Sunday, October 27, 2013

Winter Squash with Spiced Couscous

Winter Squash with Spiced Couscous

Other small winter squash, such as butternut squash, will work well in this dish, as the orange flesh is sweet and will be complemented by the spiced couscous. Simply cube the squash, roast in chunks and stir into the cooked couscous. The roasting time will decrease by about 10 minutes.

2 acorn squash, each 1 1/4 lb., halved and seeds removed (see note above)
2 tsp. olive oil
Salt, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp.
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup vegetable broth or chicken broth
3/4 cup instant couscous ( or pearl couscous )
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
3 Tbs. sliced almonds, toasted
2 Tbs. dried currants or raisins or dried cranberries
2 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1/2 Golden Delicious apple, cored and chopped

Roast the squash
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Brush the squash halves with the oil and season with salt and pepper. On a baking sheet, place the halves, cut side down. Roast until a thin knife easily pierces the squash, about 20 minutes.

Make the spiced couscous
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the couscous, cinnamon, ginger, the 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper. Cover and set aside, according to the package directions. Stir the almonds, currants, green onions and apple into the couscous. Spoon the filling into the roasted squash, mounding it generously, and serve. Serves 4.

Helen's notes: I used butternut squash, peeled, cut into cubes, drizzled with olive oil and roasted at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Then I stirred the ingredients together, spooned into a baking dish and baked for about 15 minutes. It was even better the next day, doused with additional broth and heated through.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin

The first cold front of the season is upon us. When I went to the grocery store today the wind was blowing and the leaves were swirling around through the woods. This is the season for comfort food, warm blankets and cozy sweaters. I've got just the comfort food for you. Thanks to my dear, dear friend Julie B. for sharing the following recipe for slow cooker pork tenderloins. Make the entire recipe and plan for yummy leftovers. Serve it with mashed potatoes or rice smothered in the luscious pan gravy. Thicken it, if you prefer. We loved it just as it came from the slow cooker. Tomorrow I'm making a HUGE pot of Vegetable Beef Soup (see post from January 2012) and snuggling under a fluffy blanket!

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin
2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
salt and pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
4 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard or country-style
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water

Wash and trim the pork and pat dry; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place pork in the slow cooker. Combine garlic, mustard, honey, brown sugar, vinegar, and thyme; pour over the pork. Turn pork to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook on LOW for 7 to 9 hours, or on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours.
Remove pork to a plate, cover with foil, and keep warm. Pour the juices into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until reduced by about one-third. Combine the cornstarch and cold water; whisk into the reduced juices and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve pork slices with the thickened juices.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Company Pot Roast

Once again, Ina Garten to the rescue! The past month has been more than hectic! I've had house guests, assisted with a painting class at John Campbell Folkschool, had more house guests, went to Alabama for a funeral, and generally have been going in circles! In the midst of all this, I called upon Ina Garten for a company recipe that would cook while I was busy with something else. This Company Pot Roast was absolutely perfect and delicious! 

The only changes I made were these: I added an 8-oz. pkg of sliced mushrooms to the veggies. I did not use leeks, but added extra onion. I cooked it in the oven in my large le creuset pot and the liquid cooked down to perfection requiring no thickening.

I served it with smashed potatoes and green beans. Leftovers were just as good as the day it was first made. Thank you, Ina! You saved my day once again!

Company Pot Roast

1 (4 to 5-pound) prime boneless beef chuck roast, tied
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
1 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 branches fresh thyme
2 branches fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Season the roast all over with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the roast and sear for 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and sear the other side and then turn and sear the ends. This should take 4 to 5 minutes for each side. Remove the roast to a large plate.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned. Add the wine and Cognac and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bouillon cube, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string and add to the pot. Put the roast back into the pot, bring to a boil, and cover. Place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is fork tender or about 160 degrees F internally. Turn the heat down to 250 degrees F after about an hour to keep the sauce at a simmer.

Remove the roast to a cutting board. Remove the herb bundle and discard. Skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree until smooth. Pour the puree back into the pot, place on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer. Place 2 tablespoons flour and the butter in a small bowl and mash them together with a fork. Stir into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings. Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.

Read more at:,1946,FOOD_9936_337729_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback