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Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Nov. 22, 2013

One:  Glazed Salmon with Tarragon Mustard         Preparation, cooking time: 30 minutes
   Salmon is a versatile fish that works well with many different flavors.

2 salmon fillets or steaks, 6oz each (180gr each)
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs white wine
1 tbs olive oil
Tarragon Mustard

In a small bowl mix sugar, lemon, soy sauce, wine and oil.  Put the salmon, skin side down, in a baking dish.  Pour marinade over and let marinate for 10 - 20 minutes, spooning marinade over periodically.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 15 - 20 minutes, depending on thickness.  Salmon will be done when it flakes easily, slightly pink in the center is fine.  Serve with Tarragon Mustard.

Tarragon Mustard:
tbs brown or whole grain mustard
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
3 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried chives

Mix all ingredients, at least 10 minutes before using..

Two:  Beef Tips with Mushroom and Shallots       Preparation, cooking time:   45 minutes
     This uses a better cut of beef, sirloin tips, and is not meant to be braised for a long time. If you get a really nice, tender cut, don't braise at all, keep medium-rare.  Just brown quickly, and add to the sauce at the end to reheat.

14oz (420gr) beef tips or sirloin tips
4oz (125gr) mushrooms
4 medium shallots
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) dry sherry
1/3 cup (3oz, 90gr) beef broth
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 1 tbs water

The beef:  Cut beef into 1" (2.5 cm) cubes.  Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add beef and brown quickly on all sides.  Remove and set aside.
The sauce:  Trim and thickly slice mushrooms.  Peel shallots and cut into quarters vertically. After removing beef add shallots and mushrooms to skillet, sauté until starting to brown, 5 - 7 minutes.  Add broth, sherry, Worcestershire, browned beef, cover and simmer, 30 minutes. 
To finish:   Dissolve cornstarch in water. Uncover skillet, increase heat, add cornstarch, stirring until thickened. Serve.

Three:  Chicken Rice Soup                                   Preparation and cooking time:  100 minutes
      If you can get cheap chicken wings, add them to the stock for more flavor. I used Basmati but any rice will be delicious.  You can make it even more simple using just chopped, boneless chicken breasts and canned broth. The cornstarch doesn't thicken the soup so much as add a more luscious 'mouth-feel'.

The stock:

2 chicken breasts, with skin and bone
2 chicken thighs, with skin and bone   or a whole chicken
the tops from a bunch of celery or 2 ribs celery
1 carrot
1 onion
bouquet garni
6 cups water / stock    enough to cover
salt or chicken base/stock cubes, or use some chicken stock instead of water

Cut the vegetables into large chunks.  If you are using celery tops, use them all, including the leaves.  Put chicken, vegetables, herbs and water in soup pot or Dutch oven.  Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an hour if using parts, 2 or 3 hours if using a whole chicken.  
When done, strain stock, discarding vegetables and reserving chicken.  If time allows, chill stock and remove fat.
Refrigerate chicken if not making soup immediately.

The soup:

4 medium carrots
4 ribs celery
2 medium leeks
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 tbs whole grain mustard
3/4 cup rice
the chicken used to make the stock
6 - 8 cups chicken stock
2 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 4 tbs water

Bring stock to a boil over medium heat.  Cut carrots in half, the long way then thinly slice.  Add to stock.  Thinly slice celery, add to stock.  Clean leek, slice thinly, including 3 inches of green, add to stock.  Add herbs, mustard, cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
Add rice, simmer 20 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in water, stir into soup.
Cut the chicken into small pieces, discarding skin and bones.  Add to soup and heat through.

Four:  Pork and Chickpea Stew                       Preparation and cooking time:   45 minutes 
    Put everything in the pot and let it cook - stews are easy.  This has just a hint of North African flavors (despite the pork).

8oz (240gr) lean pork,  boneless chops or tenderloin
2 carrots
2 medium potatoes
1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs maizena dissolved in 2 tbs water

Cut pork into 1 1/2" (4cm) pieces. Roughly chop onion.  Mince garlic and ginger.  Roll-cut carrots (cut the end off at an angle, roll 1/4 turn and slice at the same angle, roll 1/4 and slice, etc.)  Quarter the potatoes the long way then cut in half or thirds depending on size. Put in a bowl of water to avoid discoloring.
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add cumin, paprika, onion, pork and brown quickly.  Add garlic, ginger and sauté 1 minute.  Add carrots, rosemary, fennel seeds, wine, stock, tomato paste and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. 
  Add potatoes, chickpeas and simmer 30 minutes longer, just until vegetables are tender.   Pierce vegetables with a fork or sharp knife to see if they are done; if not simmer another 5 - 10 minutes.
Dissolve cornstarch in chicken stock.  Uncover, increase heat and add cornstarch, stirring until sauce is thickened.  Serve directly from pot or ladle into serving bowl.

 Five:  Farmhouse Pasta                                             Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
    The sauce cooks in just 15 minutes... so it's quicker if you use fresh pasta.  The recipe is based on one I found ages ago in 'The Book of Sauces'.    The sauce is meant to be very thick - add more water as desired.  

1 small onion or 1/2 larger one  
2 cloves garlic
4oz (125gr) mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
8oz (250gr) frozen spinach   or fresh
4oz (125gr) Prosciutto, Serrano or other dry-cured ham
4 tbs tomato paste   1 small can
1 - 3 tbs water
1 little box chevre (goat cheese) - the little cartons of creamy goat cheese, 5oz (150 gr)  Chavrie in U.S.; Chevraux in France)
4oz (125gr) dry spaghetti  or 8oz (250 gr) fresh

Cook pasta according to package instructions. 
For the sauce:  Clean mushrooms (techniques).   Chop onions, mushrooms and ham.  Mince garlic. 
Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and ham.  Sauté for 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste, spinach and 1 tbs water, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Mind the spinach so that it thaws.   If sauce starts to dry out add more water.
Add goat cheese and stir until it melts.  Toss with pasta and serve immediately.

Six:   Turkey Cutlets in Tarragon White Wine   Preparation, cooking time:  25 minutes
      You can use turkey tenderloin - sliced horizontally to make cutlets, or kept whole and simmered another 10 minutes, then sliced before serving.  This is served with a light tarragon sauce.

12oz (350gr) turkey cutlets 
1 onion
1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp tarragon
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
1/2 cup (4oz, 125gr) yogurt
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp cornstarch (maizena, corn flour) dissolved in 1 tbs water

Chop onion. Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes.  Move to the side and add turkey cutlets.  Lightly brown on each side, about 5 minutes.  Add tarragon, mustard and white wine, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 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 sauce over turkey and serve.

Suggested menus:

One:   Warm Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Chevre
Glazed Salmon with Tarragon Mustard
Sautéed Polenta Cakes
Broccoli with Garlic and Parmesan
   Gratin of Leeks with Ham
Beef Tips with Mushroom and Shallots
Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
Broccoli with Lemon Pepper
Three:  Chicken Rice Soup
Easy, Cheese Biscuits
Four:   Pork and Chickpea Stew
Five:  Farmhouse Pasta
Six: Turkey Cutlets / Tarragon White Wine Sauce
Fried Sweet Potatoes
Peas with Prosciutto

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