Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Saucy Bird.

Saucy saucy goodness.  The more butter and cream the better.  Smothered and covered.  This rainy cold winter has led to lots of heavy one pots and stick to your rib meals.  Not that I'm complaining, I  love eating stews and comforting casseroles.  My waistline may not thank me but my sleepy inner hibernating polar bear in me does.  I guess that's what spring time is for.  Lot's of "I am so going to start eating less.  Smaller portions, ya know?  Maybe even the occasional salad.  I need to get back to bikini form (haha, I haven't had that since I was like 14)".  There is just something so primal and soothing about a big pot of thick stewed meat.  I have a tinge of Polish in me somewhere.  Hell, I'm such a mutt I probably have a little Arctic penguin in me too.  Who knows.   I remember in the 70s when Polack jokes were all the rage.  I never quite understood why people thought the Polish were so dumb?  As a whole America is a much stupider country.  Hell, half the country is still scared things like of electricity and gay people.  As my Dad would say when I brought home my sub par report cards: "Violet, the world will always needs ditch diggers too".  I was too busy skipping school and smoking pot behind the bleechers to worry about things like math or science.  It's not like I'll ever need to use that book learnin' shit anyway, right?  

Anyways, I love Eastern European food.  I remember when I was little my grandmother on my fathers side would come over and cook stuffed cabbage and sour creamy chickeny goodness.  It was so foreign to me yet it tasted like the most amazing thing ever.  I was used to eating Cuban food and 1950s pre-packed noodle helpers.  I loved the occasional peek into some other fantastical world.  I would be scarfing up my goulash wondering what life would be like in Eastern Europe. An icy wonderland of dancing bears, fairies and ice princesses (I definitely wanted to be a Fairy Ice Princess.) ;)  I wanted a pet bear and a carriage pulled by reindeer.  I also wanted one of those cute big furry drum hats and a fur coat made of a hundred baby foxes (just kidding).  I practiced writing letters backwards just like they do up there.  Haha.  Once I got something in my mind, there was no stopping me.  At least not until the next night when we went out for Chinese at one of those rural, middle of nowhere Chinese restaurant palaces with the giant foo dogs and dragons meeting you at the door.  Then my mind would turn to me being the Empress of China with a million minions at my disposal and a pretty pet fire breathing dragon.  I'm not that much different from when I was a kid.  Always intrigued by something new.  Fine, call me fickle.

Chicken Paprikash w/ Dumplings

2 1⁄2 cups flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1⁄ 4 cup canola oil
1 3–4-lb. chicken, cut into 6–8 pieces, skin removed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 Italian frying pepper, chopped
1 10oz can of diced tomatoes
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
3⁄ 4 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
kosher salt and fresh cracked white pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a bowl, Season 2 cups of flour with salt and pepper and form a well in the center. Add egg and 1⁄2 cup water to well; stir to form a dough. Knead in bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Using a teaspoon, scoop tablespoon portions of dough into pot. Boil dumplings until tender, 6–8 minutes. Drain dumplings and rinse in cold water; cover with a towel and set aside.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put 1⁄2 cup seasoned flour on a plate; dredge chicken; shake off excess. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken, turning once 8–10 minutes. Set chicken aside. Add paprika and half the peppers, along with the tomatoes and onions, to pot.  Saute stirring until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken and broth; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, turning chicken once, until fully cooked, 12–15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp. flour and sour cream; whisk in 3⁄4 cup of sauce from pot. Stir sour cream mixture into sauce in pot. Remove from heat. Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat, add dumplings and parsley, and cook, tossing occasionally, until hot, about 2 minutes. Serve chicken garnished with remaining peppers and dumplings on the side.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kiss me, I'm Irish. Well not really, but my wife is.

Happy St Paddy's day everyone. Eat, celebrate, and stay out of your damn car after drinking. xoxo

Here's a repost of one my corned beef and cabbage recipes:

Corned Beef and Cabbage

6 lbs corned beef brisket
1 1/2 lbs yellow onions, thickly sliced
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
4 lbs red potatoes, peeled and halved
2 heads cabbage, cut into 6 wedges ea.
1/2 cup malt vinegar
1/2 cup Guinness Irish stout
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1 Tbsp coriander seed
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 Tbsp dill seed
3 bay leaves

Here's the easy part. Place everything except for the onions, carrots, potatoes and cabbage in a large stock pot and cover with water. Give it a little stir and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 3 hours. Add the potatoes, carrots, onions, and place the cabbage on top and continue cooking for 40 more minutes covered or until the cabbage and potatoes are fork tender. Season if needed with kosher salt. Slice the corned beef across the grain. Serve with cabbage and vegetables and a good dollop of Dijon or course-grain mustard.

what to do with leftovers
corned beef sandwiches (Reuben!)
corned beef hash and eggs
corned beef soup
corned beef croquettes
Irish tacos

Wash it down with a delicious Black Velvet.

It's basically half Guinness and half champagne. Pour the Guinness half way up a champagne flute. Let the head settle. Using a spoon to diffuse the force of pouring, pour champagne (or a really dry sparkling wine) over the back of the spoon gently filing up the rest of the glass. It's so delicious, sparkly and tart but with that fullness and deep chocolate tones that Guinness is known for.