Weekly Main Course Recipes:  February 22, 2013

One:  Fish Pie with Salmon, Smoked Salmon and Savoy Cabbage                    Time:  40 minutes
    Smoked Salmon adds a bit of depth to this simple Fish Pie - as does the horseradish in the mashed potato topping.

2 medium potatoes,  10oz (300gr)
1 tbs horseradish
1 tbs butter
2  - 3 tbs milk
8oz (250gr) fresh salmon
4oz (120gr) smoked salmon    either wet or dry smoked
8oz (250gr) Savoy cabbage   1/2 medium head
1 onion
1 tsp lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried chives
2 tsp maizena (cornstarch) dissolved in 1 tbs water
1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbs olive oil

The potatoes:  Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.  Cook in boiling, salted water until tender.  Drain well.  Add butter, horseradish and 2 tbs milk.  Mash well.  They should not be stiff but should hold their shape.  Add a bit more milk if needed. 
The salmon:  Put fresh salmon in a medium skillet.  Add water to almost cover, lemon juice, bay leaf and peppercorns.  Cover and poach until done, 12 - 15 minutes.  It should turn opaque and flake easily with a fork.  Remove and cut into large chunks. Roughly chop the smoked salmon. 
The vegetables:  Remove dark green outer leaves from cabbage. Cut off a thick slice, avoiding the core. Lay flat, cut into 3 or 4 wedges, then thinly slice the wedges. Roughly chop the onion.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and sauté 5 minutes, until it turns translucent.  Add cabbage and sauté, stirring 2 - 3 minutes.  Add white wine, chicken stock, herbs, cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Dissolve cornstarch in water. Uncover cabbage, increase heat and add cornstarch, stirring until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Add yogurt and stir well to combine. 
To finish: Add both salmons to cabbage and stir gently.  Spoon into a baking dish large enough to hold everything. Top with potatoes, covering as well as you can.  Bake, 400F (200C) for 15 minutes or until the top starts to brown.  Remove and serve.

Two:   Braised Veal with Olives and Capers        Preparation and cooking time:  70 minutes
     Large pieces of tender veal, braised with 2 kinds of olives and finished with capers; all in a simple white wine sauce.

14oz (400gr) veal
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) white wine
2 medium - large carrots
1 onion
10 black olives  I used dry-cured Greek olives
10 green olives   I used pimento-stuffed olives
2 tbs capers
2 bay (laurel) leaves
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water

Cut veal into large chunks if needed.  Peel and slice carrots.  Roughly chop onion. Slice olives in thirds.  Heat olive oil in medium Dutch oven or other pot with tight-fitting lid.  Add veal and brown on all side.  Add white wine and stir up any brown bits on the bottom.  Add carrots, onion, green olives and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 60 minutes. 
Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Turn the heat up under the pot and uncover.  Add capers and black olives; remove bay leaves.  Give the cornstarch mixture a stir and add to the pan a little at a time, stirring, until thickened to your liking.   Remove from heat and serve.

Three:   Pasta with Leeks, Prosciutto and Mushrooms                   Time: 25 minutes
 Sautéed leeks, dry-cured ham and mushrooms make a simple, flavorful sauce for pasta.

3 medium leeks, about 1 1/2" diameter (3.5cm) each
4oz (125gr) mushrooms
4 - 5 slices (4oz, 120gr) Prosciutto or other dry-cured ham
1 tbs dried sage
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine or chicken stock
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) freshly grated Parmesan plus a bit extra for sprinkling at table
4oz (125gr) long pasta, tagliatelle, linguini, spaghetti

Cook pasta according to package directions. 
While pasta cooksClean leeks and slice thinly. Brush mushrooms and slice.  Roughly chop Prosciutto.  Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Add leeks and sauté until starting to get tender, about 5 minutes.  Add mushrooms, ham and sauté about 10 minutes, until everything is starting to turn golden.  Add wine or stock, sage and heat through.  Pour over hot, cooked pasta, add Parmesan and toss lightly - use a tongs.  Serve, extra Parmesan on the side.

Four:  Peppered Pork Tenderloin in Red Wine Sauce                            Time: 30 minutes
    Remember that, while adding a lot of flavor, pepper can be quite hot.  Be a bit careful, particularly if you are grinding fresh peppercorns, as these will be hotter than the old stuff in the can in your pantry....

12oz (360gr) pork tenderloin  
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 - 1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp marjoram
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef stock
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) red wine

Mince the garlic. Slice the tenderloin into 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick slices.  Sprinkle the pepper evenly over each side of each piece, pressing it in.  Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add the pork and sauté for 5 minutes per side.   Add garlic, marjoram, mustard, tomato paste, stock and red wine to pan, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Uncover and remove pork to a small platter, cover to keep warm.  Increase heat and boil sauce, for 2 minutes.   It should reduce and thicken a bit.  Spoon a bit of sauce over the pork and serve, remaining sauce on the side.

Five:  Ground Beef  and Savoy Cabbage Lo Mein      Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
   Stir-fries cook quickly and are very flexible when it comes to ingredients.  I always try for a mix of colors, textures and flavors... Savoy cabbage works in place of the more traditional bok choy.

12oz (360gr) ground beef (mince) 
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced   substitute 1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/3 head savoy cabbage, about 2 cups, shredded
1 medium carrot
3.5oz (100gr) spaghetti - about 1 1/4" (3cm) diameter bunch (make a circle with thumb and index finger - you want it a little bigger than an American quarter, about the size of a 2 euro coin)
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) beef stock
1 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs sherry
1 tbs cornstarch (Maizena)

Cook pasta according to package instructions. 
While pasta cooks: Thinly slice onion.  Mince garlic.  Mince ginger (peel first).  Cut carrot into matchsticks. Remove dark green outer leaves from cabbage. Cut off a thick slice, avoiding the core. Lay flat, cut into 3 or 4 wedges, then thinly slice the wedges 
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot to skillet; stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger, cabbage and stir-fry another 3 minutes.  Remove vegetables from skillet and set aside. 
Add beef, and fry, breaking it up as it browns.  Return vegetables to pan.  Add beef stock and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk together sherry, soy sauce and cornstarch.  Uncover skillet and stir in cornstarch mixture until thickened. 
When pasta is done, drain and add to skillet. Toss to combine, tongs work best, or two forks.   Serve. 
(If spaghetti doesn't fit into pan, put it into a large bowl and pour beef and vegetables on top.) 
Add more soy sauce if desired, according to taste.

Six:   Cheesy Chicken                                                          Preparation and cooking time:   30 minutes
     Melted cheese tops this chicken with a light dill sauce - comfort food. Cut the chicken breasts in half for a nicer presentation.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 shallots
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine
1 tsp dried dill weed
2 tsp maizena (cornstarch) dissolved in 1 tbs water
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese

Roughly chop shallots.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté until tender and starting to brown.  Move to the side and add chicken.  Brown well on both sides, about 10 minutes total.  Add stock, wine, dill, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 minutes. 
Dissolve cornstarch in water. Add to skillet, stirring until sauce is thickened.  Top chicken with cheese, cover until cheese melts, 2 - 3 minutes.  Serve.

Suggested menus:

One:  Baked Chevre with Prosciutto
Fish Pie with Salmon, Smoked Salmon and Savoy Cabbage
Two:  Poached Eggs with White Wine
Braised Veal with Olives and Capers
Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf
Three:  Pasta with Leeks, Prosciutto and Mushrooms
Fresh Fruit
Four:    Peppered Pork Tenderloin in Red Wine Sauce
Potatoes Braised with Bay and Mustard
Endive Gratin
Five:  Beef and Cabbage Lo Mein
Six:  Cheesy Chicken
Barley with Pimiento
Broccoli with Shallots and Mustard

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