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January 12, 2008

Sauteed Mushrooms

I made these mushrooms to serve alongside broiled steak. They were really tasty. I need to figure out how to make more without overcrowding the pan and ruining the recipe. (Maybe do the initial cooking of the mushrooms in batches?)

A really nice thing about this recipe is that if you have all your ingredients prepped, and start heating the skillet at about the same time you start preheating the broiler, it takes almost exactly the same amount of time as it takes to broil steaks to medium-rare and rest them. You can also throw together a very simple green salad at the same time, and you've got a complete dinner in under 30 minutes.

The use of sherry was inspired by my having bought a bottle to make Spanish Daube last weekend, and wondering how sherry would complement other foods. I might do an experiment with different kinds of booze (sherry, brandy, wine, vermouth, etc.) to see how each complements the mushrooms. Mr. Spaceling has valiantly volunteered to taste test.

The Ingredients

The Steps

  1. Heat a bit of butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. (Ideally, use a skillet large enough so that you can cook the mushrooms in a single layer.)
  2. Add the thyme and garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring.
  3. Add the mushrooms. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they are cooked through and tender and have rendered out some of their liquid, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add a good splash of Worcestershire sauce and the sherry. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has almost boiled away.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper. For an extra bit of decadence, toss in some extra butter and stir until it melts. Serve as soon as possible.

This served three people quite amply, although I think we'd happily have polished off a second batch of the mushrooms if I'd made one.

Posted by spaceling at 09:56 AM

January 06, 2008

Spanish Daube

This is another recipe from the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Cooking Light. They call it "daube", I might call it pot roast - but what an elegant pot roast it is! The combination of sherry, smoked paprika, and saffron makes for a particularly delicious broth.

The recipe calls for braising the meat for 2 hours. I found that the beef was not quite perfectly tender in the center, so I think I'd go for slightly longer braising, or cut the roast into smaller chunks to help it braise through more.

The Ingredients

The Steps

  1. Coat a large Dutch oven or other pot with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add beef to pan, and cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove beef and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the pot and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the salt, thyme, paprika, fennel seeds, pepper, and saffron. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in the sherry and the hot pepper sauce, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to get up all the browned bits. Cook until the liquid is reduced by about half (~4 minutes).
  5. Add the beef and broth to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours or until beef is tender. (As I noted above, 2 hours wasn't quite enough to get the beef perfectly tender all the way through.)
  6. Remove the beef from the pot and slice into thin slices across the grain.
  7. Add peas, parsley, and sherry vinegar to the pot and cook 5 minutes.
  8. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Add to the broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute.
  9. Add the sliced beef back to the pot. Cook for 1 minute or until beef is heated through.
Makes 8 servings.

Posted by spaceling at 08:48 PM

Lentil and Farro Stew

This stew was a perfect for an evening of keeping cosy warm indoors while the rain poured down outside. Of course, since I hadn't been out to the grocery store in a few days, it was also a bit of a "let's scrounge through the fridge and the pantry and see what we can throw together" kind of recipe. (For example, I don't think it's really necessary to use two kinds of lentils, or both chicken and beef broth, but I was using up odds and ends that were on hand.)

The Ingredients

The steps

  1. In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. Pour off any excess fat.
  2. Add the onion, peppers, and carrots, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables start to get soft. (About 5 to 7 minutes.)
  3. Add the farro, and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
  4. Add the lentils, white wine, and herbs and spices. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan to get up any browned bits.
  5. Add the tomatoes, broth or water, and the bay leaf. Stir. Bring to a simmer, and simmer until the lentils and farro are tender. (About 25 to 30 minutes.) Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve.
Makes...a lot. Maybe 6 to 8 servings?

Posted by spaceling at 10:09 AM