by Maria Faust
I never would have dreamed that squirrels had a thing or two to teach me about stocking the larder.
For years, my husband and I waged The Black Walnut Wars with those furry little fiends, thinking we could outsmart them. Thousands of walnuts later, we still have the mess, they are still using our ancient garage as a private pantry, and a veritable walnut grove has arisen in our secret dumping ground. Is it any wonder that we became battle-weary and they became delirious with their burgeoning local food supply?
So, you see, it was the squirrels that led this family down the path of stocking up on the best of each season, grown here in Winona County. Freshly purchased, we fill our bellies, as well as our freezer and pantry, for use in the months to come. Why, I feel downright giddy just thinking about the local meats, honey, dairy, root vegetables, cabbage and apples that are available nearby for all of us to squirrel away. Whether it is the present season or the one to come, those busy little critters keep reminding us of the adage, “ If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!”
Pot Roast with
*we have frozen this successfully, but seal carefully, the sauce isn’t plentiful!
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon (packed) golden brown sugar
1 4-pound boneless grass-fed beef chuck roast, tied
6 ounces slab bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, then into 1x1/2-inch rectangles
2 cups dry red wine
1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
2 large onions, thinly sliced
12 small shallots, peeled
12 garlic cloves, peeled
3 bay leaves
4 large carrots (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 medium parsnips, (about 12 ounces), peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small celery root, peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 6 ingredients in small bowl. Rub spice blend all over beef.
Cook bacon in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat until browned and lightly crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels do drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot.(add oil if necessary). Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes total. Transfer beef to plate. Add red wine to pot: bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Add broth and bacon. Place beef atop bacon. Scatter onions, shallots, garlic, and bay leaves around beef.
Cover pot, transfer to oven, and roast 1 hour. Turn beef over, stir onions. Cover and roast 1 hour longer, adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if dry. Transfer to plate. Add carrots, parsnips, and celery to pot; stir to coat. Place beef atop vegetables, cover, and roast until beef and vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes longer. Transfer beef to platter. Spoon off fat from surface of sauce. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over beef and serve, garnished with chopped parsley.
From: Bon Appetit February 2008
Sweet and Sour
* This tastes better the day after you make it and it freezes beautifully.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups minced onion
8 cups cut red cabbage (cut into 1-inch “squares”)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2/3 cup dried cranberries
Freshly ground black pepper
Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat. After about a minute, add the canola oil, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion and saute for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the cabbage and stir well so that it gets completely coated with oil.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the vinegar, and cover the pan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely wilted, 10 to 15 minutes.
Turn down the heat to low, then stir in the salt and the dried cranberries. Cover and continue cooking for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is very tender. (If the cabbage seems dry at any time, you can a dd a few tablespoons of water.)
Taste to see if it needs more salt. Add black pepper to taste and even a bit more red wine vinegar (for tartness) or balsamic vinegar (for sweeter tartness) if you like. (or do this after thawing/reheating from a frozen state)
Serve hot or warm.
Serves 4 to 6
From: as printed in the St. Paul Pioneer Press
Lentil Soup With Lamb and Mint
* freeze this for up to 6 months. Ground lamb can be found at some grocers and at some farmers markets.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground lamb
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 large parsnips, peeled, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 pound lentils, rinsed (preferably small green variety)
4 14-ounce cans (or more) beef broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
Heat oil in heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add lamb, celery, parsnips, onion, and garlic. Saute until vegetables are almost tender and lamb is cooked through and beginning to brown, breaking up lamb with back of fork, about 15 minutes. Add lentils and stir 1 minute. Add 4 cans broth, tomatoes with juice, and cumin. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
Transfer 2 cups soup to blender and puree until smooth; return to same pot. Mix in 1/4 cup mint. Thin soup with more broth if desired. Season soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup mint.
From: Bon Appetit January 2005