Weekly Main Course Recipes:  March 8, 2013

One:  Pan-Seared Tuna Mustard Cream             Preparation and cooking time: 15 minutes
     This is best with good sushi-grade (ahi) tuna that is quickly seared on both sides and cool or just barely warm in the center.  If you get regular tuna you will need to cook it until it is closer to medium. If you use hot mustard (like I do) this sauce will have a bit of a kick... You can, of course, use less...

2 tuna steaks, 12oz (180gr) total weight
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
sea salt for sprinkling (or other nice salt) optional
Mustard Cream

Peel garlic and cut in half.  Heat oil and lemon in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and fry for 1 - 2 minutes.  Remove and discard.
Add tuna and sauté 3 - 5 minutes per side (depending on thickness - 3 minutes if 1 inch (2.5 cm), 5 minutes if 2 inch (5 cm)) for medium-rare, longer if you want them more done. 
Remove, sprinkle with sea salt and serve, Mustard Cream on the side.

Mustard Cream                                                              Time: 5 minutes

1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup (2oz, 60gr) Greek yogurt
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried tarragon

In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients except olive oil.  Drizzle in olive oil, whisking until combined and thick.    

Two:   Braised Pork Tenderloin with Onions, Olives                  Time: 50 minutes
  Whole, braised pork tenderloin makes an impressive main course.  The browned red onions and Greek olives make a savory sauce, almost like a confit.

1 pork tenderloin, 14oz,  (400gr) 
1 medium red onion
1/4 cup black, dry-cured or Greek olives  about 12
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef stock
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water
2 tsp olive oil

Peel and thickly slice red onion.  Pit olives if needed and cut into thirds. 
Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add onion and sauté until well-browned, about 20 minutes. Move to the side and add whole pork tenderloin.  Brown well on all sides.  Add wine, stock, paprika, parsley and olives; cover and simmer until done, 20 - 25 minutes. 
Dissolve cornstarch in water.  Remove pork and increase heat under skillet.  Add cornstarch, stirring until thickened and clear.  Slice pork, spoon onion-olive sauce on the side and serve.

Three:   Risotto con Fagioli   Ham and White Bean Risotto                      Time: 25 minutes
     'Risotto con Fagioli '  You could use any type of ham: the salted, air cured Prosciutto-type is traditional. but as we already have ham for later in the week, we're using baked. 

2/3 cup Arborio rice (or other rice specifically for risotto - Carnaroli or Vialone Nano)
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) dry, white wine
2 1/4 cups (18oz, 1020ml) chicken stock
1/2 onion other half for the condimenti
1 tbs butter
3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) Parmesan cheese - freshly grated 

Heat chicken stock and keep hot over low heat.  Finely chop onion.  In medium sauce pan heat butter; add 1/2 of the onion and sauté until transparent then add rice and sauté, stirring, for 2 - 3 minutes until rice has white center.  Add white wine and stir. 
Start condimenti. 
When wine is almost absorbed add a 1/3 cup of stock, stir.  (No need to stir constantly but do stir from time to time.)  When stock is almost absorbed add another 1/3 cup and continue adding 1/3 cup at a time and stirring.  Before you add the last 1/3 cup taste a few kernels of rice.  They should be just 'al dente' - slightly resistant to the tooth but fully cooked.  If more stock is needed add it 1 tbs at a time and waiting until almost completely absorbed.  At this point risotto will be thick but not stiff - there will still be visible liquid and it will not hold it's shape on a plate.  Add the Parmesan and the condimenti, stir well, pour into a bowl or risotto platter and serve immediately.  It will continue to absorb liquid and the leftovers (if any) will be quite stiff.  The risottos that we have eaten in northern Italy have all been served in soup plates (flattish bowls) and eaten with a spoon - not a fork.


6oz (180gr) ham
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes
1 3/4 cups (15oz, 450gr) white beans, (cannellini)
1 tbs olive oil

Peel tomatoes: blanch for 30 seconds in boiling water.  Drain and cool in cold water.  Peel will come off easily. Heat oil in small skillet.  Add the rest of the onion and sauté until tender.  Roughly chop ham and add to onions.  Roughly chop tomato and add to ham & onions.  Turn heat to low and allow to simmer until tomatoes are well-cooked, then add white beans and heat through.  Keep warm until needed for risotto.

Four:  Chicken, Spinach and Feta Pasta            Preparation and cooking time:   30 minutes
    A pasta dish with a Greek twist - feta cheese and dry-cured black Greek Olives, plus peppers, garlic and onions.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/2 red or green bell pepper   
1 onion  
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs paprika, smoky is nice
1 tbs olive oil
15oz (450gr) chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
6oz (180gr) fresh spinach  or frozen
2 tsp basil, fresh or dried
2 tsp parsley, fresh or dried
3 - 4oz (100gr) feta
1/2 cup dry-cured, pitted Greek olives
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) grated Parmesan
1 1/4 cups pasta, bite size

Cook the pasta according to package directions. 
Slice the pepper into matchsticks then cut in half.  Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Pit olives, if needed and cut in half. If using fresh spinach, pick through leaves, discarding any that are damaged or wilted, and tearing any that are huge. 
In a large skillet heat oil.  Sauté paprika in hot oil for 1 minute. Add onion, pepper and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes. Add chicken and sauté until cooked through. Add wine, herbs, tomatoes and spinach, if using frozen, and cook, uncovered until spinach is thawed and sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.  Add spinach, if using fresh, olives, feta and cooked, drained pasta.  Toss to combine and heat through.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

Note: To pit olives, place them on a flat surface, place the flat of a large knife on top and hit with the base of your hand.  This will crack and flatten the olive.  Pick the pit out.

Five:  Turkey and Black Bean Enchiladas         Preparation and cooking time:  45 minutes
   Black beans are very traditional in Mexican cooking.  Make these as hot as you like, using hotter peppers, all hot sauce and more chili powder.... And, hot sauce, of course.

10oz turkey cutlets
15oz black beans,  about 1 1/2 cups
1 onion
1/2 green pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tbs olive oil
4oz (125gr) green chilies  or something hotter if your prefer
3/4 cup (3oz, 90gr) shredded cheese   any melting cheese
2 jars hot or mild taco or enchilada sauce 8 - 10 oz each (300 ml)
4 corn or wheat tortillas
1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) Greek or plain yogurt

Cut the turkey into bite-size pieces. Chop the onion and pepper. Mince the garlic. Drain the chilies and roughly chop if whole. Open, drain and rinse black beans.
Heat 2 tsp oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add chili powder, onion, garlic and pepper. Sauté until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and sauté until cooked through. Add black beans, oregano and enough taco sauce to bind it together. Cook over low heat, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add green chilies
Brush the remaining 1 tsp oil in a baking dish large enough to hold the 4 enchiladas. Heat a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat. Warm one tortilla in the skillet for 15 - 20 seconds. Spoon one fourth of the turkey / bean mixture onto the tortilla and roll up. Place seam side down in the oiled baking dish. Repeat with remaining three tortillas. Pour taco sauce over the top - how much depends on your taste. I use some now and the rest as additional sauce at the table. Sprinkle with cheese.
Cover with foil and bake at 400F (200C) for 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is bubbly.
Serve, any remaining sauce, hot sauce and yogurt on the side.

Six:   Pork Chops with Yogurt Mustard Pan Sauce                               Time: 30 minutes
      The chops are quickly browned then braised for 20 minutes to get fork-tender.  They're finished with an easy, yogurt and mustard pan sauce.

2 - 4 pork chops, 12oz (350gr) total weight for boneless
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef broth
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 tsp olive oil

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet.  Add chops and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total.  Add the beef broth, mustard, cumin and stir well to combine.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, turning chops once.  Remove chops, Stir yogurt into pan juices, spoon onto chops and serve.

Suggested menus:

One:  Mushroom Mini Frittatas
Pan-Seared Tuna with Mustard Cream
Fried Rice with Savoy Cabbage
Two:  Carrot Ginger Soup
Braised Pork Tenderloin with Onions and Olives
Turned Potatoes
Sautéed Savoy Cabbage with Mushrooms
Three: Risotto con Fagioli
Fresh Fruit
Four:    Chicken, Spinach and Feta Pasta
Five:  Turkey and Black Bean Enchiladas
Six:  Pork Chops with Yogurt Mustard Pan Sauce
Barley with Savoy Cabbage

Shopping List for This Week              Find all side dish recipes in index on Member's Page

Get 7 Dinner Menus, Recipes, Shopping List each Thursday by e-mail: