Viewer discretion is advised: Sunday Bloody Easter

For Easter dinner my family met out in Wales halfway between Madison and Milwaukee, at my sister Ann’s house. I made the main course for about 18 people. It was crispy skinned chicken and potatoes with lemon, rosemary and thyme. She was going for a Greek theme because my sister Mary K made spanakopita. 

The method for making the chicken is to brown it skin side down put sliced potatoes in the bottom of the pan, put the chicken on top and then roast it all uncovered. I cleverly used a splatter screen to prevent a lot of splattering (hence the name splatter screen). And I sharpened the mandolin before I began the potatoes. This was probably not that good of an idea since about halfway through the second (of five) potato I also sliced through my thumb. If I were to say that it hurt like a son of a bitch it would not be adequate enough to describe my horror. You cannot just leave potatoes lying around turning black whilst you scream various profanities and then attend to wounds. 

It took me a few bloody minutes to figure out what to do. But I got out my latex gloves (a trick I used more than a few times in the restaurant) and finished the job. It was not fun.

The dish turned out fine but it was no match for the spanakopita or the traditional bunny cake my niece made but I unfortunately did not get a picture of.

Easter bean and walnut soup

I have no idea what possesses me to do stuff like this. For our family there is nothing remotely traditional about soup at Easter. Or even soup itself. Soup was a lunch item was or an afterthought. But when I saw this recipe in Saveur I decided to make it. I knew it would certainly fill some niche in the panoply of peculiar tastes and needs of my family. It is vegan. Which means everyone can eat it. (Well, it was until I put a swirl of butter in it at the end. None of the family vegans were in attendance anyway so it didn’t make any difference.)

What it was though, was seriously good. Kidney beans and walnuts. Onions, carrots, garlic. Coriander, dill, cilantro and parsley.  

My sister asked for the recipe because her grandson liked it. That’s something.

Recipe follows.

Amolesili Lobio

1 lb dried kidney beans soaked overnight

1 cup toasted walnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

4 cloves garlic

1 medium carrot

1 large yellow onion

1/2 small leek

2 tsp coriander

7 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup finely chopped dill

Salt and pepper (it will need pretty much of both.)

Process the walnuts with 1/2 of the oil, set aside

Then process the vegetables. Saute the vegetables in the rest of the olive oil until soft then add the walnuts, beans and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer until the beans are soft. Blend about 1/2 of the beans in a blender until smooth. Add the herbs and 3 TB of butter and simmer for a half hour. It is better made the day before.

Because I need to make everything more complicated, I sauteed chopped walnuts with butter and coriander for a topping. But I think sour cream would be good too.