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Entries in Barbara Lynch (6)


roasted eggplant with golden raisin pine nut vinaigrette and feta cream (adapted from Barbara Lynch’s Stir)

This is a three-part post. Parts II & III are after the recipe.

Part I - Joy

We are so pleased to be part of a group of more than 50 bloggers participaing in “Share Our Holiday Table.’ As our friends, Debra and The Professor, over at Smith Bites say it, this is a “virtual progressive dinner party to raise awareness and funds to support Share Our Strength’s ‘No Kid Hungry Campaign’ that is taking place through December 14th. Please click here for more information as well as to make a contribution if you can – even a small donation will help feed a child.” Perfectly said, friends.

We signed up for the vegetarian main course because we have so many friends who don’t eat meat. This has become our signature vegetarian dish when those friends come to visit. It screams comfort, with the roasted eggplant melding perfectly with the feta cream, all of it getting a sweet + salty + savory punch from the golden raisin and pine nut mixture. 

We’ve adapted this into a casserole from Barbara Lynch’s recipe in her book Stir. It’s great right out of the oven or served warm (you can take it out a little early from the oven to make room for one of the other great recipes posted in Part II of this post as part of “Share Our Holiday Table”...)

Notes on this recipe:
  • [Updated] For those of you non-pescetarians who don't eat anchovies, Carol Peterman has great ideas in the comments below for substituting porcini mushrooms or sundried tomatoes for them. Love that. Thanks, Carol. I've included your ideas in this update.
  • We like using goat’s milk in this, but feel free to use heavy cream instead.
  • Small- to medium-size eggplants work very well. The giant ones might be too eggplant-y for this one.

Recipe | Roasted Eggplant with Golden Raisin Pine Nut Vinaigrette and Feta Cream (adapted from Barbara Lynch’s Stir)

  • 2 pounds eggplant, cut into bite-size pieces (about 1-inch square, but don’t obsess over getting them perfectly cut) If they have thick skins, you might want to peel them.
  • 3 T + ½ c olive oil
  • 1 c. golden raisins
  • 1 c. goats milk (or heavy cream)
  • 10 oz. feta cheese crumbled
  • 3 shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 anchovoy filets, rinsed and chopped finely OR a handful of chopped porcini mushrooms OR 6-8 oil-packed sundried tomatoes
  • 1 c pine nuts (or a little less. They can be expensive.)
  • 6 T sherry vinegar
  • Assuming you have salt and pepper on hand
Preheat the oven to 375F while you chop the eggplant. Get out a baking sheet and lay down some aluminum foil or parchment for easy clean up. Spread out the eggplant pieces into a single layer (use another sheet if you have extra). Sprinkle the 3 T of olive oil on top followed by some salt and pepper. Use your fingers to toss it all together and spread it back into an even layer. Toss it in the oven for 30 minutes, checking around 20 min to see how things are doing. You want the eggplant almost browned (almost).

While the eggplant is roasting, throw the raisins into a bowl and cover with hot water. Let them hang out for a while. 10 minutes or so.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, heat up the goats milk to a simmer. Dump in the cheese and whisk or stir. Melt the feta down as much as you can until you’re bored. Maybe 7-10 minutes. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the lumps. You can press the feta cream chunks in the strainer to break them up some more. Leave no goodness behind. Then set aside and move on...

In a smallish saute pan, heat up a tiny bit of the reamining oil. Medium heat.

If using the anchovies - get the anchovies in there first and stir/break them up even more. 

If using the mushrooms or sundried tomatoes - add in the mushrooms or sundried tomatoes (heck, why not both) and  sauté for 2 minutes.

OK, everyone back from your "pick your own adventure?" Then add in the shallots and garlic. You’re looking to make them tender, not brown them. Stir for about 5 minutes or so. Put them in a bowl (to which you will add some other things, so a medium bowl should be fine).

Drain the raisins. Dump the newly plumped raisins into the shallot garlic mixture. Throw in the pine nuts with no regard for their feelings. Add the vinegar. Then the remaining olive oil. Mix/whisk. Check for salt and pepper.

In a baking dish (casserole or 9x13), spread in a few drops of olive oil. Add a layer of eggplant pieces. Taste a piece of the eggplant. How’s the salt? Does it need more? Adjust if it does. Spread on half of the feta cream. Add on the golden raisin mixture. Add on the remaining eggplant. Then the cream. Then the golden raisins.

Shove the dish into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Check periodically to make sure the pine nuts don’t burn.


Part II - So many great recipes! Check out these wonderful posts from the other Share Our Holiday Table bloggers.

December 10: Entrees
Family Friendly
Gluten Free

December 9: Soup

Family Friendly

Gluten Free

Find links to all of the amazing posts here.

Part III - Hurrying past reality

I felt like a bit of a fraud writing this post. So here goes...

Two nights ago, I was at the checkout of the grocery store, which is two blocks away from our house. We needed milk and sundried tomatoes and bananas. I grabbed a few more things for good measure (fresh mozz, some goat cheese, and Cheerios). I was in a hurry and had run out of the house in my red Crocs which I don’t gerneally allow myself to be seen in public wearing. This kids hadn't taken their naps that day, and I promised Karen that I’d put the kids to bed to give her a break. I had put the girls to bed, and I had 20 minutes to shop and get back to put our son to bed. We needed the milk for the kids in the morning, so the trip wasn’t optional.

20 minutes. I was in a race against the clock to get home in time to get him on the potty, brush his teeth, and read him a story which lately has been the Toys R Us catalog. He memorizes every item and can now tell me what the toy is on demand.

I have my items, the one I need (milk) and the ones I didn’t (everything else). And I’m looking for a line to checkout quickly. And things are moving slowly because they are moving slowly. No one is doing anything wrong or not doing their jobs or asking to write a check or anything. It’s just taking time to get everyone through the checkout. Apparently, this grocery store had not synced their pacing to my individual needs. Which I know is unreasonable. But I know my energy was projecting that I was really hoping everyone in the store could focus on my particular time schedule and GET THINGS MOVING, please. Faster. Thank you.

I had four minutes left to get home on time when I finally placed my items on the belt. Three minutes left when I swiped my card. I bagged. Reusable that I brought with me, if you care.

And as I place my last item in the bag (2 minutes left), the cashier asked me if I’d like to donate to the local food pantry.

No. Nope. I am in a hurry. It’s been a very long day, and the kids didn’t sleep, and I have to get home, and get pajamas on this boy and you don’t know what that takes some days. So no. I have 90 seconds left. Could you just please give me my receipt. I need to go. The clock is ticking and I can make it because I’m two blocks from home. I can do it. So no.

All of that was my internal monologue. I think I just mumbled something to her about “Not this time.” I grabbed my bags and nearly ran out of the store.

I made it home in time. Perfect.

After I got our son in bed, I remembered I had to write this post to ask you to donate to Share Our Strength. This from the guy in the red Crocs who didn’t have 30 seconds to spare to give to the local food pantry. Who could have donated $10 alone had I redirected the unnecessary cheese purchases. Who thinks his world is hard, but reality does not reflect this. Not when I’m honest. Not when I’m buying goat cheese.

In case life hadn't made my hypocrisy abundantly clear, Karen started telling me about the episode of Long Way Round, a TV show that documents Ewan McGregor and his best friend going across the world on motorcycles to raise money for charity. In this episode, the pair had visited a building in Russia where abandoned and orphaned children lived in heating ducts of a large building. Where children become adults at the age of five. Where a boy our son’s age was responsible for caring for and feeding a sister the age of our daughters.

I have time. I can make time. I am fortunate beyond words. And I forget that sometimes in the rush of life. And I need to remember that all of us are a decision or two away from needing the people in my community to help me. Help us. Help us survive.

And so. In a big pile of humility, may I ask you, if you are able to do it, could you please give to Share Our Strength? I know many of you already give generously to charities, to friends, to family. And some of you really are living paycheck to paycheck, with the weight of your reality pressing down on you.

But if you are able to give, could you take 30 seconds and donate? Maybe two minutes? Share Our Strength does incredible work through out the year helping people make it to the next day.


ricotta-stuffed heirloom tomatoes with black olive vinaigrette and brioche croutons

Spending a week with our families at the beach, I was reminded of all the foods that I hated growing up. This is a conversation we often have whenever my parents visit. As my parents rattled off the list (tomatoes, peas, mushrooms, fish or seafood of any kind...), it became clear that everything I hated to eat when I was a kid, I now love. Except green bell peppers. Which are an abomination. This is a fact.

The litany of past dislikes was presented over a dinner of
scallops in tomato beurre blanc sauce, zucchini ribbons over arugula with mint+olive vinaigrette, green beans in Meyer lemon vinaigrette+Parmeasan breadcrumbs, and white peach + blueberry crumble. Had I been 12 years old, I would have eaten only the crumble. But now, 25 years later, I had made dinner with the help of my mom and dad, and Mom made the crumble. Dad whisked the entire beurre blanc sauce while I threw in the butter chunks. 

It’s hard to describe how perfect that moment was, but watching my dad whisk a half pound of butter with a fish spatula because there was no whisk while I explained viscosity while he looked at me suspiciously is something I’ll always remember. I’ll also remember when they both tasted the sauce for the first time, and their eyes lit up with surprise and delight. A great day of cooking and a great dinner. And the kids slept soundly. Really perfect.

So, in honor of all the foods I used to hate and now simply couldn’t live without, let’s have some tomatoes. And homemade ricotta. Olive vinaigrette. Everything the young me would have hated but the old me finds irresistible.

We’re in the midst of incredible tomatoes, nearly swimming in them at the farmers’ market. Put this on your “must make this week” list before you have to wait another year to get a decent tomato. Unless you’re in some magical greenhouse-type of environment and can get awesome tomatoes whenever you want. Then you do whatever you want. And know that I am jealous.


You can use store-bought ricotta, but try to be brave and make your own. Really, the homemade ricotta is rich and creamy. Better than anything in a plastic tub. And you look really cool when your wife walks in and sees you wringing out the cheesecloth, making cheese. But do what you have to do.


Yes, this is another Barbara Lynch-inspired creation. Why haven’t you bought her book, Stir, yet? I don’t mean to yell at you, but you really need to explain yourself. Why? What else do I need to say to convince you? Your life is more empty than you can imagine without Stir. We make a recipe from it about every 7-10 days. The only things more constant in our life than Barbara Lynch are diapers and wine. Could I live without Barbara Lynch? Sure. But it would be a sad life. Buy it.

recipe | ricotta-stuffed heirloom tomatoes with black olive vinaigrette and brioche croutons (via Barbara Lynch)

  • 6 ripe medium tomatoes (Chef Lynch recommends peeling. That would be nice. I am lazy and left the skins on)
  • 1.5 c ricotta (Homemade is recommended. Here’s a good recipe from Chef Lynch has her own approach, so, you know, buy it)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 6 marinated white anchovy fillets (optional, Chef Lynch warns not to substitute in regular anchovies; we couldn’t find them at our Whole Foods, so we omitted them.)
  • brioche croutons (see below)
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/4 c celery heart leaves
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/4 c basil leaves (small or torn into pieces)
  • Black Olive Vinaigrette (see below)

make the black olive vinaigrette

We've cut in half the olive oil and tripled the vinegar from what Chef Lynch lists to suit our tastes. You should do whatever suits you. Not that you need permission. Just saying.

  • 2 T golden raisins
  • 1/4 c oil cured black olives, pitted (My preference.Chef Lynch uses Nicoise.)
  • 1 T finely chopped shallots
  • 3 T sherry vinegar
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 T finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
Mix the raisins, olives, shallots, vinegar, and lemon juice. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving, add in the parsley and whisk like you’re violently angry.

brioche croutons

  • Get some brioche. Cube it. Heat a pan on medium. Olive oil. Throw in the bread cubes. Stir. Salt and pepper. 
  • Chef Lynch uses saffron. We did, too. You can if you feel like it; just throw in a bunch with the olive oil.

prep the tomatoes

  • Remove the core from the top of the tomato (insert a sharp knife tip outside the stem and cut a tomato cone to lift out the core). Insert the handle of a thin wooden spoon into the exposed tomato. Stir it around to loosen up the seeds and membranes. It’s like a tomato lobotomy. Dump the tomato guts into a bowl and use it for a nice pasta sauce. Wait, who are we kidding? We’re not going to do that. Dump it in the sink and move on with life.
  • OK, the tomatoes are ready. Salt the inside cavity of the tomatoes. Not a ton, but salt them.

prep the ricotta

  • Put the ricotta in a bowl. Salt and pepper it. Taste. You might want to season it some more. Trust me. Don’t be shy. It’s just dairy fat. 
  • Shove the seasoned ricotta into a resealable plastic storage bag. Snip off a bottom tip, big enough to easily fill the tomato cavity without a giant mess.

put it all together

  • Fill up your tomatoes with ricotta.
  • Place each tomato on to a plate, cut side down. Place an anchovy on each plate in an artsy way. Sprinkle around the tomato (think a ring of tastiness) the croutons, celery leaves, scallions, radishes, and basil. Make it pretty, kids. Then spoon on top of the ring of tastiness the black olive vinaigrette.
  • Sprinkle the whole plate, especially the tomato, with Kosher salt (fleur de sel would be better).
  • Nice work. You made your own ricotta! You are awesome. Unless you didn't, in which case know that it would taste even better had you been more brave. Next time.
  • Eat.


tomato tarte tatin (adapted from Barbara Lynch's Stir)

And so we wait for tomatoes. Somewhat patiently. Mostly not so patiently. And with a good bit of dread.

Tomato plants and I would not be featured on one of those sites. We'd be the couple that really wants to like each other. We'd want the same future together. We'd try really, really hard to make it work. And then some worm comes along right before the first blossom opens and devours the stem and leaves, and the tomato plant dies a slow, horrible death. This has happened three years in a row.

And so we wait again. Hoping to break the cycle of shattered hopes and death monger worms. Hoping the fruits of our labor are red and juicy with just the right amount of acidity.

Fortunately, we live in New Jersey where the tomatoes are a source of pride. Our local farmer's market has insanely large, heavy heirlooms in mid-July, and if we go toward closing time, the stand owners push their heirlooms on us for free, seeing in us that we will treat their tomatoes with love and care and a bit of sea salt. Because farmer market heirloom tomatoes won't keep until tomorrow. Eat them now or just forget it.

And so we wait for July. And it's still May. 

Between our Quixotic tomato windmills and our farmer's market, we will have our red. Eventually. 

This recipe will be better in July. But it's perfect right now. Yes, it's from Barbara Lynch. Yes, we're a little obsessed with her. But it tastes so good, so it can't be wrong.

Let's break down the recipe into components, shall we? 

You must make this over a couple of days. Don't do it in one day. You can do it in one day, of course, but that would mean you have too much time on your hands, and you should come over to our house and change diapers or something. Eric Ripert can't do it all by himself.

So. Tomatoes get slow roasted. Onions get slow cooked for an hour. Puff pastry get slapped on top. You bake. You fry some basil leaves. You dollop the mascarpone. You eat and are happy.

This isn't hard. 

But it takes time. Maybe a day or two. So break it down into the components above, and don't think you can't do this. 

Also, there are some of you who don't eat mustard or live with people who don't consume it. I don't want to take your inventory or anything, but try this. Overcome your fear/aversion and get on it. This is tasty and sweet and savory and you need the mustard integrated in it. Try it. Just try it. Thank you.

Karen made this the other night while I was spastic with work. It was glorious. And so is she.

recipe | tomato tarte tatin with tomato confit, slow cooked mustard onions, puff pastry and mascarpone

for the tomato confit
  • 3.5 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 T sugar (especially in May)
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 c olive oil
  • 6 thyme sprigs
Heat oven to 300 F. Quarter tomatoes lengthwise. Seed and core them.

Get two 9X13 pans (baking sheets are fine). Spread the garlic between them. Divide the tomatoes between them, placing them cut side up. Sprinkle with sugar. Salt and pepper. Pour oil evenly over tomatoes. Bake 27 minutes or so. Cool the tomatoes completely. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the tomatoes to a container to refrigerate them. Keep the oil and use it in a pasta. Or something. Don't throw it away. You're a better person than that. 

for the onions
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced thinly
  • 4 t whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 4 basil leaves chopped
  • 8 basil leaves left whole
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • some honey
  • 1 egg, beaten viciously
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Some mascarpone. One of those little tubs is fine. This isn't optional. You need this.

Also, you'll need small tart pans or ramekins. Ours are about 3.5 inches in diameter. You use what ever you have. Small bowls. Cups. Whatever. Just make sure they're ceramic or metal. Not plastic, right? Right.

Olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions and immediately decrease the heat to low and stir. Do not let these brown. Cook them for an hour. I'm not kidding. Just stir them occasionally. Do not hurry them. You are missing the point if you turn up the heat to medium. Leave it low and have a drink. Or five. About half-way through, remove the puff pastry so it can defrost some. When the onions are caramelized, turn off the heat and add the mustard and chopped basil. Add 1/2 t of salt and some pepper. Taste. We needed more salt. 

Flour a work surface and roll out the puff pastry to about 1/8 inch thick. Get your tart pan/ramekin and a sharp knife. Place the pan on the puff pastry and cut around it with the knife. It will feel slightly like a second grade craft project. Enjoy the memories. Put the pastry cutouts on a plate and put it in the fridge. Keep it cold or it won't puff.

Heat the oven to 375 F.

Take some honey and give the bottoms of the pan a light coating. It's ok if you get it on the sides. Whatever.

Cover the bottom of the pans with some tomatoes, skin side up. Then layer on some onion mixture. Then slap on a puff pastry top. Brush some egg on there. Sprinkle with salt. Bake until brown, between 10-30 minutes. I know that's a big spread, but we made these twice and each time took a different amount of time. Pull them out and let them cool for 10 minutes (no longer or the honey starts to set). 

Heat up the oil in a small pan until a dipped basil leaf sizzles. Place the remaining leaves in the oil until crisp. Maybe a minute or less. Drain on a paper towel.

Run a knife around the inside of the pans. Put a plate on top of the pan, and using a hot pad, hold the pan against the plate and flip them over together.

Garnish the tomato top with a dollop of mascarpone. Stick a bail leaf on there in some artsy way that makes you feel good.



ham and cheese puff-pastry bites with honey mustard (from Barbara Lynch's Stir)

I ate a lot of ham sandwiches growing up. Boiled, pressed ham shaved thin, spread flat between two slices of white bread slathered with bright yellow mustard and a slice of American cheese was an affordable meal for my parents to serve us. I don't miss the ham, but there's something incredibly comforting thinking about those sandwiches.

Nothing, however, compares to Karen's relationship with ham sandwiches. We're married 14 years this June. For a long time, we've known each other's stories so well that we can say a word or two, and we've compressed a five-minute story into a second. Which leaves more time for laughing. Or drinking.

But about five years ago, Karen and I were talking about fundraisers we did in high school. This was sparked by large boxes of chocolates at our place of employment. I remarked that both the price and the quality had increased since my time in HS band. I remember the terrible waxy bars resembling chocolate we were required to hustle, funding long and hot summer bus rides to town parades, where our plastic shoes stuck to the sizzling pavement. Bad chocolate, stinky polyester uniforms, but fun. Karen casually asks, "Why didn't you just sell ham sandwiches?"

How do you respond to that? What does that even mean? Is it a euphemism?

Clarifying, she tells me that at their school, they sold ham sandwiches as a fundraiser. Same boiled ham I ate growing up, but they used the far superior Martin's potato rolls. Long assembly lines, done in shifts. People would buy sacks of sandwiches. Mustard packets included. She sees nothing wrong with this, nothing weird, completely socially acceptable.

To me, a sack of ham sandwiches is the most terrifying fundraiser ever. Worse than the 1970s-friendly tall candles my brothers sold, worse than the crocks of processed cheese spread and summer sausage we sold in elementary school. To quote Karen, "People would buy enough to feed their family for the week." Huh.

So. Let's reconsider the ham sandwich, shall we? No bright yellow mustard, no white bread, no rubbery cheese slices. And no fundraiser.

I think it's pretty clear, if you've read even a little of this blog, we'd make just about anything that has Barbara Lynch's name on it. Her food is incredibly, (nearly) impossibly tasty. The one thing we've heard from our readers both here and on Facebook is that her recipes seem a little/lot involved. I sort of (don't) agree. Yes, they take time, but nothing is terribly hard.

The one is incredibly easy, with lots of shortcuts built right into it. It explodes with flavor, so there's no reason to avoid making it. Unless you don't eat pork. Or wheat. Or dairy. We'll excuse the non-pork-wheat-dairy eaters among you.

This is the best ham and cheese sandwich you've ever eaten. Promise.
recipe | ham and cheese puff-pastry bites with honey mustard (from Barbara Lynch's Stir)

for the honey mustard

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
for the rest of it
  • Two sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed as the package directs (get the best available brand; try for all-butter)
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced smoked ham
  • 1/2 pound shredded Gruyère cheese (we added in some Comte that we had from French onion soup)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the oil. Add the onion, Stir until softened. Ours took 10 minutes. Add the honey and the mustard and cook, stirring every so often, for another 5 minutes. Puree in a food processor until sort of smooth. Taste and add salt and pepper if you need it.
  • Heat the oven to 375°. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment. Lay down one sheet of the puff pastry and roll out until about 1/8 inch. 
  • Spread out the honey mustard, leaving a 3/4-inch border uncovered. Slap down the ham. Then cover with the cheese.

  • Roll out the remaining pastry sheet on parchment, then carefully flip over the parchment/pastry on top of the cheese. (The parchment should be staring you in the face, not the dough.)
  • Seal the edges. Do everything you can to make these edges stick [crimp, press with fork, staple it if you must (don't do that)]. 
  • Cover the top with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the salt. 
  • Lay another cookie sheet on top of the top layer of parchment to hold down the pastry. Bake for about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove the top pan. Bake until deep golden brown. Ours took 20 minutes, but check yours at 15 minutes. 
  • Let cool for 10 minutes at least. Cut up into pieces, depending on how many you're serving. 
  • Would make a great appetizer, but we served larger sizes with a Bouchon salad.


chicken meatball lasagnettes with creme fraiche bechamel and chicken jus (from Barbara Lynch's Stir)

Let's get this out of the way. This is the best meal we've ever made.

You know when you make something to eat, and you know it's going to be good? But then you taste it, and it blows your mind and taste buds. And your soul?

This recipe is that something. It earned our eternal devotion to Barbara Lynch, the amazing chef and restaurant owner in Boston who is also the author of Stir. It's light, creamy, salty, savory. 

You must make this. And even if you don't make this (which you can count as the greatest mistake in your life), read the recipe, because you can see the way Chef Lynch thinks. This recipe is all about building deep, concentrated flavor. For the jus alone, you're going to cook down sixteen cups of chicken stock into two cups of dark liquid gold.

I've included our changes/shortcuts/modifications. You should buy her cookbook so you can see exactly her approach for yourself. It's a fantastic collection of great food (see her seared scallops with celery root gratinee).

This is a dish of components. This may look overwhelming, but break each element down. It's not a big deal. Make this over a couple of days. Everything keeps perfectly for a day or two or three. You'll have eaten every bite of it by day three.

chicken jus

  • 1 chicken, 7-8# (or whatever you can find) 
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly 
  • 1 carrot, chopped roughly 
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped roughly 
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped. Roughly if you feel like it. 
  • 2 c dry white wine 
  • 16 cups low-sodium chicken stock (do not use regular chicken stock. You're condensing this down to 2 cups, so you want to control the salt) 
  • 1 T coriander seeds 
  • 1 T black peppercorns 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • a few fresh thyme sprigs 
  • Kosher salt 
  • Black Pepper 
Preheat your oven to 350F. Get a roasting pan ready or use a cookie sheet covered with foil (easy cleanup).

Cut off all the meat you can from the chicken. I didn't strip ours clean (wing meat, really?). I focused on the breast, thigh, and leg meat. Set the meat in the refrigerator.

Remove all the skin from the chicken. Chop up the bones a bit (you want to expose some marrow), so that you have 8-10 pieces. I chopped off the wing tips because they seemed like they'd burn in the oven.

Throw the chicken on the pan, and get it in the oven. Roast until you get golden pieces (40 minutes was good. Go longer if you want. Or shorter.) See, you're not wasting the meat you didn't pick off -- you're roasting it into deep flavor for the jus.

Throw the bones in a pot. Heat over medium-high. Add in the onions, carrot, celery, and garlic.

Keep stirring them for about 10 minutes.

Add the wine. Reduce it by half.

Add the broth, peppercorns, coriander, bay leaves, and thyme.

Reduce it over a good simmer until reduced to four cups. This may take a couple of hours. You could drink during this time.

Strain the jus through a fine strainer. Mash the broth out of the vegetables. Don't leave any of the flavor behind.

Add the broth to a smaller saucepan. Reduce to 2 cups.

Add the thyme for 2 minutes right before serving.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

chicken meatballs

  • chicken meat from above
  • 1T vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped. Then chop it more finely.
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 c heavy cream
  • 1 c panko
  • 8 T grated Parm
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 T chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Heat a pan over medium-low heat. Add the oil. Then the shallot and garlic for 8 minutes. You want them really tender but not browned. Take the pan off the heat.

In a small bowl, add the panko and cream together. Stir. Leave it alone to think about what comes next.

Grind the meat in a food processor until chopped finely. Dump it in a bowl. Add everything left on the list, along with 1 tablespoon of salt and 3/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix together. Gently add the panko mixture.

Chef Lynch suggests frying a small bit of the meat as a patty in a skillet. Taste for seasoning (we needed more salt).

Heat the oven to 350 F.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Form 3/4 inch meatballs and place on the sheet. Don't let them touch each other. Bake for 8 minutes or so. Ours needed to go for another 90 seconds.

creme fraiche bechamel

  • 4T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 3/4 c whole milk
  • 1/3 c heavy cream
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 c creme fraiche
  • white pepper (yes, you could use black, but it's not the same)
Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for 5-8 minutes. It's going to smell nutty, but don't let it get very dark.

Add the milk, cream, and 1 teaspoon of salt. You could cook this for 7 minutes, but ours set up like glue in 2 minutes, and we thinned it out with a bit of milk and cooked it for the rest of the time.

Take it off the heat. Stir in the creme fraiche. Taste it. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

Push the salt a tiny bit, especially if you're afraid of salt.


  • Flat fresh pasta sheets; make your own (you're so fancy, aren't you?) or buy it like we did (could you use lasagna noodles here? Probably so. Don't let the lack of fresh pasta stop you from making this. But try to find fresh. Try really hard.)
Heat a pot of water to boiling. Salt it.

Cut 4-inch rounds out of the raw pasta. Keep the scraps for another pasta dish.

Cook for 3 minutes. Plunge into an ice bath. Dry each piece.

to assemble the awesome

Heat the oven to 300.

On a baking sheet, place down parchment or a Silpat and spray a tiny bit of vegetable oil on top. This stuff will stick like a mother, and you don't want it to fall apart at the very end.

Lay down a round of pasta. Cover with 1 tablespoon of bechamel. Cover with 3-4 meatballs. Lay down another bit of pasta. Meatballs. Bechamel. Pasta. Meatballs. Bechamel. Pasta. Stack it as high or as low as you want. You could cut the meatballs in half, but don't.

Place a tablespoon of water on the baking pan. It'll steam a bit. Bake for 15 minutes. Maybe a little less.

Use two spatulas to pick up the lasagnettes. Place them in a shallow bowl.

Spoon jus over the top. Spoon some around the base.

Top with some shaved Parm.

Sit down somewhere quiet. Use a big spoon. Get every component in that first bite. Savor. Pay attention to everything that's happening in your mouth.

When all the lasagnette is gone, go ahead and tip the bowl into your mouth. Don't let a bit of the jus go to waste.

Isn't it brilliant?