Parmesan Polenta with Sausage Ragù

Cornmeal, different grinds

Both the polenta and the ragù can be made ahead of time, for a quick, easy, yet delicious weekday meal.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound Nash’s Italian sausage
1 red onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups Nash’s medium-grind cornmeal (use the coarse grind if you like a more rustic texture)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add sausage and cook, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and boil; simmer until thick, 20 minutes. Add basil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring sea salt and 5 cups water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan. Slowly add cornmeal and cook, stirring constantly, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining oil, Parmesan, and salt. Divide between bowls and top with ragù; garnish with more Parmesan. Serves 4.

We thank Saveur.com for this recipe.

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Kidney Bean Sloppy Joes

Kidney beans

We are rolling into picnic season, so we thought we’d offer a meatless version of this classic. It makes about 8 servings.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup dried Nash’s kidney beans, soaked for 12-24 hours, drained, and cooked
8 rolls of your choice

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and green pepper and sauté until tender. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, chili powder, tomato paste, vinegar, and pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Prepare cooked kidney beans by roughly chopping before adding to the skillet. Once added, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Spoon bean mixture evenly into rolls of your choice and serve immediately. Enjoy this childhood classic!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

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The Perfect Pork Chop

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub down the chops with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, etc.

Heat up a skillet (cast iron, if possible) on medium-high with a little lard, oil, or butter. When ready, put chops on skillet for 2-3 minutes per side, until browned. Put the whole skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. This is important to make the perfect pork chop!

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Hearty Vegetable and Red Lentil Soup

On some days, a bowl of warm soup can soothe your senses and bring comfort. This vegetable lentil soup recipe from Mercola.com reader Marina Korsakova-Kreyn does just that by providing a harmonious blend of different vegetables and spices for a mouthwatering experience.

3 cups red lentils
1 large onion
5 medium carrots
5 medium potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 inch fresh ginger root
4 medium cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon dry seaweed mix (optional)

Boil 3 quarts filtered water in an 8-quart pot. Add lentils. Add all vegetables (washed, uncut, and unpeeled) to the boiling water. Add ginger (peeled but uncut) and 3 cloves of garlic.

Add turmeric, curry powder, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Cook vegetables, ginger and garlic until ready, about 30 minutes. Use a ladle to take them out on a big plate, and let them cool for about 20 minutes (while lentils continue simmering).

Blend cooled vegetables, ginger, and garlic in batches with generous amount of filtered water. Return to pot with now-cooked lentils and reheat. Add finely minced clove of garlic (add salt if needed).

Note: If using seaweed, reconstitute them in 2 cups of boiling water, let them cool, and then blend along with vegetables.

Prep and cook time: 2 hours
This recipe makes 20 servings.

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Shepherd’s Pie

This version of shepherd’s pie is quite reminiscent of the dish from Britain with a few small tweaks to make use of all the gorgeous produce we have as we move into spring.

1 tablespoon high heat oil
2 leeks, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 pound ground beef or Nash’s ground pork
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 cup diced broccoli, broccolini, or Nash’s purple broccoli
2 pounds Nash’s huckleberry gold potatoes, cut into chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk (any fat content — I prefer full fat, you can also sub yogurt here)
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the leek, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Throw the diced garlic and broccoli in after 5 minutes. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk (or yogurt) and salt. Spread them over the meat mixture, then crosshatch the top with a fork. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe adapted from epicurious.com.

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Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Two Garlic Bulbs

There will be zero vampires anywhere near your zip code after you make this delicious dish.

Serves 4
Active Time: 15 minutes
Start to finish: 1 hour

In this family-style dish, long, slow cooking transforms its pungency into a sweet, mellow mash, perfect for smearing on a piece of crusty bread. Follow that with greedy forkfuls of the bird, and use a remnant of bread to sop up the luxurious juices.

1 four-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry (Organic whole birds for sale at Nash’s Farm Store)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 scant cup olive oil
2 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 fresh sage sprig
1 Turkish or California bay leaf
1 celery rib
40 cloves garlic, peeled (3-5 heads)
Accompaniment: toasted baguette slices

Special equipment: kitchen string; an instant-read thermometer

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350F.

Sprinkle chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Tie legs together with kitchen string and fold wings under chicken. Heat oil in a 6- to 8-quart wide heavy ovenproof pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken and sear, turning it carefully, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Tie herbs and celery together with string to make a bouquet garni and add to pot. Scatter garlic over bottom of pot and put chicken breast side up on top of garlic. Cover tightly, transfer to oven, and bake, basting twice, until thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (without touching bone) registers 170F, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes; reserve pan juices.

Spread roasted garlic on toasts and cut chicken into serving pieces. Serve chicken drizzled with some of pan juices.

We thank The Gourmet Cookbook for this recipe.

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Benedict Strata

8 slices whole-wheat bread
6 slices (4 ounces) bacon, chopped
6 farm-fresh eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

Break the bread slices into 1-inch pieces. Place half of the pieces in single layer in greased 8-inch square baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the bacon. Repeat layers with remaining bread pieces and bacon.

Beat eggs, milk, mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon peel in large bowl until blended. Slowly pour over layers in baking dish. Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Remove strata from refrigerator; uncover and let stand while oven heats. Bake in center of 350°F oven until puffed, golden and knife inserted near center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Variation: sprinkle 1 cup finely chopped kale between the layers, and/or 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese on top for the last 20 minutes of baking.

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Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin

1 pork loin (1 1/2 pounds)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 pound bacon, thinly sliced
1 cup white wine

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat pork roast dry with paper towels. Season pork roast with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Sear pork on all sides until browned, about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat.

Rub pork with chopped rosemary; wrap with bacon, overlapping strips slightly. Tie pork roast with kitchen string.

Roast in oven, basting occasionally with cooking juices, until internal temperature is 145°F on a meat thermometer, 35 or 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Transfer pork to a serving dish.

Make pan sauce. Place the roasting skillet on the stove top over low heat. Add the wine and deglaze the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Skim off the fat. Reheat to serving temperature if necessary.

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Citrus Pork with Egg Noodles

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boneless pork loin, cut into 2″ x 1/2″ strips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 tablespoon corn starch
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1/2 pound egg noodles, cooked, drained

Get the water boiling for your noodles.

In a small bowl combine cumin, salt and pepper. Add pork; toss to coat.

In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes or until browned.

In a small bowl blend the broth, orange juice, vinegar, and brown sugar. Reserve 1/4 cup of the broth mixture. Pour all but the reserved broth mixture into the skillet with the pork and garlic. Add the carrots. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cook 7-8 minutes.
Blend corn starch into reserved broth mixture. Stirring constantly, pour the corn starch mixture into the skillet to thicken the sauce. Add the green onions. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 more minute.

Toss with the noodles. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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Italian Sausage Soup

1 pound Italian-spiced pork sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups stewed tomatoes
1 cup sliced carrots
2 cups great Northern beans with cooking liquid
2 small zucchini, cubed
2 cups spinach, packed, rinsed and torn
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in beans with liquid and zucchini. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.

Remove from heat and add spinach. Replace lid, allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.

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