Monthly Archives: December 2006

12/04/06

Christmas Pajas

Makes 20 to 24 cookies

1 cup pecan halves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate morsels
7 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use a nonstick pan.

Toss the pecans in the melted butter to evenly coat. Spread the nuts on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool, and then roughly chop. Place the chopped pecans and remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until moistened.

Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter for each cookie onto the lined cookie sheet and gently flatten to circles of about 2 1/4 inches in diameter. (These cookies do not spread.)

Bake 10 minutes or until the coconut turns very pale golden, being careful not to brown too much. Transfer to racks to cool.

12/04/06

Herb Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Serves 6

1 (6-pound) boneless leg of lamb, with shank
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 cup assorted chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and mint
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Ask a butcher to remove all bones, except shank, and to clean meat of all sinew and excess fat inside and out. Butterfly leg for stuffing.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lay lamb flat on counter. Using a sharp knife, make several slits, about 2 inches long by 1/4 inch deep, so seasonings can penetrate meat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread garlic evenly on top, then cover with herbs. Roll meat to enclose stuffing and tie with string at one inch intervals, keeping the diameter of the roll the same so that the roast cooks evenly. Shank bone will protrude at one end. Generously season outside with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown lamb on all sides. Transfer to a rack in roasting pan and roast 30 to 40 minutes for medium-rare, 1 hour for well done. (A meat thermometer inserted in center should read 160 degrees F or 165 degrees F or a thin-bladed knife inserted to the center for 20 seconds should feel lukewarm on your lips.) Let sit at room temperature about 10 minutes before carving, so juices can redistribute. Remove strings and slice meat thinly across the roll.

To reheat carved lamb, place slices on a sheet pan, cover with a wet towel, and bake 5 minutes at 375 degrees F. Use leftover meat for pita sandwiches.

12/04/06

Roasted Pork Shoulder

Serves 6

3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed and butterflied
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon water
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold
6 tablespoons minced shallots
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup brown veal stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay meat flat on counter and using a sharp knife, make several slits about 1/4-inch deep by 1-inch long. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, make a paste with mustard, honey, 1/2 teaspoon oil, and water. Spread mixture evenly over meat then cover with caraway seeds. Press seasonings into slashes with your fingers to infuse meat with flavor. Roll meat, along the length, to enclose stuffing and tie with string at 1-inch intervals. Season outside with salt and pepper.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Cook meat until brown all over then transfer to a rack in roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.

Just before serving, make sauce. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a medium skillet over moderate heat. Sauté shallots until golden. Add vinegar, turn heat to high and reduce by half. Add stock and reduce again by half. Add cream, bring to a boil, and add remaining butter, in small pieces, whisking constantly until smooth. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Remove strings from pork and slice thinly across the roll. Arrange slices on serving plates, top with sauce, and serve immediately.

12/04/06

Standing Rib Roast

1 standing rib roast with 5 to 7 ribs (allow 1 pound per person)
1/2 cup vodka
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 cloves garlic
10 bay leaves

Yorkshire Pudding
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Place standing rib roast on a rack in a roasting pan. Slather all over with vodka and season liberally with salt and pepper. With a paring knife, cut slits in the fat and stuff with garlic and bay leaves. Let sit at room temperature about 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.

Drain excess vodka from roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F and cook 14 minutes longer per pound for medium rare.

Remove from oven, lifting rack with meat to baking sheet, and cover loosely with foil. Let rest on top of the stove 15 minutes. Reserve the pan with drippings. Turn the heat up to 450 degrees F for the Yorkshire Pudding.

Combine all the Yorkshire Pudding ingredients in the blender until frothy. Pour into the hot roasting pan with drippings. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake 10 minutes longer, until puffed and golden.

To serve: Unwrap the standing rib roast and transfer to a platter. Bring to the table for carving, along with the Yorkshire Pudding in the pan.

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