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:
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!
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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!