The Root's butternut squash, fennel & marcona almond relish - New York News

The Root's butternut squash, fennel & marcona almond relish

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(MyFox Detroit) -

Get this recipe courtesy of Chef James Rigato, executive chef at The Root Restaurant and Bar in White Lake.

1 medium sized Butternut Squash
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 small fennel bulb
½ cup marcona almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
¼ cup olive oil

Clean the butternut squash of all its skin. Cut half-length wise. Scoop out the seeds. Dice the squash the size of peas as consistent as possible. Toss in olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh chopped thyme.

Roast on a tray at 375 for about 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the squash. Check at about 15 minutes. Squash should be tender.

When cooked, transfer to a mixing bowl. Set aside. Cut the fennel bulb down the middle and cut out the core. Dice as small as possible, discarding any fibrous pieces or greenery. Add to mixing bowl. Chop marcona almonds. Add to mixing bowl. Chop fresh parsley. Add to mixing bowl. Season with a little salt and pepper and more olive oil, if necessary. Don't be afraid to add a dash of maple syrup or Michigan honey if you like sweetness.

Mix well. Season accordingly.

Dragon's Milk Brine

4 cups New Holland Dragon's Milk beer
¼ kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 sprigs of thyme
Pinch of cracked black pepper

Heat Dragon's Milk with salt and sugar until just boiling. Turn off heat. Add thyme. Cool. It helps to have a metal bowl or pan in the freezer to transfer the Dragon's Milk Brine to after it comes off the stove. Feel free to make this brine days in advance.

When cooled, add whole pork tenderloin or thin cut pork chops to the brine and let marinate for 1 – 4 hours, depending on the thickness of the pork. One hour should suffice for thin pork chops. A tenderloin can go as long as 4 hours. If feeding a large number of people, increase the recipe. Throw away brine after it has been used. Feel free to rub the pork tenderloin or pork chops down with some mustard before grilling or roasting. The flavor of mustard lends itself well to this dish.

The Root is launching its own Michigan Honey & Ancho Mustard this fall. Look for it in a grocery store near you. It would be a great addition to this dish.  

Celery Root Mousse

2 softball sized celery root bulbs – peeled, rinsed and diced medium/large
2 whole heads of garlic, roasted
2 quarts chicken stock
1 lemon
¼ cup of olive oil (as nice as you can afford)

Take the whole garlic heads and cut the sprouting end off enough to expose every clove in the head. Drizzle with a touch of olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil. Roast in 350 degree oven for about an hour. Check for doneness. Garlic should be soft and cloves should pop out when gently squeezed. Rewrap and continue cooking if cloves are not soft yet. Squeeze out all garlic cloves removing any papery skin that is attached. Set aside.

Trim off the entire outer skin of the celery root. Rinse well, removing any dirt particles. Dice into medium/large consistent pieces. Place in a sauce pan and cover with the chicken stock. It should take about 2 quarts, but may require a cup or more. Turn on medium high heat. After 10 minutes cover with a lid. Lower heat to medium. Let simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes. When celery root is very soft, turn off heat and add all garlic cloves to the pot. Ladle the mixture into a blender. A food processor will work, but I prefer a blender to really liquefy the mixture. You may need to do this in batches. Pour the pureed mixture into a large mixing bowl until all is pureed. Feel free to not use all of the chicken stock if your mixture looks loose. Or feel free to add more if it is too thick.

When all the mixture is in the mixing bowl, add the juice of 1 lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste. Feel free to add Tabasco if you need a little heat. Set aside in a warm place.

Composing The Dish

Spread the warm Celery Root Mousse out on the bottom of a large platter. Shingle the mustard rubbed, grilled, Dragon's Milk Brined Pork Chops out over the platter on top of the mousse. Spoon the Butternut Squash Relish over the top of the pork chops. Drizzle with a nice olive oil. Serve with some snifter's of Dragon's Milk. Cheers!

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