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Cookbook of the Month April 2013 AD HOC AT HOME: Poultry, Meat, Fish

Welcome to Thomas Keller month.

Please post your full-length reviews of poultry, meat and fish recipes in AD HOC AT HOME here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

This thread is for the following chapters:

Poultry, p12
Meat, p36
Fish, p78

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.

I can't wait to see your reviews - happy cooking!

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  1. (Lamb Chops with Artichokes,) Olives and Capers [Sauce]
    Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home

    Thomas Keller's Sautéed Lamb Loin Chops

    This may look confusing but I assure you it all came together at the end. I combined 2 versions of TK's lamb chop recipe to make: Sauteed Lamb Loin Chops with Olive and Caper sauce. The reason... it was Easter and I wanted to serve asparagus. I halved the recipe for two people, cooking 5 chops. Because our lamb chops were thicker than the 1 1/4 inches required our timing was different from the recipe. I used extra virgin olive oil instead of canola.

    The sauce was made first with a couple of adjustments to compensate for interrupting the original directions: heat oil in a skillet, add sliced garlic and cook several seconds. Drain capers and add along with pitted and chopped Kalamatas, then add tinned sliced sun-dried tomatoes. Season with S & P and set aside in a warm place while the chops are cooked.

    Remove the chops from fridge 30 minutes before cooking. When ready season with S & P and heat oil in a frying pan, add chops and cook till "well-browned." Add crushed garlic and thyme. Turn to other side and do the same. Place chops on a flat rack set into a baking sheet and put into a 350F pre-heated oven. Roast till inner temp is about 129F. Rest before serving.

    As I said above our chops were very thick so when G took them from the oven he returned them to the skillet and seared the bone end and the fatty sides again. That did the trick. The chops were a beautiful juicy medium rare.

    Asparagus had been steamed, so the chops were plated with asparagus and roasted baby red potatoes with the olive and caper sauce over top. The Italian pastries for dessert made it a Very rich, savory, decadent dinner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Those chops sound scrumptious Gio. I actually picked up some lamb chops on Saturday and they're in the freezer now. I may just have to try this, I'm quite confident we'll like it.

      1. re: Gio

        Sautéed Lamb Loin Chops (page 58)

        First, some technical issues. The first link Gio posted above is an adaptation to reduce the recipe from “serves 6” to “serves 2.” It’s very helpful if you’re paring down the recipe (in fact, I printed it out so I could keep a copy in the book), but the proportions aren’t exactly as they are in the book. Also, that recipe lists different ingredients in two instances: canned roasted tomatoes instead of homemade Oven Roasted Tomatoes (AHaH page 262) and Kalamata olives rather than oil-cured black olives. I made more or less one third of the recipe using four loin chops and followed instructions, including making my own oven-roasted tomatoes, pretty much to the letter.

        The day before, I trimmed fresh baby artichokes, cooked them as directed, and refrigerated them in their cooking liquid overnight. And I made the Oven Roasted Tomatoes, although I ran out of time and cooked them about an hour (or maybe even two) less than called for; these, too, were refrigerated overnight. With the prep done the day before, this was a quick meal to pull together.

        My chops were also more like 1-1/2 inches than the 1-1/4 called for. So like G, after following the timing for the cooking of the chops exactly, I, too, put the chops back in the pan to brown them more after they came out of the oven. The only other note is that Keller doesn’t instruct you to rinse the capers, and I should have.

        I liked this well enough, but didn’t love it. I like my loin chops simply seasoned and grilled (or, in my case, broiled). If I were to make this again, I’d probably cook the chops that way and just serve the artichoke and tomato mixture (which was a bit too salty because of the unrinsed capers but was otherwise a lovely spring dish) as a side veg.

        1. re: JoanN

          That's a shame that the dish didn't wow Joan, it does seem like a fair bit of work and I hate when things are too salty. mr bc and I don't use much salt at all so I find we're especially sensitive to it. Your photo is drool-inducing I must say!!

      2. Sauteed chicken breasts with tarragon, page 27

        This is an easy dish for two, as I made it. It's just as simple, but the pounding and sauteeing are significantly more work for six (as written). My paraphrase of the process:

        Season two boneless chicken breasts with equal parts paprika and yellow curry powder (or commercial Madras curry powder) and return to fridge for a couple of hours. (I used a third of a teaspoon each; the full recipe for six breasts calls for a teaspoon of each.)

        Use the fridge time to prep the accompanying dishes, because you'll be occupied with the chicken and its sauce once it comes back out. I used up the last of the butternut squash, roasted (cubes oiled and seasoned with the same curry powder as the chicken, and some salt), and steamed some broccoli, set in lemon butter once done. The veg stayed in the low oven (200-ish) where the chicken breasts are stowed after sauteeing, while the sauce gets made.

        Chop a tablespoon or so of fresh tarragon. Mince about the same amount of shallots. Have ready a quarter cup of wine and a cup of chicken stock.

        Pound the chicken breasts to a quarter inch thickness, one at a time between two sheets of plastic, then set onto a plate. Put a baking sheet or platter with a rack on it in the low oven for the sauteed breasts.

        Heat oil in a 12" or larger skillet on fairly high heat, salt the chicken, and saute them two at a time, a minute or two on each side (starting with the smooth side down), until golden brown. Move the chicken pieces to the oven platter as they're done.

        Wipe out the skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter in it, add shallots to coat with the butter and just begin to cook, then add the wine and continue to cook until it's reduced by half and gets a little syrupy, a minute or so. Then add the chicken broth and cook on high until it's reduced and thickened, another two to three minutes. Turn off the heat, add two tablespoons of butter and any juices from the chicken platter in the oven, and the chopped tarragon. Swirl the pan until the butter's melted, taste and season if needed, and pour over the chicken on a platter.

        The unexpected availability of fresh tarragon from a local greenhouse grower made me choose this dish to start with; an extra bonus was its simplicity. There's not much to go wrong, and it was delicious -- an elegant taste of spring.

        7 Replies
        1. re: ellabee

          Made a cup of the yellow curry powder, page 336, which is used in quite a few recipes in Ad Hoc at Home.

          It was based on Keller's recipe, but adapted in light of several web recipes for Madras curry powder, and based on my own judgment. I toasted the whole spices until some of the mustard seeds popped, then ground them with a mortar and pestle (with several siftings and re-grindings), then combined the freshly ground with the already ground spices.

          Whole: 4 tsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 3 tsp mustard seeds, 4 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp anise seeds, 2 tsp black peppercorns, three whole cloves.

          Ground: 3 tsp turmeric, 2 tsp fenugreek, 2 tsp ginger, 2 tsp coriander, 1 tsp cumin, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1.5 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, .5 tsp allspice, 1 tsp Maldon or other flake sea salt.

          Lesson learned: Don't make up spice blends first thing in the morning, or the aromas from the up-close toasting and grinding overwhelm your olfactory system and throw off your taste and smell for the rest of the day. If you do the job in the evening, then take a shower, by morning your senses will have had a chance to recover without inconveniencing you.

          1. re: ellabee

            I'm intrigued by the use of curry powder and fresh tarragon -not a combination I would put together normally. That's probably why Keller is a great chef and I'm not!

            1. re: ellabee

              Good to read your report, ellabee. I read that this chicken tarragon is what Thomas Keller cooked for his father's last meal. He made the Leek Bread Pudding as a side dish. There an on-line recipe for both...here's the tarragon chicken recipe:


              1. re: ellabee

                I made this as well tonight, with a couple of changes. I had the called-for amount of chicken breasts (6 6-oz), but when I sprinkled on the spice, I found I didn't have nearly enough to even get a dusting on all sides, so I added an additional tsp. each of curry powder (a purchased variety) and paprika. Then life happened, and I left the chicken sitting in the fridge with the rub on it for almost two days instead of two hours. Finally, I used white vermouth instead of white wine in the sauce (no white in the house - a travesty!).

                Anyway, despite the changes, we LOVED this dish. The sauce is simple but scrumptious - I served roasted Brussels sprouts alongside and we were spooning the extra over our vegetables and basically licking it off the plates. I felt the curry flavor was muted; DH thought it was quite strong, but both of us loved it. A keeper for sure.

                1. re: ellabee

                  Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Tarragon, page 27.

                  Like greedygirl, I was a little skeptical of the curry and tarragon combination, but it worked like a charm. This was tasty and fragrant, and since making it, we've decided to add tarragon to our herb pots.

                  I had pretty fat chicken breasts, and, without a mallet, I had a hard time, no, an impossible time, getting them down to 1/4 inch. Mine were just under 1/2 inch (and look even thicker in the photo for some reason). I had only two (large) breasts, so I cut the sauce ingredients in half, which yielded only a small amount of the final product. But the small amount was delicious.

                  For side dishes I served sweet potato mashed with roasted garlic, and a green salad with tomatoes and blue cheese. Lovely dinner.

                  P.S. my fingernails and fingertips are still yellow from coating the chicken in the curry powder with turmeric; next time, gloves.

                  As gio says above, if you don't have the book, the recipe is also here:

                  1. re: ellabee

                    I made this as well. Very nice and quite easy.

                    1. re: ellabee

                      Update: This is also a delicious method with veal. A local farmer is now selling pastured humanely raised veal ('rose veal' / 'early harvest beef'), so I got a couple of medallions along with a bunch of bones.

                      In a multi-day process, I made three quarts of veal stock from the bones (per instructions in Ruhlman's Ratio), and used some of it for this dish. Didn't curry the veal. Discovered that it takes a good deal more work to get veal as evenly thin as the chicken breast. Just as good as the chicken.

                    2. It's a tiny amount of curry powder, and melds with the chicken during refrigeration, pounding, and sauteeing, so is unrecognizable in the final dish as a curry taste. (In contrast, the same blend as a coating for the roasting squash cubes was a very recognizable curry taste in the result.)

                      The curry powder's used in three other recipes I'm planning to make, so I thought it was worth a go to approach Keller's blend.

                      1. just securing my place on this thread :-) I've had this book for awhile and am determined to try and cook from it this month!

                        1. Peppercorn-crusted beef tenderloin - p 47

                          For six 8-oz tenderloin steaks, put 1.5cups canola oil and 1/4 cup peppercorns in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat and allow to steep for an hour. Drain the peppercorns, reserve the oil for use in vinaigrettes and crush the peppercorns. Coat both sides of the steaks and allow them to sit for 30min. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 350F. The steaks are then sprinkled with kosher salt and pan-seared in a little oil, and, once browned, placed on a rack set inside a roasting pan and placed in the oven until they reach 125F internal temperature. Rest for ten minutes and serve.

                          I made a few changes to this recipe; first of all, I don't yet have the recommended Tellicherry peppercorns, and so I used the "no name" brand that I had and they were JUST FINE. :-) I also only had a couple of orphaned chunks of tenderloin and two NY strip steaks in my freezer, so I used those and halved the recipe.

                          I'm very grateful for these clear instructions on how to cook this type of steak. Last week a Jamie Oliver recipe instructed me to cook steaks "to your liking" and I was in a panic trying to figure out what that actually meant because I didn't really know how to tell if I had done that. This time there was no guessing. These steaks turned out great - succulent, juicy and delicious with a really nice bite from the peppercorns.

                          The three of us had divided opinions on the pepper. Mr Geek was scraping them off his meat, saying that it was too much pepper for him, whereas I was using my meat to mop up the little bits that had fallen onto my plate and my son was scraping the bits into his soup after he finished his meat because he didn't want to waste any. TK suggests that you can double the amount of oil you use if you want to lessen the bite of the peppercorns even further, and I'm afraid I actually used LESS oil than recommended because I was feeling frugal. So keep this in mind if you cook this recipe for anyone who likes spice, just not too much of it.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: geekmom

                            Sounds delicious, actually. And I, like you, need the added info about how to cook a steak.

                            It sounds relatively simple, but it seems like it might not be doable on a weeknight because of all of the inactive time?


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              On one of his 15-minute meals shows, JO gives you a terrific tip on cooking steak, which is to turn it every minute until cooked to your desired level of doneness.

                              8oz seems like an enormous amount of fillet steak to me. It would certainly cost a lot over here!

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                Typical US portion for that cut, and that will be the smallest steak on the menu. It is not uncommon to see steaks of 1 lb or more on restaurant menus.

                                I would love to be able to get 4-6 oz portions of meat in restaurants, but it isn't the norm here.

                                1. re: MelMM

                                  Our favorite steak house (and by that I mean my husband's favorite) has fillet in two sizes - 6 oz and 8 oz. I don't eat meat often enough to pay attention to what is usually available, so this may very well be an unusually small amount to serve, but it never looked weirdly small to me.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    I have seen 6 oz fillets in some steakhouses. It's not weirdly small, but most steakhouses seem to go with the bigger is better philosophy. It's frustrating because I would prefer another cut (ribeye), but they are always big. So I have to choose between getting the smallest steak (a fillet, which, whether 6 or 8 or 10 oz, is always the smallest cut on the menu), or the cut I want, which will always be way more than I can eat.

                                2. re: greedygirl

                                  I think that might have been the meal I was cooking, GG! It was definitely from the 15MM book which helped to fuel my panic because I had these other dishes on the go at the time that needed my attention and I was shouting to my poor husband who was trying to work asking him to come and tell me if the steak was done "to my liking". LOL! I honestly wouldn't have a clue how to figure out my desired level of doneness just from looking at the steak as I flip it over. I know it continues to cook, to some degree, as it rests and the 15MM instructions don't really accommodate that. I have a serious handicap when it comes to cooking steaks, thanks to being a vegetarian for 12 years...

                                  I agree that 8 oz is a very large piece of meat. If I get a steak of that size I would assume it's for two people, unlike this cookbook which suggests that you cook 6 8oz steaks. Ka-ching!

                                  1. re: geekmom

                                    There's a simple test you can do, by pressing the meat and comparing it to the fleshy bit below your thumb, when you press your fingers together. I will see if I can find a link.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Thank you! I will check that next time for sure!

                                3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  TDQ, I was thinking about that and I wondered if one could do a bit of advance prep by simmering the peppercorns in the morning, and then either leaving them to soak all day (if you want to REALLY cut back the amount of pepperiness) or perhaps just draining them whenever you have to leave for work even if a full hour hasn't passed. That way, you could pepper the steaks as soon as you get home.

                                  1. re: geekmom

                                    I was wondering that,too, about the simmering of the peppercorns. I do have about an hour of getting ready time in the mornings that I could use to simmer the peppercorns. I think straining them at that point would be a smart idea!


                              2. Crispy Chicken Thighs with Olives, Fennel and Lemon p. 30

                                This is a recipe I highly recommend to those who are fans of crispy chicken skin! It has a nice, balanced savory-lemony-herby-salty from the olives, flavor. A winner at our house. This is one of the very few cookbooks I own and I really like it. I cooked a few recipes from it that I found online before asking for it for my birthday. I really enjoy Keller's exacting directions, I find them worth it every time. It will probably be WFD tonight, the pic is from the last time I made it.

                                Veggies are prepped and the oven is preheated, chicken thighs are seasoned with salt and in oil in an oven proof saute pan. They are then transferred to a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Onions are cooked in the pan the chicken was browned in, garlic is added, then fennel and all are cooked until crisp-tender.

                                Wine is added to the veggies and the olives, strips of lemon zest, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and thyme are added. The chicken is added back to the pan and simmered until the chicken is done.

                                It is finished by placing under the broiler to crisp the skin.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                  I've made this one too - we enjoyed it, although I have other chicken+fennel recipes I prefer. This one had too much liquid for my taste, so the vegetables tasted sort of boiled, which isn't my preferred flavor.

                                  1. re: weezieduzzit

                                    I've had this one bookmarked and your picture certainly looks attractive! Thanks for the writeup. Did you find that there was too much liquid as biondanonima mentioned?

                                    1. re: geekmom

                                      I don't find they have a boiled taste- maybe I cook them less before adding the wine than biondanonima did. I don't like super soft veggies so that is entirely possible.

                                      If I did feel it had too much liquid I would set the chicken and veggies aside, reduce the liquid and put it all back together before putting it under the broiler. The pan in the pic is very shallow and wide, I could have also had more evaporation because of the increased surface space, too.

                                      Or we just have different taste! :)

                                    2. re: weezieduzzit

                                      I've made this one as well 2-3 times. For me, the veggies didn't have a "boiled" taste as biondanoma found, but may be just a matter of different tastes, differences in cooking times, etc. It's also pretty weeknight-friendly, depending on your schedule.

                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                        We really enjoyed this recipe too, and was able to make it on a weeknight, when there were six of us for dinner. I also concur with biodanomina, I felt it had more liquid than I expected, but figured I had added too much stock in the beginning. Will definitely try it again and add less stock so it's not so soupy.

                                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                                          Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives, Lemon, and Fennel, p. 30

                                          Just as I was beginning to resent this book for its unwieldy size and many unwieldy recipes (or, as qianning so aptly puts it, Russian-doll recipes), I tried this one. And it wowed us--and wasn't terribly difficult or time-consuming--a real keeper that I've already pegged as a good company dish.

                                          While I halved the amount of chicken, I made roughly 2/3 of the sauce. I didn't find it too saucy/soupy or that the veggies boiled but I suspect using a large, shallow skillet helped to reduce the liquid.

                                          Once the veggies are cooked, the chicken pieces are placed back into the pan (which then goes into the oven for a 20- minute braise). That would be a good stopping point if one wanted to do some of this ahead of time.

                                          I might try this with preserved lemons next time, since I have a lot of those right now. But I will make it again. We just loved it. I wish I'd had a crusty loaf, but served it instead with some leftover brown rice and a simple green side salad.

                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            This sounds (and looks) really yummy! You got a nice colour on the chicken skin.

                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                              Beautiful ncw! So nice to read about a less labour-intensive dish.

                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                Looks nice, ncw. We think it's a keeper too. And yes, you must serve it with bread! We will do that next time. Leftovers kept well too.

                                            2. Roasted spring leg of lamb, p. 60.

                                              Fair notice: I'm not really counting this as cooking from AHAH. I prepared per Keller -- inserting half cloves of garlic into deep incisions, tucking sprigs of rosemary between bone and meat, oiling, salt and peppering, sprinkling with more bits of rosemary. It was a half leg, less than half the weight of the leg in the book recipe.

                                              But then I departed. I set the lamb on one-inch cubes of potato rather than a rack. Instead of Keller's 325F for an hour or so, I took the opportunity to try the low & slow technique recommended by fourunder in a recent thread: 450F for 15+ minutes to sear the outside, then 225F for two and a half hours, followed by an hour of rest on a foil-covered platter.

                                              During the rest I cranked the oven back up to 450F, dusted the potatoes with salt and pepper and shreds of thyme, and roasted them until fully crisped, another half hour or so. Also used the time to parboil carrot coins and steep in blood orange vinaigrette, and heat up frozen green peas.

                                              Best. Lamb. Ever. Silken, juicy, with little clear currents of rosemary and garlic flavor. Great with the lingering-winter, almost-spring taste of the veg.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                Sounds delicious ellabee! I'll have to try to low and slow technique

                                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                  I'm very grateful to chowhound fourunder, whose recommendations I followed - from this thread in February: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/889450

                                              2. Buttermilk Fried Chicken p. 16
                                                I followed the recipe pretty closely, I did cut it down to half, there's only two of us, so I had to cut the brine recipe down to about a quarter of it's original size, and I left off the herb garnish.

                                                I liked the coating on the chicken, it came out very nice and crispy, and the chicken tasted good, but I did not care for the texture the brine gave the chicken. I had the texture of over marinated chicken even though I only brined it for about half the time recommended.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                  I did the same thing--cut the recipe in half as there are only 2 of us in the house. I've tried fried chicken twice before and it was such a disaster that we couldn't eat it. This fried chicken was edible and actually very good. The coating was crisp and flavorful while the chicken was moist. I fried mine in vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet but I bet it would be even better if cooked in a deep-fryer.

                                                  I don't often get the urge to make fried chicken, but the next time I do I will be making this again.

                                                  1. re: zitronenmadchen

                                                    I haven't made Keller's recipe, yet. But the buttermilk and frying technique is close to how my mother made it. She did not brine her chicken, however. I have brined chicken and fried it, roasted it, grilled it... At the end of the day, I do get sick of that brined texture and flavor, and in recent years I've stopped doing it. My mother was pretty famous for her fried chicken, so I don't feel bad about that at all.

                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                      Yeah. I don't think it was the fault of the recipe, I think I just don't care for the texture of brined meat.

                                                  2. Marinated Skirt Steak pg 53.

                                                    We are fans of skirt steak around here for its rich beefy flavor and often use it to make a faux kalbi on the grill. When I saw this relatively easy recipe using a favorite cut of meat in a new way I was excited to try it. This must be one of the easier recipes in the book (only 1 page! no sub recipes!!), particularly for a main.

                                                    Basically you make an infused oil using olive oil in which you simmer garlic, rosemary, thyme black peppercorns and bay leaves. He calls for 2 cups of extra virgin olive oil (which you will later discard after you marinade the meat). I couldn't bring myself to use the full amount knowing that it's just getting pitched. I went with just over 1 cup. Once your oil is infused, you cool it off and then marinade the meat in it for 4 -24 hours (i did 8 hours).

                                                    To cook, you are suposed to wipe off the marinade and sear in canola oil. That just seemed wrong, so I seared with the infused oilive oil still clinging to the meat. You throw butter, garlic and thyme into the hot pan and brown the other side quickly and then remove to a waiting roasting rack. Once all your meat is seared, the rack goes into the oven to finish cooking and then comes out to rest before serving.

                                                    The result? Very good. The meat was perfectly cooked, which we sometimes struggle with with skirt steak since it is thin. The flavors of the herbs/garlic were fairly subtle and really just enhanced the beefy flavor, I thought. To be honest, I wasn't wowed by it, but I liked it. It was kind of over-shadowed by the iceburg wedge salad we had along side with Point Reyes blue cheese and bacon.(that wowed me!)

                                                    The leftovers will be made into steak sandwiches tonight.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                      Thanks for the review and pic, this one has been on my radar. Would you recommend the full 24 hour marinade to boost the flavor then? More garlic/peppercorns/herbs in it? Or just pairing it with something milder?

                                                      1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                        Hi Weezie,

                                                        I'm sure the full 24 h marinade would help intensify the herb/garlic flavor. I *think* the flavors are supposed to be sort of subtle and harmonious. I thought the pairing with the blue cheese was good-- in fact the steak sandwiches made with the leftovers (with sauteed red onions, blue cheese, lettuce and a tiny drizzle of good balsamic) were intensely good-- like the best steak sandwich I have ever had. I think for me, the little bit of acid from the balsamic on the sandwich really helped the flavors shine.

                                                        I will be interested to hear your results. I do wish that Keller gave a suggested pairing to serve this with.

                                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                          Ooh, this is on my list, but now I am looking forward to it even more because of that fabulous-sounding sandwich you concocted.

                                                      2. re: greeneggsnham

                                                        My experience with this recipe was very similar. The marinade, lacking citrus or vinegar, is really subtle and lacks the punch those ingredients usually add to marinades. I like the marinade as a change-it-up treatment. Love the steak sandwiches idea, as well!

                                                      3. Whole Roasted Chicken on a bed of root vegetables -- p 22

                                                        A 4-4.5lb whole chicken is brought to room temperature and, after removing the wishbone, you season the cavity generously with kosher salt and pepper, then throw in some thyme sprigs and garlic cloves before trussing the chicken. Next, prepare leeks, rutabagas, turnips, potatoes, carrots and a yellow onion and toss with canola oil and one additional sprig of thyme. The chicken is placed in a roasting pan amongst these vegetables and dotted with butter, then roasted at 475F for 25 min then at 400F for 45 min. After twenty minutes of resting , the vegetables are reheated if necessary then arranged on a platter covered with pieces of chicken.

                                                        I was clearly living temporarily in some alternate dimension when I planned my meals this week, because I decided to make this on a weeknight and it's NOT a weeknight meal. Not even if you get home early to get started with it. This was another one of those nights when my cooking ambitions got way ahead of me and my increasingly paler children were wandering in and out of the kitchen gazing despairingly at me and at the oven timer. By the time this made it on to the table 2 hrs past our usual dinner time, we were like a pack of hyenas.

                                                        Due our high level of hunger and the long lead-up time where we were tortured by the wonderful smell of this roasting chicken and vegetables, it's difficult to tell you all whether there is anything particularly special about this chicken preparation that makes it stand out from any other roast chicken. All I can say is that it was moist, juicy, and flavourful, the vegetables caramelized wonderfully, it forced us to cook some healthy roots that we normally overlook, and the pan juices made some truly kick-butt gravy. And also, there is NOTHING left save the two cups of chicken bits that I saved for tonight's dinner...

                                                        Next up: chicken pot pie!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                          Well, after all that, glad to hear everyone liked it.

                                                          1. re: geekmom

                                                            It sounds great, geekmom--like well worth the weight.

                                                            If I had a dime for every time "my cooking ambitions got way ahead of me" on a weeknight, I could afford to eat in TK's restaurants!

                                                          2. Chicken Pot Pie - p 24

                                                            Adapted recipe here: http://sugarandspice-celeste.blogspot...

                                                            I knew I wanted to make this pie from the moment I first flipped through the cookbook and saw those gorgeous close-up photos of the pastry being fitted into the pie pan. That was enough to hook me. Last winter I decided to face a very long-time dislike of making pastry and I think I'm close to cracking it, so any opportunity to practice more (and to eat the results) is welcome.

                                                            This, unfortunately, is a prime example of a recipe from Ad Hoc at Home that is not written with the busy home cook's need for efficiency in mind. I did follow all the instructions as written, but there are parts that had me scratching my head. For instance: why on earth shouldn't I start the sauce, which requires 30-40 minutes of reducing time and doesn't need constant attention, BEFORE I start prepping and pre-cooking the vegetables? That makes no sense and nearly doubled the amount of prep time before I could put my pie in the oven. Also, why do my onions, carrots and potatoes, which all pre-cook for the exact same amount of time with the exact same seasonings, need to be done in three separate pans? I needed a full-time assistant in the kitchen the night I made this in order to keep on top of all these dirty dishes; I do NOT have a lot of counter space.

                                                            As for the pie, the pastry was an absolute triumph - flaky, golden, and delicious. I'll go and wax on a bit about that in the appropriate thread later. The filling, though, had some issues. First of all, I kind of question the choice of bechamel sauce. For me, it was too milky and lacked some essential seasoning element, a certain umami taste that I expect with a chicken pot pie (particularly one where the preamble to the recipe sings the praises of the humble Swanson's frozen pie, which has more of a gravy-like sauce). Also, the carrots, potatoes and onions, while perfectly cooked, had a very very strong peppery taste from the 8 peppercorns added to the cooking water of each vegetable. A friend and her young son came for dinner on this particular night, and he took one bite of his pie and yelled "BLECCHH!! Pepper!" He's a bit of a picky eater, true, but I couldn't help agreeing with him. When you eat a chicken pot pie, especially a forkful that has a chunk of potato in it, you don't expect or particularly welcome the overwhelming taste of black pepper.

                                                            So is it worthwhile to make this recipe? Yes, with a few adaptations. First, I would reduce or possibly even eliminate the peppercorns used to season the vegetables. Second, I'd cook 'em all in the same darned pan. Third, I would tweak the sauce, possibly looking in other books for inspiration and ignoring AHAH's bechamel altogether.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: geekmom

                                                              When you start your adaptation, consider a velouté sauce as outlined by Jacques Pepin in Julia and Jacques Cook At Home. Changed my opinion of this pot pie thing. So very good.

                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                Ooh, great suggestion. Thank you! I will do that for sure.

                                                              2. re: geekmom

                                                                I adored this recipe! From talking to some friends who tried it and weren't as crazy for it, I think the kicker is whether you prefer a gravy pot pie or a white sauce pot pie. If you prefer the former, you probably won't be crazy for Keller's version. Kind of akin (please don't shoot me for making this comparison) to Stouffer's vs. Marie Calendar in the freezer section. They're totally different takes on the same dish. In our house, we like it both ways so I alternate.

                                                                What I loved about this recipe as it's written is the careful attention to make each ingredient taste more like itself before assembly in the pie dish. Pearl onions taste more like pearl onions, carrots more like carrots after simmering with bay leaf, peppercorns and honey.

                                                                It's a ton of work, but worth it about once a year given my family's rave reviews. :)

                                                              3. Chicken Mar i Muntanya, page 28.

                                                                I had a chicken. I looked in EYB. It said "stews and one pot meals." That sounded appealing after a busy day. The ingredients sounded perfectly delightful, and I had almost all of them on hand. I started in the morning, Mr. NS cut up the chicken and I made the brine. Turn to another page for the brine recipe. A 12 hour brine is the worst. I'm not going to get up at 6am on a weekend to start a brine. Keller insists the brine go no longer than 12 hours. So in this case, it went about 10 hours, and I slept in.

                                                                Once the chicken comes out of the brine, it is rinsed and dried. Then the shrimp are brined. (Brine shrimp? Who knew. I thought they lived in brine.) Then the chicken is seasoned and browned in batches. Then you put the rice in the baking pot. Rice? Ooops turn to another page and make saffron rice. Cook rice, kind of like risotto, with some stirring, then a parchment paper lid. Then sauté some Spanish chorizo until crisp. Remove. Pour off fat. Add shrimp and sauté. Add wine. Add mussels. Cook mussels. In baking pot, with rice and chicken, add shrimp chorizo, and mussels. Set aside. Sauté green beans (blanched first, according to instructions on another page) and piquillo peppers. Dump beans and peppers and shellfish into the baking pan. Garnish with parsley and sprinkle with fleur de sel.

                                                                So, it's not really a stew, as EYB suggests, it's really a paella. And it's not really a one pot meal, judging by the look of the kitchen afterwards. Absolutely delicious. But we ate at 10:30 pm. And it makes a huge amount. Our chicken only weighed a little over 2 lbs, so I cut everything to about half. This is my big cazuela, maybe 15 inches across, and it was filled to overflowing. This dinner was actually a couple nights ago, and, so far, the leftover are holding up OK for lunches.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade


                                                                  When I was flipping through the book, this one almost got tagged, anything with saffron rice goes over well in this household, but then I thought "what a weird way to make a paella", maybe I should reconsider?

                                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                                    It is a weird way to make a paella; I was nearly to the end of the recipe before I realized it was turning into a paella! Delicious though.

                                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                    LN - for the brine, when I made the buttermilk fried chicken I started the brining process just as I went to bed, took the chicken out in the morning and patted dry with paper towels, then let the meat chill on a plate in the fridge until I was ready to use it. There was no way I was going to get up in the middle of the night to brine some chicken.

                                                                    Your photos are stunning, and I'm so glad your results were delicious after the amount of work you put into the dish.

                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                      Well geekmom, of course, why didn't I think of this? But I've put your suggestion into use with the pork brine. It's a ten hour brine, so I started it last night at about 11pm, took it out this morning at 9am, will cook it for an early dinner tonight. Thanks for that idea!

                                                                  3. Wild Cod en Persillade pg-95

                                                                    This is probably one of the simplest, most fuss-free recipes in any of Keller's books. And we loved it. I imagine that a recipe like this is old-hat to most, but I had never thought to prepare fish in such a way and will be using this method again and again.

                                                                    I used pickerel--the only good-quality fish that is readily available fresh around here--instead of cod so my fillets were much thinner than they would have been, and I adjusted the cooking time accordingly. The fish is salted and brushed on one side only with dijon mustard, then the mustard-glazed part is dipped into a breadcrumb/parsley blend. Only having one crispy side is ludicrous in this household, so I opted to do the breading on both sides, knowing crust-loving Mr. would approve. The fillets are to be seared in canola (olive for me) oil and then placed in the oven to finish , but I just did the whole thing on the stovetop, flipping the fish over to get the breading nice and golden on either side.

                                                                    We just went crazy for this dish--I think it was the mustard that gave a faint yet wonderful tangy bite to the mix. A definite do-over for us. Served with the suggested nantes carrot stew (p-190), asparagus coins (p.192) from Ad hoc and the lentils vinaigrette (pg 10) from Bouchon.

                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                      Oh, this was on my list but then I worried it would be bland - glad to hear its not. What would you suggest as accompaniments for those unable to commit to the serving suggestions?

                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                        It wasn't the most assertive flavour in the world, but it went perfectly with the flaky mild white fish. I wouldn't pick very powerful tasting sides, maybe something like a lightly dressed salad and some spuds?

                                                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                        Four Keller dishes in one meal? Doesn't that put you one over quota?

                                                                        Seriously though, the fish looks grand.

                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                          Thanks! Four dishes, don't I know it. Took me pretty much the entire afternoon. And I picked the "easy" recipes!

                                                                        2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                          Wow, this photo is gorgeous! I love the illusion that the green vegetable line is continuing the table linen pattern. And the colors are spectacular. Thanks for pointing this out, I'll have to give it a try!

                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                            Thanks for the kind words! Yes, I....errr....meant to line up the veggies like that, ahem...

                                                                            I do hope you like it. This will be a go-to in our house from now on.

                                                                          2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                            Allegra, (or anyone) does this look anything like the recipe in the book? TIA


                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              Yes, this is very similar. TK says to season both sides of the fish with salt before doing the breaded topping. Also, he says to put the mustard in a little bowl and have another little bowl of water. Dip your brush in the water, then in the mustard, before brushing on the fish. This helps thin the mustard so that it coats the fish easily. I did this and found it helpful.

                                                                              Note that I also had problems with soggy breadcrumbs so if you want a crispy topping, perhaps flipping the fillets as the blogger recommends, or pan sauteeing entirely as Allegra did, are better methods.

                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                Very helpful, Westminstress! Many thanks.

                                                                            2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                              Wild [Hake] en Persillade, p. 95

                                                                              This one didn't work so well for me. I used hake instead of cod (hake is not my favorite but I'm trying to learn to like it as it is a more sustainable choice). I followed the recipe exactly as set forth in the book - mustard and bread crumb topping on one side only, it goes into a hot pan to crisp and then into the oven to finish. So the flavors were nice but my bread crumbs were soggy! And I was just going to blame myself for this (I've had this problem before) but then I noticed that in the link that Gio sent, the poster also mentioned soggy breadcrumbs. So maybe I can legitimately blame the recipe. I do cook a lot of whitefish, as it is sold at my farmers market, low mercury, and my kids eat it, so perhaps I will revisit this one using panko and pan-cooking as Allegra did.

                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                Wild Cod en Persillade page 95.
                                                                                Pretty much played copy cat to Allegra, above.
                                                                                I used black cod. When I turned to the recipe for making breadcrumbs, I saw he mentioned that they often use panko. I have panko. One less step! In Allegra's footsteps, I did the persillade on both sides, and did the dish entirely on the stovetop. I also served it with asparagus and carrots, but not the fancy version, just steamed and seasoned.

                                                                                Very nice, very weeknight-able dinner! The black cod was a little soft for my taste, I'd like to try it with a firmer fish like halibut. Texture aside, the flavor was great.

                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                    Oh yes, very crispy. But I used panko, and I didn't put it in the oven, so that might make a difference.

                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      Thanks, I'll try it your way next time.

                                                                              2. Pan-roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers, pg. 20

                                                                                This is one of Mr. Keller's Russian-doll recipes. Once de-nested (please forgive the creative verb) the component parts go something like this:

                                                                                -Chicken Brine, pg 339-reviewed in appropriate spot
                                                                                -Peperonata Rustica, pg 208-reviewed in appropriate spot
                                                                                -Sofrito, pg. 263, reviewed in appropriate spot
                                                                                -Chicken Stock, pg. 339, a behemoth, so to heck with it, my own (homemade!) will do just fine.

                                                                                OK, once you get this far it is pretty easy sailing, although I did run into a few issues. I brined my chicken overnight, for a half recipe using 2.5 lbs chicken pieces, all drumsticks and thighs. Removed them from the brine in the morning, placed them on a rack over a plate in the fridge to air dry until the evening. I find this approach to brined poultry works well, and I would do it this way again, as it makes the timing on the brine a lot easier too.

                                                                                To cook the meat: at medium on a stove top burner heat oil in an oven-proof pan, add the chicken pieces skin side down, cook for three minutes, add the sausage to the pan, continue to cook undisturbed for 10-12 minutes. Flip and sear on the other side for one minute, remove from the pan. Keller writes "it won't be fully cooked", ok, but no way was the sausage brown enough or cooked enough, so I removed the chicken and continued to brown the sausage for another 3-5 minutes. Remove the sausage, drain the pan.

                                                                                To assemble the dish, add the peperonata to the drained pan, nestle the chicken pieces and sausage on the peperonata, bring to a simmer, place in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes, remove from the oven, add parsley leaves, and serve.

                                                                                Oooops, undercooked chicken. Back into the oven for 10-15 minutes, try serving it again. Perfect!

                                                                                This really was delicious. The chicken was plump and moist and the skin was maybe the best chicken skin ever, the sausage and pepper meld well together and totally enhance the flavor of the chicken. We had it with a crisp green salad and toasted bread, and a nice Chianti, really very very nice.

                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                  Gorgeous! Sure glad this one worked out after all those steps ...looks like an all-day affair.

                                                                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                    Thanks, actually a two day affair.....I made the soffritto and the pimento and the brine the day before....Keller's cooking is many thing, but definitely not impromptu.

                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                      Only impromptu if you keep Keller Komponents in your fridge at all times.

                                                                                      Beautiful photo of your dinner. Must flag with a post-it for the next time I want "fancy" chicken.

                                                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                                                    That looks spectacular! And I love your Russian doll metaphor, very apt.

                                                                                    This sounds silly, but do you take photos in a bathtub? I've heard of people doing that for an infinite white background.

                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                      Thanks. Actually Mr. QN does all the photography around here (and on vacations & etc). The back-drop is a little light stage he has set up, but I like the bath-tub idea.

                                                                                    2. re: qianning

                                                                                      I finally got to this chicken tonight, with a couple of changes. First, no brine - just didn't have time. Second, I decided to try the new Premio chicken sausages (spicy Italian) instead of the sweet Italian pork sausage called for.

                                                                                      I too made a half recipe, with four large chicken thighs, but I used five sausages since it's what I had. Anyway, my experience was much like qianning's - cooking time was way off. I'm not sure how long I cooked it on the stovetop to get a good sear/render on the thighs (my sausages browned fast, faster than pork for sure), but after at least 15 mins on the stovetop, it still took 30 in the oven for the chicken to cook through.

                                                                                      I liked this well enough, but I was hoping for one of those "more than the sum of its parts" dishes and it really wasn't. It tasted like gussied-up sausage and peppers with chicken on top - and since I like sausage and peppers, that was just fine with me! The chicken skin was awesome - I wish there had been more of it. DH is on his way home now so we'll see if he's impressed.

                                                                                    3. Braised Beef Short Ribs - p 41

                                                                                      A version of the recipe here: http://sallydoinglaundry.blogspot.ca/...

                                                                                      I tried to follow the recipe as faithfully as I could, including making my own beef stock from the recipe in the "basics" chapter. That was a rather time-consuming and fiddly task, but it worked out fairly well to let it simmer away all afternoon and evening while we watched the exciting last day of the Masters.

                                                                                      Today I reduced the bottle of wine (we used a Cab Sauv as recommended) with the recommended mix of veggies, then stirred in more fresh veg and covered those with cheesecloth. I seasoned and browned the meat (like the blogger I linked to above, we had separate pieces of rib meat, not one large piece the way the book describes) then put it on the cheesecloth, poured in 5 cups of our beef stock and stuck my parchment paper lid on top. I added some extra liquid at this point to help cover the beef but the meat was still sticking out a bit at the top and I couldn't add any more stock - this was the largest pot available and was nearly full to the brim. Covered with a parchment lid, this went into the oven for 2+ hrs at 325F.

                                                                                      The result: some very tasty meat - sweet and wonderfully flavourful - not *quite* as fall-apart tender as we had hoped but still very nice. We suspect the bits of the meat that weren't falling apart were the ones that stuck up out of the liquid during the braise.

                                                                                      On the whole I would have to say this was not worth the extensive work over two days that it took to produce the meat. It was lovely, but not THAT great. And there was really only enough for four people at the end! I would have had to double the recipe in order to get enough leftovers to make the beef stroganoff or the catalan stew.

                                                                                      I also had some issues with the sauce that I was supposed to make out of the braising liquid - I reduced the heck out of that stuff and it never thickened. I eventually added a fair bit of cornstarch (NOT in the instructions) and it still never thickened, and soon we were too hungry to care any more. The thin sauce was pretty bland and needed plenty of salt & pepper. I could be to blame for this, though, because I didn't salt my stock at all at the request of my mum & her husband who are both on a low sodium diet. Meanwhile, I put a small amount of the braising liquid back into the pan at the end to baste and moisten the meat while I cooked the sauce & our vegetable side dishes. It thickened wonderfully and had SO much flavour, even without any salt added. What gives?

                                                                                      I have no idea if my results were just due to user error - I have never cooked anything like this before - but for me, this was just way too much work. These past two days I've been thinking back to a Maggie Beer braised brisket recipe I made last week which was so, so yummy and was almost no work at all, and I think I'd go for the brisket every time over this dish.

                                                                                      1. Caramalized Sea Scallops pg. 88

                                                                                        Ghost writing here for Mr. QN who did all of the cooking on this one. He's been in pursuit of the perfect pan-seared scallop for a long time, and road tests new-to-him recipes whenever he can.

                                                                                        This one calls for clarified butter, which Mr. QN is an old hand at making for other uses, so he made it his way not using Mr. K's separate recipe. The recipe also has one brine the scallops in a salt solution for 10 minutes. But our scallops were bought on the pier in New Bedford that morning, and no way did they need added salt. So he skipped that. All that's left to do is heat the butter in a not non-stick pan, cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, flip and cook on the other side.

                                                                                        I thought these were wonderful, evenly browned, not over cooked, great color on both sides, no off flavors to interfere with the gorgeous scallop sweetness and umami. Mr. QN thought the crust wasn't quite crisp/hard set enough. So I guess the quest continues, although I'd be fine with stopping here.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                          Hi Q, give this one a try:

                                                                                          OK, confession time - I've never made the spring onion and tarragon cream sauce (though it sounds good!). But the technique of refrigerating the scallops on a plate for 30 min before cooking really helps to get a good crust without overcooking the scallops.

                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                            Thanks! I'll pass it on....I bet air-drying them in the fridge for a bit plus clarified butter in a non-stick pan would work....we'll see.

                                                                                        2. Fig-Stuffed Roast Pork Loin, page 69.

                                                                                          This recipe starts with the pork brine on page 339, which was lovely and fragrant. After marinating, the pork is stuffed with fig-balsamic jam (page 246) cooked with fennel, shallot, thyme, and breadcrumbs. The loin is then trussed up and roasted. Our oven was busy with other dishes, so Mr. NS did the roast on a closed grill. Over the fire it developed a wonderful crust.

                                                                                          I could not get fresh figs for the jam, so I made it with dried mission figs, more water, and less sugar. I'll report on the jam in the appropriate area. Suffice it to say that it's a wonderful mix with the fennel and the pork. We were very happy with this dish, and much to our surprise, four people polished it off. I served it with the Valencia salad (again), and roasted vegetables. Lip smacks all around.

                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Thanks Gio and qianning for both of your sweet words. One word can be such a compliment!

                                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                You know, I'm not normally a big fan of pork (unless smoked/cured) but this looks and sounds incredible. I thought I was completely done with this book but you're tempting me to give this recipe a shot!

                                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                  I encourage you to try it! I used to be a no-pork person, converted once we found the great pork from the Skagit River Ranch. Good quality free-range pork, if you can get it, makes all the difference.
                                                                                                  Bonus: If you make the fig-balsamic jam (even with dried figs) it's *heavenly* on vanilla ice cream!

                                                                                                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                    Ooh, nice. Do they sell that pork at the Bellingham co-op? I'm going to stop in there on my way home from Seattle next week.

                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                      I do think I've seen it there. Also have seen it, for sure, at the Public Market/Terra Organica on Cornwall. More expensive than in our buyers' club with the ranch, though. Any good quality and/or free range/organic pork should do you fine though. If you're ever here with extra time, you can drive to the ranch and buy meat. Then meet all the chickens running around.

                                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                  OH, that is tempting. I looked at that recipe, balked at making fig jam--but have reconsidered, especially with your success using dried figs.
                                                                                                  I have cooked loin on the grill, but found it difficult to time. Yours looks so perfectly cooked. Any tips on the grilling technique--time/temp; direct/indirect heat?

                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    I've referred your inquiry to Mr. NS, the in-house grill-master. He states:
                                                                                                    Keller suggested it would take about 45 minutes, and indeed it did. We have a gas grill. The roast was browned on all sides with direct heat for about 20 minutes. Then it was moved to a higher shelf in the grill with the lid closed, so essentially indirect heat. It was still about 425º in the grill. It stayed there about 25 minutes.
                                                                                                    (It was perfect! Hope that helps.)

                                                                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                      That helps a lot! I am going to try this recipe very soon.

                                                                                                      Thank you and Mr. NS.

                                                                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                    L.Nightshade, did you ever get around to reviewing the jam? I had this recipe bookmarked and would love to hear more about your experience making it with dried figs. DH is not a fan of figs but I might be able to convince him if it comes with fennel and pork!

                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                      So sorry biondanonima, I missed your question until now!

                                                                                                      I haven't reviewed the jam. I've been reluctant because what I did was really so different from the recipe. I used about a pound of dried figs, about 1/2 cup of balsamic, and very little sugar. I did use the peppercorn sachet, and also added the lemon juice at the end. But I added water, and just kept adding until the figs seemed chunky yet soft, and the consistency was jammy. So I didn't really make the recipe, just used the flavors to go in the pork stuffing. It worked fine, but I'm sure it wasn't the jam he intended. (And, as I said above, it was also great on ice cream, and a few days later on toast with goat cheese.)

                                                                                                  3. Pomegranate-Glazed Quail (chicken thighs), p 31

                                                                                                    Sneaking in under the wire here with one final review. I suppose this write-up is more for the glaze/marinade than anything since I didn't use quail but bone-in chicken thighs.

                                                                                                    The marinade is a tangy blend of pomegranate juice and molasses mixed with chopped serrano chiles, garlic, shallots, sage, and strips of lemon zest. The poultry is marinated for six hours and then grilled, and the marinade is simmered down to a thick glaze and brushed over the meat for the final cooking minutes.
                                                                                                    While this was pleasant enough, I couldn't detect any flavours other than the pomegranate in the glaze, and the marinade didn't do too much to permeate the meat. Luckily it wasn't one of Keller's classic herculean efforts and so it wasn't a waste of time, merely ingredients. I would have been just as satisfied brushing the birds with straight-up pomegranate molasses.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                      LOL, I should have checked this thread before making this tonight!

                                                                                                      I had basically the same experience as you - I used chicken thighs, too. I browned them briefly in a skillet to render some fat and then roasted until done - the marinade blackened, but it was still tasty enough (it didn't taste burnt, at least). Instead of using the marinade to glaze the meat, I just served it on the side as a dipping sauce.

                                                                                                      Anyway, I thought the marinade was actually a drawback - it seemed to toughen the outer layer of meat without really adding any flavor. The pomegranate sauce was also a bit overly assertive and covered up the other flavors (although I did get a hint of heat from the chile). I think this recipe has promise, though. I'd try it again, but instead of marinating I'd just make the marinade into a sauce, with a lot less pomegranate molasses and mounted with a bit of butter, to hopefully allow the flavor of the sage to come through. I'd serve it with simply roasted chicken thighs, duck breast, or maybe even as a sauce for crispy chicken wings.

                                                                                                    2. Meatballs with Pappardelle p. 50

                                                                                                      Finally got around to making these last night... or making something *inspired* by this recipe. I don't love my meatballs when I make them so I figured I'd try something different.

                                                                                                      First you sweat chopped onion and garlic in a pan until soft but not browned. Then you are supposed to grind 12 ounces beef sirloin, 12 ounces beef chuck, 8 ounces pork butt, and 8 ounces veal shoulder. I don't have a meat grinder and I didn't feel like trying to hunt down 4 different types of meat, so I just used the meatloaf mix that the grocery store sells--equal parts of beef, pork, and veal. You combine the cooked onion and garlic, the meat, fresh chopped parsley, dried bread crumbs, and an egg until thoroughly mixed. You then form the meatballs (1/2 cup of mixture for each) and stuff a cube of fresh mozzarella cheese into the center. Bake on a rack over a baking sheet at 425 for 15-18 minutes.

                                                                                                      You are supposed to cook a pound of fresh pappardelle while the meatballs are baking but I couldn't find any at the store (crazy I know) and I didn't feel like making homemade pasta, so I just used dried pappardelle. You add a couple of tablespoons of melted butter to the cooked and drained pasta and top with fresh parsley and lemon juice.

                                                                                                      To serve, you put the meatballs down over Oven-Roasted Tomato Sauce and offer the pasta on the side. (I wasn't going to spend 5+ hours on the roasted tomato sauce so I used Rao's jarred sauce. Never had it before so I was killing 2 birds with 1 stone)

                                                                                                      So, as you can see, my meal isn't exactly what Keller had in mind but it was still very good. The meatballs were huge. I make them pretty big but these were even bigger than mine. The melted mozzarella leaked out of about half of them which didn't alter the taste but wasn't so pretty. I think it definitely would have been a better dish with fresh pasta. My husband really liked the cheese in the center and I really liked the flavor of the meatballs... definitely better than mine which uses basil and oregano. I'll be making them again.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                        These sound wonderful Njchicaa and your improvs sound great. I've only ever had the Rao's sauce on one occasion but I thought it was terrific and can imagine it being a worthy substitute indeed.

                                                                                                      2. Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb (page 59)

                                                                                                        Just catching up with COTM after a few months away. I made this in November of 2011 and thought I'd reported on it somewhere, but now can't find it and it's not in the adjunct thread. Apologies if I'm repeating myself, but this was just too good not to share.

                                                                                                        I adore rack of lamb and have tried many, many different recipes. This is, no question about it, one of the best. The difference from other recipes doesn’t seem all that significant on the surface. It’s no more difficult or time consuming, the ingredients are similar, and the procedure is almost identical. But what a difference the subtleties make!

                                                                                                        You score the fat and brown it in oil until golden. The fat is then brushed with a mixture of honey and Dijon mustard and then coated with bread crumbs or panko ligthly mixed with a puree of butter, garlic confit, anchovy fillets, parsley, and rosemary. At this stage it can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours before roasting, so it’s great for a dinner party. Bring to room temp for half an hour before tossing into a 425F oven.

                                                                                                        I forgot to add the parsley to the crumb coating (note to self: wait until after prep to open the wine) and used bread crumbs instead of panko. Next time I’m going to try it with the panko since I’ll bet the coating will be crispier and even better. As if that were possible.

                                                                                                        I don’t usually care for sweet with my savory, but this was just the barest hint from the honey, with an added touch of sweetness from the garlic confit.

                                                                                                        Damn! this was good. Making me forget all the other rack of lamb recipes I liked so much.

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                          Welcome home, Joan! The lamb has such lovely color. Just the way I like it. I don't have the book but would the recipe in the link be anywhere near accurate? (When you have time)...


                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                            Thanks, Gio. Good to be back in the COTM fold.

                                                                                                            Did only a quick perusal of the instructions on the thread you linked to and they seem to be word-for-word what's in the book. The ingredients, except that the book lists either dried bread crumbs or ground panko crumbs, are also exactly the same.

                                                                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              I'm pasting a link below to the recipe in Wine Spectator.

                                                                                                              I know it's the same as it was reprinted w TK's permission at the time. I'd made a note about it in my book about it because it also includes a bonus recipe for a really delicious-sounding Artichoke Mustard that can be served along side. It was only last month that I realized the mustard recipe is also in the book but he doesn't mention serving it w the lamb (at least it's not mentioned in my book).

                                                                                                              Here's the link:


                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                How interesting that it's not quite exactly the same as the recipe in the book. Probably not enough to make much of a difference, but nonetheless not "exactly" the same. The recipe you link to calls for only panko and the ingredients in the book call for dried bread crumbs first. It also calls for 3 rather than 6 tablespoons of butter. But the artichoke mustard sounds divine. And I have some frozen artichoke hearts in the freezer. Hmmmm.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  Well isn't that interesting Joan. I just hauled that beast of a book back to the guest room but I'm curious and will have to pull it on the weekend and check w my copy. It makes me wonder if TK had a change of heart after the book was published and further tweaked the recipe...

                                                                                                                  I'm excited that you have artichokes. Let us know if you have an opportunity to try that mustard out. It really does sound good!

                                                                                                            2. re: JoanN

                                                                                                              Oh my goodness Joan, I'm salivating! I'm with Gio, that's lamb perfection! I'll have to give this a try. I ended up travelling most of April so I'm backlogged w COTM dishes in my "must-try" pile! Welcome back...so nice to have you back in our virtual kitchen!!

                                                                                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                Beautiful! Thanks for coming back to share this! I must try this one this summer.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  Another rave for this recipe, although second hand:

                                                                                                                  A good friend and I get sides of lamb from another gardening/cooking friend. We've both had to work to win over our partners, who didn't grow up eating it.

                                                                                                                  When one of her children gave her Ad Hoc at Home, the first thing she tried was this rack of lamb -- with complete success. Her husband, a Texan who had been urging that they stick to beef, liked it so much he had seconds and asked that it happen again. Trust me, this is a *strong* recommendation!