You Gonna Eat All That?

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A sick pup and weekend meals by Jim

I'm glad Jim's been in the mood to cook this weekend. I'm exhausted from being up all night with a sick doggie. Sophie had me up almost all night panting, scratching and acting very hyper. Turns out she was having a bad allergic reaction to something. By 9:00 this morning she was covered in welts and miserable. I'd given her an antihistamine during the night but it didn't seem to help so we put her in the car and took her to the Alexandria Animal Hospital which is, thankfully, about 2 miles from home.

They gave her a shot of Benadryl, we got a bottle of pills to give her for the next 10 days and we were on our way. She slept most of the day from the Benadryl and is now welt-free. I, however, am exhausted. Only 3 hours sleep is not near enough for me. I was dragging my ass all day. But at least our little girl is feeling better. In fact she's curled up next to me while I write this and snoring. I'll be doing the same shortly myself.

But getting back to Jim's cooking this weekend. Yesterday we went to Wegman's and saw them filleting a huge halibut. We picked out two pretty pieces, got some morel mushrooms (gads those things are expensive) and Jim began to put together a plan for dinner. He made a sauce for the halibut out of onion, white wine, a touch of cream and the morel mushrooms. Then he cooked the halibut in an iron skillet while he cooked some pasta. Once it was all done, he plated the pasta and put a piece of the halibut on top then poured some of the sauce over it. We also had a fresh baguette was also on the table to sop up the sauce.
The meal was great. The halibut was fresh and flavorful and topped with the sauce made it out of this world. The sauce had just enough creaminess to it from the cream to give it a nice mouth feel and flavorwise everything was perfectly balanced. The only thing Jim would do different next time would be to use a stick blender to puree the onions and make the sauce completely smooth.

Tonight he prepared a couscous paella. It was fairly easy to put together which made me happy since it meant I could zombie out on the couch with a still sleepy dog. The recipe is a true creation of Jim's that he made using what he thought would be good together and he was spot on. For the meat, he used a smokey chorizo sausage and chicken legs. Poblano peppers, onions and saffron joined the party to boost the flavor. Served with a nice sauvignon blanc, it was absolutely fabulous. I told him to write this recipe down so it can be made again and I'm posting it here to share with everyone.

Halibut with with morel chardonnay cream sauce
Cooked pasta (I used campanelle, other short pastas would work as well)
1 onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons Smart Balance spread (you can use butter)
6 large morel mushrooms
1 cup chardonnay (or other dry white wine)
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup cream
2 large halibut fillet pieces with skin (about a half-pound each)
Italian parsley

Sautee onion in Smart Balance (This is the only thing that is healthy in this dish). Slice morel mushrooms longways, wash gently on inside and out. Place in skillet with the onions, cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, put wine and chicken stock in skillet. Reduce with onions until liquid is reduced by 1/2.

While this is reducing, heat olive oil iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Salt and pepper halibut fillets. Add halibut pieces meat side down and cover. After 5 minutes, flip fillets to skin side, reduce heat and cook for 5-10 minutes until done. Skin may stick; that's ok, just take the meat right off and leave the skin in the pan.

After sauce has reduced, add cream, stir, then add mushrooms. Cook for a short time on low heat to let the mushrooms absorb some of the sauce.

To plate, put pasta on plate. Spoon chardonnay cream sauce, with onions and mushrooms, on to pasta. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley. Place halibut fillet on top.

Couscous paella
4 chicken legs
4 oz Spanish chorizo (dry sausage)
2 poblano peppers
2 small or 1 large onions
3 cloves garlic
1 box (10 oz) couscous
2 cups chicken stock
large pinch saffron
1 lime

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Salt chicken legs then brown in olive oil, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove.

While chicken legs are browning, dice onions and poblano peppers, rough chop garlic and slice chorizo into 1/4 inch slices. Sautee onions and poblano peppers until they start to brown, then add chorizo and garlic. While this is sauteeing, put the large pinch of saffron in a little (1 oz or so) hot water to let it bloom.

After chorizo gets a little crispy and brown around the edges, add 2 cups chicken stock and saffron and water. Return chicken legs to skillet. Braise covered for 10 minutes, then flip chicken legs and braise for another 10 minutes. Remove legs, strip meat from legs and return meat to pan. Return pan to boil. Add couscous to skillet, turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Add lime juice and salt to taste.

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Blogger Chris said...

As always, I am behind in my blog-reading. I am so sorry to hear about your sick lil' one! Is she better, I hope?

Your dinner sounds delicious. I never had morels, but I enjoy halibut a lot. And, I totally love the idea of coucous paella! ingenious! :)

Hope your week starts off better tomorrow...

7:04 PM  
Blogger DC Food Blog said...

Coucous paella! Brilliant!

12:04 PM  

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