Edible Berkshires

Christmas Eve Seafood Dinner


By Michael Ballon, owner and chef,
Great Barrington

There is an old tradition among many Europeans, particularly in the Mediterranean, which calls for a meatless Christmas Eve dinner. While a large roast may often be eaten on Christmas Day itself, on the night before only seafood may be eaten.

Since this meal is frequently eaten very late at night, after midnight services, it must at the same time be light and simple. A seafood soup made from fish and shellfish simmered in a tomato broth fits the bill nicely. This is a sort of a quick bouillabaisse, but is delicious nonetheless. Happy holidays.

Serves 8

1 Spanish onion, peeled and sliced
¼ head celery, chopped
Olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon diced fresh thyme
2 quarts peeled, diced tomatoes
2 cups white wine
1 splash Pernod or sherry
1½ pounds lobster, steamed and cut … Read the rest

Einkorn “Risotto” with Caramelized Garlic & Oven-Roasted Tomatoes Topped with Pan-Seared Scallops and Pesto


Serves 6–8 as a main course

1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1½ cups einkorn grain, soaked overnight and well drained (available at GrowSeed.org)
2 bay leaves
½ cup white wine
Approximately 1½ quarts vegetable stock (or water, or chicken stock)
1½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Sauté the onion in the olive oil until translucent, then toss the einkorn in and sauté 1 more minute. Add the bay leaves and the white wine to deglaze, then pour in enough stock to cover the grain completely, bring to boil and then reduce to slow simmer.

Cook slowly approximately 45 minutes, until the grain is tender and has absorbed all of the liquid. Add more stock if necessary, and season with 1½ teaspoons salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.

When fully cooked, finish the risotto with the following:

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional, if you … Read the rest

Butternut Squash Empanada with Baby Greens Vinaigrette


By Executive Chef James Massey

Chef Massey, executive chef of Canyon Ranch in Lenox, a transplant from the West Coast by way of Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona, brought Southwest influences with him to Lenox. Served at the ranch, this empanada is baked, not fried; 1 empanada with a cup of dressed greens weighs in at 147 calories.


¼ cup cider vinegar
2 cups apple cider (Chef uses Hilltop Orchards cider.)
¼ cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate overnight. Remove cinnamon sticks in the morning.

Makes 2½ cups or 20 (2-tablespoon) servings.


2 pounds roasted butternut squash (1 medium-size squash)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ounce unsalted butter
1 ounce maple syrup (Chef uses Fitting Creek Farm in Ghent, New York.)
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper… Read the rest

Wild Mushroom Strudel with Field Greens


By Gert Alper, owner and chef, Swiss Hutte, Hillsdale

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
16 ounces sliced mushrooms (either 8 ounces button mushrooms plus 8 ounces shiitakes or
16 ounces assorted exotic and farmed mushrooms of your choice)
½ cup white wine (a dry Chardonnay works well.)
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 sliced scallions
Salt and pepper to taste
10 sheets phyllo dough
4 tablespoons melted butter
6 tablespoons your favorite goat cheese (Chef uses Monterey Chevre or Coach Farm.)
1 egg mixed for wash
Field greens from Markristo Farm, Equinox Farm or another (preferably local) source

Sauté shallots and garlic briefly with butter and olive oil.

Add mushrooms, sauté on medium heat till all moisture is evaporated.

Add white wine and sauté till almost dry.

Add parsley and scallions, mix well and cook for 1 minute more.

Season with … Read the rest

Pork à la Berkshire


By Chef Benjamin Daire

Chef Benjamin Daire of Alta Restaurant in Lenox adapts a French classic for the Berkshires, using local pork from Leahey Farm in Lee and winter ale from Berkshire Brewing Co. to highlight this hearty winter stew.
Bon appétit.

6 cloves (the spice)
1 orange
2 pounds pork shoulder (aka Boston butt) cut in 1½-inch pieces
1 small onion, sliced
2 cups apple cider
1½ cups water (room temperature)
¼ cup kosher salt
2 bays leaves
1 cinnamon stick

Press cloves into the skin of the orange.

Place orange in a bowl or container large enough to hold all of the above ingredients.

Refrigerate for 12 hours, allowing pork to brine.

4 tablespoons olive oil

Drain the pork from the brine.

In a 6-quart stew pot or a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil to medium-high and caramelize the pork, browning … Read the rest

Mazzeo’s Sausage-Stuffed Chicken Breasts


1 small onion
3 stalks celery
2 pounds sweet sausage (out of casing)
1 quart chicken stock
½ bunch fresh thyme
2 sprigs tarragon
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 sprigs rosemary
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 quart croutons
2 whole boneless breasts, attached, with skin on (available at Mazzeo’s)
Olive oil

Chop and sweat onions and celery. Add sausage and cook through. Add stock, tarragon, thyme and all seasoning (leaves off stems). Bring to boil. Simmer 10 minutes.

Pour over croutons and cheese and mix well. (Pour and mix gradually, so the liquid is soaked up by the croutons. If the bread is nicely saturated by the liquid and you can shape the stuffing into a ball, then you’ve added enough stock. If the croutons become too wet to shape into a ball, then add more croutons.)

Shape stuffing mixture into a ball and stuff into chicken breast cavity (leftover … Read the rest

Berkshire Apple Pancake

Good Morning Santa 


from The Red Lion Inn Cookbook Courtesy of Executive Chef Brian Alberg The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge RedLionInn.com

3 apples, peeled and cored (Chef uses Hilltop Orchard Macintosh.)
¼ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups flour
1½ tablespoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk (Chef uses Highlawn Farm.)
¾ teaspoon vanilla
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons butter (Chef uses Ronnybrook Dairy.)
Butter and warm maple syrup for serving (Chef uses Ioka Valley Farm.)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coarsely chop apples and mix with brown sugar; set aside.

Mix the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon; beat lightly only until incorporated, small amount of lumps are OK.

Melt butter in an 8-inch ovenproof nonstick fry pan or cast-iron skillet; add apple mixture and sauté for 2–3 minutes over medium heat.

Spread apples evenly … Read the rest