Sunday, December 25, 2011

Beer and Sherry Braised Brisket

Yum. I upped the anti and the slow cooking on traditional brisket with this one.  The aroma was so strong, I tempted a long time vegetarian into considering taking the meaty plunge... Clearly a success by any measure!  I made two briskets simultaneously and froze one ... how can you resist red meat on sale, I wonder? Feel free to add root vegetables to the roasting pan - I didn't want to deprive the vegetarians, so I didn't... but I saved the sauce/gravy and added it to both chicken soup and roasted parsnips and carrots the following week.

Dry Rub:
1/3 brown sugar (I use  turbinado brownulated)
1/3 garlic powder
1/3 onion powder
(I didn't put measurements above, usually pour in about 1/3cup or less)
2 tbsp Emeril's essence
1 tbsp Mustard seed (ground)
1-2 tsp Allspice
2 tsp cumin

Mix all ingredients in a ziploc bag
Coat both sides, leave fatty side up.

3/4 c Harpoon (I used summer ale.... but any beer will do the job)
1/2-1c Gonzales Byass Tio Pepe kosher Sherry

Seal really tightly w/aluminum foil

Cook at 225 for 3 hours
Flip (If serving for shabbat/holiday lunch, this is where I put it in the fridge)
Then 200 for 4-5 hours
Let cool for 10-15 min before you slice it to serve.
Cut against the grain!!!It's the slow and low that makes it fork tender. It can stand to be in the oven tightly sealed a bit longer ... But 8 hrs is my gauge. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Crockpot Coconut Curry Chicken

This delicious dish can be made a variety of ways 
1 hour into the Coconut Currying process...
... But this week's version used off the bone chicken thighs which i cubed and browned before sliding into the crockpot. I did this mostly because I didn't have 'all day' to wait and wanted to make sure the meat was properly cooked. I do think it added to how excellent the flavor was, but then again, I'm not sure I've evercooked w/deboned chicken thighs before. In other instances, I've used (whole cut) chicken on the bone, cooked the whole dish longer and shredded the chicken off the bone before serving. When I use skin on chicken, I replace the chicken broth below with water. The latter version are also great budget saving swaps.

I have to admit, and you can probably tell by the fullness of the pot, that this was one of those meals where I had a lot of "maybes" coming to dinner - none of whom made it in the end, but it meant I had to prepare the kind of dish where I might enjoy leftovers for days. The side dishes to this menu are recipes which will be forthcoming: Broccoli & Spinach sauteed with meyer lemons, purple coconut rice. I'd tell you how to make the Burmese tea leaf salad my friend made, but the key ingredients were brought from Burma by way of Thailand. I do recommend a colorful side salad with nuts, red onion, purple cabbage and tomatoes though.

1 3/4 lbs Chicken Thighs (skinless, boneless) I found empire's at trader joes, but picked up more at Seasons because of those maybes.
1-1 1/2 cans coconut milk (not lite!)
1/3 cup curries: I used Butter Chicken Masala* and Tandoori Masala
2 tsp ground mustard seed (I really like this flavor)
4-6 cloves Garlic, smashed to release flavor
3/4 inch Fresh Ginger, matchstick sliced (I never know how to describe this measurement!)
1 grated lemon peel (I mircoplaned the meyer lemon that wound up in the broccoli)
1 bunch Celery, incl greens, chopped
3/4 large Sweet Onion, (the other 1/4 went to the broccoli)
4 medium Carrots sliced (or 1/2 bag of baby carrots)
2 c. chicken broth/stock (homemade or low sodium)
1/3 c. Tio Pepe Sherry
1 tbs virgin coconut oil (or whatever you have on hand)
optional: Scallions, Chili peppers**
Serves 10+

One thing I love about this recipe is that you can do the major prep in advance, which is what I'd have done were it not for a friend in town and 1/2 price wine bottles at our local tapas place. So, instead, here's how this incarnation of the dish happened, the reviews were fabulous, so maybe I did it just right.

Put the crockpot on high and add in the can of coconut milk, the curry seasoning, mustard powder, next add ginger, lemon peel and smashed garlic. Stir together.
As those ingredients warm, chop all the veggies (if pre-chopped, proceed with), brown stir fry sized pieces of chicken thighs in sautee pan or wok w/a tsp of coconut oil and a tbsp of curry powder over medium-high heat.

Add in the veggies (I saved 1/2 the celery to add later so they would stay more crisp... this works better if shabbat starts later), then the browned chicken. Cover with chicken broth, sherry and water. Let flavors meld, stirring occasionally.

I kept it on high the whole time because I only gave it 4 hours to cook, traditionally, it's a slow and low dish - 6-8 hours on low.

** Chili pepper tip: I have dry on hand, it's the seeds that provide most of the heat, so if you soak and slice those out, the spice level will be more moderate.

*I only have the container for the butter chicken masala curry blend, which contains: Red Chilis, Onion, Coriander, Garlic, Tumeric, Black Pepper, Salt, Cumin, Fenugreek, Cardamom seeds, Cinnamon, Cloves, Mace, Nutmeg, Black Cumin, Saccharum, Ginger