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Jan 4, 2008 08:31 AM

Best Complicated Recipes

There's a thread on simple ones -- which is awesome. What I get stuck on is: I see a complicated recipe, but sometimes I'm concerned that it's not a GOOD recipe, and the results won't have been worth all the work. I think Molly Stevens rosemary ale maple shortribs has a ton of steps, but worth every single one. So by complicated I mean, either a lot of steps or a tricky procedure or esoteric ingredients (sometimes finding the right specific ingredient is the most difficult part of the recipe!)..... or some or all of the above. And I'm interested in baking recipes, too.

I'm not talking about, "it looks complicated but most of the steps are unnecessary" like, for example, a Cook's Illustrated recipe that tells you to stir counter-clockwise while standing on one leg for thirty seconds. When really you only need to do it for twenty-five. :o) I'm looking for the ones where it's complicated, and/or hard, and/or tricky, and worth it!

Thanks guys!

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  1. If you are doing to cookbook of the month this month, try the Fall Apart Lamb Shanks with Chocolate Almond Picatta. It is a two day affair, with many steps, but it is absolutely sublime. You can also find it here:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Megiac

      One of those funny coincidences: I marinated those lamb shanks for this recipe last night, and cooked it today. You're right. It's very, very good. I wouldn't consider it complicated, though. Just time-consuming. Although most of that time is unattended. Either way, it's certainly worth making.

    2. I would nominate for this a beef roulade that is in the All About Braising book. It's beef cut in strips kind of and then rolled up with pine nuts, onions carrots tomatoes and other stuff, tied with string, browned and then braised in a savory tomato sauce.

      My SO makes this occasionally (did last week) and it takes him all day. But it is so wonderful. And even better the next day. It makes a big batch so we freeze the leftovers. Great -- especially since he does all the work.

      1. I made corn tamales from scratch once. It took all day...but man that was good. My wife and I ate all of it in about 2 minutes. It's not really complicated...tedious is probably a better description.

        1. Chicken galantine. You need to remove the skin from a chicken, while keeping it in one piece. Then bone the chicken, saving the breasts. Next, make a stock from the chicken carcass. Then make a pate out of the chicken meat, which requires making a separate shallot reduction to include in the pate. Then brown the chicken breasts in a pan. Finally, assemble by laying out the chicken skin, placing the pate on top, then the breasts, then roll the whole thing up into a giant sausage, wrapped around with cheesecloth. Poach in the chicken stock. Cool. Serve. Worth it? Not quite, but still an accomplishment!

          3 Replies
            1. re: jono37

              You want to be speechless? You want a project? You want awsome?
              Read these links.

              This guy takes five days.

              This guy did it for fun. It's the only possible reason, really.

              I'll bet there aren't five restaurants in the country that do this.

              PS. Good post. Thanks.

              1. re: yayadave

                again. speechless. i had to take a breather around day 3 when I was supposed to find my split veal feet.....

                the french laundry at home blog appears to answer my own post.....seems like most of the recipes are complicated and totally worth it. her blog is worth it just for the crab entry alone!

            2. In Volume One of Mastering the Art of French Cooking there's a recipe for Cassoulet and many of the steps can be done ahead of time, as can assembling the cassoulet itself. The book was published before duck confit was commonly available in the U.S. and the story of the argument between Julia and her coauthor, Simone Beck, as to whether or not one could make a *real* cassoulet without confit is publishing legend. That aside, my game plan for the recipe takes four days. Day 1: Marinate pork and cook lamb. Day 2: Cook pork and duck or goose. Day 3: Cook beans and bacon, make homemade sausage cakes, and assemble cassoulet. Day 4: Bake and serve. Not complicated. Not hard or tricky. Just long. And absolutely spectacular.