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Entries in Main Dishes (12)


Recipe: Polish Hunter's Stew {Bigos}

Polish Hunter's Stew

Adapted from Simple Recipes

Yield: 10-12 servings


1 oz dried porcini or other wild mushrooms

2 Tbsp bacon fat or vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 head green cabbage (not savoy or red), chopped

1 1/2 lbs mixed fresh mushrooms

2 lbs pork shoulder or country style spare ribs

1-2 lbs kielbasa or other smoked sausage

1 smoked ham hock

2 lbs fresh sauerkraut (normally available in refrigerated section of the grocery store)

1 - 16 oz pilsner or lager beer

1 Tbsp juniper berries (optional)

1 Tbsp black peppercorns 

 1 Tbsp caraway seeds

2 Tbsp dried marjoram (or 1/4 cup fresh marjoram, coarsely chopped)


20 prunes, sliced in half (optional)

2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)

1 15 oz can tomato sauce (optional)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

Pour hot tap water over the dried mushrooms and submerge them for 20-40 minutes, or until soft. Clean the fresh mushrooms and cut them into large pieces; leave the small ones whole.

Grind or crush the juniper berries and black peppercorns roughly.

Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks (if using). Cut the kielbasa into similar-sized chunks.

Drain and rinse the sauerkraut and set aside.

Heat the bacon fat or vegetable oil in a large dutch oven. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the pork over medium high heat on both sides. Set aside.

Put the onion into the pot and sauté for a few minutes. Add the cabbage and cook until it starts to soften. Season with salt and pepper. As the vegetables release their moisture, use a wooden spoon to scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pan. If you are making the tomato based version, add the tomato paste here. Set mixture aside.

Add the mushrooms to the pot and cook until they release their moisture. Season with salt and pepper. When the liquid is nearly gone, add the cabbage and onion mixture, sauerkraut, spices, tomato sauce (if using) and the beer to the pan. Stir mixture to combine.

Remove half of the vegetable mixture from the pan. Place the meat in a single layer over the vegetables in the pan and then top with the remaining vegetables. (Bigos is a dry stew, so the liquid will not submerge the meat and vegetables completely. As the stew cooks, more liquid will be released.)

Bring the pot to a simmer, cover and place in the oven to braise on low heat for approximately 3 -4 hours or until the ham is falling off the bone. Add the prunes at this point, and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until they are softened.

Bigos is typically served with rye bread and horseradish. I served my rendition with red potatoes, which also worked well. The stew improves with age, so your leftovers will be even better the next day.


  •  The longer sauerkraut sits, the more sour it becomes. Rinsing helps to reduce the sourness, but you can also adjust the ratio of sauerkraut to fresh cabbage if necessary. (i.e. use a little less sauerkraut and a little more fresh cabbage)
  • I used a 6 3/4 quart Le Crueset French Oven when I made this dish -- but any heavy dutch oven with a lid will work. The original recipe suggested cooking the stew on the stove top, but putting it in the oven made more sense to me. Alternatively, cooking the stew in a slow cooker would also work well but will require substantially more time. (About 8-10 hours on low?)

Recipe: Roasted Salmon Rosettes with Pistachio-Mint Pesto

Roasted Salmon Rosettes with Pastachio-Mint Pesto

 Adapted from A Stack of Dishes

Yield: 8 "rosettes"


2 lbs salmon fillet, center cut, skin removed

1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves and stems, coarsely chopped

4 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh mint

1 clove of garlic, finely minced

1/2 c shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

 salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 350F

Place salmon fillet in the freezer for approximately 10 minutes to firm up. (This will facilitate the slicing process.)

With a thin bladed knife, cut the salmon fillet (length-wise) into 1/4 inch slices. 


Starting at one end of the salmon strip, fold it into a tight round to make the inner bud. * Wrap 2 more strips of salmon around the center to form the petals. The salmon is very malleable when thinly sliced, so the stips should stay in place; if you get a stubborn piece, insert a toothpick to secure the end.

Place the fish in an oiled baking dish, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Roast for 12 minutes

To make the Pesto:

Combine the parsley, mint, and pistachios in a medium sized bowl.

Add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil to the mixture; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

The pesto can be made up to 24 hours in advance, and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. 


*Short and/or uneven pieces can be used to form the inner "bud". Save the more uniform pieces for the "petals".


Recipe: Baked Flounder with Tomatoes and Basil

Baked Flounder with Tomatoes and Basil

Adapted from Bon Appetit (Recipe credit: Chef Jason Alley, Comfort Restaurant, Richmond VA)

Yield: 4 servings


1 lb very ripe tomatoes, cored, quartered (halved if small)

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

4 6-8 oz boneless flounder fillets


Preheat oven to 425 F.

Toss first 5 ingredients in a large baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Spread out in an even layer. Bake tomato mixture for 5 minutes.

Season fish with salt and pepper. Arrange fish in a single layer over the tomato mixture. Roast until fish just begins to flake, about 10 minutes.

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Recipe: Tomatoes stuffed with Rice 

Tomatoes stuffed with Rice (Pomodori al Riso)

Adapted from Elizabeth Minchilli, Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome

Yield: 6 servings


12 round, medium sized tomatoes

1 c short grain rice

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 Tbsp olive oil, plus additional for drizzling

3 large potatoes

12 basil leaves


Preheat the oven to 375F

Cut the top off each tomato, and reserve.  

Using a spoon, or melon baller, remove the pulp from each tomato and place in a large bowl with the juice. (Take care not to puncture the outer wall of the tomato when removing the pulp.)

Place the tomatoes cut side down on a paper (or in a colander) to drain.

Break up any large pieces of the pulp with your hands or the back of the spoon. Add the onion, garlic, rice and 3 Tbsp olive oil to the tomato mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well and let stand for 90 to allow the rice to soften.

Cut the potatoes into wedges. Place in a separate bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add sliced garlic or finely minced herbs to the potatoes.

Generously oil a roasting pan. Salt and pepper the tomato cavities, and place a basil leaf on the bottom of each tomato.  Place the tomatoes snuggly into the roasting pan. Scatter the potatoes around the tomatoes, propping them up as necessary.  

Fill the tomatoes to the top with the rice mixture, and then place the corresponding top back on each tomato. Drizzle olive oil over each tomato.

Roast the tomatoes for approximately 90 minutes -- occasionally basting with the pan juices. Ovens vary, so check the vegetables after 60 minutes. The dish is done when the potatoes are fully cooked and the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

Serve at room temperature. 



Recipe: Spaghetti with Black Summer Truffles

Spaghetti with Black Summer Truffles (Spaghetti ai Tartufi Neri)

Adapted from Mary Ann Esposito, Ciao Italia

Yield: 4 servings


2 Black Summer Truffles

2/3 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 lb spaghetti

freshly grated Pecorino, to taste


Rinse truffles under running water (or use a soft brush) to remove any dirt. 

Thinly slice truffles using a truffle grater or on a box cheese grater. Place truffles in a shallow dish and pour the olive oil over them. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow oil to infuse for several hours or overnight.

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. 

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp of the infused oil in a large skillet.  Cook the garlic until soft, but not brown.  Turn off the heat and add the remaining infused oil and truffles.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving 2 Tbsp cooking water. Add the spaghetti and the water to the skillet. Reheat the mixture over very low heat until just hot (You do not want to cook the truffles.)

Generously sprinkle grated pecorino onto a large platter or pasta dish. Transfer spaghetti mixture to the dish and stir well to combine. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately with additional grated pecorino on the side.