Robin Anish | The Table is Set: Try these wallet-friendly main dishes

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After weeks of indulging in some pretty extravagant holiday dinners, are you feeling a bit like a pauper, but still want to eat like a king? Me, too!

Not as extravagant as their namesakes, these mock versions of lobster and filet mignon are delicious and easy on the budget.

POOR MAN'S LOBSTER

INGREDIENTS:

1 thick cod filet

1/4 cup salt

1/4 cup sugar

Juice of half lemon

1/4 stick of butter

1 quart water

Paprika

Extra butter, melted and lemon wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS:

Cut cod into 1 1/2-inch slices, cutting across the filet.

In a medium saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. When butter is melted, add cod.

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Cook until fish pieces rise to the top, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove with slotted spoon, draining well. Garnish fish with a sprinkle of paprika and serve immediately with melted butter for dipping and a wedge of lemon.

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POOR MAN'S FILET MIGNON

INGREDIENTS:

6 slices bacon

1 1/2 lbs 85-percent lean ground chuck

8 ounces mushrooms, finely chopped

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2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 egg yolk

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

For the red wine sauce:

1/4 cup minced onion or shallots

1/2 cup red wine

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1/2 beef broth

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 tablespoons butter

4 1 1/2-inch thick slices French bread

Olive oil or melted butter

DIRECTIONS:

In a skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of drippings from pan. Add mushrooms and cook until browned and juices have evaporated. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Remove mushrooms to a bowl to cool 10 minutes.

Combine mushrooms, beef, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolk and salt with a fork just until combined. Do not overwork meat. Gently form beef into four thick patties. Wrap bacon around each patty and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with pepper.

In the same skillet, on medium high, heat 1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat and add the patties. Cook, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes per side until meat reaches 160 degrees. Do not overcook. Reduce heat while cooking if meat is browning too fast.

Remove patties from pan and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of drippings. Add minced onions or shallot and cook over medium high heat for one minute. Whisk in wine, beef broth, mustard and rosemary. Bring to a good simmer and cook until sauce is reduced by about half. It should take 3 or 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter just before serving.

While sauce reduces, brush bread slices on both sides with olive oil or butter. Place on baking sheet and toast in preheated 425-degree F oven, turning slices half way until golden brown on each side.

Remove toothpicks from patties and place one on each piece of toast. Spoon sauce over each and serve.


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