. The easier option would be to use puff pastry and the results would undoubtedly be buttery, crispy and delicious.

In terms of cheese, I used Cabot sharp white cheddar which I find to be quite tasty and some Parmesan. I'm also a big fan of Kerrygold's Dubliner Irish cheddar for its sweet, nutty flavor, and Gruyère would also be nice.

CABOT Seriously Sharp Cheddar by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

The prep consists of making the dough (or skip this whole step and just use puff pastry - Dufour's is the best you can get, in my opinion.)

Stretching the tart dough out by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Followed by a bunch of slicing of apples and onions and shredding of cheese. I'd recommend using a hand-held mandolin for the apples to speed things up and to get really thin slices.

Grated cheddar and Parmesan cheeses by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Followed by a long, slow saute to get everything really soft and sweet.

Caramelizing the onions by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then some spreading.

Spreading the caramelized onion and apple mixture out on the tart dough by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

And sprinkling.

Sprinkling shredded cheese on the tart by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then some baking.

Caramelized onion and apple tart just out of the oven by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then you eat it. Simple and delicious.

Caramelized onion and apple tart by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Caramelized Onion & Apple Slab Tart
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entree with a hearty salad

Ingredients

* A single pate brisee dough or 2 sheets of puff pastry
* 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced or mandolined - you can leave the skin on or peel them, it's up to you
* 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
* Leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
* 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
* 1 cup grated Parmesan, Romano or Gruyère cheeses
* Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste
* 2 Tbsps butter or olive oil - or a mix of the two
* A splash of stock, balsamic vinegar or water to deglaze the pan

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Caramelize the onions. Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a large heavy frying pan then add the onions and cook over medium-low heat for a loooong time, stirring every 5-10 minutes to keep them from burning. Once they're finished cooking, deglaze the pan with a little wine, stock or balsamic vinegar and salt to taste. Please note that to truly caramelize onions, it can take up to an hour, depending on how big the onions are. If you don't have time for this, just saute them for a few minutes - they'll still be delicious.

3. Roll out the dough or lay out the puff pastry on a heavy baking sheet. Top with the caramelized onions, the thinly sliced apples and the cheese then sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes (checking it at 15 just to be sure you're not burning the crap out of it somehow) or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly with nice crisp areas.

You might also like:


For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Goat Ragout with Figs & Rosemary Over Pappardelle

Goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I recently spent some time researching goat meat for an article I wrote for Chronogram. My conclusion is that goat is in the process of transforming from an "ick" meat to the "it" meat.

If you're like the vast majority of Americans, you've never eaten goat meat. If that's the case, you're missing out because goat meat is good on so many levels:
  1. Taste - the meat is mild with a pleasing flavor. It's not gamy or "goaty" at all. In fact, I find the flavor to be a lot milder than that of lamb.
  2. Nutrition - goat meat is higher in protein and iron and lower in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol than beef, pork, lamb and chicken. It's very lean and has almost exactly the same amount of calories as chicken!
  3. Environmental impact - goat is a more eco-friendly meat than beef and many other meats. They require few inputs and less space to raise than beef and lamb, reducing the size of their carbon footprint. What's more, they have a taste for many of the problem weeds and bushes like multiflora rose that plague farmers so browsing goats on disrupted pasture can help reclaim that land without the use of fossil fuels.
I especially loved meeting this herd of inquisitive Kiko-Boer goats at the lovely Karl Family Farms in Modena, NY, one of which was determined to eat my jeans and rubber boots!

Boer and Kiko goats browsing at Karl Family Farms in Modena, NY by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Rather than making me shy away from eating goat, meeting these animals and seeing firsthand that they live a good life, doing what goats are meant to do, made me feel good about choosing to eat this meat rather than buying beef or lamb from a faceless herd of miserable animals raised on a factory farm thousands of miles away.

Breeding stock for the goat herd at Karl Family Farms in Modena, NY by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

In addition to interviewing a bunch of Hudson Valley goat farmers, I also talked to a bunch of Hudson Valley chefs who are big fans of goat meat. This hearty, flavorful recipe for goat ragout with figs, rosemary and thyme over pappardelle comes from chef Rich Parente at the Clocktower Grill in Brewster, NY - one of the restaurants I wrote about for Hudson Valley Magazine's best new restaurants of 2014.

Ingredients for the goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You stew the goat meat slowly with figs, fresh rosemary and thyme with beef stock and tomatoes and a base of carrots, onions and garlic. When the meat is meltingly tender to the point of falling off the bone, you serve it over wide ribbons of pappardelle pasta topped with a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Fresh rosemary and thyme for the goat ragu by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

It is savory and sweet and warm and comforting and was a hit with my whole family, which is saying something these days since my kids are usually not into anything that does not come in a box labeled Annie's mac n cheese.

Start by dredging the chunks of goat stew meat in flour.

Dredging the chunks of goat stew meat in flour, salt and pepper by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then brown the chunks in a Dutch oven in batches to avoid crowding them so that you can be assured of an even sear.

Browning the goat stew meat by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then remove the meat and set it aside. Deglaze the pan with a little red wine then add the carrots, onions and garlic to the pot and saute them for a few minutes.

Onions, garlic and carrots form the base of this goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Once the vegetables are softened, you add the tomato puree and the beef stock and simmer for a few minutes before adding a cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce and tossing in the chopped dried figs and the fresh herbs.

Adding diced figs to the goat ragu by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then you cook it 'til it's falling off the bone, remove the bones and serve over pasta.
Goat ragu with figs and rosemary by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Go get your goat! There's a listing of places you can find this humanely, sustainably raised meat available here. If you're not in the Hudson Valley, ask around at your farmers market, check with your local butcher or, if all else fails, order it via mail from from Heritage Foods USA, a Brooklyn-based mail-order operation.

Goat Ragout with Rosemary and Figs over Pappardelle from Chef Rich Parente of the Clocktower Grill in Brewster
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

* 2 lbs bone-in goat stew meat
* 2 large onions, diced
* 3 medium carrots, diced
* 4 cloves garlic, chopped
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
* 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
* ¼ cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
* 1 quart beef stock
* 1 quart tomato puree or diced fresh tomatoes
* 1 cup diced dried figs
* ¼ cup all-purpose flour
* ½ cup red wine
* ¼ cup cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in roughly ¼ cup warm water)
* Sea salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1 lb pappardelle pasta, cooked, drained, and tossed with olive oil

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Mix the flour with a teaspoon or so of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then dredge the stew meat in it, doing your best to coat all sides with the mixture.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven (you can also use a wide-bottomed metal pot or sauté pan with high sides, but it must be oven-safe since you'll be finishing this dish in the oven) until it begins to shimmer, then add the meat to the pan, turning it to brown it on all sides— roughly two-three minutes per side. You'll most likely need to do this in two batches to avoid crowding and achieve the proper sear.

3. Remove the meat and set it aside in a bowl. Add the onions, carrots, and garlic to the pan and sautè for 3-5 minutes, until the onions start to become translucent and the carrots begin to soften. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any odds and ends and ensure that nothing is stuck to the bottom.

4. Add the meat back to the pan along with the beef stock and the tomato and bring to a simmer. Add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce and stir thoroughly with a fork to distribute it throughout. Simmer for roughly 5 minutes before adding the chopped herbs and figs, then season with more salt and pepper, cover, and place in the oven for three to four hours, checking a few times to stir and make sure there's enough liquid, until the meat is fork tender. Take the meat off the bones and return the shredded meat to the pot before serving over your favorite pappardelle pasta.

Wine pairing: Parente recommends Warwick Winery's Black Dirt Red for its fruity forward notes of cherry, plum, and fig.

You might also like:


For more delicious recipes, gardening ideas, foraging tips, and food-related inspiration "like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

I'm not sure I really need to write anything - Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie pretty much tells you everything you need to know. But old habits die hard so here goes...

Some of the ingredients for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

This is a decadent variation on my aunt Maggie's pecan pie which is hands-down the best I've ever tasted. Smokey, sweet, nutty, crunchy and gooey at the same time. I just want to jump in there and roll around with my mouth open. I attribute its enhanced tastiness to three things:
  1. Maple syrup - instead of corn syrup, which is a yucky, highly processed product, Maggie's recipe calls for maple syrup and good old fashioned sugar. The smokey flavor that the maple syrup imparts is a perfect complement to the nutty, toasted pecans.
  2. Espresso - she adds two teaspoons of instant espresso granules for an even richer, gooier filling. 
  3. Crust - this is not the pate brisee recipe I typically use but calls for an egg yolk and has slightly different proportions.
Pie dough for maple pecan chocolate pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Although I could happily eat Maggie's pecan pie (with whipped cream) forever, I was curious to see what would happen if I added chocolate because it seemed like a natural pairing for the nuts and maple syrup. So I chopped some up and I'm happy to report that adding a little bittersweet chocolate to the filling takes this already divine pie up to 11...

Chopping the chocolate for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Since the crust calls for egg yolk, you'll get to do a little separating - a task that I always find remarkably satisfying. Since my kids also refuse to eat egg yolks, this is a great way to avoid wasting anything - I just fry up the whites for them and everyone is happy.

Egg yolks separated for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You need to chop and toast the pecans before baking - doing this brings out their nuttiness and helps keep them from getting soggy in the filling.

Toasting the pecans for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

While you're toasting the pecans, you blind-bake the crust for about 10 minutes to ensure that it does not get soggy. You can use pie weights if you have them (one of my friends reuses the same dried beans on a sheet of tinfoil over and over for this purpose, too) or just poke some holes in the crust with a fork to prevent it from ballooning up while you pre-bake it - even easier.

Crust for maple pecan chocolate pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

We get our maple syrup from our next-door neighbor (talk about eating locally!), Matt, who runs the Longyear Farm, a wonderful place that raises Texas Longhorn cattle, pigs, turkeys, and laying hens. They also do field trips and run an all-too-brief summer camp that our older son LOVES. I am very thankful that we get to raise our kids next-door to this lovely family and their farm.

Maple Syrup from the Longyear Farm for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

You mix the maple syrup, the sugar, the melted butter, coffee and eggs together into one glorious, gloppy mess. Just FYI, there are four eggs in this photo because I baked two pies so this is a double batch.

Mixing the filling for the Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then you scatter the toasted pecans and chocolate chunks in the pre-baked pie crust and pour the filling over them. I topped mine with a handful of whole, raw pecans to pretty the whole thing up a bit.

Maple Pecan Chocolate Pie by Eve Fox, the Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

Then into the oven to bake for about 50-55 minutes. You'll want to leave yourself plenty of time to let the pie cool after it comes out of the oven so that the filling sets properly - and a little refrigeration before serving can't hurt, either.

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie by Eve Fox, The Garden of Eating, copyright 2014

If you're not a chocolate lover, I'm not sure we would have enough in common to ever be close friends :( But the good news is that you can still make Maggie's divine maple pecan pie without the chocolate, just use three eggs instead of two and bump the maple syrup up to a full cup instead of a half - all the rest of the proportions stay the same.

Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients

For the filling
* 2 eggs (try to get pasture-raised from a farmer near you)
* 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1/2 cup maple syrup
* 4 Tbsp (1/2 a stick) organic butter, melted
* 1/2 tsp sea salt
* 2 Tbsp instant espresso or coffee, mixed with 1 Tbsp water to make a thick paste
* 6 oz pecans, chopped

For the crust
* 1 cup flour
* 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 6 Tbsp organic butter, chilled
* 1 large egg yolk
* 1-3 Tbsp ice water

Directions

Make the crust: 

1. Add the flour, sugar and salt to a medium bowl and mix to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces - I usually slice the stick into 3 or 4 long pieces, then flip it over and do the same thing along the other side and then cut it into small slices to create little cubes.

2. Using two sharp knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal.

3. Then add the egg yolk and one tablespoon of ice water and stir with a fork until it starts to stick together and form dough. You may need to add more ice water as you stir to get it to begin sticking together.

4. Give it a quick kneed until you've incorporated everything and then wrap the dough in waxed paper and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer. You can make the crust ahead of time or even use a store-bought crust.

5. Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the fridge and lay it out on a floured surface - you can use the counter or an upside down baking sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll it out in a rough circle until it is about 10-12 inches in diameter than gently pick it up and drape it in the pie dish. Roll any excess under and then crimp the edges with your fingers or the tines of a fork. If you won't be using pie weights, poke the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of the fork.

Make the filling & assemble the pie

6. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the chopped nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to toast while it's heating up - I'd set a timer for 5 minutes to ensure that you don't end up burning them. Once they're browned, take them out and set them aside to cool.

7. When the oven reaches 400°F, blind bake the pie crust for 10 minutes (again, use a timer!) until it is looking golden brown. Don't freak out if it starts to balloon up, just gently poke it back down. Set it aside on the counter to cool.

8. Turn the oven down to 350°F! Combine the melted butter, salt, sugar, maple syrup, coffee and eggs and whisk to combine. Lay the toasted pecans and chopped chocolate in the bottom of the pie crust then pour the filling over it and top with a few whole, raw pecans. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes. The outer edges should be firm while the center should be a little bit jiggly. Take it out and let it cool fully before serving. This will allow the center to finish cooking completely and set fully. Serve on its own or with whipped cream.

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