Monday, January 16, 2017

Next Up: A Very Special Bread

Another long, holiday weekend has come and gone; and so another Tuesday video won't be posted until Wednesday. Hopefully it will be worth the brief wait. Stay tuned! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Pâté de Campagne – Finally, Something Complicated

Every once in a while, I get a food wish that has nothing to do with a specific recipe, but rather it’s a request to post something complicated, and challenging to do. Well, this country-style pâté is about as close as we’re going to get.

Calling this recipe complicated is sort of a stretch; "involved” would probably be more accurate. There are many steps, and the ingredient list isn’t short, but none of the techniques are very difficult, or particularly time-consuming.

Coarsely grinding the meat is probably the most crucial step, but as you saw, if the meat is very cold, the attachment on your stand mixer will do an adequate job. If you don’t have one, you can pulse on and off in a food processor, and as long as your meat was partially frozen, this will work.

Another option is just to place your meat order with a real butcher, and ask them to coarsely grind it all together for you, after which you can simply process the rest of your ingredients, and add them to your already ground meat and fat. Speaking of fat, I used some chopped up bacon, but virtually any kind of pork fat will work. 

If you do use bacon, either in the pâté, or to wrap with, I suggest using one that’s lightly smoked, so as not to overpower the rest of the flavors. Anyway, I realize this may seem like quite a production, but if you enjoy charcuterie, this would make for a very fun, beautiful, and quite delicious project. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one Pâté de Campagne (16 portions):
1 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka “pork butt”), cut into one-inch cubes
6 ounces duck leg meat (meat removed from 2 or 3 legs)
4 ounces fatty bacon, chopped
4 ounces chicken livers, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
25 grams kosher salt (about 5 teaspoons)
1/8 teaspoon “instacure” pink curing salt
3/4 teaspoon *pate spice mix
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
1/3 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
8-10 sliced of bacon, or a few sheets of caul fat to line the **mold

* For the Pâté Spice:
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

** My bread pan was a little smaller than standard, but a regular 9 x 5 inch loaf pan should work perfectly here.

-- Cook in water bath at 350 F. until internal temp of 155 F. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Charred Broccoli Beef – Broccoli Week Continues

I saw a charred broccoli salad online somewhere recently, and for whatever reason I had the idea to try the same technique for a fairly classic version of broccoli beef. Getting to burn food on purpose is always fun, and in addition to adding a whole extra layer of flavor, I love how this looks.

There’s never been a pretty broccoli beef, but I’d say this is at least handsome, and to make it even more attractive, feel free to double the sauce. The amounts below make just enough to glaze, plus a few extra tablespoons, so it you want lots of sauce to saturate your rice, you should probably make extra.

As I mentioned in the video, never use cooking sherry for cooking with sherry.  Just use sherry. The kind you drink. The good news is, we’re going to let you buy the cheapest bottle at the wine store. Cooking sherry tastes horrible, and has salt added to it, which was originally there so cooks wouldn’t drink it.

If you do make this, and you’re wondering why it doesn’t taste as good as the one from the Chinese takeout place, well, I can answer that in three initials, M.S.G. I’m not a fan of what it does the body, and don’t use it in my cooking, but if you do sprinkle some in, I think you’ll find it remarkably close. Plus, they’re not charring the broccoli. I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:

For the beef:
1 pound skirt steak
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1/4 cup oyster sauce
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (use 2 for a thicker sauce)

Final Assembly:
2 teaspoon vegetable oil (plus a little fat from frying the steaks)
3 cloves minced garlic
prepared sliced beef
1 pound broccoli florets, charred in hot oven with a few drops of oil
pinch cayenne
4 cups steamed rice for service

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Broccoli Soup au Gratin – Thin to Win!

It was one of those weeks. The holiday pushed me off schedule by a day; they’re doing construction next door, which means I can’t record at certain times; and if that wasn’t enough, this amazing looking soup was a total disaster – a temporary disaster – but a disaster nonetheless.

The good news is, I saved it in the end, and hopefully we’ll all be better for it. Turns out a cheesy crouton, like one you’d enjoy on a French onion soup, is a terrible idea, if your soup is extra thick, and bordering on a purée.

I came close to tossing everything, and ordering pizza, but what kind of example would that set? So I thinned it out, passed it through a fire mesh strainer, and gave it another try. This made it significantly better, and the ingredient amounts seen below have been adjusted, so you should get a texture similar to my final version.

I’m not sure when/if I’ll try this again, but if I do, I’ll use small croutons, so I can eat it without drenching all the cheesy bread with the first few bites. While I officially hope you give this a try soon, I secretly hope you experiment with better soup choices to use this potentially great technique. Enjoy!  

Ingredients for 6 portions:
2 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus probably more to taste
3 cloves minced garlic
2 pounds broccoli, trimmed
5 to 6 cups broth, or as needed to adjust texture
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
6 round crispy croutons the same size as your crock (or 3 cups of little salad croutons)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar, gruyere, or combination of the two
*Note: Be sure to adjust with more broth if need be, as well as pass the soup through a fine mesh strainer to achieve a finer texture.