Weekly Main Course Recipes:  January 25, 2013

One:  Creamy Scallops with Cheese                        Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
   I love creamy sauces but hate all the fat that is usually part of them.  Puréed white beans are wonderfully creamy, healthy, and add a lovely flavor to the sauce.  Finished with a bit of cheese and you have a rich, seemingly decadent sauce that's actually good for you!

12oz (350gr) scallops 
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp paprika
1 cup (8oz, 240gr) white beans (cannellini)  
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine
1/4  - 1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese (I used cheddar)
1/2 tsp thyme
1 1/4 cups pasta

Cook pasta according to package directions,  Drain.
For the scallops:
Heat oil in a medium, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add scallops and sauté quickly until they turn opaque, 2 - 3 minutes per side, depending on size.  Sprinkle with lemon and paprika, remove and keep warm.
For the sauce: Chop shallots and garlic.  Heat oil in medium saucepan.  Add shallot, garlic and sauté until tender.   Drain and rinse beans.  Add beans, wine and 1/4 cup chicken stock and heat through.  Remove and purée in blender or with immersion blender.  Add a bit more chicken stock if needed to get to a medium sauce consistency; the cheese will thicken it.  Return to heat and bring to a simmer.  Add thyme, 1/2 of the cheese and stir well as cheese melts.
To finish: Combine pasta and sauce, arrange on a platter.  Add scallops, sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.

Two:   Braised Pork in Red Wine, 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.

Three:   Beef Vegetable Soup                                       Preparation and cooking time:   60 minutes
    This could also be called 'root vegetable soup'.  I know some people are leery of rutabagas, but it really is a key.  It adds a sweet undertone that's essential to this winter soup. This will make enough for 2 meals.... and a bit for the freezer.

16oz (500gr) lean beef - for stew or stir-frying or 2 cups of shredded beef, trimmed, from the stock beef
4 carrots
2 onions
4 ribs celery
1 medium rutabaga
2 potatoes
3 cups chopped cabbage
1/2 cup small pasta or egg noodles
8 - 10 cups beef stock

Bring the stock to a boil over medium high heat.  Chop the onion and celery.  Add to the soup.  Peel the rutabaga (use a vegetable peeler) and cut into small bite-size pieces. Add to soup. Peel the carrots, cut in half lengthwise, then slice into 1/8" (.3cm) half circles. Add to soup.  Cut the potatoes roughly the same size as the other vegetables, add to the soup.  (I scrub, but don't peel).   To cut cabbage, cut off a large slice next to the core. You'll want about 3 cups, so you may need another slice off the other side. Chop cabbage and add to pot.  Wrap and refrigerate the rest.  When all of the vegetables are in bring it back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes.  Add pasta and simmer 15 minutes longer.
While the soup cooks, cut the beef into bite-size pieces and sauté in a nonstick pan until browned.  Add the beef to the soup. The soup is done when all vegetables are tender.  Serve.

Beef Stock                                                              Time: at least 2 hours, 4 - 6 is better, plus chilling time

2 - 3 pounds beef short ribs or soup meat
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into large chunks
2 ribs celery - or the tops from a bunch of celery, cut into large chunks
1 bouquet Garni
3 bay leaves
1 tbs olive oil

Heat oil in large pot. Brown the beef very well on all sides over medium high heat, about 20 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and enough water to just cover the meat, or 10 cups, whichever is more. Cover and simmer over low heat for several hours.  Remove meat and chill until needed.  Strain soup and chill at least 4 hours - this allows the fat to congeal on the surface for easy removal.   Once fat is removed, stock can be boiled to reduce and increase strength.
Note: Long simmering time is what breaks down the collagen in the meat, giving body to the stock.

Four:  Pasta with Pork, Red Peppers, Cannellini      Preparation, cooking time: 25 minutes
     From the leftovers of Braised Pork in Red Wine with Red Peppers  

2 cups leftover pork
leftover sauce and vegetables
3/4 - 1 1/2 cups white beans
red wine or chicken stock if needed to expand sauce
1 1/4 cup pasta - penne, rigatoni, rotelle

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
Cut the pork into bit-size pieces. Gently reheat sauce with vegetables.  Add pork and beans.
When pasta is done, combine with pork and sauce. Serve.

Five:  Turkey with Horseradish Sauce                   Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
      You can use turkey tenderloin - sliced horizontally to make cutlets, or kept whole and simmered another 10 minutes, then sliced before serving.  The combination of mustard and horseradish gives this dish an interesting 'warmth', but not heat like pepper sauce would.

12oz (350gr) turkey cutlets
1/2 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 rib celery
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
2 - 3 tbs prepared horseradish
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) yogurt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 1 tbs water

Chop onion and celery.  Mince garlic.  Drain tomatoes, reserving juices.  Roughly chop tomatoes.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add onion, celery, garlic and sauté about 5 minutes.  Move vegetables to the side and add turkey cutlets.  Lightly brown on each side, about 5 minutes.  Remove turkey.  Add tomatoes, reserved juices, mustard, horseradish and basil.  Stir well.  Bring to a boil.  Return turkey to pan, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 5 - 10 minutes, depending on thickness of turkey.  Stir occasionally.  (If using a whole, uncut tenderloin, cover and simmer 10 - 15 minutes.)  Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Remove turkey to small platter.  Increase heat under sauce.  Add cornstarch and stir until thickened and clear.  Add yogurt and stir.  Spoon some sauce over turkey and serve, remaining sauce on the side.

Six:   Beef Patties with Paprika Sauce                   Preparation and cooking time:   25 minutes
    We use 10oz and make 2 nice burgers.   The Paprika Sauce is a bit more 'adult' than the usual ketchup. 

10oz ground beef (300gr mince)
2 tbs dry breadcrumbs
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce  
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 medium onion 
2/3 cup (5oz, 150ml) chicken stock
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs sherry vinegar
1 tsp paprika

Mix breadcrumbs, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic powder and paprika.  Add beef and mix thoroughly - hands are best.  Shape into 2 or 3 patties. 
Roughly chop onion.  Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and sauté until starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add patties (moving onions to the side, but leave in pan) and sauté 5 - 7 minutes per side.  Remove burgers and keep warm.  Add paprika and sauté 1 minute.   Add stock and vinegar, bring to a simmer, stirring up the browned bits.  Stir in tomato paste, spoon over burgers and serve.

Suggested menus:

One:  Eggs Pipérade
Creamy Scallops on Pasta
Fresh Fruit
  Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Braised Pork in Red Wine with Red Peppers
Mashed Potato Puffs
Fried Carrots
Three:  Beef Vegetable Soup
Cheese Popovers
Four:    Pasta with Pork, Red Peppers and Cannellini
Fresh Fruit
Five:   Turkey with Horseradish Sauce
Sautéed Cabbage
Six:  Beef Patties with Paprika Sauce
Parmesan Fries
Peas with Parmesan

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