White Bean Casserole as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

This easy to prepare hearty soup makes for a wonderful mid-week dinner or rustic weekend starter. I have even prepared gallons of this warming soup for tailgates. For a creamier soup, puree half.   

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Making White Bean Casserole from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series

White Bean Casserole

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 Tablespoons olive oil  

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

1/8 teaspoon hot pepper flakes 

1 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped 

3 cups chicken broth 

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed 

3 links Italian or smoked sausage, pre-grilled and sliced  

2 cups Kale, washed, dried and chopped 

Fresh ground black pepper to taste 

Pre heat a large soup or sauce pot to a medium heat. Add olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, hot pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender, do not brown. Add the potato, sausage, broth, beans and basil. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, cover and cook about 30 minutes. 

Bring soup back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and add the kale. Cook until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add pepper to taste. 

For a creamier soup, pulse half of the soup or puree in a food processor. Bring soup back up to a boil until well blended. 

Optional Substitution for Kale: Spinach, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Broccoli Rabe

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Vision of Spring

With spring now upon us it's the perfect time to plan the early spring herb garden.

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PLANNING YOUR OUTDOOR HERB GARDEN

Nothing compares to the flavor of fresh herbs in cooking. Now is the time to plan your fresh herb garden for an abundance of flavorful herbs at your fingertips. But before you start digging, there's a little bit of planning to take into consideration.  

First consider the amount of time you have to spend and tend to your garden. If you're a weekend gardener, then a little patch of kitchen herbs is a great start, you can always increase the size of your garden next year. But if you're an avid gardener, go crazy! Add more exotic herbs and fragrant ones such as lemon verbena, lemon grass, pineapple sage and Thai basil. 

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Find a good location for your garden. Most herbs need five or six hours of sunlight and a soil slightly on the dryer side. Plant close enough to your back door for when you're running from the kitchen to the garden.

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Lay out your garden on paper. Think about style. Do you like a formal orderly appearance to your garden, or a more natural style? Keep in mind when planning to include walking paths so you can reach to weed and harvest your herbs and keep your feet dry when the ground is wet.  

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What to plant?  If you intend to cook with the herbs make a list of the ones you use most common.  If you like fragrant herbs or colorful herbs, ask your local garden shop what grows well in your area. And, herbs like a fairly neutral or slightly alkaline soil. If you know your soil is acid, add some lime when preparing your soil. 

When planting, try to keep the annuals and perennials separate so when the end of the season comes you won't disturb the roots of the perennials when you pull out annuals. Try to keep taller plants to the back of the border or in the center of your bed and smaller ones near the edges to form borders.  

Enjoy my Green Goddess aka. Sauce Au Vert Recipemade with fresh spring chive and parsley.

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Lamb Shanks with Mousseline Potatoes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Lá Fhéile Pádraig That's Gaelic for Saint Patrick's Day or St. Paddy's. It's one of those days of the year where we all wear green, feel a wee bit Irish and spread good cheer. In honor of next week's holiday; Pionta Guinness, le do thoil. Sláinte! That's, a pint of Guinness please and cheers!

Pionta Guinness, le do thoil. Sláinte!

Lamb Shanks with Mousseline Potatoes as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

Makes four servings 

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

4 whole lamb shanks

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup carrots, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup celery, chopped

10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 cups chicken broth

1 Tablespoon rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme

Preheat large saucepan. Add olive oil and brown meat on all sides.  Add onions, garlic, carrots, celery and cook until light brown.  

Add vinegar and reduce for two minutes.  Add tomato sauce, broth, rosemary and thyme.  Cover and cook meat for two hours at a gentle simmer.  

The lamb shanks are fully cooked when the meat becomes flaky and shrinks away from the bone. Add peas to the lamb shanks and vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes longer.  

Serve the cooked Lamb Shanks with sauce and vegetables on top of hot, steamy Mousseline Potatoes.

Colcannon

 

Potato dishes are comforting and crowd pleasing. Potatoes are a great side and can be easily be turned into a main. This month it is timely to celebrate the tradition of Ireland with another favorite. 

This comforting traditional Irish dish of potatoes and cabbage was more or less created from the plentiful supply of potatoes and cabbage, originating in 18th century Cork, Ireland. Colcannon is similar to the English's bubble and squeak, only the potatoes are mashed. The other key ingredients were fresh milk, freshly churned butter and onion. This is a good side dish that can be made easily with leftover potatoes and cabbage. Serve with smoked ham or corned beef.

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Colcannon (potatoes with cabbage)

serves six-eight

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

2 pounds red skin potatoes, cut into small pieces

1 cup milk, hot 

6 Tablespoons butter

1 cup sweet onion, chopped

1/2 cup leeks, white and pale green only, chopped fine

6 cups green cabbage, finely shredded and braised in corn beef (or chicken) broth

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Boil potatoes for about 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash potatoes with skins on, adding the milk.

While potatoes are cooking, melt 3 Tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan add onion and leeks; cook until translucent. Add the cabbage and cover; cook for at least 5 minutes or until desired tenderness. *Combine cabbage and onion mixture into hot mashed potatoes. Season with fresh ground black pepper. Top each serving with a teaspoon of butter.

* OPTIONAL: add 1 cup cooked chopped corn beef or ham.

Another popular requested recipe from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV Series is my Mousseline Potatoes. Enjoy!

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Since March is unofficially 'Irish Awareness Month', I want to offer you the luck of the Irish by kicking off a St. Patrick's Day food tradition with Corn Beef and Cabbage...umm Irish-American that is, and not really part of the repast on the Emerald Aisle. 

Since the early 1900s, Americans proclaimed corned beef and cabbage to be their favorite Irish dish, even though it really never had graced dinner tables in Ireland. Since then, Americans have embraced it as the meal of choice for St. Patrick's Day, March 17th. Corned beef got its name before refrigeration, when meat was preserved using coarse grains of salt, called 'corn'. Today, beef is corned with spices strictly for flavor, not for preservation, so the meat must be refrigerated. Whether you're a wee bit Irish or not, boost your luck by celebrating St. Patrick's Day with friends and a feast. 

It is said that President Grover Cleveland once noticed the aroma of Corned Beef and Cabbage coming from the servants quarters at the White House. He asked to trade his dinner for that of the staff meal. He commented "that this was the best dinner I had had in months.."

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit, Gaelic for Saint Patrick's Day

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Corned Beef and Cabbage with Boiled Vegetables

Serves six-eight 

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle

3 pound corned beef brisket 

4 cloves garlic, peeled 

Fresh ground black pepper 

2 Tablespoons pickling spices, 

3 bay leaves 

1/4cup sugar 

1/4cup cider vinegar 

1 large onion, peeled and quartered 

6 carrots, peeled 

6 Yukon potatoes, scrubbed 

3 turnips, peeled 

1 head cabbaged, leave core on and cut into eights 

Place corned beef brisket in a very large soup pot. Fill pot with cold water to cover meat. Add sugar, cider vinegar, pickling spices, bay leaves, and garlic. 

Bring to a boil over rather high heat. Boil for 5 to 6 minutes, skimming off the any scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon. 

Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and let simmer for 1-2 hours. Test the meat for tenderness with a large fork, it should have a little resistance, be careful not to overcook corned beef or the meat will become dry and stringy. If fully tender turn off the heat and let the meat rest in the liquid. 

One hour before serving and before the meat finishes, add all the vegetables in the pot with the meat. 

Timetable for the vegetables: 

• onions, simmer 1 hour 

• carrots, potatoes and turnips simmer 30 minutes 

• cabbage simmer 20-30 minutes 

Slice only as much meat as you will immediately serve, keeping the rest in one piece for future use. Serve with a variety of mustards and horseradish.

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