Pan-roasted Quail with Figs and Port

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium onion, cut into medium dice (about 1/2 cup)
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme plus 4 large thyme sprigs
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 cup demi-glace (sold refrigerated or frozen in gourmet markets), or 1 cup low-sodium, store-bought beef broth reduced by half and thickened with 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour combined
1-1/2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium, store-bought chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons high-quality port
8 (4-ounce) quail (sold fresh and partially boned, 4 to a package)
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh figs, halved (8 to 10 halved, dried white figs can be substituted)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds

Method

  1. Set a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat to warm it. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, chopped thyme, and garlic to the pan and pan-roast, turning occasionally, until everything is well browned, about 12 minutes.
  2. Pour in the demi-glace and broth, return to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the port into the pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. The sauce can be made up to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently over medium heat before cooking the quail.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  6. Season the quail inside and out with salt and pepper. If there is a metal frame inside the quail (often included by the purveyor to hold the shape while cooking), leave it in and remove it before serving.
  7. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon oil into a large, heavy-bottomed saute pan and heat it over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the thyme sprigs and quail, breast side down. Cook the quail until dark golden brown, about 3 minutes, then turn them over and cook the back until well browned, about 4 more minutes.
  8. Remove the quail from the skillet, set them on a cookie sheet, and keep them warm in the oven while you finish the dish.
  9. Add the figs to the pan in which the quail were cooked and roast over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Use tongs to pick out and discard the thyme sprigs. Add the warm port sauce to the figs and whisk the butter into the sauce to enrich it and give it a silken sheen.
  10. Divide the quail among 4 dinner plates, top each serving with figs, and spoon some port sauce over the top. Scatter some pine nuts over each quail and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Nightly Specials

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Fish Tagine with Raisins and Honey

Ingredients

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon powdered saffron
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as sea bass, flounder, cod, ling, monkfish, grouper
1 large mild red onion finely diced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup wine vinegar
3/4 cup raisins, soaked and drained
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

Method

  1. Combine 5 tablespoons of oil, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, cayenne pepper, saffron, and salt in a small bowl. Rub into the fish fillets on both sides. Place on a plate, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours for the flavors to penetrate.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and sear the fish on both sides until lightly colored. Remove immediately and set aside.
  3. Add the diced onion to the pan and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the black pepper, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, honey, vinegar, raisins, and parsley.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Return the fish to the pan, spoon some sauce over the top, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes, basting occasionally with sauce.
  7. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Modern Mediterranean Cooking

Vegetable Goulash

Ingredients

2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
3 small onions
4 Yukon gold potatoes
2 garlic cloves
rind of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
5 cups vegetable stock

Method

  1. Halve, core, and seed the red bell peppers and the green bell pepper and cut them into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Coarsely dice the onions.
  3. Peel the potatoes, cut them into 1/4-inch pieces, and cover them with cold water to prevent discoloration.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop with the lemon rind.
  5. Prepare the caraway seeds by drizzling a little of the oil on them and then chopping them.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in a stainless steel saucepan, add the onions, and saute.
  7. Drain the potato pieces in a colander. Add the potatoes to the onions and gently saute for 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the garlic, lemon rind, caraway seeds, and paprika over the potatoes and onions and gently saute.
  9. Add the red bell peppers and green bell pepper to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and gently saute over medium heat for a few minutes.
  10. Pour in the stock and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Ladle the goulash into warm bowls and serve immediately with rye bread.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Vegetables

Pork Loin with Cheese, Port and Honey Glaze

Ingredients

1 kg pork loin rack
sea salt flakes
12 sprigs oregano
2 large sweet potatoes (kumara), peeled and quartered
150g stilton cheese, thickly sliced

Port and Honey Glaze

1 cup port
1/4 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons honey

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F).
  2. Score the skin of the pork at 1 cm intervals using a sharp knife.
  3. Rub the skin with salt and place in a baking dish on top of the oregano.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 180°C (350°F).
  5. Add the sweet potato to the pan and cook for a further 30 minutes or until pork is cooked to your liking.
  6. To make the port and honey glaze, place the port, stock and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow mixture to simmer for 12-15 minutes or until glaze is reduced and syrupy.
  7. To serve, slice the pork and place on serving plates with the sweet potato. Top the pork with the stilton and spoon over the port and honey glaze.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Fast, Fresh, Simple

Baked Cod on a Polenta-pepper Bed

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups cooked chopped spinach or thawed and drained frozen spinach
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cod fillets, 4 oz each
12 lemon wedges

Polenta

4 cups water
1 cup cornmeal (maize flour)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers
1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

Method

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. To make the polenta, in a large, heavy saucepan, whisk together the water and 1/4 cup of the cornmeal. Bring to a boil. In a slow, steady stream, gradually whisk in the remaining cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of hot cereal, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the red peppers and thyme or parsley. Spread in the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl, toss together the spinach, lemon juice, and olive oil. Scatter the spinach over the polenta.
  5. Place the fish fillets in a single layer on top of the spinach, pressing them into the polenta slightly.
  6. Bake until the fish is opaque throughout, about 15 minutes.
  7. To serve, divide among individual plates. Pass the lemon wedges at the table.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Mayo Clinic