Quick Recipes and Easy

Savoring Savory

Summer savory (Satureja hortensis) – a self-seeding annual, and winter savory (Satureja montana) – a perennial, are very similar, but summer savory is the preferred species because in the garden it is simpler to grow and in the kitchen it has a delicate flavour in contrast to winter savory’s somewhat piney, pungent taste. Summer savory is also reputed to be an aphrodisiac, while winter savory is supposed to suppress sexual desire. This further enhances the popularity of the summer variety. Both types will thrive in a sunny, well-drained location in your garden and are simple to grow from seed. Winter savory tends to get woody and benefits from regular pruning to keep the leaves growing. The herb dries well by spreading on screens or hanging upside down in a warm, dry location away from direct sunlight.

The savories are small used in magic, although summer savory allegedly strengthens the mind when carried or worn.

According to legend, the savories belonged to the satyrs, those mythological half-man, half-goat beasts who roamed the ancient forests. The herb was given its Latin genus name, Satureja, – after the satyrs – by the Roman writer, Pliny. The Romans introduced savory to England and for hundreds of years it remained the most well loved strong tasting herb until world exploration acquainted Europeans with tropical spices like black pepper. The Romans used savory extensively in fish balls, stuffed hare, sauces and vinegars. The herb was dubbed savory by the Saxons due to its tangy flavour.

Savory is rarely used today for medicinal purposes. It is a carminative and will alleviate flatulence and colic. The crushed leaves of winter savory are also supposed to relieve the discomfort of insect stings.
The essential oil is strongly antibacterial and is used to treat candidiasis and other bacterial infections, but it is extremely potent should be used only under professional supervision. Pregnant women should avoid the use of savory except in mild culinary applications.
In the kitchen, both savories blend well with other herbs, especially bay, basil, parsley, marjoram, oregano, rosemary and thyme. It is one of the five herbs in the herbal mélange known as herbes de Provence, the other four being lavender, thyme, rosemary and basil. On its own, savory’s flavour is like a piquant blend of marjoram, pepper and thyme. Savory will heighten the taste of nearly any meat or vegetable dish. It is used in salami for its piquant, peppery taste and antibacterial qualities. The herb is also ideal for flavoring bread mixtures and seasoning breadcrumbs. Summer savory is particularly excellent in salad dressings and with egg and cheese dishes. The anti-flatulent quality of the herb recommends its use with cabbage and beans. In fact, in Germany it is known as Bohnenkraut, the bean herb.
In the following recipe I used winter savory because that’s what we have growing outside our kitchen door, but summer savory is easily substituted.

Bone idle Gourmet Chicken

· 6 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
· 4 cloves of garlic
· 2 tsp. of fresh summer or winter savory (or 1 tsp. dried)
· ¼ cup dry, white wine
· ¼ cup sweet, red vermouth
· Juice of ½ lemon
· ½ tsp. sea salt or more to taste

Place all the ingredients, except the chicken, in the blender until well mixed. Place the chicken, skin-up in a shallow pan and pour the blended mixture over top. It should not quite cover the chicken. Cover the pan with a lid or foil and cook at 350 degrees for 30 minutes in a preheated oven. Remove the lid or foil and cook for a further 15 minutes to allow the chicken to brown. Use the convection setting in your oven if you have one for the last 15 minutes. Serve with rice and vegetable.

Following is a tasty dessert recipe using summer or winter savory. Try it in the autumn when the apples are fresh off the trees. I recommend Cox’s or a similar English variety:

Savory Baked Apples

· 4 medium apples, washed and cored, but not peeled
· ½ cup of almonds, lightly toasted and crushed
· 6 sprigs of summer savory or 3 sprigs of winter savory
· 2/3 cup of spring or bottled water
· 1/3 cup of honey
· 1 Tbsp. of fresh-squeezed lemon juice
· 1/3 cup of raisins, dried cranberries or other dried berries (optional)
· 4 Tbsp. butter

Simmer the water, honey and savory in a saucepan for about 10 minutes to make a sauce. Remove the savory springs from the syrup and add the lemon juice and the butter to the sauce. Stir the sauce thoroughly until the butter has melted and all the liquids are well mixed. Fill the apples with the crushed almonds (after toasting them lightly in a dry frying pan) and the berries if you’ve opted for them, and pour the syrup/butter mix over top. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the apples are tender. Baste several times while baking. Allow them to cool slightly before serving and serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Bruce Burnett, has won four Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold awards for travel journalism. Read more of Bruce Burnett’s writing on his websites:

1. globalramble.com/ globalramble.com/

2. bruceburnett.ca/ bruceburnett.ca/

3. herbalcuisine.com/ herbalcuisine.com/

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