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

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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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Hot Out of The Oven Biscuits

Celebrating Chef George's 24th Anniversary on PBS

Tune-in GHL CreateTV Sat Sept 29th 6:30AM/6:30PM Sun Sept 30th 12:30PM 

Forget the version from the tube, who doesn't like fresh homemade hot biscuits straight out of the oven? Great for breakfast, lunch, tea or with a hot dinner soup and my Oven Fried Garlic Chicken.

Tips for the best biscuits:

Make sure the butter and the milk are very cold and be sure not to over mix the dough. It's important to use a sharp cutter; the sharper the cutter, the cleaner the cut, the higher the biscuits will rise.

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George Hirsch's Biscuits

Makes one dozen

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2 cups sifted all purpose flour 

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons salt 

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 

2 teaspoons sugar 

1/2 cup butter 

2/3 cup  milk

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees

Sift dry ingredients, blend butter with dry ingredients using a pastry blender or a knife & fork. Add milk & mix well. Knead dough 2 minutes. Roll out dough and cut out biscuits. At this point you can store the cut out biscuit dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them.

Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of the biscuits.

Serve immediately warm from the oven with butter or honey or both.  

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At the Waldorf

This is one of the sides that brings me right back to my humble days of early chef-dom - a very classical and very good Waldorf Salad.

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Waldorf-Astoria Hotel c1899

A bit behind the salad history: Oscar Tschirky, who was maître d’hôtel at the Waldorf Hotel in NYC is credited with creating this recipe in the 1890’s, as well as many other recipes. Veal Oscar anyone? I'll save that for another post.

The Waldorf Salad is simply apples, celery and mayonnaise served on a lettuce leaf. But, that’s where it all begins. Walnuts became a common addition years later, as did grapes, other dried fruit such raisins, apricots and sultana. My friend Tony even opted to add the fore mentioned and cut the mayo with good Greek yogurt; which is very refreshing and lighter than all mayo or a combo mayo & unsweetened whipped cream. 

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Things have changed since the 1890s, so go ahead and put your own spin on the Waldorf, Oscar won’t mind. Use culinary license, prepare it with apples and toasted nuts; cut the mayo, even sub with today’s olive oil mayo, which I prefer. Serve some grilled chicken or shrimp on the side and you are talking a healthy main dish. 

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
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Bologna Inspired

The cold weather is about to enter into the low digits; so light a roaring fire in the fireplace and keep the big soup pot at the ready. You could make my Baked Potato Soup as a quick way to warm up. Or, how about cooking-up a brothy and hearty tortellini soup. (The tortellini originates from the north-cental part of Italy). Serve with my Fennel & Green Bean Salad and Homemade Biscuits for a complete meal. 

BTW--To answer a much often asked viewer question about my TV show; yes, 100% of my recipes are cooked on air and are eaten by my TV crew. Hey, it’s part of their job!

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Tortellini Basil Soup

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1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

8 cloves caramelized garlic

1 cup canned San Marzano Tomatoes, chopped

4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1 quarter cup fresh spinach leaves, shredded

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

8 ounces cheese tortellini

1 cup small white beans, cooked or canned

Pinch nutmeg

Grated parmesan cheese to taste

Fresh ground black pepper

Pre heat a medium soup pot to medium temperature.

Add olive oil, onion, garlic, tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes.  Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and add tortellini, spinach, basil, and white beans. Simmer until tortellinis are al dente and season with nutmeg, pepper. Add parmesan cheese to taste. Serve with a basil leaf on top. 

NOTE: This recipe requires a good quality tortellini if you are cooking the pasta in the broth. A lesser quality tortellini will make the soup starchy. If you are not sure of the quality, cook the tortellini separately and add pasta to the soup right before serving. 

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
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