Monday, February 24, 2014

"Anti-Vampire" Pot Roast

A few weeks back I made a one pot pot roast, so this time around I wanted to do something a little different. It bugs me when the vegetables in a braise get all mushy, so I decided to roast my veggies separately, sort of like Julie Child’s Beef Bourguignon. I kept some extra veggies for the braising pot to add flavor, but discarded them after they did their job.

Anti-Vampire Pot Roast
3 lbs chuck roast
3 cloves garlic, sliced into thin pieces
1 cup beer
1 quart beef stock
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 carrots, divided
1 leek, halved
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic
10 shallots
1 lb. mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
Olive oil
Egg noodles

Poke holes into your roast with a paring knife and insert the slices of garlic. Salt the meat, and brown in a dutch oven over medium high, about 4 minutes per side.

While that’s going on, slice the onion, halve the leek, remove the 3 cloves of garlic from its papery-sleeve and slice 2 carrots. Once the meat is browned, remove it and add these veggies to the pot and cook over medium for 5 to 7 minutes, until softened.

Add the beer to deglaze any stuck on bits and let the liquid cook down a little, for about 3 minutes. Add the meat back in along with the stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 2 to 2.5 hours.

Meanwhile, cut the remaining 2 carrots into pieces. Halve the shallots and cut up the mushrooms into chunks. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Toss the carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 45 minutes, turning periodicaly. Toss the shallots and mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once or twice.

Once the meat has cooked, remove it from the pot, and pass the liquid through a strainer, discarding the vegetables.  Set the pot back on the stove and turn the temperature to medium. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add in the flour, whisking to form a roux. Cook the roux for 1 to 2 minutes, then add back in the reserved cooking liquid. Whisk and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or to your desired consistency. Cut the meat up while the gravy cooks down and add it back in the pan. Add the peas to the gravy for 2 minutes to cook through. Serve the meat, gravy and vegetables over egg noodles.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Chocolate Fallen Souffle Cake

There’s no better cake than chocolate, and I just had to satisfy my sweet tooth today. The center of this cake will fall as it cools. You should allow it to completely cool before digging in, which I didn’t, which is why the piece looks a little runny at the end. There’s only a few ingredients, so be sure to get high-quality chocolate, or else the end product wont’ taste all the great. I used Ghiradelli 62% cacao. This recipe comes from the Staff Meals from Chanterelle.

1 lb. good quality chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
9 large eggs, separated
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Cocoa powder, for dusting the cake
Powdered sugar, for dusting the cake.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Prepare a double broiler by placing a bowl on top of a simmering pot of water. Add the chocolate and butter, and stir as it melts. Once the mixture is almost completely melted, remove from heat and stir until the final bit melts.

In a large bowl, add the 9 egg yolks and ¾ cup sugar. Using an electric mixer, blend for 4 to 5 minutes, until the mixture falls in ribbons from the mixer blades.

In a separate bowl, add 9 egg whites and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Beat with an electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes, until the egg whites form soft peaks.

Gently Fold in 1/3 of the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites (again, gently!). Repeat with the remaining chocolate and egg whites.

Once everything is incorporated, butter and flour a 9” springform pan. Carefully pour in the mixture and bake for 30 minutes, until the outside is set but the center of the cake is still jiggly. Let cool completely, then remove the side of the springform pan. Dust the cake with a layer of cocoa powder, then a layer of powdered sugar, then another layer of cocoa powder, and finally one last layer of powdered sugar.

Braised Rabbit with Dijon Mustard Sauce

I’ve never eaten rabbit before, so I figured what the hey. Turns out it tastes a lot like chicken. This is a simple enough braise, and would work well with chicken too. I’ve adapted this from the Staff Meals From Chanterelle cookbook. You’ll notice the side dishes are exactly the same as the poached snapper post I made, because leftovers.

1 rabbit
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
4 sprigs Parsley
5 sprigs Thyme
2 Bay leaves
2.5 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper       

Cut the rabbit into pieces – cut off the front legs (they come off pretty easy), then the back legs. You’ll want to pop the joints on those, like if you were taking the legs off a chicken. Chop the loin off from the rib cage, and chop off the bony part. Here’s what you’ll end up with:

Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat. Salt the rabbit pieces, and brown on both sides. Remove to a platter. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms have released much of their liquid, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the wine, and reduce by half. Wrap the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves in a piece of cheese cloth, and use butcher’s twine to secure the ends so you have a little bundle.

Add the rabbit and the herb sachet back to the pot, along with the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes, until the rabbit is cooked through.

Remove the rabbit to a platter. Turn the heat up to medium high to get the sauce at a boil. Knead the 2.5 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons flour together in a bowl. Add to the sauce and stir to incorporate. Reduce for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add the Dijon mustard, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper as needed. Add the rabbit back to the sauce to warm it back up.

Shallow Poached Snapper with White Wine Sauce

Typically when you poach fish (or anything) you completely cover it with liquid, but this recipe from Ruhlman’s Twenty employs something called shallow poaching, which has the benefit of giving you an easy pan sauce afterwards. You can use any dense fish such as walleye, grouper or halibut for this recipe.

The tomato confit is from and I served the fish with this risotto: and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Shallow Poached Snapper:
4 snapper filets (~23 oz. total)
2 ½ tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large shallot, minced
1 cup dry white wine (I used an un-oaked Chardonnay)
3 sprigs parsley, plus some for garnish
Lemon juice

In a small ramekin, combine 1 ½ tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of flour. Use your hand to form into a ball – this is beurre manié (kneaded butter) which will thicken the sauce.

Take the remaining 1 tbsp of butter and add to a 12” sauté pan over medium heat. Sweat the shallot for about two minutes, then add the wine, ½ cup water, the parsley and the fish. The liquid should come halfway up the fish. Cover with a parchment paper lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through.

Remove the fish and cover loosely with foil. Turn the heat on the pan to high, and stir in the beurre manié. Cook the sauce until it thickens to your preference. Season with salt and lemon juice.

Tomato Confit:
6 Roma tomatoes
Olive oil
1 tablespoon or so of fresh thyme

Preheat your oven to 250°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Take a large bowl and add ice cubes and some cold water. Remove the stems from the tomatoes, and score the opposite and with an X shape using a paring knife.

Add the tomatoes to the boiling water, and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the skin starts to peel back. Remove from the pot and add to the ice water. Allow the tomatoes to cool before removing them.

Once the tomatoes are cooled, peel off the skins and cut them in half. Place them on a silpat-lined baking sheet cut side up. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Cook in the oven for 5 to 6 hours, until dried halfway through. Store in a container with the excess oil in the pan poured on top.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Jerk Burgers with Pineapple Guacamole

This week if Jamaican week, which I really don't know much about. I'm guessing this isn't exactly traditional, but it was 50 degrees outside which felt like summer compared to the polar blast of death that was this January, so I felt like something summer-y. The pineapple guacamole is from here:

And I modified the jerk seasoning from this recipe:

Makes 8 servings.
Pineapple Guacamole:
3.5 avocados, peeled and chopped
2 pineapple rings (see below)
2 cloves garlic
10 cherry tomatoes, chopped (or ½ regular tomato)
1 habanero pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper

Chop the top of the pineapple off and use a knife to remove the peel with a knife. Cut into rings about ½” thick. We’ll use two for the salsa, save the rest for other uses.

Set a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the pineapple rings, the habanero and the two garlic cloves (leave them in their husks). Cook everything until it starts to brown, flipping to get color on all sides. The pineapples take the shortest time, the garlic and pepper will take a bit longer.

Dice the toasted pineapple and add to a large bowl. Remove the garlic from the husks and dice. Add to the bowl. De-seed the habanero and finely dice. Add to the bowl.

Add the avocados, diced tomatoes, cilantro and salt and pepper. Mash up the guacamole with a potato masher. If you’re making the guac ahead of time, drizzle the lime juice on top of the guacamole, then place a piece of plastic wrap flush on top of the guacamole – this will prevent browning from oxidation.

Jerk Paste:
1/2 habanero, diced
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree. Makes about ¼ cup.

2 lbs. ground beef
4 shallots, diced
8 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Jerk Paste
8 Hamburger buns

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, then form into ¼ lb. patties. Cook on a skillet or flattop grill on medium for 6 to 8 minutes, flipping periodically until cooked well done. Toast the buns while you cook the burgers.