Author and "The Chew" co-host Carla Hall, who explores the universal love of comfort food in her latest book, chats with Fox News Radio's Lilian Woo about tips and treats for your holiday family meal.
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Last Supper Buttered Tarragon Peas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 cups cooked fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest 1/4 cup water
1In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter 1
over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and /4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the shallots are just translucent, about 1 minute. Add the peas, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring, until heated through.
2Add the tarragon, thyme, lemon zest, water, and remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, stir- ring, until the peas are glazed, about 5 minutes. Garnish with tarragon leaves and serve immediately.
␣ One of my favorite French techniques is combining butter and water to gloss fresh vegetables. Butter makes the sauce creamy and the water keeps it from becoming too rich.
␣ To get my beloved lemon in here, I add zest to the glaze. Fresh juice would discolor the peas and the zest adds a nice floral note.
␣ When I first made this recipe, I thought, "Why waste my time thawing frozen peas?" Well, I learned the hard way. If you throw frozen peas into a hot pan, they clump and cook unevenly.
Poppy-Seed Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Herb Crust
Chef Curtis Stone came on The Chew as a guest and did this quirky thing to his roast: He finished cooking it, then he coated it with minced fresh herbs. I had used that technique on goat cheese before, but never thought to try it with meat. That hit of freshness over the rich meat was amazing. I said to him, "Oh, child, that's worth stealing." I wasn't kidding! Here, I've decided to add another layer of flavor by spice-rubbing the meat before cooking it and then coating it with the herb mix after. It tastes so com plex, but it's so easy! Thank you, Curtis.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 whole (12- to 14-ounce) pork tenderloin
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1Preheat the oven to 425°F. Meanwhile, combine the oil, paprika, poppy seeds, cinnamon, salt, and white pepper in a small bowl. Rub this all over
the pork and let stand on a rimmed baking sheet at room temperature until the oven is ready.
2 Roast the pork until it registers 135°F for medium, about 15 minutes.
3 While the pork is roasting, tear a sheet of parchment paper the length of the tenderloin. Sprinkle the dill and parsley in an even layer on the paper.
4 Roll the cooked pork in its pan juices, then transfer it to the fresh herbs and roll it in the herbs to coat evenly. Let the pork stand for 5 minutes, then cut into slices at an angle and serve.
If your tenderloin has a tapered end that's half the thickness of the rest of the loin, tuck it under for even cooking. Or you can leave it and serve it to anyone who prefers their pork really well done.
Roasted Leg of Lamb with Fennel
When I was a private chef in the Bahamas, I cooked lamb all the time. The family I worked for was British and they loved nothing more than a good roast lamb. (Well, since it was the Bahamas, I often grilled it on the beach to serve at their outdoor parties.) Instead of using milder British seasonings, I always went Greek with lamb and made sure there was plenty of garlic to complement the rich meat. As much as I love grilled lamb, I enjoy roasting it even more because I can stick sweet veggies in the pan and let them soak up all the meaty juices while they caramelize. It makes an awesome one-pan meal.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground fennel seeds
10 garlic cloves: 4 minced, 6 smashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 41/2-pound butterflied boneless leg of lamb
2 medium yellow onions, cut into thin wedges
1 fennel bulb, stalk chopped, bulb cut into thin wedges
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
1/4 cup Chicken Stock (page 103) or store- bought unsalted chicken broth
1In a small bowl, combine the oil, oregano, mint, cinnamon, fennel seeds, minced garlic, 2 tea- spoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Rub this all
over the lamb, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Let the lamb stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
2Preheat the oven to 450°F. Scatter the onion, fennel bulb and stalk, bay leaves, and smashed garlic in a large roasting pan and season with a
pinch each of salt and pepper. Place a roasting rack over the vegetables and add the stock to the pan. Place the lamb on the rack.
3 Roast for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350°F and continue roasting until the lamb registers 150°F for medium, about 25 minutes. Discard the bay leaves. Let the lamb rest for 15 minutes, then slice it and serve with the pan vegetables and juices.
Serve with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce and warm pitas.
␣ Normally, I cook my meat to medium-rare, some- times going even rarer than that. But for leg of lamb, I prefer the meat medium. Otherwise, I find it too chewy and, well, fleshy. You can decrease or increase the cooking time to your taste. Just be sure to keep checking the temperature with a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.
Copyright © 2014 by Carla Hall from CARLA'S COMFORT FOODS published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.