Recipes from 2017 Piglet Winners

Your Recipe from The Piglet Winner is.....

Smoky Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies

From My Two Souths by Asha Gomez

Photo by Evan Sung

Makes 10 cookies

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika, divided
2 large eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) Nutella, at room temperature
1/4 cup (2 ounces) hazelnuts, roasted, skinned, and chopped (see notes)
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. In a medium bowl, using your hands, mix together the flour, sugar, 1½ teaspoons of the smoked paprika, and eggs to form a crumbly dough. Mix in the Nutella and hazelnuts and work to form a smooth dough, no more than 2 minutes.

  3. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

  4. Separate the dough into 10 equal parts, using your palms to roll them into round balls. Place the balls on the cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are flat discs, crisp around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven; dust with the remaining smoked paprika and confectioners’ sugar. Eat them immediately—like Ethan—or after they have cooled down.

Notes: To roast and skin hazelnuts, toast the nuts on a sheet pan in a 350°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until they are beginning to brown and are very fragrant. Place the nuts in a kitchen towel and gather up the edges to form a bundle. Rub the nuts together in the towel to remove most of the dark-brown skin.

Recipes from Previous Rounds' Winners Right This Way...

Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

From Taste & Technique by Naomi Pomeroy

Photo by Chris Court

Serves 4

Short ribs are full of fat and marbling, which makes them perfect for braising, and the addition of acidic balsamic vinegar helps balance some of the meat’s richness. Properly cooked, short ribs make a very sultry meal.

Braising is a good technique for entertaining, because you can essentially set it and forget it, and the leftovers are easily repurposed. Use the meat scraps in a hash (see page 203) or use the braising liquid as a base for Classic French Onion Soup. It can also be used in a new braise.

You need to keep a few things in mind when you’re braising. This cooking method requires a lot of liquid to keep the meat from drying out and you must have a tight-fitting lid or other cover so the liquid does not evaporate. The braising liquid should be highly seasoned, as well. This recipe calls for a tablespoon of salt in the liquid itself, which may seem like a lot, but the meat needs all of it to become properly seasoned in the liquid.

Short ribs take a long time to cook because of the delicious fat and gelatinous tissue that hold them together. The best way to test for doneness is to slice a small piece off the corner and taste it. When it tastes rich and tender, the ribs are done. Overcooked short ribs lose their lusciousness and end up tasting like pot roast, so be attentive and check often.

4 (1-pound) bone-in short ribs, cut between the bones into 2-rib sections (8 ribs total)
5 tablespoons salt
4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 large yellow onions, roughly diced
2 tablespoons tomato paste (preferably Italian)
5 pitted prunes
3 lemon peel strips (from about 1⁄2 lemon)
4 thyme sprigs
1 head garlic, sliced crosswise
3 cups homemade stock or other high-quality stock
2 cups red wine
½ cup 10-year aged balsamic vinegar

  1. Season each rib with 1½ teaspoons of the salt and ½ teaspoon of the pepper. (This may seem like an excessive amount of salt and pepper, but much of it will fall off when you sear the meat.) Heat a black steel pan over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until the surface is rippling but not smoking. Add half of the ribs and sear, pressing down with tongs and turning them as needed, until deep brown on all sides (avoid creating many black spots), 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the seared ribs to an enameled cast-iron or stainless-steel Dutch oven or a half hotel pan; don’t use an unlined cast-iron pan for braising. Because there’s so much acid in this recipe, an unlined cast-iron pan will leave a metallic flavor in your meat. Rinse and dry the pan and repeat with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil and the remaining ribs. Add the second batch of seared ribs to the Dutch oven and set aside.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rinse and dry the pan you used for searing the ribs once again. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the celery, carrots, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 7 to 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are deep golden brown. Add this mixture to the Dutch oven and repeat with the remaining vegetables, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, and 1 tablespoon oil. Add the prunes, lemon peel, thyme, and garlic to the Dutch oven and set aside. In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock, wine, and balsamic vinegar to a simmer. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon salt, then pour the stock mixture into the Dutch oven. Cover the pot, place in the oven, and cook until the meat is very tender and nearly falling off the bone but not completely falling apart when teased with a fork or pressed between your fingers, about 2½ hours. Uncover the pot and let the beef cool in the braising liquid until it is cool enough to handle, 30 to 45 minutes.

  3. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and carefully trim (or just pull off gently with your fingers) the flap of connective tissue where it meets the bone (it should be easy to peel back and cut off near the hole where the bone is; if the bone fell out during cooking, just fish it out of the liquid and discard it). Strain the braising liquid and discard all of the solids. (I like to save the carrots, which I usually throw into a hash the next day.) Pour the braising liquid into a container and ladle off and discard as much fat from the surface as possible. You’ll use some of the braising liquid when serving the beef; freeze the rest for another use. Keep in mind that this braising liquid has incredible flavor but is aggressively seasoned, so use it sparingly.

  4. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the trimmed short ribs in a casserole dish and pour a few large ladles of the braising liquid over the top. Reheat the ribs in the oven, uncovered, until fully heated through, 5 to 7 minutes, basting as needed to keep them from drying out.

Reprinted with permission from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen © 2016 by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose, Running Press

Pan-Seared Pork Chops

From Taste & Technique by Naomi Pomeroy

Photo by Chris Court

Serves 4

My mom cooked pork chops all the time when I was growing up, and now I know why: they’re a great, quick weeknight dinner. If you have the time to make a brine and let the pork sit in it for a few hours before cooking, the meat will be more flavorful. But if you don’t, you can still make delicious pork chops with just salt and pepper, as long as you don’t overcook them.

How do you know when your pork chops are perfectly cooked? When you press on the meat right along the bone, it should feel ever-so-slightly springy and gently bounce back. If the meat feels firm, it’s overcooked. When you make an incision in the meat near the bone, the interior should be opaque but rosy, not pale and white.

Resting is the key to moist, flavorful meat, especially a cut with the bone still in, as it allows the muscle fibers to relax and the delicious interior juices to evenly redistribute throughout, instead of spilling out onto your cutting board.

1 cup water
1⁄4 cup plus 2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons muscovado or maple sugar
1 1/2 pounds ice, or 3 cups ice water
4 bone-in center-cut pork chops (8 to 10 ounces each and 1 to 11/2 inches thick)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add 1⁄4 cup of the salt and the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the ice to cool the brine to room temperature. Put the pork chops in a resealable plastic bag, pour the brine over them, and seal closed. Place the bag in a container that allows the meat to be fully submerged in the liquid, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

  2. Remove the chops from the bag, discard the brine, and dry the chops very well with paper towels. Allow the meat to come to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours. Season each chop on both sides with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the remaining salt and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper.

  3. Place a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F.

  4. Heat a black steel pan over high heat until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until the surface is rippling but not smoking. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, immediately add 2 chops and sear, pressing down hard with tongs, until golden on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Don’t let too many dark spots form; you’re aiming for a nice golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and turn the chops onto the fat-cap side to let some of the fat render. Set the seared chops on a plate. Rinse and dry the pan and repeat with the remaining oil and the remaining pork chops.

  5. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and place all 4 chops on it. Roast in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, until the thickest part near the bone reaches 120°F. Remove the chops from the oven, transfer them to a platter, and allow to rest, loosely tented with aluminum foil (not tightly wrapped or they will continue to cook) for 5 minutes before serving.

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melting potatoes

From Samarkand by Caroline Eden & Eleanor Ford

Photo by Laura Edwards

Long, slow cooking in butter and only their own steam for liquid make these potatoes silky soft inside and caramelized on the outside.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, sliced
1 ¼ pounds waxy potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
Sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
A small handful of dill fronds, chopped

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and cook the onions very slowly until soft and golden. Add the potato slices and garlic, and stir to gloss them with the buttery onions. Season well with salt and cover with a lid or aluminum foil.

  2. Leave the potatoes to cook over the lowest heat, stir occasionally, then replace the lid or foil, for about 45 minutes. Stir in the peppercorns and dill before serving.

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lucky charm brownies

From Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Photo by Davide Luciano

Sometime, more than thirty years ago, after I got my first food processor, I made a brownie I called 15-Minute Magic, and I’ve been noodling with the recipe ever since. Every time I do something to it, it’s great. The basic recipe (which is gluten-free, a term that wasn’t in the daily lexicon three decades ago) is a mix of almonds, sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate and amaretti cookies, crackly puffs imported from Italy that manage to bundle the maximum amount of almond flavor into their dainty, featherlight shells. The ingredients are whirred and baked. That’s it. And whether I bake the brownies as a cake or a torte, or I serve it plain or glazed or buried under cream, jubilation ensues. That’s the reason I think of these as my lucky charm. When I decided to spice things up a bit and to dust the glaze with crushed amaretti, they quickly became another member of the magical 15-Minute Jubilation Family. —Dorie Greenspan

Makes about 16 brownies

For the brownies:
¾ cup (75 grams) sliced or slivered almonds
6 double amaretti (about 72 grams; see note)
1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, melted (it can still be warm)

For the glaze:
2 ounces (57 grams) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 double amaretti (about 24 grams), crushed

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust the pan with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.

  2. To make the brownies: Toss the almonds, amaretti, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon and salt into a food processor and pulse and process in short spurts until the almonds and cookies are finely ground. Add the butter and eggs and process, scraping the bowl occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and homogeneous. Add the melted chocolate a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. Process for a few seconds to give everything a last go-round, then scrape the bowl and pour the batter into the pan. Rap the pan against the counter a few times to burst the biggest bubbles in the batter — stand back to avoid getting showered with errant cocoa powder.

  3. Bake the brownies for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out streaky. If the top erupts in a couple of places — it happens — use a pancake turner to gently press the domes down as best as you can. Transfer the pan to a rack and let rest for 15 minutes.

  4. Run a table knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies. Turn the brownies out onto the rack, peel away the paper, invert onto another rack and cool to room temperature.

  5. When you’re ready to glaze the brownies, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place the rack with the brownies over it.

  6. To make the glaze: Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream, sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, or do this in the microwave. Pour the cream over the chocolate and stir gently until you have a smooth, glossy glaze.

  7. Pour the glaze over the brownies and use a long offset icing spatula to spread it evenly over the top. Sprinkle the crushed amaretti over the glaze. Refrigerate the brownies for at least 30 minutes to set the glaze (it will set but never harden).

  8. When you’re ready to serve, transfer the brownies to a cutting board and cut into 16 pieces. If you’re not going to serve all the brownies at once, it’s best to cut bars as you need them.

A word on the amaretti: The most famous of these cookies is the brand Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno. Lazzaroni amaretti come in a distinctive red-and-white box or tin, and the cookies are wrapped in colored tissue paper. Each paper holds two dome-shaped cookies, and I refer to them as double amaretti. There are many other brands available, though, and, in the thirty years that I’ve made these, I think I’ve probably used all of them, and I’ve had success with them all.

Text excerpted from Dorie's Cookies © 2016 by Dorie Greenspan. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved

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Quick Tellicherry Buttermilk Biscuits

From My Two Souths by Asha Gomez

Photo by Evan Sung

Makes 8 biscuits

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted
2 cups self-rising flour, sifted
2 teaspoons fresh coarsely ground black Tellicherry peppercorns
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour, for forming the biscuits
Pinch of kosher salt

  1. Heat the oven to 450°F. Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet.

  2. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, mix the butter into the self-rising flour until it feels crumbly. Sprinkle the pepper over the flour mixture. Add the buttermilk and mix with a fork until a shaggy dough is formed. Dust your work surface with the all-purpose flour. Turn out the dough onto the floured spot and knead very briefly. Pat the dough into a ½ inch thickness. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut out eight biscuits, gently patting any scraps together, if needed.

  3. Place the biscuits in the prepared skillet with the sides touching (this will help them rise). Bake for 12 minutes, or until gloriously golden brown. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle the salt over the buttered biscuit tops.

Notes: Double this recipe and stash eight of the biscuits in the freezer. You will have these hospitable bites ready for unexpected company.

Reprinted with permission from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen © 2016 by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose, Running Press

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spinach borani

From Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid

Photo by Gentl & Hyers

The Persian dishes called borani are a genius combination of cooked vegetable and thick drained yogurt. They are generally topped with fried onions, and often with a scattering of lightly toasted walnuts. People rave whenever I serve them, especially this spinach version. —Naomi Duguid

Serves 4 to 6

About 1½ cups plain full-fat yogurt
2 pounds spinach
About 2 tablespoons sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon water
Optional Toppings:
About 1 tablespoon Saffron Water (see below)
2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped lightly toasted walnuts

  1. Drain the yogurt to thicken it: Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or a cotton cloth. Moisten the cloth with water. Set the sieve or colander over a bowl and add the yogurt. Set aside, loosely covered, to drain for about 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, trim the tough stems from the spinach. Wash the spinach thoroughly in several changes of water and drain well. Coarsely chop and set aside.

  3. Heat the oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat to medium, and fry the onion until translucent and touched with color, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion to a plate and set aside.

  4. Raise the heat under the skillet to medium-high and add the spinach, turning it to expose it to the hot surface. Add about 1⁄2 cup water and cook, pressing and turning the spinach, until it is well wilted and deep green, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a bowl to cool slightly.

  5. Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze it thoroughly, a handful at a time, to press out excess water.

  6. Transfer the spinach to a bowl, add 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and mix well.

  7. Turn the thickened yogurt out into a bowl; you’ll have about 1 cup. Add the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and the water to loosen the yogurt slightly and stir. (Save the whey for another purpose or discard.) Add the yogurt to the spinach and stir gently to mix them a little, but not into a smooth blend, leaving the mixture with patches of white and dark green. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

  8. Strew on the fried onions, sprinkle with the saffron water and toasted walnuts if you wish, and serve.

Saffron Water

Once you find a good source of saffron—of saffron threads, as the stigmas are known—start using it. You can use them whole, but you get better color and aroma if you grind them to a powder. Just take a pinch and place it in a small mortar or bowl. Add a few grains of salt or sugar and use a pestle or the back of a spoon to grind the threads to a fine powder.

You can add saffron directly to a broth, but soaking it first in a little hot water is the best way to transform it into an effective flavoring and coloring, especially if you are using it to tint and flavor cooked rice. The proportions are roughly a generous pinch (1⁄4 teaspoon) of saffron threads to 1⁄4 cup hot water.

Pour the water over the threads or powder and stir. Transfer to a clean glass jar and let steep for at least 10 minutes, covered, before using it in a dish. As it sits, the color will deepen to a rich red-orange. Any leftover saffron water will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so, losing a little aroma over time.

Excerpted from Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers.

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chilli oil

From The Adventures of Fat Rice by Abraham Conlon, Adrienne Lo, and Hugh Amano

Photo by Dan Goldberg

We occasionally use this hot, flavorful oil to quickly cook things we want to give heat to, but mainly we use it as our go-to seasoning and dressing, which is why we add some olive oil to give it a robust and fruity flavor—and to nod to Portuguese heritage. Use a thermometer to make sure that the spices don’t burn!

1 1/3 cups peanut oil
2/3 cup olive oil
5 whole star anise
3 cinnamon sticks
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
10 cloves garlic, crushed with the side of a knife
1/2 cup dried red chillies, ground in a spice grinder
2 teaspoons whole Sichuan pepper
1 teaspoon sweet paprika

  1. Combine the oils, star anise, cinnamon, and ginger in a small heavy pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Set over medium heat and bring to 140°F. Add the garlic and bring to 180°F. Remove from the heat, cool to 160°F, and add the ground chillies, Sichuan pepper, and paprika.

  2. Transfer to a storage container and let steep for 24 hours at room temperature, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids and store the oil, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

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double ginger molasses cookies

From Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Photo by Davide Luciano

I have my friend Christine Beck, who is, like me, a Paris part-timer, to thank for this recipe. The cookies belong to the chewy-molasses-cookie family, but they have so much flavor and so many surprises that they transcend the familiar. For starters, there’s both crystallized ginger and powdered ginger, lots of chopped dark chocolate and an optional bit of instant espresso too, which I tacked onto the recipe because I’m an incorrigible tinkerer.

I also tinkered with the way these are baked. Classic molasses cookies are scooped, molded into balls, rolled in sugar and then pressed with a fork before baking, and you can make these cookies that way. Or you can do what I do: Mold them in muffin tins, which turn out more uniformly shaped cookies that teeter on the brink of becoming gingerbread cakes.

Makes about 36 cookies

2 1/4 cups (306 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 to 2 teaspoons instant espresso, to taste (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces; 170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks, at room temperature
1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (67 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsulfured molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (55 grams) chopped crystallized ginger or 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
7 ounces (200 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped chip-size
Sugar, for rolling

  1. Whisk the flour, cocoa, espresso (if using), spices, baking soda and salt together.

  2. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-low speed for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until fully blended. Add the yolk and beat for 1 minute, then add the molasses and vanilla, beating until smooth. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients all at once and pulse the mixer until the risk of flying flour passes. Working on low speed, mix the dough until the flour is almost but not completely incorporated. Add the crystallized ginger (or the sugared fresh ginger) and chocolate and mix until the dry ingredients disappear into the dough and the ginger and chocolate are evenly distributed. If you’ve got bits of dry ingredients on the bottom of the bowl, mix them in with a flexible spatula.

  3. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  4. GETTING READY TO BAKE: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray regular muffin tins or, if making free-form cookies, line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

  5. Have a medium cookie scoop at hand. Alternatively, you can use a rounded tablespoonful of dough for each cookie. If you’re using tins, find a jar or glass that fits into them and can be used to flatten the dough; cover the bottom in plastic wrap. Spoon some sugar into a wide shallow bowl.

  6. For each cookie, mold a scoop or spoonful of dough into a ball between your palms, then turn it in the sugar to coat and put in a muffin cup or on a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between each ball of dough. If using tins, use the jar or glass to flatten each ball until it almost reaches the sides of the cup. If it’s freeform, press to flatten to about ½ inch thick.

  7. Bake the cookies for about 13 minutes, rotating the tins or sheets top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes. The cookies should be lightly set around the edges and softer in the center. Transfer the tins or sheets to racks and let the cookies rest for 15 minutes before unmolding them and/or placing them on racks to cool completely.

  8. If you’re baking in batches, make certain to start with cool tins or baking sheets.

Reprinted with permission.

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classic french onion soup

From Taste & Technique by Naomi Pomeroy

Serves 6 to 8

This soup is pure umami flavor at its finest, and it’s probably the most popular soup at Beast. Rich and salty, hearty and cheesy, when French onion soup is done correctly, the flavors are perfectly balanced. The star here is the onion, showcased at its deeply caramelized peak. (I always use yellow onions for caramelizing; sweet onions taste great but contain too much water to brown well.)

I love to make French onion soup with some of the leftover liquid from making a braise, such as Braised Short Ribs. Braising liquid has a lovely meaty richness and acidity from the wine that complements the stock and onions; it does increase the salt level, so be aware of that when seasoning this soup. You can replace up to 2 cups of the stock with leftover braising liquid from another recipe.

Making this soup takes a bit of effort. You should make the stock, which takes two (mostly passive) days to prepare. And deeply caramelizing onions takes time, as well. For this reason, I don’t recommend halving this recipe, even if you don’t plan to eat all of it at once. The soup freezes well, so make a big batch and save some for later. You’ll be glad you did. —Naomi Pomeroy

Photo by Chris Court

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 large yellow onions, quartered lengthwise and sliced into half-moons 1⁄8 inch thick
2 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 cup dry sherry
2 teaspoons 30-year aged balsamic vinegar
2 1⁄2 quarts homemade stock (page 346) or other high-quality stock
1⁄4 teaspoon fish sauce
1⁄8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 baguette slices, each 1⁄4 inch thick
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 clove garlic
1 1⁄4 pounds Gruyère cheese, grated

  1. In an 8- to 10-quart heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. (I don’t like to caramelize onions in butter because they lose their translucent sheen when they cool.) Add the onions and 11⁄4 teaspoons of the salt and stir often until the onions begin to turn translucent and become very soft, almost soupy, 20 to 25 minutes. (If the largest pot you own holds only 4 to 6 quarts, don’t despair! Simply cook about two-thirds of the onions first, and when they have sweated down and lost much of their volume, add the last third of the onions to the pan and continue cooking. Caramelizing the onions in stages will, of course, increase your cooking time slightly.)
  2. Turn the heat to just below medium and stir only occasionally, allowing the onions to develop a fond, or crust, on the bottom of the pan. Every few minutes, scrape off the fond and stir it into the onions, then spread the onions evenly across the pan and allow a fond to form again. You want the fond to exist but not to get so dark that it cannot be fully blended back into the onions, leaving you with little black flecks. The onions should take on a lovely amber hue, but don’t let them get too dark. Stir more frequently at the end of caramelizing to ensure they don’t burn. The onions should be a deep caramel hue after 25 to 35 minutes.
  3. Continue cooking the onions and scraping often. After about 45 minutes, add the sherry and balsamic vinegar and allow them to cook down. After about 1 hour, the onions should be just about done. When finished, they should be a deep caramel brown that is nearly the same color as the broth, not a blond “wood” shade. Taste for salt and add the remaining 11⁄4 teaspoons of salt if necessary (the onions should be well seasoned); if you’ll be using braising liquid, season with less salt.
  4. Add the stock to the pot and turn down the heat to low. Gently simmer the stock and onions for 15 to 20 minutes, until the flavors have melded. Add the fish sauce and Tabasco, a few turns of the pepper mill, and adjust for salt as needed.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lay the baguette slices on a baking sheet and brush one side of each slice with the melted butter. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the toasts, rub lightly with the garlic clove, and turn the oven to broil.
  6. Arrange broiler-proof bowls on a baking sheet and ladle the soup into the bowls, filling them nearly to the top. Float 1 baguette slice on top of each bowl. Sprinkle the Gruyère on top of the baguette slices, dividing it evenly. It will seem like a giant mountain of cheese, but if you use any less, it won’t form a delicious crust over the top. Place the bowls under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Serve immediately and be sure to warn guests that the liquid is very hot.

Reprinted with permission.

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kerala fried chicken

From My Two Souths by Asha Gomez

Photo by Evan Sung

Makes 8 servings

2 cups buttermilk
10 garlic cloves
6 whole serrano peppers, seeded if desired
1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 1 cup)
1 bunch fresh mint (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
Canola oil, for frying
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
2 stems fresh curry leaves, for garnish

  1. In a blender, combine the buttermilk, garlic, peppers, cilantro, mint, and 2 tablespoons of the salt and purée until smooth. Place the chicken in a large container with lid, and pour the buttermilk marinade over the chicken. Toss the chicken in the marinade, making sure it is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours.

  2. When ready to fry the chicken, fill a large cast-iron skillet with 1 inch of oil and heat gently over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F. Place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt in a shallow dish and set aside.

  3. While the oil is heating, remove the chicken from the marinade and gently shake off the excess marinade. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, coating thoroughly.

  4. Place the chicken in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd the pieces. Cook the chicken until it is deep golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes on each side, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F. Drain the chicken on the cooling rack and drizzle with the melted coconut oil.

  5. Dip the curry leaves in the hot frying oil until crisp, about 10 to 15 seconds. Set on the cooling rack.

Reprinted with permission from My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen © 2016 by Asha Gomez with Martha Hall Foose, Running Press

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Kyrgyz Swirled Onion Flatbread

From Samarkand by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford

Photo by Laura Edwards

Flaky fried breads are popular in Kyrgyzstan, where they are served hot from the pan alongside soup. These flatbreads, called katama, can be made with or without yeast in the dough, but the sweet and slightly spicy caramelized onion is essential. —Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford

Makes 4

3 tablespoons butter
2 small onions, finely sliced
Sea salt
Pinch of chile powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting 1/2 cup warm water
Sunflower oil, for cooking

  1. Heat the butter in a small heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions with a pinch of salt, stirring often, until very soft and golden brown. Season with the chile powder (if using) and set aside to cool.

  2. Put the flour in a large bowl with ½ teaspoon of salt and make a well in the center. Squeeze the onions using the back of a spoon and add any butter that comes out to the flour. Start trickling the warm water into the well while you mix with your other hand.

  3. Bring the dough together and knead for a good couple of minutes. You want dough that is soft and pliable—if it is too dry, add a splash of water; if it is too sticky, add a little more flour.

  4. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece thinly on a floured surface and spread a quarter of the onion over the surface. Roll up into a tube, pinch the ends, and form the tube into a coil with the outside end tucked underneath. It should resemble a cinnamon roll. Finally, roll it flat again into cardboard-thin rounds. Repeat with the remaining dough. The rounds will contract as they sit so you’ll need to pull them out a little flatter with your hands as you put them in the pan.

  5. Heat a frying pan over medium–high heat and use paper towels to rub it with a little oil. Cook the breads for about 2 minutes on each side, turning after each minute. They should puff up a little and begin to blister as they cook. Serve hot from the pan.

Reprinted with permission from Samarkand.

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Pickled Bologna with Peppers

From Victuals by Ronni Lundy

Photo by Johnny Autry

When I was growing up, pickled bologna in a giant jar was ubiquitous in country stores throughout Appalachia, a treat that required the shopkeeper to pull the meat from the brine, lay it out on a cutting board, and chop off a slice to be handed to the customer along with some crackers and a paper plate. Eventually suppliers started packing the bologna in smaller jars to be taken home, or toted in lunch pails, and not long after that, little hot dogs joined them.

It’s impossible to say who first thought of pickling bologna at home, but whoever did was a genius. This allowed the inclusion of home-grown peppers, sweet and hot, and the option to choose all-beef hot dogs or a fine deli bologna for the meat. Pretty to look at in the jar, yet still totally wicked, this is pedigreed enough to put on a charcuterie plate or serve as antipasto, but I’ll still take mine with crackers, and maybe a swipe of mustard. —Ronni Lundy

Makes 2 quarts

1 pound mixed banana peppers and sweet baby bell peppers
1 pound good deli bologna, in one big piece
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon kosher or pickling salt

  1. Sterilize two 1-quart canning jars with lids and rings.
  2. Slice the peppers into ½-inch-thick rings, pushing out the cores as you go. Dice the bologna into ½-inch cubes.
  3. Arrange the peppers and meat in the canning jars. Mix the allspice, mustard, and celery seeds in a small bowl and scatter about half of the mixture into the jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace.
  4. Combine the vinegar, 1 cup of water, and the sugar, oil, salt, and remaining spice mixture in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour this brine slowly into the jars to submerge the peppers. Let stand for 2 minutes so that any air bubbles can rise to the surface. Top off the jars with brine to ensure that the peppers remain submerged, leaving ½ inch of headspace.
  5. Close the jars with the sterilized lids and rings. Refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving. Will keep for 3 weeks, refrigerated.

Reprinted from Victuals. Copyright © 2016 by Ronni Lundy. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Johnny Autry. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

bitter flourless chocolate cake with coffee cream

From Simple by Diana Henry

Photo by Laura Edwards

I’ve made so many versions of this cake over the years that I could now bake it in my sleep. It’s the little black dress of puddings: elegant and timeless. Do it a few times and it will become easy. —Diana Henry

Serves 8

For the cake:
1 2/3 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
11 1/2 oz high-quality dark chocolate 
(70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
3/4 cup superfine sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup ground almonds
confectioners’ sugar, to dust

For the cream:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso coffee dissolved 
in ½ tablespoon boiling water
2 tablespoons whiskey, or to taste
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, or to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch springform cake pan.
  2. Put the chocolate, butter, and sugar into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water). Melt the mixture, stirring a little. Remove the bowl and let it cool for about four minutes. Stir in the egg yolks, one at a time.
  3. Beat the egg whites with an electric hand-mixer until they form medium peaks (stiff but with the peaks drooping slightly). Using a big metal spoon, fold the ground almonds into the chocolate mixture along with half the egg whites, then fold in the rest of the whites.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. Cool completely, carefully unlatch the sides of the pan, and remove the base. Transfer the cake to a serving plate. It will deflate and crack as it cools. Whip the cream until just holding its shape, then drizzle in the coffee and whiskey, still whipping. Add the confectioners’ sugar and taste for sweetness and booziness. Dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the cream.

Reprinted with permission from Simple by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley 2016. Photo (c) Laura Edwards.