Sausage With Split Pea Puree and Browned Butter

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By: Julie

Serves:  4-6

Time: 60-80 min

This started out being a recipe from the book Simple by Diana Henry.  It went off the rails quite early in the process when I realized I didn’t have a leek.  Or Caraway Seeds.  Also I was sketchy about the whole yellow split-pea thing… they look like dried rocks.  I have spent most of my life avoiding the legume family because my mother doesn’t like them, which means I didn’t eat them as a child. Other than those brief, terrifying times when she bought a random frozen vegetable mix that contained lima beans.  LIMA BEANS!  Nothing will scare you away from legumes more than freezer burnt, electric green lima beans. However, since it is a new year and resolutions are upon us, I decided I simply MUST have MORE LEGUMES IN MY LIFE. They are actually very good for you, very economical, and in this case, freaking delicious.

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Diane uses caraway seeds to flavor her butter, but I just browned it.  I’m super glad I did, it added amazing flavor.

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of yellow split peas
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped.  Diane uses a leek here, which I bet is nice too.
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram 6 cups of broth, broth and water, or just water.  I used 4 cups of chicken stock and 2 cups of water.  Diane calls for 5 but I found that it wasn’t enough.  I would start with 5 and add more later.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper – I used a full tsp and it was awesome.  But start with half because you may not be a pepper person.  If you find it’s missing some pizzaz at the end, it’s under-seasoned
  • generous grating of nutmeg.  I used 1/4 tsp.  I recommend fresh ground here
  • 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 stick butter – Diane specifies unsalted, but I like the salted version as it is a garnish
  • 3/4 lb of sausage.  Diane uses smoked.  I couldn’t find it.  I used honey mustard and it was divine.

Preparation:

In a medium sauce pan add the peas, onion, carrot, celery, marjoram, salt, pepper, broth and water.  Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Diane does not specify to cover here so I didn’t which may be why I needed the extra water.  You need to simmer this for at least an hour, preferably 80 min to reach the right consistency.  I have a toddler so time is sanity.  I did 60 min and there were a few al dente peas but it was lovely.

20 min before your puree is done fry up your chosen sausage in a pan until it’s no longer pink but still juicy.

Lastly, once the sausage and puree is done, take it off the heat.  Brown the butter (about 7 min over med heat until golden brown and nutty smelling).

Plate with the puree down, then sausage (whole or cut, your choice.. I find it goes further if I cut it up ahead of time).  Then drizzle with the browned butter.

Serve with a green salad.  It’s a bit on the heavy side so you really need the salad to lighten it up.

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Linzer Cookies with Browned Butter Filling

By:  Julie

Time:  25 min plus chilling and assembly time.  Plan an afternoon of cookie making.

Serves:  3 dozen

This recipe comes from a Christmas edition of Taste Of Home Magazine. It’s basically shortbread with browned butter filling and some delicious preserves of your choice.  Luckily, Corinne has left me with a jar of Strawberry-Lavender Caramel, which was the perfect compliment to the rich butter flavor.  Maybe if we hint enough she will post it on here.  Forget the hinting, “Corinne, we need you to post your Strawberry Lavender Caramel!”

I have made these at Christmas for two years running and they are my most requested treat along with cheesecake and lemon bars… coming soon to a blog near you.

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You Will Need:

For The Cookie

A Linzer cookie cutter or your favourite cookie cutter with a small round biscuit cutter to remove the center.

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour

For The Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup of your favourite preserve

Make The Cookie Dough

I make these in my mixed but they can easily be done by hand.

Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and the vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, a little at a time, until incorporated.  Divide the dough in half and place each half in plastic wrap.  Smooth into a disc shape and place in the fridge for 2 hours.  This step is important.  You need the gluten to rest to make tender cookies and also you need cold dough to prevent the cookings from loosing their shape during baking.

Preheat the oven to 375F.  Prepare two cookie sheets with parchment.  That way you can prep one while the others are baking.

Lightly flour the counter and roll out the dough until it is an 1/8th of an inch thick.  You want to try to make both halves of the dough the same thickness, otherwise your tops may not be the same size as your bottoms during baking.  Thinner dough will cook faster and shrink more.

Cut equal numbers of tops and bottoms from both halves of dough so that you have matched sets.  I used a linzer cookie cutter which cuts the tops out for me, but any floured cutter will work.  I found this at The Bulk Barn for about $6.  A worth while investment.  They are now starting to rust a bit but still work fine.

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I cut 12 cookies and place 1-2 inches apart on the first cookie sheet and throw them in the oven.  If the cookies have warmed up while you were cutting, be sure to place them in the freezer for 10 min before baking or they may loose their shape.  Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled them.  When they are baking they will puff up slightly.  When you see the puff dough start to relax in the oven they are done. The top will be pale while the edges are slightly golden.  They are much better when not over-baked.

While the first tray is baking, prep the second tray.  Keeping any excess dough in the freezer while you are working.  Place them in the oven when ready.

When the first batch is baked, allow to sit for a few minutes and then move to a cooking rack.  Throw the tray in the freezer to cool it down while you roll the next batch.

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Repeat until all cookies are baked and cooling.

Prepare The Icing

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat until browned.  This takes about 10 min.  Watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn.  Black butter is NOT as delicious as browned butter.  Remove from heat and gradually add the icing sugar until combined.  You are looking for a spreadable consistency so if needed, add some water until you can spread it easily with a knife.  It will stiffen as it cools so you need to work quickly.

Spread on the bottoms of all the cookies and top with a dollop of the preserves. Place the tops on and press down gently.  You want the preserves to fill the hole in the top of the cookie but not leak out the sides or overflow out of the top.  Let them sit out on the cooling rack for about an hour until the icing stiffens and then place in an air-tight container.  These freeze really well (I have been known to eat them right out of the freezer… they are delicious).  They will also keep well on the counter for a week or so.

 

 

Maple Raisin Butter Tarts

By Julie

Time:  2 hours: 1 hour prep and bake, 1 hour chill time for pastry (optional if using store bought)

Serves:  Makes 12 tarts

My mom makes delicious butter tarts by substituting maple syrup for corn syrup.  I tried to make one with just maple syrup, but I found I didn’t enjoy them as much as the corn syrup, maple ratio.  To me, the perfect butter tart is runny, a sensuous combination of salty and sweet, and has delicious golden raisins. Store bought crust is fine, but there really is no substitution for homemade tart pastry.  This one is very forgiving and easy to roll so give it a try.

You Will Need

For the Pastry:

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp ice water

For the Filling:

  • 3/4 cup of brown sugar ( I used dark because i like the flavor better, but use what you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup of real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup of butter, melted, browned, and cooled
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp of real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of golden raisins (thompsons will work also if that’s what you have

 

Make the Pastry

Yay for using a mixer!  Lots of bakers will go on about the merits of making dough by hand.  Learning how is important because you need to appreciate what really good pastry feels like in each stage so that you learn how to ensure the right flour to water consistency, but this one is super forgiving and is fine in your mixer.  Use the paddle attachment and combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Add the butter pieces and mix until it looks crumbly but you still have some larger butter pieces.  This is what makes a flakey dough, when the butter melts in the oven and creates air pockets.  Whisk the egg with the water and add it to your mixture.  Use the mix setting until dough comes together.  Shape it into two logs, like you’re going to make slice cookies, and wrap it in plastic.  Chill for at least an hour to make sure that butter is cold and the gluten relaxed before you roll it out.

Remove the dough from the fridge and preheat your oven to 400F.  Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, and lightly flour your work surface.  Cut your pastry logs into 12 equal portions and roll into circles.  Place each circle in the muffin cups gently.  Overlap is ok, just make sure you maneuver the dough into the bottom of the cups.  Gently push the seams together.  Let your dough lay over the top of the muffin cups a bit.  Cut off any excess (you don’t want the crust of one tart touching another).  Place tray in the fridge to cool for 20 minutes while you make the filling to prevent shrinkage. You want that butter to be cold when it hits the oven.

Make The Filling

Whisk the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl (preferably with a spout) until combined.  Add eggs, whisking in 1 at a time is easier to combine, then vinegar and vanilla.  Grab your shells from the fridge and place raisins in the bottom of each.  Fill just a smidge over 3/4 full with filling.  If you didn’t leave extra dough at the top of your cups, you may want to use a bit less filling so they don’t overflow.

Place the tarts in the oven and bake for 5 minutes, then, like a pie, reduce to 375 and continue baking for about 20 minutes.  You will see the tarts puff up or “dome”.  Cool completely before removing from pan.

This is the only recipe I will ever use for these.  I can’t make them that often because I am fully capable of eating all of them.  They keep well in an airtight container on the counter for a few days or chilled in the fridge.  They also freeze well.  Just be careful to thaw at room temperature.  A brief stay in the microwave turns the filling to molten lava and you’ll burn your face off.

Browned Butter and Maple Apple Crisp

By Julie

Time: 75min:  30min prep, 45 min baking

Serves 4-6

I love everything about apple crisp.  The tangy tartness of the apples, the sweet buttery crumb of the crisp, the syrupy sauce that only forms in the careful slow baking of pectin, sugar, and a little flour.  My grandmother used to put rhubarb in it, which I love even more, but sadly it’s December and I have long since used up my stash of frozen stalks.  However, not to worry, because it is the season of liquid gold (maple syrup) so we will give it a staring role in this dish.

A fruit crisp is a great way to bring a taste of summer into the long winter months.  It works great with fresh or thawed frozen fruit, and it’s a super quick desert to make.

Since I love everything about apple crisp and also have a slightly unhealthy addiction to browned butter, I decided that it would probably be heaven to combine the two.  Tyler brought home a cooler full of crisp, tiny apples of unknown variety from work and I needed to use them quickly as they are not waxed.  I do not hold their anonymity against them though for they are super crunchy, sweet, and delicious.  If you don’t have awesome anonymous apples, Gala works nicely here.

This is the first dessert I made without a recipe.  It took me several tries to get it the way I envisioned it, so we ate apple crisp for a week and one of them was completely inedible.  It is now, honestly, art.  The best crisp I’ve ever had, it’s frequently requested by my family.  I am dying for July fresh peaches so I can try them too. I’m not a super sweet dessert person, I like buttery sweet/salt combinations and my preferences are discernible in this recipe.  It works best in a small deep dish 1.5 quart casserole dish.  If using an 8×8 you need to double the recipe and use a deep pan.

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • enough apples to fill your dish.  About 7.
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats (rolled or quick, whatever you have will work)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

This magic happens in a slow 350 degree oven.  Preheat now.

First, Brown the Butter!  You could skip this step.. if you wanted to… you would be CRAZY.. but you could.  But don’t.  So, brown the butter.  Put a whole stick, or half a cup, into a small sauce pan over medium low heat.  On my burn-o-matic stove, it’s really low, but for you, it should be about the temperature that you use for pancakes.  DO NOT DESERT YOUR BUTTER!  For it happens quickly.  The butter will melt and turn a sunny yellow colour, foam and darken slowly, then the magic happens.  The butter solids separate and brown, turning your butter into something the colour of:  well, brown.  It will smell nutty, the solids will be sitting at the bottom.  Brown as much as you dare… don’t burn it.  Burned butter is bitter and not yummy at all.  As always, taste it to make sure.  It should taste slightly salty and caramely. If it’s bitter, you broke the rule, deserted it, and it’s burnt.  Start over.  Remove from heat immediately, transfer to a small bowl to halt the cooking process and put in the freezer to harden while you finish prepping. You want to be able to cut it into the crumble instead of just pouring it on.

Peel the Apples:  If you have a peeler, by all means use it.  I do.  Because I hate peeling apples almost as much as I hate doing dishes.  I used 7 small apples, but you want to fill your pan nearly to the top.  Slice thinly and top with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning. Place in a 1.5 quart baking dish, and toss with 1 tbsp of flour.   Add enough maple syrup to coat.  About 1/4 of a cup.  Toss and level the apples in the pan.

Make the Crumble:  In a medium bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Then add the brown butter, using a pastry blender to combine the butter with the dry ingredients until a crumbly mixture forms.  If it got too hard in the freezer feel free to soften it for a few seconds in the microwave but you want it cold.  Don’t melt it. Try not to eat it.

Assemble and Bake:  Double check to make sure your oven is preheated to 350F.  Spoon the crumble on top of the apples and press down lightly.  Pop in the oven and bake for 45 min.  Your sauce should be starting to bubble up around the edges and the top should be golden brown.  Serve warm as a dessert, add cream, or be brave like me and put it on a pancake so you can call it breakfast.  Because, well there’s fruit and syrup and why wouldn’t you?

Other Ideas: Please leave a comment and let me know how this worked for you.  Feel free to change, create, and inspire.  My only advice is don’t try granola… I did, and it would have been lovely, but raisins can only take so much punishment and 45 min on top of a crisp exposed to the heat was more than their shriveled skins could take.  I’ve also tried raisins in with the apples, fantastic, and dried cranberries.  Also fantastic.  Use what you have available and create something delicious to share.