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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

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Class up red cabbage with Joe Muench's savory side dish.
Class up red cabbage with Joe Muench's savory side dish. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Side-ling up to the holiday table: Muench's slow-cooked red cabbage

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Joe Muench of Maxie's Southern Comfort says he hated red cabbage as a kid, but it's now one of his favorite side dishes.

"It is something my grandmother, who lived with our family for many years, often made. I hated it as a kid. The smell, look and flavor sent chills up and down my spine. Funny thing is, as a kid, I loved and still love sauerkraut. As the years went on, I was in many situations where red cabbage was served and it wasn't my grandmother's recipe. I found myself interested in trying their versions and surprisingly started liking them.

"As I grew closer to being a chef, I began forming a large craving for red cabbage. Now, it is by far one of my favorite sides, and I could even make it the main dish of a meal – with plenty of beer and buttered bread on the side."

Slow-Cooked Red Cabbage

2 medium heads red cabbage, chopped
2 onions, sliced thinly
4 apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound bacon, chopped
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups chicken broth
2-3 cinnamon sticks
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
3-4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper, ground

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low for 6-7 hours. Stir once or twice during that time. Taste for seasoning and adjust. Serve with your favorite roasted, braised or grilled meats.

Matt Haase's spiced lentil recipe turns this versatile legume into a great vegetarian side.
Matt Haase's spiced lentil recipe turns this versatile legume into a great vegetarian side. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Side-ling up to the holiday table: Matt Haase's spiced lentils

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Matt Haase of Rocket Baby Bakery says lentils are a holiday tradition at his house.

"My wife's family is Slovak in their heritage," he says. "On Christmas it is traditional to make lentil and sauerkraut soup. Usually I put chicken stock and bacon or smoked pork hock in. This year my wife requested that I cook more vegetarian-based things.

"The smoked paprika gives body and helps the fennel and coriander emulate an Italian sausage flavor. I've just reduced the amount of liquid so you can serve it as a side."

Spiced Lentils

2 cups lentils
1/2 onion, diced
1 diced fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon toasted fennel seed, ground
1 teaspoon toasted coriander seed, ground
1 bay leaf

Soak the lentils in water for 10 minutes. Rinse and pick through for stones. Coat the bottom of a pot with a generous layer of extra virgin olive oil. Sweat the onion and fennel until tender. Season with salt. Add garlic and spices and continue to cook for one minute. Add lentils and water to cover. Simmer until lentils are tender. If needed, more water can be added. Re-season.

Turn Brussels sprouts into a quick and easy side with Chef Thi Cao's recipe.
Turn Brussels sprouts into a quick and easy side with Chef Thi Cao's recipe. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Side-ling up to the holiday table: Thi Cao's caramelized Brussels sprouts

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Thi Cao of Buckley's Kikseam Inn says he created this side dish for a dinner date a few months ago. He liked it so much, he put it on the menu at Buckley's.

"The texture, flavor and aroma that come with this mildly spicy dish is amazing. More importantly, my dinner date was very impressed! It has become my "go to" dish when someone asks, 'What is your cooking style?' It's interesting, it has flavor, it has depth, there is history behind the dish, and it is easy to do."

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Kimchi

–1 pound Brussels sprouts (cleaned and halved)
–1/2 cup kimchi (mild or spicy)
–2 teaspoons Maggi seasoning, or soy sauce or fish sauce (whatever suits your taste)*
–2 tablespoons corn oil to cook (I prefer using duck fat!)

Place corn oil (or another preferred cooking fat) in a 12-inch saute pan over medium to moderate heat. While the pan is still fairly cold, place your halved brussels sprouts (cut side facing down) in the pan. Allow the Brussels to slowly sizzle in the pan – if you caramelize too quickly, the inside will be raw and the outside would be burnt.

Within six to seven minutes, the Brussels sprouts should be a rich/dark golden brown (not black). At this point, add in your kimchi and give the pan a quick toss, ensuring everything is properly mixed. I like adding a tablespoon of the kimchi marinade as well. Just before you take the pan off the heat, add the seasoning sauce (Maggi, soy or fish sauce) into the pan and give it another quick toss.

Immediately serve and enjoy.

* can be found at your favorite Asian market

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Shake up the usual Brussels sprouts/bacon combo with Chef Thomas Hauck's recipe.
Shake up the usual Brussels sprouts/bacon combo with Chef Thomas Hauck's recipe. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Side-ling up to the holiday table: Thomas Hauck's pan-fried Brussels sprouts

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Thomas Hauck of Circa 1880 says his in-laws do most of the cooking around the holidays, but he always tries to help out with a side or two.

"My sister and brother-in-law are quite the cooking couple, and for the holidays they really go to town. So, I tend to just lend a helping hand and do a little side work, my favorite being pan-fried Brussels sprouts topped with bacon and blue cheese."

Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts

–Brussels sprouts
–bacon
–blue cheese

Slice the sprouts as thinly as you can with a very sharp knife. Cut the bacon into larger-sized batons, this way they will not over-cook and become too hard later. Cook the bacon until it starts to become crisp, then add the shredded sprouts and cook until they are evenly browned and crisp throughout. Place into your favorite bowl and generously top with your favorite blue cheese, then place briefly under your broiler to melt the cheese and enjoy.