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Wild Game Cooking

Red Pesto with Pasta Recipe

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Red pesto? Yes, it’s a thing. Red pesto is a variation on pesto alla Trapanese, from Trapani, in Sicily. It is as wonderful as it looks, and is versatile in the kitchen.

A bowl of pasta dressed with red pesto
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Made in much the same way as a green pesto, red pesto gets its color from sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, plus the normal pesto ingredients of cheese, pine nuts and an herb, in this case fresh oregano. But there are lots of variations, as I’ll show you below.

For starters, know that it is very difficult to pound sun-dried tomatoes into a pesto, unless you first chop them and they started soft to begin with. I say this because red pesto, like any pesto, really ought to be pounded in a mortar and pestle. Pesto is, by definition, a pounded sauce, after all.

That said, you can use a food processor, which is what I do for the sun-dried tomatoes. Once they are ground into a paste, you can then move everything to a mortar to pound it all out, or just toss everything in the food processor and have done with it.

I do both, depending on my mood and how authentic I want to be. Let’s just say that if I were serving red pesto to Sicilians, I’d pound it.

One word of caution: Do not use a blender, as it will make the sauce too smooth. A fully blended red pesto is a lot like romesco sauce, which is great, but not what we are looking for here. What it is very close to is red chimichurri from Argentina, which is related to pesto alla Trapanese.

Your ground sun-dried tomatoes should look like this:

Ground sun dried tomatoes in a bowlGround sun dried tomatoes in a bowl
Photo by Hank Shaw

My red pesto recipe runs like this:

  • Buzz sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (I make my own), until they form a coarse paste. Then either add the other ingredients to the food processor, or move to the mortar. I’ll get to that in a moment.
  • Assuming you’re opting for the easy way and sticking with the food processor, toast some pine nuts for a few minutes in a dry pan, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. Then grind them into the mix.
  • Roughly chop some garlic and roasted red peppers and pulse into the paste.
  • Add the fresh oregano, grated pecorino cheese and some black pepper and smoked salt, and pulse to combine.

Now, you can alter the basic recipe wildly.

  • You can use fresh basil, parsley or even mint.
  • Roasted red Hatch or red Anaheim chiles add just enough heat to make things interesting. Or you can skip red peppers and use red pepper flakes.
  • The smoked salt adds a nice touch.
  • Any hard cheese will do, too. Parmigiano-Reggiano is also traditional.
  • Almonds are actually traditional in pesto alla Trapanese, so you can use them, or you can use walnuts or pecans for your red pesto.
  • Zest and a little juice from a lemon are not normal, but they sure taste good.

If you want to go super traditional and use the mortar and pestle, or a Mexican molcajete, this is the order you want: A pinch of salt with the garlic first, pound that to a paste. Add the nuts and pound them, then pre-chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Then the soft things, like the red peppers, oregano, cheese and black pepper. Olive oil at the end.

My advice is to use the olive oil the sun-dried tomatoes came in, as it will have more flavor. How much? Up to you. Oil will bind the sauce, and then loosen it depending on how much you use. You want it looser when you want your red pesto to coat pasta.

Closeup of red pesto with pasta in a bowlCloseup of red pesto with pasta in a bowl
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Red pesto pasta is how I served it in the pictures, and it’s really delicious this way. I made the pasta by hand, but any pasta will do — although I am partial to heavier shapes with red pesto, like your typical short pastas, or a thicker long pasta like spaghetti.

(Like this pesto? I also have great recipes for walnut parsley pesto, arugula pesto, ramp pesto and even pesto made with nettles.)

That said, red pesto is amazing with fish, it is a fantastic salad dressing once thinned down, is great to coat white meat poultry like chicken, turkey or quail, as well as rabbit. Toss some with grilled or steamed shrimp, or grilled vegetables. I could go on.

Once made, your pesto will keep a week or more in the fridge, and it freezes well.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

  • Toast the pine nuts in a pan over medium-high heat, tossing them often, until they just barely get a little browning and smell nice. Remove from the pan and let cool. You’d do this same step if you used other nuts, too.

  • Chop the tomatoes in a food processor until they form a coarse paste. Scrape down the sides of the processor, then add the pine nuts, red peppers, garlic and oregano. Buzz to combine. You want a coarse paste, not a puree.

  • Add the cheese and pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until combined. Hand stir in any salt, pepper or lemon you want to use. Ditto for any extra olive oil.

  • Store in glass jars in the fridge, or freeze until you need it.

Variations

  • You can use as your herb fresh basil, parsley or even mint.
  • Roasted red Hatch or red Anaheim chiles add just enough heat to make things interesting. Or you can skip red peppers and use red pepper flakes.
  • The smoked salt adds a nice touch.
  • Any hard cheese will do, too. Parmigiano-Reggiano is also traditional.
  • Almonds are actually traditional in pesto alla Trapanese, so you can use them, or you can use walnuts for your red pesto.
  • Zest and a little juice from a lemon are not normal, but they sure taste good.

Calories: 208kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/red-pesto-recipe/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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Wild Game Cooking

Rhubarb Syrup Recipe – How to Make Rhubarb Syrup

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Here’s how to make rhubarb syrup, which is fantastic on pancakes, in soft drinks or cocktails, or as a glaze for chicken or other poultry.

Making rhubarb syrup couldn’t be easier: Bury chopped rhubarb in sugar and let time do the rest.

It really is that simple. Chop stalks of rhubarb, put them in a glass jar, like a Mason jar, and bury them in white sugar. Put the lid on the jar and shake to remove any air pockets. Add enough sugar to cover the rhubarb by about 1/2 inch.

Overnight, the sugar will extract the moisture from the rhubarb, and you’ll have a syrup.

A few pointers:

  • As the sugar absorbs the liquid from the rhubarb, keep adding a little more each day, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Shake after each time. Stop when no more sugar can be absorbed. You’ll know this by seeing a layer of sugar at the bottom of the jar the morning after you’ve shaken everything all up.
  • If you don’t do this, you run the risk of the syrup not being concentrated enough, and if that happens, it can ferment.
  • Once the syrup is concentrated, let it sit on the counter a few days at room temperature. This will help darken the syrup from a light pink to a rosy red. The longer you let it sit, even in the fridge, the pinker it will get, up to about 2 weeks.
  • If you want a redder rhubarb syrup, add a handful of strawberries when you start. Some very red varieties of rhubarb will make a crimson syrup by themselves.
  • Strain out the rhubarb and discard, or use in rhubarb bread or muffins.
  • Once finished, the rhubarb syrup will keep indefinitely in the fridge.

How to Use Rhubarb Syrup

I initially made it to add to summertime gin and tonics. Make a G&T the way you like it, then add a spoonful or two of rhubarb syrup and you have a quintessential Upper Midwestern cocktail.

Or, skip the gin and tonic and go with a mocktail of rhubarb syrup, lime juice and seltzer. This is a baller afternoon refresher.

You can also use it as a pancake syrup, or wherever else you want a drizzle of springtime.

In a savory application, mix some rhubarb syrup with red wine or balsamic vinegar to make an easy gastrique sauce, which you can then use with chicken or any other white meat; it would even be good with a firm, white fish like grilled swordfish.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/rhubarb-syrup-recipe/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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Wild Game Cooking

Elderflower Syrup Recipe – How to Make Elderflower Cordial

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Elderflower syrup is sunlight and rainbows in a bottle. Golden, floral and sweet, this makes everything it touches better. Here’s how to make it at home. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Late springtime and early summer are the best time to gather elderflowers to make elderflower syrup.

Finding the buttercream flowers isn’t too tough: Elderberries grow everywhere near rivers, and other well-watered places. You can see them as early as April in the South and California, and as late as September in the high mountains or far north, like in Canada.

I’ve seen elderflowers all over the place in Georgia and Florida in early spring. The farther north you live — or the higher in elevation — the later you must wait. And keep in mind you are looking for blue or black elderberries, not red elderberries. You want Sambucus nigra or S. mexicana.

Elderflowers on the plant. Elderflowers on the plant.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Collecting Elderflowers 

Keep in mind that an elderberry bush is a large plant, and can even grow into a small tree. Study the leaves in the photo above: They are a lush dark green, slightly serrated on their edges, and form on stalks; each leaf should be opposite to another. The flowers are cream-colored, not white.

Sometimes over-eager foragers fail to look at the plant they are picking from and grab hemlock by mistake. This can be fatal. But hemlock looks nothing like elderberry, so I have a tough time figuring out how this mistake happens…

A good rule to live by is to not take more than a few flower heads from each elderberry bush: This ensures that the bush will have enough to spread itself, it makes you find more bushes — it’s never a good thing to have only one spot for anything you forage for — and, most importantly, selective picking means you can come back in a few months for the berries.

Only choose the most beautiful flower heads; you don’t want flowers that have yet to open or are past their prime. Collect them in a paper bag so they can breathe. Plastic will make them wilt and sweat.

You will need a lot of flowers to make cordial, so grab a big grocery sack full.

Making Elderflower Syrup

Keep in mind that elderflower syrup is not alcoholic. It can be anything from a light, ready-to-drink concoction, to a full-on syrup that can keep a year or more and is used as a base for other things, like elderflower champagne

If you want to make elderflower liqueur, this is my recipe for that

Elderflower cordial has a subtle flavor. What does it taste like? It is more of an aroma thing, although the elderflower “lemonade” I am drinking right now has a certain tannic backbone to it that says it is not just lemonade.

You make the base for elderflower syrup by preparing a simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water), bringing it to a boil and pouring it over lemon zest, a little lemon juice, lots of elderflowers, and a little citric acid, which adds flavor and keeps everything stable. You let this sit at room temperature for as little as a few hours, or as much 2 or 3 days to macerate, and the result after you strain it through cheesecloth is this lovely-looking syrup.

NOTE: If you just want to make a simple elderflower syrup, which will ferment quickly if you don’t keep it cold, skip all the lemon and citric acid. For a quart, boil 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water. Let it cool enough so you can stick your finger in it, then pour it over a quart Mason jar full of elderflowers. Steep 2 days in the fridge, then strain. Use within 3 weeks. 

Using Elderflower Syrup

I add about a tablespoon of the syrup to a pint of water to make an elderflower cordial with the level of flavor Gatorade has; add more syrup for a stronger drink. It tastes a lot like an Arnold Palmer (50-50 iced sweet tea and lemonade), but as elderflowers are known to be seriously good for you, I like this better.

elderflower liqueur recipeelderflower liqueur recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Years ago, Holly added some syrup to vodka to make an “Elder-tini,” which, when added to some cherries, make a damn good cocktail. Elderflower syrup is also excellent mixed with Champagne (a classic), and its Italian cousin Prosecco. My friend Heather makes a drink called a Caddisfly Nymph, which is elderflower syrup, Prosecco and a touch of Peychaud bitters.

Elderflower syrup makes a great glaze for chicken or pheasant breasts, or, when mixed with a champagne vinegar, a helluva gastrique (sweet and sour sauce) for poultry, rabbit or fish.

  • Snip off the flowers from the stalks into a large bowl or jar that will hold everything. Try to remove as much of the stems as you can; they are toxic. A few stray bits of stems will not hurt you, but you want to minimize it.

  • Zest the lemons and add it to the bowl, then the citric acid and lemon juice.

  • Bring the sugar and water to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve. Let the syrup cool enough so that you can stick your finger in it without getting burned; you can leave it to cool to room temperature, too. Pour the syrup over the flowers, lemons et al and stir to combine. Cover the bowl or jar and leave it for 2 or 3 days.

  • When you are ready, strain it through a fine-meshed sieve lined with cheesecloth or a paper towel into a clean Mason jar. Seal the jar and store in the fridge.

  • To serve, pour 1 to 3 tablespoons of the syrup into a pint glass and add water or seltzer. Or you can add a tablespoon to a glass of sparkling wine, or to a couple shots of vodka or gin.

This recipe makes about 1 quart. 

Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 50g | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.03mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/elderflower-cordial/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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Wild Game Cooking

Chile Verde Recipe – How to Make Pork Chile Verde

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This chile verde recipe is my go-to Mexican comfort food, easy to make and it keeps well all week. If you’re not familiar with it, Chile verde is braised meat with lots of green elements, like green chiles, cilantro and other herbs, as well as tomatillos.

Chile verde in a bowl, ready to eat.
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I should be clear at the start that chile verde is not green chili, nor is it the New Mexican dish green chile stew. Those are great dishes, but they are American. Chile verde is Mexican.

It is a staple in Mexican restaurants around here. This chile verde recipe is based on several I’ve read, or eaten in the Sonoran Desert area around Arizona, although there are variations on this dish all over both Mexico and our own Desert Southwest.

Wherever it comes from, this is a damn good dish, up there with my chile colorado and venison chili.

Chile Verde Ingredients

Unlike green chili or green chile stew, Mexican chile verde requires tomatillos, those cousins of the tomato you see encased in a papery husk. They come in many varieties, from great big domesticated ones to these funny little tomatillos that grow in my garden.

Wild tomatillos on a plateWild tomatillos on a plate
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

I never planted them. They just appeared. Lots of gardeners in my neighborhood get them, so I think they are wild, or at least feral. There do happen to be a number of various “ground cherry” species growing all over the country, so I am not certain which one this is. All I can tell you is that this is a welcome weed.

So whenever they’re ripe, I pick masses of the little buggers. You can find them in Mexican markets sold as tomatillos de milpa.

You strip off the husk, and inside is a kinda sticky green tomato-like thing. When they get perfect, the fruit fills the husk and sticks to it, so sometimes you may need to husk them under cold water. You want tomatillos when they are green and unripe; these turn purple when they are dead ripe, and the big ones turn sort of creamy-yellow.

When I am inundated with tomatillos, I make loads of my tomatillo salsa verde, which is great on tortilla chips, and can it. This is key, because, once canned, you have almost instant chile verde.

Other than tomatillos, you need other green ingredients: cilantro and a couple kinds of green chiles. I use a mix of Anaheim and/or poblano chiles, plus serranos or jalapenos for heat. In late summer, I get access to green Hatch chiles, which, when hot, take care of all your green chile needs.

The Sauce

Making chile verde sauce is kind of a production, like most good Mexican sauces. (Ever make mole? Not easy.) You put the peppers, onion, tomatillos and garlic on a grill or under a broiler to char, then peel the garlic and chiles — both hot and mild — cilantro, etc. and chop up everything in a food processor.

As I mentioned above, you can do all this way ahead of time by making salsa verde and canning it.

Once you have your salsa verde, making chile verde is easy. Keep in mind that tomatillos are acidic. For geeks, their average pH is 3.8, which is only a little milder than an orange. This means your chile verde will be acidic, too. So go easy on the lime until you’ve tasted it.

If you end up with sour chile verde, serve it with sour cream or Mexican crema. Yes, those are sour, too, but the dairy helps a lot.

A bowl of chile verdeA bowl of chile verde
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

Meat in Chile Verde

Meat is up to you. Think pork first, wild or domesticated. Chicken, pheasant, turkey (wild or domestic) are other good choices. Think light meat first, although I will admit, it’s damn good with beef, venison and yes, even things like squirrels or jackrabbits. Play with it!

I serve my chile verde with rice, Mexican cotija cheese, avocado, cilantro and a dollop of crema. You can also serve chile verde on tortillas, and a chile verde burrito is damn good.

OTHER GREEN CHILE DISHES

In addition to green chile stew, here are some other recipes that make good use of roasted green Hatch chiles, which I love.

  • Keep the pork or wild boar in large pieces — cut them only small enough to fit into your Dutch oven or other heavy, lidded pot. Salt the meat well and brown it in the pot in the lard over medium-high heat. When the pork has browned, remove it and add the onions. Cook the onions until they get a little brown on the edges. Return the pork to the pot, add the bay leaves, stock and as much water as you need to submerge the meat. Cover pot and cook over low heat until the meat wants to fall apart — about 3 hours for a wild hog shoulder, less for store-bought.

  • To prep the sauce, slice the tomatillos in half and arrange, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Quarter the onion and put that on the sheet. Put the garlic cloves on the sheet, too and set under the broiler. Remove when they are a little charred, but not burned to a crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Or, you can char everything on a comal, which is what I do.

  • While the tomatillos are broiling, set the jalapenos and the poblano or Anaheim chiles directly on your gas burner or over your grill. (If you have an electric stove, add them to the broiler as well.) Blacken the skins of the peppers, turning them as needed. Once the skins are black, put the chiles in a paper bag. Close the bag to let the peppers steam themselves for 20 minutes. When they’ve steamed, take them out of the bag and remove the skins. Do this in the sink to minimize the mess. Remove all the seeds and the stems of the peppers, too. (Note: If you’ve ever been burned working with chiles, you might want to wear gloves for this. Working with the roasted jalapenos might irritate your skin.)

  • Put the tomatillos, onion and the roasted chiles into a food processor. Peel the garlic and put the garlic in, too. Add the 1/2 cup of cilantro, oregano, epazote if using, and a healthy pinch of salt. Buzz until everything is combined but there are still some little chunks; you want texture to the sauce. Mix in the cumin and set the sauce aside. Fry this sauce in the lard, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. 

  • When the meat’s ready, lift it out of the pot and onto a baking sheet to cool a little. Keep the pot uncovered and turn the heat to high to boil down the braising liquid. Chop, or shred the meat with your fingers or with two forks.

  • Once the braising liquid has boiled down by about 2/3, remove the bay leaves and return the pork to the pot. Add the chile verde sauce and mix well. Serve over white rice with cilantro, some Mexican hard cheese and sour cream.

A note on the chile verde sauce. I make big batches and can it, which is a lot easier. It’s basically the same recipe as here, only with a bit of added vinegar. If you’re looking for a base recipe, this one is a good start. Once you make this, it will keep for a week in the fridge.

Keys to Success

  • Take your time browning the meat. It adds a lot of flavor. 
  • Adding the chile verde sauce at the end keeps flavors bright, and the sauce greener. That said, you can add it to the braising liquid and simmer it all together. This is traditional, and is tasty, but the sauce will be browner. 
  • This is a guisado, a thick stew you can put on a tortilla. You don’t want this thin, so if it is, cook it down uncovered. 
  • Go easy on the hot peppers. It’s easy to add them, hard to tame the heat if you overdid it. If you did, add potatoes; they help.
  • You do want lots of blackened char on the vegetables. That adds a ton of flavor here, and you will absolutely notice it. 

Calories: 690kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 85g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 278mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 1964mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 118mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Source link: https://honest-food.net/wild-boar-chile-verde-recipe/ by Hank Shaw at honest-food.net

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