Magazine article Sunset

They Don't Look Quick ... but All Three Are

Magazine article Sunset

They Don't Look Quick ... but All Three Are

Article excerpt

They don't look quick . . . but all three are

When schedules are full, simple but attractive entrees that offer a few surprises are especially welcome. Here, our readers have provided recipes for three such main dishes. Pantry basics, plus a quick stop at the market, will get dinner underway.

During a residency in Jocotepec, a small city south of Guadalajara, Mexico, Pat Cameron-Field developed a fondness for the local version of picadillo, a beef stew mixture. Now living in Alpine, California, she still enjoys this quick-cooking picadillo, based on thin slices of beef.

Tomatillos, the green tomato-like vegetable, give the beef a nice tang. You can buy tomatillos fresh or canned in some supermarkets or in Mexican food stores. Potatoes cook in this stew, soaking up the juices.

Garnish the picadillo with avocado slices and serve with sour cream and cilantro. Rice is an additional companion.

Picadillo Stew

1 pound fresh tomatillos or 1 can (1 lb.) tomatillos

2 tablespoons salad oil

1 pound boneless top round beef, thinly sliced across grain

1 teaspoon cumin seed

1 pound thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

1 pound zucchini, ends trimmed off and sliced 1/4 inch thick

2 cans (10 oz. each) red chili sauce

1 large ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

3 to 4 cups hot cooked rice

Sour cream and fresh cilantro (coriander) sprigs

If using fresh tomatillos, pull off and discard husks. Wash tomatillos and slice 1/4 inch thick.

Pour oil into a 12- to 14-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Add beef and cumin seed and cook, stirring, until meat is no longer pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatillos (if using canned tomatillos, add with liquid to pan and mash with a spoon), potatoes, zucchini, and chili sauce. Cover picadillo mixture and simmer over medium-low heat until potatoes are soft when pierced, about 30 minutes.

Pour picadillo into a shallow, wide serving bowl and garnish with avocado. To serve, spoon hot stew over rice. Spoon sour cream and cilantro leaves onto individual portions. Makes 6 servings.

Sharon Baden of Seattle has elevated chicken and noodles with this variation based on roast chicken. If you're rushed, you could purchase a cooked chicken at a supermarket delicatessen.

Rost Chicken in Tarragon Cream

1 roast chicken, about 2 1/4 pounds cooked (about 3 lb. before cooking) or 2 to 3 cups boned and skinned cooked chicken or turkey pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil or salad oil

1/2 cup chopped shallots or onion

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon dry tarragon

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 cup whipping cream

6 ounces dry twist-shape or bow-tie-shape pasta

Boiling water

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Pull skin off chicken and tear meat off bones; discard bones and skin. …

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