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Mushrooms Sauteed in Rillette


(serves 6)
This recipe is just what its name suggests, mushrooms sauteed in rillette. Some recipes use chicken stock and/or white wine to add flavour. Thats all well and good since plain sauteed mushrooms taste…. plain. The problem with stock and wine of course is they contain a lot of water which you always try to avoid when sauteeing mushrooms. This recipe sidesteps the additional water by using rillette and cognac.
 

Ingredients

  1. Mushrooms (200g)
  2. Duck Rillette (100g)
  3. Garlic (6 cloves = 1/2 bulb)
  4. Thyme
  5. Cognac

Preparation 

  1. It doesn’t really matter what kind of musrooms you use as long as they are not too small. I usually just use plain brown or white mushrooms.
  2. Cut the mushrooms into slices which are 1/3 inch thick.
  3. Put enough garlic through a garlic press to get 3t of crushed garlic.
  4. In a large pan, heat the rillette on high heat until the fat melts. You should mash any clumps of meat with a wooden spatula.
  5. When the pan is really hot, add the mushrooms. Stir the mushrooms every minute or so and turn the heat down to medium after 3 minutes and add the garlic, followed by a good stir. Do not cover as you want the water from the mushrooms to evapourate.
  6. At around the 7 minute mark, the mushrooms should have shrunk nicely. Sprinkle in 1t of chopped thyme and 1T of cognac. Turn the heat down further and continue sauteeing for a final minute.
  7. After the fire is off, sprinkle on 1t of black pepper. Add salt a pinch at a time til the taste is just right. You may even wish to avoid salt altogether depending on how salty your rillette is.

Notes

  • There are three main ways to use sauteed mushrooms. As a side vegetable, as a topping for steaks and burgers, or as a flavouring ingredient of a salad.
  • Having more than 200g of mushrooms per pan will leave insufficient room for contact to the pan, and insufficient room for water to evaporate. If you are cooking an amount that is larger than specified, do so in batches.
  • If your mushrooms are dirty, wipe them with a damp cloth. Since sauteeing is basically a drying process, washing in water will make the mushrooms too wet since water will be trapped in the gills under the caps.
  • Yes can try pork or goose rillette as alternatives. For more information on rillette, refer to this post.
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in French, Poultry, Recipe, Salad

 

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Roast Chicken Soup


(serves 6)
This is a wholesome soup that I invented after much experimenting to capture the meaty goodness of roast chicken. It’s got chunks of roasted chicken and pancetta, croutons of baked carrots and mushrooms. Trust me, you won’t be able to think of anything else but roast chicken while the soup is swirling around in your mouth. Kobi’s hearty roast chicken soup is a meal in itself, perfect for those winter months.   

Ingredients (Roast Chicken)

  1. Chicken Legs with Thigh (4)
  2. Diced Pancetta (80g)
  3. Rosemary 
  4. Thyme

Ingredients (Soup)

  1. Onion (2)
  2. Carrot (1)
  3. Brown Mushrooms (100g)
  4. Butter (50g)
  5. Milk (1 cup)
  6. Flour
  7. Chicken Stock Cube (1)
  8. Brandy

Preparation 

  1. You have to first roast four chicken legs according to this recipe.
  2. While the chicken is in the oven, dice your onions into 1/2 inch pieces and then stir fry them in 50g of butter under very low heat until they caramelize. It should take about 25 minutes. Turn the heat off when the onions are, a deep shade of brown and leave the pan on the stove.
  3. When the chicken is cooked, place 3 legs into a pot with 4 cups of boiling water. Set to simmer and add a dissolved chicken stock cube. Set aside the fourth leg, you’ll be using it later. Pour the drippings (including the pancetta) into the frying pan with the onions.
  4. Degalze the baking tray with some of the boiling chicken stock, and after some light scraping, pour the mixture back into the chiken stock.  
  5. Dice your carrot into small cubes and then cut the mushrooms into pieces which are about 3x larger than the carrots (because they will shrink). Put the carrots and mushrooms into the baking tray and stir well with 2T olive oil. Bake this for 25 minutes in the oven at 175oC (350oF) .
  6. After the chiken has simmered for at least an hour, take the chicken legs out. Mash the meat of one leg with your hands till you get loose fibres of meat and put this back in the stock. Discard the other 2 boiled legs.
  7. Set the heat to medium for the frying pan with the onions. When the pan is hot, sprinkle in 2T of plain flour and reduce the heat to low. Stir fry for two minutes or so to cook the flour and then pour in 1 cup of milk 1/5 cup at a time, stirring all the time to prevent lumping. You should end up with a thick brown soup base.
  8. Stir in 2 ladles of the chick stock to the pan slowly to thin down the soup base even more. Pour the resulting mixture back into the soup pot. Boil for another 5 minutes.
  9. When its time to serve the soup, add 2T of brandy and a sprinkle of black pepper, and reboil. Shred the meat of the last chicken leg (the one that wasn’t boiled). Add the chicken meat only after you turn the heat off. Taste to see if you wish to add salt. Ladle the soup into serving dishes and sprinkle on the roasted carrots and mushrooms.  

Notes

  • For those of you interested in french cuisine terminology, flour fried in butter is called roux. If you add milk to roux, it becomes béchamel sauce. If you had added the chicken stock without the milk, it would have become a velouté sauce instead. Since we added both milk and chicken stock, I have no idea what that is called…cream soup I guess.
  • You can use leftover chicken, so make a double batch of roast chicken, that way you can eat your chicken and drink it too (at a later meal).
 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in A Kobi Original, English, Poultry, Recipe, Soups

 

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Herb Roasted Chicken Legs


(serves 2 for meal, 4 for snack)
This is a simple way of roasting really delicious chicken legs. If there is one meat you need to roast well, its chicken. Roast chicken is the intermediate ingredient for many other wonders of the kitchen, like chicken sandwiches and chicken salads. Some herbs in the marinate and pancetta, a type of Italian bacon, is all you really need to bring out the best flavours in your roast chicken. Best of all, this recipe is easy, good for those times you can’t afford to expend too much effort preparing food.   

Ingredients

  1. Chicken Legs with Thigh (4)
  2. Diced Pancetta (80g)
  3. Rosemary 
  4. Thyme

Preparation 

  1. Trim off the loose flaps of skin on the chicken if any and pad with paper towels to dry them. If you have time, leave the chicken in the fridge uncovered for a few hours to dry it out, but this is an optional step you can skip if you don’t have time.
  2. Dissolve 1t of salt in 3T of olive oil and then add 1.5t rosemary, 1.5t thyme and 0.5t pepper. Mix well.
  3. Marinate the chicken and then leave the legs in a baking pan for an hour for the flavor to set in. The herbs like to stick to the parts of the chicken with no skin, so make sure the herbs cover the chicken evenly.
  4. Sprinkle the diced pancetta on and around the chicken (see the photo below).
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes in the oven preheated to 175oC (350oF) depending on the size of the legs. Increase the temperature to 200oC for the last 10 minutes if you like your chicken browned to a bronze shade.
  6. That’s basically it, but there are a few options you can pick from for the chicken drippings (including the pancetta bits).
    1. Meal – Boil two potatoes ahead of time and roughly mash the potatoes in the drippings and 1/4 cup milk.
    2. Snack – Mix 1 t dijon mustard into the drippings to make a nice mustard gravy.
    3. Sandwich – If you are going to make roast chicken sandwiches, just shred the chicken meat and then drench the meat with the drippings (plus 2T mayonnaise if you want it creamy).

Notes

  • Pancetta can be bought pre-diced at the right supermarket/deli. There are usually two flavours, savoury and sweet. Make sure you don’t buy the sweet type (labled dolce) by accident.
  • In case you were wondering. Pancetta is salt cured, seasoned with spices like nutmeg and fennel, and matured over a period of at least 3 months. It may look similar to but its not the same as bacon.
  • Can you use chicken breasts instead? Yes. But you should brine them first, and the recipe won’t be simple anymore. Also, its crucial to get the cooking time exact for breasts. When you breasts begin to shrink a bit, that’s when they are ready.
 
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Posted by on October 16, 2011 in English, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipe

 

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Farfalle in Oxtail Reduction, with Truffle


(serves 6 – appetizer size)
Ever come across that rare pasta dish that doesn’t use tomatoes, cheese, cream, olive oil or bits of meat? This is it. Its sauce is a high-gelatine reduction of oxtail consommé. Despite its simple appearance, I consider this to be one of my consummate pasta recipes. It has the full flavour of meat, but no meat itself and to round it off, the pasta is lightly topped with a few slices of truffle to give it the perfect aroma. It might take some time to prepare this dish, but its not technically difficult and it will be well worth the effort.

Ingredients

  1. Oxtail (800g)
  2. Dried Red Dates (20)
  3. Truffles Slices in Oil (60g bottle)
  4. Farfalle (300g)
  5. Fennel Seeds (1T)
  6. Thyme  
  7. Oxo Beef Cubes (2)
  8. Brandy

Preparation 

  1. Make deep slits across the white connective tissue to expose the meat beneath. Place the oxtail in a pot and top off with boiling water till the meat is just covered. Use a pot where all your oxtail can fit in without stacking, but keep it as small as possible to minimize the amount of water.
  2. Apply low heat and keep at a slow simmer for 1 hour followed by 2 hours of gradual cooling while covered. Top off with water occasionally to keep the oxtail covered. Repeat the simmer/cooling a seond time. 
  3. Add the red dates and do the simmer/cooling a third time, but this time don’t top up with water. If you add all that up, the minimum cooking time is 9 hours. It would be best if you let the oxtail cool overnight while you sleep in one of the cycles.

    nothing but oxtail, red dates, water and lots of simmering

  4. When the meat is finally shrinking away from the bone (see photo), remove all the solids from the pot. In a bowl dissolve 2 Oxo beef cubes and 1t sugar in half a cup of hot water. Add this beef stock plus 1T fennel seeds, 1T chopped thyme, 2T Brandy to the pot.
  5. Reduce under low heat till the mixture begins to thicken. Cover and allow to cool. This concludes the pre-preparation phase.
  6. When its close to dinner time, boil a new pot of water with a knob of butter and pinch of salt. Half cook your pasta in this and then strain it.
  7. Put your concentrated oxtail bullion through a fine tea strainer to remove all solids and pour the resulting sauce into a non-stick pan and reheat till boiling. Add the half cooked pasta to the pan and stir fry it in the sauce till it is al dente. You’ll probably need to add water to keep the pan from drying up, but add only a bit at a time. At the very end, taste and decide if you need to add salt.
  8. Arrange the pasta on dishes and top off with a few pieces of truffle and a very light drizzle of the oil the truffle is soaked in. A small 60g bottle should be enough but you can use more if you like. If you have fresh truffles to shave on, all the better.

Notes

  • The cooked meat can be stripped from the bone and shredded for a second dish like braised oxtail, oxtail shepherds pie or jellied oxtail; no point letting all that work to soften it go to waste. Remember to drench the shredded meat in some of the bullion to keep it from hardening.
  • Why use oxtail when plain beef is so much easier to work with? It is the gelatine extracted from the connective tissue that makes this recipe work, so you need to use either the tail, cheeks or a certain part of the ribs. For a pork version, the trotters will work as well as the tail.
  • I picked bow-tie pasta because its shape is perfect for capturing the sauce. When you look at the picture, you can see the pasta is brown because it is completely coated. If you want to try something else, stick to small pasta that is in plain wheat colour.
  • Dried red dates are a common Korean/Chinese ingredient for soup and they go really well with beef. Another good thing about them is they float, so they won’t get stuck under the oxtail and become burnt during the long simmer (and thats why we didn’t throw in the herbs until the final reduction phase). If you can’t find dried red dates, go with fresh wedges of apple.
  • If you find truffles too costly, you can just use truffle oil without the truffles. Or try other garnishes. Pick those with a strong aroma and weak flavour, for example: Deep fried shallots, pan fried fennel or perhaps coriander/cilantro leaves.
 
 

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Pumpkin Soup with Thyme


(serves 6-8)
This is a relatively healthy recipe for those times you want to make a creamy soup without using any cream, milk or flour. Mine is a very basic recipe and there are none of the typical extra ingredients like cheese or onions. Pumpkin and Thyme are already the perfect pairing. Pumpkin is naturally sweet and is perfect for resetting the palete between courses. Thyme on the other hand will give a savoury identity to your soup, and do away with the impression of a mis-timed dessert. This soup can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients 

  1. Pumpkin (1/2 of a small one)
  2. Chicken Leg with Thigh (1)
  3. Bacon (4 slices)
  4. Whole Grain Bread (2 slices)
  5. Cumin
  6. Thyme
  7. Chicken Cubes (2)
  8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation (the night before, or in any case as early as possible)

  1. Cut your bread into large cubes and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight to dry them into croutons.
  2. Heat 4T of olive oil with 3t of thyme in a small pan. About one minute of heat after the oil gets hot should do. Allow this to cool and over several hours, the flavour of thyme will get infused into the oil while the thyme itself softens.
  3. The secret to pumpkin soup is a good quality stock. Put 4 cups of water to boil in a pot and then add the chicken leg (or an equivalent amount from another part of the chicken) and the 4 bacon slices. Simmer for at least an hour and leave covered to cool for several more.

Preparation (just before the meal)

  1. Your half pumpkin should be about the size of half a soccer ball. Slice it like a watermelon and then remove the pulp, seeds and skin. The skin is somewhat thick and hard to work with, so make your life easier by being generous when cutting the skin off. Make sure there is no tinge of green left when you are done because that part imparts a bitterness you want to avoid. Cut into large chunks. Some ladies might prefer to steam the pumpkin so the flesh of the pumpkin can be scooped out easily, but I find the direct approach more convenient.
  2. Discard the meat from your stock and put the pot to boil again. Stir in 2t of cumin. Add two chicken stock cubes followed by the pumpkin pieces once the stock cubes have melted. Add water such that the pumpkin is just covered and simmer for about forty-five minutes.
  3. When the pumpkin pieces are soft (see photo below), puree them in the pot using a hand-held blender with a puree attachment. If you don’t have a handheld blender, use a regular blender (and then buy a hand-held).
  4. Reheat, sprinkle in a few pinches of pepper and check for taste. Add salt if needed (not likely) or add water if the soup is too thick.
  5. Spoon your soup onto their serving plates, topping off with a few croutons each. Finally, drizzle on the thyme infused olive oil (including the thyme) and serve. Instruct your guests to stir before consumption.

Notes

What the pumpkin looks like when it is ready for puree. Water level should just cover the pumpkin.

  • If you wish to go the extra mile, make a bit more of the thyme flavoured oil. Use the extra oil (lightly salted) to flavour your bread on both sides before cubing it.
  • Cumin is the defacto spice for ‘sweet’ soups like pumpkin and carrot but if you don’t like a curry overtone, try nutmeg instead.
  • A more meaty option is to cut the bacon into small bits and then pan fry them to melt the lard off. Add the bacon bits to the soup after the pumpkin is pureed and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. I prefer not to do this as the soup is more interesting if the diners do not know that bacon has been used to flavour your ‘vegetarian’ soup.  
  • If you really wish to impress – and this requires redundant hard work, you can serve a mixture of two puree soups in the same dish. I find that chestnut soup is a good match in terms of colour and texture. Its made in pretty much the same way and you can use the same stock for both batches. Add one soup to the soup dish first and then spoon the second carefully into the center to form a circle. Use the end of a fork or spoon to make interesting radiating patterns.
 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Appetizers, English, Recipe, Soups

 

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