Thursday, December 29, 2011

sausage & mushrooms & a giveaway

Last week I entered a giveaway on Sauce Magazine's blog. They were giving away Ferran Adria's cookbook, The Family Meal. Adria is know for his ultra-fancy molecular gastronomy cooking... recipes very few home cooks could make at home. This book, however, is aimed at the home cooks. Simple recipes that anyone can make, complete with step-by-step photos!

It's a great book. So great, that I actually bought myself a copy online before the results of the giveaway were announced (I won!)... so I have 2 copies! Whoops. I figured it was the perfect excuse to hold Iron Stef's first-ever giveaway! See details on how to enter after the recipe.

The recipe I chose from the book for this post is one of the simplest. Sausage and Mushrooms. The key to many of the recipe is the quality of the ingredients... this one called for a sausage called "Butifarra" or any other good-quality coarse-ground pork sausage. I had some potato bratwurst from Swiss Meats, a wonderful meat processor about an hour from St. Louis. It's probably nothing like Butifarra, but it is good quality, and the dish turned out fantastic. I also discovered the joy of squeezing sausage from it's casing. Is it weird that I enjoyed that so much?

When I first read that you cook the mushrooms in a separate pan from the sausage before combining them, my lazy voice piped up..."you'll have to wash 2 skillets. is that really necessary?" But then realized that questioning Ferran Adria was really really stupid. I'm glad I followed directions. The mushrooms got nice and browned, as did the sausage, and I bet that cooking them together, the shrooms would have let off too much liquid and there would have been less caramelization. And even though you use 2 pans, this dish is SUPER simple, with richly flavored delicious results.

Sausage with Mushrooms

1 lb. good-quality pork sausages
4 Tablespoons olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme (orig. recipe calls for fresh, 1 sprig)
1 lb. white mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
1/2 cup dry sherry
handful of fresh parsley, chopped fine

Squeeze the sausages from their casings, pinching into walnut-size balls. Heat 2 Tablespoons of the oil in a skillet, and fry the sausage balls until golden brown on all sides. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme to the sausage, and fry for 5 minutes. Pour the Sherry into the pan and scrape up all the browned pits from the bottom of the pan. turn heat to low.

In a separate pan, fry the mushrooms in the other 2 Tablespoons of olive oil for about 5 minutes until they are nice and browned. Add the mushrooms to the sausage, turn the heat to medium and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in parsley and serve with crusty bread.

Now... about this giveaway. I am giving away 1 copy of The Family Meal by Ferran Adria. To enter: leave a comment on this post about your favorite 2 or 3 ingredient recipe. For an additional entry, "Like" Iron Stef of Facebook, and leave another comment here saying you've done so (if you already "like" me, leave a comment telling me that). Entries must be made by Noon CST on Tuesday, January 3. I will draw a random winner on Tuesday, January 3, 2012. Good luck!!

EDIT: GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED! I used a random number generator:

The Winner of the Cookbook is comment number 21... Congratulations to Troy!! I'll be getting in touch with you. Thanks to the rest of you for commenting... some great ideas for simple meals here! Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

cashew chicken meatballs

I've had meatballs on the brain lately. Made some good old-school spaghetti and meatballs a couple of weeks ago. Tonight I decided I wanted to go a bit crazy and come up with a new meatball. As is my tendency, I went for Asian flavors. I found some Chinese and Korean meatball recipes on-line, took some ideas from those, and came up with these bad boys, which give a nod to American Chinese take-out. Cashew Chicken Meatballs! Yum.

Cashew Chicken Meatballs

-1 Tablespoon oil
-1 shallot, finely chopped
-1 bunch of green onions, sliced thin, white parts separated from green tops
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 Tablespoon fish sauce
-3 Tablespoons soy sauce (divided)
-1 pound ground chicken
-1/2 cup salted cashews, chopped
-1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
-1 egg
-small handful cilantro, chopped
-1/8 teaspoon each: white pepper, ground ginger, coriander, cayenne pepper, black pepper
-small bowl of sugar

In a small pan, saute the shallot, garlic, white parts of green onions in oil. Add fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce. Cook until vegetables are soft and beginning to brown. remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Combine the cooked shallot mixture with the rest of the ingredients, except the sugar. Mix well with hands. Roll meat mixture into small, 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Gently roll each ball in sugar to lightly coat, and place on a foil-lined, greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once, until browned and cooked through. Serve on rice with shredded cabbage, garnished with cilantro, sliced green onions and chopped cashews. If desired, make a dipping sauce with 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar, 3 Tablespoons each of rice vinegar and soy sauce, and some Sriracha sauce.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gnocchi with shrimp, ham & creamy mustard sauce

Last week's English Hot Pot left me with some leftovers. Like the loaf of pumpernickel bread and a big hunk of ham. I made some simple croutons with the bread so it wouldn't go to waste (chop bread into bite-size squares, toss with olive oil, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and bake in a 325ºF oven until crispy). Now, how to utilize pumpernickel croutons and ham? Somehow, this happened. I really can't even explain it. But it worked really well.

I made the gnocchi from scratch (really not that hard... I used this great recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes) but if you want to use pre-made this would make for a simple and quick weeknight dinner. Or you can make the gnocchi ahead of time and freeze it, because it is a simple potato gnocchi and will freeze well.

Gnocchi, Shrimp and Ham with Creamy Mustard Sauce

2 pounds baking potatoes (russet)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon Olive oil
1 1/2 cup ham cubes
2 Tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound cooked shrimp, peeled
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup grainy mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
arugula to serve
pumpernickel croutons to serve

Pearce the potatoes with a fork and bake in a 350ºF oven for about an hour until tender. Let cool. Cut in half and let cool more. Scoop out the potatoes from their skins, and run through a ricer or food mill. Add the egg yolks, flour and salt and mix with hands until a soft dough forms. On a floured surface, gently roll pieces of the dough with your fingertips to form 1/2-inch tubes. Cut the dough into 1-inch pieces and flatten slightly with your thumb. Once all the gnocchi is formed, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in a small batch of gnocchi at a time, removing with a slotted spoon as soon as they float to the top and set aside on a platter. Repeat until all gnocchi is cooked.

In a large skillet, cook the ham cubes in the olive oil until they are just browned. set aside. add the butter and cook the shallots and garlic until they are soft. Add the wine, scraping all the wonderful browned bits off the bottom of the ban. Bring to a boil and let simmer a minute or 2. Add the cream and mustard and stir. Let simmer lightly for 30 seconds or so, taste for seasoning, the add the ham cubes, shrimp and cooked gnocchi to the pan and toss gently to combine everything. cook until everything is heated through. Serve on a bed of arugula and top with pumpernickel croutons.

Similar posts from the archives:

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

english hot pot

I've had this Jamie Oliver recipe in the back of my mind for months. Well, flurries started falling this week, so I figured it was the perfect time for this warm, hearty meal. This is really a meal for a Sunday... it's simple and easy but not fast. Be prepared for your house to smell like ham... I think ham stock is my new favorite thing. I want to cook everything in it.

Jamie Didn't have garlic in his recipe, but you know me. I decided to use this opportunity to try out this cool garlic peeling trick. You just put a whole head of garlic (or 2 or 3!) in a metal bowl, then put another metal bowl, the same size on top to make a big ball. Holding both bowls together you shake shake shake the garlic for like 20 seconds, and when you're done, all the garlic cloves have escaped from their peels! It's amazing! And fun! LOUD NOISES!!

English Hot Pot

- 2 ham smoked ham hocks and a small boneless ham (about 4-5 lbs. total)
- 3 bay leaves
- a few peppercorns
-6 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
-2 small fennel, bulbs quartered, some fronds reserved
-6 shallots or 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
-1 head of garlic, peeled
-6 celery talks, cut into large chunks
-1.5 lbs. fingerling potatoes, washed, large one cut in half or thirds
-2 medium turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
-6 cups chopped fresh kale
-salt and pepper
-olive oil and spicy yellow mustard to serve

Put the ham, peppercorns and bay leaves into a stock pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. reduce the heat and let barely simmer for at least 1 and a half hours.

Add the carrots, fennel, shallots, garlic, celery, potatoes and turnips to the pot, season and bring back to the boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes until cooked.

Remove the ham and vegetables from the pot using a long pair of tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the kale to the stock and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes until tender.

Check the seasoning of the boiling stock, then remove the kale and add it to the rest of the vegetables. Pull the meat apart using two forks. Place vegetables and ham in a bowl, and ladle a good amount of the broth over them. Sprinkle with fennel fronds and olive oil. Serve with mustard and pumpernickel bread.

While I waited for the Ham Stock to cook, I made this sparkly cocktail that has some of the flavors of the season. Yum! Fill a glass with ice, add 1 oz. Pernod (anise-flavored liqueur) 1 oz. gin, ginger ale, a squeeze of lemon and a slice of ginger. It's like an Italian Christmas cookie in a glass!

Similar posts from the archives:
Duck Stew with Turnips & Apples
Bavarian-Style stew
Fennel Bacon Pizza
Sausage Fennel Bread Pudding
Cannelini Beans with Fennel and Bacon
Crock Pot Chicken and Eggs
Apple Cider Chicken Stew
Cock-A-Leekie Pie