February 25, 2007

Asado de Puerco

Asado de Puerco
Pork Roasted in Chiles
from Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert
by Melissa Guerra

1/2 pound dried ancho chiles
4 pounds bone-in country style pork ribs
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch ground cloves
2 TBSP salt
1 head garlic, unpeeled
2 sprigs fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
1 stick cinnamon
2 TBSP cider vinegar

Prepare the Chiles For Pureeing

Always use a large cooking vessel for rendering chiles, as the dried peppers have a tendency to float and jump out of the pot if the water level is too high. In an 8-quart stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the chiles. When the water returns to a boil, partially cover and boil for 30 minutes.The chiles are ready when they are soft and have changed from a raisin color to dark red. Drain, reserving the cooking water. Using rubber gloves, remove the stems, seeds, and veins. Put the chiles in a blender. Add about 1 cup of water to facilitate blending and puree. Don't worry about being precise with the amount of water. Pour the puree into a mesh strainer to remove any seeds or skin particles and discard the seed pulp.

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the lower third of the oven to accommodate a large casserole. Heat a 6-quart lidded Dutch oven or other oven-proof casserole over medium heat. Add the pork in 2 batches and brown each batch on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch. As the pork begins to render its fat, add the onion to brown as well.

Add the chile puree, pepper, cloves, salt, whole head of garlic, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, vinegar, and 1/2 cup water. Stir to distribute the seasonings. Cover, place in the oven, and roast for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The asado is ready when the meat is tender, pulling away from the bone, and permeated with the flavor and color of the thickened ancho chile sauce.

Notes: This is by far one of the most time-consuming recipes I have ever tried. I would really love to know if there was some trick to getting the seeds out of the boiled peppers because that took simply an age. However, it was more than worth it. Many thanks to those who procured the peppers for me so I could make this attempt.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:43 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
February 24, 2007

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

1 shallot, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg
2 TBSP dried parsley flakes
2 TBSP romano cheese, freshly grated
2 TBSP bread crumbs
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. ground turkey

Add the shallot, garlic, egg, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs and pepper tp a bowl and blend. Mix in the turkey. Shape into meatballs. Heat oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat. Transfer meatballs to pan and brown on all sides. Pour off excess oil and add tomato-based sauce to pan. Return meatballs to pan. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Serve over pasta.

Notes: Having been only able to obtain ground turkey in too large an amount for just the burger recipe, and being in the mood for pasta, I decided to attempt something along these lines to be both healthier and tasty. And it worked.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 23, 2007

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken, now with Cast Iron
recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Flour, for dredging
Vegetable shortening, for frying

Place chicken pieces into a plastic container and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.

Melt enough shortening (over low heat) to come just 1/8-inch up the side of a 12-inch cast iron skillet or heavy fry pan. Once shortening liquefies raise heat to 325 degrees F. Do not allow oil to go over 325 degrees F.

Drain chicken in a colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

Place chicken skin side down into the pan. Put thighs in the center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10 to 12 minutes per side. More importantly, the internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. (Be careful to monitor shortening temperature every few minutes.)

Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan. Don't drain by setting chicken directly on paper towels or brown paper bags. If you need to hold the chicken before serving, cover loosely with foil but avoid holding in a warm oven, especially if it's a gas oven.

Notes: I got a cast iron chicken fryer for my birthday. It's really heavy. And it makes really great fried chicken, though I need to try one of those fattening piles of chicken parts that still has all the skin and bones since I actually made this with boneless chicken breast and cooked it 20 minutes. It was great, but I think the other way might be better. I've never fried in shortening before. Yum. And it was really keen to use the cast iron. I must find more recipes for it.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 16, 2007

Honey-Coated Fried Tuna

Honey-Coated Fried Tuna
from La Cocina de Mama by Penelope Casas

3 small tuna steaks (about 12 oz. total)
kosher salt
1 egg
1/4 tsp dried parsley flakes
olive oil

Sprinkle the tuna on both sides with salt and let sit for 10 minutes. In a dish, beat together the eggs and parsley.

Pour oil into a skillet to a depth of 1/8th inch and heat. Spread a light coating of honey on each side of the tuna steaks, dust with flour, then coat with the egg mixture and transfer directly to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until the coating is golden and the tuna cooked to taste, 5 to 8 minutes.

Notes: I've made two other recipes from this same cookbook and was very pleased with them. This one was no exception. I was after something a bit different to try with tuna steaks because I've been a bit stuck on them lately, as one can see by many of the recent new recipes I've tried. On first reading this recipe, I admit I was skeptical. It just seemed an unlikely match. But it was really lovely. I cooked the tuna a bit less as I like mine on the rare side, about 2 1/2 minutes per side.

The recipe recommends trying the same method with tuna cut into 1-inch cubes instead of steaks for tapas. I have my eye on a tapas cookbook, and think if I get it that I might try to also adapt this one.

Posted by Jennifer at 6:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 9, 2007

Lamb Chops with Pine Nuts and Tomato Sauce

Lamb Chops with Pine Nuts and Tomato Sauce
(a much-adapted variation on Daoud Basha from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food)

2 lamb shoulder chops
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 TBSP oil
1 onion, grated or finely chopped
3/4 tsp garlic, minced
12 oz.tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 tsp sugar

Mix the salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice and rub on the lamb. Set aside for at least 10 minutes at room temperature. Heat the oil over medium heat in a skillet and sear the lamb chops on each side. Remove and set aside. Saute the garlic and onions until soft. Add tomatoes and sugar and simmer 10 minutes. Return lamb chops to pan and simmer for 20 minutes more. If necessary, remove lamb and reduce sauce. Serve sauce over chops and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Notes: The original recipe for this calls for ground lamb that is made into meatballs which are baked in the sauce. Not having access to that, I had to improvise. This came out very well and I was quite pleased with it.

Posted by Jennifer at 7:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack