Saffron Buns for St. Lucia’s Day

nmb

I made these saffron buns (original recipe here) for our impromptu St. Lucia’s Day celebration this year. They were fairly easy to make (setting the alarm to get out of bed and let the dough rise was the worst part), and they were very tasty. I was pleased to read that although they are traditionally served on St. Lucia’s Day (December 13), they are also served throughout the Advent season. Perhaps in years to come, we can make the celebration more authentic by having Clara serve us the buns in bed.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (or 1 package)
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (or quark if available)
  • 2 large eggs
  • raisins

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten
Directions:
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, saffron threads, and 1 teaspoon sugar until the milk begins to steam. Remove from heat and let cool until it’s still warm to the touch but no longer hot (about 3 minutes).
  2. Sprinkle the yeast over the milk in the saucepan and let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes.
  3. Whisk together 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the milk mixture, eggs, butter, and sour cream or quark. Mix until well incorporated.
  5. Knead the dough. You can do this by hand, but the dough hook of a stand mixer works well. Slowly add additional flour, a tablespoon at a time, kneading to incorporate after each addition. Do this until the dough is still a little sticky to the touch, but does not completely stick to your hands when you handle it.
  6. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. (Note: if you are going to let the dough sit in the refrigerator overnight, this is when it goes in.)
  7. (Take the dough out of the refrigerator and) Let the dough sit in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
  8. When the dough has doubled in size, gently press it down and knead it a couple of times. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide (about the size of a golf ball). Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long. Then Curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.
  9. Let the dough sit for a second rise. Place in a warm spot for 30 minutes to an hour.
  10. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the beaten egg over the tops and sides of the uncooked buns, and place the raisins in the center of the spirals.
  11. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes until the buns are golden brown.

Apple Cider Braised Chicken and Fall Veggies

dinner

I found and saved this recipe on Facebook a few weeks ago. Finding again and then cooking from a recipe on FB? I don’t even know. So I’m putting it here on NMB, and I can have it for always.

This smelled amazing and hit all the right notes. You know a recipe is a keeper when the kids ask for more vegetables and then even after two helpings go pick at the pan for their favorites (garlic! celery!).

This didn’t cook in the time the original recipe said it would (maybe I had too many vegetables?), so I’m going to post it here just like I made it. It’s a little fussy with moving from one pot to two, but not overly so, I don’t think.

Ingredients:

  • 9-10 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch squares
  • 3 medium potatoes, chopped into 1-inch squares (next time I’ll probably double the potatoes–they were a favorite)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup apple cider or spiced apple cider (I used plain apple juice because that’s what I had)
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled (I’ll use more next time, another favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Start by chopping and peeling all the veggies and setting them aside. This doesn’t actually have to be done first, but I bet you’ll be happier getting it out of the way.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Next, heat coconut oil in a large dutch oven or oven safe pot with lid. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  4. Add garlic and chicken to the oil and let chicken cook on each side for about 3 minutes at medium/high heat. Remove and add 1/4 cup cider to the pan to deglaze. Using something soft like a spatula, stir to remove any stuck bits from the pan. After a minute or so, add chicken back in, then cover with veggies and sage, a sprinkle of salt, 1 cup of cider, and cover. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
  5. Now at this point, my chicken wasn’t nearly done, so I moved the drumsticks to a 9×13 glass pan and put the chicken and the veggies (now separated) back into the oven for about 15 minutes. If your chicken is done with the initial bake, great. Proceed to step 6.
  6. Scoop out all the chicken and veggies. There should be some of the cider and fat left in the pot. If its thick, you can use is straight up as gravy. If it’s still too thin, add some of the vegetables back in to the liquid and use an immersion blender to thicken into a gravy to serve atop chicken and veggies.
  7. Plate chicken with veggies, add a drizzle of cider gravy, and enjoy.