Braden Family Cookbook

Chuck Braden

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ASPARAGUS AND A SAUCE OF GOAT'S FETA                Stan Frankenthaler

        cup barley
        cup winter wheat berries
        cup brown rice or wild rice
        cup basmati rice
        cup couscous
Salt and pepper
1          Spanish onion, small dice
1 to 2   carrots, small dice
1          bulb fennel, small dice
2          cloves garlic, minced
4          sprigs fresh thyme
1/3       cup toasted pine nuts
1/3       cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1             tablespoon butter

For Sauce:

        cup vegetable stock
        cup white wine
        cup heavy cream
8          ounces goat's feta (or sheep's milk)
Salt and pepper
1             tablespoon fresh thyme

Separately rinse the grains, then cook barley, wheat berries and rices, each in a separate pot, starting in clean, cold water with aromatic herbs in each. Just prior to each grain becoming tender, season with salt and pepper.

When just fully cooked pour any excess water from each pot and spread grains out on a shallow baking pan and cool quickly.

Season and steep couscous in an equal volume of cold water or even better a combination of orange juice and water. Allow to re hydrate then rub grains between your hands to fluff them.

Heat butter in a large saute pan (preferably nonstick), and saute vegetables and garlic until tender.

Season, add thyme, nuts and all the prepared grains and saute them together. Adjust seasoning.

Meanwhile, reduce vegetable stock and wine by 2/3. Add cream and bring to boil, reduce slightly. Add cheese and melt to thicken. Season and add thyme.

Season (you may not need any salt depending on the feta you are using, but freshly cracked pepper in the sauce is a must). 

Shape the hot grains in a timbale mold. Pour the sauce around. Accompany with a saute of asparagus spears (start with approximately 1 pound, trimmed and blanched) and mixed wild mushrooms (again, start with a scant pound, trimmed and cut into different shapes).

Garnish with herb sprigs.

Yield: 4 servings