Smashed Potatoes with Bacon and Parsley

March 26, 2016

I love the simplicity and creaminess of mashed potatoes, but hate the chore of peeling. I especially hate peeling hot potatoes (which I did for 15 years). This recipe leaves the skins on. Since I don’t need to process the potatoes with a ricer, the skins don’t get in the way. The cream cheese provides wonderfully texture; yet not as creamy as mashed potatoes. The bacon provides lots of flavor. Instead of thinning with milk, it is thinned using the potato cooking water. Overall, 4-stars. Less healthy than regular mashed potatoes; but more flavorful.

No peeling necessary

No peeling necessary

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

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

2-lbs small red potatoes
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
6 slices bacon
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  1. Cut cream cheese into 8 pieces and add to medium bowl allowing to come up to room temperature while the potatoes cook.
  2. Put potatoes in a large saucepan and fill with cold water until the potatoes are covered with 1″ water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for 35-45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut bacon lengthwise in half, and then crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Fry bacon for 5 to 7 minutes in 10-inch skillet over medium burner until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to plate lined with paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of bacon fat and use the residual heat of the skillet to melt the butter. Empty into the medium bowl with cream cheese.
  4. Before draining the potatoes, remove 1/2-cup cooking water and set aside. The potatoes will be done when a paring knife inserted into potatoes meets no resistance. Drain the potatoes and discard the bay leaf. Return the potatoes to pot, and allow to sit in pot for 5 minutes, uncovered, which will allow the surfaces are dry.
  5. While potatoes are drying, Whisk together the cream cheese, melted butter and bacon fat until smooth and fully incorporated. Add in 1/4-cup of reserved water (not the full 1/2 cup that you set aside), chopped parsley, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine.
  6. Use a wooden spoon to smash potatoes just enough to break skins. Fold in the cream cheese mixture until most of the liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potato remain. Add more cooking water if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the potatoes are slightly looser than ultimately desired (potatoes will thicken a little as they sit).
  7. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste. Stir in chopped bacon from Step 3. Serve immediately.

St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef Brisket

March 24, 2016

This year, I was looking to make my first corned beef brisket to share with my two sons on St. Patrick’s day. The recipe was just published in the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated (March/April 2016), including a 6-day brine. Unfortunately, I did not buy the special pink curing salt (sodium nitrite) in time; it needs to be purchased online. So instead, I bought one of those ubiquitous pre-packaged briskets that appear in my supermarket around St. Patrick’s day. The beef is suspiciously inexpensive; I am not sure how more than two pounds of brisket can cost a total of only $7.

Traditional St. Patrick's Date fare; at least in NYC

Traditional St. Patrick’s Date fare; at least in NYC

By starting with a pre-packaged, pre-brined brisket, I am not sure how accurate my 4-star rating can be. Of course, home-brined briskets will be far superior that my pre-packaged brisket. Never-the-less, I was happy with the overall technique used in the recipe and will try to order the curing salt well ahead of next year’s St. Patrick’s Day feast. 4-stars, but the jury is still out on the final rating of this recipe.

Comments:

  1. If you do not use pink curing salt #1,  your brisket will be grey instead of pink.
  2. While not called for in Chris Kimball’s original recipe, I caramelized some of the fat cap before cooking. It added great flavor and improved the overall texture of the fat cap.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $12. (including $7 pre-packaged brisket)
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Started: 4:00 pm  Ready:  7:30 pm.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The general descriptions of how to prepare it are given below, but I did not brine by own brisket this year:

Brine Ingredients:
4-1/2-to-5 pound, flat-cut beef brisket
3/4 cup table salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons pink curing salt #1
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 bay leaves
5 allspice berries
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  1. Trim fat on surface of brisket to 1/8 inch. Dissolve salt, brown sugar, and curing salt in 4 quarts water in large container.
  2. Add brisket, 3 garlic cloves, 4 bay leaves, 5 allspice berries, 1 tablespoon peppercorns, and 1 tablespoon coriander seeds.
  3. Weigh brisket down with plate, cover, and refrigerate for 6 days.

Cooking the Brisket:
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoons peppercorns

  1. Set a rack to the middle of your oven and pre-heat to 275-degrees.
  2. Remove the brisket from brine and rinse under cold tap water to remove any excess salt. Use paper towels to pat dry.
  3. Brown fat-side of brisket in Dutch oven over high burner for 5 minutes until nicely caramelized.
  4. Prepare a spice bundle by cutting an 8″ square of cheesecloth. Peel 3 garlic cloves. Put garlic, 2 bay leaves and 1 tablespoon peppercorns in the center of the cheesecloth, and use kitchen twice to tie into a bundle.
  5. Add brisket, 2 quarts of water and spice bundle to a Dutch oven; it’s okay if the brisket does not lie completely flat. Cover pot and put over a high burner until it comes up to a simmer.
  6. Move to oven and bake for 2-1/2 to 3 hours, until you can easily insert a fork into the thickest part of the brisket.
  7. Remove Dutch oven from oven and turn off oven. Set brisket in a large oven-safe platter, and pour 1 cup of the cooking liquid over meat. Cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the turned-off oven.

Vegetable Ingredients:
6 carrots
1 head green cabbage (2 pounds)
1-1/2 pounds small red potatoes

  1. Peel your carrots and cut them in half cross-wise; then slice the thick-ends in half lengthwise into long, equally thick slices. Do not peel your potatoes.
  2. Set the Dutch oven over high burner and add your carrots and potatoes. Bring up to a simmer over high burner. Reduce burner to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Cut your cabbage through the core into 8 wedges. Add wedges to pot, and increase burner to high until the pot comes up to a simmer. Reduce burner to low and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, covered, until all the vegetables become tender.
  4. Meanwhile, set the beef on a cutting board and slice against the grain into 1/4″-thick slices, returning the slices to the platter. Use a slotted spoon to add the vegetables to the platter. Add additional broth to platter and serve.

Cabbage and Red Pepper Salad with Lime-Cumin Vinaigrette

March 19, 2016

In honor of St. Patrick’s day (or more correctly, in honor of abundant cabbage), I made this cabbage salad with red pepper. In general, I have never loved cabbage; it’s tough and bland. But this recipe conquers my two biggest complaints; first by softening the cabbage using salt; then by adding a flavorful vinaigrette. The result is a delicious salad with just the right texture; not too tough and not too soft (like boiled cabbage). Finally, something delicious to make with those 75-cent heads of cabbage. 4-star.

Sofr-as-lettuce salad made with cabbage

Soft-as-lettuce salad made with cabbage

Comments:

  1. This recipe is nearly 20-years-old, and calls for rinsing the cabbage in a strainer then drying with paper towels. Of course, in today’s kitchen it is easily accomplished using a salad spinner. I incorporated a salad spinner into the recipe below; but you can also dry using paper towels.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $2.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Low.
Started: 5:00 pm  Ready:  6:15 pm.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

1-lb green cabbage (about 1/2 medium head)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 red bell pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest from 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper

  1. Cut the head of cabbage in half (save the other half for another day), then finely shred using a chef’s knife. Add shredded cabbage to a salad spinner (or colander), along with 1 teaspoon table salt. Allow cabbage to wilt for between 1 to 4 hours at room temperature.
  2. Rinse cabbage under cold running water (or in a large bowl of ice water if you plan to serve the salad immediately). Drain and spin the cabbage until dry. If the salad is for tomorrow,  store the dried cabbage in zip-lock bags overnight in your refrigerator.
  3. Cut open the bell pepper, remove the seeds and ribs. Slice into thin strips.
  4. In a medium serving bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Toss cabbage and red pepper until evenly covered with dressing. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Beef Bourguignon

March 12, 2016

I make Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon a few times a year, her 5-star recipe is here. However, I find myself making the same substitutions, time-after- time, so wanted to discuss the changes. First, I never make her recipe using the 3-pounds of beef called for in her recipe. I always buy a 5-to-5-1/2-pound roast. If I am going to expend such an effort; it is either for a larger group of friends or I want the leftovers to last me well into the week. Second, I never blanch my lardons; and usually just use thick-cut bacon. I simply cannot but “chunk bacon” but will sometimes use salt pork. And lastly, I have yielded to Chris Kimball’s approach of using frozen pearl onions. To me, they are not important enough to worry about peeling dozens of little boiler onions. But of any adjustments I make, this laziness has the biggest negative impact.

A little more liquid would have been perfect

A little more liquid would have been perfect

While I increased the liquids to try to compensate for the 5-1/2 pounds of beef; I was still lacking liquid. Next time I will try increasing the beef broth to 3-1/2 (I had used 3-cups today). I already updated the recipe below; which not-coincidentally means that I will use the full standard 32-ounce container of beef broth (while I always make my own chicken stock, I rarely make my own beef broth). Overall, this larger batch is not quite as good as Julia Child’s original recipe. Almost as good; 4-1/2 stars.

Comments:

  1. Julia Child says to use a casserole pan, but I always use my 7-quart dutch oven.
  2. While not called for in the original recipe, I also wrap the lardons into cheese cloth before adding them back to the pot in Step 10. This saves me a huge effort in trying to pick out the lardons when discarding the spent carrots and onions.
  3. Be sure to choose and begin your side dish of boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, buttered egg noodles or rice; start boiling the water as you begin to braise the boiler onions.

Rating: 4-1/2-stars.
Cost: $30.
How much work? High.
How big of a mess? High.
Started: 12:00 pm  Ready:  6:00 pm.

You can see a version of Julia Child’s original recipe here.  The descriptions of how I cooked it today are given below. I separated the recipe into sections so that I wouldn’t have to scroll so much while preparing the recipe.

Making the Stew:
10-oz thick-sliced bacon
5 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2″ cubes
2 carrot, sliced into 1/2″ wheels.
2 onion, sliced into rings.
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1-1/2 bottle red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
3-1/2 cups brown beef stock
2 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves mashed garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
2 crumbled bay leaf

  1. Cut the bacon meat into lardons (sticks 1/4″ thick and 1-1/2″ long), and sauté lardons in a large Dutch oven over medium-high burner for 5 minutes until lightly browned and has rendered much of its fat. Remove bacon to a side dish with a slotted spoon, and wrap in single layer of cheese cloth (tied closed with kitchen twine).
  2. Preheat your oven to 450-degrees, and set a rack to the lower-middle of your oven.
  3. Cut beef into 2″ cubes then pat dry using paper towels; they will not brown if damp. Heat leftover bacon fat in Dutch oven until almost smoking. Add four or five beef cubes at a time. Sauté until nicely browned on all six sides, then remove and let rest in a large bowl. It will take 4 to 5 batches, between 8 to 10 minutes per batch. While the beef browns; prepare your carrots and onions.
  4. In the same fat, saute the sliced onions and carrots until slightly browned for about 5 minutes. Pour out any excess fat; of which I had none.
  5. Return the beef to the Dutch oven and toss with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Evenly sprinkle 3 tablespoons of flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set Dutch oven uncovered in of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
  7. Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this will brown the flour and give the meat a light crust).
  8. Remove Dutch oven from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325-degrees.
  9. Stir in red wine, and 3-1/2 cups beef stock; which should barely submerge the meat.
  10. Add the 2 tablespoon tomato paste, 3 mashed garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon thyme, 2 crumbled bay leaf, and the wrapped bacon lardons (as well as the bacon rind if you have it). Bring up to a simmer on the stove-top.
  11. Cover pot and return to oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

Brown Braising the Onions:
1-1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
1+2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup beef stock
Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
1/4 cup of brandy

  1. About 1 hour before the meat is done, begin to heat your water for the accompaniment: potatoes, egg noodles or rice.
  2. About 30-minutes before the meat is done, begin preparing the onions and mushrooms. Assemble you herb bouquet, by adding 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon thyme in a small square of cheesecloth and tying with kitchen twine.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil until bubbling in a skillet.
  4. Add boiler onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 6 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. They will not brown uniformly.
  5. Add 1/2-cup of beef stock, the herb bouquet, and a little salt and pepper (to taste).
  6. Cover and simmer slowly for 20 minutes; swirling occasionally; until the onions are very tender but still hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Discard the herb bouquet and set cooked onions aside.
  7. Wipe out skillet and heat 2 tablespoons of butter over high heat. Once the bubbling begins to subside add the quartered mushrooms. Toss and swirl pan for 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of brandy and flambe until flame subsides. Remove from burner and set aside.

Final assembly:

  1. After 3 to 4 hours in the oven you beef should be very tender. Pour the contents of the pot into a sieve set over a large bowl. Empty into a fat separator (or use a wide, shallow spoon to skim fat off) and allow to settle for 5 minutes.
  2. Wipe out the Dutch oven and return the beef; empty the lardon packet, then distribute the cooked boiler onions and mushrooms on top. Discard the spent carrots and whatever else is left in your sieve.
  3. De-fat the sauce into a saucepan, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. You should have about 4 cups of sauce; about the consistency of heavy cream. If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper according to taste.
  4. Pour the thickened sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
  5. Serve, arranging stew on a platter surrounded with boiled or mashed potatoes, buttered noodles or rice. You can also decorate with chopped parsley.

Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Grapefruit

March 5, 2016

Two of my favorite ingredients are shrimp and avocado, so I was sure that I would love this recipe (but I only liked it). ATK published the recipe as part of their collection of “light” recipes; in fact there is not a drop of olive oil added. Instead, they add a bit of the avocado to the blender which gives the final dressing the impression that I added mayonnaise; a classic Shrimp Salad ingredient. Brilliant trick, and they succeed in obtaining a great, healthy dressing without sacrificing flavor. However, the recipe does not realize its full potential. The bitter grapefruit over powers the other flavors. 2 grapefruits are too much, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt was insufficient. But don’t let these criticisms stop you from making this recipe, 3-1/2 stars. Definitely worth the effort of segmenting the grapefruit.

Delicious salad without any added oil

Delicious salad without any added oil

The 10-year-old recipe was poorly written on the website, with a few errors and omissions (I known its like the pot calling the kettle black; but I only do this for fun). Originally the recipe was part of ATK book; “The Best Light Recipe.” I have noticed that their books are not as refined as are the recipes from their magazine.

Issues / Comments:

  1. The recipe as shown on the Cook’s Illustrated website was missing the peppercorns; I discovered by searching the web that it was to include 1/2 teaspoon.
  2. The Cook’s Illustrated website says to but the snow peas crosswise. But later I noticed that their photo shows them sliced lengthwise.
  3. The recipe doesn’t mention anything about collecting the grapefruit juice, but I read far enough ahead in the recipe to segment the grapefruits over a shallow bowl.
  4. Instead of using Bibb lettuce as called for in the recipe, I substituted romaine that I already had in my refrigerator.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $8.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinner time 5:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

Shrimp Ingredients:
1 lemon, halved
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 pound shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound)

Salad and Vinaigrette Ingredients:
2 medium pink grapefruits
1 avocado (large)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1/2 teaspoon honey
1-1/2 teaspoons minced ginger (from 1″ piece)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
2 ounces snow peas
16 leaves Bibb lettuce

  1. If necessary, peel and de-vein the shrimp. Add 3 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice of lemon into the pot, also add the squeezed lemon halves. Add 1 bay leaf and 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns. Bring up to a boil over high burner, and let boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove the pan from the burner and add shrimp. Cover; allow to sit off the heat for 8 minutes. Meanwhile prepare a medium bowl filled with ice water.
  3. Empty the shrimp into a colander, immediately moving the shrimp into the ice water, and allow to cool for 3 minutes. Discard lemon halves, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Drain the shrimp and put in a large, dry bowl.
  4. Peel the grapefruit and carefully segment the grapefruit and remove pith, being careful to collect any of the juice (you’ll eventually need 1/4-cup). You can add the grapefruit segments into the bowl with the shrimp as you go.
  5. Add 1/4-cup grapefruit juice (add enough water to equal 1/4 cup) to blender, along with 1/4 of the avocado, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon honey, 1-1/2 teaspoons ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Process in blender until smooth; about 20 seconds. Taste the dressing and adjust with up to an additional 1/2 teaspoon honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  6. Prepare the remaining ingredients, adding to the bowl with the shrimp as you go. Chop 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves. Cut the snow peas lengthwise into 1/8″-wide strips and remove the strings. Dice the avocado into 1/2″-cubes. Wash and dry the bibb lettuce.
  7. To serve, arrange the lettuce onto 4 serving plates. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the shrimp; top with dressing from blender and carefully toss until evenly coated. Even divide among the 4 plates and drizzle any of the dressing left in the bowl on top of the salad.

Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers and Black Pepper Sauce

February 29, 2016

A home run from the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated (March 2016). The beef is deliciously flavored, but the biggest news is that, while finding time to caramelize, the beef also remains tender. This is achieved through two tricks; (1) soaking mix of 1/4 teaspoon baking soda for 5 minutes. Cook’s Illustrated did some measurements and calculates that just 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda will yield meat that is 20% more tender; it does so by raising the pH on the surface of the meat, making it more difficult for the proteins to bond which keeps the meat more tender and moist. The second secret (2) is soaking the beef in a velveting mixture for 15-to-30 minutes.  This

Flavorful and tender beef

Flavorful and tender beef

Today’s recipe is similar to this 9-year-old recipe. That recipe caused me some confusion while grocery shopping and I inadvertently bought only the green pepper (not buying the red pepper as well). I bought the snow peas called for in the old recipe; but then forgot about them and did not include them in today’s recipe (not called for but would have made up for the lack of red pepper).

Chris Kimball’s guidelines for good stir fry:

  1. Prep your ingredients in advance; be prepared for quick cooking time.
  2. Our domestic stove-tops are shaped for a non-stick skillet, not for a wok.
  3. Limit stirring during cooking so that food can develop color.
  4. Sear meat in batches so that it doesn’t steam.
  5. Add aromatics last to preserve flavor and avoid scorching.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $12.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinner time 5:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

Beef and Marinade Ingredients:
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pound flank steak
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons dry sherry (or Chinese rice wine)
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar

  1. Trim flank steak and slice into 2-1/2″ strips going with grain; then cut each strip crosswise (against the grain) into 1/4″-thick slices. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon water and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Add sliced beef and toss until coated. Allow to stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry, 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, and 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar. Add soy sauce mixture to beef, tossing to coat, and allow to stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, begin to cook the steamed white rice (see basic recipe below). The vegetables (bell peppers, scallions, garlic and ginger) and aromatics should all be prepared while the beef is marinating. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and slice into 1/4″-wide strips. Cut the scallions as follows: slice the white parts thinly on the bias, then cut the green parts into 2″-pieces.

Sauce and Vegetable Ingredients:
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry (or Chinese rice wine)
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
6 scallions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  1. In second small bowl, whisk 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons sherry, 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons ground black pepper. Whisk until combined.
  2. Set 12″ non-stick skillet over high burner and pre-heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil  until it just begins to smoke. Add half of beef in single layer, and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Flip and continue to cook for 1 more minute until spotty brown on both sides. Empty cooked beef into a third clean bowl. Repeat this step with remaining beef and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil.
  3. Return skillet to high burner, and add 2 teaspoons vegetable oil. Pre-heat until the oil just beginning to smoke. Add bell peppers and scallion greens. Cook for 4 minutes until vegetables are spotty brown and crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Empty cooked vegetables to the bowl with the beef.
  4. Reduce burner to medium-high heat and return skillet to burner. Add 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, scallion whites, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes; stirring frequently; until becomes lightly browned.
  5. Return beef and vegetables to skillet and stir to combine.
  6. Whisk sauce to recombine the ingredients. Add sauce to skillet and cook and stir for 30 seconds until sauce has thickened. Serve immediately over a bed of rice.

Basic White Rice:

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared it today are given below:

1-1/2 cups long grain white rice
3/4 tablespoon unsalted butter or vegetable oil
2 cups water
3/4  teaspoon table salt

  1. Put rice in colander and rinse using cold running water until the water becomes clear. Set colander over bowl and set aside.
  2. Put medium saucepan over medium burner and pre-heat butter or oil. Add rice and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until rice becomes chalky and opaque; stirring constantly.
  3. Add water and salt to pot. Increase burner to high until comes up to a boil; swirl pot to blend ingredients.
  4. Cover pot. Reduce burner to low and allow to simmer without stirring for 18 to 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat, and place a clean kitchen towel; folded in half; over saucepan; replacing the lid. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Use a fork to fluff the rice before serving. Makes about 4-1/2 cups of rice.

Skillet-Barbecued Pork Chops

February 21, 2016

My two sons love barbecue so I wanted to make these indoor, skillet-based pork chops. The recipe is very straight-forward the biggest problem is finding the rib chops that are between 3/4-and-1″ thick.  My supermarket always sells chops cut very thin. Fortunately, I was able to buy a beautiful roast and cut the chops myself. Due to my mid-week schedule, I changed the brine from a 30-minute brine (using 1/2-cup of salt) to a all day brine (using 3 tablespoons of salt), which let me cook them in about 45 minutes; otherwise add 30 minutes to the overall preparation time. The results perfectly cooked and very flavorful, A delicious 4-star meal.

Delicious indoor BBQ pork chops

Delicious indoor BBQ pork chops

Comments:

  1. If you cannot find natural pork, you can still used enhanced pork, which is injected with a salt solution. But skip the brining in step 1 and add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the spice rub.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 6:00 PM. Dinner time 6:45 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared them today are given below:

Pork Chops Ingredients:
1/2 cup table salt
4 bone-in pork rib chops between 3/4-and-1″ thick (8-to-10-oz each)
4 teaspoons vegetable oil

  1. Trim the chops of any excess fat and make slits , sides slit according to illustration below (see note above)
  2. Dissolve salt in 2 quarts water in large bowl or container. Submerge chops in brine, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spice Rub Ingredients:
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, measure out 2 teaspoons mixture into medium bowl and set aside for sauce.
  2. Transfer remaining spice rub to pie plate or large plate.

Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons light molasses
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

  1. Grate 1/2 an onion on the large holes of a box grater.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients in the bowl with reserved spice mixture; setting aside until after the chops have cooked.

Cook the Pork Chops:

  1. Remove pork from the brine and use paper towels to pat dry. Dredge pork in pie plate with spice rub; coating both sides with spices. Gently press so that rub adheres to meat. Pat chops to remove loose/excess rub.
  2. Set 12″ heavy-bottomed nonstick skillet over medium burner. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and pre-heat until just begins to smoke. Arrange chops in skillet in pinwheel formation. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes until charred in spots.
  3. Flip chops and continue to cook until second side for 4 to 8 minutes. Remove chops when an instant-read thermometer reads registers 130 degrees; setting on a clean plate or baking sheet.
  4. Wipe out pan using paper towels . Lightly brush top side of each chop with 2 teaspoons bbq sauce.
  5. Return skillet over medium burner. Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and pre-heat until begins to smoke.
  6. Set chops in pre-heated pan with the sauce-side down. Cook for 1 minute without moving until the sauce has caramelized and charred in spots. While cooking, lightly brush the other side of each chop with 2 teaspoons sauce. Flip chops and cook the second side for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes until they registers 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  7. Remove chops from skillet and put back to plate or baking sheet, tenting with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, during which time the internal temperature should rise to about 145 degrees.
  8. Meanwhile, add remaining sauce to pan and cook for 3 minutes until thickened to a ketchup-like consistency. Brush each pork chop with 1 tablespoon of sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce separately.
Slow brine instead of the fast brine called for in the original recipe

Slow brine instead of the fast brine called for in the original recipe


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