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Fr. Paul's Kassler Ribehen

Fr. Paul's Kassler Ribehen (Smoked Whole Pork Loin)

"I first had this dish while an associate at St. Amelia Parish in Tonawanda. Our cook, Olga, used to get the smoked loin at Pine Hill Meats from a German Butcher. That meat market is closed so I go to Spar Meats on Amherst St. near Assumption Church. Call a couple of days in advance," Fr. Paul Seil.

1 Whole smoked pork loin, bone cracked
1 can ginger ale
A little more than a half cup of pitted prunes cut in small pieces
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Port wine
About 6 tbsp. of plum jelly or jam
Sweet and sour cabbage to garnish

Preheat oven to 350*
Put smoked pork loin in a roasting pan. Pour over the ginger ale and put the loin, uncovered, in the oven. Roast for 1/2 hour, then cover with aluminum foil and roast for an additional hour.

15 minutes before the meat is done, remove the juices from the roasting pan. Put 1 cup or less of the juice in a saucepan, and return loin to oven for completion.

Reduce the juices by boiling over a high heat. After a few minutes add red win and port wine. Reduce by one third and whisk in the jam. Add the prunes and simmer until sauce thickens.

Remove pork from oven while sauce thickens. Let rest for 10 minutes or so. Carve "chops" and arrange on a platter. Garnish with heated red cabbage and spoon a small amount of the sauce over the meat. (If sauce is too thick add more juice or water.)

Serve immediately.

Easter Rack of Lamb

2 Racks of Lamb -- "frenched by the butcher"
Dijon Mustard
Garlic Powder
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Kosher salt - or sea salt
Provençal herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Fresh Tarragon)
Raspberry jam
Caper berries (as a garnish)

"Lamb is a traditional spring dish. We have all heard of 'Spring Lamb.' In the last few decades, through production methods, lamb has taken on a much milder flavor. Some prefer this, some do not. I find that New Zealand lamb tends to have more 'lamb' flavor while domestic lamb does not. While I have used rack of lamb in this recipe, it is a pricey cut of meat. The same seasonings and sauce may be used with a different cut of lamb, for example a leg of lamb. Make sure that you get 'FRENCHED' rack of lamb. Once I didn't and I needed a cleaver and a hammer to break through the bone," Fr. Paul Seil.

Back to the recipe

Gently rub several tsp. of Dijon mustard into the racks of lamb
Lightly sprinkle with garlic powder
Add the dried or fresh herbs to the meat
Sprinkle with salt flakes

Ever so gently sprinkle a little balsamic vinegar on the lamb. Do not "rinse" off the seasonings. Once this is done, set the lamb aside in a dish in the fridge for least a half-hour or cover and leave in fridge overnight.

In a heavy high sided pan, (like a Dutch oven) heat a few tbsp. of olive oil. When it gets good and hot, carefully place the lamb racks in the pan, being careful of splattering oil. Let them brown (about 5 minutes or less) and turn them over to brown on the other side. With tongs, take the lamb out of the pan, put the lamb in a baking dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 400*

In the pan put the following:
Red wine
Raspberry jam
1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard

Reduce heat to medium and whisk together. While doing this, the lamb could be put in the oven. It will take 10 -15 minutes to finish. Do not overcook! It should be pink at the center. Leave uncovered in the oven.

Continue to stir the sauce and reduce until it becomes light syrup. If it needs to be thinned, add some water or wine to the pan. Finally, add the capers. Remove cooked racks from oven and allow the meat to rest for 5 - 10 minutes. Slice into two chops per piece and arrange on a platter interlocking the bones in a criss-cross fashion. Put the large caper berries on top of the criss-crossed bones as a garnish. Finally, spoon raspberry/wine syrup lightly over lamb. Garnish, additionally, with fresh rosemary sprigs and serve. Rice or risotto makes a great side dish. Count on one half rack for each person.

Helping Sr. Barbara discover Polish Easter customs is friend, researcher and former co-host of Our Daily Bread, Sr. Bernadette OKulicz, FSSJ.

Easter Soup

Polish sausage (Fresh or Smoked) and water to cover sausage
Bay leaf
1 cup of sour cream or more (determined by amount of sausage water)
4 tbsp. of flour or more (determined by amount of sour cream)
4 - 5 potatoes, peeled and diced
Water from the potatoes
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 tbsp. of vinegar or to taste
Cooked polish sausage, diced
Hard boiled eggs, sliced

Cook Polish sausage well depending on the type of sausage selected. Cover sausage with water. Add bay leaf. Simmer slowly with a covered pot so the sausage won't split. Remove sausage and save the water. Discard bay leaf. Cool the water. Refrigerate so the fat will settle on the top. Remove fat from the top of the water.

Cook potatoes and save the water. Add potato water to fat skimmed sausage water. Begin heating slowly.

Combine flour with sour cream in a bowl. Mix well. Slowly add small amounts of warm sausage water until mixture has a watery consistency. Slowly add to remaining sausage water. Mix well. Heat slowly until it just starts to boil. Immediately remove from heat. Add diced Polish sausage, egg slices and potatoes.

Wait a short time for flavors to blend. Add 2 tbsp. of vinegar or more to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cool slightly before refrigerating.

TO SERVE: Heat slowly. DO NOT BOIL. Horseradish and diced cooked ham may be added.

Fr. Secondo Cassorotto, CS, Pastor of St. Anthony parish in Buffalo, shows Sr. Barbara how to cook one of his favorite Italian Easter dishes.

Risotto agli Asparagi

2 cups Italian Rice (Arborio)
2 cups Fresh, diced asparagus
1/2 stick butter (or margarine)
4 cups Chicken stock
1/2 cup Dry white wine
4 tbsp. Grated Parmesan and/or Roman cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut off woody part of asparagus. Dice asparagus julienne (1/2' length)
Sauté them in butter in medium size skillet at medium heat for 12-15 minutes. Add wine and then rice. Stir and let set for 1 minute.

Add pepper (and salt, if needed.) Add 2 cups of stock (enough to keep rice well moist) and simmer slowly. Stir frequently while adding stock a little at a time until rice is cooked hard to the tooth ("al dente," about 20 minutes.) DO NOT OVERCOOK RICE!

Add 1 tbsp. of cheese, stir and let set 1 minute.
Dish out, shower with cheese and serve hot right away. (May be eaten with a fork or a spoon.)

Whatever your ethnic custom, we wish you a Blessed and Happy Easter!