Saturday, February 25, 2012
4 lb ground pork (I grind my own from boneless pork shoulder)
12 large garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons Kosher salt
4 tablespoons fennel seed
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
Put the garlic cloves, salt, fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a mortar and pestle and smash, grind and work it together until it forms a paste in which there are no large pieces of garlic remaining.
Add the spice paste to the ground pork and, using your hands, mix until well combined.
Use immediately or freeze in portions.
I've been making my own Italian sausage for quite some time now, but never thought to blog about it until I put the garlic and spices in a mortar and pestle. I just cannot stress enough how much difference this made in the taste of the cooked product. Ab-so-lute BLISS for someone who loves Italian sausage as much as I do.
As for the seasoning amounts, I do recommend 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt per pound (salt level is very important for sausage, mind you), but otherwise, you can adjust to your own liking.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
2.5 pounds beef rump roast or chuck roast, cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
4 medium carrots, sliced
2 large ribs celery, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped into large pieces
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 bay leaves
1 15-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds baby yellow potatoes, cut into quarters or eights
12 ounces dark beer
1 quart homemade chicken stock (or beef stock)
Parsley, about 10 stalks, bundled with cooking twine, plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Heat large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium high until very hot. Season the beef generously with salt and pepper, then brown the meat in two batches, removing the meat to a bowl as it finishes. Take the time to really brown the pieces for maximum flavor.
Add the carrots, celery, onion and 1 tablespoon salt to the fat in the pan. Cook over medium high, stirring occasionally, until barely soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the marjoram, thyme, rosemary and pepper and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the bay leaves, tomatoes, garlic and potatoes and stir to incorporate. Finally, add the beef and any accumulated juices back to the pot and combine. Top with the parsley bundle. Pour in the beer and stock.
Cover the pot with a tight lid and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove parsley bundle and fish out the bay leaves. Serve.
I have nothing to add. This recipe is perfection. I never even liked beef stew until I made my own. This one is simply stunningly good.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 scallions, chopped, separated into whites and greens
4 cloves garlic, grated or minced, divided
1 1/2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, grated or minced, divided
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons raw sugar
1/2 tablespoon + 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons xiaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 medium heads broccoli (1 to 1 1/2 lb), florets and stems, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed chile flakes (optional*)
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
*By crushed chile flakes, I mean something more along the lines of what you'd buy in a bag at the Asian market (if you can find 'em!), not the ones you use for Italian dishes, etc.
In a medium bowl, mix the scallion whites with half the garlic and ginger, soy sauce, sugar, 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt, xiaoxing wine, and sesame oil. Add chicken and marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup water and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. Add the broccoli and the remaining garlic, ginger, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt and chili flakes, if using. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of water, if needed, to prevent sticking. Transfer to a plate.
Add the chicken mixture to the hot pan or wok. Stir continuously until the chicken is brown and cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Add the oyster sauce, stir, then return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken (add a couple more tablespoons of water to make a bit more sauce, if desired.) Remove from heat and toss in the chopped scallion greens.
Serve over jasmine rice.
I've remarked before that stir fries, as much as I love them, don't make it into my repertoire that often. This one firmly planted itself there tonight because ohhhhh myyyyy. I suppose I expected this to be a nice weeknight dish and all, but it just wowed me so far beyond that. Gingery, garlicky and spicy, with just a bit of tangy sweetness to cut through all the savory. It was perfect.
I must say, too, that this is fantastic with chile garlic sauce on top, if that's your thing, and you can also use it to cook into the dish in place of the chile flakes if it's what you have on hand. It works just as nicely.