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Archive for February, 2010

A Taste for Hidden Miracles

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Gift bags, cellophane, tissue paper and sweets are starting to fill Jewish homes everywhere…it’s beginning to look a lot like Purim!  The giving of mishloach manot (gifts of food) may be the impetus for much excitement and imagination on Purim – all gussied up with themes and pretty ribbons – but decorated baskets and colorful costumes aren’t the only outlets for creativity on Purim.  Eating a lavish feast, one of the important obligations of the day, affords us every bit as much opportunity to “go crazy” in honor of the holiday.

In our home, each year we spice up our festive meal by choosing an international cuisine around which we plan the entire menu.  It’s been great fun having a “Down Home Purim”, and a “Purim Fiesta!”  This year, though, we decided to let one of the themes of the Purim story, namely, hester panim, be the theme of our meal.  Hester Panim means “hidden face,” referring to the notion that G-d watches and assists us even though we don’t see Him.  This is a key theme in the story of Purim, where the Jews were miraculously saved, even though no seas were split and no walls mysteriously crumbled.  In fact, that is the reason we wear costumes on Purim!  With that in mind, our guests will be discovering all kinds of hidden treats during the course of the meal this year.   From the mysteriously stuffed oven-roasted tomatoes to the beggar’s purses for dessert, we’ll keep ‘em guessing from start to finish!

An elegant choice for a “hidden” main entrée is the following recipe for a Veal Roulade stuffed with Butternut Squash.  A roulade is a French term for a thin slice of meat rolled around a filling.  It sounds complicated, involving all kinds of fancy techniques like “searing” and “deglazing”, but you’ll be surprised at how simple it is if you just follow the steps carefully.  Beautiful to the eye, this dish is well suited for a tender cut of meat such as a boneless breast of veal (a.k.a. “veal brisket”), but would also work well with a butterflied boneless turkey breast (be sure to type “butterflied” in the special instructions field when ordering online).   Once sliced, your guests will discover the flavorful stuffing hiding within.

Have a happy and tasty Purim!

Veal Roulade with Butternut Squash Stuffing and Maple-Wine Glaze

This elegant entrée can easily be doubled to serve a larger crowd.  For a 5 lb. brisket, cooking time after searing should be extended to 1½ hours at 350 degrees.

Serves 4-6.

Stuffing:

  1. 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 cup (1 medium) onion, chopped
  3. 1 garlic clove, minced
  4. 2 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  5. 1 ½ tsp. fresh chopped thyme
  6. 1 cup baby bella or crimini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  7. ¼ cup coarse fresh bread crumbs or panko bread crumbs
  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes, or until just translucent.  Add garlic and butternut squash, stirring to coat with oil.  Sauté for another 6 -7 minutes, or until squash starts to become tender.  Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Add thyme and mushrooms.  Stir to blend and sauté another 4-5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to wilt. Turn heat off, and add bread crumbs to the pan, stirring to distribute.  Set mixture aside.

Roulade:

  1. 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 tsp. paprika
  3. ½ tsp. black pepper
  4. 2 ¼ lbs. veal brisket
  5. 10 pieces kitchen twine, approximately 16-18” long (for tying the roulade)
  6. ½ cup dry white wine, divided
  7. ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  8. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine olive oil, paprika and black pepper in a small bowl.  Mix to blend and set aside. 

Lay brisket out flat on a large cutting board or work space.  Season the brisket with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Spread the stuffing mixture all over the brisket, leaving a 1 inch border all around.  Starting from one end, roll the brisket up, being careful that the stuffing doesn’t slide out.  Tie the roulade closed with kitchen twine at 1-2 inch intervals (if you are having trouble tying the roulade without it falling apart, secure with a few toothpicks and then remove them after you have finished tying it up).   Place the tied roulade in a heavy roasting pan and rub spice mixture all over the exterior. 

Place roulade in oven and sear for 15-20 minutes (exterior will be browned).  Pour ¼ cup white wine into the bottom of the roasting pan and cover with foil.   Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for approximately 45 minutes. 

Remove from oven and allow roulade to rest for 15 minutes.  Transfer roulade to a cutting board, reserving pan juices in the roasting pan.  Place roasting pan on stove over medium heat, scraping up browned bits with a spatula*.  Add maple syrup and remaining ¼ cup wine.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until sauce is thickened and slightly syrupy.  Remove from heat.  Skim off excess fat if necessary, and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

When ready to serve, snip pieces of twine and discard.  Slice roulade into 1” rounds, and carefully place on a serving platter.  Drizzle glaze over roulade slices.  Serve and enjoy.

* If your roasting pan is not suited for stovetop cooking, simply pour the pan juices and any scraped bits into a small saucepan and continue with directions.  If your pan is non-stick, be sure not to use a metal spatula!

   By Naomi Ross

 

 

 

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