RSS

Author Archives: kobayash1

Chicken A La King


(serves 3)
Chicken A La King is simple conceptually, but it is one of the most difficult dishes to perfect. My mom taught me how to make this the standard way when I was young and over the decades I’ve developed my own improved method of preparing Chicken A La King, one that has superior flavour and at the same time avoids all your typical A La King problems (see notes). I have yet to taste a better version in any restaurants I’ve tried – something I can’t say about any of my other recipes. 

Ingredients

  1. Chicken Legs with Thigh (2)
  2. Capsicum a.k.a. Bell Pepper (1)
  3. Brown Mushrooms (150g)
  4. Leek (1)
  5. Milk (1 cup)
  6. Butter (100g)
  7. Flour (3T)
  8. Anchovy in Oil (10g)
  9. Chicken Stock Cube (1/2)
  10. Cream Cheese (1T)
  11. Worcestershire Sauce
  12. Sherry
  13. Coriander Seed Powder
  14. Cooked Rice (4 cups)

Preparation 

  1. Pour 1 cup of milk in a cup and spoon 1T of cream cheese into a bowl, to let them warm up.
  2. Fry 2 slivers of anchovy in its oil in a pot until you can mash the anchovy into a fine suspension. Add 3 cups of water and half a chicken cube and bring to a low simmer.
  3. Cut the leek in two and put the top (green) part into the stock pot. Slice the bottom portion lengthwise into half, then cut into 1/8 inch thick half rings. Cut the mushroom into 1/4 inch thick slices. Cut the capsicum into 1/2 inch squares; making sure you discard all the seeds and white pulp.
  4. Debone the chicken legs and add the bones to the stock pot. Cut the meat into bite sized chunks – its more important that the pieces of chicken are of the same thickness than of the same volume. Place any excess flaps of skin into the stock pot.
  5. Mix 1T of oil, 1T Worcestershire sauce, 1t coriander seed powder, 0.5t salt in a large bowl. Put the chicken chunks into the bowl and mix well.
  6. Stir fry the leek pieces in a large pan with some oil on low heat until they begin to go limp. Turn up the fire and push the leek to one side of the pan.
  7. Add the chicken when the pan is really hot and stir fry until no visible part of the chicken is raw. Then combine with the leek and continue to stir fry until the chicken is cooked (i.e. shrunk a bit like the first photo). Move the chicken to a temp container.
  8. Melt 70g (1/3 of a standard block) of butter in the same pan on low heat. Spoon in 3T of flour and stir fry until the flour begins to darken. Very slowly add the cup of milk a bit at a time while stirring continuously with a flat spatula to combine all three ingredients. When all the milk is used up, continue the process by adding the hot chicken stock instead. Finally, stir the cream cheese into the sauce. When you are done you should have a smooth velvety white sauce.
  9. Add the diced capsicum to the sauce and continue to simmer, until the capsicum is no longer rigid. This will take a while, perhaps 10 minutes, add hot water as needed. Next add the mushrooms and 1T of sherry. When the mushrooms begin to shrink, add the chicken and simmer for 1 more minute. Sprinkle on black pepper and taste the sauce to see if salt is required.
  10. Serve with steamed white rice, topped with a knob of butter.

Notes

  • Capsicums comes in 4 different colours which have different tastes. Red is sweet and easiest on the taste buds, Green is an acquired taste as it is less ripe and bitter. Orange and yellow capsicums are in between the two. A mixture of two types would be visually pleasing if you are cooking a double portion.
  • If you are using chicken breasts instead of legs, you should brine them first. There will be no need to marinate the brined chicken pieces as they are already salty.
  • Chicken A La King is supposed to be served with steamed white rice. If you don’t have rice, the other permissible option for Chicken A La King is puff pastry cups (a.k.a. vol au vent). I am against serving it with bread or pasta as some websites show. 
  • How is my recipe different from the commonly used ones?
    • 1. Cooking the chicken separately under a high heat will remove any freezer taste.
    • 2. Using chicken stock enhanced with anchovy brings out the flavour of chicken in the white sauce.
    • 3. The extended cooking time for the sauce removes any residual taste of flour and fully infuses the sauce with the taste of the capsicum.
Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2018 in English, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Provençal Style Lamb Casserole


(serves 4)
This is a minimalist Provencal Lamb Casserole which is easy to prepare and its hearty ingredients are perfect for cold weather meals. The lamb is braised in a white wine and anchovy stock while the gamey flavour of the meat is tempered with lots of garlic and herbs. The other main ingredient of this rustic Mediterranean dish is eggplant.      
 

Ingredients

  1. Lamb Belly (500g)
  2. Eggplant (1)
  3. Shallots (6)
  4. Garlic (2 bulbs)
  5. Anchovy In Oil (25g)
  6. White Wine (3/4 cup)
  7. Bread (2 slices)
  8. Flour
  9. Worcestershire Sauce
  10. Mustard
  11. Pesto
  12. Oregano

Preparation 

  1. Peel the garlic bulbs into cloves and peel the shallots but leave them whole.
  2. If your lamb belly doesn’t come as cubes, cut them into cubes. Put the lamb into a zip lock bag and spoon in 2T(heaped) of flour. Shake until the lamb is evenly coated in the flour.
  3. Heat up a frying pan with 3T of oil. Brown the lamb in the pan a few pieces at a time and then arrange the pieces of meat into a casserole dish.
  4. Push half the garlic cloves and all the shallots snugly between the pieces of meat as shown.
  5. Pan fry 25g (about 1T) of anchovy in its own oil, in the same pan you used to brown the lamb without washing it. Mash us the anchovy until it is a fine suspension and deglaze with 3/4 cup of white wine. Add 2T of pesto, 1t of worcestershire sauce, 1t of sugar, 1t mustard and 1t of oregano. Pour in 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute. This will be the braising liquid.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200oC (390oF).
  7. Pour the braising liquid into the casserole.
  8. Slice the eggplant and arrange the slices over the lamb in the casserole.
  9. Cover the casserole and place it in the oven for 2 hours. After half an hour reduce the temperature to 150oC (300oF).
  10. Lightly toast 2 slices of sandwich bread. Cut the toast into mini croutons.
  11. Mince the remaining garlic cloves in a garlic press.
  12. Fry the minced garlic in a pan with 3T oil on low heat until it stops clumping together. At this stage add the bread and stir fry until the croutons are crispy and a nice shade of golden brown as shown. Leave to cool in the pan.
  13. With 10 minutes to go on the baking time, take the casserole out and sprinkle on some black pepper and all the garlic croutons. Return to the oven uncovered for the last 10 minutes.
  14. Serve the lamb in the casserole dish directly from the oven to table.

NotesLamb Casserole 1004

  • This lamb casserole is not meant to be eaten by itself. You should serve it with a separately cooked staple, like potatoes or polenta.
  • While the Provencal Style is French, it has some similarity with Italian and Greek cuisine because they all share the same Mediterranean climate.
  • You can consider crushing the croutons into breadcrumbs after they cool. Its a trade off. You will lose some of the crunch of the bread, but it give a nice appealing look to the casserole. To accompany this look you can also slice the eggplant thin and arrange the slices in a ratatouille style overlapping spiral.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 17, 2018 in French, Main Courses, Recipe, Red Meat

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Lemon Orange Madeleines


(Makes 30)
A Madeleine is classic French Genoise-style sponge cake that is the size of a large cookie. Miniaturizing the cakes has the desirable effect of increasing the crust to internal volume ratio. At the same time Madeleines are characterized by a moist centre with a unique rich nutty-buttery taste, although my particular version has a strong citrus kick to it as well. You can recognize a Madeleine easily because of its iconic shape, an elongated scallop shell with a ‘hump’ below. Madeleines are best served any time you are drinking coffee or tea.    
 

Ingredients

  1. Eggs (3)
  2. Butter (130g)
  3. Flour (1 cup)
  4. Plain Sugar (1/2 cup)
  5. Icing Sugar
  6. Lemon (1)
  7. Orange Marmalade (3T)
  8. Bicarbonate of Soda
  9. Vanilla Essence

This recipe does not require, but is best made using special scallop shell pans.

Preparation 

  1. Start by browning 130g of butter. Melt the butter in a small pan on low heat. After a while white particles will appear on the surface of the liquid butter. Next the butter will start to froth. At this point immediately pour the melted butter into a second pan to prevent it from going from browned to burnt. Allow to cool.
  2. Spoon 3T of marmalade into a bowl to allow it to warm to room temperature.
  3. Grate the skin of 1 lemon to get 1t of zest.
  4. Whisk 3 eggs with half a cup of sugar, the lemon zest, 1t vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens and is foamy. This should be about 5 minutes by hand or 1 minute with an electric hand blender.
  5. Mix half a flat t of bicarbonate of soda into 1 cup of plain flour. Sift the flour into the egg mixture, folding the flour regularly into the mixture to prevent lumping.
  6. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze it to obtain 3T of juice. Combine the juice with the marmalade and then stir the resulting citrus syrup into the batter.
  7. Reserve 3T of the melted butter and add the remaining butter to the batter 1T at a time, fold each time to incorporate the butter into the batter before adding more. Rest the batter in the fridge for a minimum of one hour, covered with cling film.
  8. Mix 1T flour into the reserved butter and brush your Madeleine pans with this. Place the pans into the fridge as well, for a minimum of ten minutes.
  9. Preheat your oven to 160oC (320oF).
  10. Take the batter and pans out of the fridge. The batter should be the consistency of a thick milkshake. Spoon 1T of batter into the centre of each mould in your pan. Do not fill the moulds all the way to the rim (see photo above) as you need room for the batter to expand without spilling out.
  11. Place the pan in the oven for about 8 minutes. The time will vary slightly from oven to oven, and it will take more time for multiple pans and less time for incomplete pans, so you need to keep watch as they bake. The first sign to look out for is when the characteristic camel humps develop (see photo on right) on your madeleines. Soon after the edges will start to brown. Take them out one minute after this.
  12. Flip your madeleines onto a cooling rack and dust lightly with icing sugar while they are still hot. This icing (i.e. powdered) sugar will eventually dissolve in the butter of the madeleine to form a glaze so do not skip this step.

Notes

  • The Madeleine was popularized to the world by the French writer Marcel Proust who wrote about eating it and the memories it triggered. Despite its simple look, this little cake is one of the quintessential petit fours, of equal standing with the Canele and the Macaron. 
  • The ribbed side (facing down in the pan) will tend to darken faster than the hump side, which is the biggest challenge in Madeleine making. This is why the pans must be chilled beforehand, to help counteract this. Supplementary techniques you can try would be using the top rack of your oven or placing a (metal) baking sheet below the Madeleine pan. All this will alter the baking time, so rely on your eyes and not the clock.
  • If you don’t get the camel hump, then your oven is not hot enough – or you didn’t chill your batter. If there is no hump, its not a real Madeleine.
  • You probably cannot make all 30 Madeleines in one go so plan ahead to split the baking into 2 or more equal batches.
  • The bicarbonate of soda is a raising agent. If you are using self raising flour, skip the bicarbonate of soda and use only half the lemon juice.
  • You can stack 2 buttered madeleine trays by turning one of them ninety degrees.
  • Replace the Marmalade with soft brown sugar to make ‘regular’ Madeleines.
  • If you don’t have Madeleine pans, you can use mini-muffin trays, though you will end up with round cakes. Do not spoon more than 1T of batter into each depression even though they are deeper.
 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 3, 2017 in Desserts, French, Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Goma Style Cold Ramen (Hiyashi Chuka)


(serves 2-3)
Cold Ramen or Hiyashi Chuka was traditionally served in summer as a refreshing chilled alternative to hot Ramen in the days before air-conditioning became commonplace and is still served seasonally in some places. Thus all the ingredients of Hiyashi Chuka, cucumber, ham, omelette and imitation crab sticks and even the Ramen itself are served cold. This Goma variety is served in a creamy sesame sauce and is great for lunch on a hot day. If you love the taste of peanut butter, you are definitely a fan of Goma Hiyashi Chuka, even if you don’t know it yet.    
 

Ingredients

  1. Ramen (2 servings)
  2. Tahini
  3. Ham (100g)
  4. Imitation Crab Sticks (100g)
  5. Cucumber (1/2)
  6. Eggs (2)
  7. Sesame Oil
  8. Sesame Seeds (black or white)
  9. Soya Sauce
  10. Rice Vinegar
  11. Mirin
  12. Hon Dashi Granules

Early Preparation 

  1. If you keep your Tahini in the fridge, take it out ahead of time so it has a chance to warm up.
  2. Dissolve 1t of Hon Dashi granules in 1/3 cup of warm water to make some stock.
  3. Beat 2 eggs with 1/3 of the stock, 1T of Mirin and 1 heaped t of sugar. Cook an omelette with the egg mixture, using low heat to make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Cut the omelette into strips that are about 1/8 of an inch wide and place the egg strips in the fridge, covered in cling film.
  4. Cut the ham into long strips matching the egg. Do the same with the crab sticks. Also put them in the fridge in cling film.
  5. Julienne half a cucumber into long thin pieces. They must be as thin as the noodles so they don’t remain rigid. Ideally you’d use a mandolin slicer for the cucumber as it is difficult to cut the cucumber sufficiently thin by hand. Keep the julienned cucumber in the fridge as well.
  6. If you intend to make your Hiyashi Chuka presentable keep all the toppings separate in the fridge. They should also all be of the same length.
  7. Now for the sauce.  Mix 3 heaped t of Tahini with 2T sesame oil, 1T rice vinegar, 1T Mirin, 1t soya sauce in a bowl. Use the back of a tea spoon in a circular motion to integrate the tahini into an emulsion.
  8. Dissolve 1t sugar in the remaining stock. Stir the stock slowly into the emulsion to thin it down into a sauce and then place the sauce in the fridge. It should thicken again once it becomes cold.

When You Are Ready To Serve

  1. Boil the ramen. When the noodles are done (it’s best to judge by tasting) rinse them immediately with running cold tap water in a colander. You’ll need to move the ramen around with your hands as the bottom portion will tend to stay warm. Use iced water if it is a warm day and your tap water is not cold.
  2. Leave the colander to drain for a short while and then divide the ramen onto plates. Pour the sauce evenly into the noodles and then arrange the toppings over the noodles.
  3. Finally sprinkle each plate with some sesame seeds and serve.

Notes

  • Gomadare means Sesame Paste Sauce, which is where the ‘Goma’ in Goma Hiyashi Chuka comes from. Plain Hiyashi Chuka refers to original cold ramen that is served in a vinegary soya sauce.
  • Hiyashi means chilled, which makes sense but Chuka means Chinese Style, which is strange since this dish was invented in Japan. My guess is that the closest thing Cold Ramen resembled when it first came out was Chinese tossed noodles (i.e. Lo Mein) and that’s how Chuka came into the picture.   
  • The egg and cucumber are standard ingredients for Hiyashi Chuka, but the strips of meat are allowed to vary. You can also have more than 4 toppings. Some common alternatives/additions are roast chicken, Chashu pork, fish cake, corn and tomato.
  • The sweet omelette is essentially made according my Tamagoyaki Recipe. You can check it out if your are interested in the finer details.
  • The Ramen that you use should be of the yellow wavy type. If you can’t find ramen pasta is a viable alternative. In Japanese-western buffets you sometimes see a cold pasta version of Goma Hiyashi Chuka in the appetizer section. And of course you could try making ramen from spaghetti. Whatever noodle you end up using, make sure its a type of noodle that doesn’t get mushy easily – i.e. no instant noodles.
  • If you have no Hon Dashi, you can substitute in 1/3 cup of any kind of stock you fancy, but it should be salted.
  • If you have no Mirin you can boil 4T Sake with a dab of maple syrup down to 2T to make your own substitute.
  • If you have no rice vinegar, any kind of white vinegar should do.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Japanese, Pasta, Recipe, Red Meat, Seafood

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Easy Tamagoyaki (Stacking Method)


(serves 4)
Tamagoyaki is the sweet omelette in the shape of a brick that you find on a Sushi platter. At home you can serve it as an amuse-bouche or a side dish. Tamagoyaki only requires a few simple ingredients but the typical method of making them can be technically demanding, requiring the rolling of multiple omelettes into a square Swiss roll on a hot pan before they fully cook. This takes lots of practice to get right as you have to work deftly. Fortunately there is an easier way for the novice that results in a perfect Tamagoyaki the first time and every time, the Stacking Method.     
 

Ingredients

  1. Eggs (4)
  2. Mirin
  3. Hon Dashi
  4. Sugar
  5. Nori (Dried Seaweed Sheet) – optional

see notes below for alternatives to
Hon Dashi and Mirin

Preparation 

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve 1T of sugar and 1 flat t of Hon Dashi granules in 1/4 cup of warm water.
  2. Add 4 eggs and 2T of Mirin to the bowl and beat the mixture until it becomes a fairly uniform yellow colour.
  3. Use a small pan, a pan that has a flat bottom. Place it on very low heat. Add a few drops of oil and spread it around the pan.
  4. Ladle into the pan enough egg mixture to cover the whole pan without you having to tilt it. If the egg bubbles, splutters or gets cooked instantly, then pan is too hot. When the egg is almost cooked, flip the slice over to cook the other side. Next, flip the omelette sheet onto a plate and leave the pan off the fire for the time being. The omelette should be of the same thickness throughout, which is why the pan needs to be flat.
  5. Add a new ladle of egg mixture to the pan and put it back atop the flame. When the egg is almost fully cooked and only a thin film of raw egg is left on top, remove the pan from the fire. Using the back of a spoon spread the remaining raw egg evenly over the entire surface of the omelette sheet.
  6. Stack the first omelette sheet onto the one in the pan and return the pan to the fire. Press down with a flat spatula to ensure the raw egg is evenly distributed and after about ten seconds when the two sheets have fused into one, flip them back onto the plate.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 adding more layers until almost all the raw egg mixture is used up and you end up with a block of Tamagoyaki as shown here. During the whole process add oil as required.
  8. Cut the block exactly into two halves. Smear a thin film of the remaining raw egg mixture on the top of one half-block and place the other half-block back in the pan, again on low heat. Next, position the hot block onto the other block with the cut ends on the same side and press down firmly. The idea is to let the hot egg cook the film of raw egg to cement the two blocks together.
  9. Allow the new tall block to cool and then wrap it in cling film. Sandwich it between two plates in the fridge. When the Tamagoyaki is cold, pad it dry with some kitchen towels, trim away the uneven bits at the edges and then cut the block into mini-bricks.
  10. Wrap each brick with a strip of dried Nori seaweed. The Nori should overlap at the bottom and a dab of water will suffice to join the two ends. This allows your guests to eat their Tamagoyaki with their bare hands if they wish.

Notes

  • Ideally you should use a Makiyakinabe pan. This is a pan that has three vertical sides and is rectangular in shape, as shown here. Modern ones are now made of non-stick material. Your next best alternative is one of those small pans for frying one egg at a time.
  • You definitely want to avoid burning the egg. A slightly browned patches are ok, but no more than that. You can notice in the top picture there is a brown line running along my Tamagoyaki, which is what will happen if your fire is too strong. Using a low flame may not be enough. Move the pan away from the fire often and make frequent use of the residual heat to cook the egg. Also, only pour in the raw egg mixture after removing the pan from the fire. Patience wins the day.
  • You also want to cook the egg evenly. To do this move the pan around so the fire is not concentrated on one spot for too long. This also prevents the egg from getting burnt.
  • You can skip step 8 depending on how big your pan is, how many Tamagoyaki bricks you want to end up with and how tall you’d like them to be.
  • If you have no Hon Dashi, you can substitute in 1/4 cup of any kind of (salted) stock you fancy.
  • If you have no Mirin you can boil 4T Sake with a dab of maple syrup down to 2T to make your own substitute.
  • If you are into Japanese egg recipes, two others I have on this site are: Steamed Chawanmushi and Runny Yolk Eggs for Ramen.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 25, 2017 in A Kobi Original, Appetizers, Japanese, Recipe

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Homemade Faux Smoked Salmon (i.e. without smoker)


(4 servings)
I recently confirmed that one can make Smoked Salmon without a smoker. The is a simple no fuss method of making smooth and luscious Smoked Salmon at home, and there is no need for brining either. It is essentially a variation of cured salmon fortified with a combination of dark muscovado sugar and a dash of liquid smoke. With its rich smoky flavour and deep colour, nobody will be able to tell that your smoked salmon isn’t smoked at all.       
 

Ingredients

  1. Salmon Fillet (300g)
  2. Coarse Sea Salt (1/2 cup)
  3. Dark Muscovado Sugar (1/4 cup)
  4. Dill Weed
  5. Whiskey
  6. Liquid Smoke

Preparation

  1. Your salmon should be of the Supreme cut (thick boneless fillet) as opposed to a Darne (cross section with back bone and belly flaps). Don’t use fronzen salmon. Leave the skin on. Rinse the fillet and then pad it dry with kitchen towels. Next, marinate in a mixture of 1T whiskey, 1t liquid smoke and 1t chopped dill weed.
  2. While the fish is marinating, combine half a cup of coarse salt and a quarter cup of dark muscovado sugar. The muscavado is clumpy, so make sure they are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Open a square sheet of cling film on a cutting board and spoon half the salt/sugar mixture on to the middle in the shape of your fish, only slightly bigger.
  4. If your fillet is thin at one end cut it off and stack it on top to get as close to a rectangular block as possible. Place the salmon on the bed of salt and sugar skin side down and spoon any remaining marinade over the salmon. Top off with the remainder of the curing mixture.
  5. Wrap up the salmon and place in a glass, ceramic or plastic container (concentrated salt corrodes metal).
  6. Put the container in the fridge. Flip once after an hour and again every 6 to 12 hours. Some brine will seep out, which is desirable. Drain away any liquid (without unwrapping) each time you are flipping the wrapped package.
  7. For a relatively thinner slice of salmon (like the one I’ve used) allow the salmon to cure for 24 hours. If you are using a thicker slab of fish (which is preferable) leave the salmon to cure for 36 hours.
  8. After the curing is complete, unwrap and rinse the salmon thoroughly. The surface will appear rough and dry, don’t worry, after slicing this will not be noticeable. Pad the salmon dry with kitchen towels and leave uncovered in the fridge for an hour or so to dry before you slice it.
  9. To slice, place the block of ‘smoked’ salmon with skin down on the cutting board. Make a thin slice not quite to the skin and then a second slice all the way down and then carve the knife outward. If done right you should end up with something with a nice V shaped pattern. If there is a bulge at the joint slice lightly to flatten the slice. Repeat until all the salmon is butterflied so. Salt is a preservative but you should still keep the sliced salmon in the fridge wrapped in or covered with cling film until you intend to serve them.

Notes

  • Smoked Salmon is best served with capers, slices of red onion and creamed horseradish.
  • What is the difference between Smoked Salmon and Gravlax? Gravlax hails from Scandinavia and besides salt and sugar it is also cured with crushed pepper, juniper berries and a lot more dill and alcohol than this recipe uses. The salmon will usually be put under a weight to squeeze the water out, to compensate for the reduced salt in the curing mixture. Gravlax is normally marinated a further day in mixture of oil and dill whereas smoked salmon is smoked instead.
  • What is the difference between Smoked Salmon and Lox? Lox is a Jewish-American delicacy that brines salmon for an extended period of time which gives it a very intense and saltier taste, hence the need for cream cheese and bagels to go with it. Lox is also not smoked. Its long brining period means Lox can only be made from the fat belly parts of the salmon. Most of the Lox served in American delis is actually Smoked Salmon.
  • Remember to wash your hands before touching the fish after it is cured to extend the longevity of your smoked salmon. You might also wish to rinse the curing mixture off with cold boiled water instead of running tap water for the same reason. 
  • Muscovado sugar has an intense smoky molasses taste which complements the effect of the liquid smoke well. For best results don’t use any other type of sugar even if it is brown. Muscovado is moist and clumpy and comes in light and dark varieties. Look for it in the baking section of supermarkets and make sure you get the dark variety.  
  • The dill is to help more marinade cling to the fish since it is quite watery, so if you don’t like the taste of dill use another herb instead of just leaving it out altogether.

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 9, 2017 in Appetizers, Recipe, Seafood

 

Tags: , , , ,

Simplified Chicken Cassoulet


(serves 2)
Cassoulet is a hearty meal-in-one dish of poultry, pork and beans in a tomato sauce from Languedoc, in the south of France. This is my simplified method for making a Cassoulet using everyday ingredients like chicken legs and baked beans. It’s not exactly the same as what you’d find in Toulouse but I think you’ll find its a close enough imitation as long as you’re not French. More importantly my recipe only takes 1 hour to prepare and cook instead of a whole day if you were to do it ‘properly’.       
 

Ingredients

  1. Chicken Leg with Thigh (2)
  2. Pork Sausages (2)
  3. Pancetta (100g)
  4. Onion (1/2)
  5. Shallot (4)
  6. White Wine (1/2 cup)
  7. Baked Beans (1 can, small)
  8. Oxo Beef Cube (1)
  9. Tarragon
  10. Thyme
  11. Coriander Seed Powder

Preparation 

  1. Peel the shallots but keep them whole. The half onion should be cut into 3 wedges.
  2. Trim (and retain) any excess skin and visible fat from the chicken. Season the chicken legs with a dusting of pepper, but no salt.
  3. Fry 100g of diced pancetta in a pan on low heat with 1T oil (goose fat if you have any) together with the chicken trimmings and the two pork sausages.
  4. When the fat from the pancetta begins to render, add the shallots and onions to the pan. Move the contents of the pan around to prevent them from getting burnt until the onion breaks up into soft pieces.
  5. Pour everything from the pan into a casserole. The Casserole should be tall enough to prevent boiling over. Drain the oil back into the pan and turn up the heat.
  6. When the pan is hot, brown the chicken in it. The chicken shouldn’t be in the pan so long that it gets cooked completely.
  7. Place the browned chicken in the casserole as well and arrange all the contents snugly as shown. Sprinkle some black pepper over everything.
  8. Preheat your oven to 180oC (350oF).
  9. Melt 1 Oxo Beef cube in 3/4 cup of hot water and use this stock to deglaze the pan. Turn on the heat again and add 1/2 cup of white wine and the can of baked beans. While the mixture is being brought to a boil, add 1T Tarragon, 1T thyme, 1t coriander seed powder.
  10. After the sauce has been boiling for half a minute, pour it into the casserole. Place the casserole in the oven for 25 minutes, uncovered. The cooking time may vary slightly, you’ll know its time when enough of the liquid has evaporated and the chicken is partially exposed.
  11. You may serve your cassoulet immediately but it can also be put aside and reheated later, it will taste just as good. It is traditional to serve the whole casserole (as per below), with the individual plating done at the table. The dish has a lot of sauce, so it goes well with baguette or some other kind of bread.

Notes

  • If you haven’t cooked an authentic cassoulet before, here is a summary: Cassoulet is usually served with Duck Leg Confit instead of chicken and this is to be roasted separately. You’ll also need Toulouse Sausages which are hard to find, plus you also have to soak beans ahead of time and cook them for a really long time to get them soft. Other typical cassoulet ingredients that I left out include tomatoes, celery, carrots and laminated pork.
  • The nice thing about canned baked beans is they come pressure-cooked and their sauce has the same effect as the gelatin you would normally get from cooking pork skin in the Cassoulet for a long time. Baked beans are thus the secret to the greatly reduced cooking time.
  • Speaking of pork skin, if you’d like you could try adding pieces of smoked ham hock if you so desire; treat them the same as the sausages.
  •  Some recipes sprinkle breadcrumbs on the cassoulet to form a crust, but I don’t belong to the crust camp.     
  • You can use a pot or pan instead of glass or ceramic ware as long as they come with an all metal handle. Be warned – if you use an oversized sized container the liquid level will be too low to cover the chicken initially and it will get burnt. A solution is to bake the casserole covered and then again uncovered at the end. 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: