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September 2013 Cookbook of the Month, SMOKE AND PICKLES: Birds & Bluegrass and Seafood & Scrutiny

Please use this thread to report on the following chapters from the September Cookbook of the Month:

Birds & Bluegrass pages 70 – 97
Seafood & Scrutiny pages 130 - 159

To post a review of any recipe, please select the appropriate thread below. If you are the first to report on a recipe, please reply to the original post. If a report already exists (please check before posting), please hit the reply box within the original report. This way, all of the reports on the same dish will be together.

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  1. Quick-Sautéed Squid and Bacon Salad with Grated Apple and Ginger (page 140)

    Undercooked the bacon; over emulsified the vinaigrette. Still, simply outstanding. Serving for four was dinner for one (overeating, but only slightly, and was sure ingredients would not hold up as leftovers). What an extraordinary combination of flavors. Again, except for user error, instructions were spot on.

    Squid was off the boat that morning. Couldn’t get over the texture of such fresh squid so quickly cooked (“ kiss it on the heat”). Not even a hint of rubbery.

    Vinaigrette: tahini, sesame oil, water, sherry vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and s&p. I blended on high in a blender as directed without stopping to think that I was using a Vitamix. I ended up with a great Asian mayonnaise, but had to thin it out with hot water to make a pourable dressing.

    Ginger/apple garnish: 1/2 a Granny Smith apple grated on a microplane mixed with 2 teaspoons freshly ground ginger.

    Another dish I will be making often.

    5 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      JoanN--I'm looking at this for sometime this week, but what the heck am I going to serve with it? I'm stumped. Bread? Pita? Rice? Suggestions?

      1. re: qianning

        I've been lo-carbing it so didn't go with a go-with. It's really a salad, though, so if I served it with anything it would probably be with pita to use more as a pusher and to soak up a bit of the dressing.

      2. re: JoanN

        Quick-Sautéed Squid and Bacon Salad with Grated Apple and Ginger (page 140)

        I made this a few weeks ago ago and we both loved it. Nothing to add other then I didn't have arugula. Instead I blanched chard (or was it kale?) greens. That looked kind of skimpy so I cut up part of a red cabbage. This combo, with the dressing delicious. Plus, the cabbage and blanched greens gave it a textural contrast that I loved. Next time though, I may only make half the dressing. I had some leftover but I fear it's now mold in my fridge.

        We just ate this straight, with no side. It's a pretty good meal for two.

        1. re: beetlebug

          OK, thanks for the info folks. Maybe if I bribe Mr. QN with dessert, he won't be looking for a carb fix to go with the "salad"...

        2. re: JoanN

          Quick-Sautéed Squid and Bacon Salad with Grated Apple and Ginger, pg. 140

          Sorry to buck the trend, but this one gave me trouble, and in truth we were very ho-hum about the flavors. Biggest problem with the recipe for me was how much should the squid weigh?

          As for the flavors, they just seemed a bit off kilter. Not dreadful, but not great either. I particularly disliked the sherry vinegar in the dressing, I would have much preferred just lemon juice. Who knows why, but it just wasn't a winner for us.

        3. Potato-Stuffed Roast Chicken (page 78)

          He says in the intro to the recipe that the perfect roast chicken had always eluded him. No matter how many recipes he tried, there was no way to cook the thigh meat without overcooking the breast meat. This recipe was the result of his experimentation to try to solve that problem.

          A large Yukon Gold potato is grated, squeezed as dry as possible, and sautéed for exactly two minutes. After cooling, the potato is spread evenly over the breast meat under the skin. The chicken is rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Before roasting, he has you place the chicken and hold it breast side down in a cast iron skillet for about three minutes until the skin begins to brown lightly. You then flip the chicken on it’s back and roast at 400F for 50 minutes to an hour. My chicken was a little over three pounds and the timing was perfect.

          Once roasted, the chicken is removed to a cutting board and the breasts are removed whole and cut into three chunks so there is a portion of crispy skin, potato, and breast meat in each serving. The remainder of the chicken is carved or cut up as usual.

          Next time I make this I’ll remove the wishbone to make it easier to remove the breasts. Also, I need to remember to use my largest CI skillet; the chicken fit perfectly in the skillet I used, but neither legs nor wings browned as much as I would have liked.

          This was just superb, with the breast meat unbelievably moist, the potatoes buttery and flavorful even though cooked with only a tablespoon of butter. His carving suggestion needs to be followed for this recipe so you get a bite of crispy skin, luscious shredded potato, and perfectly cooked breast meat in every bite. I usually don't like white meat. This could make me a convert.

          13 Replies
          1. re: JoanN

            Wow, what a great write up and picture of the chicken in the pan--gorgeous. This one was already flagged, but now it is moving on up the list.

            1. re: JoanN

              Potato-Stuffed Roast Chicken, p. 78

              I approached this as a skeptic: the lightly-cooked grated potato seemed to make for an overly fussy prep; we’re dark meat lovers and the potato layer is over the breasts only (though I did shove a little into the thigh area). How fantastic could buttery grated potato cooked between chicken skin and chicken flesh be, anyway? Well, pretty damned fantastic, Folks. I'm joining Joan in the Ravers Club.

              Those potatoes really flavored the breast and kept it moist. My husband even opted for a piece of breast before his favorite, the drumstick. He can’t stop talking about this chicken or those potatoes.

              I prepared a 3 ½ lb clucker, as directed. [ ] I opted to add thyme to the potatoes (about 12 oz, grated and squeezed dry) as they cooked in 1 T butter for *exactly* 2 minutes, “no longer.” I stuffed the cooled mixture under the skin, rubbed the bird with olive oil, salt, and pepper, browned it briefly, breast side down, in the cast-iron pan before transferring the pan to a 400F over and roasting for an hour, and. (The only tweak: I stuffed a small lemon that had been pretty well stripped of its zest and a handful of thyme into the cavity.)A really beautiful roast chicken, with crisp skin and a very tasty sauce pooled in the bottom of the skillet.

              To be honest, the potato prep wasn’t that onerous. If only I could figure out a way to end up with more of those unctuously delicious shreds of potato.

              The second photo is of the cold chicken and shows better (I hope) the layer of potato.

              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                nomadchowwoman and JoanN: do you think this prep would work well with chicken pieces, too?

                1. re: ChristinaMason

                  You might be able to make it work with half a chicken, but I can't imagine it with already cut up pieces. How could you layer the potato shreds between the meat and the skin and still keep the skin attached? His whole point here is to ensure that the breast doesn't overcook in the time it takes to cook the legs and thighs. There are other methods of ensuring that if you're just using the pieces anyway. Don't mean to discourage you from trying, but I can't picture it. Let us know how it works out if you decide to give a go.

                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                    I'm inclined to agree with Joan, Christina--I think a lot of the potato would fall out, It would still be good, but you probably wouldn't end up with the nice layer intact. W/leg quarters you might be able to push more potato under the skin and forward.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Potato-Stuffed Roast Chicken, p. 78.

                    So after reading the glowing reports I decided to make this with the 4.5 lb. organic, extremely free-range chicken in my CSA box. I was torn between making the Zuni Cafe recipe that everyone loves, but this would have entailed starting a day or two before with the salt-rub, and I picked up my chicken at noon today for tonight's dinner. So I opted for this grated-potato version and I have to say, I was amazed at the flavor and moistness of the result. Who would have thought that pushing a layer of butter-sauteed grated potato underneath the breast meat and then briefly browning the chicken's breast before simply roasting it in the oven would produce such a tender, buttery result? No brining or rubbing, no trussing, no basting or turning; just put it in the oven and take it out an hour later. Carve (according to the instructions about keeping the skin and potato layers intact) and eat with gusto. So simple and so flavorful. I opted to add some fresh thyme leaves to the potato mixture, and I did put half a fresh lemon into the cavity, but that was it.

                    Everyone ate up every scrap; the white meat was as delicious as the drumsticks.

                    1. re: Goblin

                      Sounds delicious, my only worry with this one is carving. I am really terrible at it and I expect the separation of the breasts with skin and potato will be challenging for those of us who are all thumbs, but I think I will put this one on the list as well.

                      1. re: delys77

                        You know, this was one of the easiest to portion out roast chickens I've ever carved at a dinner (and I am not an expert carver.) After I had carefully sliced off both roasted breasts from the bird, the crisp skin was still intact. It seemed to keep the cooked grated potato layer from sliding off the top of the chicken breasts. They were very tender and surprisingly easy to carve into pieces. I chose to cut each breast into halves rather than thirds as suggested by the recipe, since I knew that two of my six guests preferred a drumstick-leg portion anyway.

                        The instructions are very detailed about how to push the grated potatoes carefully under the skin of the breast without tearing it, and it seemed to work.

                        1. re: Goblin

                          Well that is good news Goblin, when I do try this one I will make sure I read very carefully. Thanks!

                    2. re: JoanN

                      Joan, judging from this post and others from this cookbook I think Mr. Lee needs to pay you a commission. All of your posts as well as other hound's post have convinced me to buy the book.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Potato Stuffed Roast Chicken

                        This was a very clever take on Roast Chicken and makes a tasty bird with some luscious potatoes to go with them. We are not big white meat fans and I have to say that I probably won't make this again, because even though the breast meat was very moist, it still didn't convert us from preferring the dark meat. And the dark meat is not really any different from a normal well-executed roast chicken.

                        The potatoes are very good, but I found myself wishing they were crispy like a hashbrown. I am glad I tried this recipe, but I think all in all, I would rather just make a hash brown and a regular roast chicken.

                      2. Honey-Glazed Roast Duck (page 92)

                        You score the breast of a 5-pound duck and pour boiling salted water over it to begin to render some of the fat. The duck is roasted at 325F on a bed of peeled garlic cloves breast side up for 45 minutes, then turned and roasted for another 15 minutes before being turned breast side up again for an additional 15 minutes. Then the oven is turned up to 450 and the duck is glazed with a mixture of honey, fresh orange juice, and soy sauce and roasted for another 15 minutes, brushing the glaze over it a couple of more times.

                        He doesn’t say specifically how to serve the duck, whether it’s to be sliced or chopped up Asian style, but from the photo on the following page it seems as though the meat was sliced from the carcass. He suggests serving it with any number of optional sides, saying “choose any or all” of Hot Sauce, Hoisin sauce, Pineapple-Pickled Jicama, Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños, fresh cilantro sprigs, fresh basil sprigs, or sliced cucumbers. I made both the Hot Sauce (report below) and the Bourbon-Pickled Jalapeños ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9152... ). Although he doesn’t say so, and no lettuce is listed in the optional ingredients, the photo shows people putting the condiments and pieces of duck on leaves of romaine lettuce and eating it that way, so that’s what I did, more or less.

                        This is the first recipe I've made from the book that didn't work for me. The duck didn't render a sufficient amount of fat and the skin wasn't as shatteringly crisp as I like it. The meat was also quite tough, although that might have been a factor of the inexpensive frozen duck I bought at an Asian market. The flavor of the glaze was excellent and the garlic cloves roasted in the duck fat and the glaze that dripped into the pan were delectable. I loved the flavors and may well try this again with a better duck and adjusting the timing to try to achieve that crispy skin which to my way of thinking is the whole point of making a roast duck.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: JoanN

                          Sorry to hear this didn't thrill, Joan, as it is way up on my to-try list. But maybe I'll try it with a "special" duck from the "special" (read: expensive) butcher.

                          Sure looks pretty!

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Honey-Glazed Roast Duck, p. 92

                            I should have known that if this didn't work for Joan, it wouldn't work for me although I agree that the glaze and the garlic cloves were glorious.

                            When I couldn't get my hands on a duck without added "water solution" anywhere, I bit the bullet and went to the fancy butcher and foolishly paid too much for a 5-lb duck, no matter what its pedigree.

                            Joan has covered the process quite well. I did the same things. (I have read for years about this salted boiling water "spa treatment," but I did not see any appreciable positive results). .The glaze started to blacken in my oven during the 450F phase so I pulled the duck out a few minutes early (and the legs were a tad underdone). My complaints are much the same as Joan's--much fat remained under the skin, skin was not wonderfully crisp, and worst of all, the meat was tough(though flavorful).

                            It's certainly not a total loss. We enjoyed our meal--just the duck and a few veggie sides; I'll remove what's left of the meat and make pot pie and of course make stock with the carcass. But I much prefer the results of my usual recipe (the "amazing five-hour duck" that has appeared in Best American Recipes and other places). I will, however, add the garlic cloves and glaze next time I roast a duck.

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Can't tell you how disappointed I am to read this, ncw. I was really hoping the next person who tried this would nail it and have some advice for me. There are so many good things about this recipe, it's a shame it just doesn't come together as a whole. I still think I might play with it again sometime, although probably not with an expensive bird.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                I went back and looked at the two roast duck recipes I know well: the five-hour duck (usually more like 4-4 1/2 for me) cooks at 300 and then at 350 for the last hour; the other, for duck served at a local restaurant (the recipe also appears in one of the BAR books), has you parboil the duck for 15 minutes, then roast it at 450 for 1 hour, 15 minutes, then at 350 for another 45. Finally, the duck pieces are put under the broiler. While I find this recipe too fussy for me, it, like the first, yields a crisp-skinned, succulent bird.

                                Who am I to question Chef Lee, but I wonder if the trick is either low and slow with slightly higher heat at the end to crisp the skin OR the blast of high heat first and finishing at a lower heat? The 450 blast at the end of the Lee recipe seemed to toughen the meat--and I'm not sure 1 1/2 hours was enough time to render all the fat. (I also wonder if more of the salted boiling water--4 c didn't seem like much--might not have helped with the skin.) Please report if you figure it out because the glaze is divine. (And I've got about half those garlic cloves in the fridge, waiting to be spread on crostini. I think I'd double the # of garlic cloves next time.)

                          2. Hot Sauce (page 93)

                            Made 1/4 of the recipe to accompany the Honey-Glazed Roast Duck on the previous page. The whole recipe makes four cups and he says it keeps for two weeks in the fridge. I like hot sauce, but four cups would last me a bit longer than just two weeks. I couldn’t find red jalapeños, so substituted red banana peppers from the Asian market. Otherwise, I made the sauce as directed with a mix of green jalapeños, Thai bird peppers, and habaneros. The peppers are trimmed and cooked with garlic, cider vinegar, hoisin sauce, water, Red Bull (I used the suggested substitute of ginger ale), sugar and fish sauce. Puree in a blender until smooth, add sesame oil and blend again.

                            This was very flavorful, but waaaay too hot. I discovered when I used them in another preparation that my jalapeños were killers. Should have tasted one first, but it’s been ages since I’ve had jalapeños that hot. Had to thin the sauce with water, but once I did it was a great hot sauce. In addition to using it as a dipping sauce for the duck, I put some on the sandwiches made from his Pulled Pork Shoulder and even used it on some takeout Chinese. This is really good stuff.

                            1. OK, so I have a feeling I know the answer to this question (and that it isn't going to help the space situation in my refrigerator) but how much of a difference is there between light miso and dark? I'm thinking of making the Miso-Smothered Chicken and have some light miso in the fridge, and really don't want to have another tub of miso sitting around just so that I can make this one dish. Anyone know more about miso than I do?

                              18 Replies
                              1. re: LulusMom

                                The darker the miso, the longer it's been fermented and the stronger the flavor. I'd just go ahead and do it. At worst, the dish will be milder than intended.

                                Funny you mention this at this moment. I bought some red miso a couple of weeks ago and just now finished my shopping list, including four bone-in chicken thighs. Too bad we don't live closer to each other; we could have a taste off. And I could have a sip of your Kentucky Mule.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Funny, I just bought chicken thighs for the same reason. But I wonder if you know: is red miso the same as dark miso, or is there an even darker one? I saw a brown rice miso on the shelf as well and wondered about that. Guess I need a primer on miso.

                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                    The one I bought is labelled "Organic Miso Red-Type" but is actually more of a medium-brown color. I am most definitely not an expert on miso. This may be only the second time I've bought it. But my understanding is that they are made with essentially the same ingredients and that the color is indicative solely of the length of fermentation time. Maybe someone who knows more about it than I could jump in here with more information.

                                  2. re: JoanN

                                    Thanks to everyone, and I'll pass along the pitcher of Kentucky Mules. I'll just go for it, thanks to you all (or y'all, as we say down here).

                                  3. re: LulusMom

                                    I'd go for it. Red (dark) miso is more assertive in flavor (saltier and eathier) where white (light) miso is subtler and sweeter. Just taste the sauce when you add the orange juice, soy sauce and miso. You may need to add a little more soy or salt. Hope it turns out. It's on my list too.

                                    1. re: BigSal

                                      Thanks--that is helpful. I have red and white; glad to know red is "dark": I'm all set for the miso-smothered chicken, which sounds odd to me, but I trust Chef Lee. He hasn't let me down yet. He's also scuttled my attempts at low-carbing, gotten me frying up a storm so I can eat his remoulade--and going through bourbon like crazy (even drinking it!).

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        I suspect the miso will be in the background adding a savoriness to the dish.

                                        I'm impressed by how much you have made from his book already. All of the accolades have me anxious to try the perfect rémoulade, and the potato stuffed chicken and pickled peaches (and the list goes on).

                                        1. re: BigSal

                                          Well, I cheated and got started early since I didn't own last month's book. Also, this is a busy month so I wanted to be sure I got to try lots of recipes. But work and social commitments be damned, I'm going to make the effort to cook on!
                                          (And what a great start you've gotten us off to, BigSal. Thank you.)

                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                      I also have plans to make the miso chicken, as it seems to be the easiest one in the entire list of chicken recipe.

                                      My question is, are you planning to serve it with the pineapple jicama? We don't have jicama in the UK, and even daikon is hard to get in my neck of wood. I wonder if the dish would still be ok without it. I've thought about using jerusalem artichokes, but it's out of season at the moment.

                                      1. re: lilham

                                        Gosh, I don't even remember seeing Jerusalem artichokes in the list - yikes. My guess is that it will be fine without though.

                                        We have jicama, but I wasn't planning on serving it with that slaw. I was going to serve it over grits and be done with it. Maybe I need to relook at this recipe before proceeding.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          It specifies jicama in the recipe. But google says daikon is a good substitute, and failing that, you can use jerusalem artichokes.

                                          If you aren't planning to make the pickle to serve with the chicken, I'd love to hear how it tastes before I plunge into making it. It's mid autumn festival season at the moment, so I'm learning to make mooncakes (that keeps me very busy). My first batch failed miserably. They tastes wonderful but more like dumplings than mooncakes.

                                          1. re: lilham

                                            Funny you should mention mooncakes. They came up in a discussion on my local (southeast) board recently, and I've been sort of looking to see if I can find some locally. Good luck with yours.

                                            1. re: lilham

                                              Off thread, but can't resist asking what filling for the mooncakes?

                                              1. re: qianning

                                                I'm making the ice-skinned versions and using custard as filling. It is the easiest filling to make, but I hear custard powder isn't common in the US? But they turn out more like 糯米糍. I think I might need to add more flour when kneading the dough.

                                                1. re: lilham

                                                  Sounds fabulous even with your current dough. I can't imagine making these at home.

                                          2. re: lilham

                                            In my experience with the book so far, many of his suggestions for sides are just that: suggestions. I've made some; haven't made others. I do have the Pineapple-Pickled Jicama curing in the fridge to serve with the chicken, but that's mainly because I've been so enjoying (mostly) his pickle recipes and wanted to try this one as well. But you could just serve the chicken on rice with any other accompaniments that appeal to you.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              This is good to know. I'm not madly in love with pickles (although I do love pickled okra) and they probably wouldn't add much for me.

                                              1. re: JoanN

                                                Thanks, JoanN. I'll give the miso chicken a go.

                                          3. Miso-Smothered Chicken (page 76)

                                            Chicken thighs are dredged in flour mixed with salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder and browned lightly before being set aside. Chopped onions are lightly caramelized in the remaining oil, then garlic, bourbon, chicken stock, orange juice, soy sauce and dark miso are stirred in. The thighs are put back in the pan and cooked, covered, for 30 minutes before thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms are added to the sauce and everything is cooked for another 10 to 15 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the sauce is thickened.

                                            I made the recipe as directed using gigunda Kosher chicken thighs and homemade stock. The recipe calls for dredging the chicken in a shallow dish, but I just put the dredging ingredients in a gallon ZipLock along with the thighs and gave it a few good shakes, as I always do. He instructs that the initial cooking of the chicken be “until golden on both sides,” but next time I think I’ll cook the skin-side of the thighs a little longer just for aesthetics; they were paler on the plate than I would have liked. And I was hungry and impatient in reducing the sauce; you can see in the plated photo that the consistency was thinner than gravy as he directs.

                                            He recommends serving it with rice and the Pineapple-Pickled Jicama on page 172. I’ve been lo-carbing and wasn’t going to make the rice, but I’m really glad I changed my mind. I made brown jasmine rice and I think I would have been happy with just the rice and the sauce, even if there had been no chicken on the plate. The flavors were subtle, but just scrumptious, and the chicken perfectly cooked. If I hadn’t made the dish, I’d never have been able to guess the ingredients. I think this would be great with noodles or even mashed potatoes as well; anything to convey as much as possible of the sauce and mushrooms.

                                            The Pineapple-Pickled Jicama ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9152... ) was a wonderful contrast to the chicken: crunchy and a bit hot and a bit sweet. But any number of sides or salads would be just fine here.

                                            This is a dish that will definitely be repeated. It’s easy enough, and although it doesn’t have a huge wow factor, it’s just delicious, very satisfying, and endlessly versatile in the way it can be served.

                                            31 Replies
                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Joan, wow those thighs are from Frankenchicken! So glad to have your report. I just couldn't imagine these flavors and didn't put a post-it note on this page. Always looking for ways to make chicken.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                Yes, the butchering was somewhat unusual for thighs and included some ribs and the tail. Almost surprisingly, there really wasn't much more meat on them than on regular thighs and his timing worked well with them. I was a bit concerned because of the size that they might need to be cooked longer, but I needn't have worried.

                                              2. re: JoanN

                                                Thanks so much for the report. I have this one on my list. Maybe I'll even give in and make the pickle.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  I know you said you don't much care for pickles, but this was very lightly cured and almost more of a crunchy salad, kind of a thick-cut, vinegar-dressed, cole slaw. You might like this.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    It isn't that I dislike pickles, but they don't get me as excited as they do others. And this sounds like just the kind of thing I'd go for. If I hadn't read your review I'd not have guessed it, but you make it sound very good.

                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                  That looks just delicious. I'm hoping to get around to making this recipe on the weekend.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    Miso Smothered Chicken

                                                    This dish was dinner tonight and my first foray into S&P. What a great intro to the book for me! I am a fan of chicken braises in general, and this one really delivered.

                                                    Joan does a great job describing the process. I will say that I ended up subbing a rye whisky for the bourbon (the only bourbon that I had was an 18 year old aged Elijah Craig and I knew my husband would not be happy if he knew I was braising with it!). Given that I was cooking for kids and I knew I might be missing some of the smokiness of the bourbon, I subbed a mix of smoked paprika and Ancho chili powder for the cayenne. I also subbed sliced cremini for shiitake since that was what I had. Thanks, Joan, for mentioning shaking the chicken in the seasoned flour in a bag-- I stole your idea. And actually, since my butcher (whole foods) put the chicken thighs in a plastic bag and then wraps in butcher paper, I just threw the seasoned flour into the bag the chicken came in and shook it up in there. No extra dirty dish and no Ziplock necessary!

                                                    I also slightly simplified the cooking process. After making the braising base, I added the mushrooms and browned chicken back at the same time and cooked it all together. I spent a lot of time browning the chicken really well in the beginning and then letting the onions get golden, so putting the braise together took longer than I expected (although I should have realized had I really read the recipe well) I realized I was running behind a little bit with hungry kids and so tried to streamline a bit. In addition, instead of Joan's gigantic chicken thighs, I had tiny ones, so I figured they might not need the whole braising time.

                                                    Anyway, the final result was still delicious despite my subs and shortcuts. My husband and 6 year old loved it ,eating 2 chicken thighs each. My daughters were not enthusiastic and turned up their noses at the chicken, but ate some of the gravy on their rice. Despite the complex layered flavors, it was firmly in the comfort food realm for me. But very interesting comfort food. I served it with rice, roasted broccoli and kimchi. I haven't made the pickled jicama (although I would like to) and after tasting the chicken and gravy, I could see that I crunchy bright note would be welcome to counterbalance. Kimchi did the trick.

                                                    Going into the repeat file for us, hopefully with the jicama pickle next time.

                                                    ETA: I have only one chicken thigh left (I made 6) but a ton of "gravy". I am considering re-using it to braise again. Never done that, but I don't see a problem with it. I'll report back how that goes...

                                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                      I was very pleased with how the leftovers held up. In fact, I'd even consider freezing the rice, gravy, and chicken together as a ready-to-eat meal. I think it would hold up well.

                                                      Although I had quite a bit of gravy, I found that I just kept scooping it up with the rice so the leftover gravy didn't last any longer than the leftover rice did.

                                                      Curious why your daughters were unenthusiastic. There really aren't any of what might be considered unusual or objectionable flavors there. Was it aesthetics? Do they just not care for dark meat?

                                                      Although I'm a dark meat gal myself, I've been wondering if this might work with breasts as well. I may just give it a try since I think a combination of breasts and thighs would make the dish more company friendly.

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        My daughters are 4 and 2 and a bit fickle about food. Even if I wanted to try to cook to their tastes, it would be tough because they can love a dish one day and turn their noses up at it in 2 months. My 4 year old loves crispy chicken skin, so braises are just not her favorite for chicken. The 2 yo is not a huge meat eater at this point, so I wasn't surprised that she didn't eat it. They both like dark, meat so that wasn't it. I did wonder whether the bourbon (or in my case rye whisky) would make it less appealing to the kids, but it was pretty subtle in the final product, as you know. I think the mushrooms were a bit of a turn-off for the girls as well, but obviously those could be pushed aside.

                                                        I think it would work with breasts, although our family prefers dark meat, overall.

                                                        Glad to hear the leftovers held up well.

                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                      Miso-Smothered Chicken

                                                      This one is a huge disapppointment for me. It tastes nice but not worth the effort of making them. I found the recipe problematic too.

                                                      I think chicken thighs in the US must be a lot larger than the ones here. I can't imagine using only one thigh per person. So I made the recipe with 8 thighs. This might be a large part of my problem with the recipe.

                                                      I didn't have garlic powder. I thought I had garlic salt, but couldn't find it in the kitchen. And then I forgotten about the salt. So my chicken thighs were coated with only a mixture of flour and cayenne pepper.

                                                      I didn't have any whisky at home, so I used Vermouth instead. This shouldn't impact too much on the final taste? I don't cook that much with whisky so I'm not sure on this one.

                                                      My next problem is the amount of water specified in the recipe. I think I used about half of the liquid. My copy is the US version but it has metric units in it, and I haven't checked the conversion. But I remembered it says 700ml of stock, and I used the juice of two oranges. That is far too much too cook the chicken for about 20min. (The recipe specified 45min, but my chicken thighs would be way beyond overcooked if I leave it for that long). So I'm not sure if the metric conversion in the book is incorrect, or that I needed only half because of my short cooking time.

                                                      I also have problems with the mushrooms. I used dried shittake mushrooms and I think the recipe specified fresh? I can't remember, but I halved the weight just in case. I still ended up with a massive volume of rehydrated shittake mushrooms. I ended up using about 1/4, and froze the rest.

                                                      The end result is nice, but not that nice.

                                                      Edit: Like greeneggsnham I spent a lot of time browning the chicken and the onions. We didn't have dinner until past 8.30 when it's usually 8pm for us. It took a lot longer to make then I'd anticipated. But I should have known if I had read the recipe properly before hand!

                                                      1. re: lilham

                                                        Really sorry to hear this didn't work for you. But I'm confused by a number of things in your report. It almost sounds as though you were using a different recipe. For instance, my book calls for 2 cups of chicken stock, not 700 ml (which is almost 3 cups) of water. And the braising time in my copy is 30 minutes, not 45. How did you measure your mushrooms? The recipe call for half a pound of fresh mushrooms. I figure that would be about 1.5 ounces dried and reconstituted.

                                                        This has made me very curious about your copy of the book. I have the US version and it doesn't have metric units in it. It seems unlikely there would be two different US versions.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          You are completely right JoanN. I have a ebook version and the recipe is in US units only. I should have written down the conversions first but I must have done it on the fly in my head. (And blaming chef Lee for my school girl errors). I read 2 cups and somehow thought 700ml. It should be only 500ml. For the shiitake mushrooms, my copy says 8oz. I took that to mean 225g. I used a electronic scale to measure the mushrooms.

                                                          I really prefer cooking out of a paper version for US books. I have always scribble down the metric equivalent first before I start. Usually using google to convert the units for me :(

                                                        2. re: lilham

                                                          Hi lilham,

                                                          You may not like this recipe or the result anyway, but I really think using chicken stock instead of water would make a difference. You already know you had too much liquid, but I think even the 2 cups specified in the recipe is probably too much, and I'll probably use less next time I make it. (My thighs were fully submerged instead of sitting in a shallow bath, but mine were also small.)

                                                          Bourbon vs. Vermouth: I think this would make a difference, esp. if you're talking about dry vermouth. Bourbon is sweetish, with notes of caramel and smoke, almost the opposite of how I think of (dry) vermouth ("clean" and lightly herbal) and seems very well-suited to this particular dish.

                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                            I do think the amount of liquid is entirely dependent on the size of the thighs. As you can see in my first photo, the thighs were not even half submerged, no less fully. Were I to make this again with thighs only, and normal sized ones rather than the huge ones I had this time, I might make the recipe with six instead of four thighs. Especially since I was so pleased with the leftovers.

                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                              I didn't dislike the dish! It's nice but I don't know if the effort is justified. I have thought about the dish a bit more, and am mulling over cooking this in a slow cooker. I would still brown the onions, but will skip the chicken browning step. I think the sauce will stay similar, and the slow cooker would turn this into a low effort winter dish.

                                                              I did a search on EYB and apparently I have 35 recipes using bourbon. Mostly from Smoke and Pickles, but I am already intrigued by a bourbon pecan brownies and a caramel corissant pudding. I hoping a cheap supermarket brand bottle would be good enough for cooking?

                                                              Edit: Thinking about this more, I actually have rum. That would be a better substitute than vermouth. I think I was in such a mad rush after browning the chicken that I just use the first bottle I grabbed from the cupboard.

                                                              1. re: lilham

                                                                I think rum has too different of a flavor to use as a substitute.
                                                                The only things I'd use in place of bourbon might be rye or whiskey.

                                                                I'd invest in a decent bottle. It won't go bad and once you have it you'll find other uses for it!

                                                                1. re: lilham

                                                                  Do you have access to Costco? Their Kirkland brand bourbon is an excellent buy and good for both cooking and mixing.

                                                                  1. re: lilham

                                                                    Rum is probably closer than vermouth but I wouldn't recommend it as a bourbon sub. Rye works well (I made the peach-bourbon brisket from the beef chapter with rye and it was terrific), whiskey would be fine too. No need to spend a bundle, though, IMO, unless you're planning to drink it. Most of the subtleties cook out when you cook with it anyway, so a cheaper bottle will be fine.

                                                                    1. re: lilham

                                                                      I LOVE bourbon in sweets - go for a bottle if you can. It will be worth it. An Irish whiskey would work too.

                                                                2. re: JoanN

                                                                  Miso-Smothered Chicken p. 76

                                                                  We enjoyed this very comforting, homey dish. When the chicken was cooked through, we had quite a bit of liquid left so we set the chicken aside and blasted the heat stirring constantly to reduce the liquid to a more gravy- like consistency. The miso-bourbon spiked gravy was tasty, especially after it had cooled off and thickened. Great over rice, maybe even noodles, and definitely with a slice of bread.

                                                                  @lilham Sorry to read about your misadventures. And boy, our chicken thighs in the US must be super-sized if you attempted the same recipe with 8 of them.

                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                    Miso-Smothered Chicken, p. 76

                                                                    We just loved this.

                                                                    I agree that the proportion of liquid to chicken is off. I think the braising liquid could easily have accommodated at least 6, maybe 8, thighs. I saved what was leftover and will braise a few more thighs in it at a later date.

                                                                    As braises go, I thought this went together rather quickly. I followed the recipe as written (maybe a little heavy on the shitakes, but that didn't hurt anything), but then did have to remove the chicken and boil the braising liquid to reduce it.

                                                                    We ate this with potatoes mashed with scallions and roasted Brussels sprouts and thought it all went together brilliantly.

                                                                    I couldn't imagine how this would taste from reading the recipe, but I am so glad I tried it. It's now right up there among my very favorite comfort food chicken recipes. It would be more ideally suited to cooler weather, but we just ignored the thermometer and enjoyed the meal.

                                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                      That's it, you and JoanN have sold me. I'm ordering the book.

                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                        Hi Christina--
                                                                        This is so off-topic, but you once posted about a cocktail (gin or vodka, as I recall) that I think had sage and maybe lemon in it. It was probably in the WFD thread, maybe 3-4 years ago, but I've come up empty every time I try searching. Do you remember what I'm talking about, and if so could you give me that recipe again? Pretty please. That drink was wonderful. Thank you!

                                                                        And by the way, the book is so worth it. As Joan has so eloquently put it earlier, the recipes are so creative-- very surprising interpretations of Southern, but the South is definitely present.

                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                          Sure thing! I don't think I ever wrote down the recipe, and I had a hard time finding my original post on it, too. You refer to it here:

                                                                          I found it working backwards: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8551...

                                                                          If I had to guess, I'd start with 2 oz. gin, 3/4 oz. lemon juice, 2 or 3 sage leaves, and 1/4-1/2 oz. simple syrup. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

                                                                          1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                            Thank you, Christina--I am a lousy searcher, couldn't find anything--but I'm going to make that drink this week. Miraculously, I still have sage in my tiny garden.

                                                                            (Can't believe that discussion was only last year. Reading the links, I got nostalgic re: WFD. I just couldn't keep up with it anymore; it moves so quickly! But I miss it.)

                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                              And we miss hearing about your meals! Just pop in with a report whenever you feel like it :)

                                                                    2. re: JoanN

                                                                      Miso-Smothered Chicken, Pg. 76

                                                                      This was dinner last night and I agree with JoanN when she says there is not a "...huge wow factor but it’s delicious and very satisfying..." Our 6 chicken thighs were on the small side, organic, free range, etc. I did increase the amounts of the other ingredients not substituting anything. Even so, what sauce there was seemed to be very subtle to me but G thought it was "too heavy". I noticed he had four of the larger pieces though.

                                                                      I too used Joan's idea about shaking the chicken with the seasoned flour in a zip bag. That's a technique I use many times for both wet and dry coating and marinade..

                                                                      I served the chicken with plain chopped fresh pineapple and a cobbled together stir-fry of fresh corn kernels, red bell pepper, and diced zucchini. We enjoyed the meal even though there were mild reservations about it.

                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                        Miso-Smothered Chicken, p. 76

                                                                        I chose to skin my chicken thighs, as I am a real non-fan of braised chicken skin and I wanted the seasoned flour on the part I'd eat, not on something I'd end up pulling off and discarding. I also changed the proportions of the braising liquid in that my one little orange yielded but a scant 1/4 cup juice, and since I only had mild white miso, I used a generous amount. I also only added 1 1/2 cups stock (boxed vegetable broth, actually, because it was open in the fridge), but despite having 3/4 cup less liquid, my (average-size) thighs were just about covered when I put them in. So though I had both the requisite half pound shiitakes and a large handful of chopped bits and bobs from a portobello that needed using, like some others I lifted the chicken out and reduced the gravy a good bit.

                                                                        This is straight-up comfort food, mild but with great depth of flavor. And happily, that is just what the doctor ordered for metoday, so this made a perfect dinner. On the side I had sauteed broccoli slaw (i.e., shredded broccoli stems and carrots), which served as a no-fuss vegetable dish as well as a good vehicle for the gravy. Looking forward to a reprise tomorrow, when I have a busy day and not much time for cooking.

                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                          Miso Smothered Chicken Pg. 76

                                                                          This dish was very different from any other chicken braise I have ever had, but that didn't stop it from really impressing at the table. The other's have done a great job describing the dish and I have had the benefit of some of their notes so I'll just delve into my tweaks.

                                                                          Firstly I went with 8 quite small chicken thighs as I typically find ours here are much smaller than American thighs. I also browned the chicken and onions a little longer than suggested and I went with about 80% of the stock suggested, so that it just came about half way up the sides of my lovely chicken. I already had miso, but it was of the white variety so I went with about 2 Tb instead of the one. Mushroom wise my local market didn't have any shiitakes so I just went with regular button mushrooms. That said, I don't like boiled mushrooms so I sliced and sauteed them separately and just tossed them in at the very end. Lastly, when the dish looked ready after about 35 minutes of the chicken being in the lovely chicken skin had steamed and boiled its way back to rubberiness so I turned on the broiler, popped the thighs into a small roasting pan and broiled them back to crispiness very quickly. Meantime I simmered down the sauce rather aggressively.

                                                                          The result was very very good served over some Chinese wheat noodles (similar to Somen). For me the dish is an umami bomb, and that is something that is very popular at our house. The miso gravy was luscious with a flavour unlike anything else I've had. Smokey from the bourbon, umami from the miso (helped by the mushrooms), and somehow slightly sweet. Delicious indeed! I do think the chicken was very nicely done after the 35 minutes but I would say that the broiling step really helped them go from good to great.

                                                                          Served with the Collards (Kale) and Kimchi on the side this was great comfort food.

                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                            That looks beautiful, Delys--company-worthy!

                                                                            I'm waiting for the slightest hint of cool weather to make this again, and next time I'm going to take your tip and broil the chicken. When I made it, I just removed the flabby skin before serving, but crisped skin would be an added bonus, esp. for my husband (oh, he of slim thighs and hips).

                                                                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                              Lol those darned slim hipped partners and their love of crispy chicken skin.

                                                                        2. I'm so glad to be have a kitchen again and be able to participate!

                                                                          Frog Legs with celery, chile peppers, fish sauce and brown butter - p. 143

                                                                          The recipe calls for 8 oz of frog legs. The smallest pack (frozen, farmed) I could find had 4 pairs and was a tad over 1 lb. The legs are split. Butter is cooked on high until it starts to brown. The legs are added and cooked 2 minutes per side. Then dry white wine (sauvignon blanc), red pepper flakes (Pirates Bite pepper mix) fish sauce, rice vinegar, sea salt and black pepper are added to the mix and cooked for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Lastly julienne snow peas, celery leaves (I used a tad less since my batch was leaf deprived) and tat-soi or watercress leaves (I used watercress) are added to the skillet and tossed.

                                                                          This came together very quickly with minimal prep. He suggests using shears to separate the legs but I found my knife did just fine. The recipe suggests this as an appetizer for 4. I served it with rice for dinner and had two servings worth, especially if you had a vegetable side. It was start to finish, including rice, under 30 min.!

                                                                          This dish is just jumping with flavor! :-))

                                                                          The frog legs have a slightly sweet tender meat. The butter creates a rich dish. The greens balance it and add a nice crunch. There are a lot of flavors going on but it pulls together to make a very memorable, delicious dish.

                                                                          When I make it again I'll probably increase the snow peas for a bit more crunch. To my taste it could use a pinch more acid to cut the butter, so I'll increase the wine a little. I felt the rice worked well to balance the heat and the richness of the dish. And to soak up every bit of the sauce!

                                                                          This was my first time cooking frog legs. They are delicate little things and need to be turned with care or they begin to fall apart. I'm very pleased with the dish and would gladly make it again! The only downside is a bit of splatter when cooking the legs.

                                                                          I'll try to get a photo up in a day or so.

                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            where on earth did you find frog legs around here? It sounds fantastic.

                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                              Hey there!

                                                                              Grand Asia. They were in the big open freezer that is in the aisle across from the fish counter. They were wrapped with clear plastic over they styrofoam tray, much like prepacked chicken parts.

                                                                              I think you would like this recipe! Now let me see if I can figure out how to post the photo...

                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                I think I would like this recipe too. Thanks for the tip on where to find the frog legs.

                                                                                We got back from the beach today and are exhausted but happy and awaiting pizza delivery. That is allowed after a day of driving a few days of fun in the sun, right?

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                  As long as it includes a drink! Glad you had fun.

                                                                            2. re: meatn3

                                                                              Lets try putting on the techno wizard hat and see if the photo's will magically appear...

                                                                              edit: Wow! I think I did it!

                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                Looks really good. I love the idea of this with rice.

                                                                                And yes, I think if we did a show of hands it would show that the chances were strong that I had a drink. And those hands would be correct.

                                                                                1. re: meatn3

                                                                                  Ah grenouille with a twist ala Chef Ed!

                                                                                  Thanks for the post Meetn3!

                                                                                  I adore frog legs. Will have to get this book picked up from the library and make this one (have been anxiously awaiting my 'hold' arrival).


                                                                                2. Chicken Fried Pork Steak Pg. 112

                                                                                  Ok this is my first time "chicken frying" anything. I have seen chicken fried steaks on diner menus, but i have never quite known what the process entailed so I was quite enthused to try this recipe. I haven't the slightest idea how fusion this recipe is or how authentic it is but I can say that it very tasty!

                                                                                  The process is very simple, so simple in fact that my trusty knife sat unused on the counter until I decided to chop the parsley for the garnish. The gravy consists of a simple roux with stock (chicken in my case), whole milk, and buttermilk (a 1/2 tsp of vinegar in more milk in my case),which is heavily seasoned and set aside to keep warm. Very simple and very tasty and basically just a heavily seasoned veloute with buttermilk.

                                                                                  The pork chop is then pounded down to about 1 cm and, seasoned and breaded (milk/egg/ flour/panko/breadcrumbs), He did suggest crushed ramen but I went with the panko substitute, and since I was using panko I just used more instead of mixing in regular breadcrumbs. Toss into a cast iron skillet and fry over high heat on each side for a few minutes per side and then into a 350 degree oven till cooked through (10 minutes suggested, 8 minutes in my case).

                                                                                  The result is super simple but very satisfying, and once again reminiscent of comfort food. I wouldn't serve it to company as it is a little boring appearance wise but we thoroughly enjoyed the crunchy cutlet with the silky gravy.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                                    And yes, that is pretty darn traditional to be honest. With crushed ramen, you might be on the edge of fusion. I admit that I can't stand that gravy they slop over anything "chicken-fried" but squeezing some fresh lemon juice and sprinkling some chopped parsley makes it almost company food. [Of course, I have stolen the lemon with parsley from the Germans.]

                                                                                  2. Warmed Oysters with Bourbon Brown Butter

                                                                                    I had purchased some oysters for cocktail hour this weekend and was left with a couple dozen that were particularly stubborn to open. These fit the bill perfectly.

                                                                                    Butter is heated and browned, then bourbon and a hint of lemon is added.

                                                                                    A cast iron skillet is lined with rock salt, then heated in a 500 degree oven for 15 minutes. Scrubbed oysters are placed in the pre warmed pan and cooked until bubbling, 4-6 minutes.

                                                                                    The warmed oysters are shucked (on the half shell) and dribbled with the brown butter bourbon sauce, some diced speck (I used crisp proscuutto) and lime zest.

                                                                                    These were absolutely delicious. They would make a delicious appetizer with friends but were wonderful on their own with some nice toast and salad as a meal for 1.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. Chicken and Country Ham Pho Pg. 96

                                                                                      At first glance this dish dish didn't go into the bookmark pile because the combination of flavours seemed a bit odd to me. That said, in perusing the book yesterday in an effort to squeeze one more dish into the month I stopped on this one and thought it might be nice on a drizzly Sunday evening.

                                                                                      It is quite simple but takes a bit of time as you have to prepare the stock first. I followed the process pretty much according to the instructions except that I was out of whole coriander. Not wanting the broth to be too one note for the lack of an ingredient I decided to toss in a cinnamon stick. This worked very well, and to my mind gave the base a lovely fragrance. In addition to the cinnamon there was star anise, cloves, peppercorns, some sugar, fish sauce, a 3 lb skinned and quartered chicken, and about 12 cups of water. The lot gets simmered for about 1 1/4 hours, but the chicken gets pulled after about 30 minutes so as to remove the meat from the bones. The bones then go in for the remainder of the cooking time. In my case the chicken looked ready after about 25 minutes so I pulled it then and set it aside to cook before shredding.

                                                                                      Meanwhile you can prep the garnish which in my case consisted of prosciutto instead of country ham, cilantro, basil, chili, bean sprouts, and sriracha. I simmered some lovely rice noodles separately until tender and then placed them in a bowl. On went the reserved chicken and several ladles of lovely broth (strained and salted which he doesn't call for but I thought necessary). I let my dinner companions garnish to their liking and we all enjoyed very much. The broth is very nice, the chicken still juicy thanks to the short cooking, and the garnish a good match. The prosciutto melts in a bit and adds a lovely bit of umami. The only thing I would do in future would be to add a bit of mint, otherwise a lovely recipe.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: delys77

                                                                                        Delys, I so liked reading your review of this recipe. I've never cooked nor tasted Pho but this encouraged me to do it. (BTW: I have not read the recipe.)

                                                                                        A few questions: Why did you choose cinnamon stick to use when you didn't have whole coriander? [OK my brain is churning and I acknlowledge that whole coriander is differnt than fresh cilantro]

                                                                                        Was this a starter or can it used as a main dish? If a main was it sufficient? Or is a secondary dish advised? If so what would you suggest? TIA.

                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                          Oh you MUST have some real Vietnamese Pho my friend! It is a main course soup, and so, so, so delicious.

                                                                                          I have researched your closest option; pickup only. Will send to you.

                                                                                          [Whoops that place is closed. Will keep researching for you.]

                                                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                                                            Thank you. I've heard about it for years but somehow Pho has eluded me. Or, perhaps I, it.

                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                Gio, there are also a number of versions in the Mai Pham book that was COTM a few years back. I haven't tried any of them, but a few versions there (including a quick pho with chicken) look right up your alley.

                                                                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                  Thanks very much WM! "a quick pho with chicken" really is "up my alley." I'll take a look ASAP.

                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                              Hi Gio
                                                                                              I'm glad the post caught your eye, I love pho but since it is very common in Vancouver I usually go out for it. I'm by no means an expert but I think coriander is an adaptation made by Mr. lee. Not that I didn't want to try it as intended but there was none to be had in the cupboard. I went with cinnamon because in my experience it suited the flavour profile, and I think it might actually be found in some versions of pho.

                                                                                              It is definitely substantial enough as a main, and with hearty amounts of herb garnish you don't even need a veggie.

                                                                                              Best of luck Gio!