Monday, January 21, 2013

Heavy Metal Dinner Medley

This week’s 52 Weeks of Cooking theme was Inspired by Music, so I present you with a heavy metal themed meal:

Thyme Does Not Veal:
Pan Roasted Veal Chops Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach, Serrano Ham and Thyme, Topped with a Lemon Thyme Compound Butter

A Vulgar Display of Potatoes:
Duck fat Roasted Potatoes with Thyme, Bacon, and Melted Onions

Rust in Peas:
 Green Peas with Sun-dried tomato pesto

My original idea was to have an all thrash metal inspired dinner, but I couldn’t think of a thrash metal album I could shoehorn into a potato dish, so I went with Pantera instead. Once again I wish I had a grill, if only so I could’ve done the blatantly obvious “Grill ‘Em All” (or if you prefer, “Grilling is my business (and Business is Good)”.

A few cooking notes: For the potatoes, try to use russets if you can. I ended up using some Yukon golds I had, and they had a tendency to stick to the pan, and a few got mushy and crushed with I tried to remove them. Never had that problem with russets, which I assume is due to their starchy-ness.

The compound butter recipe comes from Ruhlman’s Twenty, and the melted onions are from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home.

Thyme Does Not Veal: Pan Roasted Veal Chops Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach, Serrano Ham and Thyme, Topped with a Lemon Thyme Compound Butter – Inspired by Dark Angel’s “Time Does Not Heal”

Stuffing (enough for 2 chops):
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
1.5 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (about 5 whole mushrooms)
1 large garlic clove
2 slices prosciutto/Serrano ham
¼ cup breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Zest of ¼ lemon

In a dry pan, place the breadcrumbs and heat over medium for about 1 minute, until they start to get some color on them. Remove to a bowl. Splash a little olive oil in the pan, then add the mushrooms and cook until most of their water is released and they start to color, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the spinach leaves, turn off the heat, and stir them around until they wilt.

Add the mushrooms, garlic, and spinach to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Add the Serrano ham, thyme, and lemon zest and stir to combine. Can be made ahead and refrigerated.

Compound butter:
½ cup/8 oz./1 stick butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons shallots
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

In a bowl, work all the ingredients together with your hands. Form the butter into a log shaped, then place on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll the butter in the plastic wrap to form a circular log shape, and refrigerate until firm.

Cooking the Veal Chops:
Cut a pocket into 2 one-inch thick veal chops, and insert half the stuffing into each cavity. Allow the chops to sit on the counter for about an hour to come up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 350°F, and set an oven safe pan over high heat. Season the chops generously with salt and pepper, and pour some canola oil over the chops themselves. Brown the chops in the pan for 2 minutes per side, then transfer to your oven for about 4 to 5 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 130°F. Remove from the oven and let the chops rest for 5 minutes. Serve with a piece of compound butter on top.

A Vulgar Display of Potatoes – Duck fat Roasted Potatoes with Thyme, Bacon, and Melted Onions, inspired by Pantera’s “Vulgar Display of Power”

Melted Onions:
2 white onions, diced
6 tbsp butter, cut into 6 pieces
3 sprigs thyme
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 bay leaves
Parchment paper for a cartouche
Cheesecloth (optional)

In a large pan, cook the onions over medium low heat (don’t add butter/oil to the pan yet, but do sprinkle some salt on them) until they release all of their liquid, about 20 minutes. Keep the heat pretty low so the onions don’t brown.

Place the thyme, garlic, and bay leaves in a piece of cheesecloth, and tie off with butchers twine to create a sachet. Alternatively, you can just place the 3 ingredients directly on the onions, and fish them out when you’re done cooking.

Place the butter and sachet on the onions, and cover with a parchment paper lid, aka a cartouche. If you’ve never made a parchment lid before, it’s probably easies to head over to youtube for an explanation, courtesy of Michael Ruhlman:

Let the onions cook, still over medium low heat, for another 30 to 35 minutes, until meltingly tender. If the butter separates or the pan looks dry, add a bit of cold water and stir to emulsify.

Remove the sachet/garlic, thyme, and bay, and place the onions in a bowl. These can be made ahead of time, and you’ll have plenty of leftovers which you can use to top pretty much any meat.

Roasted Potatoes
2 russet potatoes
1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
Salt (generous amount – like a tablespoon or thereabouts)
Black Pepper
1 tbsp duck fat
2 slices bacon

Dice the potatoes (skin on or off, whatever your preference), and place in a bowl with the thyme, salt, and pepper and toss to coat the potatoes.  Add the duck fat, and toss to coat. Place in an 8x8 baking dish, and roast at 425°F for 45 minutes, flipping the potatoes over after about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 2 slices of bacon in a pan until crispy, and remove to a paper towel. Cut into small pieces and reserve.

When the potatoes are done, remove from the oven, and place in a serving bowl along with the bacon and melted onions.

Rust In Peas – Green Peas with Sun-dried tomato pesto, inspired by Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace”

Frozed Green Peas (however many you want to serve)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup olive oil (I used some of the oil the tomatoes were packed in, and some extra virgin olive oil to make up the difference)
1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
¼ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil (use fresh if you have it)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

In a small food processor, add the tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, parmesan, basil, and red pepper flakes, and turn on the food processor. Pour in the oil, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made in advance and refrigerated.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the peas for about 3 minutes, until cooked through but still with a little bite to them. Drain, and place back in the pan. Add pesto as needed and serve.


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