Thursday, November 1, 2012

squid and leeks braised with red wine/foie gras ravioli with cherry balsamic gastrique

Back in April, Nathan and I celebrated our four year anniversary. As he's a law student and I'm a terminally underpaid editorial assistant, we opted to stay in and prepare a fancy meal for ourselves, much as we did for Valentine's Day. Nathan loves squid, so we braised some with red wine, leeks, thyme and some crunchy croutons, as seen above. We also had brought back some foie gras from the duty free shop in the Paris airport during our layover on our trip to Russia, so I made up some homemade ravioli in a cherry balsamic gastrique sauce with that. It was a great meal for a very special occasion.

Here's the full plate of food. The squid is floured and spiced with cayenne, and then cooked low and slow with garlic, red wine and leeks. It's served up with crispy croutons and a sprinkle of fresh parsley (the croutons I made from some really delicious bread from Whole Foods that was loaded with seeds and grains and stuff). The ravioli is filled with a mixture of foie gras, pate, porcini mushrooms and marsala wine,  and the sauce is a reduced porcini stock with balsamic and dried cherries. It might not be much to look at, but it was a labor of love and the taste more than made up for the homely appearance, though the gastrique sauce might have been a bit on the thinner side.

Squid and Leeks in Red Wine
adapted from Richard Olney’s Simple French Food via the Amateur Gourmet

2 lbs of leeks, the white and pale green parts, carefully washed and cut into 2-inch lengths
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp salt
2 lbs squid, cleaned and cut into ½-inch pieces
2 tbsp flour
a pinch cayenne
1 tsp crumbled dry herbs (thyme, oregano….)
1 bay leaf
8 peeled cloves garlic, sliced paper thin
2 cups red wine
1 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
day old bread, cut into cubes, buttered and toasted
2 tbsp minced parsley

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven, add the leeks and half the salt, and saute for 10 minutes, stirring carefully until cooked through. Remove and set aside.

Add the squid to the pan, add the remainder of the salt and let cook, stirring until the squid stops releasing liquid. It should take several minutes. When almost all the liquid is gone: sprinkle over the flour, stir and cook for another minute or so.

Add the cayenne, herbs and garlic, then pour in the red wine and water while stirring. Bring to a boil and add back in the leek pieces, laying them into the pan in between the squids.

Cook, covered, at a bare simmer for an hour and a half, or until tender. Keep the flame low and the pot from boiling so as to keep the squid from getting touch. Taste for seasoning. Scatter the surface with the croutons and chopped parsley and serve right away in the dutch oven.

Foie Gras, Pate and Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Red Currant Balsamic Gastrique  adapted from

3 tbsp butter
3 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 2 cups hot water and finely chopped (reserve the water)
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp marsala wine
4 oz foie gras
4 oz rabbit and pork pate
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb fresh egg pasta, rolled into sheets

2 cups porcini stock
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 handful dried cherries
1 large pinch granulated sugar
2 oz butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp minced parsley

For the filling, begin by sauteing the porcini mushrooms in the melted butter over medium high heat for about five minutes. Then turn up the heat and add the garlic. As the garlic starts to brown and the everything starts to get really hot, deglaze the pan with the marsala. Remove from heat, transfer to a mixing bowl and refrigerate mixture until completely cooled.  To finish the filling, mix in the foie gras and pate, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add the reserved water from the dried porcinis, the balsamic vinegar, dried cherries and sugar to a saucepan on medium heat, and let reduce by half while you complete the raviolis. 

Fill each ravioli with 1 tablespoon of foie gras and mushroom mixture, and seal carefully (we used a press, but it was not as easy as I would have hoped... you could definitely do it by hand). Boil the ravioli in salted water until they start to float.

Stir butter into the reduced sauce, season to taste and add the parsley. Add the ravioli to pan, cook for a minute longer and then serve.

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