Impressive Entertaining

The best recipes for when you're hosting guests.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH FILLED WITH COUSCOUS, HERBS AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
BUTTERNUT SQUASH FILLED WITH COUSCOUS, HERBS AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Preparing fancy dishes for guests doesn’t always mean you need to follow complex recipes and spend long hours in the kitchen. Some dishes that are quick and easy still manage to both look and taste fantastic.
Below I’ve provided three recipes for fun dishes that are easy to prepare but look fancy. The first recipe is butternut squash filled with couscous, herbs and pomegranate seeds. You bake the squash halves and, after letting them cool, fill them with couscous, herbs, walnuts and pomegranate seeds.
The second one is triangle meat-filled pastries that can also easily be prepared as vegetarian or with chicken or fish. And while you’re letting the pastry dough set, you can quickly prepare the rest of the meal.
The third recipe is sweet potato in silan and pomegranate sauce, which caramelizes in the oven beautifully.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH FILLED WITH COUSCOUS, HERBS AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE
Makes 6 servings

3 small butternut squash
Lots of olive oil
6 sprigs of thyme
Kosher salt
Filling:
2 cups of cooked whole-wheat couscous
1¼ cups water
½ bunch of parsley, chopped finely
½ bunch of mint, chopped finely
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped finely
4 scallions, chopped finely
50 gr. cranberries or pomegranate seeds
50 gr. light raisins
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. pomegranate juice or cherry syrup
Juice from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Handful of roasted almonds or walnuts
Rinse the squash and cut in half. Clean out fibers and seeds inside and rinse well. Line a tray with baking paper and place squash on top. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme and kosher salt. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 190° for 30-40 minutes, or until they are soft. You can flip them over for the last 10 minutes if desired. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Prepare couscous according to directions and transfer to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning. Fill squash with couscous mixture.
MEAT TRIANGLE PASTRIES (PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
MEAT TRIANGLE PASTRIES

These pastries are made with 1 kilogram of flour and 1 tablespoon of dry yeast, which makes the dough thin and crispy. You are welcome to use vegetarian or any other filling that you desire.
Makes 12 large or 24 small pastries

1 kg. flour, sifted
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
4 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. (15 gr.) silan
2½-3 cups water (if necessary, add a little more)
1 tsp. salt
Filling:
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup chopped mushrooms
300 gr. cooked beef or chicken, ground or chopped
1 potato, cooked, peeled and cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp. chicken-soup powder
½ tsp. sweet paprika
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
3-5 Tbsp. water
Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp. water
Toppings:
½ cup sesame seeds mixed with nigella seeds, fennel,
aniseed, poppy, flax or chia seeds
Serving suggestion:
Serve with raw tehina on the side or drizzled on top.
To prepare the dough, add to the bowl of an electric mixer the flour, yeast, oil, vinegar and silan. Begin mixing on low speed while gradually adding the water. Mix for 6 minutes. Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
To prepare the filling, heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until onions turn translucent and then add mushrooms. Sauté for another 2 or 3 minutes and then remove from the flame. Transfer to a bowl and add the cooked meat (crumble by hand or chop). Add the potato pieces and mix well.
Add the spices and water and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Separate dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll out each piece on a floured work surface into a circle. Alternatively, roll out all the dough until it’s ½-cm. thick and then cut out circles with a 20-cm. (or larger) diameter cup. Place one or two spoonfuls of filling in the middle of each circle and flatten. Fold over to form a triangle, but leave a small hole open where the filling can peek out. Prepare the rest of the pastries in the same way.
Place the pastries on a tray lined with baking paper. Make sure they’re not touching one another. Let rest for 30 minutes and then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame and nigella seeds, or aniseed, fennel, poppy, or chia seeds.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 200° for 5 minutes.
Lower temperature to 180° and bake for another 25 minutes, or until they’ve browned on the bottom, too. Serve hot or room temperature. Drizzle with tehina.
SWEET POTATO IN SILAN AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE (PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
SWEET POTATO IN SILAN AND POMEGRANATE SAUCE

This easy, quick dish always manages to steal the show. The combination of the silan and pomegranate sauce forms a nice crispy coating.
Makes 6 servings

3 medium sweet potatoes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. silan or honey
1 tsp. pomegranate concentrate
Salt and pepper, to taste
Leaves from 3 sprigs of thyme
More olive oil to drizzle on sweet potatoes
Serving suggestion:
Fresh thyme leaves or chopped cilantro
Rinse sweet potatoes well. Cut them in half lengthwise. On the cut side, make cuts in a crisscross fashion. In a bowl, mix olive oil, silan, pomegranate concentrate, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Spread mixture on cut side of each piece of sweet potato and pour the rest on the baking sheet. Drizzle some more oil on the baking sheet and arrange the pieces of sweet potato with the cut side facedown. Drizzle more olive oil on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake in an oven that’s been preheated to 200° for 20-30 minutes, until sweet potatoes are soft. If they’re still hard, lower temperature to 180° and bake for another 10-15 minutes, but make sure they don’t burn or get overcooked. Serve hot with thyme leaves or chopped cilantro and kosher salt sprinkled on top.
For more recipes visit: www.pascalpr.co.il