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Recipe: Bollito Misto

In James Peterson’s new cookbook “Meat: A Kitchen Education,” featured in today's News, the author includes several recipes that use cuts of meat less popular with Americans. This dish from northern Italy takes advantage of long, slow simmering to tenderize tough cuts of meat.

Bollito Misto

(From “Meat: A Kitchen Education,” by James Peterson, Ten Speed Press, $35)

 Makes 12 main-course servings

 1 first-cut or second-cut beef brisket, about 3 pounds

4 veal shank rounds, each 1 ½ to 2 inches thick, or 1 whole veal shank

3 beef cheeks

1 beef tongue, about 2 pounds

4 quarts beef broth or water, or as needed

2 large carrots

2 fennel bulbs

1 small capon

1 cotechino sausage or 1 pound sweet Italian sausage

3 large onions, quartered through the stem end

1 celery stalk

Bouquet garni (bunch of parsley, 10 thyme sprigs and a bay leaf, tied together)


Put brisket, shank rounds, beef cheeks and tongue in a large pot with cold water to cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and drain in a colander. Rinse well with cold running water. Put the meats back in the pot, add the broth to cover, and bring to a simmer, skimming off any fat or froth that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 ½ hours.


Meanwhile, peel the carrots and cut into 1-inch sections. Using a paring knife, cut each of the carrot sections lengthwise into 3 to 5 wedges, and cut out the core from each wedge. Cut off the stalks from the fennel bulbs and reserve for another use; discard any bruised outer leaves. Cut each bulb in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 3 wedges with some core attached.


Add the capon, sausage, onions, carrots, fennel, celery, and bouquet garni to the pot of simmering meats. Add more broth or water and continue to simmer for 1 hour more, or until the meats are easily penetrated with a small knife.


Remove the meats, capon and sausage from the pot. Discard the bouquet garni and celery. Using a small, sharp knife, trim off any fat or gristle from the base of the tongue, then remove and discard any bones. Using the knife and your fingers, carefully peel away and discard the skin. Slice the tongue; pull the meat off the shank rounds; slice the cheeks, brisket and sausage; and carve the capon. Serve everything, including the vegetables, in warmed soup plates surrounded by the broth.


(Traditionally served with salsa verde, an herbed mayonnaise, and mostarda di Cremona, preserved fruit relish.)



Recipe: Kevin Richert's Bacon-and-Onion Homefries

Chef Kevin Richert is the other half of the culinary duo behind Torches, which he runs with his brother J.J. Richert. When J.J. shared some of his favorite holiday breakfast recipes for a story in today's News, he described the process Kevin uses to turn out these must-have fried potatoes, which they call 'homeboys.'

Kevin Richert's Bacon-Onion 'Homeboys'

3 large Russet potatoes
1/2 pound chopped bacon
1 white onion, chopped
Chicken base (powdered chicken boullion)

You’ve got to have a nice big pan, preferably non stick. Take three big potatoes and wrap them in a moistened cloth. Huck them in the microwave for about three and a half minutes until they’re mostly cooked. Dice those up.

In the pan over medium heat, render a whole mess of bacon, half a pound, cut up. Render the bacon till the fat starts to come out, starts to turn translucent. Then throw the white onion in, chopped up. Turn the heat up, throw the potatoes in and don’t touch it for five and a half minutes.

What’ll happen is, on the bottom of that pan there’ll be a super crispy bacony onion layer, and one side of the potatoes will be really crispy. Then I try to flip the thing as a whole over to the other side, for five and a half minutes.

Then I break it up and season it with chicken base instead of salt. They are (expletive) good, man.

 - J.J. Richert, Torches

Recipe: Smoked Salmon Salad

Jennifer Boye, chef at the Mansion on Delaware, shared this brunch recipe as one of her holiday favorites. Once the ingredients are prepared, it takes only moments to put together.

Smoked Salmon Salad with Whole Wheat Pitas
6-8 mini whole wheat pitas, warmed
1 cup smoked salmon, sliced into strips
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion
1/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup diced english cucumber
splash of extra virgin olive oil
splash lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled feta cheese for garnish

In a medium sized bowl, combine salmon, capers, dill, scallion, tomatoes and cucumber.  Gently toss together and add a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. 

Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.  Place warmed pitas on a serving platter and top with a spoonful of the salmon mixture.  Top each pita with a bit of crumbled feta cheese.

Turducken made fresh at Sloan market

The turducken - a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey - was a Louisiana specialty before spreading across the South. Now it's arrived in Western New York, at Camillo's Sloan Supermarket.

For years, Western New Yorkers interested in the classic Southern three-bird feast have been limited to frozen versions shipped at great cost from great distances. Now they have a local option, which I'll explore a bit more in an upcoming article. The birds, mostly deboned, plus stuffing, make for a turducken that starts at 15 pounds. Camillo's has them for $3.99 a pound.

If you're interested, you need to order at least three days in advance. You can reach the market at 896-8982; its address is 494 Reiman St., Sloan.


Thanks to alert reader Sylvia Volk for the tip.

Recipes: Italian Chocolate and Sesame Cookies

Diane Alessandra, the News' December Cook of the Month, likes to offer these iced Italian chocolate spheres to her guests. They're supposed to be tender when they're done, so don't overbake them, she warns. Below, her sesame-coated gigilani cookies are representative of a style often enjoyed in Italy with an espresso or glass of red wine, she said.

Diane Alessandra's Italian Chocolate Cookies

4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cocoa
1 pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups margarine or butter (3 sticks)
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins, regular or golden
1 cup milk
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients except nuts and raisins with butter or margarine until mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Add milk, and fold in raisins and nuts.
Roll into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake in preheated for 8-10 minutes. Do not overbake; cookies will be slightly soft until they cool.
Remove from oven, and let cool. Frost with a powdered sugar and milk frosting (2 cups confestioners' sugar beaten with 1/3 cup milk and 1 tablespoon softened butter). 

Diane Alessandra’s Gigilani (Italian Sesame Seed cookies)

2 cups (4 sticks) butter
6 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 ½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup milk, plus 2 cups for dipping
3 eggs
2 cups sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix butter and flour like you would when making pie crust. Flour will look like coarse meal. Mix in baking powder and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, with dashes of milk until 1/4 cup is added. Add vanilla, and mix until just combined. Don't over-mix.

Take about 1 tablespoon of mixture. Roll into ball and dip into a bowl of milk and then into sesame seeds. Roll into log shape.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes till golden brown.

Yields about 5 dozen.



WNED asks for favorite family recipes

Public television station WNED is reviving its "WNED Cooks" program, and is offering home cooks a chance  to prepare cherished recipes in upcoming shows.

Host Eileen Koteras Elibol will be joined in upcoming episodes by eight home cooks whose recipes have been selected. "The recipe could be original, modified or just simply beloved," the station said in a press release. "Traditional ethnic dishes, desserts, healthy options and creative adaptations are all welcome."

If you'd like to submit a recipe, you have until Dec. 31. Send it to: WNED Cooks: Family Favorites, Horizons Plaza, P.O. Box 1263, Buffalo NY 14240. Or email to Include recipe, your full name and your phone number.

The show is scheduled to resume with its broadcast on Sat., Feb. 26 at 11 a.m.

Settle Christmas cookie argument Sunday at fairgrounds

If you suspect your holiday cookies are better than average, don't ask your family. It's Christmas, they have to say they like them.

For an unbiased opinion, enter them in the Fairgrounds Festival of Lights Holiday Cookie Competition.

On Sunday evening, entrants in the contest, held in Hamburg at the site of Erie County Fair, will compete for top honors and prizes in the decorated and undecorated categories. The free contest requires three cookies on a plate, with the recipe, to enter. "Amateur bakers of all ages" are welcome to bring their entries to the Market Place Building, 5600 McKinley Parkway, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun., Dec. 12.

The top prize in each category nets the winner a $100 Tops Friendly Markets gift card and $40. Second and third are worth $35 and $30, respectively. The awards will be announced at 8:30 p.m.

For more information: 649-3900 ext. 407, or click here.

Seats open for SeaBar's wine dinner tonight

The snow might work in your favor if you're looking for an upscale dinner tonight. Cancellations have left room for others to try Chef Mike Andrzejewski's one-night-only menu paired with Cave Spring Winery vintages.

The dinner, which begins at 7 p.m. in SeaBar, 475 Ellicott St., is $70 per person plus tax and tip. To make reservations: 332-2928.

Here's the menu:

Assorted Passed Hors D’ouevres
1st  Course
Bacon & Squash Soup with Brie and Maple
Niagara Peninsula Riesling '08
2nd Course
Octopus Terrine
Sushi Rice, Micro Greens, Lemon
Cave Spring Chardonnay '07
3rd Course
Unagi and Foie Gras Torchon
Radish Salad, Mustard Soy Emulsion
CSV Riesling '07
4th Course
Poached Clams and Scallops
Potato Pave, Chorizo Broth, Sherry Vinegar Foam
CSV Estate Bottled Riesling '08
5th Course
Slow Cooked Skirt Steak
Mushroom and Onion Braise, Chevre Orzo
Niagara Peninsula Pinot Noir
Elderberry Tart, Ice Cream
Indian Summer Riesling '07

Recipe: Robin's Favorite Gingerbread

Here's a gingerbread person recipe from "The Cookie Party Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Hosting a Cookie Exchange," featured in today's Buffalo News.

Robin’s Favorite Gingerbread
For Advanced Bakers, Holiday
Recipe courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum

Rose Levy Beranbaum is an award winning cookbook author and baking expert. This is my favorite gingerbread recipe and I’ve made it for several of my cookie exchanges. Rose graciously agreed to let me share it with you. (Thank you, Rose!) This recipe is for true gingerbread lovers; it’s dark, spicy and hold its shape very well. In the Food Network Holiday Cookie Swap Special that I was featured in, my friend Debby Griffith exclaims “I Love your gingerbread!”  What Debby was really saying is that she loves Rose’s gingerbread!

3 cups bleached all-purpose flour  (dip and sweep method)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup light molasses, preferably Grandma’s (use a greased liquid measuring cup)
1 large egg

Soften the butter. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda and spices, then whisk together to mix evenly. In a mixing bowl cream together the brown sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the molasses and egg and beat until blended. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture until incorporated.

Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap, not your fingers, to press the dough together to form a thick flat disk. Wrap it well and refrigerate it for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C

On a floured pastry cloth, roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness. Use gingerbread cutters to cut out the dough. With a metal spatula, lift the cut dough onto greased cookie sheets, placing about 1 inch apart. If desired, make holes for hanging as an ornament.

Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes for small cookies and up to about 10 to 12 minutes for the larger ones, or until firm to the touch. Cool the cookies on the sheets for about 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Optional: While cookies are still hot, press raisins, currants, cinnamon red-hots or other  decorative candies as eyes and buttons. Decorations can also be attached, using dots of Royal Icing as glue, after the cookies have cooled. Store in an air tight container.

Makes 19 dozen 2-inch by ¼-inch small cookies or 40 5-inch by 3-inch by ¼-inch large cookies

Royal Icing:
3 large egg whites
4 cups powdered confectioners sugar

Beat on high for 5-7 minutes.

(Excerpted from The Cookie Party Cookbook by Robin L. Olson. Copyright © 2010 by the author and reprinted with permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.)