Lamb Shoulder Roast Meal
One of the greatest benefits of Convection cooking is the ability to cook an entire meal at one time with no transference of flavor. I am not suggesting you have to cook a cake at the same time but it’s good to know if you are cooking something like a lamb shoulder roast that will be in the oven for quite some time that you can cook a dessert at the same time.
My cooking plan is to cook the lamb shoulder roast at 300 degrees Convection for about 1 ½ hours. The cake also cooks at 300 degrees and takes approximately 50 minutes to bake so I will cook that during the first hour the roast is in the oven. Once it’s out of the oven I will increase the temperature to 375 to make sure the lamb renders any fat and gets nice and crisp. The vegetables will only take about 12 - 15 minutes to cook so they go in at the very end.
1 - 2lb lamb shoulder roast
1 - tablespoon olive oil
1 - teaspoon herb’s de Provence OR
1 - tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
4 - cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt & pepper
Combine the oil and seasonings and rub into the lamb, a few hours or even overnight in advance of cooking and let the lamb sit outside of the refrigerator for at least an hour before cooking.
Heat the oven to 300 degrees, Convection, place the roast on a rack in a shallow pan and roast for 1 hour 15 mins. Increase the heat to 375 and cook for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and check the internal temperature, it should be 145 degrees, and set aside to rest before carving.
Roasted Greens Chickpeas and Feta Cheese
1 - bunch Dino or red kale, stems removed, leaves cut into 2” pieces
3 - cloves garlic, minced
1 - tablespoon olive oil
1 - bunch broccolini, stems trimmed
1 - 14oz can chickpeas drained and slightly dried out
Dash of dried red chili (optional)
4 - oz Feta cheese, sliced
Combine the kale & minced garlic with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and massage the oil into the leaves, add the chickpeas and toss well then fold in the broccolini and chili if using. Sprinkle with kosher salt and spread onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes then add the Feta cheese slices to the pan and cook for another few minutes until the cheese begins to melt.
Hazelnut Chocolate Pear Cake
This cake is prepared in a food processor since the first step is to grind the nuts, once the batter is formed transfer it to a bowl to fold in the pears and chocolate. The cake has a nice light batter and is a winning combination of flavors.
1 - cup all purpose flour
1 ½ - teaspoons baking powder
½ - teaspoon salt
½ - cup hazelnuts (or substitute pecans or walnuts)
6 - ounces cold unsalted butter cut into small chunks
⅔ - cup light brown sugar
2 - eggs
¼ - cup dark chocolate chopped into small pieces
4 - small pears, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
Heat the oven to 300 degrees Convection.
Butter an 8” cake pan and line the bottom with paper.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor to a fine meal.
Add the flour mixture and pulse to combine.
Add the butter and pulse until fine crumbs form.
Add the sugar and eggs and mix briefly to combine.
Transfer the batter to a bowl and fold in the chocolate and half of the pears. Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan and top with the remaining pears. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the tester comes out clean.
Cauliflower Mc & Cheese
Convection Bake Mode
This delicious version of perhaps the most popular comfort food incorporates some steamed cauliflower but you could also substitute broccoli if you prefer.
3 - cups elbow pasta
2 - cups, small cauliflower or broccoli florets
3 - tablespoons butter
3 - tablespoons all purpose flour
2 - cups milk
1 - teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
1 - cup grated Jack cheese
2 - cups grated Cheddar cheese
¼ - cup fine breadcrumbs mixed with
¼ - cup grated Parmesan cheese and
2 - tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cook the pasta in 8 cups of water with ½ teaspoon of salt, drain and rinse in cold water.
Steam the cauliflower and when cooked combine with the pasta.
Heat the butter in a small heavy saucepan, add the flour and stir to blend.
Cook for a few minutes taking care not to let the butter get too dark.
Whisk in the milk and cook over moderate heat until thickened.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese whisking until it is all blended, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 350 degrees (using Convection ensures even heat distribution and enables you to roast some meat or vegetables on another rack at the same time)
Mix the cheese sauce with the cooked pasta and cauliflower and pour into an oiled oven casserole dish (approx 9 x 13) cover and bake on the center rack for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle the breadcrumb, parsley, Parmesan cheese mixture over the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes until the topping has browned.
Turkey Lasagna with Zucchini Noodles, Mozzarella and Pesto
Convection or Convection Bake
I won’t kid you, Lasagna always takes work but the efforts are always worthwhile and in this version the zucchini “noodles” are easily prepared at the same time using Convection.
It takes about 10 minutes to slice the zucchini and about 20 minutes to cook and cool them.
The turkey filling takes about 40 minutes to prep and cook and while that is cooking you can assemble the other ingredients so you are ready to layer everything into the casserole for baking. Once everything is prepped, layering the lasagna into the casserole is easy.
6 - large zucchini, ends trimmed each cut lengthwise into 6 ¼” thick slices
½ - teaspoon mixed Italian seasoning
2 - tablespoons olive oil
1 - tablespoon olive oil + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 - lb ground dark turkey meat (or ground beef if you prefer)
1 - medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1” dice
3 - cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Dash of ground chili flakes if you like some spice
1 - 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - 15oz container Ricotta cheese
1 - 4 oz container Pesto (or ½ cup homemade)
1 ½ - lbs shredded Mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to Convection or Convection Bake 400 degrees
Lay the zucchini slices onto 2 rimmed baking sheets, sprinkle with the seasoning and drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 15 - 20 minutes until softened, then set aside to cool.
Meanwhile heat a large heavy skillet or saute pan over moderate heat, when hot add the oil and butter and when the butter sizzles increase the heat and add the ground turkey. Break it up with a fork and cook over medium high heat until evenly browned. Turn off the heat and remove the turkey from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Return the pan to heat and over moderate heat saute the onion until softened, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Cook over moderate heat breaking the tomatoes with the back of a spoon (you can use chopped tomatoes if you prefer) then stir in the tomato paste. Add the browned turkey and any accumulated juices to the pan and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Layering the Lasagna
Spoon a little of the sauce onto the bottom of an oven casserole dish and add one layer of the cooked zucchini noodles.
Add half of the turkey mixture, spread over the noodles and top with a cup of mozzarella cheese
Add another layer of noodles and spread the ricotta over the noodles, or flatten a few tablespoons between your palms and place over the noodles.
Gently spread a layer of pesto over the ricotta and top with another loosely packed cup of mozzarella and another layer of noodles
Add the remainder of the turkey, another cup of cheese and the final layer of noodles.
Spread a little more pesto over the top of the noodles and top with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
Preheat the oven to Convection Bake 325 degrees
Cut a sheet of foil to fit the casserole and lightly oil the non-shiny side.
Cover the casserole loosely so the foil doesn’t stick to the cheese and bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling, allow the casserole to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 - 8
Shepherd’s Pie with Seitan
Another dish on the list of popular comfort foods, this version from Susanne Jensen will show you just how delicious a plant based version of this dish can be. If you don’t have a big group to feed you can easily portion this casserole into smaller portions and freeze some for later use.
2 - tablespoons oil
1 - yellow onion, diced
3 - cloves garlic, minced
1 - teaspoon thyme
2 - carrots, finely diced
1 - rutabaga, finely dice
1 - pound seitan, ground in a food processor or meat grinder
2 - tablespoons tomato paste
1 - tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ - teaspoons salt ¼ t- easpoon pepper
2 - cups water mixed with 2 tablespoons vegetable powder
1 - tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons cold - water ½ - cup fresh or frozen peas
3 - large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
1. Heat oil in a frying pan and add onion and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes.
2. Add rutabaga and carrot and sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
3. Add thyme, seitan, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, water with vegetable powder and cook for 6-8 minutes.
4. Add dissolved cornstarch and cook until vegetable seitan mixture has slightly thickened, approximately 1 minute.
5. Stir in peas.
6. Meanwhile steam the potatoes in 1 cup of water over moderate heat until very tender. Mash with some butter and milk until creamy.
7. Assemble shepherd’s pie by adding vegetables to a baking pan and cover with mashed potatoes.
8. When ready to serve, preheat the oven in the Convection Bake Mode 400 degrees and bake uncovered for 20 minutes until the potatoes begin to brown (40 minutes if the casserole has been refrigerated.)
Serves 6 - 8
Mushroom Quiche with Fontina
Much as I appreciate the benefits of cooking with Convection I still make good use of the traditional Bake mode in the oven, especially when baking pies or quiche. The traditional Bake mode has a more drying effect upon food and since the heat is primarily coming from the bottom heating element you can be assured your pastry will cook through perfectly.
When preparing this recipe take into account that the pastry needs to rest before being baked blind and it’s not advisable to put a hot filling into the pastry.
So in terms of planning, here are the steps:
1. Make the pastry first and place it in the refrigerator.
2.Cook the mushrooms and grate the cheese and set those aside.
3. Heat the oven and “blind bake” the pastry crust. For this you will need to line the pastry with a circle of parchment paper and weigh down the crust with dried beans or pastry weights.
4. Whip together the eggs and cream and now you are ready to bake the quiche.
Quiche is traditionally baked in a crust made with butter and all-purpose flour but in this version I am using a delicious easy to prepare olive oil crust
Olive Oil Pastry
1 ¼ - cups all purpose or spelt flour
½ - tsp kosher salt
½ - cup good quality olive oil
¼ - cup ice cold water
Combine the flour and salt in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the water then the oil, mixing until well blended. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough briefly then place in a 9” metal tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly into the base of the pan and up the sides then place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before blind baking.
To blind bake the crust, place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven in the Bake mode 400 degrees. Place a circle of parchment paper over the prepared pastry and add enough dried beans or weights to cover the surface evenly.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Handling a pan with a removable bottom and bulky oven gloves can be tricky, placing the pan on a flat cooking sheet will make it easier to handle.
Remove the pan after 20 minutes and very carefully remove the parchment paper and beans (having a stainless bowl or plate handy is helpful here). Prick the pastry all over with a fork and return to the oven for 6 - 8 minutes. Leave the oven door ajar to allow the oven to cool.
½ - lb crimini mushrooms or your preferred combination, wiped clean and sliced
1 - thin leek, white part only, thoroughly washed and thinly sliced
2 - tbsp olive oil
¼ - tsp dried thyme
4 - large eggs
¾ - cup heavy cream
1 - cup grated Fontina cheese
Heat a medium saute pan over moderate heat. Add the oil to the pan and when hot add the mushrooms, leeks and thyme. Cook stirring occasionally for 8 - 10 minutes until the mushrooms have released their juices and are limp. Season with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper and set aside to cool.
When ready to assemble and bake the quiche, heat the oven in the Bake mode 350 degrees.
Leave the pan with the prepared crust on the flat pan for easy handling. Whisk the eggs and cream together in a large measuring cup or bowl. Layer the grated cheese over the crust, add the cooked mushrooms and carefully pour over the cream mixture. Slide the tray into the oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the filling is set.
Serves: 4 - 6 People