This Month’s Recipes from The Project Open Hand Cookbook: Comforting Foods

Butternut Squash Soup with Sage

by Chef Maria Helm Sinskey
“On a cold day, this hearty bowl of soup is especially comforting,” says Maria Helm.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
1 large butternut squash, halved, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks
6 to 8 cups water or chicken stock

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the sage and honey and continue cooking until the honey bubbles.
2. Add the squash and 6 cups of water or chicken stock. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender, about 45 minutes, adding more liquid if necessary to keep the squash submerged.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the soup coll for about 15 minutes. A few cups at a time, puree in a blender.
4. Return the soup to the pan and, over medium heat, bring back to a boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Sauteed Trout with Pancetta, Garlic, and Parsley

by award winning chef, Gary Danko
2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-by-1-inch strips
Two 6- to 8-ounce trout, cleaned, boned, and opened like a book (heads and fins trimmed and discarded)
Black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons mild olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

Cooking Instructions:
1. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat, stirring until golden brown but not yet crisp (about 5 minutes). Transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain. Discard all fat from the skillet.
2. Season the trout on both the skin and flesh sides with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the all-purpose flour on a plate and lightly dredge both sides of each trout in it, shaking off the excess.
3. In the skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the trout skin sides down and cook until golden brown and crusty, 3 to 4 minutes. With a spatula, turn them over and cook just until the fish is cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove each trout to a heated serving plate. Pour off the oil and wipe out the skillet.
4. Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the parsley, garlic, and pancetta and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Season to taste with a little salt and pepper and spoon the mixture, still sizzling, over the trout. Serve immediately.

Peach-Pecan Crisp

Chef Lindsey Remolif Shere, Chez Panisse
“Peach crisp is summertime – picnice at the river, casual dinners with friends,” says Lindsey Shere.

3 ripe peaches peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Low fat vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat oven to 375 F
2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the peaches with the 1 1/2 tablespoons of whole wheat flour and 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Put them in a shallow baking dish and smooth the top.
3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, thoroughly stir together the remaining flour and granulating sugar with the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter and, with a blender, cut it into the mixture until it begins to hold together and look crumbly. Add the pecans and stir just until the mixture resembles slightly moist-looking crubs with no dry flour remaining.
4. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the peaches. Bake until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes. If the topping begins to brown too quickly, lay a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top.
5. Serve warm, offering a scoop of vanilla ice cream with each serving.

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