Weekly Main Course Recipes:  January 4, 2013

One:  Salmon Baked in Phyllo with Tarragon Cream Sauce              Time: 25 minutes
  A very impressive dish, easy to prepare, bakes quickly and makes an elegant presentation. Phyllo can be frozen twice.

2 pieces of salmon, skinned, 12oz, (350gr)  about 2" wide by 4" long by 1" thick (5cm X 10cm x 2.5 cm)
4 sheets of phyllo (filo) dough
3 tsp dill weed
1/3 cup butter   you may not use it all - use any leftover in the sauce

Phyllo dough is very fragile and prone to drying out.  Use one sheet at a time and cover the remaining sheets with a slightly damp towel or paper towel. 
Rinse salmon and pat dry.  Melt butter.  Take 1 sheet of phyllo dough, brush lightly with butter, sprinkle with half of the dill weed.  Place another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with butter.  Place salmon on narrower end of dough about 3 inches from edge, the 'side that had skin on' down.  Bring dough over salmon and fold in sides.  The phyllo is now as wide as the salmon (4 inches).  Roll the salmon forward one complete turn so that 'the side that had skin on' is once again, on the bottom.  Cut off any remaining phyllo and discard.  Brush both sides of packet with butter and place bottom side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with the other piece of salmon. 
Bake at 400F (200C) for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove and serve with Tarragon Cream Sauce on the side.

Tarragon Shallot Sauce

3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) chicken stock
1 medium shallot
1 tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water
1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) Greek yogurt, crème fraiche or sour cream

Finely chop shallot.  In small saucepan over medium heat sauté shallots in butter until tender.  Add tarragon, dill, stock and bring to a boil.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Mix cornstarch in stock and stir into simmering stock.  Cook until thickened - should be quite thick.  Remove from heat and stir in yogurt / crème fraiche.  Cover and keep warm until serving.

Two:   Corsican Beef and Pasta                         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.

Three:   Ham and Cabbage Soup                              Preparation and cooking time: 60 minutes
     Many vegetable soups use regular, white cabbage.  I decided to make one featuring Savoy or green cabbage.  Using a slice of ham from the deli helps this go together quickly for a warming, winter meal.  Stirring in a bit of cornstarch at the end gives the broth a more luscious 'mouth feel'.  This is enough for 4 servings.  

3 medium potatoes
4 medium carrots
3 ribs celery
1 large onion 
2/3 head Savoy cabbage, 4  - 5 cups
10oz (300gr) baked or pink ham
1 tbs olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
6 - 8 cups chicken stock  or water plus ham base
2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolve in 1/4 cup water

Roughly chop onion.  Peel carrots; then slice by cutting in half the long way (in 2 or mores sections) then into half or quarter circles.  Peel and slice potatoes to a similar size.  Slice celery, cutting the wide end in half lengthwise.  Cut ham into small pieces.  Remove dark green outer leaves from cabbage. Cut off a thick slice, avoiding the core. Lay flat, cut into 3 or 4 wedges, then thickly slice the wedges. 
Heat olive oil in a medium soup pot. Add onion and sauté until it starts to get tender, about 5 minutes. Add celery and sauté 5 minutes longer. Add ham and sauté briefly. Add carrots, potatoes, cabbage, herbs and stock. Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30 - 40 minutes.
To finish: Remove bay leaves.  Dissolve cornstarch in water. Uncover soup and increase heat.  When simmering hard, add cornstarch, stirring until it clears. Serve.

Four:  Stir-Fried Turkey, Cabbage, Cashews     Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
     You can use turkey cutlets for this, sliced into strips, or part of a larger turkey tenderloin, freezing the rest for another time, or even ground turkey... or chicken breasts....

10oz (300gr) turkey cutlets or tenderloin
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs minced ginger substitute 1/2 tsp dried
1 rib celery
1/2  green pepper
1/3 head Savoy cabbage
4oz (120gr) mushrooms
1/4 cup cashews  substitute peanuts, almonds
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) chicken stock
1 tbs sherry (optional)
1 tbs peanut butter
2 tsp cornstarch (Maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water

Thinly slice onion.  Mince garlic.  Mince ginger (peel first).  Cut pepper into matchsticks.  Slice the celery at an angle. Trim and slice mushrooms.  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.  Cut the turkey into strips - bite-size.
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, mushrooms to skillet and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger and stir-fry another 2 minutes.  Remove onions/garlic from pan and set aside.
Add sesame oil, soy sauce to pan and heat.  Add turkey and stir-fry 3 - 5 minutes, until golden.  Remove and put with onions. 
Add cabbage, pepper to skillet and stir-fry 5 minutes.  Return turkey, onions, celery, mushrooms, garlic and ginger to pan.  Add chicken stock, sherry, peanut butter and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Uncover, add cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened. 
Arrange rice on a small platter. Spoon turkey and vegetables into the center, sprinkle with cashews and serve, adding more soy sauce if desired.

Brown Rice                                                               Time: 20 minutes or whatever your package says
     I use 'Uncle Ben's' which is all I can get and it is quick cooking.  It looks like brown Basmati and cooks in 20 minutes.

1/2 cup brown rice. quick cooking
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) water or chicken stock (or half each) or whatever your rice calls for

Cook rice according to package instructions. Fluff and serve.

Five:  Corsican Beef                                                           Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes 

leftover Corsican beef
1 1/4 cups pasta or 3.5 oz spaghetti

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Gently heat leftover beef in a saucepan.  Serve over cooked pasta.

Six:   Chicken Breasts with Spanish Rice                 Preparation and cooking time:  40 minutes
    I use a quick cooking brown rice in this dish; it cooks in 20 minutes. You can use whatever rice you choose (except instant) just adjust the liquid and cooking time accordingly. The tomato juices cook right into the rice, adding color and flavor!

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 onion 
1/2 green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup quick-cooking brown rice    substitute basmati
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes,
1/4 - 3/4 cup chicken stock or water
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs olive oil

Chop onion and pepper.  Mince garlic.  Heat oil in deep skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken breasts, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes each.  Remove to a plate.  Add chili powder, onion, pepper, and garlic.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Open tomatoes and drain liquid into a bowl.  Chop the tomatoes and drain again.  Add drained tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce and rice to pan.  Measure the drained liquid and add enough water or chicken stock to equal 1 cup (or however much liquid your rice package calls for).  Pour this over the rice/vegetables in the skillet and stir well to combine.  Lay the chicken breasts on top of the rice and cover.  Reduce heat to simmer and cook until rice is done, about 20 minutes - check rice package.  Stir occasionally while cooking.  When done, serve - either from the pan or arrange nicely on a platter.

Suggested menus:

One:  Tomato Flan with Avocado
Salmon in Phyllo
Wild Rice Pilaf
Sunchoke Gratin
Two:  Spinach and White Bean Salad
Corsican Beef with Pasta
Three:  Ham and Cabbage Soup
Oatmeal Biscuits
Four:    Stir-Fried Turkey with Cashews
Five:  Corsican Beef with Pasta
Rutabagas with Carrots
Six:   Chicken with Spanish Rice
Rutabagas with Carrots

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