Sunday, October 28, 2012

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Pomegranate and Sage



This recipe comes from one of Mario Batali’s cookbooks that I was paging through over the summer . I can’t recall the name of it, but I did manage to take a picture of this recipe to work off of.  The original recipe calls for orange zest instead of lemon zest, but I couldn’t find any decent oranges. Also it calls for 6 game hens, which seems like quite a lot. I made it with two, though you could probably add a third without any hassle. I had to cook the birds for about ten minutes longer than the recipe calls for, probably due to the hens not being 100% defrosted when I started. The recipe below contains the cooking times as written.

Ingredients:
2 or 3 cornish game hens
Seeds of 1 large pomegranate
1 cup sweet marsala
1 tablespoon fresh mint
6 cornish game hens
8 tablespoons butter (divided)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves
Zest of ½ lemon

Method:
In a bowl, cover the pomegranate seeds with the marsala. Mix in the chopped mint. Cover, and let sit for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Remove the wishbone from each of the hens (optional, but it makes it easier to split them in half when serving), and season with salt and pepper, including inside the cavity. Drain the pomegranate seeds, reserving the marsala for later. Stuff the cavities with half the pomegranate seeds, reserving the rest. Truss the birds with kitchen twine.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium high. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, and the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then toss in 2 of the sage leaves for about 30 seconds. Place the birds in the pan, browning on all sides (should take about 7 minutes altogether). Add the remaining pomegranate seeds and sage leaves to the pan.

Transfer the skillet to the oven, and roast for 7 minutes. Remove the pan, and drizzle on ¼ cup of the reserved marsala, dot the birds with 2 tbsp butter, and baste on some of the pan juices. Return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes, or until the juices in the bird’s thigh run clear.

While the birds are cooking, slice the lemon zest into ¼” strips. Heat a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water in it, and whisk in the remaining butter 1 tablespoon at a time to emulsify. Add the lemon zest. Keep the mixture warm until ready to serve.

To serve the birds, split them in half down the middle, spoon on some of the pan juices and pomegranate seeds over top. Serve with roasted potatoes and vegetables, and spoon some of the butter sauce over everything.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crespelle Bolognese


This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, with some tweaks.  This is basically lasagna Bolognese, but with crespelle (aka crepes) in place of pasta. Or if you prefer, Italian enchiladas.

Bolognese
¾ pound ground beef
1 large carrot, diced
½ onion, diced
1 medium leek, cleaned and chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz can tomatoes (3 cups)
Salt
Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook the carrot for 2 minutes, add the onion, cook for 2 minutes more, add the leek, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until the onions are translucent and the carrots softened. Add the beef, and cook until the meat is no longer pink, stirring to incorporate everything. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cup of milk, and grate the nutmeg into the sauce. Cook until the milk is fully evaporated. Add the wine, cooking until all the liquid evaporates again. Add the tomatoes, and cook the sauce on a light simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours.

Crespelle:
1 cup milk
¾ cup flour
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon of salt

Put the milk in a bowl, and sift in the flour, whisking to remove any lumps in the mixture. Beat the 2 eggs in a separate bowl, then whisk to incorporate. Season with salt. Place the bowl in the fridge for an hour. When you’re ready to cook the crespelle, put a non-stick pan over medium heat, and coat with non-stick spray (or use butter). Ladle between 1/8 and ¼ cup of the batter into the center of the pan, swirling to spread the batter in a circle. Cook for about 45 seconds/side, until they start to get some color on them.

Bechamel:
1.5 cups milk
2 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp flour
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg

Heat the milk to almost boiling in a saucepan. In a different pan, melt the butter and add the flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2 minutes, until the roux gets some color on it. Add the hot milk, 2 tbsp at a time, whisking to incorporate. When about ½ cup of the milk had been added, go ahead and add the rest. Keep whisking. Cook for a few minutes until the b├ęchamel reaches the desired consistency – in this case, about as thick as sour cream.

Assembly:
Place a spoon full of Bolognese in a crepe, and roll it up like a burrito. Spoon the b├ęchamel over the crespelle, then top with grated parmesan. Position your oven rack on the upper third of the oven, and cook at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes (to warm through – mine was in the fridge beforehand, so it took closer to 15 minutes), then turn on the broiler and cook for about 2 minutes, until the top starts to brown.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs


 

2.5 lbs bone in beef short ribs, cut into pieces
1 large white onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped
1 can tomato paste
1 750 ml bottle red wine (I used a Chianti)
5 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs thyme
2 leaves sage
2 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, roughly sliced
4 cups beef stock
Flour
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flour with salt and pepper in a bowl and dredge the short ribs. Heat a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high, add some oil, and brown the short ribs on all sides, working in batches. Transfer the browned ribs to a plate.

Turn the heat down to medium, and add the carrots, leeks, and onion and cook for 5 minutes. Move the vegetables to one side of the pot and add the tomato paste, allowing to caramelize, 2-3 minutes. Stir the paste into the veggies. Add the red wine to deglaze, then add the beef back into pot along with the garlic, herbs and beef stock. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer to oven.

Cook the ribs until tender, 2 to 2.5 hours.  Remove the pot from the oven, taste and add sugar if needed, and adjust salt and pepper. Transfer the ribs to a platter. Strain the sauce into a bowl or measuring cup, and spoon the fat from the surface of the sauce and discard. Serve meat over garlic mashed potatoes and spoon over some sauce.