Elegant Chicken Galantine

chicken galantine

As someone obsessed by food, I spend more than a healthy amount of time scouring the web, looking for inspiration and ideas. On one of these excursions, I “Stumbled” (using Stumble Upon) across a video clip of the French chef Jacques Pepin preparing a chicken galantine. You can find the video here. The finished product was impressive and delicious.

Boning a chicken is actually pretty easy if you follow the video. And if you watch, you’ll understand that this technique removes all the bones (save for the very tips of the legs). And yet, done properly, the result still looks very much like a chicken should, but it’s then possible to simply cut the chicken crosswise for a wonderful stuffed entree just ready for a gastrique, or maybe some gravy. 

For this version, my lovely wife (and resident stuffing expert) concocted a wonderful stuffing by sauteing some onions and fresh herbs and combining that with dried, crumbled corn bread. The crowning touch was a simple orange gastrique drizzled over the sliced galatine. The beauty of this dish is that you can stuff the bird just about any way you please. I’m looking forward to trying some ideas in that regard, including an oyster stuffing at some point.

Recommended.

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Shanghai Red-Cooked Short Ribs

shanghai short ribs

Shanghai Red-Cooked Short Ribs are the result of a happy accident. But before I explain how, a little background is in order.

In another incarnation, circa 1991-1995, the lovely Carol and I spent a good bit of time in China, mostly in Shanghai. The food there was amazing, whether at an official business banquet or in one of the small back-alley places my expatriate colleagues would take us to.

As is the case here in the US and in most countries, food styles are very regional in China. Shanghai is known for a red cooking, which involves braising food in a rich flavorful dark sauce that’s been described as  mahogany-colored. It’s based on soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and various spices and herbs. It’s unique.

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Dry-Brined Roast Turkey with Black Truffle Butter and Herbs

roasted turkey

Hi all. This post was originally written in November two years ago, but I thought that since we’re doing much better in a lot of ways, it would be appropriate to include this again as Thanksgiving Dinner approaches. It still, by the way, simply the best turkey I’ve ever had.

There must be a dozen ways to prepare a Thanksgiving Turkey, but this one is my favorite. It uses a dry brine technique that I found on the website of Serious Eats’ Food Lab, some black truffle butter from D’Artagnon and my own concoction of fresh herbs.

The first time I made the turkey this way (without the truffle butter), I was blown away by the moist, flavorful meat and crispy skin it produces. That year, we had what I’ve seen described as an “orphan Thanksgiving,” by which I mean that we invited several people over who would otherwise be alone for the holiday. The bird we had that day was so good that the guests scarfed up all the leftovers and I ended up making a second turkey the next day so we would have some “leftovers” of our own. It was that good.

The linked article above will explain the science behind dry-brining, if you’re interested, but the essential is this: the technique has all the benefits of regular brining, but because the turkey isn’t submerged in liquid, none of the flavor leaches out. One tip: If you’re going to use the pan drippings to make gravy, be sure to rinse the bird well before inserting the butter and herbs. If you don’t, you’ll have the saltiest gravy you’ve ever tasted.

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Smoked Pork and Pineapple (“Swineapple”)

smoked pork and pineapple

There are occasions when someone or something brings something that’s so new (at least to you) that you just simply have to try it out. And that’s where this smoked pork and pineapple dish came from. My understanding of this dish is that it was “born” by a guy named Josh Bush, who isn’t a chef, but an apparently very good griller and smoker. Since then, of course, it’s now been posted and improvised and made into a dozen similar and different variations, so why  not? I think I’ll give it a try.

To start with, this recipe involves just three main components: Some pork (generally pork butt or something similar to that), a pineapple, and a bunch of bacon. What you do with the pork (and maybe the bacon) is what brings this thing to life and there is a long list of things that could work. In my case, I decided to use a bit of the barbecue sauce that my wife often uses for our pulled pork dish, smeared inside and out. After that, it’s mainly finding a great way to smoke the meat. I used an old fashioned barbecue bowl with smoke on one side and the meat on the other. Use what works for you and go as slowly as you can. I’ve actually seen these things smoked for up to five hours. Mine didn’t take quite so  long.

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Pulled Pork, Carolina Style

Carolina pulled pork recipe

Carolina Pulled Pork

In Virginia and North Carolina, from my experience, pulled pork and barbecue are pretty much interchangeable words. Chicken, ribs, brisket — those are for the folks who came here from somewhere else. And genuine, well-prepared Carolina pulled pork is nothing short of amazing. It just melts in your mouth, with a thin dry-rub crust that’s spicy, but doesn’t destroy your taste buds with fire.

The prep is simple, but great pulled pork takes time. Lots of time.

Let’s start with the pork. What you’re looking for is a bone-in pork shoulder roast or Boston butt roast. It’s a relatively inexpensive, somewhat fatty cut, but that’s all to the good, trust me.

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Shrimp with Mango Sticky Rice

Shrimp with Mango Sticky Rice

Sticky rice is known by several names, including sweet rice and glutinous rice (though it has no gluten in it, go figure). It’s a mainstay of Lao cuisine, but it’s spread throughout Southeast Asia and southern China, as well. In my travels through Asia, I’m certain I’ve eaten sticky rice, but apparently it wasn’t memorable enough for me to recall where or when. This mango sticky rice, however, is something I will remember. It’s Thai name is Khao Neeo Mamuang and apparently it is a well-known and well-liked dish among Thai cuisine enthusiasts.

I stumbled upon it after plans I had for a different sticky rice dish fell through and I was looking for  something else that might be interesting to do with some very nice fresh shrimp I found at a local seafood shop. The recipe I started with needed a bit of adaptation to suit me, but the final product served as a very good foundation for the simply sauteed shrimp I wanted to make.

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Shanghai Style (Red Cooked) Pork Belly

Shanghai Style Pork Belly

Pork belly was a thing in culinary circles awhile back and lately isn’t so trendy in the US, but in China, and specifically in Shanghai, red-cooked* pork belly has been a specialty of home cooks and chefs for generations. It’s been more than a decade since I last visited Shanghai, but I’d bet that hasn’t changed. Few things can match these chunks of slow-cooked, deeply flavorful, melt in your mouth pork belly served with a dark rich sauce brimming with subtle flavors. 

When I set out to research and make this dish, I recognized immediately that I’d have to surrender the idea of being meticulous about authenticity. I can get most of the ingredients online or at my local Asian market, but there is probably no chance that what I can get is identical to what I would find in a Shanghai restaurant. The goal was to come close, and this recipe does that. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this to a friend from Shanghai.

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