An inspired holiday dinner
PAM ANDERSON | 9/17/2009, 11:20 a.m.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed roasting pan over two burners on medium-high heat. When pan is very hot, turn on exhaust fan and sear roast until well browned, about 2 minutes on all 4 sides; transfer to a cookie sheet. Reduce heat to low; add port, scraping roasting pan to loosen brown bits. Pour port into a saucepan with 1 cup broth. Simmer until reduced to 1 cup; whisk in cornstarch to thicken. Set aside.
Prepare pilaf: Place mushrooms in a bowl, cover with3 cups of water and agitate to loosen dirt. Let sit 30 minutes. Put mushrooms in a fine mesh strainer; reserve liquid in bowl. Wash mushrooms under running water. Set aside. Pour mushroom liquid through strainer into another bowl.
Add 2 Tbs. oil to the roasting pan. Saut onion until well browned, 5 minutes. Add barley. Saut; stir constantly,1 to 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, then wine. Simmer until nearly evaporated; add reserved mushroom liquid and4 cups broth, and bring to a simmer.
To cook: Set a wire rack over the barley; set beef on rack. Cook, uncovered, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 120 (medium-rare) or 125 (medium), 30 to 35 minutes. Remove roast from rack and rack from pan. Let roast rest for about 25 minutes. Return barley to oven; cook until liquid evaporates and barley is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; stir in spinach and Parmesan until spinach wilts.
To serve: Reheat port wine sauce. Cut roast into 1-inch-thick slices. Serve with sauce and barley pilaf.
Serves 8, with leftovers for soup
Per 4 ounces beef, 2 Tbs. sauce, 3/4 cup barley: 669 calories, 49g protein, 9g carbohydrates, 10g fat (4.2g saturated), 15mg cholesterol, 4g fiber, 205mg sodium4 Tbs. butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 large, firm (but ripe) Bartlett pears (about 2 pounds), halved and cored
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. sugar
6 Tbs. brandy or cognac, divided
40 small gingersnap cookies
Candied or crystallized ginger
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 400 degrees.
Melt butter in a 9-by-13-inch pan in the preheating oven until nutty golden. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter in the pan, then place pears, cut sides down, over sugar.
Bake until pears are tender when poked with a sharp knife and sauce is thick and caramel colored, about 40 minutes. Remove pears from sauce to a plate with a slotted spoon. Pour sauce in a measuring cup. (You should have about 1 cup of sauce. If not, simmer to reduce, or add water to equal 1 cup.) Cool pears and sauce to room temperature. (At this point, you can remove skin from the pears with a knife, if you want.) Cut each pear half into 8 chunks.
When ready to assemble, whip cream into soft peaks, gradually adding sugar. Beat in 2 Tbs. of brandy. Set aside.
Place 24 gingersnaps on a cookie sheet and lightly brush with some of the brandy. Work quickly; the cookies will soften in places, making them difficult to transfer. Arrange 3 cookies in each of 8 goblets. Drizzle each with some of the caramel sauce (about 1/3 cup total), a dollop of whipped cream and 4 pieces of pear.