Braised Venison with Orange & Fennel
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
3 lb boneless venison steak, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
4 (1/2-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger, smashed
2 (4- by 1-inch) strips fresh orange zest
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (20 fl oz)
3 fennel bulbs (sometimes called anise), stalks cut off and discarded, then bulbs sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Wrap cinnamon stick and anise seeds in a small square of cheesecloth and tie bundle closed with string.
Pat venison dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a deep 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown venison in 3 batches, turning, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer to a bowl as browned.
Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and cook onion and garlic over moderate heat, stirring, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger, zest, and sugar and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in soy sauce, rice wine, broth, venison with any accumulated juices, and cheesecloth bag. Braise mixture, covered, in oven 1 hour.
Stir in fennel and braise, covered, in oven until fennel is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Discard cheesecloth bag, then season venison mixture with salt and pepper and stir in cilantro.
Braised venison and fennel (without cilantro) can be made 1 day ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat on top of stove, then stir in cilantro.
1/4 c. olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 t. ground cumin
1 1/2 t. ground coriander
5 large garlic cloves, minced
One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 slice of white sandwich bread
1/4 c. milk
1/2 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder
One 15-ounce can white hominy, drained
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or under a broiler until charred all over. Transfer the chiles to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool. Peel, stem and seed the chiles. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
In an enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the onion, cumin, coriander and 4 of the garlic cloves. Cook over low heat until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the pureed poblanos and cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and broth and season with salt. Simmer over low heat until slightly reduced and the spinach begins to break down, 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mash the bread to a paste with the milk. Add the chicken, pork, chile powder, the remaining garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt and gently knead to combine. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into meatballs and add to the chili with the hominy. Simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve.
Stuffed Filets Mignon With Merlot Habanero Sauce
6 filets mignon
1 T. salt
1/2 c. merlot
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
2 t. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 t. habanero chile, chopped fine
1 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
6 T. pine nuts, toasted
2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
Cut a slit horizontally through each filet to form a pocket. Rub salt onto outer surfaces of filets & place in shallow glass dish. Refrigerate uncovered, 1 hour.
Put wine, vinegar, thyme leaves & habanero into blender & puree. Pour marinade over filets, rubbing salt off into marinade. Cover & refrigerate another hour.
Remove filets from marinade & drain on paper towels. Reserve marinade. Stuff about 1/4 c. cheese & 1 T. pine nuts into pocket of each filet, pressing closed. Heat 1 T. butter & olive oil in large skillet. Sear each filet until brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to baking sheet fitted with a rack. Pour reserved marinade into skillet & cook on high, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to about 3/4 c. & then add remaining T. butter.
Grill filets, covered, for 4 1/2 minutes on each side. Allow filets to rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Spoon a little sauce over & serve immediately.
Island Shrimp & Pineapple Skewers with Rum Butter Sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot, plus 2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
16 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/3 pound sliced prosciutto
1 small pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup dark rum
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks or 12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
In a bowl, combine the lime juice, oil, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes. Add the shrimp and pineapple chunks, toss to combine, and let marinate while the grill heats, about 15 minutes. Remove from the marinade.
Wrap the shrimp with the prosciutto. Alternately, thread the pineapple chunks and the wrapped shrimp onto metal or bamboo skewers. Grill until the shrimp are cooked through and the pineapple chunks are marked, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill. (Alternately, the skewers can be cooked under the broiler, turning as necessary to cook evenly and avoid burning.)
Make the sauce in a medium saucepan by combining the rum, shallots, and remaining 2 teaspoons of minced ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons in volume, 3 to 4 minutes. With the heat on medium-low, whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding each piece before the previous one has been completely incorporated. Continue until all the butter is incorporated and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, removing the pan from the heat periodically to prevent the sauce from getting too hot and breaking. Season with the salt and cayenne, and stir. Remove from the heat and transfer to a decorative bowl.
To serve, transfer the wrapped shrimp and pineapple chunks from the skewers to a platter. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve with the rum butter sauce.