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cabbage rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Roles

pork with peppers
Braised Pork in Red
Wine and Red Peppers

potato puffs
Mashed Potato Puffs

fried carrots
Fried Carrots

Menu Plan for the week of Jan. 25, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

 Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Braised Pork in Red Wine with Red Peppers
Mashed Potato Puffs
Fried Carrots

Cooking time:  2 hours for menu     Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       An easy but a bit fussy starter, but the rest of the meal requires little hands-on time.  Half the pork, vegetables and sauce will be for the pasta on Monday.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls                                          Preparation and cooking time:  55 minutes
   Small cabbage rolls, stuffed with a bit of leek, ham and polenta and braised, make an easy first course.  The rolls can be made ahead, then left to braise for 30 minutes before serving, making them an easy party dish as well.  Serve with a creamy Paprika Sauce.

4 cabbage leaves
1 leek
2 slices (2oz, 60gr) bacon
1 tbs olive oil
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) chicken stock
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbs polenta
2 tbs shredded cheese
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard

Braising liquid/Sauce
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) chicken stock
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) white wine
1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) Greek yogurt
3/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp cornstarch (corn flour, maizena)
1 tbs water
you may need 1/3 cup more stock or water for braising

Cabbage:  Remove any damaged outer leaves from the cabbage and discard.  Remove 4 outer leaves for the rolls (see note). Bring a large pot of water to boil and blanch the leaves for 1 minute. Cover the pot if you can't keep the leaves submerged.   Remove, drain and set aside.
Stuffing: Trim leek and cut in half the long way. Cut each half in half again, so you have long quarters.  Thinly slice.  Roughly chop bacon.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add leek, bacon and sauté until leek is tender and bacon cooked.  Add stock, basil and heat through.  Pour into a bowl, add polenta and stir well.  Add cheese and stir.
Rolls: Lay the cabbage leaves as flat as reasonable.  Cut out the tough stem in a deep, narrow 'V'.  Normally this cut will be about half the length of the cabbage leaf.
Take a leaf and lay it with the round end toward you and the (former) stem end away.  Place 1/4 of the stuffing on the round end and fold the cabbage leaf over snugly.  Tuck the sides of the leaf in, folding over the rest of the leaf to the size of the roll.  Roll it up and set aside, seam side down.  Repeat.  If there are tears in a leaf, just adjust as you roll.
Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in the skillet. Add stock, white wine and paprika and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover and braise for 30 minutes. Check occasionally and add water or stock as needed.
Finishing:  Remove rolls when done.  Increase heat under braising liquid. Add more stock or water if needed, to make app. 2/3 cup.  Dissolve cornstarch in water and add to skillet, stirring until thick.  Remove, stir in yogurt.  Divide the sauce into 2 flattish soup bowls or plates.  Top with cabbage rolls and serve.

Note:  To remove cabbage leaves first locate the outermost leaf.  Cut the stem end from the main stalk.  Starting opposite the stem end, carefully roll the leaf backward (like you would roll down a sock) until you can loosen it from the stem end.  Try not to tear it, but no problem if you do; all will be hidden when you make the rolls.  Repeat for each leaf.

Braised Pork in Red Wine and Red Peppers             Preparation and cooking time:   2 hours
I use a medium-size roast, about 2 lbs and it cooked to the correct temperature in under 90 minutes.  As with most braises, longer cooking time is fine.  Half of the pork and half of the vegetables and sauce are for another meal.

1 pork loin roast,   app. 2lbs (1000gr)
1 large red pepper
3 medium leeks   about 2 cups, sliced
2 ribs celery
3 cloves garlic
15oz (450gr) tomatoes
4 bay leaves
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups (16oz, 480ml) red wine
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Clean and trim leeks, discarding the dark green tops.  Cut in half the long way and slice.  Cut pepper into thick strips.  Roughly chop celery.  Mince garlic. Roughly chop tomatoes, reserving all juices. 
Heat oil in heavy pot or Dutch oven.  Add leeks, peppers, celery, garlic, and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.  Remove to a plate and set aside. 
Mix paprika, oregano and olive oil. Rub all over pork. Add pork to pot and brown on all sides.  Add 1/4 cup of red wine and stir up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Return vegetables to pot, arranging around pork.  Add tomatoes, red wine and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to a slow simmer and braise for 90 minutes.  Or longer....
To finish:  Dissolve cornstarch in water. Remove pork to a platter.  With a slotted spoon, remove the larger vegetables and arrange around pork. Tent loosely with foil and let rest.   Increase heat under remaining sauce. Add cornstarch, stirring until thick and clear - you may not need it all to get a thickened sauce.  Slice some of the pork, spoon some of the sauce on the vegetables and pork and serve.  Save leftover pork, vegetables and sauce.

Mashed Potato Puffs                                                   Preparation and cooking time:  40 minutes
     Individual mashed potato puffs with a surprise inside.  The original reason was to keep the potatoes piping hot while we had the first course.  The cheese was.... just because!

2 medium potatoes
2 tbs butter
1 - 2 tbs milk  
dash salt
1/2 tsp paprika
4 1" (2.5cm) cubes strong, soft cheese  Cheddar, Muenster, Tomme
1 tsp butter

The potatoes: Peel potatoes and cut into large chunks. Put potatoes in medium saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Add salt and cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When boiling (and pay attention or they will boil over) reduce heat and take cover partially off. Continue cooking until done, 15 - 20 minutes. They should be very done, easily coming apart when poked with a fork. When done, drain and put back on the heat 10 seconds or so to evaporate any excess moisture.
To mash: Mash potatoes with a potato masher (or fork if you don't have one) Add butter and enough of the milk to get a fluffy consistency.
To finish:  Butter four circles on a baking sheet.  Divide the potatoes in half. Dividing one half in 4ths, spoon a mound into the center of each buttered circle.  Make an indentation in the center.  Put a piece of cheese in the center, add the remaining potato, evenly divided, completely enclosing the cheese.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Bake, 350F (170C) for 15 minutes, until just lightly browned.

Fried Carrots                                                               Preparation and cooking time: 20 minutes
   The first time I made Beef Provencal the recipe instructed to fry the carrots before adding to the stew.  They were so good, I started frying them just a bit longer and eating them on their own.  It caramelizes the sugars and turns them golden and sweet!

2 - 3 large carrots
1/2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tbs butter
salt and pepper

Peel and slice carrots into 1/4 inch thick (.65 cm) rounds.  Heat butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add carrot slices in one layer.  Let fry undisturbed for 8 - 10 minutes.  Check one after 7 minutes to make certain they're not getting too brown.  Using tongs, turn them over and fry the other side.  They should be getting a few light brown spots on them where the sugar (from the carrots) is caramelizing.  Fry another 7 minutes then check again.  The second side will brown faster than the first.  When they are done to your liking, remove to a paper towel to absorb the excess oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Cooking Schedule: 2 hours for menu
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
heavy pot or Dutch oven with lid, large pot, medium
skillet with lid, medium saucepan with lid, baking sheet,
large skillet

Clean, trim all leeks
Slice 3 leeks
Clean, slice pepper
Mince garlic
Chop celery
Sauté leeks, pepper, celery, garlic for pork
Make rub for pork, rub on pork
Remove vegetables
Brown pork
Open tomatoes, roughly chop, reserve juices
Add 1/4 cup red wine to pot, stir
Return vegetables to pot, add tomatoes, wine, bay
Cover simmer
    20 minute break - or longer
Put large pot of water on high heat
Remove 4 cabbage leaves
Roughly chop bacon
Slice remaining leek
Sauté leek with bacon in oil
Blanch cabbage leaves 1 minute, remove
Trim stem out of cabbage leaves
Add stock, basil to leeks/bacon, heat
Put leeks, bacon, stock into bowl
Sprinkle polenta over leeks, stir well
Add cheese, stir well, let rest 3 minutes

Make cabbage rolls
Put cabbage rolls into skillet
Add stock, paprika, wine to cabbage rolls
Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and braise
Peel, cut potatoes
Put potatoes into saucepan, cover, bring to a boil
Partially uncover, reduce heat and let cook
    15 minute break
Turn oven on, 350F (175C)
Peel, slice carrots
Drain potatoes, mash
Cut cheese into cubes
Butter 4 circles on baking sheet
Make potato puffs, sprinkle with paprika
Remove cabbage rolls, cover to keep warm
Increase heat under sauce, add stock if needed
Dissolve cornstarch in water
Thicken sauce, stir in yogurt
Spoon sauce onto plates, top with cabbage rolls
Start to fry carrots, medium-low heat
Put potato puffs into oven
Serve Cabbage Rolls
Turn carrots, increase heat
Remove pork, vegetables, let rest
Increase heat under sauce
Dissolve cornstarch in water
Thicken sauce
Slice pork, finish
Remove potatoes, carrots

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