Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

I was having my friend Patti over for dinner last week and wanted to make something really hearty and delicious and came up with this recipe. Portland has been getting quite cold lately and I thought a really yummy pasta and meat dish was in store. I was craving lamb, so I immediately thought of a lamb ragu and then decided to go all out and make my favorite pasta from scratch as well. I hope you enjoy!

Lamb Ragu with Pappardelle

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 carrots, finely diced

1 large sweet onion, finely diced

2 celery ribs, finely diced

2 pounds ground lamb

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup dry red wine

One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

1 pound pappardelle pasta

8 ounces parmesan cheese, shaved

½ bunch parsley chopped

In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Add the lamb, coriander, cumin, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the stock and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the liquid is reduced by 2/3rds, 3-4 hours.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, shaking well. Add pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Place in large serving bowls and top with shaved parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I know this isn't the best photo but, oh well, it's the best I have! I actually forgot to take pictures while making this dish and ran into the house to grab my camera just as everyone started eating to capture this one, LOL!
This is a favorite recipe of mine, because it is super easy to make and can be made a day in advance and tossed into the oven for dinner the next day. I was throwing a birthday party for my friend Susan which was mid-week so I chose an easy and delicious menu of Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Black Beans, Spanish Rice [except I substituted corn for the peas], and of course my home made Salsa and Guacamole! For dessert I made my famous Chocolate Cake Deluxe with a yummy Cream Cheese frosting instead of my traditional Chocolate Gnache. The nice thing about this menu was that I was able to make everything, except the rice, a day in advance so it literally took one hour to pull everything together!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

6 Chicken Breasts, skin on, bone in (or substitute 2 pre-cooked rotisserie chickens, skinned, meat removed from the bone and finely diced or shredded).
2 28-Ounce Cans Enchilada Sauce
24 Corn Tortillas, cut in half
1 Pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
8 Ounces Queso Fresco, shredded

First prepare the chicken: Pre-Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on large baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake until just cooked through (or internal temperature reads 160 degrees farenheight), about 45 minutes. Let cool, remove skin and bones and chop or shred chicken into small pieces, set aside.
To assemble casserole: Coat the bottom of a very deep (3 inches or deeper) 9x13-inch baking dish with just enough enchilada sauce to coat. Next place 12 of the tortilla halves over the bottom of the dish to completely cover (they will overlap a bit). Coat the tortillas with a generous amount of enchilada sauce, 1/3 of the chicken 1/4 of the sharp cheddar and queso fresco cheeses. Now layer again with 12 tortilla halves, enchilada sauce, chicken, cheddar and queso fresco cheeses...repeat one more time finishing with a layer of tortillas on the very top with a thin layer of enchilada sauce (you may have a bit left over), and the remaining 1/4 cheddar and queso fresco cheese.
Bake casserole in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 45-60 minutes or until bubbling and cheese on top is lightly golden brown. Let rest for a few minutes to set up before serving. (serves 10)