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Sultry Shortbread Rounds (Plain, Chocolate and Dipped in Chocolate)

Shortbread. Decided to drizzle after I dipped.

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt, slightly rounded
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (very soft (bendable) without becoming oily)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces melted chocolate or chocolate melting wafers (bittersweet, semisweet or dark sweet, melted (optional)

For Chocolate variation:

  • 2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup Dutch processed, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine table salt
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces melted chocolate (bittersweet, semisweet or dark sweet, melted (optional)

For the shortbread dough: Whisk together the flour and salt and then sift this into another bowl. Cover and set aside. When the butter has become very soft (just shy of being oily) on medium speed, cream the butter 1 cup of sugar until homogenous without beating in too much air. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and combine. Once the mixture has come together, remove the bowl from the machine and, using your working hand, reach down to the bottom of the bowl and bring the dough up from the bottom, working things together until the dough is cohesive throughout.

Dump one half of the dough a long, doubled sheet of plastic wrap. Cover the dough with the plastic and use your hands to pull the dough into a log 1 ½ to  2-inches thick. When satisfied with the shape of the log (it should be uniform in girth) rap wrap again in foil. Chill the dough for 30 minutes (or longer) or freeze. (To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight). If the dough chills for much longer than 30 minutes, allow it to soften just a bit at room temperature (which will make is less likely to crumble when you slice the log into rounds).

To bake: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working with one log at a time, unwrap the chilled dough and slice into ½ inch thick rounds. (If you see that the log had formed a flat edge from being chilled on one side, roll it on your work surface to help round out the log.) Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets (you will have 4 rows of 4 cookies on each sheet, plus one or two more, depending on girth of your logs and the depth of your slices) Sprinkle (or roll each round) evenly with more sugar and bake at 350F until light golden brown, 18 to 23 minutes (baking time will depend on the temperature of the dough when being cut). (If  using the convection oven, check at 18 minutes).

Allow cookies to cool on their sheets, on wire racks, placed over sheets of wax paper. Once cool, if desired, either drizzle or dip half of each cookie with melted chocolate (if not tempering the chocolate, use melting wafers which don’t need tempering). Place directly on wax paper to allow chocolate to set.

For chocolate variation: Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, powdered sugar and salt. Sift this into another bowl. Cream the butter with the sugar until combined, mix in the vanilla. Add the flour/cocoa mixture and mix until homogenous (check for any dry pockets on the bottom of the bowl).

Form logs as previously described and chill until firm enough to slice. Slice the log into rounds, place on parchment lined baking sheets and, if possible, cover and chill the unbaked cookies. (This helps to maintain their shape since this dough is a bit softer than the other version).

Preheat the oven to between 325F and 350F. Sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sugar and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the dough seems to be turning golden around the edges. (Determining the color of these cookies is not as easy since the dough is dark.)  The tops should feel set on top.  Cool and apply chocolate as previously described.

Once cool (and chocolate is set, if using) store cookies in an airtight tin, at room temperature.

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My Best Meatballs

These, are (as the title says) my “best” meatballs—they’re light, tender and bursting with flavor. When wanting tender, juicy meatball it’s important to remember two things: handle the meat mixture with kindness and simmer them very (very) gently, as aggressive handling and/or cooking will toughen them. The only exception to this is while browning the meatballs–which is done with the sole purpose of searing the surface. No need to get carried away with this part since browning them on “all” sides is nearly impossible and would risk overcooking them at this initial stage. This recipe is purposely large because meatballs freeze perfectly. You can, if you wish, halve the recipe. To read my blog, which has many step-by-step instructions (along with the story of how come making great meatballs is so important to me) click here.

Special Equipment:

  • Blender
  • 10-quart, heavy bottomed pot with lid
  • Large non-stick skillet
  • Tongs with a nonstick tip
  • Nonstick turning spatula

Ingredients

  • 4 slices “hearty” style white bread, crusts removed and the bread cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup prepared basil pesto (finely ground homemade or your favorite store-bought brand)
  • ½ cup freshly ground best-quality Parmesan cheese (plus more for rolling meatballs and serving)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 pounds ground meat (Ask the butcher to grind equal amounts of beef and veal together. You can also include ground pork in the mix.)
  • Between 5 and 6 quarts Marinara Sauce (preferably with lots of garlic, fresh basil and sautéed mushrooms)
  • Olive oil, as needed, to brown the meatballs

To soak the bread: Put the cubed bread in a bowl and add the milk. Use your hands to help the bread absorb the milk. Set aside.

To assemble the meatball mixture: Put the eggs, onion, garlic, pesto, ½ cup Parmesan and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper into the blender. Puree until smooth. Put the ground meat into a large (preferably wide) bowl and pour the pureed mixture on top of the meat. Add the moistened bread cubes, as well, and using your hands, work everything  into the meat, using a tender hand—you’re not squeezing or kneading the meat aggressively—which can toughen the meat. Just use your hands to fold the two consistencies together, turning this into one mixture.

To set up to form meatballs: Line two large shallow baking sheets (or trays) with wax paper and then sprinkle the paper generously with more grated Parmesan.

To form meatballs and chill: Use your working hand to scoop up some of the meat mixture (mine are the size of a small soft-ball). Gently round the shape by rolling the meat mixture between two hands. Lay the round on the cheese-lined tray and continue until you’ve finished shaping all the meatballs, dividing them between both trays. Then, one by one, roll each meatball in the cheese, then round the shape again, helping the cheese to adhere. When all the meatballs are coated with the cheese, cover the sheets with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (and up to several hours).

To set up to cook meatballs: Bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a 10-quart heavy bottomed saucepan, over low-heat, with the lid ajar. Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator.

To brown meatballs and simmer: Heat a large non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, with a shallow layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot, brown the meatballs, in batches, turning the meatballs over carefully, to brown on at least two sides—(Before placing the meatball into the pan, use your hands to re-round the shape and avoid damaging the meatball when turning—using a non-stick turning spatula as well as tongs, will help give you the dexterity you need.) As you brown the meatballs, place on a clean tray. Once all the meatballs are browned, lower them into the simmering sauce. Once in the pot, don’t stir—using oven mitts, shimmy the pot –using the side handles—to help the meatballs settle in and become submerged in the sauce. The sauce should be on VERY low heat—Cover the pot and simmer the meatballs (again, very gently!), over very low heat, for 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Don’t wait for the sauce to return to a simmer before you begin timing–If the sauce was simmering at the start, you will only see the barest bubble at the center of the sauce, after adding the meatballs. If your meatballs are smaller, you’ll simmer then less.)

Turn off the heat and add more black pepper, some minced raw garlic and more fresh basil, to taste, then shimmy the pot to distribute things. Take the pot off the stove.

To divide and store: If not serving right away, allow the meatballs to cool in the sauce (uncovered). Divide the meatballs in plastic tubs. If you’d like to serve some and store the rest, transfer the meatballs and sauce you’d like to serve into another pot. Place the rest into a freezer container and attach a label with the contents and date. Freeze. To thaw, remove from the freezer and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

To reheat and serve: Reheat the meatballs, covered, over very low heat, shimmying the pot as needed, to help things heat evenly. Serve when piping hot throughout.

Comments (3)

Let’s Have a Pizza Party! (with Focaccia and Grissini Variations)

To watch the video of me making pizza, click here. You can see me making Focaccia and grissini from pizza dough in an episode of Baking Made Easy with Lauren.

Special Equipment:

  • 5-quart mixing bowl, for rising dough
  • Wooden surface, for kneading
  • Pastry scraper
  • Set of quarry tiles or a large pizza stone
  • Two perforated 15-inch pizza pans, for baking pizza
  • Docker or the tines of a large serving fork
  • Food processor (optional), for grating cheese
  • Baker’s peel, to remove baked pizzas from oven
  • Two non-perforated 15-inch pizza pans, for serving baked pizzas to prevent sauce and cheese from running through holes
  • Pizza wheel, the larger the better!

Ingredients

  • About 3 tablespoons Garlic Confit Oil, or use extra-virgin olive oil, used as needed
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water for yeast, plus 2 cups lukewarm water for dough
  • Pinch, plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • Up to 6 1/2 cups flour (unbleached, all-purpose or use high-gluten bread flour, including flour for dusting (or use a combination of whole wheat flour and high gluten bread flour and use white flour for dusting
  • Cornmeal, for pizza pans (preferably medium-ground)
  • Glaze (optional): 1 egg white, at room temperature, mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • Sesame seeds (optional), for topping rim of pizza

Basic Topping Suggestions:

Additional Topping Suggestions:

  • Cleaned, sliced and sautéed Mushrooms
  • Thinly sliced pepperoni
  • Fresh Chopped Garlic
  • Thinly Sliced Onions or Leeks, sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil (see videos)
  • Drained and coarsely chopped firm anchovy fillets
  • Small cubes of eggplant, lightly tossed in seasoned flour and pan-fried in olive oil
  • Diced potatoes, boiled 5 minutes, drained and pan-fried
  • Pitted and Sliced Kalamata olives
  • Roasted Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • Fresh Italian sausage, removed from casings and sautéed in extra-virgin olive oil with minced onion and garlic
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (be careful)

1) To set up: Brush the interior of a 5-quart mixing bowl generously with olive oil and set aside for rising dough.

2) To assemble liquid mixture: Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 2 cups lukewarm water, 1 generous tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, the 2 teaspoons sugar, and pepper, if using. When yeast mixture is creamy and starting to bubble, add to mixing bowl and briskly stir in just enough flour, a little at a time, to create a mass that is not easily stirred in the bowl. Turn out dough onto a lightly flour wooden board. Using floured hands, knead dough in a brisk push-fold-and-turn motion, until perfectly smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add only as much additional flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to your hands and work surface. Use a pastry scraper while kneading to scrape dough off board cleanly as you continue to knead in a sufficient amount of flour.

3) To rise dough twice: Place dough in the prepared rising bowl and turn to coat it with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and then with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch down dough with several swift swats with the back of your hand until dough is totally deflated. Although dough can be used right away, it’s preferable to refrigerate it for at least 1 hour and as long as 2 days before shaping crusts. (This chilling relaxes this high-gluten dough so it won’t fight back as much when being stretched into shape. This extra time also allows the dough to develop a deeper, more satisfying flavor.)

4) To set up to pre-bake crusts: Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and, if using, place a sheet of quarry tiles or a large pizza stone onto rack. Preheat the oven to 450o F for at least 30 minutes before baking. Lightly brush both perforated pizza pans with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal; tilt to coat pans and tap out excess meal. If using, set egg-white glaze and sesame seeds next to your work surface.

5) To shape pizza dough: Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board and gently knead just to release air pockets. Using the blade of a pastry scraper, divide dough into 2 equal pieces. If dough is not chilled, cover and let rest for 10 minutes to relax dough. If not working with a double oven and thus can only bake 1 crust at a time, return half the dough to the bowl, cover and refrigerate until the first pizza crust goes into the oven. Pat the remaining half dough into a low round on the floured work surface.

6) To stretch dough: Spread the fingers of your hand and smack dough several times until visibly flattened but still round. Flour your fists, lift up dough and drape it (centered) over your floured fists. Stretch dough by pointing your fists upward and gently pulling them away from each other. Take care to stretch evenly; if dough starts to feel bottom heavy and is becoming too thin, lay it on your work surface, rearrange it, then lift and continue to stretch. Use as much flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to your hands, which can cause it to tear. (Be aware that if you’ve used whole grain flour in your dough, this will reduce the overall elasticity, making the dough more likely to tear when stretching.)

7) To place dough in pan: Lay stretched dough in the prepared pan, arranging it so the edges of dough meet the rim. Press and pat out dough until it totally covers the pan, building up the rim of dough so it’s a little thicker and higher than the interior of the circle. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just not overly thick in one spot and paper thin in another. If dough resists at any point, just throw a towel over it for 5 minutes. If dough should tear, just pinch it together with floured fingertips. And if the rim seems too thin, simply fold 1 inch of the edge over onto itself and press to adhere.

8) To prepare crust for pre-baking: Brush the interior of the circle (excluding the 1-inch rim) with some olive oil and prick the oiled section of the dough deeply all over with a docker or the prongs of a large fork. Sprinkle oiled dough with freshly ground black pepper. If desired, brush the raised rim of dough with egg white glaze and sprinkle rim generously with sesame seeds.

9) To pre-bake crust: Prick the interior surface of crust once more and place pizza pan directly on hot tiles, stone or oven rack and shut the oven door. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. (Check once during baking. If the center starts to bubble up, prick the interior again and continue baking.) Remove pan from oven using a baker’s peel and place it on a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, as crust is baking, remove the reserved half of dough from refrigerator and prepare the second crust completely through the preceding step. As soon as you remove the first crust from the oven, prick the second crust again, place in oven and bake, as directed above.

10) To set up for baking topped pizza: After pre-baking the crust is sealed so, if you like, you may remove quarry tiles or pizza stone from oven. If baking 2 pizzas in the same oven, position oven racks to the upper and lower thirds; if using a double oven, use the center rack for each pizza. Preheat oven to 450o F, for at least 1 hour.

11) To assemble the pizzas: Scatter some grated cheese over the interior of the pre-baked crust. Spoon or ladle about 1 cup sauce on top of cheese (not too much or your pizza will be soupy). Spread sauce over crust, stopping just before the rim. Scatter one or more of the suggested toppings over sauce, along with chopped basil leaves. Scatter half of the grated cheese over the top, allowing some of the toppings to be visible through cheese. Drizzle 1 teaspoon fruity olive oil over pizza and then finally top with some sliced pepperoni, if desired. Grind on some fresh black pepper. Repeat with the remaining pizza.

12) To bake and serve completed pizza: Bake pizzas in the hot oven until crust is deeply golden, toppings are piping hot and cheese is bubbling, about 20 minutes. If using the same oven for both pizzas, switch positions of pies after half the baking time for even heat exposure. To serve, insert a baker’s peel under the pizza pan and place the pie on a solid (non-perforated) pizza pan. Slice into wedges using a pizza wheel and serve immediately.

Free-Form Pizzas Baked Directly on Quarry Tiles or a Pizza Stone

Although not necessary, allowing the dough (as described above) to rise for an hour or two at room temperature (especially when baking a free-form raw pizza) contributes to an even lighter texture and also deepens the flavor of the baked crust. You do not need a perforated pizza pan for this method (but you will need a solid one, without holes, for serving) and you do not need to pre-bake the crust before assembling and baking. Position the rack and quarry tiles or pizza stone as directed for pre-baking crusts. When preheating, increase the oven temperature to 550 F (or the highest your oven will go, without activating the broiler). If the dough is chilled, allow it to sit out of the refrigerator (uncovered) for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (the top of the dough will develope a slight skin which is good–since this will be inverted as the bottom of the crust, and will help the assembled pizza to release from the peel. Sprinkle a baker’s peel generously with cornmeal and a bit of white flour and rub this into the peel, covering it completely. Place the dough onto the prepared peel (top side down) and stretch dough as directed. Rearrange the thin round, to correct the shape. Brush the interior of dough with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh pepper. Docking is not advised or necessary since the weight of the toppings will prevent dough from swelling underneath. (If applying seeds to the rim, be careful not to let the egg white drip onto the baker’s peel since this will cause dough to stick to the peel.)

Top dough as you would a pre-baked crust, without using too many toppings which will weigh the dough down. Lift the loaded baker’s peel and give it a gentle shake to make sure that the pizza is not stuck. Open oven door and insert peel all the way to the back of the oven. With one swift jerk, remove peel, leaving the pizza on the hot tiles. Bake until golden and bubbling, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove pizza by sliding the peel underneath it and place on a non-perforated pizza pan. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Game Plan for a Pizza Party

The day before serving, prepare a double batch of dough (2 separate dough) and either rise it once at room temperature for 2 hours, then release the gases, turn the dough over in the bowl, and place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight, well covered. You can also divide the dough immediately after assembling and, after shaping into two taut rounds and placing them on separate oiled baking sheets, cover the sheet with well oiled plastic wrap and then with a towel and refrigerate, well covered, several hours or overnight. Make your sauce and grate your cheese. Early the next day, pre-bake 4 crusts and, once cool, let them sit “stacked” at room temperature. A few hours before “show time,” remove the sauce from refrigerator and gather your assorted toppings. 3o minutes to 1 hour before “chow time,” preheat oven and ask your guests “who wants what” on their pizza. Then, assemble and bake away!

Timing is Everything:

  • After the dough completes the first rise at room temperature, it can remain in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before shaping.
  • The sauce can be made well in advance and frozen in small heavy-duty freezer containers.
  • The crusts can be partially pre-baked early in the day and left at room temperature.
  • The toppings can be gathered a couple of hours before assembling pizzas.
  • After pre-baking and cooling the crust, you can either freeze the empty crust or a fully assemble pizza. Wrap both well in aluminum foil. Let an empty crust thaw (wrapped) before topping it and baking. Bake a fully assembled frozen pizza directly from the freezer (unwrapped) on a perforated pizza pan in a preheated 400o F oven until crisp and hot throughout.

Tip: Grating Cheese in a Food Processor

Before adding cheese to the work bowl of a food processor, brush the steel blade lightly with vegetable oil. Cut cheese into small pieces and use the pulsing button to maintain best control. If grating in batches, remove the first batch of grated cheese before adding the next batch. Also, when emptying the work bowl (between batches), check the inside of the steel blade shaft for any stray pieces of cheese (especially the softer types of cheese) and remove them. Otherwise, when you reinsert the blade onto the shaft, the cheese acts like glue and it might be difficult to remove the blade.

Watch the Video. Below are instructions to use pizza dough to make focaccia and grissini!

 Delicious things to do with pizza dough!

Focaccia with Heirloom Tomatoes, Hot Cherry Peppers, Kalamata Olives, Fresh Mozzarella, Garlic and Herbs.

For focaccia, although using unbleached all purpose flour is perfectly fine, I prefer to use OO flour for the lightest texture in focaccia (available in Italian markets). There’s also a very similar product, sold by the name “Italian Style” flour, which is very good. I also like OO flour for grissini. I often use a combo. If making pizza and wanting to make focaccia or grissini the next day, I suggest either using all “all purpose” flour or a combination.

Ingredients:

  • 1 /2 pizza dough, assembled as directed above and fully risen.

 Reminder as to how to assemble the dough:

  • Brush the interior of a 5-quart mixing bowl generously with some of the oil and sprinkle the interior with freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar and allow it to become visibly bubbly, about 3 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups warm water, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons sugar, and a few more grinds of black pepper, if desired. Add the dissolved yeast. Gradually stir in only enough flour, 1 cup at a time, to create a shaggy mass, that’s no longer easily stirred.
  • Use a sturdy rubber spatula to scrape the mass out onto a floured surface and knead it until you’ve created a dough that’s smooth and elastic, adding only as much additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Place the dough into the greased bowl and turn it over to coat the exterior with the flavored oil. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel and set it aside in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. (If time is an issue, you can immediately go to the following step without allowing the dough to rise.)
  • Rub a shallow tray liberally with olive oil. Uncover the dough and deflate it, using several swift swats with the back of your hand. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and, using your pastry scraper, divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, use your hands to cup, rotate and plump the dough, creating a taut round and place each one, side by side, on the prepared tray. Brush the top lightly with olive oil, as well. Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel, then place two large, overlapping and loosely fitting sheets of plastic wrap on top. Refrigerate the dough for 4 to 48 hour

To shape and bake focaccia with pizza dough:

Here (above) one half of the chilled dough is placed onto a sheet of unbleached parchment paper (that’s sitting on a wooden pizza peel—or you can use a flat baking sheet). The paper should first be generously sprayed with olive oil and then sprinkled with a mixture of cornmeal, black pepper and even sesame seeds (optional). As soon as the dough goes onto the parchment, the oven gets preheated to 450F with a pizza stone on the center shelf and, on the rack beneath it, a heavy pan (cast iron or a heavy baking sheet). If you need to omit the pan beneath the stone, this is fine—but the stone is something I highly suggest for the best texture.

After correcting the round shape of the dough, you’ll brush the top and sides with a fresh-herb-garlic-oil (olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes and an assortment of herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage (not basil which turns black) and allow to rise for 1 1/2 hours, uncovered, for a well-chilled pizza dough. The oven should be well preheated. After rising for 30 minutes, instead of poking the dough (to give a focaccia a traditional dimpled look), you’ll plant halved heirloom cherry tomatoes (cut sides up) and I also added pitted olives, fresh mozzarella cheese and some sliced cherry peppers. This is all about having fun—working with what you have and “playing” with the design. Brush the embellishments with the garlic oil, then let the dough continue to rise, uncovered until very billowy (1 ½ hours should be enough). Brush once more with the oil, give the top a light application of Kosher salt and black pepper and then slide the dough onto a hot pizza stone (with steam) –meaning add a cup of ice cubes with a small amount of water into the pan that sits beneath the pizza stone)—then add the dough on the parchment—and bake for 18 to 20 minutes (18 is best if using a convection mode). Then, I opened the oven and carefully sprinkled the top with some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and baked for another 3 or 5 minutes (3 is best with convection).

Remove the focaccia to a wire rack and immediately brush the top and sides with more of the garlic-herb-oil. Allow the bread to cool to just warm before cutting into wedges and enjoying.

For grissini: Per each half of pizza dough: 14 to 16 grissini (12 to 14 inches long)

Use 1/2 pizza dough: Chill the dough after assembling (or after an initial rise) then (using one half of the dough) cut into small portions. Roll each into a thin rope (using finely ground semolina sprinkled on the work surface. Let rise on parchment or (preferably) on a silicon baking mat sprinkled with semolina (you’ll need two large baking sheets to accommodate all of the grissini-if only one is available, keep one half of the dough, uncut, in the refrigerator). If, after shaping the first sheet pan of grissini, you see some are a bit chubbier than others, one by one, lift them off of the sheet and gently reroll to elongate and correct shape (you can sprinkle the work surface a bit more semolina, to help the strands keep from sticking).  Brush with a garlic-herb-olive oil mixture (the same as used for the focaccia), sprinkle the top with pepper and shredded Parmesan and bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 18 to 20 (rotate the pan during baking) and then allow to sit in a turned off for 10 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown but not overly dark. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve standing up in a tall glass or vase—or laying down in a basket (traditionally, in northern Italy, grissini is served simply placed directly on the table cloth). If any of the grissini feel at all squishy, put them back in the turned off oven to allow them to dry. (For sesame grissini, shape the same way, but after the strands are thin, sprinkle the work surface with some seeds and a bit more semolina and continue to roll so that some of the seeds sink into the surface of the dough (roll gently). Once shaped and on their sheets, brush the surface with some egg white glaze (1 egg white beaten with a fork and a small splash of water and then strained into another bowl). Sprinkle the tops of the strands with more seeds and some Kosher salt. Bake as directed above.

Optional glaze for seeded topping: brush the grissini with egg white mixed with a bit of water and then strained. Seed the top with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc. Bake as described. Those grissini that are simply seeded might need to be baked a bit less since the cheese on the first variation is insulating—go for color and texture.

Note: Drying time will largely depend on the girth of each grissini—so, once the correct color is achieved, let dry as long as needed, checking after 10 minutes.  Very thin grissini will not need to bake or dry as long—and will need to be removed early so that they don’t taste bitter or get overly hard.

 

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Crispy, Breaded Pan-Fried Lemon Sole with Herbed Tartar Sauce

Special Equipment:

  • Large non-stick skillet
  • 2 large, off-set turning spatulas, preferably perforated

For the fish:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives or minced flat-leaf Italian parsley (optional)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (optional)
  • 3 1/2 rounded cups finely ground Dried Bread Crumbs
  • 6 large lemon sole fillets (generous 8 ounces each)
  • Flavorless vegetable oil, as needed
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, flattened (optional)
  • Unsalted butter, as needed (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

For the tartar sauce:
Yield: about 1 2/3 cups

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 generous cup minced yellow onion
  • 1/4 generous cup minced drained gherkin pickles
  • 2 rounded tablespoons drained capers, minced
  • 1 teaspoon strained fresh lemon juice
  • 2 rounded tablespoons each: thinly sliced fresh chives and minced flat-leaf Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1) To set up to bread the fish: Put the flour on a shallow rectangular tray or baking sheet and season it lightly with salt and black pepper. Use a fork to beat the eggs in a 13 x 9-inch dish and, if desired, stir in the minced herbs and garlic. Place the eggs next to the tray of flour. Place the dried bread crumbs on another shallow rectangular tray and position this on the other side of the eggs. Line one or two more large shallow trays with wax paper. Rinse the fillets and dry them well. Sprinkle them lightly, on both sides, with salt and pepper.

2) To bread the fish and chill: Working with two fillets at a time, dredge (coat) each one, on both sides, in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Lay each fillet, side by side, in the beaten eggs, and then turn them over to coat both sides well. Lift both fillets out of the eggs and let any excess drip back into the dish. Lay the fish on top of the crumbs, and then turn them both, to coat the other side. Turn the fillets in the crumbs, several times, while using your working hand to press the crumbs gently onto both sides, until the fillets are heavily coated with crumbs. Lay the breaded fillets on the prepared trays. If using one tray, fill the tray then cover that layer with wax paper. Lay the remaining breaded fish on top. After each batch (2 fillets), rinse and dry your hands, before continuing. Cover the breaded fillets with plastic wrap and refrigerate, for at least an hour.

3) To make the tartar sauce: Use a rubber spatula to combine the mayonnaise, mustard, onions, pickles, capers, lemon juice, herbs and black pepper, to taste, in a bowl. Refrigerate the sauce, covered, until needed.

4) To fry the fish, drain and serve: Place two large wire cooling racks close to the stove. Heat one or two 12 to 14-inch nonstick skillets over medium-high heat and, when hot, add enough vegetable oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan, to a depth of 1/4-inch. When the oil is just hot, add the flattened garlic, if using, and press on it with a heatproof utensil, as you allow it to brown and flavor the oil. Remove garlic (tastes great!) and, when the oil is nice and hot, but not smoking, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, if desired, and let it sizzle and melt, without allowing it to color.

Add two breaded fish fillets to the hot fat, in a single layer, and fry them until golden brown and crisp on both sides, turning once, about 4 minutes per side (see below). Transfer each fillet directly to the wire rack and use paper towels to gently blot off any excess oil from the top. Continue to fry the remaining fish. If, at any time, the bottom of the pan accumulates too many over browned crumbs, dump out all the oil, wipe out the skillet and heat fresh oil, before frying the next batch. Serve the fish hot with the tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Timing is Everything

  • The fish can be breaded one day ahead and kept refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap.
  • The tartar sauce can be made two days ahead and kept refrigerated, covered.
  • The fish can be fried up to 30 minutes before serving. To reheat, place the fillets, on their wire racks, on two shallow baking sheets and place the sheets into a preheated 375oF oven, on the upper and lower third shelves. Heat just until the fish is hot throughout, about 5 minutes, making sure not to overcook it.

On Turning Large, Pan-Fried Foods, Safely

To avoid getting inadvertently burned when turning a large fillet or cutlet, when pan-frying, it’s important to use the right type of turning spatulas. You’ll need two long (preferably perforated) metal spatulas, each with an elbow bend. I use metal, even when cooking in a nonstick pan, since these are the sturdiest of all the turning spatulas.

To turn food safely, after it’s browned on one side, use your working hand to insert one spatula under the food, at one end, going as far across the bottom as possible. Using your nonworking hand, lay the second spatula on top of the food, with the handle positioned on the opposite side. Lift the bottom spatula, holding the food, and carefully turn it over, using the second spatula to ease it back into the hot oil. Always bring the food as close as possible to the oil before releasing it, to prevent hot fat from splashing out.

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Meat that Falls Off the Bone: Oven-Barbecued Baby Back Ribs

Special Equipment:

  • One or two wide pots (6 to 8 quarts each)
  • Large shallow roasting sheet
  • Parchment paper or nonstick aluminum foil; optional
  • Pastry brush

For the ribs:

  • 1 very large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 carrots, trimmed, scrubbed and thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks celery, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 or 5 whole racks baby-back pork ribs, halved, or allow at least 5 of the larger spareribs, per person (10 to 12 pounds total)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • One recipe The Best Barbecue Sauce, at room temperature, as needed, for roasting and dipping, or use another favorite brand of sauce

1) To poach the ribs: First fill one or two wide, 6-to 8-quart pots 2/3 full with cold water and bring it to a boil. Add the onions, carrots, celery and peppercorns to the water (dividing them between both pots, if using) and simmer the vegetables for 15 to 60 minutes. Sprinkle the ribs generously all over with black pepper and submerge them in the boiling broth. Cover the pot and, when the broth comes back to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer baby-back ribs for 30 minutes and the larger ribs for 45 minutes (and beef short ribs for 1 hour and 15 minutes). Remove the pot from the heat and set it on a strong wire rack. Let the ribs sit in the hot liquid, uncovered, until almost cool. If time is an issue, however, increase the cooking time 10 minutes and then go directly to the next step, without letting the ribs cool.

2) To roast the ribs: Preheat oven to 400oF. Spray two large shallow baking sheets with vegetable spray, and then line them with parchment paper or with nonstick aluminum foil. Transfer the ribs to the prepared baking sheet. (Discard the liquid and vegetables.) Brush the ribs liberally, on both sides, with barbecue sauce and place them, meaty-side up, in the oven. Roast 35 to 45 minutes, or until the ribs are sizzling and the sauce is only slightly charred looking, basting with more sauce, after the first 20 minutes. (If you’d like the ribs a bit more crusty-looking, jack up the heat to 425oF for the last 20 minutes.)

3) To serve: Cut each full rack of ribs in half and pile them on a large warmed serving tray. Alternatively, use a sharp knife to cut in-between each rib, separating them completely. Serve them hot with a bowl of additional barbecue sauce, passed at the table.

Timing is Everything:

  • The ribs can be poached several hours ahead and allowed to sit, submerged in the broth, at a comfortable room temperature, until you’re ready to apply the sauce and roast.
  • Vegetables to poach the ribs can be assembled ahead and kept in the freezer, well sealed.

About Cooking & Serving Ribs

For the most succulent ribs, let the ribs sit (and actually become cool) in the poaching liquid. While simmering, many of the flavor compounds end up in the broth, but when the ribs are left in the poaching liquid for an hour or more, the meat reabsorbs moisture, making them even more succulent and flavorful.

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Comments (1)

Herb & Garlic Scented, Double-Rib Lamb Chops

You won’t find lamb chops better than these. Thick, with a very dark exterior, a rosy-red interior and a savory flavor that leaves nothing to be desired. This recipe illustrates perfectly the concept of how uncomplicated food can provide a big dining experience. Make sure your exhaust fan works, and serve your chops on plain sturdy plates, so their beauty can shine.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Exhaust Fan
  • Stove-top grill pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet (alternatively, use a regular perforated broiler pan)

For the chops:

  • 12 double rib lamb chops (1 1/2-to 2-inches thick), trimmed of excess fat (or use chops from the loin)
  • Garlic Confit Oil or extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 rounded teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher or sea salt to taste

1) To set up: Line a large shallow baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny-side up, and place the baking sheet on the rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425oF, preferably for 30 minutes or longer. Turn on your exhaust fan. (Alternatively, if you don’t have an exhaust fan, skip the above and just preheat the broiler with the rack as close as possible, allowing the broiler pan easy entry and exit from the oven.)

2) To season and cook the chops (using the pan-searing, oven-roasting method): Pour about 1/2 cup of the oil into a bowl and stir in the garlic, half the minced herbs and lots of black pepper. Use a pastry brush apply an even layer of the seasoned oil to all sides of the lamb chops, then season again, very generously, with more pepper.

Sprinkle the chops generously, on one side only, with salt. Place one or two large well-seasoned cast-iron skillets, or a large stove-top grill pan on the stove, over high heat. (Or, straddle an extra-large grill pan over two burners.) As a last resort, use one or two heavy-bottomed nonstick skillets. When very hot, lay the chops in the pan, salted-side down, in a single layer without crowding. Brown the chops on the first side for 3 full minutes. Sprinkle the unsalted side with more salt, and then use tongs to turn the chops and brown them for another 3 minutes. Since double-rib chops will have a wide, thin layer of top fat, after browning them on both sides, stand the chops on this fatty side, to brown and crisp it. If doing this in batches, remove each batch of chops to a tray so you can sear the rest.

When all the chops are seared, transfer them to the preheated baking sheet and sprinkle them with the remaining minced herbs and a bit more salt. Roast the double chops until done to your liking: 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare (6 minutes for thinner loin chops). Serve hot with or without mint jelly.

3) Alternatively, to broil the chops: Place seasoned chops on a cold broiler pan and broil under a preheated broiler until seared, sizzling and done to your liking, turning once. Double-rib chops will take 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on how chilled they are and how done you like them.

Timing is Everything:

  • The chops can be seasoned (but not salted) up to two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.
  • The chops can be pan-seared up to an hour before finishing them in the oven. Leave them on a tray at a comfortable room temperature. Lengthen the roasting time, however, by a few minutes, to compensate for the cooler temperature of the chops when entering the oven. If broiling, cook just before serving.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the lamb chops:

  • 12 double rib lamb chops (1 1/2-to 2-inches thick), trimmed of excess fat (or use chops from the loin)
  • Garlic Confit Oil or extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 rounded teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher or sea salt to taste

From the butcher:

  • 12 double-rib lamb chops (if serving young children, allow only one chop per child)

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper

From the produce section:

  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary

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Comments (5)

Ginger-Scented Grilled (or Broiled) Salmon


When busy, tired and hungry, the first place to head is your fish market, since with little effort, you can reward your family and friends with maximum taste and freshness. Although this recipe features salmon, this marinade would be equally enhancing to swordfish, tuna or halibut steaks.

This recipe is written to serve six, but the marinade can easily be stretched to accommodate an additional pound of fish or enough for eight servings. Although leftovers are great, if you are serving fewer people, use half the marinade on the fish and pour the rest into some “almost done” cooked rice. Increase the cooking time by one minute, after adding the marinade to the saucepan). Don’t hesitate to serve this fish dish for company, as it’s a real winner.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment:

  • Outdoor grilling device, or a broiler pan when cooking indoors

For the fish:

  • 1/2 cup cold-pressed aromatic peanut oil (found in well-stocked supermarkets)
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (keep chilled once opened)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup minced scallions (green onions) trimmed white part, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the tender green
  • 3 to 4 pounds salmon fillet (preferably wild salmon), cut into 6 to 8 individual servings, or 6 to 8 salmon steaks (allow 8 ounces of fish per adult and 4 to 6 ounces per child)
  • Peanut oil or cooking spray, for grill (not needed when broiling)

1) To prepare the marinade: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients except salmon and the oil for the grill, if using, and mix thoroughly.

2) To prepare the fish: Gently rinse the fish fillets under cold water and pat them dry. Choose a glass dish that is large enough to fit the fillets in a single layer. Brush the skin side of each fillet generously with some of the marinade and place in the dish (skin side down). Pour the remaining marinade over the fish, using a basting brush to cover each well. Let fish sit out, at room temperature, for 10 minutes or cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 24 hours.

3) To grill: Before you heat the grill, brush the grate well with oil or spray with cooking spray. Heat gas grill on high, or if using charcoal grill get coals very hot, and place the salmon (with marinade left on) on the hot grill grate. Cook salmon a total of 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning once. (When grilling, don’t try to turn the fish until it’s very crisp on the bottom or you’ll tear off the skin. Using tongs, nudge the fish, and if it seems firmly attached to the grill, let it keep cooking.) When done, the salmon will be beautifully seared on both sides. For medium-rare, let the flesh retain a deeper orange tinge at the very center. If desired, cook until pink throughout but avoid overcooking or the fish will be dry.

4) To broil: Preheat the broiler until very hot with the rack as close as possible to the heating element (taking into consideration the height of your broiler pan. I use the top level). Pat some of the excess marinade off the fish and lay each fillet on a cold broiler pan (skin side up). Broil close to heat source turning once, until crispy and the fish flakes easily but is not at all dry, 4 to 5 minutes per side. (Keep an eye on things when broiling, but be sure to let the skin get crisp and the flesh-side get nice and golden.)

Timing is Everything

  • The fish can be marinated a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cold-pressed aromatic peanut oil (in well-stocked supermarkets)
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce (I use Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (keep chilled once opened)
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger root
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup minced scallions (green onions) trimmed white part, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the tender green
  • 3 to 4 pounds salmon fillet (preferably wild salmon), cut into 6 to 8 individual servings, or 6 to 8 salmon steaks (allow 8 ounces of fish per adult and 4 to 6 ounces per child)
  • Peanut oil or cooking spray, for grill (not needed when broiling)

From the fish market:

  • 6 to 8 center-cut salmon fillets, preferably wild (6 to 8 ounces each), skin left on

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Soy sauce, preferably tamari: (See Ask Lauren for more information)
  • Cold-pressed, aromatic peanut oil (See Ask Lauren for more information)
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Peanut oil (by “Planters”) or cooking spray (not needed when broiling)

From the produce section:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 bunch scallions (also called “green onions”)
  • 1 knob fresh ginge

Comments (1)

A Truly Regal Roast… Prime Rib with a Garlic & Herb Crust with a Red Wine Sauce

For a special occasion, there’s nothing like serving a gorgeous prime rib roast with a rich homemade red wine sauce. Although most refer to any rib roast as “prime,” it’s not necessarily the truth. In order for meat to be prime, it must come from U.S.D.A. prime beef. So, when placing your order with the butcher for “prime beef,” don’t forget to ask him if that’s what you’re going to get! The key to success when making a lean roast beef (and I can’t stress this enough) is using an accurate meat thermometer, that registers as low as 120oF. Although convenient, I rarely use an instant thermometer since it really bothers me to continually poke holes in my meat, as it roasts.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • Meat thermometer (preferably not the instant kind)

Ingredients For the Roast:

  • 4 rib roast (8 1/2 to 9 1/2 pounds), well trimmed with a thin layer of fat remaining on top (ask the butcher to cut the meat off the bone, crack the ribs and tie the meat back in place)
  • 20 garlic of cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Kosher or sea salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper (lots)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons aromatic dried)
  • 2 rounded teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed, to lubricate the meat

Ingredients For the Sauce:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Clarified Butter
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped (to yield 1 cup)
  • 3 cups Beef or Veal Stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 generous teaspoon tomato paste
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons port wine (preferably vintage, but a high-quality ruby port is perfectly acceptable)
  • 1 tablespoon whole butter or thick crème fraiche, as a final enrichment (optional)

1) To season the beef: Place the minced or pressed garlic onto your work surface and sprinkle it with the salt, lots of black pepper and herbs. With the blade of a sharp chef’s knife, press the mixture together, scraping and mixing until the mixture starts blending together. Drizzle on up to 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and continue to scrape, press and mash the garlic mixture until it becomes pastelike. Sprinkle the meat all over generously with pepper. Rub the garlic-herb paste all over the exposed meat (bottom and sides included). Pour some olive oil on top and pat it all over, until the entire seasoned surface really glistens (Rub in additional oil, as needed.) Apply more pepper to the top, leaving the roast looking heavily seasoned and very lubricated. Cover the meat with oiled plastic wrap, greased side down, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours, before roasting.

2) Early on the day of serving, start your sauce: Melt the clarified butter in a 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat and, when hot, stir in the shallots. Sauté the shallots until they turn translucent, about 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Raise the heat to high and cook the vegetables until the mushrooms are tender, and most of their released liquid evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the flour and cook the vegetable-roux, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the stock and wine and bring the liquid to a full bubble. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer the sauce, uncovered, until the flavors concentrate, the texture thickens and the volume reduces to about 2 1/2 cups, which will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours. As it simmers, occasionally skim off any accumulated foam, from the top of the sauce.
Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for a bit, then pour it through a fine-mesh sieve that’s positioned over another clean saucepan. Press hard on the solids to extract all of their goodness, then discard them. Place a doubled sheet of paper towel over the saucepan and apply the lid. (This prevents a skin from forming on the top of the sauce and also keeps any condensation from falling into the sauce and diluting the flavor.) Set the saucepan aside, for now.

3) To roast the meat: Bring the seasoned meat close to room temperature. Place the raw roast, bones side down, on a shallow baking sheet and preheat the oven to 450oF for at least 30 minutes. Sear the meat at 450oF for 30 minutes. While searing, if planning to make Yorkshire pudding, see the next step, as soon as the meat enters the oven.
After the initial sear, insert a meat thermometer into the top-center of the meat, so the tip reaches the center of the eye. (If the tip sits on bone, your reading won’t be accurate.) Reduce the oven temperature to 325oF and roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches just above 120oF (for medium-rare), which will take about 1 hour and 45 minutes, after the initial sear. (This will take longer if the meat was initially cold.) Remove the meat from the oven and transfer it to a warmed serving platter. Tent the meat loosely with aluminum foil and set it aside, allowing it to rest, before carving.

4) If making Yorkshire pudding: (see: “The I Love to Cook Book): Assemble the batter as soon as the meat goes into the oven and let it sit out, covered, while the meat cooks. When the meat leaves the oven, increase the temperature to 450oF and follow the instructions, as written, for baking Yorkshire pudding. If not making Yorkshire pudding, I suggest that you freeze your rendered beef drippings in a labeled 1 cup heavy-duty freezer container. That way, you can make Yorkshire pudding, flavored the traditional way, whenever you choose.

5) To slice the meat, finish the sauce and serve: First reheat the sauce, uncovered, over low heat until it’s hot. Let it simmer, gently, until ready to serve. Cut any strings off the roast and discard them. Lift the eye of beef off the ribs and place it on your cutting board (you may need to use a knife to help release it). Place the bones to the side. Slice the meat into 1/4-inch thick slices and overlap them on a warmed serving platter. Slice the ribs into individual sections and place them around the meat. Pour any juices from the carving board, over and around the meat.
Stir the port into the simmering sauce and bring it back to a full simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the stove and, if desired, stir in the optional butter or crème fraiche. Pour the sauce into a warmed gravy boat and pass it, along with the meat, straight away. Accompany the meat Yorkshire pudding, if desired.

A Beefed-Up “Jus” Sauce Variation: (Embellished Natural Juices)
Omit the red wine sauce and, after carving the meat, pour the juices from the carving board into a saucepan and add 2 cups beef or veal stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer stock for one or two minutes. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper, to taste. Pour half of the broth over the meat and serve the rest in a warmed sauce boat. If desired, you can stir in a tablespoon or so of butter or crème fraiche after removing the pan from the stove, to enrich the texture. Taste for seasoning, though since added fat (although wonderfully rich) tends to be muting to seasoning.

Timing is Everything:
• The meat can be seasoned one day ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered with oiled plastic wrap.
• The stock can (and should) be made weeks or months ahead, and frozen.
• The sauce can be made early on the day of serving and left at a comfortable room temperature, as directed.
• If making the lamb variation, you should simmer the lamb bones in veal or beef stock the day before making the sauce, allowing the time required to chill and defat it.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the roast:

  • 4 rib roast (8 1/2 to 9 1/2 pounds), well trimmed with a thin layer of fat remaining on top (ask the butcher to cut the meat off the bone, crack the ribs and tie the meat back in place)
  • 20 garlic of cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 1 rounded tablespoon Kosher or sea salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper (lots)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons aromatic dried) 2 rounded teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed, to lubricate the meat

For the sauce:

  • 4 1/2 tablespoons Clarified Butter
  • 4 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 large shallots, minced 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped (to yield 1 cup)
  • 3 cups Beef or Veal Stock
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 generous teaspoon tomato paste
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons port wine (preferably vintage, but a high-quality ruby port is perfectly acceptable)
  • 1 tablespoon whole butter or thick crème fraiche, as a final enrichment (optional)

From the butcher:

  • “Prime” Rib Roast (8 to 9 pounds), bone in

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Tomato paste

From the produce aisle:

  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Shallots
  • Button mushrooms

From the dairy case:

  • Butter
  • Crème fraiche, optional

From the frozen section (preferably your own freezer!):

  • Beef or veal stock

From the spirits shop:

  • Dry red wine
  • Port Wine

Comments (1)

Spicy Island Chicken

Spicy, saucy, succulent and sensational! What more can I say?

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • 6-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid

Ingredients

  • 5 ½ to 6 pounds skinless chicken thighs, hacked in half, through the bone (ask the butcher to do this for you) or combine thighs and skinless drum sticks (leg tips hacked off and kept frozen for stock)
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning chicken
  • 4 tablespoons clarified butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 packed cup chopped scallions
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced (leave in some seeds for extra spunk)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 generous tablespoons curry powder (I use Madras brand)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 can (14 ounces) cherry tomatoes, drained (retain packing liquid) or use 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped and drained peeled, unseeded tomatoes (the canned cherry tomatoes are in Italian specialty food shops or well stocked supermarkets with a good ethnic section)
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (whole or low-fat)
  • Suggested accompaniment: hot cooked rice and Fried Indian Bread Puffs

1) To brown the chicken: Salt and pepper the chicken. Heat a shallow layer of oil in a 6-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan (that comes with a lid) and, when the oil is hot, brown the chicken pieces well, on both sides, turning once (use tongs). Keep transferring each batch of browned chicken to a tray while you continue to brown the rest. When done, pour out all the oil but do not wipe out the pan. Put the same pan back on the stove.

2) To sauté the vegetables and make the sauce: Add the clarified butter and turn the heat on to high. When the fat is hot, add the onions. Cook the onions over high heat, stirring frequently, until they give off their liquid and help deglaze the bottom of the pan. Let the onions turn light golden, and then stir in the scallions, garlic, jalapenos, ginger, curry, cumin and turmeric. Cook the vegetables with the spices until they become fragrant, then add the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the stock, strained tomatoes, tomato paste and yogurt.

3) To simmer the chicken and serve: Add the browned chicken and bring the sauce up to a full simmer, over medium heat. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and cook the chicken until it’s perfectly tender, about 30 minutes (add some of the retained liquid from tomatoes, if after half the simmering, the mixture seems to need moisture). Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with a simple rice pilaf and a basket of freshly fried Indian Bread Puffs.

Comments (0)

Sloppy Joes (A Blast From the Past, Only Better!)

My husband Jon is frequently asked “What’s your absolutely favorite meal at home?” Most people are quite surprised by his answer, which is always the same: “Lauren’s Sloppy Joes are close to the top of the list.” This combination of ground meat simmered in an intensely flavored sauce, served atop toasted, homemade burger buns seems to send my husband back to his childhood. (Of course, the sauce we all had back then was from a can, the buns were always store bought and the eating place was usually the school cafeteria.)

Since this sauce doubles perfectly, I recommend that you make a large batch and freeze it in separate small containers. Then, on nights when you’re exhausted, simply purchase some fresh ground beef and go to your freezer for the sauce. Within minutes, you’ll havea delicious, quick and truly comforting meal. Also, don’t hesitate to use ground turkey instead of beef. Or, if meat isn’t your thing, you can simply simmer reconstituted soy vegetable protein in the sauce and serve it the same way you would when using meat. The point: Regardless of your choice of protein, this recipe for Sloppy Joes is a real winner!

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Ingredients

  • 2 generous cups Sloppy Joe Sauce (following)
  • 2 generous pounds freshly ground beef (chuck, round, sirloin or a combination) or ground veal and/or turkey
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 to 8 large hamburger buns
  • Softened butter, for the buns

1) For the Sloppy Joe Sauce: Prepare as directed in following recipe, measure out 2 cups and freeze the rest in 1 or 2 cups increments.

2) To brown ground meat: Heat a 10-inch non-reactive deep-sided skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ground meat and break it up with a wooden spatula. Cook the meat until separated and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Then remove from the stove and drain out any excess fat from skillet. Return skillet to the stove, over low heat. Stir in the sauce and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, uncovered. Cook gently until the flavors mingle and the mixture is piping hot throughout, about 10 minutes. Add some more freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

3) To assemble Sloppy Joesand serve: While the sauce is simmering, open the hamburger buns and spread both opened sides lightly with butter. Lay the buns, buttered sides up, on a shallow baking sheet. Broil the buns until the buttered sides are nicely toasted. Spoon the ground beef mixture lavishly over buns and serve hot.

Sloppy Joe Sauce

Yield: about 4 cups; serves 8 to 10 (may be doubled)

This makes twice as much sauce as called for in the preceding recipe. You can cut it in half or double it so you will have plenty on hand in your freezer. You’ll need one generous cup of sauce for each generous pound of ground meat to serve three or four.

Special Equipment

2 1/2-quart non-reactive saucepan

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup packed minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup packed seeded and minced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup seeded and minced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups canned tomato puree
  • 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup prepared ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped cleaned fresh button mushrooms or portobello mushroom caps only
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes or drained and seeded canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon “Better Than Bouillon” (beef version), available in well-stocked supermarkets
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1) To start the sauce: Heat a 2 1/2-quart nonreactive saucepan over medium heat and, when hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, stir in the onion, green and red pepper, celery and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, tomato paste, ketchup, vinegar, molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce heat to very low and simmer with the cover ajar for 1 hour.

2) To sauté the mushrooms: Heat an 8-inch skillet over high heat and, when hot, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3) To finish the sauce: After the sauce has simmered 1 hour, add the sautéed mushrooms, chopped plum tomatoes, oregano, “Better Than Bouillon” seasoning and some freshly ground black pepper. Return to a simmer and cook with the cover ajar for 30 minutes more. If you plan on using the sauce right away, measure out as much as needed and let the remaining sauce cool. Freeze cooled sauce in tightly sealed containers.

Serving Variations
The assembled Sloppy Joe mixture (including meat) is not only great on buns, it’s fabulous over hot, lightly buttered pasta; toss in some cooked peas for a hearty and delicious meal. Alternatively, stir some into a bowl of freshly cooked rice. And, don’t throw out any leftovers! Heat up the sauce on the next night and spoon it onto baked potatoes; If desired, sprinkle the tops lightly with grated Cheddar cheese and bake or broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling.


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

Ingredients to make Sloppy Joes

  • 2 generous pounds freshly ground beef (chuck, round, sirloin or a combination) or ground veal and/or turkey
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 to 8 large hamburger buns
  • Softened butter, for the buns
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup packed minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup packed seeded and minced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup seeded and minced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups canned tomato puree
  • 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup prepared ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped cleaned fresh button mushrooms or portobello mushroom caps only
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped ripe plum (Roma) tomatoes or drained and seeded canned plum tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon “Better Than Bouillon” (beef version), available in well-stocked supermarkets
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

From the supermarket shelf:

  • burger buns
  • olive oil (pure and extra-virgin)
  • tomato puree
  • canned whole tomatoes (only if not using fresh)
  • tomato paste
  • ketchup
  • cider vinegar
  • molasses
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • dried oregano
  • “Better Than Bouillon” (beef version; in the soup and/or gravy section)
  • Kosher or sea salt and black peppercorns, for grinding

From the produce aisle:

  • yellow onion
  • green bell pepper
  • red bell pepper
  • celery
  • garlic
  • button mushrooms or portobello mushroom caps
  • Roma tomatoes (only if not using canned)

From the butcher:

  • 2 generous pounds ground beef (or a combination of beef and veal) or ground turkey

From the dairy case:

  • butter, for the buns

Here’s what you’ll need if you’ve already got a container of the sauce in the freezer (to serve 4 to 6)

  • 2 generous cups Sloppy Joe sauce, thawed

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Burger buns

From the butcher:

  • 2 generous pounds ground beef (or a combination of beef and veal) or ground turkey

From the dairy case:

  • butter, for the buns

Comments (1)

Poached Chicken

Poached chicken has to be one of my family’s favorite meals, especially when in need of total comfort. Although this is the perfect accompaniment to my light and perfectly tender matzo balls, I also often keep poached chicken in the fridge and eat it cold for lunch, with an easy mustard sauce, made by mixing equal amounts of mayo and Dijon mustard. So delish…

Please, if this is the first time you’re poaching chicken and wanting to know how to turn this into an amazing “soup meal,” I highly suggest checking out the videos for both, Chicken Stock and Chicken Soup (since there’s a big difference…). These videos will show you exactly how to be able to, at whim, serve all the players (de-fatted stock, succulent chicken and perfectly cooked vegetables).

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

4 to 6-quart, heavy-bottomed pot with a lid

For poaching the chicken:

  • 1 or 2 whole chickens (3 to 3 1/2 pounds each), halved down the back with the necks and gizzards (no liver)
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled, scrubbed, root end removed, and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and sliced with leaves
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • Cold water to cover

1) To poach the chicken: Rinse and dry the chicken pieces and gizzards (reserve livers for another use). Place the chicken and all of the remaining poaching ingredients in an 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and cover the solids with cold water. Cover pot and bring mixture just up to a boil, over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to very low and simmer chickens, covered, until tender but not dry, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow the chickens to become just warm in the broth, uncovered.

2) To serve: If planning to eat the chicken hot, reheat in the broth, over low heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken(s) from the broth and place on a platter. Alternatively, serve the poached chicken just warm or chilled.

3) If using the chicken in soup: After allowing the poached chicken(s) to sit in the broth until just warm, lift out the chicken and then remove the meat (reserving the skin and bones, separately) and cut or tear it into chunks. Set aside for the soup.

4) To replenish your stock supply: Return the chicken carcasses, including skin and all bony parts, to the pot of poaching ingredients and bring back up to a boil. (If you have any stray chicken backs, wing tips, necks, etc. in the freezer, add them to the pot.) Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until the stock is rich with a golden color, 1 to 2 hours. As stock simmers, occasionally press hard on the solids to extract all of their goodness. See Chicken Stock to follow straining, chilling and de-fatting steps.

SHOPPING LIST for Poached Chicken

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 whole chickens (3 to 3 1/2 pounds each), halved down the back with the necks and gizzards (no liver)
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled, scrubbed, root end removed, and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery, cleaned and sliced with leaves
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
  • 1 parsnip, scrubbed and sliced
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • Cold water to cover

Comments (1)

My Favorite Rib Eye Steaks

The next time you want to treat yourself and your guests to an all-American meal to knock their socks off, these incredibly flavorful steaks are just the thing! When this thick (almost paste-like) garlicky-oniony-mustardy-peppery marinade is applied liberally all over the meat and then grilled over intense eat, or broiled really close to the heating element, you’re left with the savoriest steaks imaginable.

Rib-eye steaks (also called club steaks) are from the rib section, just between the chuck and short loin of cattle and are exceptionally tender and succulent–although pricey. Other appropriate cuts of beef are porterhouse or T-bone (also from the loin section), London broil (top sirloin is best and top round is acceptable but drier) and my husband’s favorite, called strip or New York steaks (porterhouse steaks without the fillet). For all individual steaks on the bone, allow a minimum of 8 ounces per person to compensate for any shrinkage during cooking.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

Special Equipment

  • 9×13-inch glass baking dish
  • Sharp steak knives
  • Outdoor grill (gas or charcoal) or a standard, perforated broiler pan

For the Mustard Marinade

  • ¾ cup Dijon mustard (regular or whole grain)
  • 9 large cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup minced scallions (also called “green onions”), trimmed white parts and 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the tender green
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for basting (only when grilling)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 rib-eye steaks, cut 1 1/2 inches thick and trimmed of most external fat
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste

1) To prepare the marinade: In a medium nonreactive bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients and stir well, using lots and lots of freshly ground black pepper–grind until it hurts, then do two more! (Or, simply grind whole black peppercorns in an electric spice grinder.)

2) To marinate the steaks: Lay steaks in a 9×13-inch glass baking dish in a single layer and coat each steak generously on both sides with the marinade mixture. Grind a generous amount of additional black pepper on each side. Cover and leave at a comfortable room temperature for 30 minutes to 2 hours at a cool room temperature or refrigerate for up to 12 hours. Bring the steaks to a cool room temperature before cooking. (*See the timing note at the end of this recipe.)

3) To grill the steaks: Lift the steaks from the marinade and let some of the excess drip off but don’t wipe off the meat. Grill over hot coals or on a gas grill preheated to high (have the grill grate lubricated, too), turning once, until done to your liking, basting occasionally with extra-virgin olive oil, only if necessary. Before turning, sprinkle the meat lightly but evenly with kosher or sea salt. When grilling, for medium rare, these steaks will require about 6 minutes on the first side and 4 minutes on the second. When done, the exterior of steaks should be sizzling, deeply caramelized and incredibly savory looking. If the meat was taken from the refrigerator just before grilling, they will require about 2 minutes more cooking per side.

4) To broil the steaks: Position the rack to the upper 1/3 of the oven and preheat the broiler for at least 15 minutes. Lay steaks on a cold broiler pan (with all the marinade left on the meat) and apply a light but even dusting of salt to the top. Place under the preheated broiling element. For medium rare, broil 5 inches from the heat source (with the door ajar, if applicable to your oven), about 8 minutes on the first side. Turn steaks and broil 5 minutes. As when grilling, if the meat was taken from the refrigerator just before broiling, they will require about 2 minutes more cooking per side.

5) To serve: Serve steaks hot, accompanied with sharp steak knives.

Steak “Type” Variation: If using a flavorful, albeit tougher cut of meat:
Skirt steaks or flank steaks are wonderful prepared this way. Each will weigh between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds and can serve 3 people adequately. Since these cuts are thinner than individual steaks, they will cook quicker. Grill over very hot coals or broil as close as possible to the heating element for the most enticing flavor and appearance. For best texture, slice these cuts on the diagonal (with the knife blade positioned at a 45 degree angle).

Timing is Everything:

Marinating naturally tender (and already flavorful) cuts of beef (like rib eyes, strip steaks or the porterhouse cut) for more than 12 hours in a mixture with an acidic ingredient could adversely affect the texture. On the other hand, when choosing to marinate a tougher cut (like skirt steaks or flank steaks) for only 30 minutes to 2 hours, the ultimate flavor of the cooked beef will benefit but any tenderizing potential is minimized. These can be marinated successfully for 24 hours. Whatever your choice, however, while marinating always use a nonreactive container such as glass. If you only have an aluminum pan, place the steaks in a heavy-duty, freezer-type plastic bag and apply the marinade as directed.

Entertaining Tip:
When grilling and entertaining, if you’d like to be able to sear the steaks on a hot grill and then finish them indoors (let’s say, after your first course), do this:

1) Place a shallow baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil (shiny side up) in a 425°F oven and let it sit there until needed (at least 30 minutes).

2) Soon before sitting down to eat, sear your steaks as directed, but don’t cook them all the way. Bring the seared steaks inside and leave them in the kitchen.

3) After you’ve finished your first course, and you’ve cleared those plates, place the seared steaks onto the hot baking sheet and cook them undisturbed for 3 to 9 minutes, depending on how long they’ve been off the grill, on the particular cut of steak (and on how “done” you like your steaks). While the steaks finish cooking, you can tend to the rest of the components of your “main course.”

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the Marinated Rib-Eye Steaks:

  • ¾ cup Dijon mustard (regular or whole grain)
  • 9 large cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup minced scallions (also called “green onions”), trimmed white parts and 1 1/2 to 2 inches of the tender green
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for basting (only when grilling)
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 6 rib-eye steaks, cut 1 1/2 inches thick and trimmed of most external fat
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste

From the supermarket shelf or specialty food shop :

  • Dijon mustard (regular or whole grain)
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra-virgin olive oil

From the butcher:

  • 6 rib-eye steaks (1 ½ inches thick)

From the produce section:

  • 2 large bunches fresh scallions (green onions)
  • Garlic

Comments (2)

Great Barbecued Chicken (With or Without a Barbecue!)

Rain or shine, on the grill or in the oven, this recipe promises to give you fabulous barbecued chicken. If your family is anything like mine, you’ll be turning to this recipe often. So set aside some time to make a big batch of the barbecue sauce, then reap the benefits all year long. Actually, this butterflied chicken is pretty terrific, even without the sauce!

Great Barbecued Chicken (With or Without a Barbecue!)

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information. And, to see any of the basic cooking techniques that are unfamiliar, click here.

Special Equipment

Stove top grill pan (preferably large and rectangular to fit over two burners) or a large nonstick skillet or an outdoor barbecue (or gas grill)

Strong tongs, for turning the chickens

Large, offset turning spatula, for turning the chickens

Basting brushes (preferably silicone, if cooking outdoors)

Recipe Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or Garlic Confit Oil or more, as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rounded tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 scant tablespoon minced rosemary needles
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 chickens (3 1/2 pounds each) rinsed well, dried thoroughly and butterflied (click to see a preview video of me preparing this chicken dish)
  • About 1 1/2 cups The Best Barbecue Sauce for basting, plus more for serving (click to see a preview video of me making the sauce) and/or see The I Love to Cook Book.

To season the chicken, pour about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil in a bowl and add the minced garlic, lots of black pepper, and half the minced herbs, reserving the rest for later. If possible, allow the garlic to steep in the oil for a couple of hours, covered, at room temperature. Position a small wire-mesh sieve over another bowl and strain the oil, pressing on the garlic to extract as much flavor as possible. Use the garlic pulp in another recipe or discard it. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper and lay the butterflied birds perfectly flat on it. Sprinkle both sides of the chickens lightly with salt and generously with pepper. Brush the chickens liberally with the garlic-flavored oil.

To cook the chicken using an outdoor grill, either heat a gas grill to the highest setting, covered, or heat a charcoal grill (and replenish coals as needed). (Click here for instructions on heating a charcoal grill).

Lay the seasoned birds skin-side down on the hot food-grill. Cook the chicken, uncovered, over direct heat, for 3 to 5 minutes or until the skin becomes golden. Turn the chickens skin- side up (being careful not to tear the skin) and sear them on the other side. If using a gas grill, lower the heat to medium-low– if using a charcoal grill, move the chickens to the side, over indirect heat. Sprinkle the remaining herbs and some salt over the skin and cover the grill. Cook the chickens until almost cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Uncover and, using a long basting brush, baste the skin side of the birds, liberally, with barbecue sauce. Lower the lid and raise the heat in a gas grill to high or transfer the birds back over direct heat in a charcoal grill. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes more or until the chicken is perfectly tender and somewhat charred looking, without becoming burnt. (Alternatively, if not using barbecue sauce, cook the chickens for 40 to 45 minutes over indirect heat, after the initial sear.) Remove the chickens from the grill and allow them to sit, undisturbed, for 5 minutes before cutting them into sections.

To divide the chickens into quarters and serve, use a sharp carving knife to cut each bird in half, vertically, down the length of the breast. Slide the knife blade in between the thigh and breast, completely separating the leg from the breast. Do this on the other side and then again, with the remaining chicken. Serve the chicken hot or at room temperature, passing a bowl of warmed barbecue sauce at the table.

Oven-Barbecued Variation:

Line a large (preferably dark) baking sheet with 1-inch sides with aluminum foil, shiny-side up, and place it in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400oF, preferably for 1 hour. When ready to sear, turn on your exhaust fan. Place either a large well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, a heavy nonstick pan, or a large stove-top grill pan on the stove, over medium-high heat. (Or, straddle an extra-large grill pan over two burners.) When hot, raise the heat to high and, depending on the size of your cooking vessel, lay one or both of the seasoned chickens in the pan, skin- side down. Sear the skin until golden and startintto crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully turn the bird(s) and brown them on the other side. As each chicken is browned, remove it to a tray, skin- side up.

Transfer the chickens to the preheated baking sheet, toe-to-toe (working quickly, so the oven doesn’t cool down). Sprinkle the remaining herbs and some salt on top of the skin and shut the oven door. Reduce the temperature to 375oF and roast the chickens for 40 minutes. Using a pastry brush, apply a liberal coating of barbecue sauce to all exposed areas of the chickens and push them back into the oven and shut the door. Raise the oven temperature to 450oF and continue to roast, until the chickens are perfectly tender and somewhat charred looking without becoming burnt, 8 to 12 minutes. Alternatively, if not applying sauce, cook for a total of 45 to 50 minutes at 375oF.

Timing is Everything:

* The chickens can be butterflied and seasoned one day ahead and refrigerated, well covered.

* The barbecue sauce can (and should) be made in advance, and kept refregierated in a securely covered jar.


SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

For the chicken:

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or Garlic Confit Oil or more, as needed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 rounded tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 scant tablespoon minced rosemary needles
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 chickens (3 1/2 pounds each) rinsed well, dried thoroughly and butterflied (click to see a preview video of me preparing this chicken dish)
  • About 1 1/2 cups The Best Barbecue Sauce

From the supermarket shelf

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt/black peppercorns
  • Store-bought Barbecue sauce (if not using homemade)

From the butcher

  • 2 whole chickens (3 1/2 pounds each), butterflied

From the produce aisle

  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary

Watch the Video.

Comments (3)

Crispy Chicken Cutlets With Lemon Twists

This basic technique for breading cutlets can be applied to thinly sliced leg of veal, pounded veal rib chops, different types of fish fillets and shrimp, as well as various vegetables. In order to do this procedure quickly, efficiently and enjoyably, you must first set up your ingredients in an assembly-line fashion. Personally, when it comes to breadcrumbs, I only use those I deem “the best” which are made from best-quality toasted and pulverized crusty Italian bread, with sesame seeds on top. You can, if desired, use half of those crumbs and half store-bought panko crumbs, which will yield cutlets with a crispier, flakier finish.

The addition of the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the crumb mixture makes these cutlets taste (and smell) even more amazing. The cutlets may be served hot, at room temperature or cold for sandwiches. The “lemon twists” are a fun and attractive way to present the chicken cutlets.

Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.
Special Equipment

  • Large nonstick skillet
  • 2 large off-set turning spatulas (preferably perforated)

Ingredients:

  • 3 large whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, butterflied and flattened to an even thickness (you can ask the butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs of your choice (to make Dried Bread Crumbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup to 1 cup olive as needed
  • 2 tablespoons butter or additional olive oil
  • 2 large lemons, scrubbed and dried, for twists
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

1) To set up for breading the chicken: Place flour on a plate and season lightly with salt and pepper. Combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese on a shallow baking sheet. If desired, press 1 clove of the garlic through a garlic press into the beaten egg; mix with a fork. Position eggs in between the flour and crumbs.

2) To bread cutlets and chill: Sprinkle prepared cutlets lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge each one in the seasoned flour to coat well and shake off the excess. Dip chicken into beaten eggs to coat thoroughly. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, lay the egg- coated cutlet on top of the crumb mixture and turn to coat each side, pressing gently to help the crumbs adhere. Lay the heavily breaded cutlet on a large tray or baking sheet. Once you’ve finished breading all of the cutlets, if time allows, cover the tray with plastic wrap and chill for an hour (or over night), which encourages the crumbs to adhere.

3) To fry the cutlets: Arrange a long double thickness of paper toweling on your kitchen counter, as close to the stove as safely possible. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and, when hot, add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan. If desired, bruise 2 of the garlic cloves and add to hot oil. Sear garlic, pressing to release its flavor into the oil. When just golden, remove garlic and discard (or enjoy).

Add butter to hot oil and when bubbling, fry 2 cutlets at a time until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. (Use a turning spatula occasionally to press gently on the center of the cutlet to avoid uneven cooking. Use 2 nonabrasive spatulas to turn cutlets safely.) When cooked through, drain each cutlet on paper toweling. Place on a hot serving tray and, if desired, keep warm in the oven until all the cutlets are cooked. If butter becomes overly dark while frying or if there is an accumulation of dark crumbs on the bottom of the pan, dump out the oil, wipe out the skillet and add more oil, garlic and butter before frying the next batch.

4) To make lemon twists:First use a vegetable peeler to remove any stamped letters from rind. Slice lemons into 1/4 inch rounds and lay on a flat surface in pairs of 2 slices. Using a sharp knife, slit 1 slice from each pair, from the center of the slice through 1 side of the rind. Slit the remaining slices from just below the top rind through the bottom rind. To form decorative twists, lift the slice with the smaller cut, twist the cut portion in opposite directions and place twisted slice on the counter. Then lift a slice with the large slit and twist the slit open as you lay it over the bottom twist. The design will look like a flower or spoke pattern. (For a two-toned look, use a lemon and lime slice for each twist.)

5) To serve: If serving individual portions, lay each cutlet on a plate and position a lemon twist on top. Sprinkle lightly with freshly chopped Italian parsley. Alternatively, serve the cutlets on a warmed platter as suggested in the introduction to this recipe.

Timing is Everything

  • If impeccably fresh, the cutlets may be breaded and placed on a shallow baking sheet up to 2 days ahead. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Assembling them several hours ahead and chilling will encourage the crumbs to adhere better through frying.

SHOPPING LIST

At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 3 large whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, butterflied and flattened to an even thickness (you can ask the butcher to do this for you)
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs of your choice (to make Dried Bread Crumbs)
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic (optional)
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup to 1 cup olive as needed
  • 2 tablespoons butter or additional olive oil
  • 2 large lemons, scrubbed and dried, for twists
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish

From the butcher:

  • 3 large whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, butterflied and flattened to an even thickness

From the supermarket shelf:

  • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Panko crumbs (only if not using homemade breadcrumbs)
  • Olive oil (pure)

From the refrigerated section:

  • Eggs

From the dairy section:

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Butter (optional)

From the produce section:

  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Flat-leaf, Italian parsley

Comments (1)

Cream-Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Now, this is a substantial side dish! Actually, it’s a side dish that could be considered an entrée, with one or two other vegetables and a grain dish on the plate. I came up with this recipe when I saw that I had some chive cream cheese in the fridge that I wanted to use before it became over-the-hill. I decided to make a quick “creamed spinach” by stirring some of the chive cream cheese into hot, freshly cooked spinach. Then I piled the creamed spinach on top of cooked Portobello mushroom caps and then topped the whole thing off with grated cheese. After baking, the stuffed mushrooms were truly delicious and incredibly substantial.

If you don’t feel like making your own chive or scallion cream cheese, just pick some up at the neighborhood bagel shop. That will work perfectly in this recipe.

Anytime I’ve suggested a tool or a piece of equipment or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar, go to Kitchen Management to get more information.

Special Equipment

  • 6-to 8-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan with lid
  • Pastry brush
  • Stove-top grill pan or large non-stick skillet or broiler pan
  • Food processor to grate cheese, unless using cheese that’s pre-grated

Ingredients:

    • 3 packages fresh spinach (10 ounces each) stemmed, thoroughly washed and spun dry (or use 4 packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed, cooked and drained)
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or Garlic Confit oil, or more, as needed
    • 2/3 to 3/4 cup scallion or chive cream cheese (mix 12 ounces whipped cream cheese with ½ cup minced scallions or snipped fresh chives)
    • 8 Portobello mushrooms (with caps 4 to 5 inches in diameter), stems removed and caps wiped clean
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (optional)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 generous cup shredded or grated cheese (mix Parmigiano-Reggiano and either Jarlsberg, Swiss, Cheddar or Muenster)
  • 1. To make the filling: After cleaning and drying the spinach leaves, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive or Garlic Confit oil in a 6-to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the spinach leaves, by the handful, using tongs to help wilt the leaves, creating the room for more spinach to be added. When all the leaves are in the pan, toss them in the oil and apply the lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook the leaves until just tender, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Place a medium-mesh sieve over another bowl and pour the cooked spinach into the sieve, allowing any liquid to fall through the sieve and into the bowl. Place a bowl on top of the spinach, helping to release more of the liquid. (You can reserve the flavorful spinach liquid and use it to cook rice.) Put the hot spinach in an empty bowl and stir in the scallion (or chive) cream cheese. When homogenous, season the filling with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 2. To season and cook the mushrooms: After removing the stems and cleaning the mushroom caps, brush them, on both sides, with a mixture of the remaining extra-virgin olive oil, minced garlic, black pepper and thyme, if using. Heat a grill pan or a large nonstick skillet over high heat (turn on your exhaust fan). Alternatively, preheat the broiler with the rack as close as possible to the heating element. Sprinkle the mushroom caps lightly, but evenly, with salt. Grill, sear or broil the seasoned caps, turning once, until deeply colored and tender, about 4 to 6 minutes, total (brush with more olive oil, while cooking, if they seem at all dry). Place the cooked mushroom caps, gill sides up, on a baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil (shiny side up).
  • 3. To assemble and bake the stuffed mushrooms: Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the second closest position to the heating element. Spread the spinach stuffing equally among all the mushrooms, mounding slightly, then sprinkle the mixed cheese over the filling. Give one more application of pepper. Bake the mushrooms, uncovered, until the filling is piping hot and the cheese is melted, 20 to 30 minutes. If the cheese isn’t as luscious looking as you’d like, broil the tops for a minute or two. Serve hot.
  • Timing is Everything

    • If making the scallion cream cheese, it can be made several days ahead (up to 3) and kept refrigerated, securely covered.
    • The spinach can be cleaned two days ahead and kept refrigerated in a large freezer bag. (Line the bag with some paper towels to absorb any excess moisture.)
    • The mushrooms can be seasoned a day ahead of cooking and kept refrigerated.
    • The mushrooms can be stuffed a day ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered. Bring close to room temperature before baking or adjust (lengthen) the baking time, accordingly.

    SHOPPING LIST

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    • 3 packages fresh spinach (10 ounces each) stemmed, thoroughly washed and spun dry (or use 4 packages frozen leaf spinach, thawed, cooked and drained)
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or Garlic Confit oil, or more, as needed
    • 2/3 to ¾ cup scallion or chive cream cheese (mix 12 ounces whipped cream cheese with ½ cup minced scallions or snipped fresh chives)
    • 8 Portobello mushrooms (with caps 4 to 5 inches in diameter), stems removed and caps wiped clean
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (optional)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1 generous cup shredded or grated cheese (mix Parmigiano-Reggiano and either Jarlsberg, Swiss, Cheddar or Muenster)

    From the produce section:

    • 3 bags fresh spinach (10 ounces each) or use 4 boxes frozen leaf spinach
    • 8 whole Portobello mushrooms
    • Garlic (amount will depend on if using Garlic Confit oil)
    • Fresh thyme (optional)
    • Scallions (1 large bunch) or 2 bunches fresh chives

    From the dairy case:

    • 12 ounces whipped cream cheese
    • Best-quality Reggiano-Parmesan cheese
    • Jarlsberg, Swiss, Cheddar or Muenster cheese

    From the supermarket shelf:

    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and whole black peppercorn

    Comments (0)

    Braised Beef Short Ribs – Saucy and Succulent

    Whether it’s the first or last hurrah of cold weather, braised short ribs are always an incredibly soothing choice. If tempted to dismiss braised dishes during the week, thinking they take too long to cook, check out my directions for three different modes of cooking. At least one of them is bound to fit into even the busiest schedule! And even if you are cooking for less people, I suggest making the full amount; it freezes perfectly and can be a delicious (fast and easy!) dinner ANY day of the week.

    Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment

    • 8-quart heavy-bottomed non-reactive saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, or an 8-quart pressure cooker, or a 7-quart slow cooker

    For the braised beef shanks:

    • 1 scant cup dried porcini mushrooms
    • 1 1/2 cup boiling water
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
    • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced
    • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced
    • 10 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
    • 2 cups each: dry red wine and beef stock
    • 12 to 16 very meaty short ribs (depending on their size)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning short ribs
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (or mix butter and extra-virgin olive oil)
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup tomato puree
    • 1/4 cup crème fraiche (as an optional enrichment)

    For Conventional Cooking

    1) To set up: Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in a bowl with the boiling water for 15 minutes or until supple. Lift out the mushrooms, squeezing gently, allowing any liquid to fall back in the bowl. Reserve 1 cup of this flavorful liquid. Coarsely chop the porcinis and set aside.

    2) To get the sauce going: Place the onions, carrots, celery, bell pepper and garlic into the bowl of a food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Pulse the vegetables until they are finely chopped but still remain textural. Combine these vegetables with the chopped button and reconstituted porcini mushrooms and set them aside, for now. Combine the wine, stock and reserved mushroom liquid in a 2-quart saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat. Let it reduce to about half its original volume (2 1/2 cups).

    3) To brown the short ribs: Season the short ribs well with salt and pepper. Heat a shallow layer of olive oil in the bottom of an 8-quart saucepan and, when hot, brown the ribs extremely well on all sides, in batches, without crowding. Remove the ribs to a tray until you’re finished browning them all. Dump out the oil from the pan and add the butter (or the butter and oil). Heat the fat until hot and stir in the chopped vegetables. Place a piece of parchment paper directly over the vegetables and reduce the heat to low. Sweat the vegetables until softened and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Discard the paper, raise the heat to high, and stir in the flour. Cook the vegetables and flour (now a vegetable-based roux), stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the reduced stock/wine mixture along with the chopped drained tomatoes and the tomato purée and bring the sauce to a brisk simmer. Lower the browned short ribs into the sauce and season with some salt and pepper. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to very low and simmer the ribs for 1 1/ 2 hours, occasionally stirring gently, to redistribute the ribs.

    Uncover the pot and continue to simmer the ribs for 30 minutes more, over medium-low heat, until the ribs are meltingly tender and the sauce is reduced and has thickened nicely. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool, uncovered. Using a large spoon, remove the large amount of grease that will have accumulated on top of the stewed ribs.5) To serve: Reheat gently, until bubbling, then stir in the crème fraiche, if using, and readjust the seasoning, as needed, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with cooked, buttered egg noodles tossed with cooked green peas.

    To use a pressure cooker:

    Brown the ribs and make the sauce base, as described above, in an 8-quart pressure cooker. After bringing the sauce to a brisk simmer, add the ribs and bring the sauce back up to a full simmer, over medium heat, with the cover ajar. Turn off the heat and attach the lid, securing it correctly. Bring the pot to high pressure, over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and, maintaining high pressure, cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pot from the hot burner and let the pressure release naturally. If, after removing the lid, the sauce is very liquid, bring to a simmer, uncovered until reduced. Degrease as described when cooking conventionally, then add the crème fraiche, if using. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper and bring it back to a simmer. Serve hot, as directed.

    To use a slow cooker:

    Brown the ribs and make the sauce in a 14-inch deep-sided skillet or in an 8-quart heavy-bottomed pot, as originally described then transfer the sauce to a 7-quart slow cooker. Lower the ribs into the sauce, submerging them, then cover the cooker and cook either on low for 11 to 12 hours or on high for 7 to 8 hours. Uncover, degrease and add the crème fraiche, if using and adjust seasoning. Turn the setting to high and cook, uncovered, until piping hot.Timing is Everything

    • You can cook short ribs up to two days ahead and, after cooling and degreasing, refrigerate the pot, covered. Before applying the lid, pull a clean kitchen towel over the top of the pot and place the lid on top. Bring close to room temperature before reheating fully over low heat, with the cover ajar. And, don’t hesitate to double this recipe and stick half in the freezer.
    SHOPPING LIST

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    For the braised beef shanks:

    • 1 scant cup dried porcini mushrooms
    • 1 1/2 cup boiling water
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
    • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced
    • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
    • 8 cloves garlic, minced
    • 10 ounces fresh button mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
    • 2 cups each: dry red wine and beef stock
    • 12 to 16 very meaty short ribs (depending on their size)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning short ribs
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (or mix butter and extra-virgin olive oil)
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
    • 1 cup tomato puree
    • 1/4 cup crème fraiche (as an optional enrichment)

    From the supermarket shelf or specialty food shop:

    • Dried porcini mushrooms
    • Beef broth (only if not using homemade)
    • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
    • Olive oil (pure, not extra-virgin)
    • 1 can whole tomatoes (28 ounces)
    • 1 can tomato puree
    • Kosher or sea salt
    • Black pepper (preferably whole, for grinding at home)

    From the butcher:

    • 12 to 16 meaty short ribs (depending on their size)

    From the produce section:

    • 1 large yellow onion
    • 1 bunch (or bag) of carrots
    • 1 head celery
    • 1 large green bell pepper
    • 2 heads garlic
    • 10 ounce package fresh button mushrooms

    From the dairy case:

    • 1 box (with 4 sticks) butter (you’ll need 1 stick)

    From the spirits section:

    • 1 bottle dry red wine (you’ll need 2 cups)

    Comments (0)

    Smothered Brisket, Braised with New Potatoes and Carrots

    A meal worth making a family tradition…

    Special Equipment:

    • 14-inch skillet
    • 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with tight fitting lid
    • Two 9 x 13-inch oven-to-table baking dishes (I like Pyrex.)
    • Gravy boat and small ladle

    Ingredients

    • 1 large “first cut” brisket, (between 7-8 pounds)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • Flavorless vegetable oil, as needed
    • 3 ¼ cups de-fatted Beef Stock (preferably homemade), or low-sodium canned beef broth
    • ¾ cup barbecue sauce (preferably The Best Barbecue Sauce)
    • 1 very large Spanish onion, cut into thin strips
    • 8 cups peeled and cut-up carrots (cut into 2-inch lengths)
    • 8 very large peeled new potatoes (or use 16 medium)
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 3 tablespoons unbleached, all purpose flour
    • Suggested accompaniment Applesauce

    1) To season and sear the brisket: Preheat the oven to 325F. Heat a 14-inch skillet, over high heat, with just enough vegetable oil to barely coat the bottom of the pan. While the oil is heating, season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper and rub the seasonings into the meat. Sear the meat, fat side down, until golden, then turn the meat over and sear on the other side.

    2) To assemble the meat and vegetables and braise: While the meat is searing, whisk together the stock and barbecue sauce. Ladle a shallow layer of sauce onto the bottom of a heavy-bottomed, 8-quart Dutch oven (that comes with a tight-fitting lid) and scatter some of the onions on top of the sauce. Place the seared meat on top of the onions, fat-side-up, and place the cut up carrots and potatoes around the meat. Place the remaining onions to top of the meat and then pour the beef-stock mixture over the top. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 4 hours, without disturbing.

    3) To separate meat and vegetables: Remove the pot from the oven and take off the lid. Ladle a bit of the sauce onto the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch, oven-to-table baking dish and place the potatoes and carrots into an oven-to-table baking dish with some of the sauce ladled (it’s OK to let some of the onions cling to the vegetables). Let the meat settle in the hot sauce for an hour or so then transfer the meat to a cutting board and allow to cool a bit more, which will help facilitate slicing. Using a sharp carving knife, slice the meat across the grain into ½-inch thick slices. Let the meat sit on the carving board while you finish the sauce.

    4) To finish the sauce: Heat the butter in a 2-quart saucepan, over medium heat and, when bubbling, stir in the flour. Whisk the flour/butter mixture as it bubbles, for a minute or two, just to get rid of any raw flour taste. Stir in the sauce (from the pot) with the onions and bring this to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook the sauce, uncovered, as it thickens. Simmer for 5 more minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    5) To arrange the meat and vegetables with sauce: Ladle some of the sauce onto another 9 x 13-oven to table baking dish and lay the slices neatly in the dish. Ladle more sauce and onions over and around the slices. Ladle some sauce and onions over and around the vegetables, saving enough sauce to reheat and serve separately at the table. Cover both dishes with aluminum foil (if you have nonstick foil, use this for the dish containing the vegetables or grease the foil with olive oil to keep the foil from sticking).

    6) To reheat the meat and vegetables and serve: Preheat the oven to 350F. Reheat the meat and vegetables until piping hot, about 35, if at room temperature and longer, if chilled. While the meat and vegetables are reheating, bring the extra sauce and onions to a simmer. Serve everything very hot with freshly made applesauce.

    Comments (3)

    Perfect Roast Turkey

    Below is a recipe for roasting a gorgeous whole turkey. You use the same seasoning mixture for Perfect Roast Chicken, capons, Cornish hens, or even a bone-in turkey breast (great for school lunches!). When roasting a whole turkey, I like to sear it first, breast up, at a very high temperature. Then, I turn the bird over and roast it breast-side down for most of the time. I turn it over, breast up, for the last 30 minutes of roasting. I recommend having a helper to hold down the roasting pan while you turn the bird. Make sure to baste the turkey throughout the roasting process, more frequently toward the end.

    As far as the ingredient amounts go, the larger the bird, the more of the garlic butter and gravy ingredients you’ll need. I’m also giving you the instructions to make the gravy right after the turkey leaves the oven, while it rests. And, when not making gravy (if roasting a turkey breast to use exclusively for sandwiches and salads), there’s no need to place the cut up vegetables underneath the meat as it roasts.

    Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment

    • Large stainless steel roasting pan with sturdy V-shaped roasting rack
    • Trussing needle
    • Kitchen twine
    • Blender
    • Bulb-baster
    • Flat gravy whisk (optional)
    • Fine-mesh wire sieve

    For the turkey:

    • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
    • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and thinly sliced
    • About 6 whole black peppercorns
    • Vegetable spray or oil, for roasting rack
    • 1 turkey (12 to 22 pounds)
    • Poultry Seasoning Mix, as needed (click to see recipe), or see directions below for seasoning without a pre-assembled mix
    • Flavorless vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey
    • 1 1/2 to 3 sticks butter
    • 5 to 8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

    For the gravy:

    • 2 to 4 cups hot Chicken Stock
    • 1/2 to 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 to 5 tablespoons butter
    • 1 to 2 shallots, minced
    • 2 to 4 medium-sized fresh button mushrooms (optional), wiped clean and finely minced or coarsely chopped
    • 3 to 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (use 3 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cups stock and ½ cup wine OR 6 tablespoons flour with 4 tablespoons butter, 4 cups stock and 1 cup wine)

    1) To set up to roast a whole turkey: Preheat the oven to 450oF. Place the carrot, onion, celery and peppercorns into the bottom of a large non-reactive roasting pan. Spray a V-shaped roasting rack with vegetable spray or brush with oil and place it over the vegetables. (The rack will raise the turkey as it roasts, giving it full heat exposure, which is one of the secrets to successful roasting).

    2) To clean and season the turkey: Remove neck, liver and gizzards from turkey, reserving all but the liver for the stock.Thoroughly rinse and dry turkey, trimming away any excess fat from the cavity opening. Sprinkle the inside of the cavity with onion powder and freshly ground black pepper. Then sprinkle the Poultry Seasoning Mix, very generously, on both sides of the turkey. Use your hands to scoop up a liberal amount of oil and rub it onto the bird evenly distributing the seasoning. When done, the turkey should look deeply colored and glistening.

    To season without pre-assembled Poultry Seasoning Mix:

    Take out a jar of onion powder, garlic powder, Lawry’s seasoning salt, and sweet paprika, along with a pepper mill and a bottle of vegetable oil. Place a sheet of plastic wrap around the center of each bottle, including the oil, which will help keep the jars clean as you season the turkey. Grind a generous amount of black pepper into a small bowl. Starting with the onion powder, sprinkle each listed seasoning liberally all over the turkey, being the least generous with the Lawry’s. Lubricate the turkey, as directed, reapplying more seasoning and oil, until satisfied with the turkey’s appearance, and follow the remaining instructions.

    3) To stuff the turkey: If planning to stuff the turkey, prepare the stuffing as directed in your recipe and, just before roasting, spoon it loosely into the cavity. (Use a generous ½ cup of stuffing per pound of turkey. Don’t overfill since stuffing will expand as turkey roasts.) If not using stuffing, peel and quarter onion, clean and halve celery and place in cavity with parsley.

    4) To truss turkey: Thread a 12- to 14-inch piece of kitchen-twine through a trussing needle and tie a knot at the bottom end of the string. Starting at the top of the cavity (in front of the breast bone), sew through both side flaps of fleshy skin until you reach the bottom of the cavity. Pull to secure closed and use the remaining string to wind around the knobby ends of the drumsticks (while pulling) to bring them together. Tie in a knot to secure the legs in place and clip off loose ends of strings. The bony tips of the wings should be bent downward to sit underneath the turkey. Place turkey (breast side up), on the prepared roasting rack.

    5) To prepare garlic butter: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, reduce heat to low, add garlic and sauté about 3 minutes, until garlic is soft and fragrant, and let cool until just warm. Pour garlic butter into a blender and whirl until smooth. Spoon half the melted garlic butter over seasoned turkey. (I blend the garlic into the butter to help prevent it from scorching, since a large bird like a turkey requires a longer time in the oven.)

    6) To roast the turkey: Roast turkey in the preheated 450°F oven for 20 minutes. Then remove roasting pan from oven and carefully turn turkey breast side down (use the knobs of the drumsticks to move the bird.) Reduce oven temperature to 325°F and roast 1 1/2 to 3 ½ hours longer (depending on the size of the bird), basting occasionally, using a bulb-baster. Turn the bird over once more (breast side up) and pour on the remaining garlic butter. Roast another 30 minutes or so, basting frequently with pan juices using a bulb-baster. As the skin becomes crisp and golden, check turkey frequently for signs of doneness, remembering that an unstuffed turkey roasts quicker than a stuffed one. When fully cooked, remove turkey from oven and let it rest on the roasting rack (loosely tented with aluminum foil) over a platter or carving surface for 10 to 20 minutes so the juices settle.

    7) To prepare neck and gizzard: While turkey is roasting, simmer neck and gizzard (never the liver which makes the stock bitter) in 2 cups of the chicken stock until tender, about 30 minutes for the neck and 1 hour for the tougher gizzard. Pull meat off neck and shred or chop it; chop the gizzard as well. Set aside stock, chopped neck and gizzard for the gravy.

    8) To deglaze roasting pan: While roasted turkey rests, pour off all but 2 to 4 tablespoons of drippings (depending on the amount of butter, flour, stock and wine you’re using) from the roasting pan. (Keep all those browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan along with the vegetables.) Set the roasting pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the wine and, using a gravy whisk or a wooden spatula, move the ingredients around the bottom of the pan to combine the caramelized browned bits of vegetables, drippings and wine. Simmer until liquid is reduced by 1/2, occasionally pressing on the vegetables to extract any remaining flavor. Pour the reserved hot chicken stock over the reduced wine and vegetables, still stirring and mashing down on the vegetables with a wooden spatula. Stir this mixture and simmer over low heat for 3 to 5 minutes.

    9) To make the gravy: Melt butter in a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add minced shallot and chopped mushrooms, if using. Sauté until softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes, then sprinkle on the flour, stirring to combine. Cook mixture over medium heat another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Place a fine-meshed sieve over the saucepan and carefully pour the simmering stock mixture from the roasting pan into the sieve. Press hard on the solids as you force the enriched stock through and into the pot; discard the solids. Stir to combine stock with contents of saucepan; then stir in reserved chopped neck meat and gizzards, and simmer over low heat until hot and well combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and keep the gravy warm over low heat until the turkey is carved and ready to serve.

    10) Carving instructions: Almost the same as for chicken, there’s just more breast meat to slice and the limbs are larger than a single person can handle. Take off the crisp skin that covers the breast and place it to the side, while you carve the meat. Then, slice the skin into strips and lay them decoratively over the sliced meat. And instead of placing the legs and thighs from very large birds on a platter, dislodge the meat off the bones and place them on the platter as you would the sliced breast meat. Wings should be disjointed (split into two pieces) and placed on the platter.

    Timing is Everything

    • If impeccably fresh, the turkey can be seasoned (not stuffed) two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered with oiled plastic wrap. Always stuff poultry minutes before you plan to cook. If not using stuffing, however, the scallions can be inserted ahead, when you apply your seasoning.
    • All of the vegetables to roast underneath the bird can be assembled the day before and kept together in the refrigerator, well covered.
    • The stock, for the gravy, can (and should) be made days, weeks or months ahead and kept in the freezer in sealed plastic containers.
    • If you don’t have a reserve of chicken stock ready-to-go or tucked away in the freezer, “doctor” canned chicken broth by simmering some sliced aromatic vegetables such as carrots, celery, onion and parsley in the broth for 1 to 2 hours. Strain, discard the solids and use as directed in the recipe. Doing this will substantially perk up both the flavor and color of canned broth.
    • The gravy base can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, well covered.
    • The garlic butter can be assembled a few hours ahead and kept at a comfortable room temperature. Reheat just before using.

    SHOPPING LIST

    I will assume that you have stock in your freezer or that you’ll be using a canned variety. If doing the latter, I suggest “doctoring” the stock by simmering some aromatics in it (chopped onion, sliced leeks, carrots, celery and parsley) in the broth, with the cover ajar, for 30 to 60 minutes (start out with more broth than you’ll need, to allow for the natural occurrence of evaporation while the liquid simmers. I will break down the shopping into “types” of ingredients, all of which are available in a well-stocked supermarket.

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    For the turkey:

    • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and thinly sliced
    • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and thinly sliced
    • About 6 whole black peppercorns
    • Vegetable spray or oil, for roasting rack
    • 1 turkey (12 to 22 pounds)
    • Homemade poultry seasoning mixture (recipe follows)
    • Flavorless vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey
    • 1 1/2 to 3 sticks butter
    • 5 to 8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

    For the gravy:

    • 2 to 4 cups hot chicken stock
    • 1/2 to 1 cup dry white wine
    • 2 to 5 tablespoons butter
    • 1 to 2 shallots, minced
    • 2 to 4 medium-sized fresh button mushrooms (optional), wiped clean and finely minced or coarsely chopped
    • 3 to 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (use 3 tablespoons flour with 2 tablespoons butter, 2 cups stock and ½ cup wine OR 6 tablespoons flour with 4 tablespoons butter, 4 cups stock and 1 cup wine)

    From the supermarket shelf:

    • Vegetable oil or pure olive oil
    • Flour (unbleached all-purpose)
    • 1 quart chicken broth (if not using homemade chicken stock)

    From the spice section:

    • Onion powder or toasted dehydrated onions: If the toasted kind is not available, toss the regular ones in a dry pan, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until golden. Empty them into a bowl and let them cool before grinding in the spice grinder)
    • Garlic powder or minced dehydrated garlic chips (or use garlic powder)
    • Chili powder
    • Whole black peppercorns
    • Lawry’s seasoned salt
    • Kosher or sea salt
    • Hungarian paprika (sweet)
    • Dried thyme (only fresh thyme is unavailable for your gravy)

    From the meat department:

    • One 12 to 22 pound turkey (make sure to have the neck and gizzards)

    From the produce section:

    • 1 or 2 shallots
    • 2 to 4 button mushrooms
    • 1 bunch or bag carrots
    • 1 bunch celery
    • 1 yellow onion
    • 1 bunch scallions
    • 2 heads garlic
    • 1 bunch fresh thyme
    • (Extra onion, carrots, celery, parsley, leeks: onion if “doctoring” canned chicken broth)

    From the dairy case:

    • 1 box (holding 4 sticks) butter (salted or unsalted)

    From the spirits section:

    • 1 bottle dry white wine (although some cooks say to use Vermouth instead, I don’t like Vermouth and don’t use it. If you don’t want to use wine in your gravy, just use an equal amount of additional chicken stock.)

    Comments (1)

    Perfect Roast Chicken

    Everyone should know how to make a great roast chicken. Of all the recipes in my personal repertoire, this one for roast chicken is the most special to me. This was the first “real” meal that I successfully cooked for my husband Jon when we first got married. And although it’s been over twenty-five years, my family and I still think that this recipe produces the best roast chicken we’ve ever had.

    Feel free to apply the same seasoning and cooking technique to smaller Cornish hens, larger capons and big turkeys. Simply adjust the amount of seasoning, basting butter and, of course, the roasting time (more detailed information and a shopping list for roasting a turkey, see Perfect Roast Turkey). Lastly, although you might be tempted, after carving, don’t throw away the cooked carcasses or any unused skin. Instead, refrigerate them until morning and then make a wonderful pot of chicken stock.

    Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment

    • Large stainless steel baking sheet or roasting pan with a sturdy, large wire cooling rack
    • Trussing needle
    • Kitchen twine
    • Bulb-baster
    • Flat gravy whisk (optional)
    • Fine-mesh wire sieve

    For the chicken:

    • 2 cups assorted aromatic vegetables (thinly sliced carrot, yellow onion and celery)
    • Vegetable spray or oil, for the roasting rack
    • 2 chickens (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds each)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • Poultry Seasoning Mix, as needed (click to see recipe), or see directions below for seasoning without a pre-assembled mix
    • Flavorless vegetable oil (or pure olive oil), as needed, for the chickens
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 8 scallions trimmed and left whole (use the white and 2 inches of the tender green), if not planning to stuff the birds
    • 3 to 4 cups of your favorite stuffing, at room temperature (optional)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced

    For the gravy:

    • 2 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
    • Necks and gizzards from the chickens (no heart or liver)
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or use more chicken stock)
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 large shallot, minced
    • 2 medium-sized button mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

    1) To clean and season the chickens: First remove the giblets from each cavity, reserving only the necks and gizzards for the gravy. Save the liver and heart for another recipe or discard them.Thoroughly rinse and dry the chickens, trimming away any excess fat from the cavity openings. Place the chickens on two large overlapping sheets of aluminum foil, on your counter. Pour a cup or so of oil into a bowl and place it next to the chickens. Working with one bird at a time, sprinkle the insides of each cavity with some salt and black pepper. Sprinkle the Poultry Seasoning Mix, very generously, on both sides of each chicken. Use your hands to scoop up a liberal amount of oil and rub it onto the birds, evenly distributing the seasoning. When done, the birds should look deeply colored and glistening.

    To season without pre-assembled Poultry Seasoning Mix:

    Take out a jar of onion powder, garlic powder, Lawry’s seasoning salt and sweet paprika, along with a pepper mill and a bottle of vegetable oil. Place a sheet of plastic wrap around the center of each bottle, including the oil, which will help keep the jars clean as you season the birds. Grind a generous amount of black pepper into a small bowl. Starting with the onion powder, sprinkle each listed seasoning liberally all over the birds, on both sides, being the least generous with the Lawry’s. Lubricate the chickens, as directed, reapplying more seasoning and oil, until satisfied with the chicken’s appearance, and follow the remaining instructions.

    Bend the bony tips of the wings down, securing them underneath the chickens. Transfer the birds, cradled in the foil, to a tray or a large bowl and cover them with greased plastic wrap, oiled side down. Refrigerate the birds until 30 minutes before you plan to roast.

    2) To make the gravy base: Bring 2 1/2 cups of the stock to a brisk simmer, over medium-high heat, in a 1-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the necks and gizzards. When the liquid comes back to a full bubble, reduce the heat to low and simmer the chicken parts, covered, until the meat is tender, about 25 minutes for the necks and 45 minutes for the tougher gizzards. When each is done, remove them from the broth. Set the broth aside and let the necks and gizzards become cool enough to handle. When cool, use a fork and your fingers to pull any meat off the necks, then shred or chop it. Chop the gizzards as well, and combine both. Reserve 2 cups of the stock and wipe out the saucepan.

    Melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter in the same saucepan, over medium heat. When bubbling, add the minced shallots and chopped mushrooms. Sauté the vegetables, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes, then stir in the flour. Cook the vegetable-roux over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, then whisk in the reserved cup of stock. Bring the liquid to a full bubble, then reduce the heat to low and let the sauce cook until thickened and rich-looking, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often. Lay a doubled paper towel over the top of the pan, then apply the lid. Set the gravy base aside for now.

    3) To make the basting mixture: Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat. When the butter is hot and bubbling, add the minced garlic. Reduce the heat to low and let the garlic sizzle for a few minutes, until it’s very fragrant. Remove the pan from the stove.

    4) To roast the chickens: Preheat the oven to 400°F. If not using stuffing, insert the trimmed scallions into the cavity of each chicken, green ends out. Secure the legs using kitchen twine by wrapping it around the knobby ends, criss-crossing the ends, and tying a knot. If planning to stuff the birds, just before roasting, spoon the stuffing loosely into the cavity. Use about 1/2 generous cup stuffing per each pound of meat. Place any additional stuffing in a buttered baking dish, to roast along with the chickens. To truss a stuffed bird, thread a 10-inch length of kitchen twine through a trussing needle and tie a knot at the bottom end of the string. Starting at the top of the cavity, sew through both side flaps of thin fleshy skin, until you reach the bottom of the opening. Pull the string, securing the cavity shut and use the remaining string to wind around the knobby ends of the drumsticks (while pulling) to bring them together. Tie a knot to secure the legs, and snip off any loose ends of string.

    Strew the carrot, onion and celery on a large shallow baking sheet. Spray a large roasting rack (if not nonstick) with vegetable spray and place it over the vegetables. Place the seasoned birds (breast-side up) side by side, on the prepared roasting rack with a 2-inch space between the birds. Spoon the garlic butter over each bird.

    Put the chickens into the preheated oven and reduce the temperature to 375°F. Roast the birds until golden and crisp, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours for unstuffed birds (about 15 minutes longer if stuffed), basting occasionally with pan juices using a bulb baster. As the chicken skin becomes crisp and golden, check frequently for signs of doneness (wings and legs should wiggle freely at the joints and an instant thermometer will read 170°F when inserted into the thigh and 165°F (no higher) when inserted into the breast meat). Baste a stuffed bird often during the last 15 minutes of cooking and cook until an instant thermometer inserted deep into the cavity reads 165°F. When done, remove the chickens from the oven and lift out the roasting rack holding them. Let the birds rest (loosely tented with aluminum foil) over a platter or a carving surface, for 10 minutes, so the juices can be reabsorbed. (To bake additional stuffing, place the dish in a 375°F oven and cook, covered, for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes more, or until piping hot throughout and the top is golden and crusty.)

    5) To finish the gravy: Reheat your gravy base over low heat, until simmering. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the baking sheet. (Keep all those vegetables and browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.) Set the baking sheet on the stove, directly over medium-high heat and, when things start to sizzle, pour in the wine. Using a gravy whisk or the flat edge of a wooden spatula, combine the vegetables, drippings and wine. Simmer the liquid, until reduced by half, occasionally pressing on the vegetables to extract any remaining flavor. Position a fine-mesh sieve over the simmering sauce base and carefully pour the contents of the baking sheet into the sieve, mashing down on the vegetables to push all of their goodness through the sieve and into the sauce. Discard the contents of the sieve, and stir the thyme, along with the reserved minced neck and gizzard meat into the gravy. Season the gravy with some salt and pepper and let it simmer, over low heat, for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep the gravy warm, over low heat, while you carve the chickens.

    6) To carve the birds: cut the twine that binds the leg tips and, if stuffed, cut and remove the string that secures the cavity shut. Use tongs to remove the scallions and place them on a platter or use a spoon to scoop out the stuffing and place it into a warmed serving bowl. Cover the stuffing loosely with foil, to keep it warm. Position one chicken, so the cavity is in front of you.

    To remove the legs, first making an incision in the skin, where one of the thighs meets the breast. Use your nonworking hand to grasp the leg tip, while you use the knife to separate the leg from the body. When you reach the hip joint, use the tip of the knife to nudge a final separation. To detach the drumstick from the thigh, lay the leg on your cutting board (skin side up) and place your index finger on the top of the drumstick, just where it meets the thigh. Use your fingertip to locate the small empty space, indicating the joint. Place the knife blade in this spot and drive the blade through. Place the drumstick and thigh on a serving platter and do the same thing on the other side.

    To slice the breast meat, first lift off the top skin (covering the breast) in one piece and place it to the side, keeping it dry. Use the knife to cut each breast-half off the carcass in one piece, driving the blade in from the top, to one side of the chest bone. Depending on how chubby the breast is, slice the slab of meat into two or three pieces and put them on the platter. Do this on the other side. Slice the skin into crisp strips and drape them over the breast meat.

    To remove the wings, cut them off where they meet the carcass, then turn each carcass over and run your thumb under the two nuggets of dark meat that sit to either side of the backbone, releasing them. Put these on the platter. Repeat this with the remaining chicken.

    Timing is Everything

    • If impeccably fresh, the chickens can be seasoned (not stuffed) two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered with oiled plastic wrap. Always stuff poultry minutes before you plan to cook. If not using stuffing, however, the scallions can be inserted ahead, when you apply your seasoning.
    • All of the vegetables to roast underneath the birds can be assembled the day before and kept together in the refrigerator, well covered.
    • The stock, for the gravy, can (and should) be made days, weeks or months ahead and kept in the freezer in sealed plastic containers.
    • If you don’t have a reserve of chicken stock ready-to-go or tucked away in the freezer, “doctor” canned chicken broth by simmering some sliced aromatic vegetables such as carrots, celery, onion and parsley in the broth for 1 to 2 hours. Strain, discard the solids and use as directed in the recipe. Doing this will substantially perk up both the flavor and color of canned broth.
    • The gravy base can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator, well covered.
    • The garlic butter can be assembled a few hours ahead and kept at a comfortable room temperature. Reheat just before using

    SHOPPING LIST

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    • 2 cups assorted aromatic vegetables (thinly sliced carrot, yellow onion and celery)
    • Vegetable spray or oil, for the roasting rack
    • 2 chickens (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds each)
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • Poultry Seasoning, as needed (see recipe), or see the end of this recipe
    • Flavorless vegetable oil (or pure olive oil), as needed, for the chickens
    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
    • 8 scallions trimmed and left whole (use the white and 2 inches of the tender green), if not planning to stuff the birds
    • 3 to 4 cups of your favorite stuffing, at room temperature (optional)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced

    For the gravy:

    • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
    • Necks and gizzards from the chickens (no heart or liver)
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine (or use more chicken stock)
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 large shallot, minced
    • 2 medium-sized button mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped
    • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

    From the supermarket shelf:

    • Vegetable oil or pure olive oil
    • Flour (unbleached all-purpose)
    • 1 quart chicken broth (only if not using homemade chicken stock; see directions in the “Timing is Everything” section for “doctoring” canned chicken broth)

    From the spice section:

    • Onion powder or toasted dehydrated onions (If the toasted kind is not available, toss the regular ones in a dry pan, stirring constantly, over medium heat, until golden. Empty them into a bowl and let them cool before grinding in the spice grinder)
    • Garlic powder or minced dehydrated garlic chips
    • Chili powder
    • Whole black peppercorns
    • Lawry’s seasoned salt
    • Kosher or sea salt
    • Hungarian paprika (sweet)
    • Dried thyme (only if fresh thyme is unavailable for your gravy)

    From the meat department:

    • 2 chickens (3 ½ to 4 ½ pounds each) or 1 large capon (make sure to have the neck and gizzards)

    From the produce section:

    • 1 or 2 shallots
    • 2 to 4 button mushrooms
    • 1 bunch or bag carrots
    • 1 bunch celery
    • 1 yellow onion
    • 1 bunch scallions
    • 2 heads garlic
    • 1 bunch fresh thyme
    • (Extra onion, carrots, celery, parsley, leeks: onion if “doctoring” canned chicken broth)

    From the dairy case:

    • 1 box (holding 4 sticks) butter (salted or unsalted)

    From the spirits section:

    • 1 bottle dry white wine (although some cooks say to use Vermouth instead, I don’t like Vermouth and don’t use it. If you don’t want to use wine in your gravy, just use an equal amount of additional chicken stock.)

    Watch the Video.

    Comments (4)

    Honey-Roast Chicken

    One of my favorite reasons for making this dish over and over again (other than its delicious taste) is to watch how it always converts confirmed “curry haters.” Unfortunately, curry seems to be one of the most misunderstood spice blends around. But this recipe performs miracles as the cooking aromas from the curried honey sauce drive people crazy with anticipation! Without exception, I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this chicken recipe.

    The key to success is using a shallow baking sheet with one-inch sides, so the chicken pieces can become crisp as they self-baste. Since the pieces are liberally coated with sauce, if you use a pan that’s deeper than suggested, the chicken will bake instead of roast. The low-sided pan enables the exterior of the chicken to gain better exposure to heat, allowing the top to become gloriously brown (almost mahogany). The result is one of the best and most versatile chicken dishes that I prepare. The recipe also doubles easily.

    Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment

    • 1 large shallow baking sheet with a 1-inch rim

    Ingredients:

    • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
    • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 cup mild honey
    • 1 teaspoon fine table salt
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (or more, to taste)
    • 2 generous tablespoons peach or mango chutney
    • Small handful dried currants or chopped dark raisins
    • 2 roasting chickens (3 1/4 to 3 1/2 pounds each), each cut into 8 serving pieces

    1. To make the sauce : Melt butter in a heavy 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, sauté the onion and garlic until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, excluding the chicken, and stir until combined. Heat until warm throughout and set aside until cool enough to handle.

    2. To prepare chicken: Rinse and pat the chicken pieces dry. Dip each piece in the honey mixture, coating chicken completely. Lay chicken pieces (skin side up) on a large shallow baking sheet. Spoon any remaining sauce over chicken.

    3. To roast: Either place the chicken in a cold oven, turn the heat to 400o F and roast for 1 hour or place in a preheated 375F oven and roast for 45 minutes. If splitting the chicken between two smaller baking sheets, roast in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and switch the shelf positions of the pans after half the baking time.

    4. To serve: Transfer chicken to a warmed serving platter and serve hot, at room temperature or slightly chilled.

    Curried Chicken Salad

    A good reason to double this recipe is the leftovers. They not only reheat well, but they also make fabulous chicken salad! Just remove any thick pieces of skin and tear flesh into bite-sized pieces, add some coarsely chopped, unpeeled Golden Delicious apples, coarsely chopped toasted almonds, dried currants and minced scallions. Make a dressing with mayonnaise, some Dijon mustard and a touch of honey. Toss chicken salad with just enough dressing to bind, adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with a salad greens and some crusty rolls and you’ve got yourself a great lunch or a light supper!

    SHOPPING LIST

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    Ingredients:

    • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
    • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion
    • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 cup mild honey
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 to 2 rounded teaspoons curry powder (or more, to taste)
    • 2 tablespoons peach or mango chutney
    • Small handful dried currants or chopped dark raisins
    • 2 roasting chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each), each cut into 8 serving pieces

    From the supermarket shelf:

    • Mild honey (clover honey)
    • Dijon mustard
    • Peach or mango chutney
    • Dried currants

    From the spice section:

    • Curry powder (I prefer Madras brand)

    From the produce aisle:

    • Yellow onion
    • Garlic

    From the butcher:

    • 2 roasting chickens (3 ½ to 4 pounds each) whole (to be cut by you) or as the butcher to cut each bird into 8 serving pieces

    From the dairy case:

    • Butter

    Watch the Video.

    Comments (3)

    Chicken Fingers with Three Different (Great Tasting) Dips

    Ok, if you’re having trouble weaning your kids away from the neighborhood fast-food joint, or if you’d simply like to offer a delish-dish to the kids that will help them to sit happily at the table, then this recipe for long, crisp, savory chicken fingers is definitely for you! And, just to make things extra exciting (for all of you), I’ve provided three different dipping sauces. Also, don’t hesitate to serve these, with cocktails, before a casual dinner, when entertaining. The following recipes illustrate perfectly how easy it is to make a homemade dinner that’s truly memorable, and so simple!

    Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment

    For the chicken fingers:

    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved (about 2 pounds)
    • 1 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (only if using the pan-frying method)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs (preferably The Best Dried Breadcrumbs)
    • 1 cup freshly grated best-quality Parmesan cheese (optional but highly
    • suggested: alternatively, use 1 more cup dried breadcrumbs)
    • 4 extra-large eggs, beaten with a fork
    • Olive oil, as needed, for pan-frying
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened
    • 2 tablespoons butter, or more as needed (you’ll need between 1/2 and 1 stick of melted butter if making the oven-roasted version)

    1) To slice the chicken breasts: Rinse and dry each chicken breast half and pull the tenderloin off, keeping it intact. Slice each breast half, lengthwise into 1-inch thick strips (you’ll get between two and three slices per each breast half, not including the tenderloin).

    2) To set up to bread the chicken: Place flour on a plate and season lightly with salt and pepper. Combine bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, if using, on a shallow baking sheet. In a bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and place the bowl in between the flour and crumbs. Line a large shallow baking sheet with wax paper and place this next to the crumbs. (If making the oven-roasted version, omit the flour and just set up the beaten eggs and crumbs.)

    3) To bread the chicken strips and chill: Sprinkle prepared chicken strips lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge about 6 chicken strips in the seasoned flour, coating them well, and then shake off the excess. Dip floured chicken into beaten eggs to coat thoroughly. (If using the oven-roasted method, dip the seasoned strips of chicken directly into the egg (no flour) and then proceed.) Working with 1 egg-coated chicken strip at a time, lay it on top of the crumb mixture and turn to coat each side, pressing gently to help the crumbs adhere. Lay the heavily breaded chicken strip on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the floured chicken strips, then rinse and dry your hands and flour, dip and coat the remaining strips, as directed. Whether pan-frying or oven-roasting, cover the sheet with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

    4) To pan-fry the chicken fingers: Arrange a long double thickness of paper toweling on your kitchen counter, as close to the stove as safely possible. Heat a 12 to 14-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and, when hot, add enough olive oil to generously coat the bottom of the pan.
    When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the flattened garlic cloves and let them become light golden brown, frequently pressing on them to flavor the oil. Remove the garlic with a slotted utensil and add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan, stirring, to disperse it evenly throughout the oil. When the butter is bubbling, but not at all brown, fry several breaded chicken strips at time, in a single layer, without overly crowding the pan. Fry the chicken until golden brown and crisp on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (Use a turning spatula occasionally to press gently on the top of each strip to encourage even browning.) When cooked through, drain each chicken finger on paper towels and place them on a hot serving tray. Continue frying the rest. If while frying, the butter ever becomes overly dark from an accumulation of crumbs on the bottom of the pan, dump out the oil and wipe out the skillet. Heat more oil and melt more butter before frying the next batch.

    5) To oven-roast the chicken fingers: Set up the paper towels, as described for pan-frying. About 30 minutes before you plan to cook, preheat the oven to 425°F with the rack in the center. Place the breaded chicken fingers in a single layer on a large shallow baking sheet, that’s lined with aluminum foil. (You might need two pans. If so, and not using a double oven, position the racks on the upper and lower third shelves.) Melt 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan and, when hot, add the flattened garlic. Let the garlic cook gently in the hot butter, just until it gets light golden (pressing on it, as described previously). Remove the garlic. One at a time, lightly dip both sides of the strips in the flavored butter and place onto the prepared sheet. (You might not need all the butter.) Roast the chicken strips at 425°F for 15 minutes. Turn each strip over and roast for another 15 minutes or until crisp and no longer pink on the inside. Drain on the paper towels.

    6) To serve: Serve the chicken fingers hot or warm, either on a warmed serving platter or stand them up in a short drinking glass, lined with some parchment paper. (The pan-fried version will be able to stand more erect than the oven-roasted ones.) Pass the dip(s), at the table.

    Timing is Everything:

    • The chicken can be breaded a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.
    • You can fry the chicken fingers an hour or two ahead and reheat them on a wire rack set within a shallow baking sheet, at 375°F for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • All three dipping sauces can be made up to two days ahead and kept refrigerated, well covered.

    Kid-Friendly Honey-Mustard Dip: Mix 1 scant cup mayonnaise with 2 rounded tablespoons of honey “Dijon” mustard. Chill. (This can be made 2 days ahead.)

    Lemon-Garlic Scampi Dip: Combine 1 cup mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons minced scallions, 1 generous tablespoon of chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, 1/4 rounded teaspoon cayenne pepper. (This can be made 2 days ahead.)

    Homemade Duck Sauce: In a small nonreactive saucepan, whisk together 1 cup peach or apricot preserves (or mix both) with 4 tablespoons, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar, 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger root, 2 tablespoons minced scallions, 1 tablespoon soy sauce (preferably Tamari), 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 2 tablespoons water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, then stir in 1 generous teaspoon toasted sesame oil. Pulse in the food processor until any big pieces of fruit are made smaller, allowing the sauce to retain texture. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Chill to allow the sauce to thicken. Bring close to room temperature before serving. This can be made 2 days ahead and leftovers are good for a few more days (5 days total).

    SHOPPING LIST

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    For the chicken fingers:

    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved (about 2 pounds)
    • 1 1/3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (only if using the pan-frying method)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 2 1/2 cups dried breadcrumbs (preferably The Best Dried Breadcrumbs)
    • 1 cup freshly grated best-quality Parmesan cheese (optional but highly suggested: alternatively, use 1 more cup dried breadcrumbs)
    • 4 extra-large eggs, beaten with a fork
    • Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed, for pan-frying
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and flattened
    • 2 tablespoons butter, or more as needed (you’ll need between 1/2 and 1 stick of melted butter if making the oven-roasted version)

    For the honey-mustard dip:

    • 1 cup prepared mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard

    For the lemon-garlic scampi dip:

    • 1 cup prepared mayonnaise
    • 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons minced scallions
    • 1 generous tablespoon minced flat-leaf, Italian parsley
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

    For homemade duck sauce:

    • 1 cup peach or apricot preserves (or combine both)
    • 4 tablespoons, plus 1 ½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons peeled, minced ginger
    • 2 tablespoons minced scallions
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (preferably Tamari)
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 1 generous teaspoon toasted sesame oil

    From the butcher:

    • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved (8 pieces; about 2 pounds)

    From the supermarket shelf:

    • Unbleached, all-purpose flour
    • Dried breadcrumbs (only if not making your own)
    • Extra-virgin olive oil
    • Peach or apricot preserves (or both)
    • Soy sauce (preferably Tamari)
    • Mayonnaise (only if making the honey-mustard dip and the scampi dip)
    • Distilled white vinegar (only if making the duck sauce)
    • Toasted sesame oil (only if making duck sauce)

    From the produce aisle:

    • Garlic
    • Scallions (only if making the scampi dip and the duck sauce)
    • Parsley (only if making the lemon-garlic scampi dip)
    • Lemon (only if making lemon-garlic scampi dip)
    • Fresh ginger root (only if making duck sauce)

    From the spice section:

    • Garlic powder
    • Cayenne pepper (only if making the lemon-garlic scampi dip)

    From the refrigerated section:

    • Extra-large eggs

    From the dairy case:

    • Wedge of best-quality Parmesan cheese
    • Unsalted butter

    Comments (2)

    Lamb Pot Pies (with a Turkey or Chicken Variation)

    Whenever I serve these piping hot pot pies to my family, everyone at the table is initially so quiet– since we’re all so busy plowing through the crisp pastry, uncovering all sorts of savory goodies inside. Usually, it’s not until we reach the half-way mark in our individual dishes, that we come up for air and chat as normal. If you’re in the mood for beef or veal instead of lamb, just substitute an equal amount of cubed chuck or veal shoulder and use all beef or veal stock, in the sauce. And, speaking of stock, although it’s OK to use store-bought puff pastry on top, please use homemade stock in the sauce, since it really will help make these pot pies better than all others. For your convenience, I’ve also provided a “turkey or chicken” pot pie variation at the end of this recipe. Any time I’ve suggested a tool, a piece of equipment, or a culinary term that’s unfamiliar to you, you can go to Kitchen Management for more information.

    Special Equipment

    • 6 individual, oven-proof crocks (each with a generous 2- cup capacity)
    • Large round (plain or fluted) pastry cutter; although I call for a 6-inch cutter in the recipe, the ultimate size will depend on the size of the individual crocks. You’ll need to cut pastry out to exceed the top (all the way around) by 1 inch (You can also simply cut out a 6-inch parchment template and use the tip of a sharp knife to trace and cut out pastry rounds)

    Ingredients for the pot pies:

    • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds lamb stew meat (from the shoulder or neck), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 cups dry red wine
    • 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning the lamb
    • 8 cups lamb stock (simmer browned lamb bones in chicken stock, strain and defat) or combine beef with chicken stock
    • 1 pound new potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 4 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced 1/2-inch thick
    • 8 ounces fresh pearl onions (or use frozen pearl onions, thawed)
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
    • 2 cups (packed) cleaned, thinly sliced, leeks (use the white and light green)
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme)
    • 1/4 cup thick creme fraiche or heavy cream
    • 1 generous cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 1 1/2 cups whole cherry tomatoes, stems removed
    • 1/2 recipe Quick Puff Pastry or 1 pound frozen store-bought puff pastry, thawed
    • Glaze: 1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon water and strained
    • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

    1) To marinate the lamb: Place the meat into a large nonreactive dish and pour in the red wine. Scatter the onion wedges over the top, separating them into strips. Use your hands to help coat the meat with the wine and to disperse the onions. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 to 24 hours, occasionally stirring to redistribute.

    2) To brown the lamb: First place a medium-mesh sieve over a mixing bowl. Pick the meat out of the wine and drain the pieces on a large doubled sheet of paper towels. Pat meat dry, then sprinkle the pieces with salt and black pepper. Pour the wine through the sieve and discard the onions. Reserveall of the wine. Heat a heavy-bottomed, deep-sided 12-inch skillet over high heat and, when hot, add a thin layer of olive oil. When the oil is hot, brown the lamb, in batches, until deeply browned on all sides (be patient and don’t crowd the pan). Transfer each batch of browned meat to a tray, as you continue to brown the rest. When finished, dump out any oil from the pan, but don’t wipe out the interior. Deglaze the pan, over high heat, with the reserved wine, reducing it to a syrupy 1/2 cup, and reserve.

    3) To simmer the lamb: Bring the stock to a boil in a 4-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir the reduced wine into the stock, along with the browned meat and bring the liquid to a brisk bubble. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the meat, covered tightly, until meltingly tender, but not dry, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Using a large slotted utensil, transfer the meat to a big bowl. Bring the stock to a rolling boil, over high heat, uncovered. Add the diced potatoes and set your timer for 10 minutes. After 4 minutes have elapsed, add the carrots and cook them with the potatoes until the timer sounds. Meanwhile, position a medium-mesh wire sieve over an empty 2-quart bowl. When the timer goes off, pour the stock into the sieve, allowing it to capture the vegetables. Place the drained vegetables into the bowl with the cooked meat. Leave the stock in the bowl, for now.

    4) To cook the pearl onions with the mushrooms: First boil the raw onions for 7 minutes, then drain them and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process. Slice off the root end of each onion and slip off their skins. Heat a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, deep-sided skillet over high heat and, when hot, add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced mushrooms and cook them, over high heat, until tender and starting to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in the pearl onions and cook, until any released liquid from the mushrooms totally evaporates and the onions are turning golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Empty the onions and mushrooms into the bowl with the meat and other vegetables. Put the pan back on the stove, without wiping out the interior.

    5) To make the sauce and assemble the pot pies: Melt the butter in the same 12-inch skillet, over medium heat and, when hot and bubbling, stir in the leeks. Reduce the heat to low and cook the leeks until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high and stir in the flour. Cook the vegetable-based “roux,” stirring constantly, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add only 6 cups of the hot stock and bring it to a brisk boil, uncovered (freeze the rest for another recipe). Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme and creme fraiche (or cream) and simmer 3 more minutes. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Fold in the peas and cherry tomatoes and season again with salt and pepper.

    Spoon the meat and vegetable mixture into six individual oven-proof crocks, dividing equally. Let the contents cool completely. Meanwhile, roll out your puff pastry, 1/8-inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. Cut out 6 rounds to fit the top of your crocks and cut out a decorative 1/3-inch-wide vent in the center of each round using a tiny pastry cutter (or a thimble). Apply a round of pastry to the top of each filled crock and press the edges of dough onto the outer sides of the rim, helping the dough to adhere. Refrigerate the dishes, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to bake.

    6) To bake: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Assemble your egg glaze. Remove the pot pies from the refrigerator and uncover them. Place the crocks on a large shallow baking sheet. Brush the pastry with the egg glaze and sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds, if using. Bake the pot pies until the pastry is golden, very crisp and the filling is visibly bubbling through the vents, 35 to 45 minutes . Serve them right away.

    Timing is Everything:

    The pot pies can be fully assembled and topped with pastry one day ahead and kept refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap. Don’t apply the glaze, however, until just before baking.


    For Turkey or Chicken Pot Pies: Forget the marinade ingredients. Using all the same size saucepans, substitute 6 cups chicken stock for the lamb stock and bring it to a brisk boil over medium-high heat (uncovered). Add the diced potatoes to the stock and set the timer for 10 minutes. After 4 minutes have passed, add the carrots and continue to boil. When 6 minutes have passed (4 minutes left), add 4 stalks of trimmed celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick, and cook until the timer sounds. Pour the stock through a sieve, positioned over another bowl, to drain the vegetables and retain the stock. Place the cooked vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Cook the mushrooms in a 12-inch skillet, as directed in the main recipe and add them to the bowl of vegetables with the pearl onions and the peas (omit the cherry tomatoes). Make your sauce as directed in the main recipe, increasing the creme fraiche to 1/2 cup, and pour the sauce over the vegetables. Season well and fold in 5 to 6 cups of diced cooked turkey or chicken. Apply the pastry to the top of your baking dishes, then glaze the pastry and bake, as directed in the recipe featuring lamb.

    SHOPPING LIST for Lamb Pot Pies

    At-a-Glance Reminder of Ingredients

    Ingredients for the pot pies:

    • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds lamb stew meat (from the shoulder or neck), cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
    • 2 cups dry red wine
    • 1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
    • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • Pure olive oil, as needed, for browning the lamb
    • 8 cups lamb stock (simmer browned lamb bones in chicken stock, strain and defat) or combine beef with chicken stock
    • 1 pound new potatoes (about 2 large), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
    • 4 carrots, peeled and diagonally sliced 1/2-inch thick
    • 8 ounces fresh pearl onions (or use frozen pearl onions, thawed)
    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 1/4-inch thick
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
    • 2 cups (packed) cleaned, thinly sliced, leeks (use the white and light green)
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried thyme)
    • 1/4 cup thick creme fraiche or heavy cream
    • 1 generous cup frozen peas, thawed
    • 1 1/2 cups whole cherry tomatoes, stems removed
    • 1 pound frozen store-bought puff pastry, thawed
    • Glaze: 1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon water and strained
    • Sesame seeds, for sprinkling (optional)

     

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