Seared Radicchio with Polenta and Beet Puree

seared radicchio with polenta and beet puree.JPG

Seared Radicchio with Polenta and Beet Puree

This is kind of a three part recipe where the beet puree is optional. We roasted the beets the night before, and put the rest together in a little over an hour. The polenta recipe will make much more polenta then needed, but we didn't want to alter the recipe in case the cooking time would be affected.

Beet Purée

3 Black Sheep Farm beets

3 sprigs parsley, stems removed

1 Tb water

1 tsp olive oil

Juice from ¼ lemon

¼ - ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400º F. Wrap beets in aluminum foil, and cook in oven for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min. Remove, and let cool.

Slip beet peels off, and add with all other ingredients to food processor, and puree for about a minute. If its just chopping and not making a paste, add a bit more water.

Polenta

Creamy Parmesan Polenta from Cook’s Illustrated, Italian Favorites 2011

7 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt (we only use ¾ tsp)
Pinch baking soda
1 1/2 cups coarse-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups), plus extra for serving
Ground black pepper

Bring water to boil in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour cornmeal into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover.

After 5 minutes, stir polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. Cover and continue to cook,

without stirring, until grai

ns of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Serve, passing Parmesan and black pepper separately.

Radicchio

¼ c balsamic vinegar

2 radicchio heads, stem butt intact

1 leek

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Cook balsamic in a shallow pan over lowest flame until viscous, about 15 min. Cut radicchio lengthwise into four quarters, keeping the stem butt intact in each quarter to hold the leaves together. Remove leek roots and tougher green leaves, and halve leek lengthwise. Gently toss leeks and radicchio in a bowl with olive oil salt and pepper to coat.

Heat a grill or cast iron skillet with grill ridges until very hot and reduce flame to medium high. Grill leeks, turning occasionally until marks appear, and flip cooking until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to cutting board. Place radicchio wedges, cut side down, and cook the same but only turning to sear the cut sides. Chop leeks when cool enough to handle.

Spoon polenta onto plate, and place radicchio along side, along with a small pile of the leeks and a large dollop of the beet puree. Drizzle plate with balsamic reduction.

Bacon, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pies

Bacon, White Bean, and Swiss Chard Pot Pies

Altered from pancetta, white bean, and swiss chard pot pies, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/10/pancetta-white-bean-and-swiss-chard-pot-pies/

Serves 4

Lid

2 c all-purpose flour

½ tsp table salt

13 Tb (or 1 stick plus 5 Tb) unsalted butter

6 Tb sour cream or whole Greek yogurt (i.e., a strained yogurt)

1 Tb white wine vinegar

¼ c ice water

Filling

2 Tb olive oil

4 ounces bacon or 4 ounces ¼ in. diced pancetta

2 leeks or onions, finely chopped

6 oz. swiss chard, stems separated and finely chopped, leaves thinly sliced

2-3 sweet winter carrots, sliced

1 large stalk celery, finely chopped

½ lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced into quarters or fifths

Generous pinch of red pepper flakes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tb olive oil

3 ½ Tb butter

3 ½ Tb all-purpose flour

3 ¼ c sodium-free or low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

2 c white beans, cooked and drained or from one and a third 15.5 oz. cans

Make lids: In a large, wide bowl (preferably one that you can get your hands into), combine the fl our and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, cut them up and into the flour mixture until it resembles little pebbles. Keep breaking up the bits of butter until the texture is like uncooked couscous. In a small dish, whisk together the sour cream, vinegar, and water, and combine it with the butter-flour mixture. Using a flexible spatula, stir the wet and the dry together until a craggy dough forms. If needed, get your hands into the bowl to knead it a few times into one big ball. Pat it into a flattish ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Carrot, Fennel, and Red Lentil Soup

Carrot, Fennel and Red Lentil Soup

2 Tb sunflower oil

1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly

5 carrots, sliced thinly

2 leeks, sliced thinly

2 stalks lemongrass, minced

1 ½ in. large piece of ginger, grated

½ in. fresh turmeric, grated (or 1 tsp. dried)

1-4 bird’s eye chilies, depending on heat desired (Moonrise herbs carries them)

1 c red lentils

3 quarts water

1 Tb coriander seed

1 ½ tsp cumin seed

½ tsp brown mustard seed

1 tsp black peppercorns

¼ tsp fenugreek powder

1 tsp salt

5 cloves garlic, crushed

1 lemon, half juiced, the other half cut into wedges for serving

¼ c cilantro, chopped

You’ll need a mortar and pestle, a food processor, or clean coffee grinder. Otherwise, substitute pre-ground coriander, cumin, and black pepper and use the brown mustard whole.

Heat up a soup pot on medium heat with the sunflower oil. Add the fennel bulb, carrots, and leeks and simmer, stirring occasionally until soft—about 12 to 15 minutes. While cooking, peel outer layers of lemongrass, and finely chop the tender base of the stalks. Grate ginger and turmeric, and finely chop the bird’s eye chilies. Stir in lemongrass, ginger, turmeric and chilies and cook for 2 minutes. Add lentils and water, bring flame to high and bring to a boil. Drop flame to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

While soup is cooking, prepare the spice mixture. Heat a small skillet on medium flame. Add coriander seeds and gently agitate pan until you can smell them (1-3 minutes). Transfer them to a mortar and pestle or food processor, and return pan to burner. Do the same for the cumin, mustard, and black peppercorns, toasting each separately. Add fenugreek powder for a few seconds, and add along with salt to the mix. Grind ‘em up, and toss in with garlic to soup when the 30 minutes are up. Cook for 15 more minutes and add lemon juice. Salt to taste. Serve soup topped with cilantro. A lemon wedge on the side is good. This soup is also surprisingly good at room temperature.