Friday, February 26, 2010

Veal- and Bluberry-Stuffed Quail

Been busy in the kitchen dreaming up new dishes for my weekly Chef's Table (5-7 courses $60 prix fixe including wine, Thursdays at 6pm, by reservation only). From last night, here's a quail stuffed with local veal and dried blueberries on watermelon radishes and mixed microgreens dressed with apple cider reduction dressing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Risotto of Israeli Couscous in the Style of Paella

Wow! That title is a mouthful! In this recipe that I demonstrated on a recently taped segment of WVPT Cooks, I cook couscous somewhat in the manner of risotto and flavor it in the manner of paella. It really is a wonderful vegetarian dish that I would willingly eat several times a week. It would also be very good with a little chorizo and studded with shellfish such as mussels, clams, and shrimp, if you like.

First, a word on couscous. In this photo, on the left you see the traditional couscous that you probably already know. I'm finding that very few people are familiar with the larger Israeli couscous on the right. Traditional couscous is made from semolina, hence its yellow color. Israeli couscous is made from very fine durum flour and is whiter. You "cook" modern couscous merely by refreshing it in very hot water or by steaming it, whereas Israeli couscous is generally boiled in water like any other pasta.

In making my "risotto," the texture is best when I start with Israeli couscous that has been precooked for about five minutes.

Risotto of Israeli Couscous in the Style of Paella

extra virgin olive oil
1/2 poblano chile (or green pepper), diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 orange pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
salt & pepper
1 pinch saffron
2 teaspoons pimentón (smoked paprika)
1-2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cups Israeli couscous, par-cooked for five minutes
3 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
4 artichoke hearts, quartered
10 grape tomatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, grated

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over high heat and sauté the peppers for two to three minutes. Add the garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper, the saffron, and pimentón and let cook for another minute, stirring well to distribute the spices.

Add a cup of broth or water and the couscous. Stir together well and continue to cook until the couscous is hot and cooked through, another minute or two. Add more water or broth as necessary to adjust the consistency to your liking.

Add the green onions, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes and stir while they warm through.

Stir in the butter and cheese and serve immediately.