Sausage Campagnola, an Old World Tradition

Planning Gameday or an improv Sunday Supper?  

Sausage Capagnola one pot

The old world tradition of sausage and vegetables makes this rustic country dish ideal for cooking on the grill or stovetop. Cook it today and it will taste even better tomorrow. 

Sausage Campagnola

Sausage Campagnola

Makes 4-6 servings

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2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 pound Italian Ring Sausage

½ sweet onion, chopped 

6 cloves garlic

1 red bell pepper, cut into small strips

2 small Yukon potatoes, sliced thin

¼ cup dry white wine

pinch red pepper flakes

3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, torn 

¼ cup pecorino Romano cheese

Pre heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Add olive oil, and sausage and cook until the sausage has browned. Add onion, garlic, red bell, and Yukon potatoes and cook on low to medium heat until soft and a rich golden color and fully cooked. 

Add Kale, red pepper flakes, fresh ground black pepper and wine and cook 4-5 minutes.

Serve topped with fresh basil and park cheese. 

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Hot Brown

A Hot Brown is a hot sandwich originally created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, by Fred K. Schmidt in 1926. It was one of two signature sandwiches created by chefs at the Brown Hotel shortly after its founding in 1923. The Brown Hotel is a grand property, of distinctive English Renaissance design and is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

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According to The Hot Brown legend, "In the 1920's, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Diners were growing rapidly bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce." 

The dish is a local specialty and favorite of the Louisville area, and is popular throughout Kentucky. Think fondue-like only more of a pub-ish lunch; ideal and comforting during cold weather. The Hot Brown is an open-faced sandwich w/ turkey and or bacon, covered in Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown. Other varieties of Hot Browns may include ham with the turkey, and either pimentos or tomatoes over the sauce. 

Making The Sauce

A béchamel or white sauce can be spiced up with a pinch of cayenne pepper, or hot sauce, 1/2 cup IPA (or another good ale), 1 teaspoon prepared English mustard, and pinch of paprika.

Finish the sauce off with 1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese. Whisk in and simmer just until the cheese is melted. Serve a couple tablespoons of sauce over a slice of good wheat toast. Serve as is, or you may want to place the 'Hot Brown' under a broiler for 30 seconds to brown lightly. Top with chopped chives or green onion. I've also topped this with a slice of good ripe tomato + sweet onion. Enjoy.

A Light Béchamel Recipe

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1 Tablespoon sweet butter

1 Tablespoon flour

1/2 cup half & half (can use milk for a lighter version) 

In a small sauce pan over low heat add butter and flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. With a wire whisk add in milk and allow to simmer until slightly thickened.

If using béchamel for Hot Brown, continue adding ingredients as above and simmer for 5 minutes while continuing to stir. 

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Eighteen Gallon Muffin

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By my standards, this is the number one comfort dessert. This recipe is so good that I adapted it down from my recipe that served much larger portions—I used at a hotel where we served about 25,000 meals daily. The original recipe called for eighteen gallons of milk. It should be no surprise that my original bread pudding recipe served about 1000 people a day. 

TIP: I like to use day-old French bread in my bread pudding recipe because it has more flavor than the gummy plain white kind. Cinnamon-raison bead, croissants, sweat rolls, brioche, challah, and panettone can also be substituted or mixed in combination for part of the bread. Puree some seasonal berries for a sauce or serve with a vanilla sauce.

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Apple-Raisin Bread Pudding Muffins

Makes 10-12 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 Granny Smith or baking apples, peel, cored and chopped small

3-4 cups dry French Bread, cubed small

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped small

1/2 cup raisins, *plumped 

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

4 cups milk, or use half milk and half & half 

8 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup pure cane sugar, sugar can be slightly reduced if using sweet breads

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 Teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest

In a small saute pan saute apples in 2 Tablespoons butter to slightly soften, remove and cool. 

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the milk, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and nutmeg, and beat with a whisk until well blended. Slowly pour over the bread mixture. Poke the bread so that it’s completely covered with the milk mixture and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Add raisins and 1/2 of the cooled sautéed apple.  

Grease a regular size 12-cup muffin pan with butter, or use muffin cups liners, or individual ramekins.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, place bread pudding batter into muffin cups filling each cup to three quarters full. Add remaining apples on top of batter. 

Place a pan larger than the muffin pan in preheated oven and place the pan holding the bread pudding inside. Immediately fil the outer pan with enough hot water so that it comes up one inch on the sides of the muffin pan. 

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the water bath, reduce the temperature to 325 degrees, and bake for 10-15 additional minutes. Remove the bread-pudding muffins and allow to set for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. 

Serve Apple-Raisin Bread Pudding Muffins warm or cold with warm fruit or vanilla sauce.

*To plump dried raisins add 2 tablespoons of water or orange juice and heat in microwave for 30 seconds; drain orange juice back into pre measured 1/3 cup orange juice. 

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Power Pantry

Winter is a good time to take inventory of how many of these power foods you have on hand, restock and remind you to incorporate them into your daily diet. I also take this as a good opportunity to go through non perishables + canned goods to give to my local food pantry.

Roasted Veg

Almonds: good fiber, protein good for your heart. Go ahead and go nuts!

Apples: Vitamin C and soluble fiber and helps keep the doctor away.

Beets: rich source of folate as well as natural red pigments that may be cancer fighters; save fresh stems for salads for a double bonus.

Blueberries: big plant compounds to prevent chronic diseases. Toss in cereal and yogurt to get your day started right.

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Broccoli: missed your O.J. today? Have a glass of broccoli; it’s powerhouse of calcium, potassium, folate, fiber, Vitamins A & C. 

Red Beans: excellent source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and copper, low fat low cal source of protein and fiber. A complete meal with steamed brown rice.

Spinach: Vitamin A and C folate. Good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium iron and magnesium. Boost your immune system and keep hair and skin healthy. Seemed to work for Popeye.

Salmon: Omega-3 fatty acids, aids in keeping blood from clotting, good source of protein. Need more reason, just try this tasty recipe for Grilled Salmon, Irish Style.

Sweet Potatoes: high in antioxidant beta-carotene which can slow the aging process. Good fiber, fat free, and under 60 calories per tuber.

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Swiss chard: a leafy green vegetable packed with carotenoids that protect aging eyes. Sorry, the DMV still requires an eye test for drivers license even if you eat your Swiss chard.

Pumpkin seeds: the most nutritious part of the pumpkin. Full of magnesium; high levels of the mineral are associated with lower risk for early death. Helpful in the dugout during a Game Day too.

Sardines: high in omega-3’s, loaded with calcium. They also contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese as well as a full complement of B vitamins. Enough said.

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Turmeric: more than just a yellow color to paella, it contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Wheat Germ: great boost to your immune system and cardio health. Go ahead treat yourself to an ice cream topped with wheat germ, you are doing yourself good. 

Vegetable Juice: when choosing, select a low sodium version because it’s filled with lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces risk of heart attack and prostate cancer. 

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