Kristin Kimball and her husband, Mark, started Essex Farm in Essex, New York, with a seemingly impossible goal: to provide 100 local residents with every one of their ingredient needs. After a grueling first year, the Kimballs were producing beef, pork, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, herbs, fruit, grains, flour, dried beans, lard and maple syrup. And they did it all the old-fashioned wayusing horse-drawn plows, for instancewith no outside help. In her new book, The Dirty Life, Kristin tells the story of launching the farm in 2003 and describes the meals she has since learned to make for the Essex crew. Her excellent tale inspired F&W's Grace Parisi to create the fast recipes here.
"Chicken might be my overall favorite meat for feeding a crowd," Kristin Kimball says. She sometimes roasts it with Indian spices she picks up on her biannual trips to Manhattanlike the curry in this one-pan recipe of yogurt-marinated chicken with butternut squash and brussels sprouts.
During its first year, Essex Farm harvested 10,000 pounds of potatoes in just one day; Kimball turned some of them into potato-leek soup. If you have a blender and good chicken broth, she swears it's one of the easiest soups to make. This version has a fabulous topping of supercrispy sourdough and pancetta crumbs mixed with sage and rosemary.