Monday, November 26, 2012

Chinese BBQ Pork and Scallion Rolls

In my never ending quest for snack and school lunch ideas, I turned to another easy bake item.  Here's a dough I've used before, but halved for a smaller batch in case it got the thumbs downs from the ole family.  The ready-made bbq pork from my favorite Chinese bbq spot made it much less work.  This is similar to the bbq pork bun I've posted about already, but in slightly different form.  I wasn't going to blog on this, but after tasting, it was worthy of adding for future reference.  As a result, no in-process photos...sorry.

For the dough:
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 Cup hot water
1/2 Cup whole milk
3/4 teaspoon dried yeast
2 2/3 Cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon oil
Combine the sugar, water and milk.  Stir to dissolve the sugar.  Then stir in the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes.
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer with a hook attachment.
Add the oil and water/milk/yeast mixture and knead the dough on low until a ball forms.  If the dough does not come together, add a little more water.  
Once the dough is formed into a smooth ball, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm spot to rise for 3 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/8-1/4" thickness.

6 oz bbq pork, finely chopped
2 Scallions, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water

Combine the pork and the scallion in a bowl.
Brush the rolled out dough with the butter.
Sprinkle the salt evenly over top.
Spread the pork and scallion mixture over top.
Roll the dough up into a round and slice into 1 1/2" thick slices.
Place onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Cover with a clean towel and let rise for another hour.

Heat the oven to 375f.  Brush the top of the rolls with the egg yolk and water mixture.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
Happy eating.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Gunpowder Chili by Chris

Guest posting here.  I got excited for chili on Sunday and dug into the spice pack I ordered from Gunpowder Foods, that included Texas Red Chili Powder and Pendery's Fort Worth Light Chili Powder a few years ago.  I don't know how I found this recipe but maybe it caught my eye because it had nothing but meat and spices.  How can you make chili from that, but trust you can and should.

Bob's Championship Recipe 

Gray 2-1/2 pounds of cubed beef chuck tender, keep the pieces fairly big in 2 TBSP lard

12oz - Beef Broth 
6oz - Chicken Broth 
1 - 8 oz Can - Tomato Sauce 
Float 2 Serano Peppers 
Bring to a boil and add the following: 

First Spice bomb 
2 TSP Granulated Onion 
1/2 TSP Cayenne 
2 TSP Wylers Beef Granules or beef stock 
1/4 TSP Salt 
2 TSP Wylers Chicken Granules or chicken stock
1 TBSP Pendery's Fort Worth Light Chili Powder 
2 TBSP Gunpowder Foods Texas Red Chili Powder 
Cover and cook 1 hour - squeeze peppers and discard pulp 

Second Spice bomb
2 TSP Pendery's Ground Cumin (I did not use any cumin as Mary refuses to smell it)
2 TSP Granulated Garlic 
1/4 TSP Gunpowder Foods Hot Stuff (I did not have this so I skipped it)
2 TBSP Gebhardt Chili Powder 
1 TBSP Pendery's Fort Worth Light Chili Powder 
1 Packet Sazon Goya 
Adjust liquid with remainder of chicken broth, if necessary 
Cover and cook 1 hour 

Third Spice bomb
1 TBSP Gebhardt Chili Powder 
1 TSP Pendery's Ground Cumin 
1/4 TSP Granulated Garlic 
1/4 TSP Cayenne 
1/4 TSP Brown Sugar 
Reduce heat to a slow boil 
Cook 30 minutes or less at this point it is up to your taste 
Adjust Salt, Cayenne, and Gebhardt Chili Powder to taste

I had this with a left over twice baked potato and some sour cream and that is exactly how I am planning on having it from now on.  As with everything this tastes better when you freeze it and defrost it. I have a serving for 4 aging in the freezer for another time.
A post script from Mary... I was having dinner out with some friends when I received this text from Chris:  "Chili and twice baked potato just blew my mind and the button on the front of my pants"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pheasant Ragu Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms and Arugula

Chris worked his magic and managed to get a couple of freshly caught pheasant from a co-worker.  He insisted on having his pheasant whole, and as such, they were delivered, full feathered and full bodied.  We hear there is a quick and easy way folks normally clean pheasant that results in two lovely breasts being pulled away clean.  Things were not going to be so easy for the Emertons.  

Neither Chris or I have ever defeathered any sort of fowl nor have we cleaned one.  I have done plenty of fish cleaning and after having done the pheasant, I can say it is really no more gruesome or gross.  The plucking of the feathers was tedious and not much fun but we got through it having found no real 'trick' to doing so.  It was definitely an experience that brought us closer to our food.  No happy shiny packages of perfectly butchered meat for this meal.
Now, what do I do with these pheasants?  I thought about it for a couple of days and there was no revelation.  In the end, I decided on a ragu.  Perhaps not the most thrilling way to go, but I thought because of how lean the pheasants were, braising them in a rich sauce might be the best option.

2 Whole Pheasants
2 Tablespoons bacon fat
1 Onion, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
3 Ribs Celery, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2/3 Cup Madeira
2 Cups medium body red wine
3 Cups chicken broth
2/3 Cup Madeira
1 Dried bay leaf
1 Sprig fresh rosemary
2 Sprigs fresh thyme
1 Sprig fresh sage
5 Sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley

Generously salt and pepper the pheasants.  Heat oven to 500f.  Place the pheasants on a rack on top of a pan and just brown the outside.  
Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven, heat the bacon fat over medium high heat and saute the onions, carrots and celery until lightly browned.
Add the flour and tomato paste and stir in well to combine.  
Deglaze the pot with the madeira.
Add the red wine and bring to a boil, and then add the chicken broth.
Toss in the bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley.  
When the pheasants are lightly browned, remove from the oven and cut them in half lengthwise.  Add them to the pot trying to submerge them as much as possible into the sauce. 
Reduce the heat of the oven to 325f.  Place the pot into the oven and let cook for about an hour.  Check the pheasant about half way through and adjust them in the pot if needed to make sure they are still covered in the sauce.
Remove the pot from the oven.  
Pull the pheasant out onto a pan and cover with foil until cool enough to handle. 
Allow the sauce to continue to cook in the stove top for another 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and strain sauce through a sieve and discard the solids.  Remove the fat by skimming the top of the sauce or using a fat separator.  If you are making this a day ahead, you can refrigerate the sauce overnight and remove any hardened fat the next day.
Once the pheasant is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard the bones and skin.  Shred the meat with your hands.
Combine the meat with the sauce and simmer until sauce is thickened, another 30-45 minutes.  You don't want it to be too soupy but not too dry either.
Set aside until ready to use.

For the risotto:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Shallots, finely chopped
1 Garlic clove, finely minced
1 Cup Carnaroli or Arborio rice
1/2 Cup white wine
Chicken stock
1 Cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/3 Cup mascarpone
1/3 Cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
Good handful of arugula
Balsamic vinegar to finish

Heat the olive oil and saute the shallots and garlic until softened.  Add the rice and stir and let cook until the rice kind of starts to whistle.  Deglaze with the wine.  When wine is almost all evaporated, start your chicken stock addition. 
Add just enough stock to cover the rice, stir once, let simmer until stock is almost fully evaporated, then add more stock.  Repeat this process until the rice is about half cooked.  
Add the mushrooms and the ragu.  
Bear in mind there is enough ragu here to make this about half and half rice and pheasant.
Continue to cook the risotto until it is tender.
Add the mascarpone and parmigiano cheese.  Stir to combine well.
Then add the arugula and stir in right before serving.  
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar and shaved parmigiano were the perfect finish.

A big 'thank you' to our pheasant suppliers!  Pheasant risotto coming your way!  
For those of you who may be skittish about trying pheasant, I'd say it is in the game hen, quail or duck category.  Not really gamey, but more flavor than chicken.  This worked out to be a fabulous way to have the pheasant.  We loved it!