Here are the four dishes that Chef Paul Lynch cooked for “I Love My Whole Grains” contest winner Cynthia Beaumont on January 5, 2010. 

Broiled Salmon, Asiago Polenta cake, Fresh Tomato-Endive Vinaigrette

Serves 4
Asiago Polenta Cakes
2 cups polenta (whole corn, dry, uncooked)
7 cups chicken stock
2 tsp fresh thyme
8 oz asiago cheese, shredded
 salt & pepper

Tomato-Endive Vinaigrette   
1 cup roma tomatoes, peeled & diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
2 TBS virgin olive oil
2 oz lemon juice
½ cup Italian parsley leaves
1 Belgian endive, sliced ¼ “
 salt & black pepper

24 oz salmon fillet (four 6 ounce portions)
3 TBS olive oil
2 lemons
kosher salt
fresh cracked pepper

Make the polenta first (a day or two ahead, even, if you want). Then make the vinaigrette which really turns out more like a Mediterranean salsa.

POLENTA CAKES: Mix dry polenta and chicken stock. Slowly bring to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching. Cook covered on low until it loses all graininess. Stir in thyme & cheese, adjust seasoning.  Spoon into greased pan (two bread loaf pans are about perfect for this amount, but any pan will do). Put a piece of waxed paper on the surface of polenta to avoid a skin forming. Cool, then slice into sixteen portions.  Put aside 4 for this meal; wrap the other 12 individually in wax paper and put in a freezer bag for future meals.

FRESH TOMATO-ENDIVE VINAIGRETTE: Combine all ingredients and let sit at room temperature for an hour to develop flavor.

SALMON (and polenta reheat): Preheat oven to 425°F. Rub or spray both sides of the polenta slices with olive oil, then lay on one side of a rimmed cookie sheet. Cook for about ten minutes, while you rub salmon with olive oil & lemon juice and season with kosher salt & pepper. Add salmon to the other side of the cookie sheet, and roast until medium (about ten more minutes, depending on thickness of salmon).

Place salmon on top of warm polenta cake and spoon vinaigrette across the top of the salmon. Serve with lemon wedge.

Buffalo or Beef Barley Soup

Serves 9 (or maybe a whole lot more!)

½ oz butter
1 lb buffalo or beef chuck (⅜” dice)
1 onion, ¼ ” dice
1 ¼ stalks celery, ¼ ” dice
1 carrot , ¼ ” dice
1 rutabaga , ¼ ” dice
1 turnip , ¼ ” dice
2 cups dry baby lima beans (or other white beans)
1 bay leaf
⅜ TBS dried thyme (or twice as much fresh)
⅛ TBS dried sage (or twice as much fresh)
10 cups beef stock
¾ cup hulless or hulled barley
¼ cup dry sherry
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley
 salt and pepper, to taste

Soak dry beans overnight, then drain. (You can use 2 cans of drained and rinsed canned beans instead, if necessary, adding them when you return the vegetables to the pot.)

Heat oil in a large stew pot. Brown diced meat in oil. Remove from pan.
Add vegetables, sweat for 5 min.
Add herbs & spice to coat vegetables. Remove from pan.
Add stock, bring to a simmer, add barley and soaked uncooked beans.
Cover, simmer for 20 more minutes until barley is partly cooked.
Return vegetables, meat & spices to pan, and continue simmering on low, partially covered, until barley is tender (about 30-40 more minutes).
Season with salt & pepper, finish with sherry & parsley.

Any soup you’re not planning to eat that day should be cooled in an ice bath, placed in freezer containers or expandable-bottom freezer bags, labeled, dated, and stuck in the freezer.

Country Style Pork Ribs with Fennel & Cremini Whole Grain Risotto

Serves 6

Fennel Braised With Sherry Vinegar & Honey
1 bulb fennel, julienned ¼”
1 oz butter
½ fl oz olive oil
1 bay Leaf
Salt & white pepper
2 oz. sherry vinegar
1 oz. honey

Pork Ribs
2 lbs. country style pork ribs
2 oz. olive oil
¼ cup flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dry mustard
1 medium  onion, sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, chopped
⅔ cup beer (optional) or water

Fennel & Cremini Whole Grain Risotto
1 ½ cups Cremini (Baby Bella) mushrooms, cut in wedges
¾ cup leeks, sliced
4 TBS olive oil
braised fennel, from above
4 ½ cups water
1 ¼ cups farro (or spelt or hulled barley)
1 TBS Italian flat leaf parsley
Bouquet garni including:
 4  peppercorns
 1  bay leaf
 1  sprig sage
 1  bunch parsley stems
 1  sprig thyme

Cook the fennel first (can be done a day ahead), then the ribs and finaly the risotto.

FENNEL: Melt butter and oil in heavy bottom oven-proof pan over medium heat. Place slices of fennel in pan with bay leaf, turn and coat with oil. Cook, stirring, until fennel begins to color.  Mix honey and sherry vinegar, pour over fennel slices, toss to coat. Cover and place in a 325°F oven. Cook 15 minutes. Stir fennel, cook another 15 minutes, then add ½ cup water. Continue cooking and turning until fennel is tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

PORK RIBS: Combine flour with the paprika, salt, and dry mustard; toss ribs in this mix, to coat.  Brown ribs in oil, in heavy bottom oven-proof pot. Place remaining ingredients in the pan and cover. Place covered pan in 350°F oven for 1 ½ hours until ribs are tender.

RISOTTO: Sauté leeks and mushrooms in oil for 5 minues, until mushrooms give off their moisture. Then add farro to coat with oil. Add water and herbs (tied together, or tied in a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth), bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Add braised fennel. Cook 45 minutes. Remove bouquet garni, season & stir in parsley at the end of cooking.


Chicken All’ Arrabbiata

Serves 6

8 bone in chicken thighs
salt (Kosher salt is great) & pepper
4 TBS olive oil
1 red onion, julienned
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, julienned
2 waxed pepper, julienned
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
3 TBS red wine vinegar
1 TBS tomato paste
1 cup V-8® vegetable juice
1 can diced tomatoes in juice (28 oz)
2 sprigs marjoram
12 oz whole grain spaghetti — or pasta of choice

Season chicken with salt & pepper, then brown in oven-proof skillet over medium high heat in olive oil. Transfer chicken to side plate. Drain excess fat from pan.
Add peppers, onion and garlic to pan, sauté until onion is translucent.
Deglaze pan with wine vinegar, then add tomato paste, V-8 juice, tomatoes, and herbs.

Return chicken to skillet, baste with sauce, then bake in 375°F oven for 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through (thermometer registers 165°F).

Cook pasta al dente. Remove cooked chicken, toss sauce with pasta. Serve all with sprinkle of additional herbs.

Chicken all’Arrabbiata means “angry chicken,” so named for its spiciness. If you like things less spicy, cut back on the crushed red pepper. (We joked that we were making “slightly disgruntled” chicken for our contest winners, rather than “angry chicken!”)

If you reshape the thighs into cylinder shape and tie with twine before browning, they’ll cook more evenly.