RECIPES: Chef Lydia Shire's Favorites

Photo: Nightline Platelist: Chef Lydia Shire of Bostons Scampo RestaurantThomas Krakowiak
Locke Ober's Warm Indian Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Read the "Nightline" profile of Lydia Shire HERE.

Locke Ober's Warm Indian Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

A true Thanksgiving dessert for a crowd

Serves 16


5 1/2 cups light cream

2 1/2 cups whole milk

3 ounces unsalted butter

4 ounce cornmeal

1 1/4 cups of Molasses

1 1/4 cups of real Maple Syrup

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

5 large eggs separated carefully (whites to be whipped at the end )


In a soup pot, bring the light cream and the milk to a simmer over medium heat. Add the 4 oz. of cornmeal. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes, whisking every so often.

Whisk in the room-temperature butter, the molasses, the maple syrup, the egg yolks and the vanilla. Strain the whole mixture through a sieve to catch any lumps of cornmeal. Beat the egg whites until foamy and gently fold into the custard mixture. Fill 16 ( or so ) 8 ounce bowls, making sure each bowl has some of the foam on top.

Place the filled bowls in a large roasting pan and fill halfway with hot water. Place one sheet of aluminum foil on top of the bowls, lightly resting on the bowls and punch a few holes into the foil.

Put into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for approx. 40 minutes , remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, until a knife plunged into center comes out clean. The custard is done. Cool and refrigerate overnight if you are planning to get a head start on your cooking , but if that is the case, always put them back into a 350 oven in a "water bath" to gently warm before serving.

Place on a dessert dish and scoop one small scoop of the best quality vanilla bean ice cream on top. It should start to melt almost immediately. Enjoy !!!

Berkshire Pork Rack with its own Crackling

My husband's UN-turkey

Feeds 20

This is a very special recipe. It has all that I love in food! Moist, juicy, crisp skinned pork with such a simple aromatic marinade for roasting. My husband is from Colombia and, to be honest, detests turkey. I always have this for him on Thanksgiving -- and you will watch it disappear if you try this recipe! This is a very easy three-day process .

1 20 lb. Berkshire Pork Rack, skin on, chin bone removed (can be ordered from Heritage Foods USA, ask for Sarah or Patrick).

For the wash:

1 Tbl. baking soda mixed with 2 Tbl. sea salt

1/4 cup of white vinegar

For the marinade:

2 cups of salad oil

5 shallots chopped

7 cloves of freshly peeled garlic chopped

1 stick of lemongrass with the bottom of the thickest part of the stalk minced finely

2 teaspoons of finely minced peeled fresh ginger

5 ounces of the brown block sugar found in Chinatown ( or you can use typical light brown sugar )

1/2 cup water

1/2 teaspoon each of: madras curry powder , ground coriander , cardamom seed taken from the pods

a pinch of saffron threads.

The juice of 2 limes

1 bunch of scallions washed and thinly sliced

1/2 bunch of washed cilantro.

2 lbs. of lard preferably, (or salad oil could work in a pinch )


Day One:

Place the pork rack on your cutting board, wipe off any wetness and with a very sharp long slicing knife. Slice down through the skin, into the fat almost to the meat. Keep slicing as thin as you can across the entire surface of the skin right down to almost the meat. The skin will now almost resemble an accordion. Mix the three ingredients together for the "wash" and slather all over the sliced pork skin. Let sit in your refrigerator, uncovered, overnight.

Day Two:

The next day wipe off all the dried salt. Now you are ready to render the fat from under the skin. Place 2 lbs. of lard in a large roasting pan, melt slowly over low heat , you may have to augment with some additional salad oil if the lard does not come 1/3 inch up the side of the pan you are using . You can also cut the roast in half and do this in a smaller pan .. simply two times ... that's fine . Place the meat .. SKIN SIDE DOWN into the melted lard , turn up the heat to a true medium and cook slowly .. until the pork fat is melting away .. leaving this ROW of golden crispy skin strips . What you are doing now is ONLY cooking the fat and skin above the meat , you don't want the actual loin meat coming in contact with the hot lard. You may even have to pour off some of the rendered fat if it reaches up too high .

Once the shin is crispy , let rest 30 minutes , and then slather the meat of the pork and the underside where you will see the bones with the marinade . Place the marinating roast in a pan and refrigerate overnight until Thanksgiving morning .

Marinade Preparation:

Make two or three days before Thanksgiving. Place two cups of oil in a small saucepan, over medium heat add the chopped shallot and garlic and the lemongrass. " Sweat " until sweet but not colored . Add all the spices: curry , ginger , cardamom , saffron and coriander ... cook 5 more minutes , remove form heat . Meanwhile , melt the block of sugar in 1/2 cup of water .. when the sugar is melted add to your spiced oil ... when all has returned to room temperature , add the juice of 2 limes and the sliced scallions and the roughly chopped cilantro . Do not put this marinade on the crisp skin ... only on the meat and underside .

Day Three -- Thanksgiving Day:

Place the pork rack (or racks) in a roasting pan and put into a 325 degree oven ( I always scatter the bottom of the pan with sliced onions as they make your home smell so wonderful ) . Roast until a meat thermometer reaches 155 degrees , when plunged into the center of the meat without touching the bones . Remove from oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes . The dripping in the roasting pan will make the best sauce because of the sugarcane marinade . Make the same as you would any turkey gravy . Pork makes the best sauce !! Slice into 1/2 inch slices right through the skin all the way down to the bones and serve to your hungry guests. You will know why this breed of pig is so spectacular !! Enjoy !!! This year , I will be serving this pork with some large chanterelle mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and butter with garlic and parsley and deglazed with Amontillado Sherry ... and I will scatter the pork with a dice of Quince paste. YUM !!!

Gratin of New England's Hubbard Squash Gnocchi with Pear Mostarda*

*and a few shavings of white truffle, if you're feeling flush.

Serves 4 (double or triple for Thanksgiving)

I believe that one of the reasons that most people find it hard to comprehend making gnocchi is because it is always vague about adding the flour. But if you read this recipe and I explain, hopefully, clearly, you will be able to master them .


2 "40 count" very large Idaho baking potatoes (or 4 regular sized Idahos )

1 cup of Butternut squash

1 cup Hubbard squash

1/4 cup of freshly grated best parmesan cheese

1 Tbl. sea salt

1 yolk

1 1/2 cup to 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour


Please put in your mind that the worst ingredient for making gnocchi is MOISTURE ... because if your potatoes and squash are not "busted" open in a timely fashion after being baked until tender , they will retain moisture, thus will actually absorb more flour and you will end up with leaden gnocchi. So , bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven until tender ( able to be pierced easily ), do the same for a small whole, skin on ... butternut squash that you have cut through lengthwize and layed down on a half sheet pan .. skin side up with all the seeds still inside and a good sized chunk of Hubbard squash , cut in the same fashion .. though Hubbard is so large that you may have to make a soup with the rest !! I like both because the butternut is a bit sweeter than the hubbard.

As soon as they are tender, immediately split open to let all the moisture out ! Once the potatoes have cooled a bit , then scoop out the flesh of the potato and " rice " it onto a large cutting board or directly onto your countertop with a ricer or a moulis, again letting it " air out." With squash , I scoop out the flesh and mash it with a fork .. if the squash seems very wet , then .. mash with a fork and return the squash to a 400 degree oven until it dries up some more .

Gently toss the squash and potato lightly together with a fork .. make a well in the center and add the parmesan cheese , the yolk, the salt .. and lastly the flour , starting out with 1 1/2 cups of flour . Knead with your hands until you have a mass that is adhering to it's self . Have a small pot of seasoned water boiling so that you can test out your gnocchi . Make a sample size and poach in the water .. remove when they rise to the surface and have cooked about five minutes . At this point you will clearly be able to see if there is enough flour ( it would disintegrate into the water if there is not enough flour) and this is your moment that you add only JUST ENOUGH to barely hold them together. TASTE for seasoning , adding more salt if need be. BE BOLD !!

Ideally these should NOT be frozen , though at times we have frozen gnocchi .. but in doing them the day before Thanksgiving and poaching them immediately .. then dropping into chilled water after cooking to STOP the cooking process , I think they will be fine spending the night on a tea towel , loosely covered , in the fridge awaiting the big day !

Quick cream " bechamel " sauce : 3 cups of heavy cream , rind of good quality parmesan cheese , 1 bay leaf , a bit of grated nutmeg , a few celery leaves , carrot peelings and a slice of onion or two . Bring all to a simmer , season with sea salt , freshly ground black pepper and a few hot red pepper flakes . Simmer 15 minutes and strain .

This should taste like a very light , flavorable , delicate cream sauce . Adjust seasoning !

Butter a large Lodge black cast iron frying pan .. they have a gorgeous 15 inch one . Place the chilled gnocchi all around .. pour the strained sauce all around .. sprinkle a bit more parmesan cheese on top .. place in a hot oven 400 or 450 until slightly golden and bubbly .

To Serve:

Sprinkle with 4 Tbl. Italian Pear Mostarda ( pears that have been preserved in sugar and STRONG mustard ) minced finely , and if at all possible ... shave the most white truffles you can afford all over the dish . Sprinkle with a handful of deepfried parsley for color .

Deep-Fried Parsley Garnish:

Pick off the tops of curly or flat leaf parsley that has been washed .. pat dry , fry in oil heated to 325 degrees for just a minute to get crisp . Remove + drain on a paper towel ... sprinkle with sea salt and keep warm until serving time . Enjoy!

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