Hungarian Goulash

Sat, Mar 12 • 0

2 large red bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lb boneless beef shank, or normal stew beef, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
Kosher salt & pepper
2 large onions, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 t caraway seeds, toasted and ground
3 T Hungarian sweet paprika
3 T all-purpose flour
2 T red wine vinegar
1 15 oz can tomatoes, diced
2 c low sodium beef broth
2 c low sodium chicken broth, or water
2 large russet potatoes, cubed
½ c lite sour cream
8 oz wide egg noodles, cooked according to package

Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the peppers on the rack for 15 or 20 minutes, turning once. Remove them from the oven, and put them in a paper sack until they are cool enough to handle. Pull out the core, remove the skin and all of the seeds, and slice into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. Reduce the oven to 350°.

Trim the fat from the beef, brown in small batches in a dutch oven. Pour off the oil if it is scorched, and replace with fresh. Cook the onion until it is wilted, then add the garlic, the roasted red pepper, and the spices and cook until fragrant. Add the flour and stir until dissolved. Add the vinegar, tomatoes, and stock (or water) and bring to a simmer. Clamp on the lid, and put it in the oven for 1 hour in the oven.

Stir in the potatoes, and cook partially covered either in the oven or on the stovetop until the potatoes are tender. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the sour cream. At this point, you might decide to let the whole thing cool and then refrigerate for a day. (Some people think it improves the flavor.) When ready, serve over egg noodles.


Thanksgiving Recipes

Wed, Nov 24 • 0

Here’s a list of recipes and techniques from the archives.

What’s a “Heritage” Turkey? — information on whether you should bother with this expensive variety of turkey.

My Turkey Plans — This post has a recipe and instructions for brining a turkey.

Roasted Turkey : An Old-Fashioned Method — Larding a turkey has you putting sliced bacon or salt pork on the turkey to keep it moist.

Wild Rice Stuffing — With chestnuts and onions, this recipe works well with any poultry dish.

Broccoli Supreme — An easy side dish with broccoli and creamed corn that everyone loves. It’s easily doubled or tripled, and don’t count on leftovers.

Here’s a new recipe for cranberry relish. Take a bag of whole cranberries and pick out the soft ones. Put them in a wide saucepan along with a little water and bring it to a boil along with a cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer, along with a diced apple, some finely chopped orange peel and the juice of the same orange. Optionally, you can toss in a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans and/or some chopped orange segments. You can also optionally spice it up with some cinnamon, ground star anise, or ground cloves.  Cook until the cranberries have all popped and the sauce thickens. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.


Wild Rice Stuffing

Sun, Nov 7 • 0

Tried this in a chicken last week. I’m usually against putting stuffing inside a chicken or a turkey, since it means longer cooking time, and increases the chances of bacteria, but I figured if I didn’t make the stuffing too tightly packed, and if I put it in the bird hot, just before roasting it, I could get away with it. The cooking time did end up being longer than I expected, but that may have been due to the chicken being larger than I usually go with (4½ pounds as opposed to 3). In the end, I think I liked it more than my wife did.

The following quantities are for a 3-5 pound chicken, but you could increase it for a larger bird, like a turkey. The recipe still needs fine tuning, and you could easily swap out or omit some of the items. For example, replacing the onion with shallots or leeks. You could replace or augment the chestnuts with the chicken or turkey’s giblets. (Note: I was enticed into making up this recipe by an article and recipes in the Washington Post food section. In it, they talk about the best place to buy prepared, steamed chestnuts, and that’s apparently Trader Joes. They sell them in skinny maroon-colored boxes, nearish the flour and other baking supplies in my local store.)

1 cup prepared basmati and wild rice mix (fully cooked)
¼ yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
¼ cup chopped celery (ideally, the light yellow stalks and leave tops from the heart)
¼ cup chopped steamed chestnuts
liquid: vegetable or chicken broth, white wine, vermoth, or water
herbs: sage leaves, fresh thyme, to taste, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Prepare the rice ahead of time, and allow to cool. Avoid adding salt at this stage.

In a frying pan, soften onion and celery in butter or olive oil. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add rice and chestnuts, and enough liquid to moisten, and allow it to  all get quite hot. Remove from heat, and taste for salt and pepper. You want it to be saltier than normal, since it’s going to flavor the whole bird from the inside. Add the herbs at this point, too.

Spoon the hot stuffing into the cavity, being careful not to pack it too tightly. Tie the opening closed with kitchen string. Roast in a hot oven (425°) until the juices run clear when you pierce the flesh near the thigh. Allow the chicken to rest, then cut the string and spoon out the stuffing before carving.


Roasted Delicata

Thu, Oct 21 • 0

In one way, I think my wife usually dreads the autumn, because that’s when I start doing things with winter squash. For the most part, she’s not into them. I think it has something to do with the way they sort of stick to your teeth, and their tendency to be sweet like sweet potatoes (also not on her list of favorites). So I was pretty surprised by her reaction to roasted and sliced delicata squash.

The delicata squash is ovoid in shape, with slight ribs running along its length. Their default color seems to be a light, creamy yellow, but that’s streaked with orange and green most times. They’re relatively easy to peel compared to most other winter squash, as the skin is smooth and mostly unblemished. I use a Y-peeler for the main body, pulling it towards me as I go, and a normal peeler for the rounded ends, which I trim off mostly anyway. I cut it in half, and core out the seeds and guts with a spoon. Then I slice the meat in quarter inch slices, toss them in olive oil and salt, and spread them on a foil lined baking sheet. I cook them in a hot oven, 425, for about an hour, tossing them halfway through.

The result is almost like french-fries, but with more fiber. She especially likes the dark and crispy caramelized parts. I bet if your kids don’t like to eat vegetables, they’ll dig these, too.


Coca Cola Barbeque Sauce

Fri, Aug 20 • 1


12 oz / 355 mL Coca Cola
1½ c / 355 mL Heinz ketchup
1 medium onion, chopped fine
¼ c / 60mL cider vinegar
¼ c / 60 mL Worcestershire sauce
1 t chili powder
1 t salt
hot sauce (Tabasco, Texas Pete) to taste

Bring all of the ingredients just to boil, then reduce to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes as sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Use immediately or jar it up, and keep it in the fridge for a month or so.

Optional: Replace the Coke with your favorite root beer.

 


Rikers Island Carrot Cake

Mon, Aug 16 • 0

Each batch makes 25 nine-and-a-half-pound loaves of carrot cake. The kitchen crew at Rikers apparently make 2,500 loaves of this cake a year, which is served on holidays. Each loaf serves 20 inmates. As for the quantities, I don’t recommend down-sizing the quantities and hoping to get the same results. My grandmother-in-law, Edna Macnamer, used to run a bakery in rural Tennessee, and she’s been frustrated trying to replicate some of her favorite recipes scaled down for her own home kitchen. Still, if you should happen to have access to an industrial mixer and 200 eggs, you might consider whipping this one up.

25 pounds sugar
3 gallons vegetable oil
25 pounds flour
8 ounces salt
1 pound baking powder
8 ounces baking soda
6 ounces nutmeg
6 ounces allspice
4 ounces clove powder
4 ounces ginger
8 ounces cinnamon
25 pounds carrots
25 pounds eggs (about 250 large eggs!)
8 pounds walnuts
20 pounds raisins
8 ounces vanilla extract

  • Place in a mixing bowl – sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove powder, allspice, baking powder, baking sods, salt. Using a paddle mix on slow for five minutes.
  • Add raisins, carrots, walnuts, eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla extract mix on slow speed for an additional five minutes.
  • Increase speed to medium for 10 minutes.
  • Pour into loaf pans. Pans should be three-quarters full.
  • Bake at 400° for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350° and bake for 20 more.

Source: New York Times

Update: GOOD NEWS! The New York Times has published a scaled down version of the recipe more appropriate for home cooks.


Bolognese Ragu

Tue, Aug 10 • 0

I ended up getting a bumper crop of red plum tomatoes from my garden this week, so I made this sauce. I prepared the tomatoes by peeling the skins off (dip into boiling water for 30 seconds), then cutting them in half, removing the seedy goo inside, and dousing them with a little balsamic vinegar on sheet pans, and then roasting them in a very hot oven. When they were done, I ran them through the food processor. But you could whiz a couple cans of plum tomatoes if you want. The trick about reducing the wine and adding it as a syrup is probably cheating, but it cuts down on the cooking time by 45 minutes. Overall, expect this sauce to take 2 to 3 hours to make. Freezes well.

1 onion, cut into 8ths
½c baby carrots
2 stalks of celery, cut into 3rds
2 T butter
½ lb ground beef
½ lb ground pork
½ lb ground bison (or ground veal)
2 T tomato paste
1 pint whole milk
2 c red wine
3 cans San Marzano plum tomatoes, whizzed in the food processor, or fresh tomatoes, treated as described above.
2 cups chicken stock

Run the vegetables through a food processor until they’re chopped quite fine. Put into a preheated, thick bottomed pot (over medium heat) with the butter and cook until softened and fragrant. Add the meat and break it up with your spoon. You’re not really trying to brown anything, just get it all into smaller pieces. Mix in tomato paste. Add the milk and bring it to a boil, then simmer until most of the liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a separate sauce pan, reduce the red wine to a syrup, then add it to the milk and meat mixture.  Add in the tomatoes and then simmer, simmer, simmer. Low and slow, with the lid off. You want it to barely bubble. Stir it often, and cook it until it’s thick.


Refrigerator Pickles

Sun, Jul 11 • 0

5-6 lbs pickling cucumbers
1 c pickling or kosher salt
3 quarts (12 c) water
1 quart (4 c) white vinegar
crushed garlic
fresh dill
black peppercorns

Cover the cucumbers in a large non-reactive bowl with water, and add ¼c salt, and let them soak for 8 to 12 hours. Sterilize 4 or more jars in the dishwasher. In a pot, bring 3 quarts of water and the 1 quart of vinegar and ¾ cups of salt to a rapid boil. While you’re waiting for that, crush 1-3 cloves of garlic in each jar, along with a couple of fronds of dill and 5 or 6 peppercorns. Rinse the cucumbers, and slice each in half or quarters, or slice into rounds, and fill each jar with as many as you can. Ladle the hot liquid into each jar to cover, and apply the lids. Allow the jars to cool a bit, and then let cool in the fridge.

Technically, the recipe says that you let the pickles cure for 2 weeks, but I can never wait that long, and they taste great immediately. The recipe also claims that they’ll last for a month or two, but I’ve never had them last that long. A variation on the recipe has you add a hot pepper to each jar for a little spice.


Alabama Smoked Chicken

Sun, Jul 11 • 0

Caught a random episode of Cooks Country this weekend where they made an unusual barbecued chicken recipe. I tried to replicate it, though I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.

The weird part about the recipe is that the barbecue sauce is mayonnaise based, as opposed to ketchup based, and it was quite tasty. The real recipe has you smoke a chicken cut in half over hickory chips. I used apple wood. The real recipe has you rub the chicken with a mixture of salt, black pepper and cayenne, and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes (or up to 8 hours). I don’t use cayenne because the people I feed don’t like the heat of cayenne, so I made a bit of a mix of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and adobo seasoning.

The sauce is made up of a quarter cup of mayonnaise,  what was left over from the spice mixture I didn’t rub on the chicken, and a tablespoon of jarred horseradish.

So you cook the chicken (3 to 4 lbs., cut in half with the backbone removed) over an aluminum pie pan, with a chimney full of fully lit charcoal distributed evenly on either side of the pan, and then the soaked wood chips over top of the coals. I cooked it 45 minutes, skin side up, and then 20 minutes with the flesh side down. Then you remove the chicken and brush the sauce over top.


BBQ Pork Chops

Thu, Mar 18 • 2

3 or 4 thick cut natural pork chops, rib cut, on the bone
1 onion
whatever fresh herbs you have on hand (rosemary, thyme, sage)
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
water
2 tablespoons oil
ground black pepper
2 ounces port wine
¼ cup of your favorite bbq sauce

In a zip-top bag, combine the sugar, salt and about a cup of warm water. Mix to dissolve. Cut the onion into quarters or eighths, removing the papery skin. Add the pork chops and the fresh herbs. Zip the bag mostly closed and remove as much air as possible before closing it completely. Toss it around a little, then put in a shallow pan and let sit in the fridge, turning it after 4 hours. After 8 hours, remove the chops from the brine, and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Dry the pork chops of excess surface moisture, pepper each side, then fry in the hot pan, 5 minutes per side. Pour off excess fat, and replace with port wine. Put on the lid, and put it in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove lid, and baste with bbq sauce, return to oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, and let rest for 10 more minutes.


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