Guava-Glazed Grilled Ribs

Guava-Glazed Grilled Ribs {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Hi friends. This one’s a guest post from my better half, who’s the grill-master in our relationship. I did do some quality testing though, so I can confirm that these are worth making. And definitely worth eating if someone else makes them for you!

Growing up, ribs were something my father worked on perfecting over infinite summer afternoons. Along with your other excellent suburban traditions, early morning soccer and football in the backyard, grilling was a must during weekends in the summer. We’d absolutely crowd the grill with racks and racks of market-cut beef ribs, trimmed up and spiced with an ever-improving rub. It was always, and still is, an eternity to wait for ribs to be done perfectly. So we’d stand in a circle on his porch and make giant indian smoke signals every time the grill cover came off, checking on coals barely glowing through the supreme pile of meat. Dad would admire the Boston skyline, just visible from his back porch in the neighborhood-on-a-hill, and I can remember needing to sprint around the yard, just to diffuse my excitement. I’m personally ready to eat ribs at the first sizzle of meat on grill, and to this day, I’m not entirely sure how long it took to cook those massive cuts. But in the end, I’m grateful it helped stretch out those Saturdays in summer.

Guava-Glazed Grilled Ribs {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Guava-Glazed Grilled Ribs {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Both my brother and I had our roles in the process; I’d tackle the sauce, while Andrew would handle the rub, and we’d trade off working on sides. My dad would trim up the ribs and handle the art/science of developing the long slow fire, which got perfectly smoky when the fat started dripping. The smells are incredible, and tasting the tenderest bite through a layer of crunchy, smokey caramelization to me is unparallelled. The result was always a consistent, falling of the bone, sweet tender and smokey feast.

I recently spent a very nice long weekend with my dad and my brother and my stepmom, in my dad’s own childhood hometown for a family reunion. Over a bottle of Noah’s Mill and a fair few cigars, the men got down to a little reflecting. Andrew is great in the kitchen and regularly cooks from this website (often providing unsolicited feedback). My stepmom and dad are vegetarians and super accomplished crossfitters, and stronger than I’ll ever be. But, we equally enjoyed those memories of summer Saturdays, and we each were sure it was perfect.

At any rate, now that Katie and I have a grill, I’m making my own attempt at perfection. With the old tricks still fresh in my mind, I’ve been working a rib recipe that’s good enough to share. I’m definitely using some non-traditional flavors, but the philosophy is the same. So this probably isn’t the final product, but I think it’s a pretty good effort, and a good place to reflect on the way.

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Guava-Glazed Grilled Ribs {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Guava-Glazed Grilled Ribs

A Katie at the Kitchen Door original. Serves 2-3.

Note: Ribs are like an art project. All times, ingredients, implements and instructions are approximate. This is simply what has been working for me.

  • 1 rack untrimmed  pork or beef ribs, about 4-5lbs. (increase cooking time for larger racks)

For the rub:

  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp sumac
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

For the sauce:

  • 14 oz guava paste
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim any loose bits from the inside and edges of the rack.
  2. Mix together all seven rub spices in a bowl. Completely cover the rack (and trimmings) with the rub and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 12.
  3. Light grill, maintaining medium heat (300-350°F). Sear ribs on both sides for 5-10 min a side.
  4. Move ribs to the perimeter of the fire and grill for about 2.5 hours, flipping every 30 minutes.
  5. While the ribs are cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the sauce, until smooth. If the guava paste is lumpy, heat sauce gently over medium heat while stirring to help smooth it out.
  6. Just before you are ready to take the ribs off the grill, brush the ribs liberally with the sauce, then allow the ribs to cook for 2-3 minutes a side, monitoring carefully to ensure the sauce does not burn. Remove the ribs from the grill, let rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve.

Alamos Wine Dinner // Arugula Salad with Quince and Prosciutto, Beef Short Ribs, Potato Gnocchi

Alamos Wine Dinner

Alamos Wine Dinner

Last year, I decided that I wanted to be into wine. I knew that I liked drinking wine in general, and I liked drinking wine with food, but beyond that, my knowledge was pretty limited. If I had to choose a glass of wine at a restaurant, the only thing I knew I liked was Merlot, and I started feeling boring pretty quickly always ordering the same thing. So I started learning. The wine world can be pretty daunting at first, especially because it has something of a reputation for snobbery. But the best way to get past that is just to dive in and start tasting, so that’s what I did. I began trying new wines, writing down whether or not I liked them, and trying to determine why I liked them, using whatever words came to me and not worrying about whether they were real “wine” words or if they were accurate (I use Vivino to keep track of what I’ve tried and how I felt about it). I started going to the tastings at Bacco’s after work and asking whoever was running the tasting a lot of basic questions about each bottle. At IFBC I signed up for all the wine events possible – tasting sessions and winery tours – and paid close attention to the details of each presentation (well, I paid attention at least through the third glass). I discovered that tasting 4 or 5 wines in a row really helped me pinpoint the differences between them, and that if you’re paying attention to it, food can make a huge difference in the way a wine tastes.

Alamos Wine Dinner

And after all this learning? I know that I like Merlot and Chardonnay. But also a really yummy, smoky Pinot Noir from Chile, and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that’s loaded with grapefruit flavor. And that there are some wines I really don’t like. I feel like I’m just beginning to scratch the surface, but it’s less daunting now, and mostly just fun. And I want to share that fun with you, so I’m starting a “Wine Dinner” series here, where every once in a while I work with a winery or regional wine board to put together a little dinner party focused on the wine they promote, and recipes to pair with them. I kicked things off last weekend with Alamos Wines, an Argentinean winery that I connected with at IFBC. They sent me two bottles of wine and I invited my roommates from last year, Allison and Jane, over for a little dinner – they seemed like safe first guests since they already know that I’m weird and take a lot of pictures of my food. It was so fun to see them, and to come up with the recipes, and to evaluate the wine – but it turns out I need to practice my dinner party photography! Don’t judge me too harshly, I’m still learning.

Arugula, Quince and Prosciutto Salad - Alamos Wine Dinner

Wine #1: Torrontés – For the first course, Alamos sent me a bottle of their 2012 Torrontés. I’d never tried Torrontés before, but I read that it’s a fairly sweet white wine, sometimes compared to Gewürtztraminer and Riesling. Pairing suggestions included sweet fruits, rich meats such as salmon and foie gras, and spicy food. I went the sweet/rich route and prepared an arugula salad, lightly dressed with a Meyer lemon and maple dressing, then tossed with poached quince, manchego, and prosciutto. Most of the quinces available in the U.S. come from Argentina, so it seemed like an appropriate ingredient. I was really into this salad – sweet, salty, bitter, and rich, it hit all my flavor high points. The Torrontés was indeed a bit sweet, but with a crisp, dry finish. The Alamos wines are on the lower end of the price scale, with the Torrontés coming in at under $10 a bottle, so I wasn’t expecting very much complexity, and didn’t find it, but for a $10 bottle of wine it was full-flavored and very drinkable. No complaints here.

Alamos Wine Dinner

Wine #2: Malbec – Malbec was the varietal of choice for the second course. Another wine that I don’t have a ton of experience with, Malbec is frequently characterized as an intensely fruity wine with berry and plum flavors, and a good budget alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. I liked this particular bottle – my first thought was “mmm, tastes like Merlot” (I was relieved to see other writers compare it to Merlot, as well). Another good value, this medium-bodied wine would make a good everyday red. Since Malbec pairs well with rich flavors, red meat, and aromatic herbs, we served this with a beef short rib braise and potato gnocchi. Argentina’s cuisine has a lot of Italian influence, so the gnocchi aren’t at all out of place in this dish, and the pillowy dumplings soak up the beefy red wine sauce really well.

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Disclaimer: Alamos provided me with two bottles of wine to use in this post, but I was not otherwise compensated and all thought and opinions are my own.

Arugula, Quince and Prosciutto Salad - Alamos Wine Dinner

Arugula Salad with Poached Quince, Prosciutto, and Manchego

Adapted from Food52. Serves 4.

  • 3 quince
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 Meyer lemon
  • 1 TBS maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 oz. baby arugula
  • 4 oz. manchego cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 oz. prosciutto, sliced into thin strips
  1. At least 3 hours before you’d like to serve the salad, poach the quince. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the quince, then very carefully slice the fruit away from the core and seeds  in wedges – careful, quince can be kind of slippery. Place the sugar and the water in a large pot and bring to a simmer. Place the quince wedges in the simmering syrup, and place a plate over the top of the fruit to keep them submerged. Keep at a gentle simmer until quince have turned rosy and are very tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add a little more water if the syrup gets too low. Pour the quince and their syrup into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until chilled.
  2.  Cut the lemon in half and remove as many seeds as possible. Squeeze the lemon juice into a jar or small bowl. Add the maple syrup, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover jar with lid and shake to mix dressing, or whisk vigorously if using a bowl. Set aside.
  3. About 15 minutes before serving, add the arugula to a large salad bowl and gently toss with the dressing. Let sit for a few minutes, then divide dressed greens between four plates. Top each plate with a few slices of quince, cubes of manchego, and strips of prosciutto. Serve immediately.

Beef Short Ribs and Potato Gnocchi - Alamos Wine Dinner

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Inspired by Bon Appetit and Emeril Lagasse. Serves 6-8.

  • 2 TBS paprika
  • 2 TBS sea salt
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 4 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs
  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 TBS flour
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 2 c. red wine
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 2 c. crushed tomatoes
  • 2 c. beef stock
  • Potato Gnocchi, to serve (store bought is fine, too)
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, sea salt, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, and cayenne until evenly combined. Rub this spice mixture all over the short ribs, covering all sides. Heat the vegetable oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add as many short ribs as will comfortably fit, and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total per rib. Once browned, transfer the ribs to a plate and set aside. Repeat until all the ribs are browned.
  2. Discard all but 2 TBS of the fat from the pan, and return to the heat. Add the diced onions and carrots and cook for 5-7 minutes, until onions are translucent, stirring frequently. Add the flour and stir to coat the veggies, and allow to cook for 1 minute. Then stir in the tomato paste, and slowly add the red wine, stirring and allowing the mixture to thicken slightly between each addition. Once you’ve added all the wine to the pot, return the ribs to the pot. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and let simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  3. After the ribs have simmered for 25 minutes, add the tomatoes and beef stock to the pan, stir to combine, and cover with a lid. Place in the oven and cook, turning every hour or so, until ribs are very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove from oven, and skim as much fat from the surface as possible. If you want a more elegant preparation, remove the ribs, strain the sauce and discard the vegetables – this is optional, and we served this rustic-style. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper, and serve the ribs and their sauce over freshly cooked potato gnocchi.

Marx Foods Grass-Fed Strip Steaks + Onion Rings + Duck-Fat Yorkshire Pudding

So here’s something new… I’m handing the blogging reins over to Trevor today. Yes, my silent, handsome, boyfriend is starting to get the blogging bug, and I think it’s awesome. The only thing I want to add to his review: I usually will only eat my steak cooked medium-well, because any fatty texture really kind of grosses me out. These steaks though? I devoured them cooked medium-rare, because the steaks held together so well even when only minimally cooked and had a great, chewable texture. It was a great discovery that if the beef is grass-fed, I can stop horrifying chefs by ordering everything medium-well. And now, to Trevor.

Grass-Fed Strip Steaks with Porcini and Rosemary Rub {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

It was a super nice surprise last week to be asked by Marx Foods to sample some grass-fed Beef Strip Steaks from New Zealand. I could definitely get used to receiving last-minute steak deliveries from the friendly folks over there, and it’s sure nice to have an excuse to cook a big steak dinner with my best gal. Don’t be fooled though! This was a research-heavy endeavor. When I spring for meat, it’s either as a part of one of Katie’s gourmet super-projects (i.e. rabbit pie, venison ragout, stuffed quail,) or it’s the supermarket-special 5-pound pork loin (serves ten), which I proceed to eat solo while Katie jets around Europe for work. So I hit the books, nearly exhausting the meat-related content of Katie’s cookbook reference library.

Grass-Fed Strip Steaks with Porcini and Rosemary Rub {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

What I found was pretty consistent; to earn the “grass-fed” moniker, the animal has to be raised on grasses, hay, silage or legumes, not finished on a high volume of corn and the low dose of antibiotics typical of commodity beef, and it must spend most of its time in a pasture. The result of these practices is a healthier animal with a lower fat content, with the added benefit of not promoting the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What this all means when it comes to cooking grass-fed beef is pretty straightforward:

  • It doesn’t hurt to tenderize: The leaner meat is not as thickly marbleized. Bruce Aidells’ The Great Meat Cookbook suggests using a Jaccard.
  • Aidells and The American Grassfed Association (AGA) agree that leaner cuts can benefit from a marinade.
  • Cooking rare to medium-rare yields the best results, but grassfed beef cooks more quickly than non-grass-fed.

The perfect preparation was definitely Aidells’ marinade-dry rub combo. The steaks sat in a mushroom-flavored dark soy with some smashed garlic, then they got a beautiful porcini-rosemary dry rub which ended up really emphasizing the natural earthy, beefy flavor of the grass-fed beef. Overall, the slight tang from the soy and garlic along with the dark, aromatic, meaty flavor of the beef, made this preparation totally killer. The marinade yielded a nice, tender texture without any sort of unpleasant mealiness. My one regret for this recipe was our current lack of grill. Though a little trickier in terms of temp control, I think doing the initial searing-off on the grill could have added some awesome flavor. Although a little pricey at $13 for each 12 oz. steak, the combination of the gamier flavor and firmer texture makes these steaks worth the occasional splurge.

Vidalia Onion Rings with Beer Mustard Aioli {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Duck-Fat Yorkshire Pudding {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

As a meal, the steak could certainly stands alone, or with any steakhouse sides. For this meal though, Katie set her yorkshire pudding with creamed spinach against my beer-battered onion rings with mustard aioli in what turned out to be a delightfully diverse night of overeating. Both side dishes came from Richard Blais’ Try This At Home, and while the duck-fat coated yorkshire puddings puffed up beautifully in the oven, the onion rings and the sweet, tangy mustard dip were the clear victor [edit: Katie agrees].

Disclaimer: Marx Foods sent us these steaks free of charge in exchange for our honest review. 10 bloggers received steak samples, and the blogger with the most thorough review will win a credit to the Marx Foods store.

Grass-Fed Strip Steaks with Porcini and Rosemary Rub {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Pan-Seared Grass-Fed Strip Steaks with Porcini and Rosemary Rub

Recipe adapted from The Great Meat Cookbook. Serves 2.

  • Two 12-oz grass-fed strip steaks
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/2 c. dark mushroom-flavored soy sauce (available at Chinese groceries)
  • 1/2 c. dried porcini mushrooms OR 2 TBS porcini powder
  • 1 TBS finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  1. Place the steaks in a ziploc bag. Combine the smashed garlic and the dark soy sauce and pour over the steaks. Seal the bag and shake to thoroughly coat the steaks with the marinade. Let the steaks marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, flipping them over occasionally to distribute the marinade.
  2. Grind the dried porcini mushrooms in a coffee grinder until they are a fine powder. Combine 2 TBS of the porcini powder with the chopped rosemary and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Remove the steaks from the marinade, letting the excess drip off. Scrape off any garlic, and pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. Generously sprinkle the porcini mixture over the steaks so that both sides are completely coated.
  4. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Add one of the steaks and cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until it has a deep brown exterior. Transfer the steak to a baking sheet, and repeat with the second steak.
  5. Place the seared steaks in the oven. After 10 minutes, check the internal temperature – when the temperature reaches 125°F to 130°F they are medium-rare. When they are medium rare, let rest 5 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil, then serve.

Vidalia Onion Rings with Beer Mustard Aioli

Recipe adapted from Try This At Home. Serves 4.

  • 2 large Vidalia onions
  • 2 c. low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. + 2 c. AP flour, divided
  • 1/4 c. rice flour
  • 1 c. soda water
  • 4 oz. beer (drink the rest!)
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • kosher salt
  • vegetable oil
  • beer mustard aioli, recipe below
  1. Peel onions without cutting through them, then slice each onion crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Separate the slices into individual rings. Place the onion rings in a shallow pan and cover with the buttermilk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/4 c. AP flour, rice flour, soda water, beer, and honey until smooth. Place the remaining 2 c. flour in a shallow pan and season with kosher salt.
  3. Fill a large heavy pot with at least 3 inches of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-high heat to about 350°F. Working in batches, lift the onion rings from the buttermilk and shake off the excess. Dredge them in the flour and toss until coated, then dip them one by one into the batter, shake off the excess, and carefully add to the hot oil. Fry, turning often with heat-proof tongs, until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels, then sprinkle with salt while they are still warm. Serve warm with beer mustard aioli.

Beer Mustard Aioli

Recipe from Try This At Home. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

  • 1 c. high quality mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS molasses
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp beer extract OR an additional 1 TBS molasses
  • pinch of cayenne
  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month.

New Yorkshire Pudding with Licorice-Creamed Spinach {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

New Yorkshire Pudding with Licorice-Spiced Creamed Spinach

Recipe adapted from Try This At Home. Serves 4.

  • 1 TBS olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh spinach, trimmed, washed, and sliced into thin ribbons
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c. + 2 TBS whole milk
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp pastrami spices, recipe below
  • 1 TBS duck fat or bacon grease
  • 1 TBS cold water
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a small baking dish with olive oil, and set aside.
  2. Heat the 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the garlic, shallot, and whole star anise and saute until the garlic and shallot are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook, using tongs to continuously toss the spinach so that all sides are exposed to the heat, just until spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Immediately place the spinach in a colander and let drain. Discard the star anise.
  3. Whisk together the cream, 1 of the eggs, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Squeeze the spinach to rid it of any excess water, then add the spinach to the prepared baking dish. Pour the cream mixture over the spinach and stir to combine. Bake for about 30 minutes, until center of spinach is set, then remove from oven and cover with tinfoil to keep warm.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pastrami spices, and salt to taste. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the milk, and stir to combine. Divide the duck fat between 4 cups of a jumbo muffin pan or 8 cups of a regular muffin pan and place the pan in the oven until the fat begins to sizzle and smoke, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven, quickly whisk the cold water into the pudding batter, then fill each muffin cup about 1/3 of the way full with the batter (the yorkshire puddings should puff up dramatically while they bake). Return the pan to the oven. Bake until puffed and golden brown – if using a jumbo muffin pan, about 30-35 minutes, or 15-20 minutes for a regular muffin pan.
  5. Remove the puddings from the oven, cut a slit in the top, and stuff with a spoonful of the creamed spinach. Serve hot.

Pastrami Spices

Recipe from Try This At Home. Makes about 1/4 cup.

  • 2 TBS whole coriander seeds
  • 1 TBS whole yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 TBS whole black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  1. Toast the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, and peppercorns in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent them from burning. Toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Cool completely, then grind coarsely in a spice or coffee grinder. Stir in the paprika. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Back to Russia // Russian Mushroom and Rabbit Pie

Russian Rabbit and Mushroom Pie {Katie at the Kitchen Door}I’m back in Russia for a week and a half, and while this time it will be a little bit darker and a lot colder, I’m still looking forward to exploring St. Petersburg some more, this time with my friend and coworker Veronika. We splurged and bought tickets to see Giselle at the Mariinsky next week, which I’m so excited about, and we’ll also have some time this weekend to wander about, visit the Hermitage, and maybe hit up the spa (because that’s something you should do when it’s 35°F in October).

Roasted Rabbit for Rabbit and Mushroom Pie {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

At some point I do plan to share some general travel tips for St. Petersburg – I’ve eaten at dozens of restaurants, stayed in four hotels, and made it to a good number of the biggest attractions, and I feel like I can’t let all that experience go to waste! I still have to get my act together and assemble that info, but I do have a really delicious Russian recipe for you right now. So far, my favorite place to eat in Russia is a popular chain called Shtolle (штолле), that serves sweet and savory pies. Russian pie dough is much more like a dinner roll than an American pie crust – it is a yeasted dough with sour cream and butter worked in, making it rich and airy at the same time. To get the good pies at Shtolle you have to go earlier in the day, as they’re often out of the best ones by dinnertime. I’ve tried the cabbage pie, meat pie, green onion and egg pie, and apricot pie, but my favorite by far is the mushroom and rabbit pie. I talked it up so much to Trevor that I knew we’d have to recreate it – so recreate it we did, and pretty successfully as well.

Russian Rabbit and Mushroom Pie Filling {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

I fully expected to struggle to find a good dough recipe, but I quickly found this recipe and it sounded like just what I was looking for. In fact, the hardest part of this whole process was finding reasonably priced rabbit in Boston. It’s around $13 a pound at Savenor’s, which feels like a lot, and we found one semi-local farm that sells whole rabbits for $6 a pound, but they weren’t going to have any available for the next few weeks. We had almost caved and bought the pricey Savenor’s rabbit, when we found it by chance for $7 a pound at Market Basket in Andover. We stocked up of course, so now we have plenty of rabbit for experimentation. As for the rest of the filling, I made it up based on memory – I knew it should have shredded braised rabbit, finely chopped mushrooms and onion, lots of dill, and a mild, light white sauce, which most likely was made from sour cream. Memory served me well, and the pie came out just like I remembered. I’m happy that I was able to leave Trevor a little taste of Russia while I’m away.

Russian Rabbit and Mushroom Pie {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Russian Mushroom and Rabbit Pie

Inspired by Shtolle. Serves 6-8. This recipe makes extra filling, which can be frozen for later use.

  • One 2.5 pound rabbit, broken into pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS canola oil
  • 1 1/2 c. chicken stock, divided (1 c. rabbit, 1/2 c. for filling)
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 12 oz. wild mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. fresh dill fronds, finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 recipe kulebyaka dough (below)
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 TBS water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Break the rabbit down into pieces (see tutorial here), removing the organs (to be discarded or cooked otherwise – we dredged the livers in flour and fried them up and they were surprisingly tasty). Season the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the canola oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the rabbit pieces and brown on all sides. Place the browned rabbit pieces in a 9×13 casserole dish. Add 1 cup of the chicken stock to the bottom of the dish. Bake for 90 minutes, basting with the roasting liquid every 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the rabbit from the oven and let cool until it is comfortable to handle. Shred the rabbit meat into pieces using your fingers or two forks. Set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 5-8 minutes. Add the chopped mushroom and saute until soft, another 5-8 minutes. Add the rabbit pieces and the dill, and cook to warm the rabbit through, about 3 minutes. Add the white wine and let simmer for 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Roll out the kulebyaka dough into two large rectangles, about 8 by 12 inches. Place one rectangle on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. Pile the rabbit filling into the center of the dough, leaving about one inch of space around all four edges. Pile the filling about 2 inches thick, using about half the rabbit filling – freeze the rest for a later use. Drape the second piece of dough on top of the filling and pinch the edges closed with your fingers. Trim any excess dough with a knife and use to make designs on the top of your pie. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F and let the pie sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Before putting in the oven, brush the top and sides of the pie with the egg yolk wash and slice a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to vent. Bake the pie for 25 minutes, until dough is golden brown. Let pie cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Kulebyaka Dough

Recipe from It’s Sooo Good. Makes 1 large pie

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 TBS warm water
  • 2 c. AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBS butter, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 3/4 c. sour cream
  • 1 whole egg
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes for yeast to proof – it should get frothy on top.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Add the butter cubes, and use your fingers to crumble them into the flour until there are no large chunks of butter remaining. Stir in the yeast mixture, the sour cream, and the egg until you have an even, soft dough. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 12 hours.
  3. Bring the dough out and let come to room temperature. On a floured work surface, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, taking care not to add too much additional flour. This may take from 5-20 minutes, depending on your dough. Once the dough is smooth, place in a greased bowl, cover with a clean dishtowel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size. At this point, proceed with the recipe above to roll out and fill the dough.

An Easy Fall Dinner // Roast Acorn Squash, Sausage, and Onions

Roast Acorn Squash, Sausage, and Onions with Dried Cherries and Sage {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Roast Acorn Squash, Sausage, and Onions with Dried Cherries and Sage {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been loving the fall weather we’ve been having in New England. Every day seems to start with a clear blue sky, air so crisp and fresh you feel like you’re really breathing for the first time in months. I’ve been breaking out the cashmere, scarves, leg warmers, and boots pretty much every day, and indulging in hot cider and donuts at the farmer’s market. And when I come home at night, before falling into bed, where I’ve been actively reveling in just how cozy a pile of comforters and pillows can be, I’ve been craving richer, meatier flavors.

Roast Acorn Squash, Sausage, and Onions with Dried Cherries and Sage {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

With the falling temperatures, dinner has become something to look forward to, especially with super-easy, satisfying meals like this one-pan roast. It takes all of 5 minutes to throw together and 20 minutes in the oven, and the flavors are perfect – spicy Italian sausage, earthy acorn squash, sweet roasted onion, salty parmesan cheese and a few sweet-sour dried cherries to brighten the whole thing. It has quickly become a favorite for us this month, and I’ve already forwarded the recipe on to my family, so I figured it was one that would be worth sharing with you all, too.

Acorn squash is one of the few squash that did well in our garden this year, so I’ve been on the lookout for good uses for the pile of softball-sized squash we have sitting in the kitchen. I love this recipe, but I don’t know if it’s going to get us through all of our squash. In the past, the most adventurous I’ve gotten with winter squash is smooth bisques and roasted squash cubes tossed with pasta, but I want to move beyond that. So, I’m turning to you. What are your favorite ways to prepare acorn squash? I’d love more ideas.

Roast Acorn Squash, Sausage, and Onions with Dried Cherries and Sage {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Sausages with Acorn Squash and Onions

Adapted very slightly from Martha Stewart. Serves 4.

  • 1 large acorn squash, halved, seeds scooped out and discarded, and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into thick wedges
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. of hot Italian sausage (4 links)
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBS minced fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 c. dried cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Place the squash slices and the onion wedges on a large baking sheet with sides, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then carefully flip and stir with a spatula to evenly coat all the squash. Spread the veggies out into an even layer (a single layer is ideal). Add the sausages to the pan, and roast for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, sage, and cherries, tossing to coat. Return to oven for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted, then serve immediately.