The Faith Middleton Show
10:05 am
Wed November 20, 2013

Food Schmooze: Italian Butternut Squash and Brown Butter Green Beans with Pecans

Credit Mark H. Anbinder/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: Want to make your holiday dinner or dinner party memorable and delicious? It's all about creating new flavor profiles for old standby dishes.Try our featured calorie-careful recipe for sweet and sour butternut squash, or, if you prefer, green beans with the ultimate treatment -- brown butter and toasted pecans, from an archive recipe in Fine Cooking Magazine.

Truthfully, I once found green beans a little boring, but that was before I discovered the brown butter treatment, which is a snap to make. You simply sauté the butter a little until it's light brown and smells like toasted nuts. You add shallots and lemon juice and toasted pecans...this is the way to go with green beans, let me tell you.

But we also have something different for butternut squash-lovers, and we know there are many seeking something different to do with squash. This Italian treatment adds a bit of sweet and sour taste… Butternut Squash Agrodolce. Think red wine vinegar, mint, and honey. Pure Italian countryside. But here's what's fantastic about this dish. Cooking Light Magazine published this recipe some time ago, and they've lightened it up, in case you want to save the extra calories for our pumpkin pie recipe with a streusel topping.

Green Beans with Brown Butter and Toasted Pecans
Serves 8 to 10

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
½ cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or more if you like it.
Kosher salt (NOT table salt) and ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Note: Fine Cooking says you can boil the green beans ahead of time, but you'll need to rewarm them a bit longer in the brown butter, covered, over low heat.

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain them, and plunge them into ice water to stop them from over-cooking. Drain again and set them aside. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and pecans; cook, stirring, until the brown butter is light golden in color and begins to smell nutty. (Careful not to burn it.)
  3.  Add the drained green beans to the skillet, toss to coat them, and cook until they are cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to suit your taste.

Butternut Squash Agrodolce
Serves 6 
(Dedicated to my Italian food-loving friend, Jim Cutie)

INGREDIENTS

1 two-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon KOSHER salt (not table), divided
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
¼cup chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400° degrees
  2. Place squash on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper, tossing to coat the squash.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, or until the squash is tender and golden.
  4. In a small bowl combine vinegar, honey, and 12 /teaspoon salt. Place cooked squash on a platter. Drizzle with honey mixture, toss to coat. Sprinkle with basil and mint.

​  

Slow-Roasted Holiday Turkey 

Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books
Photo courtesy of Chronicle Books

No roast desiccates more easily than a big-breasted turkey—it’s a multidimensional anatomy problem. Turkey breast meat is finished cooking 10°F/5°C lower than the leg meat, so it is nearly impossible to get them perfectly cooked simultaneously. Miraculously, at least in its simplicity, the problem disappears when you slow-roast. By setting the oven temperature between the doneness temperatures of the breast and the leg, you cut your losses on both ends. The breast meat warms gently throughout, no section ever gets hotter than another, and the whole bird emerges moist and succulent.

Chilling time: 12 to 24 hours
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 14 hours or more
Store: for up to 3 days, covered in the refrigerator. Reheat gently in a low oven.
Makes 15 servings

INGREDIENTS

1 fresh turkey, about 15 lb/6.8 kg, preferably free-range
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 qt/960 ml apple cider
2 tsp dried poultry seasoning

  1. Remove the giblets from the turkey and discard (or save for another use). Rinse the turkey inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. Rub it all over with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. During that time, the surface of the turkey will become visibly dry and the skin will tighten; this encourages a nice crisp skin on the finished bird.
  2. Remove the turkey from the refrigerator 1 hour before you plan to start roasting. Preheat the oven to 450°F/230°C/gas 8.
  3. Put the turkey on a rack set in a large, flameproof roasting pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the top.
  4. Roast for 1 hour. Reduce the oven temperature to 175°F/80°C. Pour the cider into the roasting pan and sprinkle the poultry seasoning in the liquid. Continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh (but not touching bone) registers 170°F/77°C, about 12 hours.
  5. Transfer the turkey to a carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, skim the fat from the surface of the liquid in the pan. Put the roasting pan over two burners and bring the pan drippings to a boil over high heat. Cook until the juices reduce and thicken slightly, enough to coat a spoon, about 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Carve the turkey and serve with cider pan juices.

Recipe taken from Cooking Slow: ​Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More by Andrew Schloss
Published by Chronicle Books 2013

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GUESTS:

  • Chris Prosperi - senior contributor and chef/owner, Metro Bis, Simsbury
  • Andrew Schloss - author of Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More

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