Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are you having a small intimate dinner for Christmas Eve? No big turkey or a side of beef in your oven this year? If so, I have a special menu for you. It is quick, simple and absolutely delicious. Team it with a simple salad of greens, red onion, blue cheese and a balsamic vinagrette. Add a rich dessert and ....
Merry Christmas!

Sirloin and Pierogies with a Port and Mustard Sauce
The port and mustard create a rich, sweet, and spicy sauce, which is a perfect match for the steak and the pierogies.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces steak, 2 tablespoons sauce, and 2 pierogies)

1 package frozen traditional Pierogies (I use Pieroguys brand, produced here in Kansas City)
1 pound trimmed sirloin (about 1 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup Somerset Ridge Tawny Port
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

Cook pierogies according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.
While they are cooking, sprinkle both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Lightly coat steak with cooking spray. Add steak to a pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Transfer meat to a platter; keep warm.
Add port to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Stir in shallots and garlic; cook 45 seconds, stirring frequently. Add beef broth; bring to a boil. Cook 20 seconds; remove from heat. Add mustard and thyme, stirring with a whisk.
In a skillet with melted butter, brown the pierogies gently for several minutes.
Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve steak and sauce with the pierogies.

Flourless Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate Torte

1 cup blanched hazelnuts
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 60% cacao)
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
6 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and
line the bottom of the pan with parchment.
Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until they reach a coarse, sandy consistency.
Either in the microwave or in a double boiler over hot water, melt the chocolate with the oil and butter, stirring together to form a homogenous mixture. Set aside in a warm place.
With a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt to soft peaks and set aside. Switch to the paddle attachment and, in a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugars, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add the chocolate and butter mixture, then the cocoa powder. Fold in the whipped egg whites until smooth.
Pour into a greased and parchment-lined 9-inch springform pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, just until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Wine suggestions: Somerset Ridge Ruby Red with main course; and with that special dessert, the rest of the bottle of Somerset Ridge Tawny Port, of course!

                                                       Don't forget to hang the Mistletoe!

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