Talk Is Cheap: Chef Stephanie Izard's Affordable Holiday Recipes

Posted on Dec 1, 2011 10:45am

­­­­­In "The Talk" kitchen today, author of "Girl in th­e Kitchen" chef Stephanie Izard shares budget-friendly entertaining recipes for this holiday season. Try these delicious dishes for ­your family.

Brown Butter-Delicata Squash Soup with Sherry GastriqueTALK_1201_STEPH_REC_SOUP2.jpg­
­(delicata squash can be replaced with butternut squash)
Serves four to six­

2 delicata squash, about 1.5-2 pounds each
1 stick unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 minced fresh thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced small
1 fennel bulb, diced small
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version)
1 cup apple cider
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and set two oven racks evenly apart.  Cut each squash in ­half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy pulp.  Place 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter inside each squash half and season with salt and pepper.  Place the squash halves cut-side down in a baking dish large enough to hold all four (divide them among two baking dishes if they do not fit in one).  Add enough water to go 1/2 inch up each squash half.  Bake the squash until the skins start to brown and the flesh is tender, about 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven (leaving the oven on), flip over so the flesh is exposed, and set aside to cool.  When the squash halves are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and discard the skins, reserving the flesh and baking liquid

2. Toss the pumpkin seeds with the vegetable oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the thyme, then spread them out on a baking sheet.  Bake until just lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

3. Set a large soup pot over medium-low heat and add the olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and sweat by cooking them until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the apple and fennel, season with salt and pepper, and sweat until the fennel is translucent, about 15 minutes more.

4. Add the wine and simmer to reduce almost all of the liquid.  Add the broth, cider, reserved squash liquid, and the squash flesh.  Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

5.  Meanwhile, slowly melt the remaining 1/4 cup butter in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Continue heating until the milk solids begin to fall to the bottom of the pot and start to brown.  Take care not to let the solids blacken, removing the butter from the heat when it is dark after 10 to 15 minutes.  Strain the brown butter through a fine-mesh sleeve and discard the solids.

6.  Working with a blender, puree the soup until smooth.  Add the brown butter slowly, stopping to loosen the ingredients with a wooden spoon if necessary.  Add additional broth to thin the soup if it's too thick.  Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

7.  Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with sherry gastrique (recipe below), and sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds.

Sherry Gastrique

1 cup sherry vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1. Combine the vinegar, sugar, thyme, and peppercorns in a small heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Summer the liquid to reduce until syrupy, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Cool the liquid and strain out the thyme and peppercorns. You can store in a tightly sealed container (no need to refrigerate) for up to 1 month.

­­Roasted Pork Loin with Cranberry-Pistachio Chutney
­Serves four to six

For the Roasted Pork Loin:
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
1/2 cup Kosher salt
1 small onion, quartered
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 dried Thai chili
1 quart (4 cups) water
1 4 to 6-pound boneless pork loin, trimmed and tied
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the Cranberry-Pistachio Chutney:
1 small red onion, diced small
2 cups dried cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
2/3 cup roughly chopped, toasted pistachios

1. Make a brine by combining garlic, salt, onion, sugar, chile and water in a medium sauce pot. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes.  Chill the brine completely.  Place the pork and brine in a gallon-size tip top bag (alternatively, use a wide shallow bowl) and refrigerate for 5-8 hours or overnight.

2.  Make the chutney while the pork brines or roasts.  Combine the onion, cranberries, sugar, vinegar, and wine in a medium saucepan.  Bring the liquid to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until just syrupy.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the pistachios just before serving.

3.  Pre-heat the oven to 375° F.  Remove the pork from brine and pat it dry with paper towel.  Discard the brine.  Season the pork with plenty of pepper.  Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Brown the pork loin on all sides and then place it on rack in roasting pan.

4.  Roast the pork for 1-1 1/2 hours or until the meat registers 145° F on a meat thermometer.    Let the pork rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

5.  Slice the pork and top with chutney to serve.

Cook's Note:
A boneless pork loin should be tied before roasting to prevent the meat from unraveling while roasting.  Grocery stores and butchers often do this step for you before packaging or selling the meat, but it is simple to do with butcher's string at home.  You'll need about two to three times the length of the pork loin in string. Start by tying the string in a double knot around the top of the loin, about 1/2 inch from the end.  Next, make a wide loop in your hands with the slack string and slip the loin through the loop.  Slide the loop down the loin about 1 inch from the original knot.  Continue this loop and slide process to the other end of the loin. Flip the roast over and run the remaining string the entire length of the loin to the original knot. Bring the string back down the length of the loin on the other side, wrapping the string around the horizontal loops.  Tie the string in a knot on the end loop and trim excess string.  The horizontal loops should resemble a ladder running the length of the loin at even intervals.  One line of string should run lengthwise on both sides of the loin.  

Alternatively, cut individual segment of string and tie and even intervals horizontally the length of the loin.  Finish by tying a single vertical loop around the entire loin from top to bottom. 

Roasted Cauliflower
­­­4 servings

2 tablespoons oil
4 cups cauliflower, sliced
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoons crunch butter (see recipe below)
1 tablespoons pinenuts, toasted
2 tablespoons pickled peppers
1 oz parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoons mint, torn

1. heat oil in a sauté pan.
2. add cauliflower and cook until caramelized, toss and continue to cook until caramelized on all sides. season with salt.
3. add water and steam cauliflower until cooked.
4. add the crunch butter & toss to coat then add the pinenuts & pickled pepper. toss until heated.
5. remove from heat. add the parmesan cheese & mint, toss to combine.
6. plate or platter as desired and garnish with pinenuts, parmesan cheese & mint.

for crunch butter
(yields 1 cup)

4 oz softened butter, unsalted
1 garlic clove, grated
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
salt to taste

1. in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients and whip until light & fluffy.

for garnish:
2 tsp pinenuts, toasted
2 tsp parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp mint, torn


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