I cooked a couple of things recently that I haven’t blogged about individually but thought I’d pull together in a summary post.
Pan Roasted Chicken – February 17
This is a recipe I originally made in January 2014. The recipe comes straight from Dad Cook’s Dinner. It’s super simple as long as you have an oven safe pan such as cast iron. Or if the chicken is too big for the skillet, put in on a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet like I did my turkey for Thanksgiving. Spatchcock the turkey – turn it breast side down and cut out the back bone then flip back over and flatten. Pat dry and sprinkle some salt and pepper on it and let it dry brine in the refrigerator for a few hours. I sear it a bit different from Mike Vrobel’s method in that I put the cast iron skillet in the oven while it heats up (I think I learned this from Alton Brown) to get it rocket hot. Then being very careful to handle this extremely hot skillet with heat proof gloves, move the skillet to the stove and sear the chicken before popping into the oven. But seriously be careful because the skillet is so very hot.
Pressure Cooker Chili Verde – March 12
I’ve made an excellent chili verde based on Karen Ray’s recipe on the Food Network. I blogged about it in 2010 and 2012. The link to the original recipe doesn’t work but here is a copy – I think. To make things more
confusing interesting I’ve spelled this recipe as “chile” and “chili”. There is a debate on the internet – I’m using “chili” now.
Anyway, back to the recipe; it turns out a 5-star version but it takes a long time to prep: the chilis get roasted, steamed, skinned, de-seeded and roughly chopped. Definitely worth it but you have to have an afternoon free. Recently Serious Eats published a pressure cooker chili verde post that can get a great version by simply chopping the ingredients and putting in a pressure cooker – no fancy handling of the chilis and no pre-searing of the meat before braising. I’m usually skeptical of this type of recipe you find out there: simply chop and dump into your pressure (or slow) cooker. But hey, this is Serious Eats we are talking about – they are serious about cooking.
Cut the pork shoulder into 2-inch chunks then roughly chop some chilis, a couple of tomatillos and onions. You can use ground cumin, but Serious Eats really recommends toasting and grinding whole sees. Hey, it gave me an opportunity to buy a nice mortar and pestle. To get a little more of that umami flavor we use a splash of fish sauce – don’t worry, it won’t make the finished dish tasty fishy.
Slap it all in your pressure cooker and away you go.
Let things sauté for a minute or two to let some of the tomatillo juices to express and provide enough liquid for pressure cooking.
I had a batch of beans in the freezer so I made some refried beans. Oh these are excellent if I do say so myself. I used some techniques I learned over time and adjusted to make this my own. You can find my recipe here and you can read the post here.
Verdict: Everyone loved, loved, loved the beans. My sister-in-law took my recipe and made it for her kids a couple of days later. The family also liked the chili verde; however, I wasn’t completely sold – it was quite good but doesn’t match with my memory of the preparation used in 2010 and 2012. I think there is a lot to be gained by sautéing the meat a bit and doing a bit of prep with the chilis. When I make it again, I’ll do that extra prep and report back.