Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sara Jenkins' Incredibly Easy Sausage Ragù or Ragù Done Right


Julia Moskin of the Times
When I was growing up, my WASP mother often made a dish called “Spaghetti Meat Sauce”.  I loved it.  The recipe came from a neighbor in our WASPiest of WASP enclaves. It later turned out that its author was a closet Italian-Canadian, because Italians just didn't exist at that time in WASPdom.  The other day, Julia Moskin, who writes a column in the New York Times called “Recipe Lab”, recalled her introduction to “Meat Sauce” in her similarly non-Italian household.  Her “Meat Sauce” however, unlike my Mother’s, was hit or miss. In fact, Ms. Moskin refers to her recipe as ‘unpredictable’, regularly “thin, sour, sweet, chewy or all of the above.” So Ms. Moskin enlisted the guidance of Sarah Jenkins.         
Ms Jenkins is a New York chef with a background in Italian cooking.  She grew up in Tuscany and she cooked all over Italy before landing in New York.  Here she is famous for commanding two must-stops on any food-centric visit to the city. Porchetta (110 East 7th St. Tel 212 777 2152), her sandwich shop, is just down the block from Porsena (21 East 7th St. Tel: 212 228 4923) where Chef Jenkins presides over some of the city’s best pasta. She’s even written a book about it called “Four Seasons of Pasta”(Avery 2015) with Nancy Harmon Jenkins, who is her mother and a noted food writer.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Spicy Chicken Vegetable Soup


I was tempted to call this “Kitchen Sink Soup”.  But that would do no justice to this amazing concoction which took the chill out of a very chilly weekend.  It also was so easy to make, I realized that it would entirely possible to make this a weeknight meal whenever the cold sets in.   I had an ulterior motive for making this too.  I was about to move back to New York so our kitchen in Bridgehampton will no longer be open 7 days a week.   I wanted to empty the vegetable drawer and this was an ideal way to do it.  Having been cooking for one, I also wanted to incorporate the remnants of two frozen vegetables and some leftover brown rice.  And the spice?  Well among my vegetables were two Fresno chiles and in they went.  The result was a soup with a lot of kick, which I loved but which, if you object to spicy food,  you can omit.   And that’s really the beauty of this soup.  It can pretty well contain absolutely any vegetable you like.  Into mine, in addition to the Fresno peppers, went onions, carrots, and celery, snap peas and broccoli florets.  As to the chicken, I used two boneless breasts, about 1 ½ lbs of chicken, cut into ¾ inch pieces and browned.  But you could even cheat here and just use 1 1/2 lbs of  cut up rotisserie chicken instead. Add the stock, simmer for all of 15 minutes and voilà, soup! Right after the fold, there’s the recipe: