What I'm Cooking

I adore cooking. My favorite way of visiting with friends is to have them over to sit in the kitchen and talk with me over a glass of wine while I try out a new recipe. I thought I'd share some of them. Write and tell me what you think.    

Port Wine Sauce
(serves four)

This luscious sauce can make any cut of red meat into a piece de resistance. Use it with lamb, beef, vension, or elk. Put a pool of sauce on the plate and set the grilled meat on top. Add some roasted asparagus and caramelized parsnips and you've got a restaurant-worthy production.

The recipe is simple as can be, requiring little effort on your part. It cannot be rushed, however. Be sure to use ruby port, not tawny. You can try this with a good cabernet, as well, but it won't be as sweet and will be best suited to beef.

It can be made several days ahead and refrigerated.

4 T minced shallots
2-3 T butter
2 c veal stock (I use Williams & Sonoma veal glace) or beef stock

4 c ruby port

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the shallots. Caramelize the shallots over low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and translucent and sweet and chewy to the taste. This will take about an hour.

Add the stock and port. Increase heat to medium. Keep the mixture at a low boil until it reduces to the consistency of heavy cream. For prettiest presentation, spoon a pool of sauce on the plate and set the meat on top.

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Caramelized parsnips

8 parsnips
3 T water
3 T butter

Peel parsnips and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Place parsnips and water in nonstick skillet with tight fitting lid. Cook over medium high heat for two minutes, allowing parsnips to steam. Remove lid and increase heat to boil away water.

Add butter. Continue to cook parsnips over medium high heat, stirring only occasionally. You want the sides of the parsnip cubes to get very dark brown, although not on all sides. I usually turn them with a spatula rather than a spoon, to keep from mashing them. Add more butter if the pan appears to be drying out.

Serves four.

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