Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pan Roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers

I absolutely love this recipe. The depth of flavor (particularly the next day) is just fantastic. Think of the best sausage and pepper sandwich you have ever eaten, and this dish gives you all of that flavor and much more.

I will preface this one by saying that this is a very very involved dish and the work is best split over a few days. Considering it begins with brining a chicken for 12 hours you really don't have much choice in the matter but, making the brine itself can take a couple hours because it needs to be cold before use.

The book also has a great diagram on how to cut up your chicken into 8 pieces.

Day 1:
Make the brine. One trick you can use is to use one gallon of water instead of 2 when you make it and then add a gallon (8 Lbs) of ice cubes at the end to chill the brine. Stir the ice cubes in to completely blend, and it should be cool enough to handle. It is important to use cold brine as you don't want to to cook the chicken.

Once your brine is cold add your cut chicken, being sure to completely submerge the chicken. The recipe calls for 2,  2.5-3 lb chickens. I only used one chicken, which really only needed a couple of quarts of brine to cover. Freeze the rest.

Also on day one I would reccomned making your Peperonata Rustica. I made mine the same day and it was great, but it added a lot of effort for one day. Also I think the peppers are better day two.

Day 2:
Brined chicken
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Canola oil
3 Sweet Italian sausages
Olive oil
Fresh chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350
Remove the chicken from the brine and rinse under cold water, pat dry with paper towels or let air dry. I let mine dry in the fridge all day, it gets the skin nice and crispy when you cook it.
In a skillet large enough to hold all of the chicken,  heat enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan to medium high heat. Season the thighs and drumsticks with salt and pepper then add them to the hot pan, skin side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, then turn the chicken and add the sausages. Cook the chicken and sausages 10-12 minutes until the sausages and the chicken are nicely browned, but not cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken and sausage from the pan and set aside. Season the breasts and wings with salt and pepper and add them skin side down to the pan and cook until the skin is nice and crispy,about 8-10 minutes,  turning the wings as needed to brown all around. Remove the chicken to a plate and drain the oil from the pan. Return the pan to the heat  and add the peperonata rustica, bring it to a simmer, cut the sausages into 2-3 pieces and add the chicken and sausage back to the pan and place in the oven to cook through, another 10 minutes or so most likely.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and serve right from the pan.
 I was really excited to make this dish when I read it and I was not disappointed at all, the flavors blended so well together and the presentation was beautiful. Don't get me started on the leftovers, as with many dishes the flavors were even better blended the next day.

So while this dish is a lot of work, if you break it up over a couple of days its not too bad, and it was fantastic. Definitely a great show off for your company meal.

Peperonata Rustica

I got a cookbook for Christmas this year that I had on my wishlist for a long time. So far Ad Hoc at Home is 3 for 3 in recipes.
This dish is truly its own stand alone side but I made it as a part of Pan Roasted Chicken with Sausage and Peppers.

The Recipe calls for:

6 yellow bell peppers
6 red bell peppers
canola oil
kosher salt
black pepper
6 ounces piquillo peppers
1/2 cup Sofrito  ( I used a jar, you can make your own)
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 tsp Piment d'Espelette ( I used hot smoked paprika, cayenne would work though not quite as much)
1 Tbsp minced chives

I scaled it back a bit and only used 6 peppers total and cut all the other ingredients in 1/2. Piquillo peppers may not sound familiar, they are really the Spanish version of the roasted red peppers that you find in every grocery store. Goya makes them as Piquillo Fancy Pimientos or just fancy pimentos. Regular roasted red peppers would likely be fine.
Heat the oven to 375
Slice the peppers in half and lay them on a baking sheet, coat them with some canola oil and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Place the peppers cut side down on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 35 minutes or until the peppers are soft and the skins have bubbled. Don't let them get too brown. Once they have roasted put them in a bowl covered in foil or something with a lid until they cool to room temp.
After they cool, remove as much of the skin as possible and tear the peppers into pieces. Tear the piquillo peppers the same way then add all the peppers, the sofrito, stock and the Piment d'Espelette. Cook over medium-high heat until everything is bubbling then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the peppers have gotten very soft and liquid has reduced. After tasting this dish tonight you could, and should serve it as a side unto itself, sprinkle it with the chives and serve it alongside and roasted meat.

All Purpose Poultry Brine

So this one is another entry from Ad Hoc at Home, which is rapidly becoming a favorite of mine. It is used in several recipes throughout the book including Pan Roasted Chicken with Sausage and Sweet Peppers. Also in the buttermilk fried chicken recipe that I have not made yet. There are many brine recipes out there so if you have one you love, stick with it. If not I have enjoyed this one quite a bit.
You will Need

5 Lemons- halved
12 bay leaves
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bunch thyme
1/2 cup honey
1 head garlic - halved through the equator
1/4 cup black peppercorns
2 cups kosher salt
2 gallons water

Combine all ingredients in a large pot, cover and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove form the heat and allow to cool then chill in the fridge for up to 3 days. Or if you are like me, use what you need and freeze the rest.
When you brine be sure you have enough to completely cover the poultry, use weight if you have to.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bo Ssam

I saw an article in the New York Times about a dish called Bo Ssam. Now I am one of many porkaholics out there so a dish like this was likely to be a winner no matter what. I love the whole idea of how to present the dish, using lettuce wraps to scoop up pork and the various Korean pickled vegetables is an appealing way to eat for me.
I didn't vary from the recipe at all, other than the size of my pork shoulder. And that is where I want to offer a note of caution.
I only had a 3 pound pork shoulder, and while it looked fantastic
The smaller size of the pork screwed up the ratio of crusty, salty, sweet outside and slow roasted pork inside. It wasn't too salty for me, that is pretty hard to accomplish, but for Kerrie and others who sampled it, it was a bit on the salty side. With a larger pork shoulder there would be a better ratio of outside to inside and the saltiness would abated. If you are going to use a shoulder, say 7 pounds or less I would reduce the cure time to 6 hours or so.

I thought about making my own kimchee for this dish but since I wanted some of the other options I went to my favorite Asian market (conveniently located next to one of my favorite Korean/Japanese restaurants) and was able to pick up a tray containing the 4 options that Secret Garden, serves with their meals. If you have an Asian grocery nearby I would bet you can find several pre-packaged choices. At the very least Kimchee is readily available.  Serve up with a stack of bib lettuce leaves and steamed rice and you have a fun and tasty meal.

10 pounds bone-in Boston pork butt
2 1/3 cups white sugar 
2 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons salt 
4 each red and green chiles 
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 cups uncooked Korean rice
2 heads Boston lettuce
Sagyegeol ssäm jang (Korean soybean paste)
Salted shrimp
1 pounds cabbage or daikon kimchee

The Night Before
Place 2 cups each sugar and salt in a bowl or saucepan large enough to hold the butt, add 6 cups water, and stir until dissolved. Place the pork butt in the brine solution. Make sure it’s submerged (weight if necessary), and refrigerate overnight.

Clean the chile peppers (leave the seeds in for a hotter flavor) and slice them 1/2-inch thick, on the bias. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup salt with 1 cup water until dissolved, pour over the chiles, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the pork in a large 6-inch-deep pot or casserole, and cook uncovered in the oven for about 6 1/2–7 1/2 hours, basting the pork with the pan drippings every hour. When the meat is fork-tender and pulls away from the bone, sprinkle the exterior with a mixture of 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon salt. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees, and continue roasting until the outside is well caramelized. Remove from oven.

Rinse the rice well to remove any sediment. Add 7 cups cold water, 1 tablespoon salt, and 4 cups rice. Cook for 20 minutes or until water evaporates.

Clean and wash the lettuce; select the best leaves, and set aside.

Assembly and Serving
Place the pork on a large platter surrounded with the pickled chiles. Arrange the Korean rice, ssäm jang, salted shrimp, kimchee, and lettuce in separate bowls. Allow guests to assemble their ssäm by wrapping each component in a lettuce leaf.