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Menu Plan and Recipes

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chestnut soup
Chestnut Soup

stuffed pork
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin on Bed of Onions

risotto
Ricotta Risotto

 

Menu Plan for the week of Nov. 15, 2013:  Saturday's Recipes

Chestnut Soup
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin on Bed of Onions
Ricotta Risotto

Cooking time:  50 minutes for menu       Cooking schedule: see below for instructions

      You can find chestnuts, peeled and roasted, usually dry-packed in jars or cans.  Peeling them is a lot of work.  I do it because we have local chestnut trees. For 'roasting on an open fire' get fresh; for cooking, buy in a jar. If you are using fresh, add 30 minutes to cooking time .

Chestnut Soup                                                 Preparation and cooking time:   20 minutes
    Use either fresh or canned chestnuts for this seasonal, early winter soup.  The chestnuts will cook down and break apart as the soup simmers. 3 - 4 slices bacon,  (3oz, 90gr)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 rib celery
1 medium carrot
1 1/2 cups chestnuts
1 tbs butter
2 bay leaves
2 cups (16oz, 480ml) chicken stock

If using fresh chestnuts:  With a sharp knife cut an 'X' through tough outer shell.  Put in a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Removing 1 chestnut at a time peel off shells and inner skin. Chestnuts must stay hot to peel easily.  If they cool down too much while you are working, bring them to a boil again. 
Put peeled chestnuts into a saucepan, cover with beef broth, bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until tender.  Drain.
If using canned chestnuts:   Open jar.
The soup: Cut bacon into matchsticks.  Roughly chop onion, celery and carrot.  Mince garlic. 
Sauté bacon in a medium saucepan.  When crisp, remove and drain fat.  Add butter to pan along with onion, celery, carrot and garlic.  Sauté until onion is tender.  Add chestnuts, bay leaves and stock. Cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Break any whole chestnuts up with the back of the spoon.  When soup is ready, remove bay leaves, ladle into bowls and serve.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin on Caramelized Onions   Preparation, cooking time: 45 minutes
     Pork tenderloin lend itself very well to stuffing. Here we stuff it with savory mushrooms and roast it on a bed of onions.    

14oz (420gr) pork tenderloin
3 tbs olive oil - 1 for stuffing and 2 for basting
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup chopped mushrooms, about 1oz (30gr)
2 tbs dry bread crumbs
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbs red wine vinegar

The stuffing:  Chop mushrooms and mince or crush garlic.  Heat 1 tbs olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add paprika and sauté for 1 minute.  Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté for 3 - 4 minutes, until starting to brown and soften.  When mushrooms are done put into a small bowl and add bread crumbs and basil; mix well. 
The pork: Butterfly pork tenderloin - cut it in half lengthwise leaving 1/4 inch intact along the edge, so that you can open it like a book.  Open it and give it a couple of whacks with a meat mallet so that it lies flattish... or pound lightly with the edge of a plate.  You just want it to be flat and easy to work with.  Spread mushroom mixture on one side of pork about 1/8 inch from the edge.  Fold other side over and tie with kitchen string.  Cut five 6 inch lengths of string and wrap around pork and tie every 2 inches - making certain that you do one as close to each end as possible. 
The rest: In a small bowl whisk together remaining 2 tbs olive oil and vinegar.  Place pork on onions in a small roasting pan and roast in 400F (200C) oven for 25 - 30 minutes, depending on size, until done, basting periodically with oil/vinegar mixture.  When done, slice and serve.
Pork should be slightly pink in the center to keep it moist. Slice it and take a peak or, best method, use a meat thermometer.  Pork is done when internal temperature reaches 145F.

Caramelized Onions these are started in a skillet and finished in the oven
2 onions  
1 tbs butter
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tbs brown sugar

Slice onion thickly.  Heat butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add vinegar and brown sugar.  Stir well to melt sugar and combine.  Spoon onions into a small roasting pan, arranging so pork will just fit on top.

Ricotta Risotto                                                             Preparation and cooking time: 35 minutes
   
This is based on a recipe from the cook book 'Risotto'.   This is a very white, very creamy, very rich risotto.  As always, the end result should be almost soup-like, never stiff. Add the spinach at the end so that it just wilts.  We'll be using the rest in Risotto de Salto.

2/3 cup Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto - Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/3 cup dry, white wine
2 1/8 cups chicken stock
2 shallots
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
2oz (60gr) fresh spinach
1/3 cup whole or part skim milk ricotta (3oz, 90gr)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese - freshly grated  (about 1.5oz, 45gr)

Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.  Slice the spinach into strips.  Peel and chop shallots. In medium saucepan heat butter and oil over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.   Add rice and sauté stirring, for 2 - 3 minutes until rice has white center.  Add white wine and stir.  When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir.   When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.  Reserve 1/4 cup to add at the end.  Taste the rice.  They should be just 'al dente' - slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked.  You can add a bit of water at this point if needed but you shouldn't have to.  Add the rest of the stock, the spinach and both cheeses.  Stir vigorously over heat to combine well and wilt the spinach.  Spoon into a bowl and serve.

Cooking Schedule: 50 minutes for menu
Assemble all food, utensils and serving dishes
Utensils: measuring cups, spoons, knives,
medium skillet, 3 saucepans, baking dish

Turn oven on, 400F (200C)
Peel chestnuts if using fresh
Peel onions, shallots, carrot, garlic
Slice onions for pork, sauté
Cut bacon, sauté
Chop onion, celery, carrot for soup
Mince all garlic
Remove bacon, fat
Add butter, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, sauté
Trim, chop mushrooms
Sauté mushrooms, garlic, paprika
Slice pork, pound flat
Add chestnuts, stock, bay to soup, cover, simmer
Remove mushrooms, add to crumbs, basil, mix
Stuff pork
Add sugar, vinegar to onions, stir well
Heat stock for risotto
Grate Parmesan

Tie pork
Spoon onions into baking dish, add pork, roast
Make basting sauce, baste
Chop shallots for risotto, sauté
Tend to the spinach, washing if needed, slice
Add rice to shallots, stir
Add wine to rice, stir
Mind the soup, mashing chestnuts slightly
Baste pork
Add 1/3 cup stock to risotto, stir well
Soup ready? Chestnuts need more mashing?
Baste pork
Add 1 cup stock to risotto, stir well, reduce heat
Ladle soup into bowls, serve, relax and enjoy
Halfway through soup stir risotto
Add more stock to risotto, stir again
Finish soup
Done?  Baste pork - done? Remove, let rest
Turn up heat under risotto
Finish risotto
Slice pork,
Serve