Shrub: a fruit, herb and/or spice-infused syrup preserved with vinegar, sometimes referred to as a “drinking vinegar.” Commonly used in drinks, salad dressings or other additions.
I was craving a fresh shrub soda the other day, and oh my goodness I love an icy shrub on a hot summer day! Mixed with club soda and infused with fresh herbs, I am instantly refreshed and ready to tackle (most) anything the day holds.
Interestingly, drinking vinegars date back to ancient times, and Colonial sailors employed its concentrated dose of Vitamin C and antibacterial properties to prevent sickness while onboard. Derived from the Arabic word sharab, shrub concoctions have stood the test of time–and with good reason!
Surprisingly versatile, most anything can be made into a shrub: cranberries, apples, basil,
turmeric, grapefruit, rhubarb–the possibilities are truly endless. Use shrubs in cold drinks, salad dressings or glazes this summer, and you might just find yourself creating new combinations of flavors with tasty health benefits on the side. Below are 3 shrub recipes to get you started…
Prep ingredients: chop fruit, slice roots, roughly chop or muddle herbs
Combine shrub ingredients in a non-reactive bowl such as glass or stainless steel.
Add sugar and stir to thoroughly combine. Cover and chill 2 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and leave at room temperature, stirring occasionally 2-7
days. The longer the ingredients are combined, the more concentrated the flavor will be.
Strain remaining solids and add vinegar. Stir to combine.
To serve: Pour 2 ounces of shrub into the bottom of a glass. Layer with ice and 6
ounces of club soda or unflavored seltzer water. Add fresh mint, basil or herb of your
choice. Stir to combine and enjoy!
The idea of a one-pot meal has always appealed to me. The fact that a whole meal can be prepared and everything you need for sustenance is in one pot? Magical. The absence of extra dishes piling up on the counters during meal prep also doesn’t hurt, either.
During a quarantine-inspired cleaning frenzy, I came across a cookbook that was given to us as a gift, “Cook It In Your Dutch Oven.” This tried-and-true kitchen essential from the clever folks at America’s Test Kitchen is an absolute treasure. This dish-defying cookbook was a welcome find, with recipes for one-pot meals, bread (bread!) and other side accompaniments. This week’s blog is adapted from the recipe for Classic Chicken Curry. I hope you give it a try!
Don’t have a Dutch oven? No problem! Swap it out for a soup or stock pot, slow-cooker crock pot or any heavy deep pot you have in the kitchen. For this recipe, I used a cast iron pot.
Rate this recipe!
One-pot Chicken Curry
Adapted from Cook It In Your Dutch Oven, an America’s Test Kitchen publication
Melt butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven or pot of choice on medium heat. Add curry powder, optional spices (if desired), salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant.
Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add chicken and water to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and reduce heat to low until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees, about 22 minutes. Turn the chicken halfway through cooking. When done, remove from pot and let cool.
Add potatoes to pot with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook until just fork tender. Add cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally until potatoes are fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
While potatoes are cooking, shred chicken into roughly 2 inch pieces with a fork and set aside.
Once potatoes are cooked, stir in chicken and peas until just warmed through. Turn off the heat and add yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
*As curry is a blend of spices, I like to add an extra pinch of my favorites: turmeric and cumin. These can be found in traditional curry blends and I like to play these up a little more. Feel free to omit, or try your own variation based on your tastes.
The change of season is such a lovely time. The air is crisp, the trees are turning brilliant shades of reds and orange, leaves are piling on the ground, and pumpkins greet us on every doorstep. Walking through our community, and seeing these sights, I am inspired to pull these all into one big pot of wonderfulness. The magic that greets you when a delicious bowl of steaming soup appears in front of you is one of community and love.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Oil baking sheet. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, remove peel from squash; discard peel.
While the squash is cooking, heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Mix in onion, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and cinnamon stick. Cover pot and cook until onion is tender, about 15 minutes, stir occasionally so that your onion does not burn but is slightly golden and caramelized.
Add the cooked squash and 4 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Take out the cinnamon stick but reserve.
Working in batches, purée soup in blender (or use an immersion blender.) Return soup to pot with the cinnamon stick. If desired, add heavy cream and/or half and half to thin it out to your desired consistency or add more chicken broth. Add the maple syrup to taste. If desired, include a bit of ground cinnamon to taste.
Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer and ladle into bowls and serve.
(Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate.)
In the coming months, you will from time to time be treated to new recipes from “guest bloggers”. These are old and new friends — dedicated chefs and passionate voices who share our love of cooking. After all, we are Recipes from a Monastery Kitchen, and these kitchens extend far and wide, all over the world. Tables that welcome the “Stranger as Christ”, kitchens that “practice the presence of God” as Brother Lawrence taught, and communities that are built by hospitality, love and prayer. Our lives are enlarged as we welcome them and listen to their unique voices, share in their story and try our hand at their creativity.
Mepkin Abbey is a monastery of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly known as Trappists. We follow the Rule of St. Benedict and were founded in 1098 in Citeaux, France, from which we get our name “Cistercian.” As Trappists we are a cloistered contemplative community, worshipping God by chanting the psalms daily and seeking God in silence and solitude. Mepkin Abbey was founded in 1949 from Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, the first Trappist abbey in America founded in 1848 from France.
We have the tradition of eating simple meatless meals. The recipes in “Food for Thought” are chosen with the eye to healthy, easy to prepare meals that met the needs of our tradition and satisfy hard working monks. Good healthy food contributes to the mindfulness of God that we seek as we give thanks for all God has provided us.
Lent is a special time, on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday our main meal consists of bread and water. And in the evenings the brothers share a time of sacred reading of the Lenten book they chose, which was given in ceremony to each one by Father Abbot.