Chicken Flautas

June 19, 2015

I love recipes with lots of leftovers so that I have food to bring to work for lunch the next day. This recipe is perfect; making between 20 and 24 flautas; enough for almost an entire week’s worth of lunches. Generally Chris Kimball does not make very good Mexican food; this is a recipe that I’ve personally been developing for about 9 months; trying to make my lunchtime chicken taste more like pork or beef. The results are very good; I use tomato paste, dark beans and a few anchovies to add meaty flavor (no, of course it doesn’t taste fishy). I used chicken thighs because they won’t dry out if I cook them until they become shreadable. I guarantee; you will not believe that you are eating chicken. 4-stars; great depth of flavor, but there are textural issues with the tortillas when reheating in the microwave. Optimally, reheat them in conventional oven.

So good you'll forget it's chicken

So good you’ll forget it’s chicken

With beef prices roughly double from what they were a few years ago, I have been eating a lot of alternatives. I posted these pork taquitos earlier this year. While pork is more flavorful with a richer, more succulent texture, chicken is a healthier option.

Comment:

  1. The topping you add can elevate these flautas from 4 to 4-1/2 stars. Some of my favorites toppings include: guacamole or diced avocado, sour cream, lime juice, and of course, salsa. Also, after the tortillas have become crispy (or if reheating in a conventional oven) I love to sprinkle grated cheese over the top and run them under the broiler until the cheese browns a bit.
  2. Sometimes, instead adding vegetable oil to the pot, I use the skin from a few pieces of chicken and render out the fat; using that chicken fat in lieu of vegetable oil. It adds about 4 to 5 minutes; bit does two things: (1) adds flavor, and (2) also helps build up the fond on the bottom of the pan which translates into deeper flavor in the final flautas.
  3. If reheating prepared pre-made flautas, bake in oven at 300-degrees until heated all the way through; about 20 minutes, flipping half way through reheating. If you have to reheat them in a micowave, bake them in Step 14 until the tortillas become very hard, and flip them half way through re-heating.
  4. When I first was developing this recipe I did not add the cheese to the mixture, rather I topped the  chicken prior to rolling (in Step 13) with grated cheese. This had two drawbacks; first the flautas I prepared first had more cheese than the last flautas in the second batch. But beyond that, as the cheese melts during baking it oozes out the open ends and burns.
  5. 4-lbs of chicken thighs yields 1-1/2 pounds of shredded chicken meat. I think I prefer to use closer to 5-lbs.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $11 for 20 to 24 flautas. (plus toppings)
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 3:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s doesn’t have a recipe for flautas. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

1/2 bag dried, dark kidney beans, or 29-oz can of beans.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil (see Comment #1)
4-to-5-lbs bone-in chicken thighs
1 onion
1 jalapeno
1 red bell pepper, small
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 clove garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
juice from 2 limes
1/3-cup chopped cilantro
8-oz mild cheddar cheese
20 to 24 small fajita-size flour tortillas
Server with diced avocado, diced tomato, salsa

  1. For best results, soak 1/2-pound of dried beans for 8 hours or overnight. Use 1-1/2 tablespoons salt for 2 quarts of water. Otherwise if you don’t have dried beans or the time to soak them overnight, you can use 29-ounce can of dark kidney beans.
  2. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Pre-heat 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil a large dutch oven set over medium-high burner; when the oil begins to shimmer. Place half the chicken skin-side down in skillet; cook for a total of 7 minutes, turning once, until both sides are golden brown. Wipe out pot using paper towels, add another 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil and repeat this step for the second batch of chicken.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare your ingredients. Dice your onion and jalapeno, removing the seeds (as desired to control the heat of the final flautas). Peel the 2 cloves of garlic. Also in a small bowl, add 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons oregano, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons coriander, 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  4. After you are done cooking the second batch of chicken, reduce burner to medium. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, your onion, jalapeno, bell pepper and  and 2 teaspoons salt; allow to soften over medium burner for 5 minutes. Use the liquid exuded from the vegetables to deglaze the bottom of your pan.
  5. Add tomato paste and pressed/minced garlic; continue to cook for 1 minute. Add the contents of the spice bowl from Step 4; allowing the flavors to bloom for 1 minute.
  6. Add chicken stock and beans, bring up to a simmer over high burner. Cover pan, turn down burner to medium-low and maintain a simmer until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thighs registers about 185-degrees, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
  7. Remove chicken to cutting board and allow to rest until cool enough to handle.
  8. Meanwhile, turn up burner to medium and allow cooking liquid to gently boil; about 20 minutes. The beans should become thickened with very little liquid remaining. Meanwhile, begin to pre-heat your oven to 375-degrees.
  9. Use your fingers (or two forks) to shred the chicken, discarding bones and anything that feels like excess fat or cartilage. Add shredded chicken directly to the pot once your beans have finished reducing.
  10. Zest 2 limes and squeeze their juices; adding to the pot; mixing until everything is evenly combined.
  11. Grate cheese on the large holes of a box grater and add shredded cheese to pot. Mix until evenly combined.
  12. Prepare a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, lightly sprayed with non-stick vegetable spray.
  13. Prepare the flautas in batches of 10 to 12. Form 1/4-cup (2-1/2 ounces) of chicken mixture into a line in running along the center of tortilla. Tightly roll up flauta and lay on baking sheet so that the weight of the flauta holds the tortilla closed.
  14. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then flip for 5 minutes. If you plan to re-heat them in the microwave then bake until the tortillas become very hard.
  15. Repeat from Step 12 with the second batch.
  16. Serve immediate with toppings of your choice (see comment #1).

 


Italian Sausage with Grapes and Balsamic Vinegar

June 14, 2015

The sweet Italian sausage and the grapes yielded a delicious, unique flavor; but not immediately recognizable as grapes. While delicious, the flavor profile was a bit monotone in its sweetness; I would have liked a little bit of heat or something else to offset the sweetness. Perhaps it might be interesting to try them with Hot Italian Sausages; but that may be too much heat; Perhaps just a little cayenne or paprika. The recipe as written is good; especially for kids who love sweet things. 4-stars.

Good; but a little monotone.

Good; but a little monotone.

Comment:

  1. While Chris Kimball says that this serves 4 to 6 people, the 1-1/2 lbs of sausage was only 6 sausages. I think this recipe realistically serves 3 people as a main course.
  2. Later in the week I made a variation of this recipe that is serves two; but I used a full pound of sausage instead of the 3/4-lb called for in that recipe. I think the bottom line of the number of servings is this; allocate 2 sausage for each diner.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $8.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 5:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

1-lb seedless red grapes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
1 onion
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  1. Prepare your grapes by cutting them in half lengthwise (through where their stem attached); which should measure about 3 cups. Cut onion in half, peel, and slice thin. Set aside until Step 3.
  2. Pre-heat 1 tablespoon vegetable in a 12″-skillet over medium burner until shimmering. Put sausage into pan and cook for a total of 5 minutes; turning once half way through. Tilt skillet, and use paper towel to remove excess fat from the pan.
  3. Add grapes and onions to pan; over and around the sausages. Then add 1/4 cup water and cover immediately with lid. Cook for about 10 more minutes; turning once; until the sausages reach between 160-and-165-degrees. Remove sausage to a plate lines with paper-towels, and tent with aluminum foil.
  4. Increase burner to medium-high; add salt and pepper to grape/onions. Spread out into an even layer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes without stirring; until browned.
  5. Stir and continue to cook for 3 to 5 more minutes; stirring often. The mixture should be well browned, but the grapes should still retain their shape.
  6. Turn down burner to medium and mix in 1/4 cup wine and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano. Use the liquid to deglaze the pan and cook for 30 to 60 seconds; just until the wine has reduced by half. Remove pan from burner and mix in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar.
  7. Put sausages on serving platter and spoon grape/onion mixture on top. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint.

Peri Peri Chicken

June 10, 2015

The funny name, which comes from the African Piri Piri pepper, made this recipe very fun for my kids. Chris Kimball’s version of Peri Peri chicken uses Arbol Chiles, which are much easier to find, and marries with a traditional two-level barbecue technique. He further slows the cooking by using tap water in a disposable aluminum pan to help moderate the temperature of the cool-side of the grill.  The recipe’s varied list of ingredients made me skeptical; peanuts, chiles, five spice powder and lemon. But in the end, the flavors meld into a deliciously unique barbecued chicken. Unfortunately, I relied too heavily on the clock and stepped away from the grill with the chicken over the hot-side of the grill; which resulted in too much of a char. While this was only a 4-star execution, it’s a 4.5 star recipe; for its deep, complex richness.

Delicious; even if a little over charred

Delicious; even if a little over charred

While the recipe requires refrigerating chicken overnight with the paste applied, it makes the actual day of the barbecue very easy. You essentially do all the preparation the night before. Chris Kimball’s Yankee palate has influenced the recipe by providing a wide range of chiles; from 4 to 10. Today, I only used 4 because I was worried about my two sons. Next time I will use 7, because 4 chiles was quite mild.

Issues:

  1. Flare ups during Step 6 overly charred my chicken. It was my fault, because I walked away from the grill for a few minutes. The charring will happen much faster than you think; so don’t leave the chicken unattended even for a minute during Step 6.
  2. If you are using a gas grill; pre-heat the grill for 15 minutes with all burners on high. When ready to cook chicken primary burner to medium-high and turn off all other burners. Use two disposable pie plate; each filled with 1-1/2 cups of water; directly placed on 1 of the gas burners (opposite to the primary burner).

Rating: 4-to-4.5 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 4:00 PM. Ready at 5:50 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it are given below:

8 garlic cloves
1 shallot
4 to 10 arbol chiles
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon five-spice powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1/4 cup juice (2 lemons)
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves, crushed
6-lbs bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and/or drumsticks)
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 large disposable aluminum pan (13″x9″)
Lemon wedges

  1. Peel 8 cloves of garlic and 1 shallot; roughly chop and add to blender. Also add to blender: 4 arbols, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 tablespoon five-spice powder, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, and crumble 3 bay leaves.
  2. Process for 10 to 20 seconds until smooth. Taste the paste and add up to 6 more chiles; spice level will be hotter as paste than on chicken.
  3. Finely chop peanuts and add to a large bowl (I mixed some paste with the peanuts to prevent the nuts from flying everywhere as I chopped them). Also add the paste to bowl and stir to combine.
  4. Using a metal skewer to poke skin side of each chicken piece between 8 and 10 times. Add chicken to large bowl and toss until chicken is evenly coated with paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for between 6 hours and 24 hours.
  5. When you are ready to grill, open the bottom vents halfway and set a disposable aluminum pan filled with 3 cups of water on 1 side of the grill. Ignite a chimney starter filled with charcoal (about 6 quarts). After 25 minutes when the upper-most coals are partially covered with ask, evenly empty the coals on the side of the grill opposite the pan of water. Replace the grill grate, cover, and open the lid vent half-way. Pre-heat grill for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the cooking grate.
  6. Put the chicken with skin-side down over the hot side of the grill and cook for between 2 and 5 minutes until brown and blistering in spots. Flip chicken and continue to cook the second side for 4 to 6 minutes until the second side in browned.
  7. Move chicken with the skin-side up to the cool-side of grill; with the legs and thighs closer to the fire and the breasts further away. Set cover so that lid vent is directly over the chicken. Cook for between 50 to 60 minutes until white meat registers 160-degrees and dark meat registers 175-degrees.
  8. As the individual pieces of chicken come up to temperature remove them to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil; allowing to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Pass separately with lemon wedges.

Modern Succotash with Poblano, Bacon, and Cilantro

June 8, 2015

Of course I’ve heard of succotash, but it wasn’t until the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated that I really knew what it was; a corn and bean side dish. While Chris Kimball published this basic recipe (using butter beans); I made a variation that included bacon, poblano and cilantro. It was very quick and easy to make; almost all the effort was in preparing the vegetables. I was surprised at how delicious this simple side dish was; both my two sons loved it. The flavors were fresh, and rest of the flavors offered great depth. 4-1/2 stars.

I never knew what succotash was; until current issue of Cook's Illustrated

I never knew what succotash was; until current issue of Cook’s Illustrated

Comments:

  1. Chris Kimball warns against using frozen or canned corn in this dish. After tasting the dish, I see how important the freshness is to the success of the recipe. While I agree, that also means that this is a very seasonal dish. I read that it is traditionally served around thanksgiving in New England; a time of year when there is no fresh corn.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $5.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start: 5:30 PM. End time: 6:00 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

15-oz can pinto beans, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 slices bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion
1/2 poblano chile
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cups kernels cut from 4 ears corn
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

  1. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of liquid from beans with the 2 teaspoons lime juice. Set aside. Rinse the rinse beans and drain in a colander. Cut off kernels from ears of corn, and set aside with rinsed beans. Finely chop your onion, and cut your 1/2 poblano into 1/4″ pieces. Peel and mince your two garlic cloves.
  2. Chop bacon and cook in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium-high burner for 5 to 7 minutes. Once crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper-towel lines plate and set aside.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons butter to skillet with the bacon fat, add chopped onion, diced poblano, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to skillet. Saute vegetables for 4 to 5 minutes under they begin to brown. Add minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander; cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Turn down burner to medium; add corn kernels and rinsed beans. Cook for 4 minutes; until corn and beans have cooked. Add bean liquid/lime mixture and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Remove skillet from burner; mix in minced cilantro and adjust salt and pepper according to your taste. Sprinkle with crispy bacon and serve.

DSC_0002-002


Braised Halibut with Carrots and Coriander

May 30, 2015

I’ve been looking at this recipe for a few months now, all the time trying to find 1″-thick halibut in my local markets. I finally gave up, and used Chilean Sea Bass (which was still 10 miles from my home). The recipe shaves the carrots into thin ribbons so that they cook through quickly, and in the same 10 minute time-frame as the fish. The fish is par-cooked on one side in melted butter, so that it is cooks evenly. My one problem was that I ended up overcooking the fish; after 10 minutes of braising, the fish registered 120-degrees; then 3 minutes later it registered 165-degrees. Opps. While I lost some of the firm texture associated with this premium-fish, the flavors were nevertheless delicious. 4-stars.

Delicious dinner; but not worth the pricey fish.

Delicious dinner; but not worth the pricey fish.

The recipe is delicious; the carrots and wonderfully flavored and bold. However, the carrots over-power the delicate fish. It’s not worth the premium price of $23/lb, when most of what you taste is the delicious carrots. I will definitely make this recipe again; but maybe using $7/lb cod. Tonight, I ate the fish and the carrots in separate bites; both were delicious. In fact, the carrots might have even been more delicious than the fish.

Comments:

  1. The main version of this recipe (which is here) serves 4 people. It would cost over $50. Chris Kimball has this “online extra” version that essentially cuts everything in half. That is the version I cooked today. My oldest son will not eat fish (and only eats carrots reluctantly).
  2. Chris Kimball says that striped bass or sea bass make a good substitute for Halibut. Look for fish that is between 3/4″ and 1″ thick. Next time I am going to look for a less expensive fish.
  3. I cooked today using my 10″-skillet because by filets were relatively long. The original recipe calls for an 8″ skillet.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $26 for 2.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low/Medium.
Start: 5:30 PM. End time: 6:00 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

1-lb skinless halibut fillets, 3/4″ to 1″ thick
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 carrots
2 shallots
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro

  1. Cut you fish into two 8-oz  fillets. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Peel the carrots, then shave then with vegetable peeler lengthwise into ribbons. Peel shallots, cut in half and slice thin.
  2. Set and 8″-to-10″ skillet over low burner and melt 3 tablespoons butter. Put fish in skillet, with the presentation side down, turning up burner to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the butter begins to brown (fish should not brown), occasionally swirling the pan. Use a  spatula to carefully move fish to plate, with the raw side down.
  3. With the skillet still over medium burner, add shaved carrots, shallots, 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir often for 1 to 2 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add 1/3-cup wine and bring up to a gentle simmer. Return fish to skillet on top of vegetables with the raw-side-down. Cover skillet and adjust burner to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for between 10 to 14 minutes; until the fish measures between 135 and 140 degrees.
  4. Use 2 spatulas to remove fish and vegetables to serving platter; the carrots on the bottom. Tent loosely with aluminum foil while
  5. Add carrots, shallots, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to gentle simmer. Place fish, raw side down, on top of vegetables. Cover skillet and cook, adjusting heat to maintain gentle simmer, until fish registers 135 to 140 degrees, 10 to 14 minutes. Remove skillet from burner, and use 2 spatulas to remove fish and vegetables to serving platter (or individual plates). Tent loosely with aluminum foil while you finish the sauce.
  6. Put skillet over high burner and cook for 1 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Remove skillet from burner and stir in 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice (from one lemon wedge). Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper according to your taste. Spoon sauce over the fish and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.
Shave the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler

Shave the carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler


My 500th recipe: Pot-Au-Feu

May 20, 2015

Wow, my 500th recipe; five years in the making. For such a momentous occasion I wanted to make something special;  so I picked Pot-au-feu (“pot on fire”) from the May/June issue. Chris Kimball calls this recipe “Simple Pot-Au-Feu“, because it uses only one cut of meat, plus it’s made entirely in one day. Instead of cooling overnight and peeling the hardened fat, this recipe calls for skimming the fat using a ladle. I used a fat separator; as there was a lot of fat. As with many of Chris Kimball’s recent recipes, instead of brown meat on the stove-top, this recipe uses his technique of “browning” in the oven.

Best meal of the year; so far.

Best meal of the year; so far.

The dinner was fantastic; my first 5-star meal of 2015. The flavors were well-balanced; the bone-marrow infused parsley sauce was powerful, and the soup bones made for the most delicious broth I’ve ever tried. The staggered cooking time for the vegetables in the final steps meant that everything was perfectly tender, without anything being overcooked. Next time I might try to brown the beef on the stove-top, because I think the “caramelization” is a little muted as written in today’s recipe. I would also recommend serving with crusty bread; a little crunch was the only thing this meal was lacking.

Additional Comments:

  1. One traditional suggestion for the extra bone marrow is to spread it on toasted bread as an accompaniment.
  2. Pot-au-feu (“pot on fire”) refers to the traditional cooking method of putting inexpensive cuts of meat and root vegetable into a pot and into the fire.
  3. I have three kinds of salt, but didn’t buy flake sea salt. My regular sea salt was in grains, so I used flaky kosher salt in lieu of sea salt for the final dish (in step 14)

Rating: 5-stars.
Cost: $38.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start: 1:00 PM. End time: 6:00 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

Meat Ingredients:
3-1/2 to 4-lbs beef chuck-eye roast, boneless
1-1/2-lbs marrow bones
Kosher salt
1 onion
1 celery rib
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Parsley Sauce Ingredients:
2/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
10 cornichons, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Vegetables:
1-lb small red potatoes, between 1″-to-2″.
6 carrots
1-lb asparagus
Kosher salt and pepper
Flake sea salt

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Pull your chuck roast into two pieces, which should naturally come (mostly) apart at the seam. Trim away any large knobs of fat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, then use 3 pieces of kitchen twine per piece to tie into two separate loaf shapes.
  3. Peel and quarter onion and thinly slice celery stalk crosswise (not lengthwise).
  4. Put tied beef, bones, onion, celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns into Dutch oven. Add cold water until it comes up halfway the sides of roasts; about 4 cups. Set over high burner until simmering. Partially cover the Dutch oven and put into 300-degree oven for 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours, flipping beef over halfway through cooking time.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the parsley sauce, by combining all ingredients into small bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature.
  6. Towards the end of cooking time; prepare your vegetables. Cut your potatoes in half (or quarter any potatoes that are larger than 2″). Cut carrots in half cross-wise; then quarter the thick halves length-wise, and cut the thin halves into two lengthwise (sounds confusing; each carrot should yield 6 pieces).  Trim asparagus by snapping off the cut end; wherever the asparagus naturally breaks is where each individual stalk needs to be trimmed (as if the asparagus knows).
  7. When the meat is fully tender, a sharp knife can easily slips into meat, but it should not be shreddable, remove the pot and turn off oven. Use tongs to remove beef loaves and set on large platter and tightly cover with aluminum foil. Return to turned-off oven to keep the meat warm while you finish cooking.
  8. Set bones on cutting board and use the end of a spoon to remove the marrow. Mince marrow until it is paste-like and add 2 tablespoons to parsley sauce.  Save any remaining marrow for another day.
  9. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl. Use a ladle to skim and discard the fat from the broth (I used a fat separator). Measure out broth (I had just under 2 cups), and augment with cold water to make 6 cups; adding back to Dutch Oven.
  10. With the Dutch oven over high burner, add potatoes and bring up to a simmer. Reduce burner and continue to simmer for 6 more minutes. Add carrot sticks and cook for 10 minutes. Finally, ass asparagus and continue to cook all vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes; until everything is tender.
  11. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetables to large bowl, and toss them with 3 tablespoons of the parsley sauce; sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  12. Taste broth and adjust salt; leaving in pot.
  13. Remove beef from oven and set of cutting board. Cut away twine and slice against the grain into 1/2″ thick pieces.
  14. Arrange large, shallow bowls into individual servings. Arrange vegetables, slices of beef, and drizzle with 1/3 cup broth. Top with a dollop of parsley sauce, and sprinkle meat with flaky sea salt. Serve, passing the extra parsley sauce separately.

Pan Seared Scallops

May 16, 2015

For year’s I have been watching Gordon Ramsey yelling in Hell’s Kitchen about rubbery or raw scallops. While watching with amusement, I also clearly remember my only personal failure to make scallops four years ago. So when I saw that the current issue of Cook’s Illustrated (May/June 2015) included a recipe for Pan Seared Scallops, I was excited to try this “new recipe”. After already purchasing everything for this recipe, I realized they just republished the same recipe from 2009.

Great sear and delicious; but overcooked

Great sear and delicious; but overcooked

Getting a great sear using a residential, gas range requires pre-heating the skillet on your most powerful burner for upwards of 4 minutes. I was a little uneasy pre-heating my non-stick skillet to such a high temperature (health concerns here).  If you have a cast iron skillet you should use that. Otherwise, the recipe is very straight-forward. Cook the scallops for 1-1/2 minutes per side in a screaming-hot pan. After flipping, baste with melted butter while the second side cooks. Unfortunately, the basting technique tilts the skillet removing from direct contact with the flame. The cooled pan takes longer for the second side to sear. The bottom line if this: You have a choice between searing the second-side or cooking to only 115-degrees. Mine cooked to 130-degrees.

The results were delicious; to me they seemed perfectly cooked, even at 130-degrees. The browned butter was delicious and helped attain great caramelization. I only cooked half my scallops today; and want to try one of these sauces when I cook the second half; Lemon Brown Butter or this Orange Lime Vinaigrette,

Comments:

  1. The recipe calls for dry sea scallop, which means that they are not treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). I was disappointed to find out that the scallops packaging (from behind the fish counter in my supermarket) didn’t list the ingredients. I bought then frozen and they gave up so much liquid as they defrosted that I assume they were wet. Therefore, I brined the scallops as directed in Step 1.
  2. The recipe says to remove the tendons. I’m not 100% sure what those are, but I didn’t see anything on my scallops that could be removed.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $25.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? Low.
Start: 5:30 PM. End time: 6:15 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

1-1/2 pounds dry sea scallop, 10 to 20 per pound
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Lemon wedges

  1. Remove tendons.  If you can only find “wet” scallops, Add 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons table salt to a medium bowl. Soak scallops for 30 minutes.
  2. Put scallops on a baking sheet that is lined with a clean dish towel, then put a second clean towel on top of scallops and softly press down to blot away any liquid. Allow then to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes so that the towels will dry out the scallops as much as possible.
  3. Season both side of the scallops with salt and pepper. Set a 12″ non-stick skillet over high burner, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil a pre-heat for 4 minutes until the oil just begins to smoke. Add half the scallops to the pre-heated pan with the flat side down; laying down in a clockwise pattern (so that you can flip them in the same order you set them down). Cook for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side, without moving them, until they become well browned.
  4. Just before flipping, add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet.
  5. Use tongs to flip the scallops and cook the second side, and tilt skillet so that butter runs to one side. Use a large spoon to baste the scallops with the melted butter as they cook. They only need to cook for between 30-seconds to 1-1/2 minutes. The sides of the scallops should be firm and the centers should still be opaque; and measure 115-degrees.
  6. Tent loosely with aluminum foil while you make the second batch. Use paper towels to wipe out the skillet and repeat the cooking process with the remaining scallops.
  7. Serve as soon as the second batch is ready with lemon wedges or an accompanying sauce.

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