Seth Witherspoon’s winter dinners feature fresh, flavorful ingredients. (photo by Haley Gray)

Seth Witherspoon of Sugarbeet shares his recipes for an intimate evening with:

♦ Yuzu-Ginger Mignonette
♦ Hazel Dell Shiitakes stuffed with Spinach, Parsnip and Pecorino Toscano,
♦ Braised C.K. Ranch Pork Shoulder with cassis mostardo, French green lentils and wilted Tuscan kale
♦ Blueberry-Hazelnut Crumble

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Yuzu-Ginger Mignonette

Note: Yuzu can be found at Japanese markets often in freezer section. Recipes makes enough for 24 oysters.

½ cup champagne vinegar
3 Tablespoons yuzu puree (not shelf-stable concentrate)
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
2 shallots, finely minced
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Mix all ingredients with whisk and spoon over fresh shucked oysters.

Hazel Dell Shiitakes stuffed with Spinach, Parsnip and Pecorino Toscano

Note: Makes six servings.

24 Hazel Dell shiitake mushrooms (2-inch or larger in diameter)
¼ lb. butter
¼ cup dry white wine
1 lb. baby spinach, cleaned
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium parsnips, peeled and small diced
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 ounces Pecorino Toscano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

De-stem the mushrooms and arrange them upside down on baking sheet, cupped side up.

Place butter and wine in a large pot on medium heat. As soon as butter is melted, add the spinach, place lid on pot and cook for 3 minutes (or until fully wilted), stirring every minute and replacing in between. When cooked, remove from heat a cool quickly on separate sheet pan. Once cooled, squeeze out all remaining moisture from spinach in cheesecloth and set aside.

In small pot, boil diced parsnips in water for 6 minutes, or until tenderized, and strain.

With olive oil, sauté parsnips, garlic and shallots for 4 minutes on high until slightly caramelized.

Meanwhile, rough chop the cooled and dried spinach mixture.

Thoroughly mix spinach, rosemary and vegetables together, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff the mushrooms with the spinach mixture and bake for 6-8 minutes.

Shave pecorino atop each mushroom with a vegetable peeler and serve.


Braised C.K. Ranch Pork Shoulder with cassis mostardo, French green lentils and wilted Tuscan kale

5 lb. heritage pork shoulder, boneless
1 yellow onion, peeled, cut in half
1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthwise
2 stalks celery, cut in half
2 cups pinot noir wine
6 bay leaves
3 Tablespoons black peppercorns, whole
2 Tablespoons juniper berries
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon cloves, whole
3 Tablespoons kosher salt

Place all aromatics in cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine.

Cut pork shoulder into 1 lb. pieces and place on top of vegetables in a large pot with an oven-safe lid. Cover with water and Pinot Noir. Add seasoning bundle and cover.

Braise for 4½ hours at 325 degrees or until knife passes through meat with no resistance.

When pork is cooked perfectly, strain the broth, place in a pot and cook until mixture is reduced by 50 percent. Discard vegetables. (The stock can be used for lentils and wilting liquid for kale.)

Cassis Mostardo

2½ cups whole grain mustard
¼ cup cassis (black currant) puree
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon


10 cups pork stock (see above)
2½ cups French green lentils
½ cup yellow onion, diced
½ cup fennel bulb, diced
½ cup celery root, diced
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, bring stock and lentils to a medium roll for 15-20 minutes or until soft.

In a separate sauté pan cook vegetables until tender.

Add these vegetables to lentils along with thyme, and season with salt and pepper.


2 bunches Tuscan kale
2 shallots, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
5 Tablespoons butter
4 cups pork stock (see above)

Prepare the kale by first removing the tough stem and center vein. Chop leaves into ½-inch ribbons.

In a stock pot, sauté shallots and bell pepper with a splash of olive oil. Then add butter, pork stock and trimmed kale.

Continue cooking and stirring until desired tenderness.

Blueberry-Hazelnut Crumble

Blueberry Filling

¾ cup granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Juice 2 lemons
Juice of 1 orange + zest
½ teaspoon allspice, ground
4 pints of fresh organic blueberries

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.

Mix sugar and cornstarch, then add remaining ingredients excepting fruit until well mixed.

Coat blueberries well and place in a greased 9-by-12-inch casserole dish.

Crumble Topping

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ lb. cold unsalted butter, grated with cheese grater
1 cup dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups toasted oats
1½ cup blanched hazelnuts, pulsed in food processor

Mix all ingredients in mixer until crumble forms (about 2 minutes), then spoon on top of blueberry mixture.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until blueberries start to thicken and crumble starts to slightly brown.


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