Inspired by German celebratory harvest meals from centuries past, this comforting braised dish trades the traditional goose leg quarters for easier-to-source duck, served on a bed of buttery-crisp spaetzle and saucy mushrooms. A beurre manié—a quick mash of softened butter and flour—is the key to thickening the delicious sauce in this braise. The duck will continue to cook while standing in the braising liquid for an hour, so only cook it until tender beforehand.
Hearkening back to the no-fuss, mostly no-cook lunches of England’s farm workers, this modern update from New Zealand pairs rich cheeses and hearty sausages with tart elements like mustard and chutney for balance. Quince pairs beautifully with a host of cheeses—barnyard-y goat cheeses and grass-fed cheddars are particular stand-outs. Cooking the sugar to a deep golden brown gives the chutney a lightly bitter depth, cutting the fruity sweetness of the quince. Build out this bountiful lunch board with bakery-fresh sourdough boules and baguettes and a quick leafy green salad dressed simply with a drizzle of olive oil and and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
These hearty tacos, piled high with braised pork and topped with a shower of thinly sliced cabbage and cilantro, are a love letter to the Mexican cooking traditions that shape California cuisine. Fried in pork fat after cooking low and slow, the pork gets extra crispy without being dry. Dried chiles bring a mild, sweet heat to the salsa; their slight bitterness cuts through rich, fatty pork.
Lentils add a delicious earthy flavor to the stew; their starchiness helps thicken the broth. Brown lentils work fine in this recipe, but we prefer French green lentils; they hold their shape better. Feel free to cook dried beans especially for this recipe, but any leftover or canned beans—rinsed and drained—will work well.
Crispy roasted root vegetables like parsnips and celery root add an earthy, caramelized depth to this simple grain salad made with tender, chewy farro. Resist the urge to stir the vegetables during cooking to help the them develop the most color.
Bomba rice is a short-grain rice from Spain traditionally used in paella for the best texture. Choose a carbon steel pan for even distribution of heat while cooking this paella; you’ll be less likely to encounter hot spots and burn the vegetables.
Sautéed with shallots and simmered in dry white wine, these tender mushrooms are the perfect pairing with braised duck legs and pan-crisped spaetzle. Be sure to cook the mushrooms in batches; each type cooks differently, and the cook times are crucial to preserve the texture of each variety. Don’t stir the mushrooms too frequently while cooking to allow them to develop deep color and flavor.
F&W Best New Chef and winemaker Maria Sinksey’s family recipe for spaetzle, a rustic, ribbony egg-enriched pasta, is steeped in family tradition. Prepared in a bowl, the dough is tipped over a pot of boiling water then quickly cut with a hot knife, allowing the dough pieces to drop into the pot one at a time, guarding against sticking. It takes a little more finesse than more modern methods, but the resulting pasta holds up well during sautéing, the final and most crucial step. Be sure to preheat the skillet before browning the spaetzle; the hot butter gives each piece a golden-brown crust that’s irresistible.