Tuesday, December 21

Beef Heart Quenelles, Mushroom Sauce & European Soldier Beans - Solar Baked

Beef Heart Quenelles with Mushroom Sauce & European Soldier Beans
A few weeks ago, I applied to participate in the Iron Foodie Contest offered by Foodie Blogroll and Marx Foods where they had 25 contestants + 25 recipes + 3 ingredients chosen by Marx Foods. Well, I didn't win. 8-(   BUT, Marx Foods offered me a consolation prize of five (5) random ingredients and an offer to create an original recipe and submit it for possible sharing on their blog and winning a consolation prize of more exotic ingredients! I couldn't resist. But, it had to be submitted by December 22nd. Here's my surprise ingredients -- and I've managed to use them all!

Aji Panca Chilies, Black Trumpet Mushrooms,
Saffron Threads, Granulated Honey, and
European Soldier Beans!
This was definitely going to be interesting and a multiple process meal. Because Marx Foods is a great place for exotic foods and spices, I decided on beef heart for my meat protein -- just because they don't offer it!
So there, Marx Foods! The beans would take the longest to cook, so I soaked them overnight and had them in the preheated solar oven by 10:30 am. And a Panade for the beef heart quenelles would need at least a couple of hours to refrigerate (or overnight) and then another two hours for the quenelle mixture to cool. This required planning. My mind kept going back to some absolutely fantastic Haggis I had enjoyed in Isle of Skye, Scotland, and I was looking for that lightness and texture for my quenelles. [NOTE: I've also had some inedible, heavy, horrid Haggis, too, and I definitely didn't want that to happen.] Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed...

European Soldier Baked Beans:  Clean, then soak beans overnight in enough water to cover plus two inches, so that beans are doubled.  In a heavy skillet with deep sides, sweat 1 medium chopped onion in 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp finely chopped dried Aji Panca Chilies, stir for a minute or so; add 1 Tbsp Granulated Honey, Pinch crushed Saffron Threads, 2 small bay leaves, 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper; blend thoroughly. Do not drain beans. Add beans and liquid to onion-pepper mixture, bring to full boil. Gently pour into baking pot to avoid burns, cover, place in solar oven for at least 4-6 hours.

Panade: This is nothing more than a variation of puff pastry. In saucepan, bring 1-1/4 cups water to boil; add 4 Tbspns butter. When butter is melted and liquid returned to boiling, add 1 cup flour plus 1 tsp salt all at once. Stir rapidly for about five minutes until Panade is smooth and pulls away from sides of pan. Turn into bowl, cover, and cool in refrigerator for at least two hours, or overnight.

Beef Heart Mixture: 1-1/4 lbs. clean and cubed beef heart is more than enough to make quenelles to serve 6 people. Remove all cartilage, fat, and veins from beef heart. Cube in pieces to make it easier to puree in food processor or meat grinder. (Beef heart has no grain and will puree easily in a food processor.) Process till meat is very fine; measure final volume to know how much Panade to add. (Meat and Panade should be equal amounts). To pureed beef heart, add 1/2 stick butter and 4 large eggs. Process till very smooth. Add Panade, 2-3 Tbspns heavy cream, 1/2 tspn nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1 tsp marjoram, 1 tsp tarragon, Pinch of ground cloves, 1/2 tsp Sea Salt, 1/8 tsp black pepper. Mix well. Put mixture into bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Beef Heart Quenelles: Remove cooled beef heart mixture from refrigerator. Using two large spoons (or make one large quenelle) heated with hot water, shape mixture into oval shapes. If you're going to add mushrooms or any filling, scoop half, add filling, use other spoon to scoop top half of quenelle; then, gently shape. Place all quenelles in bottom of roasting pan. Gently pour heated liquid (I used a half beef stock-half wine blend) over quenelles until 1/2 inch covered with liquid; cover roaster and poach in solar oven for approximately 40 minutes.

Waiting for Liquid for Poaching

Covered in Liquid; Ready for Oven

Cooked Quenelles Puffed and Yummy
 Or, you can make a large quenelle. I don't really care for them large because they look like a meat loaf and I want mine to be distinctive at the table. BUT, I had so much mixture available that I decided to go ahead and poach a large one so that you could see what to do and what it looks like. The taste and texture is the same as for the little ones.
Bottom half with chopped Black Trumpet Mushroom down center.

Top Layer. Note it's away from sides and smoothed over.

Covered with poaching liquid, ready for oven.

Fresh from the oven, ready for the table.
Mushroom Sauce:  Soak dried mushrooms, if you must, but it's really not necessary. (Reserve 2 Tbsp of chopped dried mushrooms for inside of quenelles, if you wish.) In medium-heavy skillet, melt 2 Tbsps butter, stir in dried coarsely chopped mushrooms; cook about 2-3 minutes. Add 2 Tbspns flour, stir to completely blend and cook for about 2 minutes. Slowly add 1-1/4 Tbspns lemon juice, 1/2 pt. heavy cream, salt to taste. Cook till totally smooth and hot. Serve over quenelles.

Serve with rice or noodles. I've served mine with Sushi rice because I like the nuttiness and texture. If you have never tried a meat quenelle, it's well worth taking the time (and, it does take time!) for this incredible deliciousness. The European Soldier Beans cooked up nice and soft with a mild nutty flavor. The Aji Panca Chilies were delicious. I held back on using all three pieces because I'm unfamiliar with this particular chili pepper, but I would definitely not be afraid to use more for my next meal. They were piquant but not aggressive and a very smooth addition to the beans. I loved the Black Trumpet Mushrooms and look forward to getting more.

But, everything was jaw-dropping yummy!
A study in beige!
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