It is cold here. Like, zero is the day's high temperature kind of cold. The car protests when left outside at work, even David occasionally thinks it's too cold to go ski and everyone's skin seems perpetually chapped.
Then I talked to an opposing attorney in Fairbanks yesterday, and he informed me that it was 35 below. In the middle of the day. Talk about perspective.
Although I'm continuing to eat (mostly) healthy, I am really craving warm, hearty comfort food at night. Not in huge portions, and not made with a stick of butter, but comfort food nevertheless.
When we made the Tuscan Chicken on Sunday night, I made a big pot of rosemary-scented polenta to go with it. We've been continuing to eat the polenta with the leftover roast chicken, but last night I really wanted a little red meat, preferably in a red wine sauce, to go over the polenta. I made kebabs of sirloin and braised pearl onions that were ridiculously good, and went together so fast that it didn't even occur to me to take more pictures.
The pearl onions can be either fresh or jarred. When I went to the store last night, the fresh pearl onions were looking a little sad. I think the same four bags had been sitting there for a while, so I went with the jarred. If you use the jarred, I recommend rinsing and drying them before browning.
Beef and Braised Onion Kebabs with Red Wine Jus
Inspired by a Recipe from epicurious.com
30 small pearl onions, jarred
1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 tbsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1.5 tsp. rosemary, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 lb. sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup dry red wine
Rinse the pearl onions in a colander. In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for about three minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions brown lightly. Add the salt and pepper, cover the onions with water and turn the heat to low. Cook for another 15 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, toss the beef cubes with the olive oil, rosemary and garlic and set aside to marinate.
When the onions are cooked, remove them from the heat and separate the onions from the cooking liquid. Reserve the liquid in the skillet and allow the onions to cool.
When the onions are cooled, string the beef cubes and onions on either metal skewers or soaked bamboo skewers. The recipe is enough to make about six kebabs.
Return the onion cooking liquid to the stove. On medium heat, add the residual marinade from the beef and the cup of wine. Heat to a simmer.
Broil the kebabs for two to four minutes; they do not need to be turned. Three minutes resulted in a nice medium-rare kebab.
Serves two; serve with polenta and drizzle with the wine sauce.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine, January 2009
1.5 cups polenta
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup cheese, finely shredded*
2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
Fresh-ground pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, bring the polenta, water, rosemary and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture uncovered for approximately twenty minutes. Stir frequently with a long-handled spoon, because it will want to stick to the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pan from the when the polenta is tender but not mushy and all the water has been absorbed. Stir in the butter and cheese and add fresh-ground pepper to taste. Makes enough polenta for four to six people, or enough for two with lots of leftovers.
*Be creative with the cheese, although I'd recommend using a harder cheese. I used an aged cow's-milk cheese from New Jersey called Pawlet that my brother-in-law sent us, but a good Parmesan or Pecorino would work too.