Eckert's Apple Butter Meatballs
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Eckert's Apple Butter Meatballs
Eckert's Apple Butter Meatballs
Eckert's Apple Butter Meatballs
Eckert's Apple Butter Meatballs

As I have admitted before, I get more excited about the cooking opportunities affiliated with the Superbowl than the actual game. And every Superbowl party needs a fabulous meatball dish, don’t you agree? This year, I will be making Eckert’s Apple Butter Meatballs for our guests. This recipe is a crowd-pleaser because everyone loves Eckert’s Apple Butter!!! It also received rave reviews in our November appetizer cooking classes. The delicious sweet sauce is a combination of Eckert’s Apple Butter and Eckert’s Apple Butter BBQ sauce. This appetizer is kid-friendly and as usual, we will to have more kids than adults this Sunday in my house! My favorite way to make these meatballs is to bake them, then finish them and hold them in the crock pot. However, they can just as easily be made in the oven and finished on the stove top. If you plan to make these ahead, stop after the baking step and refrigerate.  Then rewarm and finish cooking the meatballs in the sauce an hour or two before serving.  (These meatballs are very tender and juicy and so just be sure to transfer them gently.)

I hope you will give this recipe a try when you are cheering on your favorite team this weekend or just checking out the commercials  (my favorite part of Superbowl).

Eat well this winter, Angie


Ingredients

  • 1 pound uncooked ground beef
  • 1 uncooked Eckert's Applewurst sausage link (1/4 pound) casing removed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup dried plain bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onions
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 jar (4-ounce) Eckert's regular or No-Added Sugar Apple Butter, divided
  • 1 bottle (14-ounce) Eckert's Apple Butter BBQ Sauce

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, gently mix ground beef and sausage. Add bread crumbs, onions, salt and 1/2 jar of apple butter. Gently combine all ingredients.
  3. Form mixture into round balls about 1 1/4-inch in diameter. In a single layer, place meatballs on baking sheet and bake in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 150°F.
  4. Pour remaining apple butter and the whole bottle of BBQ sauce in a slow cooker. Transfer meatballs and cover with sauce. Cover with lid and place slow cooker on medium or high heat for 1 to 3 hours.
  5. Makes about 24 balls.

    To prepare meatballs on a stovetop:
  6. After baking meatballs, place meatballs in a large skillet; add remaining apple butter and jar of BBQ sauce. Gently toss to cover. Cook over low heat about 1 to 2 hours. Stir gently once or twice.
  7. *Gluten free option: Substitute finely crushed (gluten free) rice crackers or Rice Chex cereal instead of bread crumbs.
30-Minute Smothered Italian Chicken
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Smothered Chicken
Smothered Chicken

Is anyone else feeling a little tight on time this week, yet looking for a delicious home-made dinner in 30 minutes flat? Well, I sure am! Ella has volleyball every night this week and between game-watching and shuttling her to and fro, I am in dire need of quick dinner plans. This recipe for 30-minute Smothered Italian Chicken is a definite kitchen-keeper for families on the go. The ingredients are easily stocked ahead of prep night  in the pantry and frig. Eckert’s butcher-trimmed chicken breasts are incredibly tender on their own but cooking them in this simple tomato sauce really locks in moisture, resulting in a flavorful and tender chicken dish the whole family will love.

Italian Chicken
Italian Chicken

My kids adore the pizza-like flavors of the Italian chicken and (big surprise) they especially love any dish with a sauce that they can dip their freshly baked bread slices in. If you find yourself on-the-go this week yet craving a home-made dinner. Give this recipe a try!

Eat well this new year,

Angie


Ingredients

14 oz diced tomatoes (I used 1/2 container of Pomi brand)
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion (optional)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
4 Eckert’s trimmed, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup Provel (Imo’s Pizza) cheese (can sub Mozzarella)
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

Preheat broiler to high. Lightly spray or grease an oven proof baking dish (approximately 9” x 9”). In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic and seasoning. Pour in baking dish. Nestle chicken breasts into the sauce so that they are partially covered by the sauce.

Broil chicken for 8-12 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 F. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Top chicken with cheeses and return to the oven for 2-3 minutes more under the broiler. Serve immediately with bread for dipping. Serves 4.

Apples & Cream Crumb Pie
Apple Crumb Pie
Apple Crumb Pie

We are going to be eating a lot of pie at our house this week thanks to National Pie Day this Saturday. I took advantage of a snow day to put some Eckert apples to use in a family recipe for Apples & Cream Pie. Luckily our Eckert-grown apples have stored really well in our farm coolers this year. We still have a delicious selection available in our Country Store in Belleville. This recipe took about 4 apples and I had them peeled and sliced quickly with the help of my Apple Corer Slicer machine.

Apples & Cream Pie Ingredients
Apples & Cream Pie Ingredients

While the kids and dogs tumbled around in the snow outside (for 3 hours!) I baked up a storm inside. I started with this pie recipe and moved on to a pot roast. As I am typing this, the savory smell of pot roast is filling my kitchen. I can hardly wait to serve it and I just know this pie will make a perfect ending to my slow cooked meal! (link to my pot roast recipe: http://www.eckerts.com/ruths-country-style-pot-roast/)

This recipe is quite simple and yet unique. A creamy custard mixture with the apples sets this pie apart from the traditional apple pie. I am a lover of crumb topping so that always rates high for me. If you are looking for a delicious way to celebrate National Pie Day, give this recipe a try. Or… if you want to “cheat” just call our bakery and order a pie to go. If you buy 1, you will get one free on National Pie Day, January 23!

National Pie Day
National Pie Day

thanks to Show Me St. Louis for snapping this picture

Eat well this new year,

Angie

Kitchen confession: I tried to make a cherry pie today too. That did not go well. I should have thawed the cherries but I got impatient and ended up with pie soup. Hopefully I will be perfecting a cherry pie recipe soon!


Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 4 cups apples, sliced, peeled
  • 1 (10-inch) Eckert’s unbaked pie shell
     

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

 

Instructions

  1. TO PREPARE FILLING: Preheat oven to 400°F. Beat egg, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Stir in flour. Add apples; mix lightly. Carefully spoon into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake an additional 30 minutes.
  2. TO PREPARE TOPPING: Meanwhile, mix flour, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Remove pie from oven; sprinkle with topping. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool at least 1 hour before serving.
Chicken Pesto Pasta (with gluten-free option)
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Ingredients for Chicken Pesto Pasta
Ingredients for Chicken Pesto Pasta
Cooked Chicken
Cooked Chicken

This cold winter weather has me desperately craving flavors of summer, how about you? Basil is my all-around favorite culinary herb and basil pesto is like biting into summer for me. Last night having had my fill of old man winter, I decided to cook up my own weather. My Chicken Pesto Pasta is a variation of a recipe I saw on Youtube several months back. For the last 6 months, I have been scouring around on line for some gluten-free inspiration since I have been trying to eat wheat-free. When I stumbled upon this one, I knew it would be great. Since then, I have made it several times and made notes along the way so I can tweak the recipe to perfection. The secret to this delicious dish, besides good pesto, is decent gluten-free pasta. Believe me I have tried many brands and this one is my favorite, hands down. Many of them are grainy or sticky. I find the Bionaturae brand to be so similar to wheat pasta that my family didn’t even know if was gluten-free. And they are noodle experts!

Chicken Pesto Pasta
Chicken Pesto Pasta

If you need to bite into the hope of summer, give this recipe a try this week.  If you would like taste some of my other gluten-free (but you’ll never miss it) recipes, join me on Sunday, January 31st in our cooking classroom for Gluten-free Recipes by Angie. Visit our website and click on the “events” tab to sign up.

Eat well this new year,

Angie


Ingredients

  • 12-16 oz package of pasta (I used elbows)
  • 3 boneless chicken breast halves (8 oz each)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 Tbs olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • ¼ cup basil pesto
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest

 

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and set aside. In a small bowl, soak tomatoes in ½ cup hot water for at least 15 minutes, drain and pat dry. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and salt and pepper to preference. Working in two batches over medium-high heat, add chicken to a large skillet or saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Cook the chicken for 3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Add more oil to the pan if necessary to prevent sticking and repeat with second batch of chicken. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, add garlic and tomatoes to the pan. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Stir in pesto and green onions, saute for 1-2 minutes more. Add chicken broth and return chicken and pasta to the pan. Stir to incorporate. Remove pan from heat and top with parmesan cheese and lemon zest before serving. Makes 4 entrée size servings.

    To make this recipe gluten-free
  3. Choose a gluten-free pasta. My personal favorite is “bionatrae” brand which is made mostly with rice flour. It is available in Eckert’s Country Store.
Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
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Ingredients for Make-Ahead Breakfast Burrito
Ingredients for Make-Ahead Breakfast Burrito
Breakfast Burritos
Breakfast Burritos

This was a big transition week for our family as we adjusted from sleeping in and days without a plan to waking up at 6:30am and rushing out the door. Needless to say, we are still smoothing out the morning kinks! I decided to make some burritos this afternoon to ease some of the breakfast-making pressure. These Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos are a hit with kids and adults in our house. I usually make a double batch and toss them in the freezer for the week. Have you ever had one of those morning where you had to eat in the car? Well, this is the perfect meal solution for that too! I like to change the burrito recipe up by using different Eckert House-made sausages. My favorite sausage is the Bacon Applewurst but Chris really likes our fresh Chorizo. Applewurst and Italian Sausage are also tasty!

Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos
Make-Ahead Breakfast Burritos

Would you like to watch our culinary staff make these delicious burritos and taste them for yourself? Join us January 27, 2016 for a Lunch and Learn Class called Breakfast for Lunch!

Eat well this new year,

Angie


Ingredients

  • 3 Eckert’s uncooked fresh sausage, about ¾ pound
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 large eggs, scrambled (2 tablespoons milk or cream; salt and pepper to taste)
  • ½ cup grated extra sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup grated fontina or mozzarella cheese
  • 6 flour tortillas, about 6 to 8 inches round

 

Instructions

  1. Remove sausage from casings; discard casings. Heat a large nonstick skillet or nonstick electric skillet over medium heat. Place sausage in skillet and break up as it browns. Cook until lightly browned about 4 to 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove to a bowl; set aside.
  2. Drain fat from skillet. Add butter to skillet. When butter is melted, pour in scrambled eggs. When eggs are softly cooked, remove skillet from heat and sprinkle with sausage and cheese.
  3. Divide flour tortillas into stacks of 3. Place between two damp paper towels and microwave about 5 to 8 seconds. Turn stacks over in microwave and heat another 5 to 8 seconds.
  4. Divide the egg filling on each warmed tortilla.
  5. When cooled, wrap each tortilla individually in plastic wrap and place in a dated freezer bag. Freeze up to 1 month. Makes 6 servings.

    Heating Instructions:
  6. Remove burrito from the freezer. Remove plastic wrap. Wrap frozen tortilla loosely in a paper towel. Microwave about 30 seconds on high heat. Flip burrito and microwave another 30 seconds or until warm. (Reheat times vary by microwave). Serve with Eckert’s Fresh Salsa.
Layered Mexican Taco Cups
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Filling Taco Cups
Filling Taco Cups
Wonton Tacos
Wonton Tacos

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! The farm has been very wet this holiday season. At our Belleville farm, we have received over 5 inches of rain in the past week. Luckily the crops seem to be handling it okay at this point due to terraces in our fields. I hope you all are staying safe and dry wherever you are!! I am shifting gears at home from “large family gathering meal-planning” to smaller gatherings of friends visiting from out of town. I want to have some delicious appetizers for them when they drop by in between their various family events so I will be making these Taco Cups several times this week. I fell in love with this recipe when I saw a similar version in a magazine. Eckert’s classroom culinary educator, Lana, modified the recipe to include our Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe. Lana also tested various baking temps and times to produce crunchy, not soggy, wonton wrappers. The best part of serving this recipe is being able to showcase Eckert’s Famous Homemade Salsa and Guacamole along with it!! Our family and friends love Eckert’s Salsa, Guacamole and Fresh Fried Chips so they are staples around our house during the holidays.

If you are hosting out of town guests or New Year’s Guests, give this recipe a try.

Eat well this New Year! Angie


Ingredients

Layered Taco Cups:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, browned and drained
  • 7 teaspoons Eckert's Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix*
  • 1 to 1-1/4 cups Pomi Crushed Tomatoes, not drained
  • About 1/4 cup diced green chiles, slightly drained
  • 1-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (or combination of cheese)
  • 24 wonton wrappers (if frozen, defrosted)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh coarsely chopped cilantro, optional
  • About 1 cup Eckert's Fresh Tomato Salsa, garnish
     

Taco Seasoning:

  • 6 teaspoons chili powder
  • 5 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Liberally coat a regular sized muffin tin with nonstick vegetable spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine cooked beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes and chiles in a bowl. Stir gently to combine. This step can be prepared 2 to 3 days ahead of time. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Line each muffin cup with 1 wonton wrapper. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons taco mixture. Top with about 1 tablespoon cheese.
  4. Take an additional wonton wrapper and place on top of cheese. Add another layer of taco mixture and final layer of shredded cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until cups are heated through and the edges are golden. Cool slightly and sprinkle chopped cilantro on each cup.
  6. Serve with Eckert's Fresh Salsa and dairy sour cream.
  7. Makes 12 cups.
  8. *1 envelope (1.25-ounce; about 7 teaspoons) taco seasoning can be used.

    Taco Seasoning
  9. Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Place in a storage container with a tight fitting lid. Seal well. Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months.
  10. Makes 21 teaspoons. Approximately 7 teaspoons of the mix equal a
  11. 1.25-ounce package of purchased taco seasoning mix.
Bacon Jam
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Ingredients for Bacon Jam

I wish I could slow down time so I could get all the holiday wrapping, baking and cooking accomplished. Even if that was possible, my kids wouldn't have it! They are hyped up on holiday cheer and candy from the Christmas countdown calendar. Ella can hardly wait for cookie baking day next week and Theo is up at 5am daily to find the mischeivious elf.  It sure is going to be a challenge to keep them busy the days leading up to Christmas! I chose to take advantage of some free time this week before the kids were out of school to make some Bacon Jam for last minute gifts. This recipe was a big hit during a cooking class this summer when we served it with fried green tomatoes and goat cheese. I decided then there, it would be the perfect gift for a foodie.

Chopped Bacon

This recipe is quite simple once you have the ingredients rounded up. Give it plenty of time to simmer and thicken. Once it is thickened and cooled, you can choose to blend it to create a finer texture as shown on the brie cheese. When I make this recipe, I like to keep a little for myself because it is a versatile condiment for holiday entertaining. Bacon Jam is delicious on grilled cheese, mashed or baked potatoes and as an accompaniment to soft cheeses.

Note: If you choose to gift the jam, be sure to keep it refrigerated.

KSDK and Angie Eckert Making Bacon Jam
KSDK and Angie Eckert Making Bacon Jam

This week I also made Bacon Jam on KSDK's Show Me St. Louis program. Everyone in the studio was raving about the smell and coming over to sneak a peek!

Give good food this holiday season, Angie


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds uncooked sliced Eckert’s bacon
  • 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced pole to pole
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¾ cup strong brewed Ronnoco coffee
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Instructions

  1. Cook bacon until well browned. Drain off fat and discard. Roughly chop bacon.
  2. Place cooked bacon and all other ingredients into a 1 or 1 ½ -quart stainless steel or enameled cast iron casserole. Cook over medium heat about 30 to 45 minutes or until thick and jam like.
  3. Remove the bay leaves. If desired, use an immersion blender stick or food processor to pulse once or twice. You can leave the bacon in larger bits or smaller pieces.
  4. TIP: If the jam has too much liquid for your taste, transfer to a small saucepan and cook until jam it thick and syrupy. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Serve warm with grilled cheese sandwiches, on biscuits, dinner rolls, baked or mashed potatoes, goat cheese, wraps and bagels with cream cheese. Great condiment for cheese plates.
  6. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for 10 to 12 days.
  7. Makes about 2 cups jam.
Loaded Baked Potato Appetizers
Loaded Baked Potato

Looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer this holiday season? Everyone loves potato skins and this recipe puts a little spin on that near and dear restaurant favorite! Today Sabine, one of our classroom educators, made these potatoes for our Lunch and Learn class in our Belleville Country Store and they were a quickly gobbled up by our guests. I love this recipe because it can be prepared ahead and baked off closer to the arrival time of your guests. First, Sabine sliced the potatoes with a mandolin. This ensures the slices will bake evenly. If you don’t have a mandolin, just try to cut them as evenly as you can!

Sabine selected a mixture of Yukon gold and red potatoes for today’s recipe, both of which worked perfectly. Next, she lined her pan with parchment and brushed it with oil and sprinkled it with Kosher salt. Since Sabine makes these often, she likes to change it up from time-to-time by adding different herbs and seasonings during this step. She recommends adding rosemary needles and/or fresh-cracked black pepper to the pan.

Baking Potato Slices

Once the pan was oiled and seasoned, she placed the potato slices on the pan. Next, she drizzled the tops of the potatoes with oil and brushed the slices to spread the oil around evenly. Once again, she seasoned the slices with Kosher salt. The potatoes were ready to go into the oven for 20 minutes  (flipping once after 10 minutes). After 20 minutes of baking, the potatoes can be cooled, covered and held in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Loaded Baked Potatos
Loaded Baked Potatos

Since we were serving them immediately, Sabine went on to top the hot potatoes with shredded cheese and cooked bacon crumbles and returned them to the oven for 3 more minutes. Note: If you are starting with refrigerated potato slices, you will need to bake them 5-7 minutes.

Once the cheese was nicely melted,  we removed the potatoes from the oven, allowed them to cool for about 5 minutes before garnishing with sour cream and chopped chives and serve. These potatoes are also delicious at room temperature so no need to keep them hot.

Give this recipe a try for your next holiday party! We are sure you will get rave reviews just like we did!

Eat well this holiday season, Angie


Ingredients

  • 5-6 red potatoes, sliced into ½” rounds
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 3 Tbs. chives
  • ¼ cup Sour cream

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush parchment with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place potato rounds on the parchment paper. Brush tops of potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once.
  2. Remove potatoes from oven, top with cheese and bacon. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with a dollop of sour cream if using and chives.
  3. Serve warm. Serves 8-12.
Butcher's French Cut Pork Rib Roast
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Port Rib Roast
Pork Rib Roast Recipe

When I think of meals during the holiday season, savory roasts come to mind first. Thanks to shorter days on the farm I have more time to slow-cook pot roasts, rib roasts and soups. From Beef Au Jus to Chicken and Rice Soup, we sure have been eating well around the Eckert dinner table this week! Most recently, I made a standing pork rib roast. When I saw a beautifully French-cut rib roast in our butcher case a few days back, I just couldn’t help myself. I made a 6 rib roast for our family but you can order ask our butchers to trim up to a 12 rib roast (a serving is 1 rib).  I asked Casi, one of our butchers, for his favorite recipe and here is what he shared! It is very simple as long as you have an internal meat thermometer and a little time to keep watch in your kitchen. Add a few Amish noodles, roasted butternut squash and steamed broccoli and you’ll have yourself a scrumptious winter meal.

Eat well this winter, Angie


Ingredients

  • 6 Bone-In Rib Roast (about 3.5 lbs)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. vegetable oi

 

Instructions

  1. Place roast on counter for 20-30 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and thyme before adding 2 cloves of minced garlic. Rub pork with vegetable oil. Pat entire roast with the seasoning mixture. Place pork in roasting pan.

    To Roast to Medium Rare (my recommendation)
  2. Roast uncovered for 45 minutes; turn roasting pan 180 degrees after 25 minutes. Continue to roast until internal temperature registers 140-degrees* or about 35 more minutes. Remove from oven. Allow roast to rest about 10 to 12 minutes.
  3. Comment: This 3.20 pound roast took exactly 80 minutes to reach 140-degrees*; this was 20 to 25 minutes/pound). To prevent over cooking, take temperature after about 60 minutes; continue to roast until 140-degrees is reached

    Roasting to Medium
  4. Roast uncovered for 60 minutes; turn roasting pan 180 degrees after 30 minutes. Continue to roast until internal temperature registers 160-degrees, about another 60 to 65 minutes. During the last 30 minutes of roasting, to prevent over cooking, take temperature and continue to roast until 160-degrees. Remove from oven. Allow roast to rest about 10 to 12 minutes.

    Craving and Serving
  5. Use scissors to remove the strings. Carve into individual chops and serve immediately.

    Note: Roasts can be ordered in 6 or 8 ribs from Eckert’s butchers.
  6. *The internal temperature will increase about 5 to 10 degrees while the roast is resting. Take the roast out at least 5 minutes before the preferred final temperature is reached. This prevents over cooking.
Turkey Reuben
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sandwich with toppings
sandwich with toppings

In anticipation of leftover turkey this week, I decided today was the perfect day to develop my very own sauce for a Turkey Reuben. We have delicious rye bread here in our bakery at Eckert’s, our Amish sauerkraut is yummy and of course we have great Swiss and turkey in our Dietz and Watson line of deli meats and cheeses. So, all I needed was a unique sauce to set my Reuben apart. I decided to experiment with a few Russian Dressing recipes. For those of you wondering what the difference is between Russian dressing and Thousand Island, I found (after some internet digging) that Russian dressing usually has a little more kick thanks to horseradish and Thousand Island is a little sweeter and usually includes pickles. I like the idea of a little kick so I used Stonewall Kitchen’s Country Ketchup which has some spice. I also added some Sriracha to heat it up another notch.

russian dressing ingred
russian dressing ingred

After several tweaks and trials, I arrived at this balance of ingredients. Fresh lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce give the sauce tang and depth. I only added a dash of Sriracha but you spicy food-lovers should add more! This dressing can be stored in the frig for up to two weeks and in addition to a great Reuben sauce, it is also a wonderful dip for veggies and makes a great salad dressing for hearty greens. The rest of the sandwich is pretty straight forward. I think the sweet and spicy dressing with the tangy kraut and creamy cheese are perfect accompaniments for turkey on rye. Give this recipe a try this if you have leftover turkey needing a new look. No leftovers? No worries? We have a delicious Oven-Classic Turkey in our deli!

Eat well this holiday season, Angie


Ingredients

Russian Dressing:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Stonewall Kitchen Country Ketchup*
  • 1 Tbs. prepared horseradish
  • 1 Tbs. chopped onion
  • 1 Tbs. chopped celery stalks and or leaves
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ tsp. sweet paprika
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • Dash of Sriracha or other hot sauce
     

For the Rueben:

  • 2 slices of Eckert’s Bakery Rye Bread
  • 1 slice of Dietz and Watson Baby Swiss
  • 2 slices of Deitz and Watson Turkey Breast
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs. Amish Sauerkraut
  • 2 Tbs. Russian Dressing

 

Instructions

Russian Dressing

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or small food processor. Pulse until sauce is smooth. Taste and add hot sauce to your preference. Transfer to a canning jar and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 1 ¼ cup.

    For the Rueben
  2. *Country Ketchup has a little kick to it. If substituting regular ketchup, more hot sauce will be needed.
  3. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place one slice, butter side down on skillet over medium-low heat. Top with Baby Swiss, Turkey, kraut and a dollop of dressing. Place second piece of bread on top with butter facing up. Grill until nicely browned and cheese is melted. Flip and repeat. Serve immediately with a side of dressing. Serves 1.

 

Acorn Squash with Balsamic Apples & Walnuts
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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I am dreaming of foods made with our farm-grown produce around my table! I will be making Acorn Squash with Balsamic Apples & Walnuts for our family gathering. I love this recipe because it can be modified to accommodate a variety of special diets. It is already gluten free, it can be made vegan by substituting olive oil for butter. This extremely nutrient dense squash is packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.

Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash

Balsamic vinegar is what gives this dish flavorful flair. Sautéed onions and apples absorb the tangy vinegar and accentuate the creamy squash flesh. I even enjoy eating the skin of the squash.

Balsamic Apples and Walnuts
Balsamic Apples and Walnuts

I made this recipe on air at FOX 2 on the 9 AM News with Kim and Margie today. We had a blast, as usual, cooking in their kitchen! I showed them how to “crack” open the squash and they were quite impressed with my mallet handling! Too funny.

Angie Eckert and Fox 2 News
Angie Eckert and Fox 2 News

If you are looking for a beautiful and festive Thanksgiving recipe, Give this one a try! Eat well this Holiday Season, Angie


Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup. chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Split the squash in half, lengthwise, and remove seeds and place in baking dish. Using a paring knife to score the squash flesh in a grid pattern.
  2. To make apple filling, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté onions for 3-5 minutes. Add apples, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, walnuts and salt and continue to sauté for 3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat.
  3. Spoon the filling into each half. To keep the squash moist while baking, add about ½ inch of water to the bottom of the baking dish and cover the filled squash with foil. * Bake for about 1 hour, or until squash is fork tender. Serves 4-6.
  4. *Stop here and refrigerate if you want to make this dish a day ahead.
Farmer's Pumpkin Pie
Eckert's Pumpkin Pie
Eckert's Pumpkin Pie
Homegrown Pumpkins
Homegrown Pumpkins

Since I am a pumpkin farmer’s wife, I just have to bake pumpkin pie with a real pumpkin this time of year! If you have never attempted a pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin, give this recipe for Farmer’s Pumpkin Pie a try. It is really pretty simple and the pie will be packed with so much more flavor than if you choose canned pumpkin. I prefer to use the small, pie-size pumpkin because the flesh is denser than a jack-o-lantern size (which equates to more flavor, less liquid in your pie). However, if you ask experienced pie bakers, many of them use other varieties of squash and it is quite interesting to hear what varieties different bakers prefer!

I usually bake my pumpkin the day before I bake the pie. I start by lining a sheet pan with parchment paper, add a little water and bake for about an hour and a half. If you are baking your pie the next day like me, simply scrape the pulp from the skin of the pumpkin and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up 3 days. Bring pulp to room temperature before starting the pie mixture.

The pie mixture is really just a dump and blend step. I use an immersion blender to puree the mixture to a smooth consistency. As for the crust, I find it hard to beat our bakery’s pie shell made from good ole-fashion lard! Grandma B. insists lard makes the best crust so I am paying tribute to her here.

After the batter is mixed, pour it in the shell and bake until firm. If you like a delicious topping with your pumpkin pie, nothing beats home-made whip cream with a couple sprinkles of sugar before beating. I also love pumpkin pie with a side a Eckert’s Frozen Custard.

I hope your family will enjoy fresh-baked, Farmer’s Pumpkin Pie this holiday season, Angie

Ingredients

  • 1 Pie pumpkin, about 5-pounds, washed with stem removed
  • 1/2 cup water

To Prepare the Pumpkin Pulp

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Cut pumpkin in half. Use a large metal spoon or a canning jar lid to remove the seeds and pumpkin membrane. Place each pumpkin half cut side down on a parchment-lined baking dish or sheet pan with sides. Add about ½ cup water; enough to cover the bottom of the dish and come up the sides about ½-inch (add more water if necessary).

Bake pumpkin about 1 ½ hours or until the pumpkin is VERY SOFT when a knife tip is inserted into the peel.  The pumpkin will sometime ‘collapse’ when it is soft enough.  Remove baked pumpkin from oven. With a large spatula move the hot pumpkin halves to a heat-proof plate to cool slightly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Note: This step is to get the cooked pumpkin out of the hot water while the pumpkin cools.

When cool enough, use your fingers peel off the pumpkin skin and discard skin. The pumpkin pulp can now be used for cooking and baking. Makes about 4 ½ cups.

Ingredients for the Pie

  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten with fork
  • 1 1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree, packed-well
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 Eckert’s Frozen Pie Shell (9 inch)

Instructions for the Pie

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients except pie shell. Transfer mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender to even out the texture of the mixture. Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake on a sheet pan for 50 minutes or until center is set. Cool for at least 45 minutes before serving.

Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples and Onions
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Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples and Onions
Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples and Onions

November is always a month of transition for the whole Eckert family. We have completed the very busiest part of our year and while I will miss the lively fall weekends on the farm, I am really looking forward to spending more time with my kids and to cooking more involved meals! I decided to make Honey Mustard Chicken with Apples and Onions last night because my kids adore bone-in chicken. In fact, they would be perfectly happy if we ate Eckert’s Restaurant’s fried chicken every night. This recipe requires a decent chunk of time and at first I thought I had bit off more than I could chew on a weeknight. Dinner wasn’t on the table until 7pm but it was sure worth the wait. This recipe also requires a large Dutch oven or oven-proof skillet and a willingness to make gravy (I promise it is easy!).

Chopped Apples for Apple Recipe
Chopped Apples for Apple Recipe

I started by browning the chicken pieces in hot oil. A glass lid or a splatter screen comes in handy during this step. After the chicken is browned and set aside, the pan drippings become a flavorful base for the chopped apples and onions and the addition of honey mustard really ads some zing.  I recommend using Granny Smith, Jonathon, Fuji, Braeburn, Cameo, Golden Delicious or EverCrisp apples.

A little side apple story here:

I used a new apple variety called EverCrisp in this recipe. We will have this apple for sale in October of 2016. Our young trees did not bear much fruit this year but let me tell you, they are delicious apples!! This apple tastes like a cross between Honeycrisp and Fuji, sweet with a killer crunch! Be sure it is on your apple radar next fall.

Evercrisp Apples
Evercrisp Apples

Once the apples and onions are softened, the chicken pieces go on top and into the oven. When the chicken is cooked through, it is time to make a very simple gravy using flour and butter to thicken the juices. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Flour since I am trying to limit gluten in my diet but all-purpose flour works just as well. If your gravy doesn’t thicken, make another batch of butter and flour paste and add as needed.

Once the gravy is done, your home will smell good enough to eat and your family will come flocking to the table! Serve your scrumptious chicken in a large platter topped with gravy and enjoy on top of rice or noodles!

Eat well this Fall, Angie


Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in chicken legs, skin on
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1-2 large apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tbs. Eckert’s Honey Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Tbs. softened butter
  • ½ Tbs. all-purpose flour or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Working it 2 batches add the chicken skin side down. Cover with a splatter screen or lid and brown for 5-6 minutes. Flip chicken and cook 3 minutes more. Transfer browned chicken pieces to a platter. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings.
  2. Add the apples and onions to the Dutch oven and return to medium heat. Season with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Cook apples until softened, about 5 minutes. (This timing may depend on the type of apple you select.) Add the broth and mustard to the Dutch oven and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil before arranging chicken pieces on top of the apples and onions. Cover and transfer Dutch oven to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  3. Using a tongs or slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, apple and onions to a large platter. Bring the remaining cooking juices to a simmer. Mix the butter and flour together in a small bowl to make a paste before adding it to the cooking juices. Cook the juices and paste until the mixture thickens to form a gravy. Season to taste and pour over chicken, apple and onions. Serve immediately with Amish noodles or rice.
  4. Makes 4 servings.
Pork Sausage and Baked Apples
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Apple Recipes
Apple Recipes

Our Cooking Classroom in our Belleville Country Store has been as busy as a bee hive this week! We have hosted groups of adults and kids in a variety of classes and birthday parties and we’ve even hosted a group of high school educators. Yesterday, Lana and I had a terrific group of folks for a Lunch and Learn Cooking Class where we featured three delicious apple recipes. The guests loved every bite of it, especially the Pork Sausage and Baked Apples.

Pork Sausage and Baked Apples
Pork Sausage and Baked Apples

This recipe comes in handy because it can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It features homemade Italian sausage from our butcher shop and sweet apples grown in our orchard. We used Fuji apples but you could substitute another apple easily. My recommendations are Jonathon, Golden Delicious, Gala or Braeburn.

Baked Apples and Pork Sausage
Baked Apples and Pork Sausage

To feed our class of thirty, we quadrupled the recipe but when I make this recipe at home, I follow the amounts below. Lana and I squeezed the pork out of the casings before browning the pork in the skillet. While the pork browned, we baked the apple slices for a few minutes to soften them up. After our pork was no longer pink, we stirred in the egg and brown sugar before topping the partially baked apple slices. Then we returned our baking pan it to the oven for 8 more minutes to complete the recipe.

To pretty up the plates, Lana and I served the pork to our eager classroom guests with a generous side of the Eckert’s Restaurant House Salad featuring Swiss cheese, Fuji apples and walnuts. We knew we had a successful recipe on our hands when we went to collect the empty plates!

Eat well this fall, Angie


Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 6 golden delicious apples, sliced into 1/4-inch rings
  • 4 links of Eckert’s Pork Sausage, casings removed, about 1 lb.
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 9-inch baking dish with butter. Arrange apples in bottom of dish. Bake 6 minutes. Meanwhile,in a skillet, cook sausage and onion until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Spoon into medium bowl. Add brown sugar and egg; stir to combine. Spoon sausage mixture over baked apples. Bake an additional 8 minutes or until apples are tender.
Apple Pie Bars
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Fuji Apple Pie Bars
Fuji Apple Pie Bars

I have always wanted to try an apple brownie or bar recipe. I came across this recipe for Apple Pie Bars a couple weeks ago and decided to give it a whirl with some of the Fuji apples from the kids' most recent run down our lane to the apple trees! Our Fuji crop is just so delicious this year, we can't seem to munch enough of them right now. Theo helped me make this delicious apple treat last night. He got a kick out of the three step process and it seemed to hold his attention quite well. His favorite step was speading the dough into the parchment-lined baking pan.

Apple Bars
Apple Bars

Once the dough had baked 15 minutes, Theo helped me pour the sweet and buttery apple slices on top. Finally we topped the apples with a crumbly mixture that Theo claims "looks like sand." (Too much mindcraft if you ask me!)

Apple Crumb Bars
Apple Crumb Bars

Well, it certainly didn't taste like sand. We all enjoyed a generous piece of our Apple Pie Bars after dinner.

I am looking forward to trying this recipe again with our Granny Smith apples next week!

Eat well this fall, Angie


Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
     

For the Filling:

  • 4 large apples, peeled cored and sliced
  • 4 Tbs. melted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
     

For the topping:

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 4 Tbs. melted butter

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. To prepare crust, mix egg, butter and sugar until creamy. Add in flour and salt gradually. Once combined, transfer mixture to pan and spread gently and evenly. Bake crust for 15 minutes. To prepare filling, combine apple slices, butter, brown sugar,cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl until ingredients are well incorporated. Top baked crust with filling. To make topping, combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl using a fork. Once topping is crumbly, spread it on the filling. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool and serve immediately.
Fuji Apple Crumb Pie
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Apple Peeler
Apple Peeler

Fuji apple season brings reason to celebrate on the farm here at Eckert’s! Fuji apples continue to gain in popularity each year thanks to their crunchy, sweet bite. I was thrilled to announce the start of our picking season this week on KTVI Fox 2 news with Randi Naughton. Randi loves to cook so she made the topping while I sliced the apples… ultimate baking teamwork! This pie is a cinch to make if you start with an Eckert’s frozen pie shell. I am a big fan of our frozen pie crusts because they are made with lard and they taste just like my Grandma B’s homemade crust.  Since I used Fuji apples in the recipe, I cut back the sugar from my usual crumb pie recipe. If you are making this pie with tart apples like Jonathon or Granny Smith, follow our full sugar version of this recipe in the Eckert Family Fall Cookbook on page 59.

Apple Crumb Pie Recipe
Apple Crumb Pie Recipe

Once the apples are sliced and sugared, add the topping and follow the baking directions below! I knew my pie was a hit because I didn’t leave the FOX 2 news room with a single crumb in my pie pan!!

Come pick some Fuji apples this fall and give this scrumptious pie recipe a try!

Eat well this Fall, Angie


Ingredients

  • Fuji Apple Crumb Pie
  • 5 cups Fuji apples, sliced and peeled
  • 9" unbaked Eckert's pie shell
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cold butter, cubed

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange apples in the bottom of the pie shell. Crimp crust as desired. In a small bowl or jar, combine 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Mix remaining 1/2 cup sugar and flour in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture become crumbly. Sprinkle crumbs over apples. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Super Simple Baked Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Ella has a new favorite fall veggie…baked spaghetti squash. I am thrilled because I love it too and it is so easy to make. The spaghetti squash harvested on our farm are especially delicious right now because they are still very moist and fresh inside. After a couple months of storage, spaghetti squash will dehydrate a bit and it may take 5-15 minutes longer to cook. For now, we are enjoying this gluten-free side dish around our dinner table!

Last night, Ella helped me wash the outside of the squash before we placed it directly on the racks of my oven at 375 degrees. We did not coat it in oil or season it any way. After an hour, I pierced it with a knife to test doneness. Since the knife slid in easily, I knew the squash was done. We allowed it to cool about 30 minutes before slicing it in half lengthwise.

Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti Squash

I used a knife to edge around the center seeded part of the flesh before removing and discarding the seeds with a spoon. Next comes the fun part …. “making spaghetti!”  I hold the squash with my oven mitt while the kids help scrape the stringy flesh with a fork. In just a few minutes, we had a mountain of golden threads.

step 2 -cut open remove seeds
step 2 -cut open remove seeds

Finally, we topped the spaghetti squash with butter, Kosher salt and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan). Of course, you can substitute your favorite pasta sauce, herb butter, cheese or whatever else your heart desires.

step 3- shredding spaghetti
step 3- shredding spaghetti

Although he loves to help “make spaghetti,” Theo is not a big fan of the flavor but I am hoping to win him over by the end of fall.  For now, Ella, Chris and I will be enjoying this simple, fun-to-make side dish many nights this fall.

Eat well this fall, Angie


Ingredients

  • 1 Eckert’s spaghetti squash
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean and dry outside of squash. Place squash directly on the oven rack or on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 1 hour or until squash is tender when pierced with a knife. Cool 15-30 minutes. Cut off stem end of squash and discard. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and flesh surrounding seeds with a spoon and discard. While holding squash with a hot pad, scrape flesh from shell with a fork. Plate squash and top with butter, Kosher salt and cheese. Serve immediately.
Angie's Autumn Caramel Sauce
Angie's Autumn Caramel Sauce
Angie's Autumn Caramel Sauce

One of my favorite companions for fresh-picked apples is homemade caramel sauce. In fact, it is my condiment of choice this fall!! It is delicious drizzled on apple slices, apple baked goods and Eckert’s Frozen Custard. You can even stir a bit in to your morning coffee.

My recipe for Autumn Caramel Sauce is made with a few common ingredients. The only challenging part is that it requires your undivided attention for about 25 minutes. Please do not attempt to multi-task. (Hint to moms of young children: I choose to make this recipe AFTER my kids go to bed!)

The first time I made caramel sauce, I burned it. I knew immediately because it didn’t smell right and it took on a dark brown color (see photo). The second time I made it, I took more care to watch my pot and to reduce the heat before any bubbles formed. After about 10 minutes of cooking the sugar, water and honey mixture, it should start to turn golden and produce many clear bubbles as moisture bubbles away. Once the mixture takes on an amber color, 6-8 minutes later, you are ready to add the butter and the cream very slowly. I prefer to do this off the heat and return the pot to low heat for a few minutes more of stirring.

Making Caramel Sauce
Making Caramel Sauce

When butter and cream are evenly incorporated and the caramel is a smooth texture, light brown in color, you are all done! Allow the sauce to cool at least 20 minutes before serving. I like to pour it into a jam jar and refrigerate for use within 2 weeks. (If your house is anything like mine, it will be long gone well before that!)

Caramel Sauce Comparison
Caramel Sauce Comparison

A few caramel-making hints: Use a heavy bottomed saucepan or pot to protect yourself from scorching the caramel. Use a stainless steel pot (not non-stick). Caramel is very hot as it cooks! Use caution when stirring and especially when adding butter and cream later in the recipe. Know your stove and how to control the levels of heat. This recipe requires micro-adjustments to the heat level to manage the bubbling. Do not multitask while making caramel sauce. Soak your dirty dishes in hot water to ease with clean up.

I hope you will find yourself with an uninterrupted half-hour this fall to make my Autumn Caramel Sauce. It is so delicious and well-worth the effort. Eat well this fall, Angie


Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon Eckert's Pure Honey
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 

Instructions

  1. Combine sugar, water and honey in a 1 or 1 1/2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir ingredients to combine evenly. Heat saucepan over medium heat, without STIRRING until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 15-18 minutes.
  2. Important: Do not allow the mixture to boil rapidly, small bubbles are okay but the mixture should not be allowed to produce foamy bubbles. If mixture begins to foam or boil rapidly, remove pan from burner, turn down the heat and/or swirl pan by handle until it stops. Return pan to lower heat and continue heating. You may need to reduce the temperature to low.
  3. If the sugar mixture starts to color unevenly, swirl the pan to blend but do not stir. Lower the heat to simmer and very slowly* add the cream and butter. With a long heat-proof mixing spoon, stir until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Allow to cool about 20 minutes before serving on Eckert's baked apples or custard. Makes about 1 cup caramel.
  4. Caramel can be made ahead, cooled and placed in a covered jar. Use within 2 weeks.
  5. *Caution: The addition of cream and butter will create hot steam and "boil" toward the top of the pan. Within a few seconds, this steam/boiling will stop.
Slow Cooker French Onion Soup with Apple Butter

What a lovely night we had in the orchard last Thursday. Two wagons full of guests and the Eckert’s staff had a blast during our annual Wine in the Orchard Event. The temperature was perfect, the sunset was glorious and the wine pairings were divine!!

My dad, our staff wine expert, and I look forward to the annual challenge of pairing apples with wine. It sounds like an unlikely partnership but we have certainly proven it is not only possible but down-right amazing. My favorite pairing of the evening was our starter course, Slow Cooker French Onion Soup with Apple Butter and Chaumette 2013 Reserve Chardonel. Wow, was this pairing well-received by our group of wine and food aficionados!

This soup requires a few special ingredients including beef bones (ordered from Eckert’s butcher) and Eckert’s apple butter. It also takes a little planning ahead. In fact, Lana actually made our soup a day ahead and we reheated it in the oven an hour before the class. That being said, you will be amazed by the complexity of flavors offered up by the savory beef bones and the sweet undertones of the apple butter. Lana really took it up a notch with the crusty bread and aged gruyere cheese.

We dolled up our soup by serving it in 4 oz. canning jars with a slice of cheese toast. It looked so darn cute! When paired with Chaumette’s Chardonel, this recipe sure was a home run for our crowd!

I hope you will give Slow Cooker French Onion Soup with Apple Butter a try for yourself and if you think this evening sounds like fun, stay tuned for Wine in the Orchard dates for September 2016 at eckerts.com!!

Eat and sip well this fall, Angie


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef bones (see Eckert’s butchers)
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 5 large yellow onions (about 3 1/2 pounds), quartered and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 5 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Eckert’s no sugar added apple butter
  • 3/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups beef broth
     

Instructions

  1. Place beef bones on paper towel-lined plate. Microwave until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Set slow cooker to high. Add butter to slow cooker. Cover and cook until melted. Add onions, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, brown sugar, and thyme. Stir flour, apple butter, sherry, and soy sauce together in small bowl until smooth. Pour over onions and toss to coat. Tuck bones under onions around edge of slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat until onions are softened and deep golden brown, 10 to 12 hours.
  2. Remove bones from slow cooker. Heat chicken and beef broth in microwave until beginning to boil. Stir into slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with cheese toasts.
     

Cheese Toast

1 loaf Eckert’s Rustic Italian Bread, sliced 4 oz Gruyère, thinly sliced or shaved

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from broiler element) and heat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange bread slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake until bread is golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Heat broiler. Divide cheese evenly among croutons and broil until melted and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

Apple Pie Pockets
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Apple Pie Pockets
Apple Pie Pockets
Making Apple Pie Filling
Making Apple Pie Filling

Lucky for me, my daughter helped this week with the blog. Ella has been asking to make Apple Pie Pockets for over a week now and thanks to a rare, free evening, we were able to satisfy her apple pie craving! Ella and I used a combination of Gala and Pixie Crunch apples because that is what we had at home. I think these pie pockets would be equally as yummy with versatile apples like Golden Delicious, Jonathon or even Fujis.

Making Pocket for Apple Pie Pockets
Making Pocket for Apple Pie Pockets

Ella is a pro with dough! All I had to help with was chopping the apples and she did all the rest. Ella prepared the filling, filled and pinched the pie pockets and brushed the dough with egg wash. In about 20 minutes, her pie pockets were ready for the oven.

Apple Pie Pockets
Apple Pie Pockets

After dinner, all four of us enjoyed Ella’s dessert. What’s not to love about flaky and warm pie crust filled with apple goodness? Ella will be taking one in her lunch tomorrow to show off to her school friends.

Eat well this Fall, Angie

Ingredients

  • 4 Eckert’s frozen 5” humble pie crusts *
  • 2 cups peeled and diced apples
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease pan with butter. Thaw frozen humble pie crusts for approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Cut rounds in half and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Whisk egg seperately in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the dough, making sure to reach the edges. Place 2 tablespoons of filling on one half of the pie dough. Fold the other half over the top to create a pocket. Crimp edges with finger tips or a fork. Brush top of pocket with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes or until dough is browned. Makes 8 pie pockets.