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Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Oct. 11, 2013

One:  Smoked Salmon Kedgeree                   Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
Kedgeree was, traditionally, made with smoked haddock and served as a part of a large breakfast.  We smoked the salmon, using a kettle grill, for about 20 minutes.  You could use purchased smoked salmon, if you prefer, but it should be hot-smoked, American-style rather than the wet-smoked, Scotch or Irish style.  Gravlax would not work.

1/2 cup Basmati rice
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
8oz (240gr) smoked salmon or see below
2 eggs, hard boiled
1 onion
3 tsp butter
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbs Greek or plain yogurt, or milk or cream
2 tbs snipped fresh parsley    substitute 1 tbs dried
1 tbs lemon juice

Melt 1 tsp butter in small saucepan over medium heat.  Add rice and sauté, stirring for 2 - 3 minutes.  Add stock, cover and cook for length of time on package. 
Hard boil eggs.  
Thinly slice onion.  Heat remaining 2 tsp of butter and 2 tsp olive oil in large nonstick skillet.  Add onions and sauté until tender and transparent. 
To assemble:  Peel eggs and cut into eighths.  Cut salmon into large pieces.  When onions are ready add rice to skillet along with yogurt, lemon and parsley.  Mix well.  Add salmon and eggs to rice and, mixing gently, heat through.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Two:  Beef Braised in Chianti 
Preparation and cooking time:    4:40 hours broken into 3 stages   Night before: 10 minutes
                                           Afternoon of:
20 minutes   Braising time: 4 hours plus 10 minutes to finish
    I love doing long-cooking, wine-infused, meat in the cool months.  It's a wonderful way to get the most out of 'cheap cuts' and, usually it's the cheap, flavorful cuts that we want.  They have the most flavor and get meltingly tender.  I always plan for leftovers.

32oz (960gr) beef roast, chuck or rump,   suitable for stewing or braising   
1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 rib celery
2 bay (laurel) leaves
1 tbs juniper berries
1 tsp black peppercorns   whole black pepper
1 bottle Chianti - a lesser version of what you want to drink, if possible
1 tbs olive oil
4oz (120gr) mushrooms
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes 
3 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 3 tbs water or reserved marinade

The night before:  Remove any big chunks of fat from beef, cut into large pieces, about 3" (8cm).   Put the beef into a bowl just large enough to hold it.  Slice the onion, carrot and celery and add to beef.  Add the bay leaves, juniper berries and peppercorns.    Pour enough of the red wine over to completely cover the beef, cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 12 hours. (24 or 36 is okay).
The afternoon of:  4 1/2 hours before dinner take the meat out of the marinade and let drain, reserving all of the marinade.   Heat oil in the braising pot.  Add beef and brown well, about 15 minutes total.  Strain the vegetables, reserving marinade.  Add vegetables to the beef.  Open and drain the tomatoes.  Roughly chop the tomatoes and add to beef.  Clean mushrooms.  Roughly chop and add to beef.  Add 1/2 of the reserved marinade, cover, reduce heat and let simmer, gently, for 4 hours.  Check it periodically and add more reserved marinade as needed and / or wine as needed.  It should almost cover the beef.  I used all but about 1 cup. 
Finishing:  Remove beef from pan and keep warm.  Strain vegetables, reserving wine/pan juices.  Skim off any excess fat if you can (use a spoon or fat separator), then put juices in a saucepan.  Heat juices to boiling.  Slowly add cornstarch mixture to thicken.  You probably won't need all of it so stop periodically and let it cook to test consistency.  Remove bay leaves from vegetables and discard.  Add reserved vegetables to saucepan and heat through.  Arrange some of the beef on a platter.  Spoon some sauce around and serve, extra sauce on the side.  

Three:  Butternut Squash, Brie and Ham Quiche   Preparation, cooking time:  60 minutes
      The rice makes a lovely crust, much healthier than the traditional pastry.  This goes together quickly if you have the rice cooked earlier - just refrigerate until needed.

1/2 cup quick-cooking brown rice or Basmati
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
4 eggs
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded cheese
8oz (240gr) shredded butternut squash
5oz (150gr) baked or deli ham
3oz (90gr) Brie or Camembert cheese
2 tbs fresh, snipped sage   substitute 1 tbs dried
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) milk

The Crust: Cook rice in stock according to package instructions. When done, spread out on a plate for 5 minutes to allow to cool a bit.
Lightly oil a 10" (25 cm) pie or quiche plate. Lightly whisk 1 egg. Add 1/4 cup shredded cheese and the cooked rice. Mix well. Pat into the quiche plate, working it up the sides as best you can. Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 8 minutes. Remove.
The Filling: Cut ham into strips and cheese into slices.  Shred the squash using the large holes on a grater.  Whisk 3 eggs and milk together.
To assemble: When crust is done, remove from oven.  Spread squash evenly over the crust.  Lay the ham on the squash and the cheese on the ham.  Sprinkle the sage over all.
Pour the egg mixture over as evenly as you can. Bake for 30 minutes, until center has just set. Remove and let rest 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Note:  I usually put the quiche dish on a baking sheet to make it easier to handle – it gets kind of full.

Four:  Chicken Enchiladas with Avocado            Preparation and cooking time: 40 minutes
   Using both green chilies and pimiento adds plenty of 'chili' flavor but without the heat.  Add some fiery peppers if you like, the yogurt and avocado are there to temper it.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 onion
1 rib celery
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chili powder
1 tbs olive oil
4oz (120gr) pimiento
4oz (120gr) green chilies  or something hotter if your prefer
1 cup (4oz, 120gr) shredded cheddar
1 tsp oregano
1 cup (8oz, 240gr) Greek yogurt, divided    you may not use it all
1 - 2 jars hot or mild taco or enchilada sauce  8 - 10 oz each  (300 gr)
4 corn or wheat tortillas
1 avocado

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.  Chop the onion and celery.  Mince the garlic.  Drain the chilies and pimiento.  Roughly chop chilies and pimiento if whole. 
Heat 2 tsp oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add chili powder, onion, garlic, celery.  Sauté until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken and sauté until chicken is cooked through.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add green chilies,  pimiento, 1/4 cup shredded cheddar, 1/4 cup yogurt, and mix well. 
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 chicken mixture onto the tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down in the oiled baking dish.  Repeat with remaining three tortillas.  Pour sauce over the top - how much depends on your taste.  I use 1 jar now and the rest as additional sauce at the table.  Sprinkle with oregano and cheddar. 
Cover with foil and bake at 400F  (200C) for 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is bubbly.
To Serve: Cut avocado into cubes.  Put 2 enchiladas on each plate, add half the avocado and half the remaining yogurt.

 Five:  Pork Chops with Maple Syrup                     Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
   I used boneless chops for this, about 1/2" (1.25cm) thick.  They cooked quickly, but, remember, slightly pink pork is okay, and keeps it tender and moist. If you don't have maple syrup you can use honey, or even brown sugar.  It's a simple, flexible recipe!

2 - 4 pork chops, depending on size, 12oz (360gr) total weight  (I used 2 boneless)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef stock
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) white wine
1 tbs maple syrup (or honey)
1 tbs course grain mustard  (or Dijon-style mustard)
1 tbs fresh or dried sage
2 tsp cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 1 tbs water

In medium nonstick skillet heat oil over medium heat.  Add pork chops and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes each.  Add beef stock, wine, maple syrup, mustard and sage.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Uncover and remove chops to small platter.  Cover to keep warm.  Increase heat under skillet.  Dissolve cornstarch in water and stir into simmering sauce.  Spoon some sauce over chops and serve, remaining sauce on the side.

Six:   Stuffed Bell Peppers, Oriental Style         Preparation and cooking time:  40 minutes
   Stuffed Bell Peppers don't always have to have tomato sauce and cheese on them.  Choose whatever color pepper you like.  You could substitute Basmati or regular rice for the brown. Try to get 4-sided peppers, they are easier to stuff and lie flat .  

6oz (180gr) ground beef/turkey/sausage
2 bell peppers  any color
1 medium onion
1 rib celery   optional
1 tbs chopped fresh ginger     substitute 1/2 tsp dried, ground ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/3 - 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts I don't know what size tin you can buy but I use 1 small tin.
2 tbs soy sauce, divided
1 1/2 cups (12oz. 360ml) chicken stock, divided
2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena), divided
1 cup cooked brown rice    see below

Cook rice. 
Cut peppers in half the long way (try to find the best flat sides before cutting so that they will lay nicely) and remove stem end and seeds.  Set aside (do not blanch). 
Peel and chop onion and garlic.  Chop celery.  Sauté onion, celery and garlic over medium heat in large skillet.  Skillet must be large enough to hold all pepper halves, when they are stuffed, in one layer.  When onions start to become translucent add ginger, water chestnuts and meat.  Break meat up as it cooks.  When meat is cooked add 1 tbs soy sauce and 1/4 cup chicken stock. Dissolve 1 tbs cornstarch in 1/4 cup chicken stock.   Add to the skillet and stir well, cooking until it thickens.  Add rice when rice is done, mix well. 
Fill peppers with meat and rice (set on a plate while you work).  Once all peppers are filled using all of the beef and rice, put the peppers back into the same pan (filled side up, in one layer).  Pour remaining 1 cup of chicken stock around peppers in skillet, cover, return to heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until peppers are tender. 
Remove peppers.  Dissolve remaining 1 tbs cornstarch in remaining 1 tbs soy sauce (add 1 tbs water to make it easier).  Bring stock left in pan to a boil.  Add cornstarch mixture and stir, cooking until thick.  Serve peppers with sauce on the side.

Note: If you have any of the beef and rice left after filling peppers (as always, depends on size of peppers) just remove from skillet, keep it warm and serve on the side also.

Brown Rice  use quick cooking rice - it will cook in the time it takes to sauté the meat. The rice I use takes about 15 minutes. .

1/3 cup quick cooking brown rice
2/3 cup (5oz, 150ml) beef stock -or stock and water mixed, check your package for correct quantity

Cook rice in stock according to package directions.

Suggested menus:

One:   Butternut Squash with Walnuts and Cheese 
Smoked Salmon Kedgeree
Hungarian Style Broccoli
   Stuffed Mushrooms
Beef Braised in Chianti 
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
White Balsamic Glazed Carrots
Three:  Butternut Squash, Brie and Ham Quiche
Fresh Fruit
Four:   Chicken Enchiladas with Avocado
Five:  Pork Chops with Maple Syrup
Pasta with Browned Butter and Pepper
Broccoli with Yogurt Mustard
Six:  Stuffed Bell Peppers, Oriental Style 

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