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soinach salad
Spinach and White Bean

corsican beef
Corsican Beef and Pasta

Menu Plan for the week of Jan. 4, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

Spinach and White Bean Salad
Corsican Beef with Pasta
Fresh Fruit

Cooking time:  3 hours, inc. 2 1/2 hour break, for menu     Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

       This is a hearty first course, with lots of vegetables, so I didn't do another side dish.  The Corsican Beef is traditionally served over pasta, as here. It makes enough for 4 people, or 2 meals for 2.  It should simmer for 2 or 3 hours and doesn't need any attention. It could also be made in a slow cooker and left for hours.  Fruit for dessert?

Spinach and White Bean Salad                           Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
    Spinach and white beans with a light vinaigrette and topped with crispy shallots makes a lovely, first course salad.... and fills in for the vegetable as well.  We want the shallots to be brown and crisp rather than soft and caramelized.  Thus we are cooking them a bit faster and without sugar or stock.

4oz (120gr) fresh spinach  
15oz (450gr) white beans, cannellini, about 1 1/2 cups
3 - 4 shallots
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs white Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
3 tbs salad olive oil

Slice shallots and sauté in oil over medium heat until brown and crispy, 20 minutes.  Do not let burn. 
Open, drain and rinse beans.  Wash spinach if necessary. Tear, if needed, and put into a salad bowl.  Whisk together vinegar, mustard and herbs.  Slowly add olive oil, whisking constantly until vinaigrette is thick and creamy.  Add about half to the spinach and toss well to coat - tongs work well.  Arrange on 2 plates.  Add the remaining dressing to the beans and stir to combine.  Arrange the beans on top of the spinach.  Divided the shallots and sprinkle on top.  Serve.

Corsican Beef and Pasta      Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes prep; 2 - 3 hours cooking
     This is one of those long-cooking dishes that I love doing during the winter.  It's not quite a stew and not quite a pasta.  If possible, get 1 or 2 thick slices of dry-cured ham, like Prosciutto, from the meat counter.

24oz (750gr) beef, suitable for braising or stewing
6oz (180gr) dry-cured ham, such as Prosciutto, Serrano
1 medium onion
4oz (125gr) mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
15oz (450gr) tomatoes, with juices
1 cup white wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried Herbes de Provence
2 pinches nutmeg
1 tbs olive oil
4oz (125gr) pasta, spaghetti or linguini

Cut beef into cubes 1 - 1 1/2" (3cm), and ham a bit smaller.  Roughly chop onions. Trim and chop mushrooms.  Mince garlic.  Heat oil in Dutch oven or small soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, mushroom and garlic and sauté until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add ham and beef and sauté, stirring, until all pieces are starting to brown.  Roughly chop tomatoes and add to pot, along with the juices.  Add wine, herbs, nutmeg and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a slow simmer (small bubbles just breaking the surface), cover and let cook for 2 - 3 hours.
To finish: Cook pasta according to package directions, just until al dente.  Drain and immediately return to pan to low heat.  Add 1 cup of the sauce from the beef (but no meat) and stir to combine and heat through.  Arrange the pasta on a small platter or two plates.  Remove bay leaves from beef.  Spoon some beef and ham on top or the pasta and serve.

Fresh Fruit

Whatever is in season and tempts your palate.  Passion Fruit?

Cooking Schedule: 3 hours / 2 1/2 hour break
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
Dutch oven or soup pot with lid, small skillet, strainer,
small bowl, whisk, medium bowl, salad tongs, pasta
pot and colander

3 hours (or more) earlier:
Chop onion, sauté
Chop mushrooms, add to onion
Mince garlic, add to onion
Cut beef into cubes
Cut ham into pieces
Open, drain tomatoes, reserving juices
Roughly chop tomatoes
Add beef, ham to onions, stir-fry
Add tomatoes, juices, wine, herbs, nutmeg, boil
Reduce heat, cover, simmer
       2 - 3 hour break  (or more if using slow-cooker)

25 minutes before dinner:
Put water on high heat for pasta
Slice shallots, sauté
Open, drain, rinse beans
Wash, dry spinach if needed
Make vinaigrette
Add half vinaigrette to spinach, toss well, plate
Mind the shallots
Add remaining vinaigrette to beans, stir
Divide, arrange on spinach
Top with shallots
Start to cook pasta
Serve salad, relax....
Drain pasta, toss with sauce
Arrange pasta, top with meat
Don't forget the fruit

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