Spatchcocked Bacon & Herb Butter Chicken

I came up with this recipe on the fly. We bought a whole chicken this weekend and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it mostly because a whole chicken is normally wasted on a family of 3. I decided to spatchcock it because I think it cooks more evenly this way and is easier to handle, besides I could use the back from the chicken to make stock in the future.

Please, enjoy this recipe as it really was on the fly and came out better then I could have expected.

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INGREDIENTS

1  chicken, 5lb, Spatchcocked

1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat

1 1/2 tablespoons cracked peppercorn

1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground sage

INSTRUCTIONS

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First, spatchcock the chicken. If you don’t know how there are a lot of videos out there telling you how. I put parchment paper down on a cookie sheet and put down a wire cooling rack on top. Lay out the spatchcocked chicken on the rack breast side up and put in the refrigerator to dry out for a few hours. I did this in the morning and then did the next step about 4 hours later, this gave the butter and bacon fat time to get to room temperature.

An hour before you are ready to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge and combine the salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, sage, butter and bacon fat into a paste. Slide your fingers between the breast meat and skin making pockets but be careful not to tear the skin. Rub the herb butter into the pockets between the meat and skin, along the skin and along the underside of the chicken.

Let the chicken get to room temperature and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook chicken for 45 minutes.

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Remove chicken from oven, turn on broiler and place chicken into broiler until the skin begins to get crispy, 5 to 8 minutes.

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Take the chicken out, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Carve and enjoy.

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Biscuits & Sausage Gravy

Hi,

So I made this these items for Mother’s day Brunch. I just wanted to post the recipe here in case anyone wanted to know how I did them. I also wanted to say that these aren’t my recipes. The recipes below can be found on the nytimes website. All writings in RED are my own thoughts about the recipe.

Enjoy.

All Purpose Biscuits

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

tablespoons baking powder

1 scant tablespoon sugar What in the world is a scant? It’s giving you a measurement so why add scant to it?

1 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style Like ice-cold, just put it in the freezer until you are ready to use.

1 cup whole milk

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Transfer to a food processor. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.) I did this but I guess the butter wasn’t cold enough. Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball. I had to brilliant idea to use a Kitchenaid mixer for this part, after 5 minutes of mixing on low-speed the dough was still very loose. I still proceeded to the next step as I was on a schedule.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. And here is where things got bad, the dough was still sticking to the table no matter the amount of flour. I ended up adding more flour to the dough until it just took the shape of a ball but at this point I think I had over kneaded it. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Don’t have a biscuit cutter to it was old school glass cup for me. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise. This might be true if you look at the results below. They didn’t rise like they did the last time I made them. They were still good but didn’t have the flakey layers I was looking for.

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Sausage & Gravy

INGREDIENTS

1 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage

¼ cup all-purpose flour, or instant flour like Wondra

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

2½ cups whole milk

Salt to taste

ground sage to taste Or just buy sausage that has these in them already.

ground fennel to taste Ditto

ground red pepper to taste Ditto

DIRECTIONS

Set a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and cook the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until it is loose and no longer pink, approximately 10 minutes. Taste sausage and adjust seasonings — you may wish to add sage and fennel aggressively.

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Sprinkle the flour and pepper over the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour has been absorbed by the fat and has gathered its flavors close, approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

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Slowly stir in the milk and cook at a bare simmer until the gravy gets thick and the roux covers the back of a spoon. If it is too thick for your liking add more milk and stir Ended up adding a lot more milk and some water to thin it out some. Check seasonings and serve over split or roughly crumbled biscuits.

 

Tomorrow, I’m going to post a Bacon and Herb Butter Chicken recipe I came up with and on Saturday I’ll post up the recipe for the Mini Dutch Babies I also made for Mother’s Day. After that I’m going to take a break since I have to figure out dinner for next week and work on my part 4 of story about my other daughter Camryn.

Til then, enjoy.

Honey Soy Salmon

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There’s a fish truck that comes through our neighborhood every weekend that sells frozen fish from coolers. They purchase it from importers so they can sell it at wholesale prices. When I worked at a restaurant I’d heard a lot of businesses do this. It helps fishermen because sometimes they go out and fish but since everyone is doing not everyone gets their catches sold. So what they do is the freeze it, sell it to a company in the states and FedEx it overnight so it’s at its destination by the morning. It’s as close to Sea to Table as you can get.

We bought a bag of 5 salmon fillets and decided to cook them with the recipe below. I would have normally used a real lime but I had juice in the fridge and decided to go with this.

INGREDIENTS

4 Salmon Fillets (skin On Or Off)

Salt And Pepper

Olive Oil, For Cooking

2 Tablespoons Butter

3 Tablespoons Honey

3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

2 whole Limes or lime juice

Cooked Rice, For Serving

INSTRUCTIONS

Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat and place the salmon, skin side down (if you have salmon with skin on it) in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on the first side. Flip to the other side and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the salmon and put it aside.

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In the same skillet, add the butter, honey, soy sauce, and juice from the 2 limes. Stir and cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes, until the glaze is thick. Taste and adjust the flavors, I like the lime taste so I gave it a little more drops of lime juice. Cook it until the glaze thickens, another minute or two.

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Place the salmon back into the skillet and spoon the sauce all over the top. Serve the salmon over the rice, spooning on extra sauce.

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Yeah I don’t have a picture of it back in the sauce or plated because everyone was hungry and sometimes you just can’t put off feeding the hungry masses.

Enjoy.

Korean BBQ Spare Ribs

INGREDIENTS

5 pounds beef short ribs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup mirin

1 small onion finely grated

1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated

4 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Lay out your beef and sprinkle with brown sugar. Spread it over evenly and pat it into the meat. Let the ribs sit out at room temperature while you prepare the marinade. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

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***BTW, if you don’t have mirin or don’t want to buy it you can sub it by taking a ¼ cup of white wine or cooking wine and a ½ a tablespoon of sugar.***

Transfer ribs into a sealable freezer bag, I say freezer bag because you’ll probably only cook half the ribs and put the rest in the freezer for a quickie future meal. Add marinade, press out excess air from bags, and seal. I left the ribs marinating for 24 hours in the fridge and turned them every 12 hours. You don’t have to go this route, marinating for 4 hours and turning every 2 should do fine if in a hurry.

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The recipe I was using called for grilling the ribs outside on a gas or charcoal grill. Well the weather hasn’t been great up here so I cooked them on the stove on a cast iron grill pan. I’ll cook the next batch outside. Heat the grill pan on medium high. Drain off excess marinade from the ribs. Grill short ribs, turning once, to desired doneness, about 10 minutes per side. If this were an outdoor grill it would probably be about 4 minutes each side. I had followed this time frame when I was grilling them inside and they were damn near rare so adjust accordingly.

Serve with whatever sides you like or cut them into pieces and serve as appetizers.

BTW, the marinade reminded me or the sauce on Bourbon Chicken so if you want, you can sub the beef for chicken and not miss a beat.

Enjoy.

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Cubed Steak

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Ingredients
1.5 pounds Cube Steak
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
3 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper, Or To Taste
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
Salt, For Seasoning Meat
1 cup Canola Oil (more If Needed)
1 Tablespoons Butter

For Gravy:
4 Tablespoons Flour
4 Cups Hot Water

Instructions

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Mix together flour, seasoned salt, and pepper.

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Season both sides of steaks with salt and pepper. Dredge each piece in flour mixture, pressing to coat with as much flour as possible.

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Add butter to pan right before frying.

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When butter is melted, fry pieces of steak in mixture. Flip when sides are deep golden brown and cook about 5-6 minute on the other side.

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Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

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Make the gravy by adding the 4 tablespoons remaining flour to the pan drippings, scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. *Wooden spoons and cast iron skillets are must haves when cooking* Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the flour is medium brown and the mixture is bubbly. Slowly add the water stirring constantly. Return the steaks to the skillet and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan, and let simmer for 30 minutes.

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Serve over buttered rice. I usually just make a large pot of rice at the beginning of the week an use it in multiple meals.

Slow Cooker Chili

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So Sunday morning we woke up early to head to the airport to pick up my mother in law. I had my day planned out. Grab her, make breakfast, relax and wait until 5pm and then watch WWE’s Wrestlemania for the next 4-5 hours. In order to get that started I wanted to get dinner out of the way as early as possible. My wife had mentioned that she wanted to try Frito Pie but since we didn’t have Fritos we just decided that Chili would be the next best thing. This isn’t my normal recipe for chili, that’s has a few more items in it like black beans, green chilies along with diced tomatoes but I didn’t a have those things around and I wanted to get this started early so it could cook in my slow cooker for next 6 – 8 hours so sacrifices had to be made.

 

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ large onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground beef
2 cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 bottle beer (I recommend Corona, Sol, Presidente, or Dos Equis or brew your own, I did)
1 can red kidney beans
3 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tablespoon paprika
Salt & pepper, to taste

 

Instructions

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook together until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Place onions and garlic in slow cooker and return pan to heat. Add ground beef to pan, season with salt, pepper, cumin and paprika and cook thoroughly. Drain off all of the grease, and place meat in the slow cooker.

Add tomato sauce, beer*, tomato paste, beans, and chocolate chips and stir until everything is well distributed.

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours if your slow cooker doesn’t have a low setting cook for 4 hours.

Serve over warm buttered rice.

(Yep, I brew my own beer and used it in my chili. After the next batch is done and if it comes out alright I’ll document the process during the 3rd batch and put it on the site.)

Sausage Ragu

My  wife found this recipe a few months back and she made it for a little get together and it was delicious. She found it on New York Times website and it was surprisingly easy. Only thing that might not be in your average pantry is a can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano. San Marzano tomatoes are a little more expensive then your average can of tomatoes but to be honest, we’ve made this recipe with and without and it’s better with. So without further ado, here’s a nice recipe of Sausage Ragu.

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INGREDIENTS
1 pound sweet Italian sausage or bulk sausage
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish (I didn’t have any this time I made it so it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t either)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, with its juice
1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons tomato paste (Again, I didn’t have any so I used Ketchup. I read an article saying this is an acceptable substitute for tomato paste.)
Salt
Ground black pepper
1 pound tubular dried pasta such as mezzi rigatoni, paccheri or penne
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional

PREPARATION

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1. With the tip of a small, sharp knife, slit open the sausage casings. Crumble the meat into a wide, heavy skillet or Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. If the meat is not rendering enough fat to coat the bottom of the pan as it begins to cook, add olive oil one tablespoon at a time until the meat is frying gently, not steaming. Sauté, breaking up any large chunks, until all the meat has turned opaque (do not let it brown), about 5 minutes.

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2. Add onion, carrot, celery and parsley and stir. Drizzle in more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook over very low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables have melted in the fat and are beginning to caramelize, and the meat is toasty brown. This may take as long as 40 minutes, but be patient: It is essential to the final flavors.

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3. Add tomatoes and their juice, breaking up the tomatoes with your hands or with the side of a spoon. Bring to a simmer, then add thyme and rosemary and let simmer, uncovered, until thickened and pan is almost dry, 20 to 25 minutes.

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4. Mix tomato paste with 1 cup hot water. Add to pan, reduce heat to very low, and continue cooking until the ragù is velvety and dark red, and the top glistens with oil, about 10 minutes more. Remove herb sprigs. Sprinkle black pepper over, stir and taste.

 

5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil pasta until just tender. Scoop out 2 cups cooking water, drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Quickly add a ladleful of ragù, a splash of cooking water, stir well and let cook 1 minute. Taste for doneness. Repeat, adding more cooking water or ragù, or both, until pasta is cooked through and seasoned to your liking.

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6. Pour hot pasta water into a large serving bowl to heat it. Pour out the water and pour in the pasta. Top with remaining ragù, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. Pass grated cheese at the table, if desired.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Sweet Potato Polenta

lamb shanksBraised Lamb Shanks

Ingredients
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 lamb shanks (each about 1 1/4 pounds; 1 shank is a portion)
Kosher salt
1 large Spanish onion or 2 small yellow onions, cut into 1-inch dice
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups hearty red wine (I used a nice white wine)
2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
10 to 12 thyme branches tied together in a bundle
3 to 4 cups water
4 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a large Dutch oven generously with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the shanks generously with salt and add them to the pan. Brown well on all sides. This is an incredibly important step; do not rush it.

Meanwhile, puree the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Remove and set aside.

Remove the shanks from the pan to a sheet tray. Discard the excess fat from the pan. Add a little more oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the pureed veggies. Season with salt, to taste. Saute the veggies until they are very brown and aromatic, about 20 minutes. The brown veggies should form a sort of crust on the bottom of the pan.

Add the tomato paste and brown for 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, chopped rosemary and thyme bundle. Stir frequently and cook until the wine has reduced by about half.

Add the shanks back to the pot and pour in 3 to 4 cups of water. The shanks should be submersed, if they are not, add more water. Add the bay leaves to the pan, cover and put in the preheated oven. The cooking time will be about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Turn the shanks over about halfway through the cooking time. Check the shanks every 45 minutes or so. If the liquid has reduced too much add more water. Defat as you go.

Remove the lid during the last 30 minutes of cooking time for maximum browning. When the shanks are done the meat should be incredibly tender and flavorful. Transfer to serving bowls filled with polenta.

Sweet Potato Polenta

Ingredients
1 Cup Quick Or Instant Polenta
2 Cups Mashed, Baked Sweet Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Sage
Salt & Pepper
3 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Butter

In a pot, mix the polenta with the broth, mashed sweet potatoes, sage, salt and pepper and cook until tender following manufacturer’s directions.
Once cooked, stir the butter into the polenta.

BBQ Chicken Wings

bbq chicken wings

Ingredients:

1lb of wingettes

1 tablespoon of butter

Olive oil

BBQ sauce

salt/pepper

Onion Powder

Cast Iron Skillet

Directions:

Heat oven to 450 and coat the skillet with olive oil.

Rinse wingettes in water and let dry on paper towels. While this is happening, pour some BBQ sauce into a bowl with butter and microwave until butter is melted. Set aside.

After the chicken is dry, toss them into the cast iron skillet until they are coated in oil. Season with salt, pepper and onion powder.

Bake for 20 mins and turn little wingettes over and bake for another 20 minutes until golden brown.

Pour BBQ sauce in the skillet and then place skillet into broiler for 5 minutes to allow sauce to caramelize.

*This last step can be skipped if need be. Also, if you don’t have a cast iron skillet (and why don’t you) then just use any oven safe dish you have. This was a quick meal so the picture of the finished product doesn’t look “GREAT” only because I forgot to take the picture before I had to feed the family. Trust me, everyone enjoyed it. The BBQ sauce I used is from a company named Tessemae and is Whole 30 and the main ingredient is dates. It’s surprisingly good too.

Easter Dinner

So this Easter, we’re going over to my folks house for dinner. I’ve tasked myself with making Braised Lamb Shanks along with Sweet Potato Polenta. Cherice is going to be in charge of the vegetables.

I’ll post the recipe I use and some pictures after we’re done. Hopefully it’ll come out wonderful.

Going to get the Shanks and everything from Fairway on Friday. Shanks are surprisingly hard to find, most places just have legs.