Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Toast to the Roast! Elegant, easy to prepare and delivers wonderful leftovers!

Gosh, you missed the Genie Awards held here in Ottawa at the Aviation Museum last Saturday night? Guess who scooped the Genie for Best Canadian Romantic and Crowd-Pleasing Entrée? Here’s a replay… “Would the lovely, aromatic and lip-smacking roast please rise? Yes, you Miss Roast Beast. Probably one of the most under valued (yet frequently nominated) and misunderstood dinner entrées of all time. Throughout time, swanky restaurant menus have labelled you with lavish French names and snooty price tags, giving patrons the impression you’re a rare breed; pernickety, upper crust and far too difficult to successfully cook at home. Balderdash, nothing could be further from the truth! You are quite simply, easy to prepare, easy on the eyes with a few herb sprigs sprouting from your layers, very capable of feeding large hungry crowds and the gold medallion winner in the scrumptious and versatile leftovers division.”

Move over Mr. Paul Gross, armed with a good roasting pan, meat thermometer, garlic and a few other spices, you simply can’t go wrong by cooking a blockbuster roast your guests will rave about. A quick, all-over rub down with sliced garlic cloves turns a prime rib of beef into an entrée dinner sensation. A pork roast soaked in yoghurt, mustard and garlic and rolled in nuts and breadcrumbs delivers a moist, tender and flavourful main entrée guaranteed to get you at least a few return dinner invites. For the lamb lovers in your crew, nothing will outshine an easy roast leg of lamb that’s been left languishing overnight in a marinade of chardonnay, garlic, rosemary and black currant jelly. Served with a medley of roasted or mashed vegetables, “au jus”, fresh rolls, candlelight and a little vino, your “Roast Manifique” could be worthy of a three-digit price tag at any “Hy-brow” Ottawa restaurant, or a …Genie. Try any of these simple recipes at home and give yourself a few bonus points for being a smart and frugal cook!

A few roast tips:
· 1 kg x 2.2 = weight in pounds
· What’s your poison? Always use a meat thermometer (inserted in the thicket part of the meat) to check for doneness
· allow ¾ of a pound of meat per person
· Beef, lamb and bison roasts may be served rare. Pork and chicken must be thoroughly cooked. Your meat thermometer will provide suggested minimum cooking temperatures for most meats.

Lamb avec gelée de cassis (lamb with currant jelly)
(This is a superb roast to marinate overnight and roast the next day—meaning less work for the cook the day of the big event!)
4-6 servings
4 lb bone in or rolled leg of lamb
2 cups dry white wine
3 minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
¼ cup black or red currant jelly

At least 6 hours or 1 day before, place lamb in a Ziploc bag. Mix all ingredients together and pour over lamb in bag and then place in dish large enough to hold it. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours, turning several times. To roast, preheat oven to 325F. Place roast in shallow roasting pan. Pour ½ c marinade over roast, saving the rest of the marinade. Roast uncovered for 2 ¼ hrs or until meat temperature registers 140F. During roasting, pour ½ c marinade over lamb every 15 minutes. When it is all used up, baste with pan juices. If lamb browns too soon, tent loosely with aluminums foil. Remove lamb to platter and cover. Skim off and discard any fat. Boil pan juices gently, uncovered and stirring often until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Strain and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in 1 more tbsp currant jelly if you wish. Serve with sliced lamb.

Roast Prime rib au poivre
8 servings
1 9 lb prime rib beef roast (about 4 ribs)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp mixed whole peppercorns, coarsely crushed
Tip: To crush peppercorns place them between two sheets of waxed paper, and then a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin or glass bottle. Or, crush them in a coffee grinder.

Position oven rack in centre of oven and preheat to 500 F. Place beef fat side up in shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle beef all over with salt. Mix mustard and garlic in small bowl. Spread mixture over beef. Sprinkle 2 tbsp crushed peppercorns over mustard mixture. Place roast in oven and reduce heat to 350. If crust begins to brown too quickly, tent the roast loosely with foil. If you prefer rare beef, allow 15-20 minutes per lb. After 1 1/2 – 2 hrs, check temperature. Meat thermometer inserted to the centre of the roast should read at least 140F for rare beef, 160F for medium; or 170F for well done.

Surlonge de porc aux amandes rôties (Pork with almonds)
For the marinade, whisk together in a small bowl:
¾ cup plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp pepper

Place roast in a Ziploc bag
1 3 lb boneless centre-cut pork loin roast.

Pour marinade over roast in bag and then place in dish large enough to hold it. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 6 hours, turning several times.

For nut mixture coating, mix together
1 cup finely chopped almonds
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Scrape off most of the marinade from the roast, then roll roast in the nut mixture and press into the roast. In a shallow baking dish or roasting place, place roast. Cook 40-45 min per lb until meat thermometer reads 170F (about 2 hrs for a 3 lb roast).

Bison roast à la mélasse orangée (molasses and orange juice)
Heat in a medium saucepan over medium heat
1 tbsp olive oil
Add and cook, stirring until just beginning to colour:
1 1/3 minced onions
3 tbsp minced garlic
Stir in and bring to a boil:
1 tbsp crushed black peppercorns
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest (orange peel)
½ cup light or dark molasses
1 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted then crushed
¼ cup yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp salt

1 1 lb boneless Bison roast

Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered until the glaze is slightly thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Brush glaze over 1 lb boneless Bison roast and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Keep remaining marinade to brush over roast during cooking. Place roast in shallow roasting pan. Preheat oven to 450F and roast meat for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325F, basting meat occasionally with glaze. Cook until meat thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 130F for rare (8-10 min per lb), 140F for medium rare (10-12 min per lb). Be careful not to overcook or the meat will be dry and chewy. Remove roast from pan and cover to keep warm. Add to the pan:
1 ½ cups beef bouillon or stock
¾ cup red wine
Boil, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced to about 2 cups and slightly thickened. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and serve with roast.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cointreau-Laced Hot Cross Buns Via the Breadmaker

Fruit and Cointreau glaze mixture:
1/3 cup Cointreau
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dark raisins
¼ cup mixed citrus bits (lemon/orange) or glazed fruit mixture
1/3 cup currants
Soak fruit in Cointreau for 30 minutes or more. Drain and reserve liquid.
In the breadmaker pan, assemble these ingredients:
1 cup 2% or whole milk
2 eggs
1 ¼ tsp salt
¼ cup honey
¼ cup melted, cooled butter
3 ¾ cups Canadian all-purpose flour
¾ cup Canadian Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 ¼ tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
(Add spices then lightly stir into flour)
1 ¾ tsp breadmachine yeast

For glaze: 3 tbsp sugar mixed with reserved liquid.
For crosses: ½ cup icing sugar mixed with ½-1 tbsp milk.

Place the breadpan in the breadmaker, choose the Dough cycle and press start. When the “Add Ingredient” alarm sounds on the breadmaker, add the drained fruit. When Dough cycle is complete, remove dough and let rest under a tea towel for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 20 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball and flatten slightly. [To shape into buns: Pull dough piece from the side and tuck underneath, like a mushroom, several times. On a breadboard, cup the round under the palm of your hand, with your fingernails lightly touching the board, and roll the round in a circular motion until a smooth ball is formed.] Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. To prevent a skin from forming on the dough, be sure to keep pieces covered that are to be shaped AND those that have been shaped. Once all pieces have been shaped, cover them loosely with spray-greased plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise in a humid, warm, draft-free place until doubled in size. They may take 1 – 2 hours to rise completely because spices like cinnamon, cloves and ginger can inhibit the rising process. Once risen, flatten each round very gently and brush with milk. Bake in the oven at 325 F for 15-20 minutes, turning at halftime. Watch out they burn easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Fruit Glaze: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan mix the reserved fruit liquid with 3 tbsp sugar. Heat on low, stirring constantly until mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. With a pastry brush, brush over slightly cooled buns.

Icing for crosses: After the buns have cooled, decorate with crosses. Mix ½ cup icing sugar ½ -1 tbsp milk. Mix in milk with sugar, gradually. It should be like a smooth paste that you can drizzle from the end of a fork.