When it’s the dead of winter and there are no fresh, vibrant berries or stone fruits to speak of (at least, not the type that hasn’t been shipped thousands of miles and has the “meh” flavor and price tag to prove it), baking can seem kind of dreary. There are only so many brownies and chocolate chip cookies a person can take. It’s then that apples and pears are the answer. Hearty with a long storage life, you’re bound to find a couple rattling around the fridge just about any time of year.
There’s a fine line between apple pie and this recipe. I’ll level with you—I’m not sure there’s a line at all. What it comes down to is how this item is found in Midwestern bakeries: on sheet pans the size of barn doors, slicked with icing, often called an apple slice or apple square, and eaten out of hand midday with no thought about it being dessert. So, this recipe being a pastry and not pie is a state of mind, is what I’m saying.
I pretty much always want something braised for dinner, and as much as I love braising the legs of a cow, pig, or lamb, they take a few hours to get tender and thus aren’t always the best option for a weeknight. A chicken’s legs, on the other hand, braise in less than an hour, so you can have a righteous braised dish any night of the stupid week! This super simple stew is inspired by autumn flavors, using bacon, fennel, and apples (both fresh and in hard apple cider). You could totally swap out the hard cider if you’re not into the alcohol, but I would use chicken stock or water rather than apple juice or fresh cider, either of which would make it a little too sweet. There’s something about the smoky, salty, sweet, and slightly bitter elements of this dish, cooked down with chicken that is just starting to fall apart, that makes me want to smoke cigars and write a novel, but I don’t actually like cigars, and if I wrote a novel, it would just be a fictional cookbook, so it’s probably better to stick with cooking chicken for now.
Pot-au-feu is the absolute funnest way to serve boiled food (not necessarily always the funnest food). It is traditionally made by boiling tough cuts of beef, maybe some marrow bones, and a bunch of vegetables all together in water, and then serving the resulting broth as an appetizer followed by a second course of the meat and vegetables with exciting sauces for dipping. For this chicken pot-au-feu, I use the Chinese “white-cut” method, a traditional poaching technique that involves simmering the chicken in water for a relatively short period of time and then turning off the heat, covering the pot, and letting the chicken sit and poach and get all silky and juicy. After pulling the chicken meat off its bones, put the bones back in the broth to mingle with the vegetables, which can be whatever you like, really. We’ll serve it with some crusty bread, a creamy mustard sauce with the surprise additions of Thai sweet chili and dill, and a Chinese scallion-horseradish sauce that I stole from my friend Francis Lam and then tweaked a little. This fairly hands-off project does take a couple of days, but it makes for a totally manageable, still super-impressive party.
Sometimes I wish I could eat a roast bird and mashed potatoes and gravy for every meal. Most times, I just want somebody to pour gravy all over everything I eat. This chicken-stock gravy is pretty straightforward (just the pan drippings deglazed with chicken stock and thickened with cornstarch), but it’s spiked with a little soy sauce for extra umami and Dijon mustard to give it a little kick. And, oh yeah, alongside the gravy, there’s, like, a juicy roast chicken with an amazing bounty of citrus. There’s also a nontraditional but super delicious mashed sweet- and russet-potato dish with a ribbon of toasted nuts and seeds and fried shallots running through it. And there’s also a righteous green bean salad with a lemony yogurt sauce. And all of these are full of things that make you feel alive. Like gravy!
The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, is a Christian sect founded in England in 1770 by a woman named Ann Lee. Ann Lee, who was thought to embody the second coming of Christ, established four basic tenets: communal living, celibacy, regular confession of sins, and isolationism from the outside world. The Shaker story is an intriguing study of a social and religious experiment in utopian community in early American history. They were radical for their time in many ways: they practiced social, sexual, economic, and spiritual equality 75 years before emancipation and 150 years before suffrage. They strongly believed in gender equality, even though their responsibilities were separated by sex.
If you can’t find vegan puff pastry to use as a lid for this pot pie, use a piecrust mix to make pie dough instead. Feel free to play around with the filling and omit the seitan if you want—but whatever you use should add up to a similar amount. Try using a mixture of mushrooms and cooked root vegetables in winter, or in summer, add uncooked peas, asparagus, or broccoli to the sauce before the lid is added.
Sweet roasted pumpkin, filled with nutty, fragrant rice and sharp barberries. Serve it as a main course with a green salad.
Pickled cabbage may seem like a strange ingredient to add, but it lends this dish a subtle lactic tang—we got the idea from Isa Chandra Moskovitz, a blogger whose recipe for mac and ’shews (cashews) is widely loved.
Add a world of flavor to your cauliflower dish using the three variations below: miso ginger, tandoori, or Middle Eastern.