Tag Archives: entrée

Sous Vide Pork Loin Roast with Garlic Herb Rub

This recipe for sous vide pork loin roast with a garlic herb rub produces the juiciest, most flavorful pork roast you’ve ever had! Just 3-5 hours at 140 degrees F for a perfect medium roast.

FYI, if you purchase a roast bigger than 4 pounds, it is recommend you cut it in half to make it easier to work with. You can freeze the other half or vacuum seal them in different bags and cook them together.

As the water bath warms up, the pork loin gets prepped with the garlic rosemary paste and spread all over the meat. The roast is then placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and clipped to the side of the water bath container with the immersion blender.

This table below shows the time pretty much remains the same, but the temp needs to be regulated for your preferred end result. We like ours medium, so when it reached 140° out it came for the final searing treatment. Instead of trusting our not-so-popular broiler, we opted to accomplish the sear in a carbon-steel skillet, making sure to include browning the end caps. A pair of tongs comes in handy to hold the meat steady.

ResultTempTime
Medium Rare130 degrees F3-5 hours
Medium140 degrees F3-5 hours
Medium-Well150 degrees F3-5 hours
Well Done160 degrees F3-5 hours
Our sides included Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup and Sweet Potatoes with Orange and Coriander

Sous Vide Pork Loin Roast with Garlic Herb Rub

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Pork Loin Roast:

  • 3-4 lb. pork loin roast
  • Leaves from 1 sprig rosemary
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil, if necessary

Sauce (optional):

  • Liquid from sous vide bag
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. flaked sea salt

Directions

  1. Preheat a water bath to your desired temp with an immersion circulator. 130F for medium rare, 140F for medium, 150F for medium-well, 160F for well done.
  2. Prepare the rub by adding garlic cloves, rosemary, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to a food processor (or large mortar and pestle) to make a paste. If it needs to be thinned out a bit, add olive oil and continue to process.
  3. Rub this mixture all over the pork loin roast.
  4. Vacuum seal the pork loin roast, or use another air removal method if desired.
  5. Add to water bath and cook for 3-5 hours.
  6. When the roast is done, preheat a large cast-iron or carbon steel skillet. Remove the roast from the water bath and the bag, saving the liquid, and place roast in the skillet. Sear for several minutes on all sides, including the ends, until deeply golden brown.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together the liquid from the bag, lemon juice, parsley, and flaked sea salt.
  8. Slice the pork roast into thick slices and serve with sauce.

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Adapted from a recipe by Chelsea Cole

Sous Vide Rack of Lamb

For rack of lamb that’s evenly medium-rare from edge to edge, sous vide cooking is by far the best approach. It works because slow, precise cooking followed by high heat gives you perfectly even results with a nice dark crust. Basting with butter and aromatics during searing adds flavor to the lamb.

Lamb tends to be leaner and smaller than a steak, which means that it’s even more susceptible to accidental overcooking. All of this makes it an ideal candidate for cooking sous vide, which makes overcooking nearly impossible and perfectly edge-to-edge medium-rare results the norm.

With sous vide, the doneness of a lamb rack is by and large determined by the maximum internal temperature it reaches during cooking. For instance, so long as the interior does not rise above 130°F (54°C), it will never cook beyond medium-rare—which works for us!

The down side? It takes longer. A traditionally cooked rack of lamb goes from fridge to plate in about 30 minutes. A sous vide rack of lamb will take more than an hour, though, with sous vide cooking, this time is almost 100% hands-off. We add thyme or rosemary sprigs, along with sliced shallots and garlic cloves (but no added fats such as butter or oil) to the bags with the lamb during cooking. Adding the same aromatics to the pan as you sear will bolster that flavor further.

Because sous vide techniques cook from edge to edge with more or less perfect evenness, there is no temperature gradient inside. A medium-rare rack of lamb should be 130°F from the very center to the outer edge, with only the outer surfaces hotter after searing. Thus, sous vide lamb can be served immediately after searing.

So have all of your sides ready. Our lamb was paired with the most fabulous Cheesy and Creamy Fennel Gratin and perfectly roasted asparagus.

recipe title=”Sous Vide Rack of Lamb” servings=”4″ time=”2 hr, 15 min” difficulty=”easy”]

Ingredients

  • 2 (8-bone) racks of lamb, about 2 lbs. total
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Aromatics, such as fresh thyme or rosemary sprigs, sliced shallots, and sliced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable, canola, or rice bran oil
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat a sous vide immersion circulator to desired final temperature according to chart above and in notes section. Season lamb generously with salt and pepper. Place racks in two individual sous vide bags, along with herbs, garlic, and shallots, and distribute evenly. Seal bags using a vacuum sealer, or seal plastic zipper-lock bags using the water displacement method. Place bags in preheated water bath (130°F/54°C for medium-rare) for 2 hours.
  2. Remove lamb from bags and carefully pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Add vegetable, canola, or rice bran oil to a heavy cast iron or stainless steel skillet set over the hottest burner you have. Preheat skillet until it starts to smoke. Gently place lamb, meaty side down, in skillet, using your fingers or a set of tongs. (Work in batches if pan is not large enough to accommodate both racks.) Add 1 tablespoon butter per rack, along with fresh aromatics. Sear first side, moving rack around pan and basting it with hot melted butter and herbs, until well browned, 30 to 45 seconds. Flip and brown second side, about 30 seconds longer. Transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet to rest, then repeat with second rack if necessary, using fresh butter and aromatics.
  4. Lamb can be immediately carved and served as directed in step 5. Alternatively, allow it to rest for up to 10 minutes while you set the table. To re-crisp, reheat pan drippings until smoking-hot, then pour them over resting lamb racks just before carving and serving.
  5. Transfer cooked lamb to a cutting board. Carve it by holding rack upright (the bones make a good handle) and slicing down after every two rib bones with a sharp knife. You’ll have to work your knife around a little bit to find the joint between the vertebrae as you reach the bottom. (Don’t force your knife through a bone, or you may chip or dull it.) Serve immediately.
A cheesy fennel gratin and roasted asparagus were the perfect side dishes.

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[/recipe]

Recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt for Serious Eats

Sausage with Cabbage and Fingerlings

This sheet pan dinner actually uses two sheets, but is quite simple and takes only about 45 minutes. It is finished with a decadent brown butter and crisp sage leaves. Any type of sausage links or bratwurst will work, so choose whatever the family prefers.

Not all of our cabbage wedges ended up with some core to hold them together, so we stuck a toothpick through the centers where needed. The directions indicate to let the excess oil drip off the cabbage back into the bowl for the potatoes, but there was hardly any extra so we just added more olive oil for dredging the fingerlings.

The garlic cloves are slightly smashed but left unpeeled. This prevents them from scorching. Afterward, you can either peel the skins and add to the platter (our choice), or discard the cloves altogether.

Sausage with Cabbage and Fingerlings

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil, more if needed
  • 1 small green cabbage, cut into 8 wedges through the core
  • 1 1⁄4 lb. fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 6 unpeeled garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 4 fresh sage sprigs
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 uncooked bratwurst or sausage links
  • 1⁄4 cup butter
  • 20 small sage leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage wedges in the oil. Lay them on their sides on a foil-lined baking sheet, letting the excess drip back into the bowl.
  3. Toss the potatoes in the remaining oil (if there is any, if not, add more oil to the bowl); again letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Set the bowl aside.
  4. Place the potatoes cut-sides down onto a second foil-lined baking sheet. Nestle three garlic cloves and two sage sprigs in each pan. Cover the pans with foil and roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil from the pans. Lightly prick the sausages, toss them in the remaining oil in the bowl, and add to the pan with the cabbage. Roast 15 minutes more.
  6. Turn the cabbage, potatoes and sausage and continue roasting until the vegetables are tender and golden, and the sausages are cooked through (160°F), about 5 minutes more.
  7. Transfer everything to a large platter and tent with foil.
  8. In a small skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until foam just subsides. Add the sage leaves, and cook until the butter is brown and nutty, and the sage is crisp, 30 to 60 seconds.
  9. Spoon the sage butter over contents of platter and serve immediately.

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Recipe from Fine Cooking

Lazy Person’s Peking Duck

We are not particularly lazy cooks in the kitchen, in fact, quite the opposite. But the Molly Stevens Whole Roast Duck with Hoisin Sauce recipe—also dubbed Lazy Person’s Peking Duck—from her All About Roasting cookbook, caught our eye because of that description. We’ve had a duck in the auxiliary freezer for a few months and our mouths were watering for a super-crispy skinned duck feast.

Typically, authentic Peking duck requires a lengthy preparation process. In order to replicate that without putting yourself through the wringer, Molly recreated this version with crackly, crisp skin and the sweet Asian accent of hoisin sauce. However, keep in mind, the seasoned duck will need 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator (so you’ll have plenty of time to be lazy whilst it refrigerates). Well, our duck marinated nearly 54 hours because we had to push the meal off by a day.

The duck slow roasts to render its fat, but prodigious pricking of the skin with a sharp knife also helps release the fat as it melts. Growing up, Mom cooked duck for Sunday supper a few times per year, and I distinctly remember her pricking the duck skin often—I couldn’t wait to enjoy the succulent meat and crispy skin! And that anticipation hasn’t waned a bit all these decades later.

Once done, the meat will almost be falling off the bone, and it will be moist and tender thanks to the natural basting from the bird’s own fat. It’s wise to keep an empty can nearby as you remove the excess fat over the course of the roasting process.

The recipe calls for a 5-6 pound duck to feed four. Ours was much smaller than that at only 3 1⁄2 pounds, yielding about 2 1⁄2 servings. Keep size in mind when planning dinner.

Whole Roast Duck with Hoisin Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For the Spice Rub and Duck

  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. coriander seed, lightly toasted
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1 Pekin (Long Island) duck, 5-6 lbs., giblets removed

For the Glaze

  • 3 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil

Directions

  1. Trim and season the duck: In a mortar or spice grinder, grind the salt, garlic, zest, coriander seeds, five-spice powder, and pepper into a coarse paste.
  2. Make 20 to 30 small slits in the duck skin, using a sharp paring knife held parallel to the surface so that you pierce the skin and fat without cutting into the meat. Be sure to make slits on the back and thighs as well as the breast. Rub about two thirds of the spice mixture into the duck cavity and then rub what remains all over the skin. Set the duck on a rack set over a baking sheet and allow to air-dry in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours.
  3. Heat the oven: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325 degrees F (300 degrees F convection). Let the duck sit at room temperature as the oven heats.
  4. Roast the duck: Arrange the duck breast down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan (about 12 by 14 inches) and roast for 1¼ hours. Remove the pan from the oven and spoon or pour off most of the fat. (A turkey baster can make this job easier.) Using sturdy tongs inserted in the duck’s cavity, flip the duck over. Pierce the skin again all over the breast and legs with a knife. Return the duck to the oven to continue roasting until the meat around the thighs feels tender when prodded (a skewer should penetrate the thigh with no resistance), the legs feel loose in their joints, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (without touching bone) registers 175 degrees F, another 1 to 1¼ hours. (You can roast the duck a day ahead to this point.)
  5. Glaze and blast the duck: Remove the duck from the oven and increase the oven temperature, preferably to 500 degrees F convection, if you have it, or to 525 degrees F standard. In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, orange liqueur, honey, and sesame oil. Carefully transfer the duck (on the roasting rack) to a rimmed baking sheet. Paint the breast and legs with about half the glaze and return the duck to the hot oven. Paint again after 5 minutes, and continue roasting until crispy and mahogany-colored, about 3 minutes in a convection oven, 5 minutes in a standard oven.
  6. Let rest and carve: Transfer the duck to a carving board, ideally one with a trough, and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving. Carving a duck is much like carving a small version of a goose. Be sure each person gets both breast meat and a thigh or leg.
  7. You can use the pre-seasoning and slow roasting method from the Whole Roast Duck with Hoisin Sauce recipe with just about any flavors you like, including just simple salt and pepper. Just be sure to use at least 1 tablespoon of salt per bird in the pre-salting step. Follow the trimming and roasting instructions (steps 1-3). Omit the glaze, but do give the duck that final blast of heat to brown it beautifully.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Recipe compliments of Molly Stevens from her All About Roasting cookbook

Cabbage and Smoked Ham Butt Gumbo

BAM! If you were a connoisseur of food television back in the day, you’ll recognize that phrase from famed chef Emeril Lagasse. The basis for this gumbo recipe hails from Emeril, with a few changes of our own.

It uses an ingredient we had never heard of, filé powder, also known as gumbo filé. It is an herbal powder made from the dried and ground leaves of the sassafras tree, native to eastern North America. Powdered sassafras leaves were first used in cooking by the Choctaw Indians of the Southern U.S. When the Cajuns (Acadians) arrived in Southern Louisiana, they began using the spice as a thickener and flavoring in their soups, stews, and gumbos. It was easy enough to locate at our local supermarket, but you could also order online.

The original called for two ham hocks, but luckily the grocery store was out. Luckily?? The butcher steered us toward a better option, a smoked ham butt, which is all meat and has very little fat. Therefore I renamed the recipe to reflect that switch.

And instead of using chicken stock, we incorporated our homemade ham stock which added oodles of additional flavor. The Emeril Essence you can buy online, get at Target, or make your own from the recipe below, which uses mostly seasonings already in your pantry.

Cabbage and Smoked Ham Butt Gumbo

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage, julienned
  • 2 lbs. smoked ham butt, quartered
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups ham stock, preferably homemade
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz. beer
  • 1 Tbsp. Emeril’s Essence (see recipe below)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 Tbsp. filé powder
  • 2 cups cooked white rice

Directions

  1. Combine the oil and flour in a large cast-iron or enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, over medium heat.
  2. Stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.
  3. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and continue to stir for 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted.
  4. Add the cabbage and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the ham butt quarters, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves. Continue to stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the stock, beer and Essence. Stir until the roux mixture and stock are well combined. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 2 1/2 hours.
  7. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat . Stir in the parsley, green onions, and filé powder.
  9. Remove the bay leaves and ham butt chunks. Shred the ham once cooled enough to handle and place the meat back into the gumbo.
  10. Serve in deep bowls with the rice.

Emeril’s Essence

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yields 2/3 cup.

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Adapted from an online recipe from Emeril Lagasse

Grilled Tarragon Mustard Flank Steak

Our vegetable garden was brimming with an assortment of aromatic herbs and one of them that exploded recently was the tarragon. We often pair tarragon with chicken but thought perhaps steak might make a good companion for a change.

Never used tarragon? It is a leafy green herb that is highly aromatic with a subtle licorice flavor. It adds a fresh, spring taste and a bit of elegance to a variety of recipes, including salad dressings, sauces, fish, chicken, and in this case, a steak dish. In France, it is referred to as “the king of herbs” because of its ability to elevate a dish, and is one of the four herbs in the French mixture fines herbes, a combination of parsley, tarragon, chervil, and chives.

While the cooking time for this recipe is minimal, you want to make sure you leave ample time to marinate the meat so that it gets all happy in those flavors of mustard, white wine, scallions and of course, tarragon.

From mid- to late-summer we often pair our grilled entrées with fresh picked corn and locally grown tomatoes, and this was no exception. The basil was just plucked from our herb garden for the caprese salad, which is also where the tarragon came from.

Grilled Tarragon Mustard Flank Steak

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 2-lb. flank steak
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Dijon or grainy Dijon mustard work really well for this)
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions

  1. Combine oil, wine, mustard, scallions and chopped tarragon in a zipper plastic bag. Add steak, seal bag and rotate until steak is coated.
  2. Marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours and up to overnight, turning the bag over occasionally.
  3. Heat grill to high. Reserve some marinade for basting, discard the rest. Grill steak for 5 minutes per side for medium rare, 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
  4. Rest steak on a moated carving board under foil for 10 minutes (don’t skip this step) and then thinly slice at an angle and against the grain. Arrange on a platter and drizzle any accumulated juices over meat. Serve at once.

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Adapted from recipe for FramedCooks.com

Pan-Seared Steak with Mustard Seeds, Black Pepper, and Rosemary

Super simple, and fabulously flavorful, this riff on pan-seared steak found in Milk Street magazine, is just the ticket to take a dinner from hum-drum to over-the-top! With Father’s Day coming up, it might be just the change your man is looking for. Of course, if he’s hell-bent on grilling, this recipe only works on the stove top because you need to make the fantastic sauce in a pan—which I guess you could improvise on an outdoor grill…

The secret is to build on the spicy mustard seed used as a steak seasoning by making that quick pan sauce with whole-grain mustard, plus a little shallot and butter. Cooking alert: Be sure the pan is off the burner when the butter is whisked into the sauce at the end so the butter doesn’t “break” and become watery. That would be a real bummer…

With our side of Roasted Sweet and Spicy Squash, another flavor-packed recipe, my man exclaimed this might be his new favorite steak meal!

Pan-Seared Steak with Mustard Seeds, Black Pepper, and Rosemary

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 1½ tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 1-lb. beef sirloin strip steaks, trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp. neutral oil
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 1-Tbsp. pieces, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. In a spice grinder, pulse the mustard seeds, peppercorns, rosemary and 1 tablespoon salt until coarsely ground. Season the steaks on all sides with the mixture.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until barely smoking. Add the steaks and brown on both sides until the centers reach 120°F (for medium-rare). Transfer to a platter.
  3. To the skillet, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the shallot. Cook over medium, stirring, until the shallot is softened. Add ⅔ cup water and the Dijon mustard. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened.
  4. Off heat, whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the accumulated steak juices. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice the steaks, return to the platter and pour the sauce over them.

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Adapted by Calvin Cox for Milk Street

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

Looking for a vibrant fish dinner combination? This Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa from Better Homes & Gardens caught our attention immediately. And if you lean toward low-carb, keto-friendly dishes, you may want to put this meal in your rotation.

Choose a firm whitefish option like cod, grouper, or hake. These varieties hold up well to oven-roasting—and topping with a tangy, refreshing fruit salsa. Our original intention was to purchase hake, but the local supermarket didn’t have it and we were to lazy to drive to the other side of town to the Asian fish market and get it, so cod it was.

The recipe calls for four fish fillets, but with only the two of us at the dinner table, we simply bought a one-pounder fillet and split it. As far as the fennel, once roasted, it not only dissipates the licorice flavor (which deters some people from eating it), but it takes on a subtle, sweet flavor, which makes a great counterpoint to the grapefruit salsa.

Roasted Fish and Fennel with Grapefruit Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and cut into thin wedges, plus 2 Tbsp. chopped fronds
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1-inch thick firm white fish fillets, such as cod, grouper, or hake
  • 1 large pink grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil. Add fennel wedges. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt. Arrange in a single layer. Roast 12 to 15 minutes or until starting to brown.
  2. Turn fennel and push to sides. Add fish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine chopped fennel fronds, grapefruit, parsley, shallot, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and black pepper. Serve fish with roasted fennel and the salsa.

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Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns

It’s not often we serve a large ham, but when we do, it’s nice to make it a bit special, such as this Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns by Molly Stevens. After 11 months of still dealing with all of the pandemic restrictions and social isolating, we took a plunge and had good friends Rosanne and Gary over for dinner.

One of the main changes we made to this recipe was the use of our homemade ham stock in place of chicken or veal stock. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s homemade and not the bland canned or boxed varieties.

I want to give a shout out to our company Rosanne and Gary for starting the party with a beautifully plated appetizer and a good bottle of red.

After a first course of Cream of Clery and Celery Root Soup, our sides included Carrots with Maple and Cider Vinegar, and Potato Gratin with Bacon, Gruyere and Leeks. The White-Wine Poached Pears with Lemon and Herbs was just the right light touch to end the feast.

Ham Braised in Madeira with Rosemary & Peppercorns

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. green peppercorns, in brine, rinsed and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 3-inch leafy fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 small or 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 cup dry madeira wine
  • 1 cup chicken or veal stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 6 to 8 lb. bone in ham, fully or partially cooked, preferably shank or rump

Directions

1. Heat the oven to 300 degrees.

2. The aromatics: In a large dutch oven or deep braising pan large enough to hold the ham, heat the oil over medium high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the carrot, onions, and celery. Sauté, stirring a few times, until the vegetables brown on the edges and begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the peppercorns, garlic, rosemary and bay leaf, stir and sauté for another 2 minutes.

3. The braising liquid: Pour in the madeira and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes to meld the flavors and reduce the liquid somewhat. Pour in the stock, bring to a simmer and simmer for another 5 minutes.

4. The braise: Whether you bought a fully cooked or partially cooked (sometimes labeled “ready to cook”) ham will affect the cooking time. Lower the ham into the pot, setting it either flat side down or on its side, whichever fits best. Cover tightly with the lid or heavy duty foil and slide the pot into the lower part of the oven. For a fully cooked ham, braise until fork tender and heated all the way through, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. For a partially cooked ham, braise until the ham is fork tender and an instant-read thermometer reads 155 degrees when inserted in the thickest part of the ham, closer to 2 1/2 hours. (Be careful that the thermometer does not hit the bone, which will give you a falsely high reading.)

5. The finish: Transfer the ham to a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Strain the braising liquid, and discard the vegetables as they will be too salty. Skim as much fat from the surface of the braising liquid as you can without losing patience. Taste, if the liquid tastes a bit weak, pour it into medium saucepan and simmer to reduce until it tastes like a mild broth, 10 to 15 minutes. If the liquid is already tasty as is, set if over a low burner to keep warm. The sauce will not need any salt, in fact, if you do reduce it, be careful not to go too far, as it can quickly become too salty.

6. Serving: Carve the ham into think slices and serve warm or at room temperature with a bit of the warm sauce spooned over the top.

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Recipe from “All About Braising” by Molly Stevens

Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini

A sense of satisfaction comes from the way the spice-infused red wine permeates the beefy ribs and provides a backdrop for the earthy porcini mushrooms and fresh piney taste of rosemary. Truly a cool weather, down-home meal if there ever was one.

Molly Stevens

Thanks to Molly Stevens, we obtained this Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini recipe from her “All About Braising” cookbook.

A classic trio for braising beef—red wine, tomatoes and mushrooms—there’s no cut more suited to this treatment than beefy short ribs. No need to break the bank when choosing the wine, just look for a big red that can hold its own without too much tannin or bitterness, such as Shiraz, Zinfandel (which we used), or a Rhone blend.

DO AHEAD: Keep in mind that the ribs need to marinate for 12 to 24 hours, so you may want to do this step a day (or two) ahead of the planned dinner (or very early the morning of). In addition, the flavor of the short ribs improves if they are braised 1 to 2 days before you serve them. In this case, complete the recipe through Step 6, and after braising, let them cool to room temperature in their braising liquid. Once cool, transfer ribs and sauce to a glass container, cover tightly and refrigerate.

When ready to cook, scrape off almost all of the solidified fat from the surface. Arrange the ribs in a shallow baking dish, along with the sauce; discard spice pack. Cover with foil and bake in center of oven at 375° for 15 minutes. Remove foil, taste sauce for salt and pepper, and baste ribs with sauce. Place back in oven uncovered, to heat for another 10 minutes before serving.

BTW, beef short ribs should not be confused with back ribs or beef spareribs. These two cuts (one from the back and one from the belly) are what are referred to in the trade as “scalped” ribs, meaning nearly all of the meat has been stripped from the bone and there is very little left to eat—not exactly a hearty meal for company.

You’ll want a bed of creamy polenta or silken mashed potatoes over which to ladle the beef and sauce when ready. Our choice was a potato, celery root mash combo along with roasted carrots and cauliflower.

Red-Wine Braised Short Ribs with Rosemary and Porcini

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

MARINADE:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice berries, coarsely crushed
  • 8-10 black peppercorns
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • 2 Tbsp. evoo
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 bottle dry robust red wine, such as Zinfandel or Shiraz
  • 3 1/2-4 lbs. meaty beef short ribs, thick fat trimmed away and silver skin

AROMATICS & BRAISING LIQUID:

  • 1/2 oz. dried poricni mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. evoo
  • 1 large onion, julienned
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 1/2 oz. canned whole tomatoes, chopped and juice reserved or 1 lb plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped w/ juice
  • 2- 3-4″ sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions

  1. Marinade: place bay leaves, allspice, peppercorns and cloves wrapped up in a piece of cheesecloth; tie up.
  2. Sauté onion, celery, carrot and garlic; add wine and cheesecloth bundle. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes; set aside to cool.
  3. Place ribs in a baking dish, season and pour over marinade. Cover and marinate 12-24 hours.
  4. Just before braising, soak mushrooms 20-30 minutes.
  5. Remove ribs from marinade and strain marinade into a bowl. Reserve liquid and cheesecloth bundle; discard vegetables. The ribs will have absorbed a lot of the marinade so you should have about 1 cup marinade.
  6. Make sure ribs are dry and season. Sear until deeply browned on all sides; remove to a plate.
  7. Preheat oven to 375°
  8. Drain mushrooms and squeeze dry; reserve liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms and strain liquid through a coffee filter to catch any dirt or grit; reserve liquid.
  9. Sauté onions; add garlic, tomatoes with juice and mushrooms. Add mushroom and wine liquids and boil until reduce by half. (Since we had no liquid left at the end, we recommend not reducing this liquid.) Return short ribs to pot with any juices. Tuck spice bundle in between ribs and cover with parchment, pressing down.
  10. Cover with a lid and braise on lower rack of oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn every 40-45 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove lid and see if liquid is simmering too fast, if so turn down heat.
  11. Remove ribs from pot and discard spice bundle. Remove top layer of fat from liquid. Season remaining liquid. Spoon over ribs.
    NOTE: We had no liquid left in the pot, just fat and veggies. So we first spooned off as much fat as possible. Then we added a cup of warm water, scraped down the browned bits from the side, covered and let the mixture meld, with a few stirs in between.

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