Ham Shank

This isn’t really a recipe, so much as instructions for cooking a shank end half-ham.  The resting time is important.  It all is.  If you do it right, you’ll have an amazing ham.

No, I don’t glaze my ham.  That makes the leftovers more versatile.

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Ham Shank

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Ingredients
  • shank end half-ham
Method
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Remove ham from package.
  3. Pat dry with paper towels.
  4. Place on rack in roasting pan, pointed end up.
  5. Cover with foil.
  6. Bake 15 minutes per pound or until 145 on meat thermometer.
  7. Place on platter and cover with foil tent … let rest 15-20 minutes.

Pomegranate and Pear Salad

This is a pretty salad that is nice for a holiday gathering.  The bright red pomegranate arils are very festive for any autumn or winter occasion.  Do invest in finding sherry vinegar.  It’s so worth it.

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Pomegranate and Pear Salad

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Ingredients
  • 5 Tbsp sherry wine vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper (to taste)
  • 6 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 pears, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 10 oz bag tender or baby spinach
  • 1 c pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2 c chopped pecans
  • 4 oz crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Method

Dressing

  1. Whisk together vinegar, salt, and pepper.
  2. Slowly add EVOO, whisking until it thickens.

Salad

  1. Toss pears, spinach, pomegranate, pecans, and cheese.
  2. Serve with dressing.

Beef and Onions Stewed in Beer

What makes this dish work is caramelizing the onions at the beginning.  It takes time and you can’t skimp on it or you lose out on the flavor.  I’m a fan of dark beer in general for cooking, so you can see why I like this dish.  I’ve never had it dry out, but maybe your stove is wonky or something…have another bottle of beer on hand just in case.

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Beef and Onions Stewed in Beer

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Ingredients
  • 3 c thinly sliced onions
  • 3 Tbsp lard or canola oil
  • 2.5 lbs beef, cut into 1.5" cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1 bottle stout or dark beer
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (or to taste)
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
Method
  1. Put onion in a large Dutch oven or skillet with a lid and cover it. Cook on medium, checking every couple of minutes until the onion is dry and almost sticking to the pan (about 15 minutes total).
  2. Add 2 Tbsp of the lard or oil and cook until the onion becomes a soft, brown mass, another 15 minutes or so.
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and add remaining lard/oil to the pan.
  4. Heat to medium-high and brown the meat on all sides, sprinkling with salt and pepper as it browns.
  5. When it’s brown, add garlic, and cook about 30 seconds, stirring.
  6. Return onion to the pan; add herbs and beer.
  7. Bring to a boil, then adjust heat so mixture simmers; cover.
  8. Cook about an hour, or until meat is very tender, checking occasionally to make sure it doesn’t dry out (not gonna happen but if it does, add more beer).
  9. Uncover. It should be stewy, not soupy. If it’s too soupy, boil off some liquid.
  10. Stir in the mustard, then taste and adjust.
  11. Garnish if you’d like and serve. Refrigerate leftovers.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

My former neighbor, “Eric’s mom” said this recipe came from “a restaurant” but she never said which one (or if she did, it was one I didn’t go to so the name escapes me).  I don’t know if she means it was a copycat recipe or what, but it’s very tasty and easy to make (so I doubt it’s legit — do restaurants make this quantity of soup?).  My family has tried several recipes for this kind of soup and this one has stuck with us.

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Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Ingredients
  • 1 12-oz bag frozen broccoli cuts or florets
  • 1 pint half-and-half
  • 1 pint water
  • 1 lb Velveeta or store-brand cheese loaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c water
Method
  1. Cook broccoli in microwave.
  2. On low heat (or a double boiler if you have electric) combine half-and-half, water and cheese.
  3. Heat until all the cheese is melted.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, then broccoli.
  5. Mix cornstarch and water and add to the soup; heat until thickened.

Bavarian Meatballs

This is a good appetizer served with toothpicks or a good main dish served over rice or buttered egg noodles.  I originally got the recipe from “Eric’s mom” whose name I don’t remember but who lived next door for a few years and who had a lot of good recipes, including a prize-winning enchilada recipe that I haven’t shared yet.

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Bavarian Meatballs

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Ingredients
  • 2 lbs frozen Swedish meatballs
  • 1 large onion, sliced and made into rings
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 envelope beefy onion soup mix
  • 12 oz bottle or can of good beer
Method
  1. Combine onion and meatballs in crock.
  2. Sprinkle with brown sugar and soup mix.
  3. Pour beer over top.
  4. Cook on Low 5-6 hours.

Polish Cabbage and Potato Soup

This can be made vegetarian, but honestly, I’ve always made it with bacon.  It’s a family recipe I got from my aunt.  The stock is “use what you have” but I tend to buy cartons of beef stock for this because I don’t tend to make stock anymore from old bones (mostly because I tend not to have old bones from the recipes I make nowadays—I seldom roast a chicken or a turkey, etc.)

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Polish Cabbage and Potato Soup

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Ingredients
  • 4 slices bacon (optional)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small head cabbage, cored and shredded
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 2 medium-to-large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 cups stock (vegetable if making vegetarian, beef or chicken otherwise)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 c croutons
Method
  1. Cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium until some fat is rendered, about 3-5 minutes. Add onion (or cook onion in 2 Tbsp oil if making vegetarian).
  2. Stir until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add cabbage and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add caraway seeds and potatoes. Lightly brown the potatoes, about 5 more minutes.
  5. Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are very tender.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Thin with water or stock, if needed.
  7. Garnish with croutons and serve immediately.