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Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

15 Aug

Will you look at this. Just look at it. In fact, click on it to embiggen, then drool. I’ll wait.

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Spaghetti squash is where it’s at, my friends. Stuffed as pictured, or as a pasta replacement with bolognese, or just by itself with butter and garlic. It’s AMAZING. Once you get past the slightly-scary process of cutting it in half stem-to-butt, it’s really easy to prepare. And I have a tip for that cutting thing.

One thing to note about this recipe, I usually only use one half of the squash to make two generous servings for me and my husband, with a portion left over for lunch the next day (OH MY GOD SUCH GOOD LEFTOVERS). After cooking wrap the other half (shredded and removed to a bowl, or intact) and place it in the fridge for another use. It heats up extremely well.

Ingredients:
– One medium spaghetti squash
– 1 TBSP olive oil
– Two cups cooked chicken, shredded (I like using a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
– 1/2 cup green chile enchilada sauce (we love 505 Hatch Valley Green Chile Sauce)
– 1/4 cup diced green chiles (we love 505 Hatch Valley Flame Roasted Green Chile)
– 2 green onions, sliced thinly
– 1/2 cup frozen corn (we love Trader Joe’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn with Cotija)
– 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
– 2 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped (or 1 TBSP dried)
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Whatever arsenal of hot sauces you enjoy for garnish

(I’m not kidding about the arsenal thing.)
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Prepare spaghetti squash

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray (I cover mine in foil first for easy cleanup)
2. Trim stem ends so the squash can sit upright on a cutting board
3. Using a paring knife, poke a dashed line down each side of the squash where you’ll be cutting
4. Place squash in the microwave and cook on high for two minutes
5. Remove from microwave and cut down along the scored lines, cutting the squash in half
6. Remove seeds and fibers from the squash halves
7. Brush each side with olive oil, and sprinkle with your selection of spices, salt and pepper (I use Tastefully Simple’s Garlic Garlic Seasoning, salt and pepper, and a few dashes of Tabasco)
8. Place each half cut side down on the cookie sheet. Place in the preheated oven and roast for 40 minutes for smallish squash, or 45 minutes for largeish squash
9. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then use a fork or tongs to shred one half of the squash. Place shredded squash in a large bowl. Save the other half for a future use.

Prepare Chicken Enchilada stuffing

1. While the squash is roasting, heat olive oil in a medium skillet.
2. Combine chicken, enchilada sauce, green chiles, green onions, corn, black beans, and cilantro in the skillet and heat until bubbly
3. Toss mixture in the bowl with the shredded spaghetti sauce strands until combined, then spoon all of it back into the squash shell
4. Top with shredded cheese, and return to oven. Broil under medium setting for about five minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
5. Remove from oven, cut squash shell in half, and serve each half on individual plates with salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste

Lemon Thyme Chicken with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Artichoke Hearts

11 May

Bill and I were getting bored with the same recipes, and he has a favorite Lemon Thyme Chicken dish he gets all the time at a local restaurant. This was my attempt at – not recreating it, exactly – re-imagining it and (as he said) improving upon it. Take the time to roast the Brussels sprouts beforehand and add them into the dish at the end, it really improves the flavor. And, seriously, use cast iron skillets for the sprouts and the chicken. Things brown and caramelize so very nicely!

Makes two hefty servings with leftovers for lunch the next day.

Ingredients:

For the Brussels sprouts-
– One pound medium sprouts – ends trimmed, cut in half
– 2 TBSP olive oil
– 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– salt and pepper to taste

For the Lemon Thyme Chicken-
– Two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts – each cut in half lengthwise
– 1 TBSP dried Italian seasoning
– 1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped
– 1.5 tsp garlic powder
– 1 tsp black pepper
– Juice of one large lemon (2-3 TBSP)
– 1 cup heavy cream
– 1.5 cups chicken broth or stock, separated
– 2 TBSP sun dried tomatoes (the kind jarred in olive oil), chopped
– One 6.7 oz jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (I like Mezzetta Grilled)
– Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare the Brussels sprouts:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the sprouts and toss to coat. Pour the sprouts into a large cast-iron skillet lightly coated with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring and turning the sprouts once halfway through the cooking time. Remove from oven and allow to rest in the skillet while the rest of the meal is prepared.

To prepare the chicken:

In a small bowl, combine the Italian seasoning, thyme, garlic powder, and pepper. Divide the mixture and reserve one half of it for later. Using your hands, rub the other half of the seasoning into the four strips of chicken. Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Cook chicken over medium heat about 5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.

Still over medium heat, use 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Add the remaining broth, lemon juice, and remaining seasoning mixture. Slowly whisk in the cream and continue to whisk until mixture begins to simmer and thicken. Still stirring, add in the sun dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Return the chicken to the skillet (Bill prefers that I use a spatula to cut the chicken into large-ish chunks at this point), and add in the roasted Brussels sprouts. Toss everything in the sauce to coat. Remove the skillet from the heat and cover with a large lid. Allow to rest for about five minutes to thicken and allow the flavors to mingle. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with rice pilaf or on top of noodles.

Chicken and Sausage Baked Skillet

14 Nov

An excellent, all-in-one skillet meal that’s delicious and comforting on a chilly evening. Make sure you marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours, up to 24. Choose your preferred heat of Italian sausage, we tend to go with mild. Serves 2-4, depending on how starving you are. Leftovers are fabulous.

Skillet Ingredients:
– 2 medium chicken breasts
– 2 links of Italian sausage, cut in half lengthwise
– 4-6 red potatoes, quartered

Marinade Ingredients:
– 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
– 3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
– 1/3 cup olive oil (if you have a hot flavor of olive oil, it works well with this recipe)
– 2 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire
– 1 tsp prepared horseradish
– 2 tbsp salsa
– 4 slices jarred jalapeno, plus 1 tbsp of the jar liquid
– 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
– A generous helping of freshly ground pepper
– A dash of salt
– 1 lemon

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Add all ingredients except for lemon into a large ziploc bag. Cut the lemon into quarters, squeeze the juice into the bag, then put the rinds in with the rest of the marinade ingredients. Seal the bag, squish it all around to mix the ingredients, open it up and put the chicken breasts inside, seal it and squish it around again, then put it in the fridge to marinade.

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator (but leave it in the bag of marinade) while you prep the rest of the meal. Wash and quarter the potatoes, and cut the sausages in half lengthwise. Dump the chicken, marinade and all, into a large cast iron skillet, then pick out the lemon rinds. Place the potatoes and sausages among and around the chicken, and stir a bit to coat with the marinade.

Place in the center rack of the oven and cook for 45 minutes, turning the chicken and sausages over halfway through. Remove from the oven when the time is up, and stir around a bit to allow the potatoes to help thicken the sauce. You could also use a spatula to cut the chicken and sausages into bite-sized chunks and mix the whole shebang all together.

Serve with your veg of choice, we usually go with asparagus or green beans.

New Mexico Green Chile Stew

27 Aug

Another great recipe from The Pink Adobe, slightly modified.

My husband was in Santa Fe last week, and had a meal (or two) at our favorite restaurant, The Pink Adobe. He raved about their New Mexico Green Chile Stew (and took a photo of it, and sent it to me, and rubbed in the fact that he was dining deliciously while I was making do with plate full of sauteed snap peas and green beans – I eat weirdly when he’s out of town). So last weekend we procured the ingredients and set out to recreate the dish.

A few things to note: First, I HIGHLY recommend roasting your own (Hatch) green chiles. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never done it – it’s incredibly easy and you will NEVER EVER buy canned or frozen green chiles again. The second thing to note – you could use canned peeled whole tomatoes, but it’s SUPER easy to peel your own fresh tomatoes, and I think it improves the flavor. And third, this stew is incredibly versatile – you can use pork, chicken, or beef. It would probably taste great with some roasted corn thrown in there, too, or some whole black beans (or both). But made just as I describe below, it was so damned good that my husband and I stood over the pot dipping torn pieces of flour tortilla into the stew and OH MY GOD-ing until we finally wrenched ourselves away to watch football.

How to roast green chiles: Preheat your oven’s broiler (mine has a low, medium and high setting – I used the medium setting). Make sure the oven rack is at the highest level (closest to the heating elements). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Wash and dry the chiles, and line them up on the baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and keep an eye on them. Roast for 3-5 minutes, until the chiles are about 70% charred.

Green chiles roasting under the broiler

Green chiles roasting under the broiler

Use tongs to flip the chiles over, and roast the other side for another 3-5 minutes. This should ABSOLUTELY NOT take more than 10 minutes at the outside. You don’t want them burned, just nicely charred. Again using tongs, transfer the whole chiles to a (non-metal) bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the chiles to “steam” for 20 minutes. Then, remove the chiles from the bowl and peel the charred skin away with your fingers – it should come off very easily. Remove the stem, split the chiles in half, and remove the seeds (I used my fingers). That’s all there is to it!

Green chiles, roasted and peeled

Green chiles, roasted and peeled

How to peel fresh tomatoes: Get a pot of water boiling on the stove (enough to submerge the tomatoes a couple at a time). Fill a large bowl with water and ice (large enough to submerge the tomatoes). De-stem and wash whole tomatoes. Cut a small X through the skin on the bottom of each tomato (side opposite the stem). Drop tomatoes, a couple at a time, into the boiling water. Count to fifteen-Mississippi (time for fifteen seconds). Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the boiling water and transfer them immediately to the ice water. Submerge them for 10 seconds and remove immediately (otherwise they get waterlogged). Grab the corners of the cut skin on the bottom of the tomatoes and peel down – the skins should peel off easily. And that’s all there is to that! (Here’s a good video tutorial.)

On to the stew…

Ingredients:

– 2 lbs boneless pork (we used a pork shoulder), cut into 1-inch square pieces
– 2 TBSP olive oil
– 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
– 1 tsp minced garlic
– 1/4 cup flour
– 3 small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch square pieces
– 2 cups roasted green (Hatch) chiles (about six large), peeled and cut into a large dice
– 2 cups (about five medium) peeled fresh tomatoes, quartered, de-seeded, then each quarter cut in half
– 1 fresh jalapeno, de-seeded/de-veined and finely chopped
– 1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth (we used home made)
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– salt and pepper to taste

Veggies

Pork shoulder

Directions:

In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides. Add the onion and garlic to the pork and stir to combine. Incorporate the flour, stirring constantly for about two minutes. Add the potatoes, chiles, tomatoes, jalapeno, and chicken broth. Stir to combine, and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Stir in the sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on a low simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1.5 hours, or until the pork is tender. Adjust seasoning as needed.

All the ingredients in the pot!

All the ingredients in the pot!

The finished stew, ready to eat!

The finished stew, ready to eat!

If you can POSSIBLY STAND IT, make the stew a day ahead of time. Let it cool completely, then put it in the refrigerator overnight. Reheated the next day, the flavors have had time to really develop. Serve with flour tortillas. You’ll notice that the chiles, onions and tomatoes all but disappear into the almost gravy-like sauce of the stew. If you want larger vegetable pieces use a very large dice. We found that we absolutely loved it the way it was.

Makes about six servings.

The Best Pasta Sauce EVER

26 Oct

My husband and I modified a recipe for pasta sauce that originally appeared in the Pink Adobe Cookbook. The Pink Adobe is a lovely Sonoran restaurant in Santa Fe, along the Old Santa Fe Trail. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out if you’re ever in the area.

This tomato-and-meat based pasta sauce is incredible and excellent atop Rotini noodles. Don’t skimp on the simmering time – it’s needed to develop the full depth of flavor that all of the herbs and spices provide. Trust me, you’ll never crack open a jar of Prego again!!!

Preparation time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves six

Ingredients:

– 1 lb lean ground beef
– 1/2 lb ground pork
– 1 TBSP worcestershire

– 2 stalks of celery, diced
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
– 2 tbsp olive oil

– 1 cup beef broth
– 24-28 oz canned crushed tomatoes (whichever the largest size is in your grocery store)
– 12 oz (two six ounce cans) tomato paste
– 1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 1-2 tsp chili powder (depending on how spicy you like your sauce)
– 1 generous pinch EACH of dried oregano, marjoram, rosemary, basil, cumin, thyme
– 1 bay leaf
– salt and pepper to taste

– grated Parmesan cheese

Preparation:

Brown ground beef and ground pork with the worcestershire in a medium skillet. Drain thoroughly.

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil until shimmery and saute the onion, garlic, and celery until just transparent. Add the beef broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining ingredients (except the cheese), plus the cooked ground beef and pork. Stir to combine.

Bring to a LOW simmer and cook, covered, for one hour. Stir occasionally, and add splashes of beef broth, dark beer or red wine if the sauce seems too thick.

Dig around and try to find and remove the bay leaf before serving. Serve over your pasta of choice and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Eat entirely too much. Unbutton top button of pants. Lay on the couch and groan.

Leftovers the next day are PHENOMENAL.

Buffalo Burgers

4 Oct

I don’t think I’ll ever use ground beef again. These are SERIOUSLY good.

– 1 lb ground buffalo (bison) meat
– 2 tbsp minced garlic (about three cloves)
– 2 tbsp dried minced onion (fresh is good too)
– 2 tbsp Worcestershire
– salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, but try not to handle too much (the meat gets tough). Form meat into three large or four smaller patties. Grill on high heat for 3 minutes per side. Can also be fried or broiled, just keep in mind that buffalo meat cooks faster than ground beef. Serve on buns with your choice of cheese and condiments.

The Best Tuna Casserole Ever. I am so not kidding.

23 Sep

I adapted this recipe from one that I found on Food.com. We usually just do the stove top tuna and noodles, but lately I’ve found myself completely disinterested in eating it once I’ve made it. Enter this gem of a casserole, which I whole-heartedly assure you will be the best thing you put in your mouth today. Heh.

– 12 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked al-dente, drained and rinsed
– 1 can cream of golden mushroom soup (any cream of mushroom soup will do, but I find that the golden stuff adds nice color and flavor) – use the low fat stuff if you’re counting calories
– 3/4 cup evaporated milk
– 1/4 cup mayonnaise (low fat is ok)
– 1/4 cup sour cream (low fat is ok)
– 1/4 cup water
– 2 five-ounce cans of tuna, drained
– 1/2 packet of dry Lipton onion soup mix
– 1 1/2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, separated
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire
– 1 tsp Tabasco
– 1/2 tsp celery salt
– 1 tsp black pepper
– Optional – 1 cup of frozen baby peas or vegetable medley, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl mix all ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and folding the cooked pasta in last after everything else has been mixed well. Pour everything into a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for thirty minutes. Serve hot – serves up to six.

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

23 Feb

My clean kitchen

My clean kitchen

So remember how a couple of weeks ago – okay, more like a month ago – I was talking about how Amanda and I watched “Julie and Julia” and how I now simply HAD TO make Boeuf Bourguignon but I couldn’t because I didn’t have a Le Creuset casserole? Well, apparently my MOST AWESOME AND WONDERFUL NEIGHBOR JOHANNA reads my blog. She is possessed of a Le Creuset casserole the exact type that I required to fulfill my lifelong month-long dream. One afternoon, before I got home from work but AFTER Bill was home from work (this is a key detail), she knocked on the door and presented Bill with this casserole, telling him I could now fulfill my lifelong month-long dream of making succulent, delicious, amazingly wonderfully tasty Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child.

Anyway. So, I walk in the door after work and see this casserole sitting on the kitchen counter. I absolutely FREAKING SQUEE’D, recognizing what it was right away (of course). Bill looked at me like, “Really? It’s that exciting?” I said to him. “You. Did. NOT. You did NOT just buy me a Le Creuset casserole???? YOU DID NOT!” To which Bill responded with, “Well… no. I did not. Johanna read that you needed one to make that beef thingy you wanted to make, so she brought this over for you to borrow.” So, I was momentarily deflated, but unsurprised, because it would have been 1) a really big friggin’ shock if Bill had known me THAT well, to know how much I wanted one of these;, 2) had somehow kept the $350 purchase a secret from me; 3) had actually surprised me with it on, like, a Tuesday afternoon for no reason whatsoever.

And then I was all, HOW AWESOME IS JOHANNA???

Johanna's Le Creuset Casserole

Johanna's Le Creuset Casserole

She is the best. neighbor. EVER.

A couple of weeks passed before I had the opportunity to make the dish. Yesterday turned out to finally be the day, so I got started at noon on the button, the better to ascertain the timing of the preparation and cooking of Boeuf Bourguignon ala Julia Child. I looked up the recipe. I studied it. I pondered it. Then I went about changing things, because that’s just how I roll.

I kind of borrowed the best bits from the method of Julia Child and the method of Ina Garten, and made this recipe easier to deal with. For one, hey Julia? What the heck is a “lardon” of bacon? Is bacon even sold in solid chunks anymore? And why the heck did it need to be boiled? I just provided instructions to dice and sauté the bacon, which is what Ina recommended.

Also, Julia had much more complicated instructions for the onion and mushrooms, added near the end of the stew’s cooking time. Rather than fool with simmering the onions in broth for an hour, I just instructed that they be sautéed in olive oil and herbs. Your mileage may vary, if you’re using fresh whole pearl onions and you’re concerned that sautéing them won’t soften them enough to be added to the stew, then go ahead and use the instructions Julia provided.

Speaking of herbs, Julia seemed to like to use fresh, tied in sprigs, and then removed at the end. I like my herbs to remain in my dish, so I subbed for dried. Also, Julia wanted me to drain the stew of its broth and make separate sauce to be added back in, whereas Ina provided instructions for thickening the stew right in the pot. I went with the latter.

My family dislikes onions so I didn’t add the pearl onions in at the end, just the mushrooms.

Finally, Ina’s recipe called for the meat to be cooked for 1 ¼ hours at 250 degrees, where Julia’s was for 3-4 hours at 325. I very much doubted the meat would be done per the time and temp Ina indicated (I was right), so I went for the 325 degree setting and the meat was done at 3 ¼ hours. I started cold (with all the cutting/slicing/prepping yet to do) at noon exactly, and the food was ready to eat at 4:45 p.m.

Ingredients for Beef Burgundy

Ingredients for Beef Burgundy

Ina’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/beef-bourguignon-recipe/index.html
Julia’s recipe: http://www.recipezaar.com/Boeuf-Bourguignon-a-La-Julia-Child-148007

Of course, as soon as I finished chopping and cutting and slicing all of the ingredients (primarily the bacon and the beef), the new knife set that I was waiting for was finally delivered. I’d hope to break them in on this dish, but the timing was off. Still, aren’t they pretty?

Chicago Fusion Cutlery

Chicago Fusion Cutlery

My recipe:

• 8-12 ounces center cut bacon, diced
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2.5-3 lbs lean stewing beef (such as chuck roast), cut into 2-inch cubes
• 1 carrot, peeled and sliced (or 12 baby carrots, halved)
• 1 onion, peeled and sliced (my family dislikes onions, so I just quartered a large sweet onion and left it in chunks so they could pick it out)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
• 2-3 cups beef stock or broth
• 1 tablespoon tomato paste
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf
FOR THE BRAISED ONIONS
• 18-24 white pearl onions, peeled (again, my family dislikes onions so skipped the additional onions – frozen onions can also be used, drain and thaw first)
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• salt & fresh ground pepper
• ½ tsp tried thyme
• 1 tbsp dried parsley
FOR THE SAUTEED MUSHROOMS
• 1 lb mushroom, quartered (or halved if the mushrooms are small)
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Put one tablespoon of olive oil in a large (9″ – 10″ wide, 3″ deep) oven-proof casserole (such as a Le Creuset) and warm over moderate heat.
3. Sauté the bacon for about ten minutes to brown and lightly crisp.

cooking bacon

cooking bacon

4. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
5. Dry off the pieces of beef and sauté them in several batches in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. It’s important that the beef be dry or it will not brown properly. And we’re talking about cooking, like, ten or twelve pieces at a time, darlings. Don’t crowd the meat.

Dry the beef well between layers of paper towels.

Dry the beef well between layers of paper towels.

Brown the meat a little at a time.

Brown the meat a little at a time.

6. Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon. You are now done with the most labor-intensive part of the recipe.

Browned beef and bacon.

Browned beef and bacon.

7. In the same oil/fat, sauté the onion and the carrot until softened. Remove vegetables to a side plate.

Cooking onion.

Cooking onion.

Cooking carrots.

Cooking carrots.

8. Pour off the fat and return the bacon and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion.
9. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.

Add flour to the beef and veggie mixture.

Add flour to the beef and veggie mixture.

10. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
11. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.
12. Now, lower the oven heat to 325°F and remove the casserole from the oven.
13. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Scrape a spatula or flat whisk along the bottom of the casserole to deglaze the lovely brown bits. This will make for a delicious and nicely-colored sauce.
14. Add the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.
15. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove.

Beef Burgundy, getting ready to go in the oven.

Beef Burgundy, getting ready to go in the oven.

16. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. Check every hour until desired tenderness is achieved. For us, it’s when the meat falls apart easily.
———-
17. At the end of the meat’s cooking time, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
18. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet. Sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart. Remove to a plate. (I skipped this part.)
19. For the mushrooms, heat the butter and oil over high heat in a large skillet. As soon as the foam begins to subside add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat. Place on plate with onions.

Oil and butter, making a snowflake in the cast iron skillet.

Oil and butter, making a snowflake in the cast iron skillet.

Cooking mushrooms.

Cooking mushrooms.

———-
20. When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven. Skim visible fat from the surface of the sauce, if desired.
21. Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat. Bring to a simmer on the stove and cook for 15 minutes. Skim fat as necessary/desired.
22. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock.
23. If the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency, or dissolve two tbsp of flour in broth and add slowly to the stew. (For the record, the consistency of my dish was perfect and needed neither thickening nor thinning.)

Out of the oven.

Out of the oven.

24. Taste for seasoning.
25. Serve in the casserole or on a warm platter surrounded by noodles, potatoes or rice and garnished with fresh parsley. Offer fresh crusty bread.

Boeuf Bourguignon with egg noodles.

Boeuf Bourguignon with egg noodles.

It turned out really freaking well. Even Bill was all, “Om nom nom nom,” which is the highest accolade he has to offer. I can now cross the making of Boeuf Bourguignon off of my bucket list. And DAMN, I’m buying me one of those casseroles. Price tag be damned.

Prime Rib Roast (Standing Rib Roast) with Au Jus

26 Dec

We first made this for Christmas 2009, and it came out so well we that might never go back to our traditional lobster dinner at Christmas (or at least, not for a few years). I compiled this recipe/method from several different sources. In summary, the roast is marinaded for 24 hours before cooking, then rubbed with a paste and seared at a high temperature to seal in the juices and give it a nice crust, before reducing the cooking temp to roast slowly for the remaining cooking time. The result is nicely pink prime rib steaks that fall away from the bone. It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is, trust me!

Ingredients:

One well-marbled butcher-tied standing rib roast (keep it tied, don’t remove the twine!):
– 6 people – three rib roast – 7-8.5 lbs
– 8 people – four rib roast – 9-10.5 lbs (this is the size I usually make – it repeatedly feeds six hearty servings with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day)
– 10 people – five rib roast – 11-13.5 lbs
– 12 people – six rib roast – 14-16 lbs
– 14 people – seven rib roast – 16-18.5 lbs

Marinade:
1 1/4 cup dry red wine (I personally prefer cabernet sauvignon)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup water

Rub Paste:
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp prepared horseradish
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
(do not salt the roast prior to cooking, it dries it out!)

Basting Liquid:
1 cup beef broth or stock
1/4 cup dry red wine

Au Jus:
Juices from the roast
2 tbsp of fat from the juices (discard remainder)
3 cups beef stock or good quality beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
salt and pepper to taste

Tools/Utensils:
One large, high sided (about three inches) roasting pan, no rack necessary
One instant read meat thermometer (absolutely required!)
One flat whisk (recommended)
One VERY sharp carving knife (absolutely required, serrated works best!)
Two large meat forks

Instructions:

1. 24 HOURS before cooking the roast, mix all of the ingredients for the marinade in a large bowl. Place the roast inside a very large tupperware container with a lid. Pour the marinade over the roast, flip it a few times to coat, cover, and place in the refrigerator. Turn the roast several times over the 24-hour period to evenly marinate the meat.

2. TWO HOURS before putting the roast in the oven, remove it from the refrigerator, pat it dry, place it in the roasting pan you’re going to use, cover it loosely with tinfoil, and allow it to sit out on the counter. The meat will cook more evenly, and more quickly, if it’s put into the oven at room temperature.

3. When it’s time to put the roast in the oven, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, mix together all of the ingredients for the rub paste. Thoroughly rub all sides and both ends of the rib roast, then place it bone side down/fat side up in the roasting pan. Place it in the oven and roast at 450 for fifteen minutes.

4. After fifteen minutes, turn the oven down to 325 degrees and finish cooking for the remaining time.

5. Baste the roast every half-hour with the broth and wine.

6. Cook until the internal temperature reads 120 degrees F with the instant read thermometer. APPROXIMATE times are as follows, but always use the thermometer reading over the cooking time. Start checking the temperature of the roast a half-hour before the end of the cooking time indicated below:

7-8.5 lbs – 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours
9-10.5 lbs – 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours (for a four-rib roast mine is usually at 120 degrees F right at two hours)
11-13.5 lbs – 2 1/4 to 2/3/4 hours
14-16 lbs – 3 to 3 1/4 hours
16 to 18.5 lbs – 3 1/4 to 4 hours

7. When the thermometer reads 120 degrees, remove the roast from the oven, place on a cutting board or rimmed cookie sheet, and tent tightly with foil for 15-20 minutes. The roast will continue to cook slightly as it rests, so it’s important to remove the roast from the oven at 120 degrees internal temperature.

8. While the roast is resting, make the au jus. Pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a measuring cup to allow fat and juices to separate. DO NOT clean out the browned bits from the roasting pan, they’re what give the au jus color and flavor. Place the roasting pan over two burners turned to medium heat. Pour in two tablespoons of the fat (discard the rest), the roast juices, the beef broth, and the wine. Using a flat whisk, scrape up all the browned bits from the pan and incorporate into the liquid. Simmer on medium heat for about five minutes to slightly thicken the au jus. Remember, au jus is NOT thick like gravy, it’s more broth-like. Once thoroughly mixed and heated through, pour au jus from the pan into a gravy boat.

9. To carve the prime rib roast, cut off the twine holding the roast onto the bone. Using a large meat fork, stand the roast on its side with the ends of the bones facing upward. The bones should fall away from the roast itself (like opening a book), held onto the meat at the base (or “spine” of the book). Slice the bones away from the base of the meat so that they separate in one piece together. Save the bones for nibbling on, or making soup.

10. Slice the roast across the grain to whatever thickness you prefer. Serve on large plates and drizzle with au jus. Offer prepared horseradish on the side.

Recommended sides: mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables (asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli), baked potato soup, green salad.

Baked Orange Roughy

11 Jun

This is a light, simple fish entree that pairs well with roasted vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts – something green to brighten up the plate). Serve with rice pilaf or a dinner salad.

Serves two, generously.

– Two fillets of orange roughy (about one pound total)
– Two tsp olive oil
– Two tbsp salted butter
– Two tbsp garlic, finely minced
– Salt
– Lemon pepper, or regular pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Lightly brush both sides of each fish fillet with olive oil and arrange on baking sheet.

Spread one tbsp of garlic on each fillet, then dot each with one tbsp butter. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Place in pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until fish is no longer opaque and flakes easily with a fork.