The popular national park gives visitors a feast of the senses with a series of culinary shindigs — and we have a recipe to further tempt you.
Yosemite National Park is one of the country’s most popular national parks. Come November and into December, visitors will have the opportunity to experience the home of Half Dome not with their eyes but with their taste buds. They begin with Taste of Yosemite (November 4 – 16), a series of culinary happenings that feature celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, cocktail receptions, and multicourse wine dinners at the park’s Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Guests chefs include Kent Rathbun (Imoto), Annie Somerville (Greens Restaurant), Sue Conley and Peggy Smith (Cowgirl Creamery), and James Syhabout (Hawker Fare).
The Grand Grape Celebration puts the focus on California vintners, with tasting seminars, receptions, and multicourse wine dinners at The Majestic Hotel. Mike Sullivan (Benovia Winery), Erin Miller (Twomey Cellars), Susan Lueker (Simi Cellars), Mark Lingenfelder (Chalk Hill Winery), and Nicole Hitchcock (J Vineyards and Winery).
Capping the shindigs is The Bracebridge Dinner series, a succession of seven-course Old England Christmas feasts with a theatrical performance originally directed by Ansel Adams. The dinner setting will be one brimming with the yuletide spirit in The Majestic’s dining room with its 50-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. Dates for The Bracebridge Dinners are December 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22, 2018. Dinner-only tickets for The Bracebridge Dinner are $380/person. The Bracebridge Dinner lodging package includes dinner and overnight accommodations starting at $645/night, based on double occupancy.
To give you a tantalizing taste of the holidays at Yosemite National Park, executive chef Annie Somerville of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco shares her recipe for Italian Butter Bean Soup with Parmesan Croutons. Eat up.
Italian Butter Bean Soup With Parmesan Croutons
This simple white bean soup is deeply satisfying. We use Italian butter beans but you can use cannellini, giant lima, or another large white bean instead. The beans sweeten as they melt into the vegetable stock and give the broth just the right thickness. — Annie Somerville, Greens Restaurant, San Francisco
(Makes about 2 quarts)
Vegetable stock, about 2 quarts (recipe follows)
Parmesan croutons (recipe follows)
1½ cups Italian butter beans, about 9 ounces, sorted and soaked overnight
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh marjoram or oregano sprigs
3 fresh sage leaves
6 flat leaf parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
1 large yellow onion, chopped, about 2 cups
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium carrot, diced, about 1 cup
1 medium fennel bulb, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed, halved, cored, and diced, about 1 cup
1/3 cup white wine
10 kale leaves, ribs removed, cut in thick ribbons, about 3 cups
Before you start the soup in earnest, make the stock and the parmesan croutons. Recipes for both are below.
Drain the beans and rinse them well. Combine 6 cups of the stock, the beans, the herb sprigs and leaves, and the bay leaf in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the beans are cooked through and beginning to break apart, about 1½ hours.
While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a large sauté pan and add the onions, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook over medium heat until the onions begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in the carrots, fennel, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper and cook about 10 minutes, adding a little stock as needed to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Pour in the wine and cook until the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes.
Add the vegetables to the soup pot, along with the remaining stock, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper and cook until the flavors begin to come together, about 20 minutes. Add the kale and cook until tender, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve in warm bowls and drizzle a little olive oil and parmesan croutons over each serving.
¼ baguette, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Extra virgin olive oil
½ ounce parmesan cheese, grated, 2 – 3 tablespoons
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush the baguette slices lightly with oil and toast on a baking sheet for 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the cheese and bake until lightly browned and crisp, about 8 minutes.
This versatile stock is surprisingly rich, adding tremendous depth to soups and stews, both delicate and hearty. It’s great for thinning leftover soups, ragouts, and pasta dishes, so double the recipe and freeze half of it for later.
(Makes about 2 quarts)
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 – 3 leeks tops, chopped and washed
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 large carrots, sliced
½ pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 large potato, sliced
6 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife, skins left on
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon peppercorns
6 parsley sprigs
3 – 4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh oregano or marjoram sprigs
5 fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
10 cups cold water
Combine all the ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, stirring as needed. Pour the stock through a strainer, pressing as much liquid from the vegetables as possible, then discard them.
For more information on Taste of Yosemite, visit the national park’s website. All images courtesy Yosemite National Park.
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