Welcome to January 2023! The holiday season has passed, and you’re unsure if your body can handle another sugar cookie (it always can, but a break is nice). The sun barely makes an appearance before it sets at 4:30 pm. If we’re being honest, you haven’t seen the sun properly since November 2022, so you’re accustomed to the lack of sunshine. We need some nutrients from somewhere, so it is time to dive head first into winter produce!
This post explores other ways to prepare winter veggies than a simple roast in the oven.
On the menu tonight are celeriac latkes, an apple, chicory and parsnip salad and a short rib borsch. This three-course affair beautifully highlights the bounty that is winter produce. Please do not be intimidated by the “three-course” false sense of fancy! These dishes are comforting, warm and require a good deal of passive cooking time. All of these can be prepared in advance. Both the latkes and borsch do great with a reheat. The salad ingredients are hearty enough that a short sit tossed in their vinaigrette will be fine. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of these dishes as I have been very fortunate to consume all three of them over this holiday season. Now the good stuff!
Apple, Chicory and Parsnip Salad
1-2 large apples, quartered and thinly sliced (Honeycrisp works really well)
1 large head of radicchio, leaves separated and torn
1 parsnip, peeled into ribbons
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
⅓ bunch Italian parsley, fresh, roughly chopped
⅓ cup toasted nut, seed or mixture of both
A sharp vinaigrette of choice
*Note: a pear would also work nicely. I like the crispness of an apple, but the pear will also provide the sweetness needed to balance the bitter from the chicory.*
In a large serving bowl, toss everything together in your vinaigrette of choice and serve!
Celeriac Potato Latkes
yields 6-8 medium sized latkes
5 medium russet potatoes, peeled & grated
1 celeriac, peeled & grated
1 onion, grated
½ cup AP flour
1 T kosher salt
2-3 eggs, whole
Oil for frying
Peel and grate potatoes and celeriac. A box grater or a food processor with a shredder disc will work. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the potato and celeriac mixture. A cheese cloth works great here, but just your hands and brute strength can get the job done. Potato starch will collect in the bottom of the bowl. Save this! Discard the liquid and place mixture back in, tossing everything in the starch to coat.
Grate the onion and add. Add flour and salt. Mix everything together. Start with cracking two eggs into the mixture, mixing to cohesion. You want a consistency that is more goopy than you think. If too dry after two eggs, add the third.
Heat oil in a frying pan. When ready, drop batter by large soup spoonfuls to form oval shapes. *You can freeze these spoonfuls on a sheet tray if you want to fry at a later time*
Fry over moderate to high heat until brown on one side; turn to brown the other side. Remove from the frying pan and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt immediately after frying.
Short Rib Borsch
(adapted from Kachka cookbook by Chef Bonnie Morales)
¼ cup canola oil
2½ to 3 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced into thin half moons
2 large red beets, scrubbed
2 quarts beef stock
2 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾-inch cubes
1 carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
1 handful thinly sliced scallions
1 handful roughly chopped dill
½ cup smetana (Russian sour cream) or sour cream, optional
Russian style mustard, optional
Heat oil in a large stockpot over high heat. Season short ribs with salt on all sides and sear a few minutes on each side, or until dark brown. Remove ribs and set aside. Discard excess beef fat.
Lower heat to medium and add onions. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until caramelized (about 15 minutes). Add beets and cover with beef stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to barely a simmer, and cook until beets are half cooked, around an hour. Remove beets and set aside. Add short ribs back in and cook at barely a simmer, uncovered, for 3–4 hours, or until fork-tender. When cool, peel beets and grate on the large holes of a box grater.
Remove short ribs again and set aside. Add potatoes to the pot, simmering for another 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Meanwhile, remove bones and chewy connective tissue from short ribs, and cut meat into bite-size pieces. When the potatoes are cooked, add the meat back to the pot, along with beets and the carrot.
To serve right away: simmer a few minutes longer, or until the beets are cooked through. To serve the next day: let cool and refrigerate overnight. Remove congealed fat from the top and reheat.
Garnish with a dollop of smetana and a sprinkling of dill and scallions. Serve with slices of dark bread with mustard, or stir the mustard directly into your soup.