Chile Braised Short Ribs, because sometimes you just want to have all the fat

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Short ribs are among the greatest things that the world has ever bestowed on us.  Right along with water, dogs, opposable thumbs, and the Foo Fighters.  They’re just these beautiful hunks of beef, held together by thin layers of fat that melt into the meat over many hours of simmering, which is usually done in the oven so you don’t have to hover over it and say WAIT IS THAT A SIMMER OR A BOIL LET ME TURN IT UP A SMIDGE OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO BOIL OVER TURN IT DOWN WAIT IS THIS THING EVEN ON?!?!

I feel like I’ve made short ribs 8,000 times, every one of which was with red wine.  So I was intrigued by a recipe that called for dried chile peppers.  And it turned out extremely good, with a Mexican-ish taste because..well chile peppers are Mexican, so that makes all sorts of sense.

Making the marinade requires you to rehydrate the peppers, and then puree them in a blender.  This is a tricky step, because if your lid isn’t on 100% tightly…this is going to be a mess pretty quickly.  Have fun getting chile pepper stains off the walls/cabinets/ceiling.  Your grandkids will be talking about the great chile disaster of 2017.  Realtors will have to disclose this damage to anyone that ever wants to buy your house.

Usually I would sear the ribs before cooking them; this recipe did not call for that, and for some reason I think that actually works here.  Knock yourself out if you want to pre-sear them, no one will call you stupid for it.

YOU CALL ME STUPID EVERY DAY!!

That’s because you deserve it.

WHATEVER!  SO WHAT’S WITH THE FAT THING, AM I GOING TO GAIN LIKE 300 POUNDS FROM EATING THIS??

Unless you make 60 batches a day, no.

OK, I THINK I CAN KEEP MYSELF FROM DOING THAT!

As good as it is, make no mistake, this is not health food.

I’M NOT INTO HEALTH FOOD.  I AM INTO CHAMPAGNE!!

Very nicely done, I have no comeback.

(Side note: the introductory skit with the Village People, as well as Rupert Holmes’ tucked-in powder blue jacket…it’s well worth a view)

Most of the ribs you get will probably have a thick layer of fat on them.  Do not, under any circumstances, trim that off before cooking.  That’s going to help protect the meat and keep it moist.  After cooking, then trim it off, unless you’re a Neanderthal that just enjoys the taste of large globs of fat.  Like me.

My preference with short ribs is always to cook everything over two days.  Not straight through, but I cook everything on day one, separate the ribs from the sauce, refrigerate them, and warm them up the next day.  Why, you ask?  Because overnight, the fat will rise to the top of the sauce and solidify, and it will be the largest hunk of fat that you have ever seen.  Like, at least 1/4 inch thick.  And you will be in shock at the amount of fat in front of your eyes.  And you will remove it from the top of the sauce, and take heart in the fact that your entire family would have died of a heart attack had you not undertaken this courageous act, and instead will enjoy a hearty, delicious, and merely somewhat unhealthy meal.

Now, once you remove the gargantuan layer of fat from it, you’ll notice that the sauce has a very jello-like consistency.  And you’ll say, I made sauce, not fucking beef jello, what the hell??  Don’t worry, you’ve done everything just right.  The gelatin texture comes from the collagen in the bones, which is a good thing.  Why is it a good thing?  Fuck, what am I made of, Googles?  Anyways, when you reheat it, the sauce will return to liquid, so all will be well.

 

Chile Braised Short Ribs

Makes 8 servings

From Bon Appetit

Ingredients

 

8 dried New Mexico chiles

4 cloves garlic

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

5 pounds short ribs

1 large onion, thinly sliced

4 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley

Directions

 

The day before serving, toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat, until lightly darkened on both sides, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the skillet and cool completely.  Once cooled, remove the stems, remove the seeds and ribs, and tear them into small pieces.  Then place the chiles in a large bowl, and add boiling water to cover.  Let them sit until soft, about 20 minutes, and then drain the bowl.

Put the chiles in the blender, and add the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, coriander, and cumin.  Puree until everything is smooth.

Divide the short ribs and onions equally into two Ziploc bags.  Pour half of the marinade into each bag, seal, and refrigerate overnight, turning the bags over once.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Pour the contents of the bags into a large Dutch oven or stockpot, and add the broth.  Bring the contents to a boil, then cover and transfer to the oven, and cook for 2 hours.

Uncover the pot, and add the potatoes, carrots, and tomato paste.  Stir to mix, re-cover the pot, and cook until the vegetables are soft, about another 50-60 minutes.  Remove the ribs and vegetables to a separate plate.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce has reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes.  Refrigerate separately overnight.

The day of serving, remove both the ribs/vegetables and the sauce from the refrigerator.  Remove the disk of fat from the sauce.  Reheat the sauce in a saucepan, and reheat the ribs/vegetables in a 350 degree F oven, or in a microwave.  Plate the ribs and vegetables, and serve with the sauce over them.

Three Cup Chicken, because you need a history lesson…kind of…

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WHAT’RE WE MAKING TODAY??

Three cup chicken!

WAIT, YOU’RE EXPECTING ME TO EAT THREE CUPS OF CHICKEN?  THAT’S A LOT, EVEN FOR A MANLY MAN LIKE ME, MUCH LESS YOU, YOU LITTLE WUSSY!!

Dude, chill out, I’m not asking you to go on a pale protein binge.  It’s an old Chinese dish.

OOH, LOOK AT YOU, BEING ALL HISTORICAL!  I’LL BET YOU’RE GOING TO TEACH ME A HISTORY LESSON, AREN’T YOU, PROFESSOR SUTHERLAND VON SCHTUPPENSCHTEIN??!!  PLEASE, REGAL ME WITH YOUR KNOWLEDGE!

First of all, it’s Dr. Von Schtuppenschtein, jackass.

Second, three cup chicken is an ancient dish that originated in the Heilongjiang province of China, back in the 16th century.  The governor, Chen Dao Huang, had a chicken dish that he ordered his soldiers to eat before every battle with invading Mongols.  The dish was served in three separate cups: one to represent the responsibility to defend the decisions of past generations, one to represent the duty to serve the present generation and preserve their way of life, and one to represent the vision of building a better civilization for future generations.

OK, THAT’S PRETTY DEEP, YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION!

WELL???

Nah, I’m just fucking with you, it’s a recipe I got from the New York Times, it’s not even Chinese, it’s Taiwanese.

I HATE YOU.

The feeling is mutual.

Setting aside the fake history, this is a pretty solid, straight-forward Asian chicken dish.  Even the most inexperienced of cooks can make this one.

SWEET, I MIGHT TAKE A SHOT AT MAKING IT THEN!

Have they reconnected the gas in your house after you almost burnt it down boiling water?

NEVER MIND, I’LL JUST READ THE REST AND EAT SOME WHEAT THINS.

Good call.

A couple quick notes on the recipe.  It calls for rice wine and dried peppers.  Rice wine isn’t easy to find; if you can, great.  If not, mirin works just fine, and is a lot easier to find.  Dried red peppers, it’s hard to find a bag with less than 19,000 peppers, all of which will weigh 0.8 ounces.  Get the bag, if you keep them in a Ziploc bag, they will keep forever.

Second, if you have a wok, fantastic, great for you.  If you do, once you’re done sautéing the aromatics, you can push them up to the side before you start cooking the chicken.  If you don’t, just use a sauté pan, and move them to a side plate before you cook the chicken.

Three Cup Chicken

Makes 4 servings

From The New York Times

Ingredients

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into 12 pieces

12 garlic cloves, peeled

4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 dried red peppers

2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/2 cup rice wine

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 cups fresh basil leaves, Thai or regular

Directions

Heat a wok or large sauté pan over high heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil.  When hot, add the ginger, garlic, scallions, and peppers, and cook for 2 minutes.  Remove the contents to a side plate.

Add the rest of the oil, and add the chicken to the pan.  Cook until the chicken is well browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the aromatics back to the pan.  Add the sugar, rice wine, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat, and add the basil leaves.  Stir to combine, and serve.

Lemon Chicken Soup, because sometimes recipes just lie to you

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I had everything planned out for a chill evening, and making a pretty basic soup and sandwich dinner that my lady and I could have during the national championship game.  And I wanted to make Greek Lemon Chicken Soup, which was one that we both loved that the restaurant in our old work building used to make.

(we also used to love this restaurant because their specials board had some…interesting…ways to name their soups and specials)

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(trust me, this was about the 37th worst spelling offense they committed)

Game time was 7:15.  Here’s the timeline of how the next few hours went:

4:00 – “Ok, take the dog out for a walk, then come back and start making the soup.  No problem.”

4:15 (while on walk) – “Crap, forgot to pick up my prescription at Walgreen’s, ok go get it now, still plenty of time to make the soup.”

4:30 – “Of course the 3 mile-long train decides that now would be a good time to run through the middle of Houston.”

4:45 – “What do you mean my insurance card has expired?!?!”

5:00 (home) – “Ok, no big deal, still plenty of time to make the soup, just dump everything in the pot and let’s get started.”

5:15 (grabbing Thermapen and taking the temperature of the broth) – “When the fuck is this thing going to start boiling??”

5:30 – “About fucking time!!”

Now that it’s finally reached a boiling point, I reduce it to a simmer for an hour, which is basically me turning the temperature down to a where the soup barely simmers, then turning the knob 1/300ths of an inch higher and then watching the water nearly boil over, then turning it back said 1/300ths of an inch, and repeating the process for the next 60 minutes.

6:30 (removing chicken and vegetables from the pot) – “Excellent, now I just reduce the broth by half, which will only take half an hour, because that’s what the recipe says and the recipe is NEVER EVER EVER WRONG!!”

I go off and relax for a bit, because I know that in 30 minutes the broth will be reduced by half and will be completely perfect.

So I go to check on the broth at 7:00, and it has barely reduced, and is practically mocking me and saying “Oh reeeeally, would you like me to reduce for you on command?  What am I, your little song and dance man, that exists merely to entertain you at your whim?  I DON’T THINK SO!!!”

(It’s after I typed that last quotation mark that I realized that I really do need my meds.)

7:15 -kickoff time, and the soup is still mocking me.

7:30 –

My lady: “Yeah, I think I’m just going to make a sandwich.”

Me (trying to distract from the soup inadequacy): “Hey, I was going to make a panini, would you like me to make you one, it’s far superior to a regular sandwich?!”

ML: “No, I’m good, I’m just hungry.”

7:45 – starting to get a little movement.

8:00 – “I hope the soup gets done soon so you can watch this game with me.”

8:15 – “Finally!”

By the time everything was finally done, I only missed the entire first quarter of the game. So, lesson learned: never make something new on game day.

You’re going to need a really big stock pot to make this, I would say at least 8 quarts.  You can probably go smaller if you can find a 3 pound chicken, as the recipe suggests, but good luck finding a non-broth injected non-steroid loaded 5 pound megabird.

Also, never salt your broth until it’s finished cooking.  Since it reduces down and concentrates in 30 minutes or 3 hours or whatever, a broth that is perfectly seasoned at the beginning is going to be way too salty when it’s finished.  Just chill out and let it go, and season everything at the end, and everyone will be happy…

…except for you, because you just spent half your day screaming at the pot to say COME ON ALREADY FINISH UP I GOT OTHER THINGS TO DO!!!

 

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Makes six big bowls

From Bon Appetit

Ingredients

 

1 3 pound chicken

4 quarts water

1 large carrot, cut into large pieces

1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved and washed

1/2 medium onion

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons lemon juice (about 2 large or 3 small lemons)

2/3 cup long-grained white rice

Directions

 

Bring chicken, water, carrot, leek, and onion to a simmer in a large stock pot.  Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 50-60 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a plate.  Discard the other solids.

Continue to cook the broth over medium heat until reduce to 2 quarts, which can take 30-60 minutes (get it down to 2 quarts regardless of time, you will be rewarded).

While the broth is reducing, remove the skin from the chicken, and shred dark meat into bite-sized pieces.  Save the breast for another use.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and lemon juice together until completely combined.

When the broth has reduced, ladle 1 cup of the broth into a cup.  While whisking constantly, add the broth to the bowl very slowly, to bring the eggs up to temperature.  If you go to fast, the eggs will scramble, so start with just a tablespoon at a time, and work up until it’s going in a steady stream.

Add the rice to the stock pot, and cook on medium for 10 minutes.  Add the chicken back to the broth, and heat through.

Whisking constantly, add the egg/broth mixture to the pot, again starting slowly and building up to a steady stream.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the soup thickens, about another 5 minutes.

Burnt Banana Bread, because I got a job offer and it totally screwed up my baking

I had plans to do baking Wednesday morning.  Chief among the plans was a banana bread, because banana bread is delicious, and it makes you feel like a kid again and reminds you of your childhood.  But only the good parts, not the times like when you got put in as a goalie in 1st grade and the coach forgot to tell you that you can use your hands and you let in 11 goals before they understood that they knew nothing about soccer beyond what was in the coaching instruction book and screaming “Pele!  Pele!” meant nothing to you.

Not that that ever happened to me.  But if it did, this bread would not evoke those feelings.

So, even though it was supposed to cook for 60 minutes, I set the time for 45 minutes, because I had other stuff going, and I knew that I would just remember, oh yeah, get to the bread 15 minutes after the timer went off.

And then, 10 minutes before it was supposed to be done, I got a call from my soon-to-be employer that they were going to make me an offer.  And I got all giddy, in the way that someone that has gone 1,000 too many emails that are showing me the “75 new jobs in my area that you haven’t seen, even though 74 of these were in the last email we sent you, but Uber needs a driver so that’s totally up your alley” would be.

So I spent 10 or so minutes talking with them, getting the offer together, saying yes, next steps, all that happy crap.  And then I spent the next couple minutes doing a happy dance, not only because I have a job, but I can spend the new two weeks watching soccer and Netflix and 80’s wrestling on Youtube guilt free.

And then I remembered the bread.  And then I remembered that our oven runs hot.

And then…

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Crap.

So I spent the next 15 minutes letting it sit, hoping that it wouldn’t be as bad on the sides or bottom.

They weren’t great either.

Cutting it in half, hoping there’s something salvageable…

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That’s not bad!  Actually, it’s quite good!  Aside from the crunchy exterior, this is a pretty moist and tasty bread.

I have cooked this before and the crust has come out well and the insides have been every bit as good.  And I would prove it by baking a second one, but, again, guilt-free laziness for the next two weeks.

For this recipe, the bananas need to be super ripe.  Like they need to be just on their last day of being good, and they’re looking at you and begging with their last breath to not let their lives go for nothing.  Beyond that, it’s pretty forgiving, so long as you start checking it around 45-50 minutes you’ll be fine.

Also, the original recipe calls for walnuts to be added.  I didn’t add them, but feel free to add 1/2 cup if you’d like, or get creative with it.  Chocolate chips?  Sure!  Peanut butter chips?  Even better!  Crispy bacon bits? Why not?!  Wasabi peas?  Ummm, no judging, but I’m judging you as having shitty taste.

 

Banana Bread

Makes 1 9″ x 5″ loaf

From Epicurious

Ingredients

4 very ripe bananas, peeled and well-mashed

1/4 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Get a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan, and grease it with butter.  Dust the inside with flour, making sure all corners and sides are coated, and then tap the excess out.

In a medium bowl, mix the banana, sour cream, and vanilla.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using a stand mixer or hand held mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 1/2 minutes (if you use a stand mixer, make sure you scrape the bottom so the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom).  Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat them until combined, about 1 minutes each.  Add the banana mixture and beat until combined.  Add half the dry ingredients, and beat on low (you will regret it if you try beating it too high, and you will spend hours cleaning up stray flour in your kitchen) until combined, about 20 seconds.  Add the other half and repeat.  Pour the batter into the greased pan.

Put the pan in the oven and bake for 60 minutes, rotating it halfway through.  The bread is done when the top is a dark golden brown and starts to crack.  A toothpick stuck in the middle of the bread should come out clean.

Move the pan to a cooling rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Let it cool completely before serving.

Fish Fillets Braised in Red Wine, Bacon, and Mushrooms

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WHOA THERE, FANCY BOY!!  DON’T GO THROWING ALL THOSE FRENCH WORDS AT US!  WHAT’S THIS BRAISED THING??

It’s just a cooking techn…

IS THAT FRENCH FOR POOP??  YOU’RE COOKING POOP AGAIN!!!

Good lord, there is no poop involved!

Braising is just cooking meat in liquid that only partially covers it.

OH!  SO LIKE BUGS BUNNY IN THE HOT TUB??

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Ummm…sure, exactly.

You usually do this with big fatty hunks of beef – and we will do that at some point, because it is fucking amazing.  And while fish doesn’t have the same amount of fat in it, braising it is still…

This is not a long braise, like you would do with a brisket, so you do need to stay on top of it and not stray too far.  I cooked it with cod fillets, but you could do it with salmon, or any other firm fleshed fish.

Also, the recipe calls for you to strain the braising liquid.  The dish will not be ruined if you decide not to – I didn’t because I am lazy, and it tasted perfectly good, and the vegetables don’t get cooked enough to get seriously mushy.

 

Fish Fillets Braised in Red Wine, Bacon, and Mushrooms

Serves 4

 

From All About Braising

Ingredients

 

4 fish fillets, about 1-1 1/2 inches thick

1/4 pound mushrooms, any variety, stemmed and coarsely chopped

5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 leek, washed and finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1 shallot, peeled and finely diced

2 cups red wine

3 sprigs thyme

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Directions

 

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Add half the bacon to a large cold sauté pan.  Turn the heat to medium, and cook until the bacon has rendered most of its fat and is just starting to brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Add the leek, carrot, and shallot to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper, and sauté, stirring regularly, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add 1 cup of the wine and the thyme sprigs.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Add the remaining wine and simmer for another 5 minutes.

While the mixture is simmering, cook the remaining bacon in a separate skillet over medium high heat, until crisp.  Remove the bacon and place on paper towels to drain fat.  Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet , then add the mushrooms, and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the mushrooms until browned, then remove to a separate plate.

When the braising liquid is ready, slide the fish fillets into the pan.  Cover the pan and place it in the oven until the fish is cooked, about 15-18 minutes.  Remove the pan from the oven and remove the fish to a separate plate.

Strain the braising liquid into the skillet, pushing on the vegetables to get everything out of them.  Bring the liquid to a fast simmer over high heat, then bring it back down to a gentle simmer.  Add the remaining butter and parsley, and season with salt and pepper as needed.  Add the bacon and mushrooms to the mixture.

Plate the fish fillets, and serve with the braising liquid on top.

Baked Chicken and Kasha with Bowtie Noodles, because you have to eat, my little poopula

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POOPULA?!?!  ARE YOU COOKING POOP??  WHAT THE FUCK??

Relax, there’s no poop involved, these are just old family dishes.  My great-grandmother used to call all of the kids her little poopulas, so there you go.  No poop.

WOW, THAT MUST HAVE BEEN WEIRD TO BE CALLED POOP!!

It’s not poo…yeah it was funny, we all looked at each other and tried to keep from laughing out loud about grandma Bessie saying poop.

THAT EXPLAINS A LOT!

Shut up.

 

WHATEVER POOPFACE.  SO WHAT’RE WE COOKING TODAY?

Oh, so you noticed poop in the title, but you didn’t see what the dish is…Jesus…it’s baked chicken and kasha with bowtie noodles.

KASHA??  WHAT THE FUCK…IS THIS THAT ANCIENT GRAIN SHIT THEY TALK ABOUT ON THOSE DAMNED COOKING SHOWS?  ARE YOU GOING HIPPIE ON ME??

Ancient grains is just marketing bullshit for stuff that people already ate anyways.  But, yeah, kasha is a type of buckwheat, and buckwheat is considered an ancient grain, so…

KASHA IS BUCKWHEAT??  WHO HARVESTS IT, JOHN DAVID STUTTS??

That’s…damn, that’s good.

I KNOW.

So where were we.  Oh, yeah, family dishes.  The kasha is an old Jewish dish, it’s very comforting.  The kasha gets sautéed so it tastes nutty but still has some bite to it.  And the caramelized onions add a soft sweetness to the dish, and the bow tie noodles are just fun to eat.

BOWTIE NOODLES, HA!  DID YOU MAKE THOSE ON #BOWTIETUESDAY?

[sigh] Actually, I did.

NICE JOB, DORK!  SO CARAMELIZED ONIONS, HOW DOES THAT WORK?

It takes a ton of patience.  You have to cook them on low heat for a long time, mine took about an hour to cook down.

I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN DO THAT, I CAN’T FOCUS ON ANYTHING FOR MORE THAN 3 MINUTES.

Suck it up, it’s worth it.  And you really don’t have to do much else for this dish.  The chicken is super simple, you just throw sliced onions on top of chicken breasts, cut a stick of butter into the pan, and baste it as you bake.  The kasha, it cooks pretty easily as well, you just have to boil the noodles separately.

THAT’S A LOT OF MULTI-TASKING.  I ONCE BROKE A POT WHILE BOILING WATER.

I give up.

 

Baked Chicken with Onions, and Kasha with Bowtie Noodles

Serves 8

Chicken recipe courtesy of my mom

Kasha recipe courtesy of Epicurious

Ingredients

 

FOR THE CHICKEN:

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

2 large white onions, sliced medium (not too thin, or they will burn)

1 stick butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces

FOR THE KASHA:

2 tablespoons butter

2 large white onions, sliced medium

1 beaten egg

1 cup kasha

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 pound bow tie shaped noodles

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

 

FOR THE CHICKEN:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts in a large roasting pan.  Season very well with salt and pepper.  Scatter the onion slices over the chicken, and place the butter pieces on top of the chicken.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast for 1 hour, basting the chicken with the melted butter and juices every 15 minutes.

Increase the heat to 400 degrees F, and continue basting every 15 minutes until the onions and chicken skin reach desired doneness, about another 30-45 minutes.

FOR THE KASHA:

In a large frying pan, heat the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the onions, reduce the heat to low, and cover.  Cook the onions, stirring regularly to make sure the onions don’t stick, until very soft and golden, about 40-50 minutes.  Keep the heat low, if they’re sizzling then it’s too high.  Your patience will be rewarded.

When done, remove the onions and place on a plate.

While this is happening, fill a stockpot with water, and bring to a boil

In a small bowl, combine the egg and kasha to completely coat the grains.  Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the kasha to the pan and sauté until the grains separate and brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and onions to the pan, and season with salt and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer the kasha, and cover the pan.  Cook until the grains are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bowtie noodles according to the package instructions.  Drain when finished cooking.

Once the kasha is cooked, add the noodles to the pan.  Combine, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Christmas dinner, because tally ho my old chap let’s have a jolly good roast dinner

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This is my first Christmas season with my lady.  This is the 44th year that I have been Jewish, and have done nothing to celebrate Christmas other than watching A Christmas Story.

Even though neither one of us is religious, I thought it would be nice to make a Christmas dinner.  And since Kroger was practically creating cows on demand to slaughter for rib roasts, I figured that would be an excellent dinner for us.

At least I did until I got up to the cashier.  And then I realized that the roast I was about to purchase was $71, and not $17.  I don’t know where I got the idea that rib roasts went for $2/pound, even with my shopper card that lets me get six 12 packs of Coke in exchange for my entire purchase history so they know whether I buy prefer the generic or brand version of Preparation-H oh I just said too much.

So I went back to the lying priced rib roast bin, and found a ribeye roast that was an actual $17 piece of meat, which is a plenty reasonable substitute for prime rib that will say whatever you want to trick you into buying it.

I decided to make some mushrooms as a side, because that’s just what we do here.  And I tried to make Yorkshire pudding as the other side, which I have never made or eaten.

Why did I decide that Yorkshire pudding would be an appropriate Christmas side dish?  Fuck, I don’t know, it just sounds like something people would have at a Christmas dinner.

“My dear Poopsie, could you pass me the Yorkshire pudding, it looks divine!  Such a shame about cousin Blaine, getting disqualified from the crew finals at Brighton Town is going to destroy his chances of getting into Stratford-on-Stratfordshire University.  Why don’t we go down for a few chuckers at polo grounds after dinner and take his mind off of it?”

(I have no idea why my vision of the typical Christmas dinner is some douchy British or old-money New England family, just go with it.)

I was kind of disappointed to find out that Yorkshire pudding is just eggs, flour, and whole milk – or, as the rest of the world calls them, popovers.  You’re supposed to cook them with beef drippings, but I didn’t have any of that.  I did, however, have bacon fat, which I would say is far better.

The best part of making this dish was putting a teaspoon of bacon fat into each muffin tin, and having my lady look at them and say “what the fuck is that??”, and seeing the look on her face when she found out that all of that was going to be frying her side dish.

Anyways, no one gives a shit about the poser popovers when you have a 3 pound piece of beef cooking.  After 30 minutes I took it out to take its temperature, and got all sorts of crazy readings – like 140, 150 degrees.  I panicked – as I am wont to do – until I was able to find one around 110.  I put it back in, and went through the same thing 10 minutes later, and was worried that I just ruined a perfectly good ribeye and our Christmas and every Christmas after.

After having faith and letting it roast 10 more minutes, and then waiting an agonizing 10 more minutes to cut it, I ended up with this:

img_3389

Not to brag, but I have to brag, that looked pretty fucking awesome!  And it tastes fantastic, so humblebrag.  Is that how a humblebrag works?  Look at me, I’m so humble I don’t even know how to humblebrag.

The yorkshire pudding, it might be the most British food that Britain ever Britained.  I cobbled something together (ha, cobbled, British!) from a series of recipes I found, and most called for 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  You would need 1/2 cup to make these bland posers flavorful.  And they came out kind of dense, which was not what I had expected, but since I kind of made up my own, I can only blame myself.

(Incidentally, there is a recipe out there that allegedly was Alfred Hitchcock’s.  I’m sure he shows up every time someone uses it.  Actually, I’m going to blame my popover failure on M. Night Shyamalan.)

The mushrooms were pretty great too, and probably would be in most meals, but again…beef…

CAN I MAKE A MESS WITH THIS RECIPE?

You’re going to have to make a batter for the uppity muffins, which gets a bit sloppy, and searing the meat is going to cause some grease splatters, so I would say yes.

SIGN ME UP, LET’S GO!!

 

Rib Eye Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, and Mushrooms in Garlic Sauce

Mushrooms adapted from NY Times Cooking

Ingredients

 

RIBEYE ROAST

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 3 pound bone-in ribeye roast

Salt and pepper

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

1/4 cup of beef drippings, bacon fat, melted butter, or your favorite fat

1 egg

1 cup flour

1 cup whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

MUSHROOMS IN GARLIC SAUCE

1 pound mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned, and sliced in half

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (don’t use the stuff from the green bottle, this is way too good to ruin with jarred old juice)

Directions

 

RIBEYE ROAST

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Season the roast liberally with salt and pepper, and sear on each side until browned, about 4-5 minutes per side.  Make sure you get the edges too.

Line a sheet pan with foil, and place the roast on the pan.  Put the pan in the oven and cook the roast until an instant-read thermometer reads 130 degrees F in the center of the roast.

Remove the roast from the oven and place on a cutting board.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

YORKSHIRE PUDDING

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, flour, milk, and salt together.  Refrigerate the batter and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Add a teaspoon of fat to each tin in a 12 tin muffin pan.  Place the pan in the oven for 5 minutes, to melt the fat and let it heat up.  Remove the pan from the oven.

Fill each cup about halfway (about 2-3 tablespoons per cup).  Put the pan back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Remove pan from oven, and take puddings out of the tins and serve.

MUSHROOMS IN GARLIC SAUCE

Toss the mushrooms with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Add the canola oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and let them sit until browned on one side (you may have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of the skillet).

Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until they just start to brown.

Pour in the wine, and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mushrooms are well glazed.  Remove from the heat, add the parsley and lemon juice, and serve.