Recipe for Health, Wealth & Good Fortune

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For many Americans, New Year's means parties, football, and watching the ball drop in Times Square. But for others here and around the world the celebration wouldn't be complete without certain delicious traditional foods.

In Italy, the people welcome the New Year by tossing old things out of their windows to make room for the new and luck to enter their lives in the upcoming year. In food traditions, the Italian people cook up a dish called Cotechino Con Lenticchie: pork sausage served over lentils. This dish is eaten because of the presence of fatty rich pork sausage and lentils in the dish. Cotechino sausage is a symbol of abundance because they are rich in fat; while the coin-shaped lentils symbolize money. It is delicious.

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Cotechino Con Lenticchie: Pork Sausage Served over Lentils

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

This hearty and satisfying dish is traditionally eaten on New Year's Day to bring abundance and fortune. Cotechino is an Italian fresh pork sausage. It is creamy and delicate in flavor. It is sometimes sold precooked or boiled but the best ones are fresh. If you can't find cotechino a high quality fresh pork sausage flavored with nutmeg, cloves and pepper will suffice. 

1 pound cotechino, pork sausage
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 large carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 whole black peppercorns
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 pound dry green lentils
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped 

Pierce the cotechino with a fork in several places. 

Pre heat a large pot and add olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, carrot, 1 bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Simmer vegetables for two minutes and add cotechino, cook two minutes and add lentils, cover with 4 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 to 50 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add additional water if necessary. 

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Spoon the lentils into a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and slice rounds of the cotechino over the top. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve. 

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The Feast of Seven Fishes

Join me + Tune-in George Hirsch Lifestyle CreateTV Sat Dec 29th 6AM/6PM + Sun Dec 30th 12:30PM

The Feast of Seven Fishes

A popular southern Italian tradition celebrated all over the world is the Feast of the Seven Fishes. In Italy it is called “la cena della vigilia,” or Christmas Eve Dinner, December 24th, observed by abstaining from eating meat on Christmas Eve, enjoying the holiday meal with family, filled with a seafood spread. 

George Hirsch Lifestyle, Feast of the Seven Fishes

WHY SEVEN? Some say the number seven represents the seven sacraments, seven days of creation, or simply the fact that seven signifies perfection in the Bible. This may be speculation, however what is known is that this celebration is something that is very much appreciated and shared by most Italians and lovers of fish.

Fish: You will find virtually any Mediterranean fish prepared from this region. Everything from anchovies to eel. Popular fishes in the feast include calamari, smelts, clams, and shrimp. 

One of my favorite is baccalá, a dried, salted cod. 

Baccala How To: To reconstitute the baccalá, you soak it for two days, changing the water three or four times.

I prepare the baccalá several ways including sauted and with tomatoes, but it's also quite popular to prepare it in the oven with potatoes or even in a salad with potatoes and black olives.

The Seven Fishes is a feast that brings family and friends together to celebrate a very important evening, and the seafood is only the centerpiece of what really takes place..keeping a tradition alive with family and friends. Isn’t that what holidays are really about? Buone feste! 

Seafood Chowder

Fritto Misto

Linguini Calamari Sauce

Baccala and Potato Recipe

Capitone Arrosto & Fritto

Clam Pie Recipe

Mussels in White Wine Sauce

Stuffed Calamari Recipe

Shrimp Risotto Recipe

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WHITE TURKEY CHILI

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What to do with all that turkey? You gave goodie bags away, but there seems to be so much left, still. Well, here are a couple great ideas beyond the old turkey-n-gravy sandwich, which isn't that bad either. My number one requested one-pot meal recipe is my White Turkey Chili. It's so easy to prepare; just give all the ingredients time to simmer; a spicy and a warm way to serve turkey. 

Chef George’s White Turkey Chili

WHITE TURKEY CHILI

Makes six servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | from George Hirsch Living it UP! Cookbook 

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2cupsonion, chopped

1/4cup celery,  chopped 

1/2cupyellow bell pepper, chopped

1  Tablespoon jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped

4cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon thyme

fresh ground black pepper

3cups cooked turkey or chicken, skin removed and chopped 

3cups cannellini beans, drained and mash 1 cup

3 cups chicken broth

1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn

4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

optional: 1cup half & half or low fat milk

Pre heat a large casserole pot to medium.

Add olive oil, onion, celery, yellow pepper, jalapeño, and garlic; cook for 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder and black pepper. Add turkey, 2 cups of beans, broth, corn and bring to a boil. 

Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add 1 cup mashed beans and half & half to the turkey mixture. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring frequently. Stir in chopped cilantro.

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Meatballs for Goodness

After all these years, my nana's meatball recipe is still nurturing and comforting. I am delighted to share once again a simple recipe filled with goodness. Thank you nana for teaching me the essentials of a recipe, even those ingredients not listed here. 

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Nana’s Meatballs, as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes 12 Jumbo, 24 large or 40 mini meatballs

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3 pounds ground beef, 80 / 20 blend; can use combo of beef, pork, and veal

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 sweet onion, chopped fine

2 eggs, cracked and beaten

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

2 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups day old Italian bread, pulsed into crumbs

1/2 cup chicken broth, to soften bread crumbs (variable amount may have to add more broth just to soften crumbs) 

Fresh ground black pepper

* Note all ingredients should be very cold before blending. 

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In a mixer or by hand mix all ingredients until well blended. Dip hands in ice water before shaping into round balls.

Spray an oven-roasting pan with grease spray.

Use an ice cream and scoop up meatballs; roll by hand until they are shaped round. Do not over handle as to not over warm up meat. Repeat until all meat is used up. Do not over crowd meatballs to make it easier to move them while baking. 

Refrigerate meatballs for at least 30 minutes to chill. Prepare Tomato Sauce below.

Pre heat a large heavy gauge sauté pan to high heat, or if making a large quantity of meatballs brown in a hot oven at 425 degrees F. 

Roast meatballs for five minutes in oven or on stovetop just until they begin to brown. If roasting gently shake pan to move meatballs to turn over, or use a spatula for meatballs if browning in sauté pan. Continue cooking for a few additional minutes (or less if mini) or until meatballs are brown on the outside. Meatballs will not be fully cooked and will continue to cook in tomato sauce. 

Remove meatballs with a spatula and add to gently simmering sauce and continue cooking for 20-30 minutes. 

For the Tomato Sauce:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil 

1/2 cup minced sweet onion

6 cloves garlic, minced 

2 (28 ounce) cans crushed San Marzano Tomatoes

2 (6.5 ounce) cans tomato sauce

1 Tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon oregano

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons each fresh chopped parsley and basil

In a large saucepot sauté add olive oil, onion, and garlic over medium heat until light brown. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with dried basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, pepper, and half of the parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked browned meatballs and top with fresh chopped parsley and basil before serving. 

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Speedy Side

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

Tune-in GHL CreateTV Wed 8:30AM/2:30PM Sat 7:30AM/7:30PM Sun 8:30AM/1:30PM 

Don't feel like peeling the spuds, or steaming rice on a warm day? Solution, try my cool couscous salad that is ready to serve in a matter of minutes. And, it's a great make-ahead cold side-salad that travels well from your kitchen to tailgate.  

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A staple side of North Africa, Sicily and the Middle East, couscous is made from semolina, or granules of durum wheat. A healthy side dish it contains a 1 % low fat-to calorie ration of  3.6 grams of protein for every 100 grams. But, my flavorful Couscous and Tomato Salad tastes so good. Who will remember the dish is healthy? 

Serve warm or chilled with Grilled Garlic Shrimp, or go all veggie and top with Honey Glazed Acorn Squash.

Couscous and Tomato Salad

Makes four cups 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

1 1/2 cups Couscous

2 cups chicken broth

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 sweet onion, chopped

1/4 sweet red bell pepper, chopped

2 Tablespoons pine nuts and raisins

2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped

For Tomato Dressing: 2 Tablespoons lemon juice; 1 Tablespoon honey; 1/2 cup vine ripened tomatoes, chopped; 1/4 cup chick peas; cooked or canned rinsed & drained; 1/4 cup olive oil; 2 teaspoons curry powder; pinch of cinnamon

Pre heat a sauté pan; add one tablespoon olive oil, onions and peppers. Sauté three- five minutes until tender.  Add pine nuts and raisins and cook one additional minute. Add couscous; mix with onion and pepper mixture. Add boiling hot chicken broth, 1 Tablespoon mint, cover and remove from stove. Allow to rest for five minutes.

Meanwhile make Tomato Dressing by mixing tomatoes, chick peas, lemon juice, honey, olive oil, curry, cinnamon and remaining mint.  

After couscous has sat covered for five minutes remove lid and mix with a fork or spoon to loosen granules. Top and mix in the tomato dressing.

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