Tag Archives: Bruce Aidells recipe

Bruce Aidells Part II: Escarole and White Bean Gratin

A cheesy crust of bread crumbs hides a filling of creamy white beans and kale.

When I was little, my two older brothers and I could spend hours whiling the afternoon away with a bedspread, a flashlight and my Mom’s folding board that she used to cut fabric on for the clothes she sewed for us.

With those three things, we could let our imaginations soar.

We’d unfold the board across the space between the twin beds in my brothers’ room. Then, we’d drape the bedspread on top, leaving the edge to hang over the board. And with that, we’d created a prehistoric cave, a tent for camping or any manner of secret hideaway even if it was actually in plain view.

We’d take turns crawling into the space created between the two beds and the board that lay atop them. We’d use the flashlight to send secret coded messages or to just light up the small space, pretending it was night time underneath a starry sky.

A lot of goodness in one spoonful.

It’s funny how that make-shift cocoon made us feel so safe and cared for. But then again, when you have a toasty warm cover blanketing anything, you can’t help but feel comforted.

Maybe that’s why almost every winter holiday, I love serving some sort of gratin dish on my dinner table like this one.

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Bruce Aidells Part I: Turkish Lamb Shoulder Plus A Food Gal Giveaway

A lamb dish strewn with pretty pomegranate seeds for the holidays.

If there’s one cookbook that I always recommend homecooks have on their shelf, it’s “The Complete Meat Cookbook” by the Bay Area’s meat expert, Bruce Aidells.

I’ve cooked numerous recipes out of it. I’ve also referred to it countless times for information on meat cooking times and the differences between various cuts. It’s a carnivore’s best one-stop resource.

So, I was counting the days for Aidells’ new version, “The Great Meat Cookbook” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), to be published.

It’s been more than a decade since Aidells, the founder and former owner of Aidells Sausage Company, wrote that first book. The new meat book is even more comprehensive. It’s updated with information on the “grass-fed” label, heirloom pork varieties, and includes recipes for not only lamb, beef, veal and pork, but bison and goat. What’s more, there are hundreds of handy-dandy color illustrations of just about every cut of meat you can think of, making it easier to pick them out at the grocery store.

The recipes span all-American comfort to global-inflected dishes. When I received my review copy of the book, it was the recipe for “Turkish Pomegranate-Glazed Lamb Shoulder Chops and Carrots” that caught my eye first.

First, I love lamb. Second, it’s such a pretty dish with jewel-like pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and fresh green herbs strewn over the chops.

Pomegranate seeds -- as pretty as rubies.

Third, the folks at Pom Wonderful had just sent me samples of their newest product, Pom Poms fresh pomegranate seeds or arils. Yes, they’ve eliminated the messy, stain-inducing task of digging the seeds out of a whole pomegranate. The new Pom Poms come in both 8-ounce and a 4.3-ounce sized containers. The latter even has a fold-able plastic spoon included so you can just open the container to start enjoying them.

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