Sunday, March 13, 2011

Braised Short Ribs

4 lbs. boneless short ribs, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery heart with leaves, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 c. red wine
1 qt. chicken stock
1 small bunch thyme

Brown short ribs on both sides. Remove to a oven-proof braising pot.

In the same pan, sweat the mirepoix until soft. Add to the braising pot.

Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce by one half. Pour over vegetables and meat. Season with salt.

Add chicken stock and thyme to braising pot.

Oven braise at 325 degrees for 4 hours.

Serve short ribs with mashed potatoes.

Rich and Creamy Tomato Soup

1 onion, diced
1 oz. butter
1 t. thyme
1/2 c. dry sherry
1 can San Marzano tomatoes, drained with the seeds removed
2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. cream
salt and pepper to taste

Slowly sweat onions in butter until translucent (about 30 minutes).

Add thyme, sherry, tomatoes and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add cream and continue to simmer 10 more minutes. Puree in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

This soup can be made up to 48 hours ahead and reheated to serve.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Apple Turnovers

In my professional baking class, we (of course) use all butter puff pastry that we make ourselves. However, you can buy good quality puff pastry at most Trader Joe's.

2 sheets puff pastry (one package, defrosted)
4 medium or 3 large apples. peeled and diced (do not put the apples in water)
2 oz. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 T. vanilla extract
3 T. corn starch

Combine the cornstarch, water and vanilla. Set aside.

Heat a large (10 inch.) saute pan for one minute. Add butter, immediately followed by apples. Shake, do not stir, the apples until soft (about 6 minutes). If the apples look too brown, lower the heat. Add the brown sugar and allow to liquify.

Add the cornstarch mixture and gently stir.
Lower the heat and continue to cook the apple mixture until the juice gets very thick and jam-like. Remove from heat and allow the apples to cool.
Roll the puff pastry into six 5x5 squares.
Spoon one sixth of the apple filling onto each square.
Fold into a triangle.
Firmly press the edge with your thumb.
Cut the edge with a bench scraper.
Place the turnovers on a parchment-lined half sheet pan
Brush the turnovers with cream, like I have done here, or egg wash (one egg yolk with one tablespoon water).
Then sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the turnovers at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. The turnovers are best eaten warm or at room temperature. These turnovers are big. You can make them half the size, but it is difficult to control the apples from leaking out too much.