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Season's Eatings: Entrees

by Alexandra Harcharek


Mushroom Bourguignon

2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
2 lbs. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine (merlot is preferable)
2 cups beef broth
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a large sauce pan. Over medium heat, cook carrots and yellow onion and thyme for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and soft. Season with salt and pepper, add garlic, and cook for another minute. Add wine, then cook over high heat until sauce is reduced by half. Stir in tomato paste, broth and mushrooms, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and simmer for 20 minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Add pearl onions, simmer another few minutes. In a small bowl, smash 1 tbsp. butter and flour together with a fork, then stir into the stew. This will cause it to thicken. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Serve over cooked, buttered egg noodles.

Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

4 lb. beef tenderloin
Salt and pepper
Dried thyme
1 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup beef gravy

Preheat oven to 400 F. Rub beef tenderloin vigorously with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 125 F (for medium-rare). Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting. Meanwhile, make the sauce by melting butter in a saucepan. Add wine and bring to a boil. Cook until wine is reduced to a third of its original volume, about 12-15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add gravy. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring throughout. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice beef on a diagonal, dress with sauce and serve with a boat of warm sauce on the side.

Brown Sugar-Glazed Baked Ham

1 8lb bone-in spiral ham
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Grade B maple syrup
2 tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 F. Place ham in a deep roasting pan and pour water in the bottom. Cover and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, until ham is cooked and tender. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a saucepan, whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard and spices; bring to a simmer and cook for 2-4 minutes, taking extra care not to boil over. When ham is heated through, brush with glaze and bake, uncovered, for an additional 15 minutes or until glaze is bubbling. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Gnocchi with Spinach, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

1 package potato gnocchi
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
1 cup fresh baby spinach
3 oz. fresh goat cheese
Fresh sage leaves
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat oven to 375 F. In a roasting pan, coat squash lightly in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway, until squash is tender and browning. Meanwhile, cook gnocchi according to package directions, drain, reserving a small amount of liquid and return to pot. Add in spinach and stir; the leaves will wilt in the heat. Add in cooked squash, stirring gently until everything is mixed. Arrange onto plates, then crumble fresh goat cheese and sage leaves over top and serve.

Traditional New Year’s Day Pork

“Coming from a family with Austrian lineage, we always embraced the Eastern European tradition of pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day. Traditionally, on the first day of the new year, European hunters went out to catch wild boar, seen as good luck for the new year.”
Submitted by Erica Bauwens

8-10 lb. pork shoulder
3 lbs. pre-cooked sauerkraut, rinsed and strained
1 large jar (46 oz.) unseasoned applesauce
5 cups apple juice
8-10 cloves garlic, peeled onion powder
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large roasting pan blend sauerkraut, apple sauce and 2 1/2 cups apple juice. Pierce the shoulder several times with a paring knife and insert cloves of peeled garlic into the slits. Season pork shoulder generously with salt, pepper and onion powder. Lay shoulder on top of sauerkraut. Cover with foil and bake for one hour. Remove foil and baste shoulder with apple juice. Baste every 20 minutes until a meat thermometer reads 170 F, about 2 and a half hours. Serve immediately.

Leftover Christmas Casserole
Submitted by Erica Bauwens

Approximately 2 lbs pre-cooked spiral ham
3 large baking potatoes, peeled
1 Vidalia onion
Light brown Sugar
6 tbsp. salted butter
6 tbsp. flour
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp. each salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Using a mandolin, slice potatoes about 1/2 centimeter thick and onions paper thin. Set aside. To make béchamel sauce, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Whisk flour into melted butter, stirring for about 4 minutes. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly, followed by salt and pepper. Continue to whisk slowly until the sauce thickens to a gravy-like consistency. Set aside. In a standard casserole dish, layer potatoes, onions and leftover spiraled ham. Sprinkle brown sugar over top layer (Note: if you are using a honey-baked ham, reduce the amount of sugar used.) Repeat until the dish is full with about 1/2 inch remaining at top. Pour béchamel sauce over casserole, cover and cook 45 min. Remove lid and cook an additional 15 minutes until top is browned and sauce is bubbling. Yields 4-6 servings.

Cheese Lasagna
A vegetarian entrée sure to please even the carnivores in the mix. Serves 16.

64oz. part-skim ricotta cheese (2 32oz. containers)
1 package uncooked lasagna sheets
3 cups seasoned tomato sauce (canned), divided in 3
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup spinach, rinsed, drained and chopped
Dried basil
Salt and pepper

In a large bowl, combine ricotta, basil and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Grease a roasting pan with cooking spray and spread the bottom of the pan with 1 cup tomato sauce. Arrange lasagna sheets to cover bottom (you will likely use two or three for each layer). Top with 1 cup ricotta mixture and sprinkle mozzarella over top. Top with 1 cup pasta sauce. Arrange another layer of lasagna sheets, ricotta and mozzarella. Finish with a third layer of lasagna sheets and spread enough tomato sauce to just coat. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes until melted and bubbling. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Pork Chops with Cider and Apples
A dry imported hard cider adds depth to this five-ingredient dish of caramelized apples and pork chops. Serves 6.

6 bone-in pork chops, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 large can Strongbow cider
3 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into thick wedges
Olive oil
Sprigs of fresh thyme

Heat a generous glug of oil in large Dutch oven or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Brown pork chops in two batches and transfer to a plate – don’t cook all the way through, just enough to get a good color on all sides. Drain all but a tbsp. of the fat, then add apples to the pan. Sauté for 30 seconds over medium heat, then add enough cider to almost cover. Add pork chops back to the pan and braise until fully cooked. Remove chops and apples and plate. Over high heat, reduce the sauce until its volume is halved, boiling for several minutes to kill any bacteria. Strain and spoon sauce over the chops. Garnish with fresh thyme.

“Granny's Chicken” – Glazed Whole-Roasted Chicken
Submitted by Lisa Biren

Large whole chicken
Freshly ground Pepper
Garlic Powder
1/2 cup Schezuan-style duck sauce

Wash chicken thoroughly and remove bag of innards. Pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat skin with dry seasonings on all sides. Brush duck sauce across chicken, coating thoroughly. Place legs up in a deep roasting pan. Bake for approximately 2-3 hours, depending on the size of chicken (check packaging for instructions). Baste chicken every 30-40 minutes.

Cheesy Zucchini Casserole
Submitted by Allison Krumm

3 medium zucchini and 3 yellow squash, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and separated
1 1/2 cups finely crushed Ritz crackers
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, stir the cracker crumbs with the cheeses and 1 tbsp. butter. Reserve half of the cracker mixture and set aside in a small bowl. Add zucchini and squash to the larger bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the eggs until everything is well mixed. Spread zucchini mixture into a casserole dish and spread the reserved cracker crumb blend on top. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. melted butter. Bake 25 minutes until top is browned and casserole is bubbling.

Kugel (Sweet Noodle Pudding)
Submitted by Lisa Biren

1 16 oz. package of wide egg noodles
5 eggs, beaten
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 dollop of sour cream
Maraschino cherries
Ground cinnamon

Boil noodles until al dente and drain. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix noodles very well in large bowl with everything except cherries and cinnamon. Coat 9"x12" pan with cooking spray or butter. Spread pasta mixture into pan and top with a scant amount of maraschino cherries and cinnamon. Bake for 1 hour until bubbling and set. Can be served warm or cold – but never gets to be frozen because it's devoured too quickly!

Classic Meat Loaf

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. lean ground veal
1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ketchup, divided
1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbsp. whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a mixing bowl, combine meats and egg. Slowly add in breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup ketchup, parsley, mustard, herbs, salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine the mixture until fully blended and seasoned. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and fill with meat loaf mixture. Glaze top of the meat loaf with reserved 1/4 cup ketchup. Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until a meat thermometer registers 160F. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Served with fresh steamed vegetables.

Pesto Chicken Spirals

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 jar prepared pesto sauce, or homemade
1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spread chicken breasts out flat on a clean cutting board. Spread one side of each chicken breast with 1/2 tbsp. pesto sauce and 2 tbsp. mozzarella cheese. Starting at one end, tightly roll the chicken lengthwise, securing with a toothpick. Repeat for each chicken piece. Arrange each roll-up in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing into rounds; display the lovely pesto spirals over a green salad or with pasta.

Baked Ratatouille
As first envisioned by the 2007 Disney movie and adapted for impressive holiday entertaining.

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup good quality tomato puree
Olive oil
1 small eggplant
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
Fresh thyme
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. In the bottom of a large oval-shaped baking dish, spread tomato puree evenly and sprinkle with chopped onion and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Trim ends from the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash, leaving skin intact. Trim the ends of the red pepper and remove the core, creating a pepper tube. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline tool, evenly cut each vegetable into very thin slices. Arrange vegetables in overlapping circles, in an alternating pattern (eggplant, zucchini, pepper, squash, eggplant, etc.) around the outside of the dish. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper and thyme. Bake for 45 minutes, until vegetables are cooked but not mushy. Serve with pasta, cous cous or artisan bread.

Stuffed Winter Squash

4 sweet dumpling squashes (or small acorn squashes)
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups wild rice
1/4 cup water
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tbsp soy sauce
Sprig of fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
¼ cup parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squashes in half; remove seeds and stringy pulp. Season insides with salt and pepper, then place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. Over medium heat, sauté onion in saucepan until soft and fragrant; add garlic and cook for another minute. Combine rice, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice and zest, soy sauce and herbs in the saucepan. Stir and cook, covered, for 30 minutes or until rice is tender. Add toasted pine nuts and season with salt and pepper to taste. When the squash is cooked, stuff each with seasoned rice and drizzle with olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle with cheese. Place upright in a baking dish and cook for 5-10 minutes, until tops are browned and cheese melts. Serves four.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 10 (December, 2011).
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