garlic paste

Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

 

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At a time when “Regional” and “Ethnic” cuisine has spread all over the World and most of them have reached the far corners of our Planet, a large part of restaurant-goers consider themselves experts of some, or even many, different ethnic/regional cuisines.
Sadly (naturally), most experiences of these wannabe-experts come from a few visits of neighborhood “ethnic” restaurants and a subscription to the food channel, or, at best, a few encounters of local cuisine one has mustered on a once in a lifetime vacation to an exotic, foreign country.
Therefore, nowadays, when everyone pretends to be “food-hip“, “in” and “worldly“, everybody and Joe want to open a restaurant that serves food from around the World, with the proprietor and workers usually never having encountered a dish that is even close to its supposed origin.
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However, because of this worldwide spreading of cuisines,  most folks have had the pleasure to taste Scandinavian herring salad in one form or another, either in a restaurant or at home, sourced in a small plastic container at the neighborhood supermarket. These come in many different flavors and colors – with fresh dill, fresh chives, potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, pasta, capers, pickles of any type, apples, oranges, eggs, with matjes herring or salt herring, even with added sausage, etc, etc.
Many of them are surprisingly delicious, though, after all, these ingredients are hard to mess up. However, in my humble opinion, of the commercial type herring salads, most have one fundamental fault – they are diced way too small and evenly (which, admittingly, is the proper restaurant-way).
When one forkful contains five or more ingredients of very finely diced ingredients, the mix becomes one coherent mess in your mouth, which I find rather boring. I much rather have the ingredients diced larger, so that with each bite I have two or maybe three different textures and tastes, which results in the pleasure of each bite surprising me with a new combination of yumminess. 🙂
This salad can be served as an appetizer, first course, snack or main course, accompanied by steamed potatoes, sauteed potatoes, rustic bread, or Gouda crackers (as in these pictures).
Pls note that I did not include measurements – let the ratio be guided by your preferences – more or fewer veggies, herring, yogurt, mayo, and so forth – and eliminate any of the ingredients which you don´t like.  🙂
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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Preparation :
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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Easy Does It ……….. 👍😎😃

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A week ago I bought a large bag of fresh, beautiful peppers at my neighborhood Turkish grocery store. Since then, I have eaten most of them, usually grilled and served as a side dish to meat or seafood, with tzatziki as a dip. Today I needed something to accompany my dumplings, and yet another grilled peppers dish did not sound very enticing.  Also, I did not feel like eating fish or meat and so I choose the bread dumplings to be the main component of the meal. Since dumplings need a good sauce to be properly enjoyed, this tasty cream sauce with pimentóns seemed to be the perfect combination. Low and behold, it turned out to be VERY delicious, and it hit the spot precisely 🙂
So what started out as a way to get rid of some veggies before they turn South, became a much-loved dish which I will prepare again in the near future. 🙂
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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Pimentón En Crema (Peppers In Cream)

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Preparation :
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Escargot Catalan

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While “Escargots à la Bourguignonne” (Snails in Garlic–Herb Butter) is my favorite snail-dish, “Escargot Catalan” is a close second. (As long as there is enough garlic, herbs and a proper red wine in the sauce).
This dish not only serves as a perfect appetizer or snack, but it can also stand on its own feet as a main course, accompanied by sauteed potatoes, rice, or hearty, crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce. 🙂
It also serves perfectly as a family/friends meal, in a large bowl in the center of the table, from where everybody can help themselves to seconds (or thirds), the wonderful meal enriched with good wine and lively conversation. 🙂
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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Preparation :
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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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If you think that the salted cucumber addition for this soup are just a fru-fru gimmick to add some green color to the picture, think again 🙂
These pickled cucumbers truly add an surprising element of sophistication to an otherwise simple, everyday soup.
BTW, I also like to eat pickled cucumbers as a snack, either plain-salted, as shown here, or prepared a bit more elaborate,
such as in my “Chinese pickled cucumbers recipe”   (涼拌黃瓜   liáng bàn huáng guā recipe)

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Preparation :
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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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When you read the title of this post and then see the final dish, you might wonder – whats easy about this ? 🙂
Let me assure you, everything is ! 🙂
The total preparation time is only about 20 minutes, although the total cooking time is more like 4.5 hours, give or take a few minutes.
How can this be, you ask ?
Well, I prepared this meal on Christmas day just for Bella and myself, so I took some shortcuts which I usually might not have taken, namely using frozen creamed spinach, which I enhanced with some additional heavy cream and a pinch of nutmeg. The result was VERY yummy.
I also used frozen pommes croquettes, which turned out surprisingly delicious, especially when paired with the wonderful duck sauce. (I always have demi glace of pork, poultry and veal in my freezer, so it is easy to produce excellent sauce in a relatively short time. 🙂
Actual prep time was approximately :
10 Minutes – unpacking, washing, drying, salting the duck, and, at the end, portioning the duck.
5 Minutes – unpacking the spinach, adding to a small sauteuse, adding cream and nutmeg.
3 Minutes – unpacking the croquettes, placing on the grill in the oven.
The most difficult thing was to wait for all these hours until we could finally dig-in, while the aroma coming from the kitchen made us hungrier by the minute. Of course, I started the duck for dinner right after lunch, so it was bearable for me, while Bella experienced four hours of nearly going nuts in front of the oven 🙂
I, on the other hand, had things to do, so, for me,  the time went by fast.
At the end, this was a superb meal with very little effort. Bella and I loved all of it. I am sure that if we would have had visitors, they would have been impressed by all the skills and effort and hard work I have spend for them with this dish.  🙂 🙂 🙂
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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Serving Suggestion #1 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Serving Suggestion #2 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Easy Does It # 38 – Slow Roast Crispy Duck, Creamed Spinach, Pommes Croquettes & Red Wine Jus

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Preparation :
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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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A stew is one of these typical, beloved, easy to prepare dishes that have almost disappeared from fine restaurant menus and, sadly, from most household dining tables (or kitchen tables).
Many home cooks shy away from it because of the extended cooking time. But, once you realize that the actual prep time is usually short and easy, things look a lot more simple. After all, as long as you are at home, you can do whatever you want/need to do around the house as long as you check on your stew once in a while. The reward is a meal chock-full of flavor and debt, hardly achieved with any other cooking method (this one being Braising.” )
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While this one looks like a typical goulash, the seasoning changes it into a very different animal.
In my own opinion, not better or worse, just different. I eat stews and goulash regularly, so I love to change the ingredients/seasoning often, to avoid monotony in my nutrition.
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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Beef Goulash & Bread Dumplings

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Preparation :
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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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If you have followed ChefsOpinion for a while, you might be aware of my passion for soups, especially for chicken noodle soup, prepared any-which-way.
Without a doubt, the soup featured on this page is by far the best chicken noodle soup I have ever tasted.
The combination and the amount used of the special chicken and all the veggies, as well as the seasoning/aromatics and the six hours of cooking resulted in a heavenly broth, for which only the wide rice noodles and garden-fresh cilantro was needed to transform these simple ingredients into a wonderful, immensely satisfying culinary delight. 🙂
( The plate prepared for the original photo shoot already was all that – but then, the plate I prepared later on with all the “secondary cuts” (neck, wings and dark meat), which was originally not intended to be included in this post, was even better and “hit it out of the park” )  🙂
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P.S.
To prepare the best tasting chicken broth, one must use “Suppen Huhn” (Boiling Fowl, which needs to simmer between three to six hours to be sufficiently tender for the meat to be enjoyed.
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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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And later on, the second helping looked like this :
(Originally, these photos were not intended to be published 🙂 

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Not Your Mama´s Chicken/Noodle Soup – “Chicken Pho” (Phở Gà)

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Preparation :
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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Traditional Tandoor  (This is NOT Hans) 🙂

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Modern Tandoor

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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When I was a chef it was essential for me to teach my cooks, then later my students at Le Cordon Bleu, recipes of dishes which were as authentic to their classic origin as possible.
Especially during my many years as a teacher and program chair at Le Cordon Bleu Miami, I taught meticulously what I had learned many decades ago back in the Black Forest of Germany – Classic French Cuisine.

I also taught classic German Cuisine and many other cuisines from around the world which I had enjoyed, studied and learned during my many years as Executive Chef living and working in dozens of countries. (Cuisines of China, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Fillipines, Italy, Spain, India, Brazil, Sweden,  and many more.
While I am only an expert of French, German and Italian cuisine, I do have good knowledge and personal experience of the cuisines of the aforementioned countries and I was therefore able to teach international cuisine with authority.  Unlike many (most ?) “teachers” and “chefs” nowadays, who will read a recipe, practice (maybe) a bit, then “teach” what they just read on sometimes questionable (at best) sources. Mostly, even the folks who write the syllabus for a class have only the “experience” of reading about things, never having cooked it, eaten it or visited the country of origin of a dish.
While this might work for certain professions, it is certainly a disaster for our beloved trade.
No wonder real food becomes more and more the stuff only wealthy people can enjoy in the few excellent restaurants left in most places, while the rest of us is being served mediocre fare for unreal prices.
However, even at that time, while trying to teach original, and classic recipes and methods from specific cuisines, I tried to teach tips and tricks which might not be original, but are more practical, economical and sometimes even result in better food (Not often, but sometimes) 🙂
But one MUST ALWAYS POINT OUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ORIGINAL AND THE VARIATION !
In a restaurant, the Guests should also be informed about the difference, which, in my humble opinion, MUST be made clear in the name of the dish on the menu, for example:

Pesto” – basil, olive oil, garlic, PINE NUTS, pecorino, parmigiano reggiano.
Walnut Pesto” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the PINE NUTS with WALNUTS.
or
Wiener Schnitzel” – thin, breaded, VEAL cutlet
Pork Schnitzel Wiener Art” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the VEAL with PORK.
Turkey Schnitzel Wiener Art” – same ingredients, same method, but replace the VEAL with TURKEY.

Wow, this became a long entry to what I want to clarify here – ChefsOpinion is a blog that celebrates real food that tastes good, looks good and is simple enough that the average beginner of home-cooking, as well as a top professional and everybody in between can find inspiration, tips and other useful information to be able to prepare wonderful food at home, be it a simple soup or salad, an elaborate roast or stew, or whatever I feel like cooking at the moment and share with you, be it classic/original or not.
At this stage of my life, I don´t find it necessary to prove that I can cook, that I was a decent professional or that I have mastered “original and /or classical dishes from around the World in my more than 50 years of being a cook.
My goal at this time is to remind old chefs from around the Globe about the food we once studied, cooked, taught and enjoyed, and to help the “youngens” to be able to enjoy the same food even now, when some of it is not “IN” anymore and one has a hard time to find well-loved, classic dishes in restaurants, where one now finds mostly second-class food, tasteless and pointless, but dressed to the hilt to impress the folks who don´t know better.
To this end, I try to simplify many dishes while keeping the original flavor and texture as close to the real thing as possible, simply to give everybody the chance to prepare certain dishes at home, which they otherwise would find too difficult, expensive, complicated and daunting to try.
A typical example of this philosophy is the dish on this page. Just google the word TANDOORI, or CURRY, or GOULASH and you will know what I mean. Or choose the word of a dish and add the word ORIGINAL or CLASSIC before it.
The result are usually thousands of recipes, seldom the actual CLASSIC recipe (The definition of ORIGINAL or CLASSIC is a whole different chapter) 🙂 , while most others range from slightly off to downright nasty and ridiculous. 😦
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How to make Tandoori chicken without a Tandoor

Tandoori Chicken is one of the most popular dishes from northern India. It is grilled chicken rubbed with a blended spice marinade, identifiable by its red coloring. Tandoori is Indian style of BBQ. The marinade has garlic, salt, coriander, tamarind, cumin, ginger, lentils, and oil.
Tandoor is an Indian style oven, which one cannot buy in an appliance store like you can with a traditional grill or oven. Basically, the tandoor is made entirely of clay and is 3-4 feet tall. Charcoal is placed at the bottom of the tandoor and allowed to burn for several hours. Then the meat is placed on long skewers and cooked inside till roasted. Tandoor is also used to make, among other dishes, naan, kebabs, and tandoori rotis.
It is not practical to build your own tandoor. In fact, most homes in India do not have one. Indian restaurants generally special order tandoors (from restaurant equipment sellers) which can cost upwards of thousands of dollars
So, if you want to enjoy tandoori chicken at home, what do you do?
Here is a very simple tandoori chicken recipe that does not require any special equipment. The chicken retains its juices and is fully cooked while keeping a nice crispy bite on the outside. It has only 2 ingredients, but the cooking technique is very important. Once you follow this recipe, you will realize how simple and delicious this recipe is!

Tandoori Chicken Recipe
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Prep Time: 5 mins (24 hours); Cook Time: 45 mins

(Serves 4 )
4 ea skin less chicken legs,
8 tablespoons tandoori paste   (see picture below for brand example)
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Thoroughly rub the tandoori paste into the chicken.
Place in a bowl, cover and refrigerate 24 hours
When ready to cook, preheat broiler on low. Once the temperature is attained, place the chicken pieces on a rack with a drip pan under it. 
Broil on low for 30 minutes, turning the chicken once. Then turn the broiler to high and cook for another 15 minutes, turning once so that the chicken is crisp on both sides. You will see that the marinade will start to dry up and the chicken will start getting a crust.
Remove from oven and transfer to a plate. Serve immediately with naan, sliced onions, quartered lemons, chopped cilantro and mint chutney or condiments of your choice (or follow the suggestion on this page)

Click here for  Indian Tomato Chutney Recipe


Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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Hans’ Delicious Tandoori Chicken

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steamed rice, tomato chutney, curried chickpeas, spicy cucumber salad – this alone would be a great meal

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Preparation :
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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Traditionally, in Southern Germany (Swabia and Bavaria), we serve our classic Ravioli (Maultaschen) in beef broth, with potato salad on the side. Then, if there are leftovers, we saute them the next day in butter with onions and eggs, accompanied by leaf salad.
Since I moved back to Germany, I have Maultaschen three to four times a month. They are easy to prepare at home and even available frozen in most supermarkets, nowadays the majority of brands a VERY good quality. ( I usually make my own, since I love a bit of veal liver in my stuffing – the ones on these pages are homemade). Alas, I buy them just as often ready made.  🙂
This time, when I was ready to reheat or saute the leftover Maultaschen from the previous day, I did not feel to go with the usual suspect of a recipe, so I came up with this wonderful variation. It is so good and delicious that it is now one of my standard recipe for leftover Maultaschen (and other types of ravioli)
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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Cannellini Beans & Ravioli, Gratinated In Chilli/Tomato Cream

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Preparation :
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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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While Bella and I eat pork shank/knuckle/trotter quite often, veal shank, because of it´s price, is more of a “once in a while” treat.
As I mentioned before one these pages, veal named “Milk Veal” in Germany can only be from an up to 6 months old calf, therefore it carries a hefty price tag.
Nevertheless, at my age, there are not that many treats left to enjoy or afford, so this one seemed well worth the price. (Bella agrees fully.) 🙂
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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Kalbs Haxe, Semmelknödel, Und Rosenkohl Mit Speck… (Whole-Roast Veal Shank, Brussels Sprouts And Bread Dumplings)

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Preparation :
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