Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mushroom and Olive Dressing

Seems like everyone really likes a good dressing at Thanksgiving. That is it in the middle at the top of the plate. Here's how it is made.

1 lb fresh sausage meat
2 cups minced onions
Turkey liver, minced (if available)
1 lb fresh mushrooms – trimmed, washed and diced
1 cup pitted black olives – diced
2 anchovies – diced
2 Tablespoons capers, squeezed dry and minced
2 large eggs – slightly beaten
3 cloves garlic – puréed through a press
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf, crushed/pulverized
4 cups croutons
Salt and pepper

1.      Break up the sausage meat and sauté until lightly browned. Remove to a big (the biggest ya got!) mixing bowl.
2.      Sauté onions about eight minutes in the pan with the sausage fat. Add oil if needed. They should be tender and lightly browned.
3.      Add the turkey liver to the onions in the pan and continue to sauté for another minute or two to stiffen the liver.
4.      Scrape the onions and liver into the big mixing bowl.
5.      A handful at a time, twist mushrooms in the corner of a linen towel. Add any collected juices to the turkey stock.
6.      Sauté the mushrooms in 2 Tablespoons of oil until pieces begin to separate from each other. Then, scrape into the big mixing bowl.
7.      Mix in the olives, anchovies, capers, eggs, garlic and herbs.
8.      Fold in the croutons, add salt and pepper to taste.
9.      Scrape mixture into a large, buttered, casserole dish.
10.   Bake in 350 F oven for an hour or more. Every 20 minutes or so, pour 1/4 cup of turkey stock (or chicken stock) over the dressing. If it browns, cover it with foil until you are ready to serve.

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

10 cups sliced green beans
8-1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 cups diced onions
4 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sour cream
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 teaspoon salt

1.     Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2.     Butter a large baking dish.
3.     Boil the green beans in the chicken broth for about 10 minutes so that they are tender to the way you like them, and then drain, reserving 3 cups of the chicken broth.
4.     Meanwhile, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
5.     Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
6.     Sauté the onions until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes, and then add the mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove from the heat.
7.     Add the green beans to the skillet with the mushrooms and onions.
8.     Pour the reserved 3 cups chicken broth back into the pot the green beans boiled in and bring to a boil.
9.     While that is coming to a boil, combine the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl to make a slurry.
10.  Slowly pour the slurry into the boiling broth, whisking constantly as it thickens, about 2 minutes.  
11.  Pour the thickened mixture over the green beans and add the sour cream, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well.
12.  Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with the panko and cheese mixture.

13.  Bake until the casserole is hot, about 10 minutes, and then broil until the breadcrumb topping is slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Can be made in advanced and refrigerated. Be sure to increase bake time to about 30 minutes or longer then.

Sweet Potato Casserole

 This is how I made the sweet potato casserole for the Thanksgiving dinner. That is them in the middle of the plate.

4 cups sweet potato, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup packed smoked brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1.     Preheat oven to 325 F.

2.     Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

3.     In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.

4.     Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

5.     In medium bowl, mix the brown sugars and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans.

6.     Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.

7.     Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Cranberry Sauce

12 ounces of fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
2 Tablespoons water

1.     Reserve ½ cup of cranberries and place the rest into a saucepan.
2.     Add the sugar, dried orange peel and water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 – 12 minutes.
3.     Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about another 12 – 15 minutes.
4.     Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries.

5.     Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Roasted Wild Boar Leg

Made this to have as part of the Thanksgiving dinner. That is the boar leg with sauce on the left part of the plate.

One 6-pound leg of wild boar
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper

For the marinade:
4 cups hearty red wine
2 dried imported bay leaves
40 sprigs fresh thyme, rinsed
20 black peppercorns
6 cloves
1 carrot, trimmed, peeled, and cut in 1/4-inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut in eighths
1/4 cup best-quality red wine vinegar

To roast the wild boar:
20 whole cloves
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce:
2 cups chicken
3-4 tablespoons loganberry jelly

Rub the leg of wild boar all over with the salt and the pepper. Place it in a shallow dish, cover it loosely, and refrigerate it for 2 days.

Place the herbs and spices in cheese cloth and tie it up. Then, bring the wine, the herbs and spices, and the vegetables to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium high heat and cook for about 3 minutes.



Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Strain, reserving the bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns and cloves, and discarding the vegetables. 
Whisk in the vinegar.

Quickly rinse the salt and pepper from the boar to remove most but not all of it. Pat meat dry and place it in a brining bag (like those used for turkeys). Pour the cooled marinade over it, return it to the refrigerator, loosely covered, and let it marinate for 2 days, turning it at least four times.



Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Remove the leg of wild boar from the marinade and pat it dry. 

Make 20 tiny slits in it all over, and insert a clove into each slit. Transfer the boar to a baking dish, and pour one-fourth of the marinade over it. Roast in the center of the oven until the boar is very golden on the outside, about a half hour.

Lower temperature to 250°F, and continue roasting for another 4 – 5-1/2 hours so that it reaches 170°F. Check it occasionally to be sure the marinade hasn't completely evaporated, and pour the additional marinade over the roast, one-fourth at a time.

When the boar is roasted remove it from the oven, and set it on a platter in warm spot, loosely covered, to sit for at least 20 minutes so the juices have a chance to retreat back into the meat.

To prepare the sauce, transfer the cooking juice and any browned bits from the bottom of the baking dish to a medium sized saucepan. Whisk in the chicken or veal stock and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce by about one-fourth, then stir in the loganberry jelly. Continue cooking and whisking until the sauce is smooth and satiny, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Thinly slice the wild boar and arrange it on a platter. Garnish with flat-leaf parsley leaves. Either pour the sauce over the meat, or serve it on the side.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guinness Chocolate Mousse

This started with a recipe from my sister (whom I love to antagonize).

10 egg yolks
10 egg whites
100 g sugar
350 g 60% dark chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter
100 ml Guinness draught
Pinch of salt
Scant ¼ tsp cream of tartar

Small glass jar for separating egg whites
2 ½ to 3 quart stainless steel bowl or sauce pan for egg yolks
Clean, dry 2 q/w quart mixing bowl, preferably of stainless steel for beating egg whites
Portable electric beater
Cover for the small saucepan holding the coffee
Larger pan with 1 inch or 2 of simmering water to hold the small pan for melting chocolate
Another and even larger pan with simmering water to set the egg-yolk pan into
1 or 2 rubber spatulas
Electric mixer on a stand for final beating of egg yolks

Egg yolks and sugar – preliminary blending. Start separating the eggs, dropping the white from number one egg into the jar, and the yolk into the stainless bowl or pan. Be sure there is no speck of yolk in the white – scoop it out with a bit of shell if there is, then transfer white into the egg-white beating bowl. Continue with the rest of the eggs. Set whites aside, out of the way. Using portable beater or wire whip, beat the yolks for 2 to 3 minutes until pale, lemon colored, and thick; this is a kind of anti-curdle insurance, and prepares them for being heated. You are now ready for the sugar syrup.

Set pan with 75 ml Guinness over high heat, blend in the sugar, and bring to the boil, swirling pan by its handle. Let boil a moment or two, swirling, until sugar has completely dissolved – liquid will be clear rather than cloudy. At once, bring hot liquid over to egg yolks; begin beating the yolks at moderate speed while you slowly dribble the hot syrup into them. Then set aside for a moment while you prepare the chocolate for melting.

Melting the chocolate. Stir the rest of the Guinness (25 ml) into the now empty sugar-boiling pan, and break the chocolate into it. Remove larger pan of simmering water from heat, place chocolate pan in it, stir up once, cover pan, and let chocolate melt slowly while you continue with the egg yolks.

Egg yolks and sugar – thickening over hot water. Set the egg-yolk pan in the second pan of water, and keep water at just below the simmer. Beat the yolk mixture rather slowly but continuously with portable mixer or whip for 5 minutes or longer, until it doubles in volume and becomes a thick cream that is hot to your finger. When warm and thick, scrape into the bowl of your electric mixer (or place egg-yolk pan in a large bowl of cold water). Beat at moderate speed 5 minutes or so, until cool, and when you lift a bit on a spatula it dribbles off in a thick ribbon that takes several seconds to dissolve and absorb back into the surface of the main body.

Combining egg yolks with melted chocolate and butter. Remove chocolate pan from the hot water and stir up; if not quite melted, renew hot water, and beat a few seconds, until chocolate is perfectly smooth and shining. Remove from hot water. Cut butter into 1-inch pieces, and beat it rapidly piece by piece into the chocolate, using electric mixer or whip. Scrape chocolate over egg yolks, then combine the two with a rubber spatula by cutting straight down through the center with edge of spatula, drawing spatula to edge of pan, then bringing it up to the surface in a scooping motion. Continue thus, rotating pan, and scooping rapidly until yolks and chocolate are fairly well combined. They will get more mixing later, and you need not be thorough as long as you are fast – about 30 seconds in all.

Beating the egg whites. At once, before chocolate and butter have time to cool and thicken, get to the egg whites. If they are chilled they won’t mount properly; set bowl in hot water and stir about for a few seconds until the chill is off, testing with your finger to see if they are room temperature. Being sure your beater is perfectly clean, start whipping the egg whites at moderate speed for a minute, until they are broken up and foaming. Add the salt and cream of tartar, and gradually increase speed to fast – circulating beater all about the bowl to incorporate as much air as possible, and taking about a minute to arrive at top speed. Continue until beater leaves definite traces in the egg whites, then begin testing. Egg whites should form stiff shining peaks when lifted in wires of eater, just the tops of the peaks bending down slightly. Proceed at once to next step. (“Stiff but not dry” is a phrase often used, but it is the shine and the sheen of them that you look for, since if you overbeat egg whites they lose that look, begin to break down, and turn grainy. But if this does happen, add another egg white, and beat again.)

Completing the mousse. Immediately turn one fourth of the beaten egg whites out on top of the chocolate with your rubber spatula; scoop and fold in rapidly to loosen the chocolate mixture. Turn the rest of the egg whites on top, and rapidly fold them in, just as you combined the chocolate and egg yolks, by rapid scoops with your spatula, rotating the pan or bowl as you do so. The whole process should not take more than a minute, and remember you are trying to deflate the egg whites as little as possible. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Crusty Chipotle Bread

3+ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 ½ cups water
3 Chipotle peppers – seeds and ribs removed, chopped

In a large mixing bowl, sift 3 cups of flour. 

Measure in the salt and yeast. Whisk all together.

Place the chopped peppers in a measuring cup and add water to 1 ½ cups.

Add water to flour/salt/yeast and fold in creating a shaggy mixture. If it is too wet, add more flour.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 18 hours.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. When oven has reached 450, place cast iron pot with lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, scrape dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball. 

Cover with plastic wrap and let set while pot is heating.

Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough. here's the dough ready to go!

Cover and return to oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

After 30 to 40 minutes, remove lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Remove bread from oven and place on cooling rack to cool.