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Porkies

16 Feb

Choucroute rules!

Here’s my highly irreverent take on the Alsatian classic, using store bought smoked pork from my favorite polish deli on 5th Avenue and 18th Street in Brooklyn, Eagle Provisions. Instead of using saurekraut, I use fresh cabbage stewed down in a bath of Riesling with one special touch, roasted spaghetti squash.

And what to drink with this lovely amazingness?
I would drink this bird label Riesling from Germany.

Irreverent Choucroute Garnie
prep: 1/2 hour ~ cooking time: 1 1/2 hours

  • 1/4 lb. natural bacon, chopped in bits
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head garlic, sliced
  • 1 large spanish onion, or 8 small cippolini onions
  • 1/4 cup ver jus
  • 2 tbsps apple cider vinegar
  • 1 liter dry white wine (preferably an Alsatian Riesling)
  • 1 head cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 1/2 – 2lbs smoked pork loin
  • dried or fresh thyme to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste

PREP

heat your oven to 400degrees

  • quarter spaghetti squash, scoop out seeds, place on a silpat on a baking sheet
  • bake in oven until tender (approx 20 minutes)

–> in a large, heavy bottom dutch oven render the bacon until crispy

  • set bacon aside to drain on a plate lined with paper towels
  • add olive oil to bacon fat
  • add garlic and onions
  • cook apprx 20 minutes or until caramelized, add salt and pepper to taste
  • add ver jus and vinegar

cook until evaporated

  • add about 1 cup of the wine
  • cook until evaporated
  • add the finely sliced cabbage stir to coat, add salt & pepper to taste
  • add enough white wine to cover (you can add more wine as it evaporates at any time)
  • turn burner to medium, cover and cook until cabbage nears an “al dente” texture

–> meanwhile remove spaghetti squash from oven, place in bowl to cool

  • slice smoked pork into bite sized pieces
  • add pork to pot
  • cook covered stirring ocassionaly about 10 minutes

–> during this time, pull the squash from its shell using a fork, when done, add to pot and mix together

  • cook, uncovered another 10 minutes until liquid cooks off and the chocroute reaches a stewy, not too liquidy consistency
  • check seasoning, add more wine, salt & pepper if necessary, and at this time, add thyme to taste

When everything looks, and smells wonderful, serve to your adoring friends over a bed of raw cabbage or buttered egg noodles!
enjoy!

Basic Soup

16 Feb

The best thing in the world is roasted chicken, but not everyone can (or should) attempt the roasting process in their own kitchen.

My kitchen is tiny. How tiny? Probably 12 square feet in total.

One snowy day last winter, I decided to try roasting a chicken myself, but, having a small kitchen (and by default, small cabinets) I had to try roasting the bird in a flimsy, disposable aluminum tray.

Let’s just say, that didn’t go so well…. The bird wasn’t even close to the goregousness of this beauty.

Since then, I have become a convert to the grocery store roasted chickens and I am astonished by the versatility of said birds (a love the good folk at Gothamist share).

My favorite way to ressurect a de-nuded bird for a second meal is to toss some aromatics in a pot and sautee them (garlic, onions, lemongrass, bacon (yes, bacon is an aromatic), mirpoix, whatever), add your leftover shreded chicken, water, and let ‘er rip!

It’s best to let it go for a few hours, it’s a great meal to cook while you’re home sick from work.

Once the broth has achieved a lovely flavor, it’s time to give it some personality.

Toss in some hominy, chiles, raw radishes, raw onions, top with oregano, and you’ve got a take on the mexican classic, pozole.

Add bean thread noodles, firm silken tofu, thai basil, minced bird chiles, a little lime juice and some coconut milk, and you’ve got a riff on tom yum soup.

The combinations are endless and in the weeks ahead, I will give more specific recipes for some amazing meals I’ve concoted out of store bought birds, and their bovine, porcine and poultry friends.