November Herb of the Month
By Barbara Porsch – Herb Enthusiast
Guess why I chose Sage. Of course, it is because this is the month for Thanksgiving and no other herb is associated with that holiday more than Sage in the dressing for the Thanksgiving turkey. The name of sage, Salvia, comes from the Latin salveo, “I am well”. Many moons ago, during the days of the great herbalists, Sage was used to treat all ailments and thought to prolong life itself. Sage was known and valued by both the Greeks and the Romans. Before the introduction of tea from China, the English drank sage tea entirely, and the Chinese came to like it so well they would trade two pounds of China tea for one pound of sage. Most varieties of sage are hardy perennials which can reach 2 to 3 feet. There are more than 500 species but S. officinalis is the “eating kind”. The most common are grey, gold and tri colored variegated. The leaves are two inch elongated ovals which are unusually pebbled. This caused its Arabic nickname “camel’s tongue”. When working with youth, we always describe it as similar to a cat’s tongue. Kids identified with that. Here they can make it through winters without protection, unless the winter is extremely cold and icy. A native of the Mediterranean area, it is drought tolerant and very sensitive to wet feet. It can be grown in pots or give it a sunny spot in well drained soil. I have already mentioned its association with Thanksgiving dressing or stuffing (what ever you call it at your table). It can be used with other fowl like chicken, goose or duck. It is good with pork roast. It is especially good in good old Texas grown butter beans with a little ham thrown in, as well as green beans, stewed tomatoes and eggplant. But be careful with sage. It can be bitter if overused. As with all herbs 1 teaspoon dried is equivalent to 1 Tablespoon fresh. A little chopped fresh parsley mixed with chopped fresh sage leaves will help to tone it down some. Add it to cottage cheese, cream cheese or cheese omelets. Add it to sharp Here is a recipe I found recently and enjoyed. Maybe you will also.
HERB AND CHEESE CHICKEN THIGHS
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko finely grated rind of 1 lemon 3 eggs, slightly beaten ½ lb provolone, diced ½ cup chopped fresh sage (or 1Tbl dry) 2 Tbl honey ¼ cup olive oil Preheat oven to 450. Salt and pepper chicken. Combine cheese, sage, crumbs and lemon rind. Add eggs and stir well. Place a small mound (2 to 3 Tblsp) mixture on each thigh. Roll up tightly to cover filling. Place in baking dish, seam side down. Roast 30 minutes. Combine oil and honey; mix well. Brush over thighs and roast another 5 minutes or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. If you don’t have fresh sage, only use 1T dry. I also sort of flattened out the thighs with a mallet to make a bigger surface to fill.
SAGE AND ONION STUFFING
4 medium onions 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs 3 Tbls melted butter 12 fresh sage leaves chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed leaves) 1 teaspoon salt Freshly ground black pepper (I like lots) Chop the onions and cook in small amount of boiling salted water until just barely tender. Drain, saving the liquid. Toss with the remaining ingredients. If the mixture is too dry, add a little of the water used to cook the onions This recipe was suggested to stuff a 5 pound chicken. But I prefer not to “stuff” but to bake it as a side “dressing” in a casserole.
BRIE, BLACKBERRY JAM AND SAGE PINWHEELS
1 small wheel brie Fresh sage leaves Package crescent dough Blackberry jam Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with nonstick foil Place crescent dough on top of foil and smooth with your hands. Spread the dough with a thin layer of jam, leaving a border on all sides. Cut brie into ¼ inch slices and place in rows on top of jam. (You won’t use the whole wheel.) Sprinkle fresh sage leaves over brie. Starting with the long side, carefully roll up the crescent dough. Place the cookie sheet with rolled up dough into the freezer for about 10 or so minutes to allow it to harden. This will make slicing easier. Using a very sharp thin knife, slice the roll into ½ inch slices. Place on cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion. Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes or until the dough is cooked and just starting to turn golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing to a separate platter.