February 2009 COTM Schneider: Poultry and Meats
February 2009 COTM: A New Way to Cook by Sally Schneider
Please post your full-length reviews of poultry and meat recipes here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.
A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.
Thanks for participating!
Chicken with Garlic, Thyme and Olives, Pg. 306
Inspired by Rubee's recent revisit of A New Way to Cook, I made this recipe for Sunday dinner a few days ago. It's Ms Schneider's take on chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, with much less olive oil and fewer cloves of garlic but still very tasty. Lots of juices to mop up and roasted garlic in the bargain. I used a Dutch oven instead of a packet of aluminum foil as recommended and it worked perfectly. That's my only deviation from the recipe.
So, a whole 3 pound chicken is rubbed inside and out with salt and pepper. Some thyme sprigs are placed into the cavity and the chicken is put breast side down on the foil. Dry white wine, chopped green olives (or olive paste), and olive oil are mixed together and poured over the chicken. Separate 2 large heads of garlic but don't peel the cloves and strew around the chicken. More thyme and 2 bay leaves are placed on top of the chicken and the foil is pleated all around to create a tightly sealed packet. This is put on a baking sheet and roasted in a 325F oven for about 1 hour 10 minutes. As I mentioned, I used the DO and at this point simply covered the pot and put it on the middle rack. We bumped up the heat t 350* and baked for 1hr. 15 min. The skin does not get crispy, of course, but does add tremendous flavor during the cooking. It can be removed from the serving pieces.
The chicken was oh so tender and absolutely delicious. She recommends spreading the soft garlic on bread but I made a pseudo risotto-style Spanich rice as a side dish and that was enhanced both by the pan juices and the mashed garlic, No bread needed. In a word, scrumptious!
Lamb Burgers, p. 348
This a variation under Homemade Sausages, using Merguez spices. These burgers made a great lunch today. I used ground lamb seasoned with s&p, minced garlic, paprika, ground cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cinnamon, and cayenne, along with a little bread soaked in milk. I did up the spices to taste, especially the cayenne, and added some Spanish smoked paprika too. I grilled them and served with sliced tomato and a sauce I made with Greek yogurt, aleppo pepper, Penzey's shallot salt, minced cucumber, and mint. Delicious.
Chicken or Rabbit Braised in Wine: A Guide to Improvising, p 333.
I picked a bad month to try to start participating in COTM since I've barely cooked at all this month! I finally pulled out this cookbook this weekend, though. A grocery store I frequent always has rabbit and I've been curious about trying to cook it, so I used this as an excuse! I was pretty happy with the results, though not totally bowled over. My husband liked it (he's pretty anti-chicken most of the time and prefers rabbit as a lean meat anyway). He renamed the dish "Drunk Bunny" b/c it uses a ton of alcohol!
As one of the guides to improvising, she gives lots of different suggestions and options. Here's what I did:
I has some reserved bacon fat in the fridge so used that instead of cooking bacon or using olive oil.
About an hour before I started cooking, I soaked some prunes (which were nice and soft anyway) in sherry since that's the fortified wine that needed to be used up in our household.
Cut up the rabbit - her directions are tough to follow for my first time butchering this particular animal, so I also looked at some other suggestions. Basically, rabbit is small and bony so a pain to cut into nice pieces, though I suspect I'd get neater with experience.
Flour rabbit pieces and brown. Cook shallots. Added sherry from the prunes, cooked, added lots of red wine, cooked, added chicken broth, thyme and rosemary. Put rabbit legs and bony rib pieces (but not loin pieces) in pan, cooked, added loin pieces, cooked, reduced sauce a bit, added prunes, cooked, touch of sugar, lemon, salt, pepper. Forgot to add the last bit of brandy or eau-de-vie.
We only ate the big meaty back legs last night, so haven't seen how the loin or front legs held up in the braise. But it was nice and fully flavored and tender. I served it over cous-cous, which worked fine but could have done something else. The sauce remained very liquidy, and I didn't feel like pulling out the rabbit to reduce it more (plus which, it was late and we were starving), but probably could have benefited from much longer reducing time than she suggests in the recipe.
So, a good guide to braising lean meat, I think, if not earth-shattering. I also made her braise-sauteed dense, starchy vegetables, but I'll post that on the appropriate thread.
re: The Turtle Bay Dove
I scored a rabbit at Borough Market for a bargainous 4 quid so my turn on the "drunken bunny" lol.
I soaked the prunes in port, and used juniper berries as the flavouring, as she suggests. The butcher had jointed the rabbit for me, thank God.
The sauce was rich and delicious, especially considering the small amount of fat, but I think I prefer rabbit to be cooked until it falls off the bone. I did cook it a bit longer than she suggests, but i think rabbit needs at least an hour of braising for it to be truly tender. My dinner guests seemed pretty happy, but this won't be my go-to rabbit recipe. A friend used to cook a bunny dish to die for with bacon, cider and cream - must get the recipe for that one!
Chicken Breasts with Mexican Flavors (306)
I made this in January (how presumptuous of me!) when I checked this book out of the library to peruse during the suggestions thread. So I'll try to report with clarity looking back on that chilly night. I know I was delighted with the results of this hot satisfying meal, pefect for an easy, fun winter dinner. This recipe inolves making her Ancho Chile Sauce/Revisionist Mole (p 656) and then basically cooking a bone-in breast in a foil packet with some grilled onions and the mole sauce. The sauce comes together quickly in the blender -- just rehydrate the dried chiles (I used pasilla plus Ancho) and then add to a bunch of other goodies in the blender, then cook it down with some tomatoes and a touch of chocolate at the end.
I liked this for an easy chicken preparation with unusual flavors-- the sauce and onions were all set ahead of time, and then an hour-plus before I wanted to eat, I just assembled the packets and threw them in the oven. Quite tasty. This isn't my favorite-ever COTM chicken preparation (probably chicken Marbella would tie for that one with Mario's chicken cacciatore), , but for a weeknight idea I enjoyed it quite a bit. My roommate doesn't even really care for Mexican flavors, but he liked it and said "This tastes like something you would get in a restaurant. Wow." I would serve it to guests but maybe not super-foodie guests because I would have to go overboard with that and pretend I'm on Top Chef.. LOL
The recipe makes a big batch of the sauce which can be frozen, and then this can be whipped up in a snap. So if I had people pop by unexpectedly, I would happily put this together and serve it.
I don't have the book in front of me now, so I'm not sure of exact cooking times, except that I know I needed to add on at least 20 minutes to what she suggested. I just kept checking the chicken to make sure it was cooked all the way through. Double wrap the foil to avoid leaks.
I really enjoyed the flavors of the sauce and the way it melted into/onto the chicken while cooking. I served this with her Warm Bean Salad with Balsamic-Bacon Vinaigrette (444). I liked the beans SO much too -- packed with flavor and great as an accompaniment to this meal.
Several times in the past, I made the Revisionist Confit of Duck Legs (p. 313) using guinea hen legs once when the butcher's was out of duck.
I have also used her confit seasoning mix for whole roasted chickens that made grown Frenchmen swoon. I heartily recommend the recipe and hope someone else gives it a try before the end of this COTM. This is the recipe that made the book for me :-)
Chicken w/ Sherry Vinegar Sauce Pg 338
I love this recipe!! I've had this book for a few years now, but before I bought it, I came across this recipe from a foodblog( I think??). I make it at least 1 or 2x a year. Its a perfect make ahead dish because the flavors really get better the longer it sits.
Its a classic braise w/ amontillado sherry( I use one I got a Trader Joes) and sherry vinegar along w/ shallots, mustard and chopped canned tomatoes. Yummy, its so tasty and comforting. I did make the brown butter orzo risotto so I'll give that review in the proper thread. Personally, I think if you make nothing else from this book, the book is worth it for this recipe!! I make the recipe as written, except I sprinkle some chopped italian parsely to finish.
I made this last night and I agree that it was great. I didn't have the sweet sherry so I used the alternative in the recipe for dry sherry and added honey. I had some leftovers for lunch today. I purposely made a little extra so that I had leftovers - otherwise there wouldn't have been any.
Turkey Burgers with Apples, Onions, and Sage, p. 348
I had mentioned in the mother thread that there is a typo in this recipe- it basically says to do the onion and apple saute and then add 1 t. of that mixture to the ground turkey to make the patties. Obviously not correct! Anyway, I halved the recipe, but I ended up adding all of the apple and onion mixture. This seemed to be the right decision, because they were moist, but definitely not too moist. We really, really liked these- the apples added just a tiny bit of sweetness that went really well with the caramelized onions. The sage just tipped it all off really well too. We will definitely be making these again, and I'm not even sure I would need a bun next time, which is saying a lot because I'm definitely a bread fan. They went great with sweet potato fries!
re: Katie Nell
Sorry, I halved the entire recipe, so I used a 1/2 lb. of turkey and halved the rest of the ingredients too, since there's only 2 of us. So, a 1/4 cup onions, 1/4 of a medium apple, etc., but I used all of the apple mixture from that in the meat mixture. I hope that makes sense! The one thing that I would have done differently is to flatten them out even more than I did- they puff up quite a bit.
re: Katie Nell
My turn on the turkey burgers. I agree, they were the best turkey burgers I've had! The flavors were great, as Katie said, thanks to the apples, onions, and sage, and the milk-soaked bread definitely helped keep things moist and bind everything together. I doubled the apples, but not the onions, and they were indeed moist, but not at all too sweet. I made these as mini burgers on sourdough rolls for a bbq/dinner party and put out a number of different toppings. The favorites were cranberry sauce, smoked gouda, dijon mustard, and pickled onions. Thanks for the rec, and the heads up on the typo too.
re: Katie Nell
Turkey Burgers with Apples, Onions and Sage – p. 348
This recipe reminded me how much I like this cookbook and I’ll have to make a concerted effort to do more cooking from it. These were the best turkey burgers we’ve had thus far and I’ll happily make them again as they are really delicious.
Thanks to the terrific Chowhounders that have gone before me, the prep process has been well covered above so I won’t go into detail here. I will say that I appreciated Katie’s note about the typo regarding the apple mixture. For 1 lb of ground turkey, I used the full quantity of apple mixture. I also appreciated that Sally Schneider provides a weight measure for the quantity of bread as slice sizes can vary considerably. Finally, since the weather was nice for a change, we decided to grill these burgers and though I was a bit nervous since the mixture is quite wet, I needn’t have worried as they held together beautifully on the grill. I did oil the grill and gave the burgers a light brush w grapeseed oil prior to grilling which helped prevent sticking.
I made two different toppings for these burgers. I mixed up a Dijonaise and, a roasted red pepper mayo and while both were good, most folks felt the Dijonaise worked best w the other flavours. I also think an aioli would be nice.
I’d highly recommend this recipe.
Szechwan Pepper-Crusted Steak Smothered with Onions, p 317
with Port Wine Sauce (modified) p. 637
How ironic that my first COTM post and introduction is this recipe! This book appeals to me for its simplicity and vegetarian options. But my 13 year old cooks on Tuesday nights and given free reign (and groceries) from the book this was his choice.
It was a huge success and very easy to follow and produce a successful meal. For the onions we used what we had on hand which was two white onions from our CSA box and one red. Followed the recipe details and timing otherwise and they were excellent. I suspected we would each eat a small portion and have significant leftovers since it made quite a lot. We ate it all and both kids wished there was more. Whole Foods had some very reasonably priced Eye of Round (?). We don't cook much meat so struggled with timing and doneness, but it ended up fine and the pepper flavor was good. We just used a tricolor peppercorn mix and didn't worry about restraining the powder. Also made a rub by mixing the oil, pepper, salt, and ginger instead of doing it in the steps she recommended. That seemed much simpler and worked well.
My son was eager to make a Port Wine Sauce -- he loosely followed the recipe on p. 637, but had to mix some red wine leftover from Sunday with a little bit of Port. The reduction needed some mellowing that a glob of butter handled nicely.
Served this with bread and a broccoli salad. I'm sure we'll make it again. The onions would go well with any flavorful meat.