Habeas Brulee » Fowl http://habeasbrulee.com Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.21 Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/03/16/rutabaga-celery-dill-smoked-chicken-soup/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/03/16/rutabaga-celery-dill-smoked-chicken-soup/#comments Sun, 17 Mar 2013 03:04:28 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=817

Spring may be on its way, but it’s not here yet. It was snowing in Brooklyn today! Plenty of time left to hunker down with winter vegetable based soups while shivering our way through March.

(I’m on this big kick now where I make a pot of soup every weekend to eat for breakfast for the next week, because I don’t like oatmeal and bourbon and cornflakes (à la Humphrey Slocum) is not an always food.)

Also, rutabagas are delicious. Did you know that? They are rich and buttery and sweet and amazing. And beautiful here with crunchy salty smoky things mixed in.

Rutabaga, Celery, Dill, & Smoked Chicken Soup
(fairly dramatically adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen)
1 3/4 lbs rutabagas (1 truly enormous one, or 2 merely large ones)
2-3 tbsp duck fat or lard or butter (I used half duck fat, half butter)
1 big pinch dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 medium leeks (sliced, white and pale green parts only)
4-6 C chicken stock
1 smoked chicken breast (honestly, a plain one is probably fine) (shredded)
1-2 big handfuls finely chopped fresh dill
1 bunch celery (the more leaves, the better)
1 child-sized handful salted capers (rinsed and coarsely chopped)
ground green peppercorns to taste (honestly, black pepper is probably fine) (lots!)
salt to taste

1. Peel the rutabagas (removing a thick peel, until you hit the nicely golden actual innards) and chop into 1/2″ cubes.

2. Slice the celery ribs into slices about 1/8″ thick and set aside. Chop up the celery leaves and set aside separately.

3. Melt the butter/lard/duck fat/whatevs in a large soup pot with the thyme and bay leaf, stir in the leeks, and cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes.

4. Stir in the chopped rutabaga and 1 tsp salt and cook partially covered for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the stock and bring to a boil. (How much stock? Well, do you prefer your soups to lean towards thick and chunky or towards brothy? You can always stir in more stock later, so I tend to err on the low side to start.)

6. Reduce to a simmer, add the dill, and cook until the rutagas are approaching tender but not quite there yet (about 15 minutes).

7. Partially puree the soup (I like to use my immersion blender).

8. Stir in the sliced celery ribs, shredded chicken, and capers. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

9. Stir in the chopped celery leaves and season with salt and ground pepper (I use green, but black is surely fine) to taste. Lots of pepper! And really do taste it as you season it – remember that even though you rinsed them, the capers did add some salt already.

10. Eat for breakfast every morning for the next week, happily. A bit of paprika sizzled on top might be nice, but I never got around to trying because I was plenty happy as is.

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Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/02/06/chicken-with-oyster-mushrooms-portobellos-napa-cabbage/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2013/02/06/chicken-with-oyster-mushrooms-portobellos-napa-cabbage/#comments Thu, 07 Feb 2013 03:45:40 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=771

I got the new Fuchsia Dunlop cookbook! Oh, come on, you know you’re jealous. It’s as delightful as the last few, but with more non-spicy recipes and simple home cooking. My celebrity crush on her remains undiminished.

As usual, even when testing a recipe from a new cookbook I couldn’t leave well enough alone. We made a larger batch, added the cabbage to increase the veg:meat ratio and the Sichuan peppercorn for a bit of tingle, increased the relative quantity of ginger, and made a few other tweaks here and there.

It feels a bit strange to stir-fry without any soy sauce at all, but I think that’s what allows all the flavors to come through so clearly and intensely, and the dish as a whole is wonderfully delicious.

Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms, Portobellos, & Napa Cabbage
(adapted from Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop)
3 skinless chicken breasts (~1.5 lbs without the bone), thinly sliced
~1 lb mushrooms (we used 2 big portobellos and 3 big oyster mushrooms), thinly sliced
1 small head garlic (about 6 large cloves), thinly sliced
about the same quantity ginger, thinly sliced
1 napa cabbage (a bit on the small side), cored, quartered, and sliced into ~1/4″ thick pieces
safflower oil (or any other neutral oil with a high smoke point)
2 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
for the marinade
1 tsp salt
4 tsp Shaoxing rice wine (plus more for deglazing the wok, later on)
4 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn

1. Prep all ingredients as described above.

2. Stir the chicken in with the marinade ingredients and set aside.

3. Heat your wok, then swirl in some oil. Stir-fry the sliced mushrooms – forget everything you know about stir-frying in small batches and crowd the pan, letting the mushrooms wilt down as their moisture boils away until all their water is gone and they saute in the oil that remains. Remove the mushrooms from the wok and set aside.

4. Let the wok heat up again, and swirl in some more oil. Stir-fry the shredded cabbage (again, just let it fill the wok -you’re more wilting than frying it, and that’s okay) until slightly softened and reduced to about half its previous volume. Remove the cabbage from the wok and set aside.

5. Spread chicken out in wok, ideally in a single layer. Leave it alone until it’s nicely browned on the bottom. Patience, darlings, patience.

6. Once the chicken is seared on the bottom, stir in the sliced garlic and ginger, then stir-fry until the chicken is fully cooked.

7. Deglaze with a good splash of Shaoxing rice wine and scrape up all that tasty stuff from the bottom of the wok.

8. Stir the mushrooms and cabbage back in, along with the sliced scallion greens and the additional 1 tsp salt.

9. Season to taste. (I definitely like to add more black pepper at this point, at least.)

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Sichuan Chili Oil, and variety of cold-chicken-based lunches http://habeasbrulee.com/2012/12/12/a-variety-of-cold-chicken-based-summer-lunches/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2012/12/12/a-variety-of-cold-chicken-based-summer-lunches/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 15:30:36 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=680

I was a major chicken salad kick this past summer, sort of. I mean, I hate mayonnaise, so my definition of chicken salad is more ‘shredded cold chicken with a bunch of really flavorful stuff mixed in’. But that works great for me!

Basically, I cook some chicken breasts on the bone, let them cool, then shred the meat. Stir in some set of add-ins, separate into pint containers for lunches for the rest of the week. I’m a protein junky, so this is basically exactly what I need when I find myself crashing in the middle of the day. Sure, technically there’s a microwave at the office, but it’s summer! I can’t possibly deal with that during the hot months.

Here are the best of the non-mayo chicken salad variations I made and ate over the summer:

- almond butter, fresh turmeric, lime juice, scallions, celery, toasted cashews

- Sichuan chili oil (recipe below), mint, fried shallots, toasted cashews, and fresh cucumber in a side tupper

- Sichuan chili oil (recipe below), kohlrabi, parsley, fried young garlic, toasted sliced almonds

- red onion, parsley, toasted walnuts, Spanish paprika, scallions, roasted red bell peppers, walnut oil, sherry vinegar

- fried summer squash (zucchini and pattypan) in lots of olive oil, fried young garlic, toasted partially smashed up hazelnuts, lots of black pepper

(Photo credit to my Mom, who recently got back from a vacation where she saw a lot of chickens running around on the beach.)

Sichuan Chili Oil
(from Fuschia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty)

1/2 C chile flakes (I generally use a combination of coarse Korean chili flakes and crushed facing heaven chiles, but you can use any kind you like, at whatever heat level you like)
2 C neutral oil (I use safflower oil, usually)


1. Put the chile flakes into a glass jar.

2. Heat the oil on the stove until it hits 225-250 F. (If you go over, just let it cool down to that range, no big deal.)

3. Pour it over the chile flakes and stir once or twice.

That’s it. It keeps basically forever, and tastes amazing on everything.

I store mine in the fridge, because I worry whenever vegetable matter is introduced into an anaerobic environment.

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Rosemary Noodles with Pigeon Essences http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/01/07/rosemary-noodles-with-pigeon-essences/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2009/01/07/rosemary-noodles-with-pigeon-essences/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2009 20:55:22 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/?p=289

I had so much fun cooking this! The recipe comes from Chez Panisse Cooking, and it’s one of those recipes you look at and you just know it’ll be an adventure to create. I mean, pigeon essences! What could be better?

Dave practically cried at the thought of pounding those beautiful pigeons through the food mill. It was tragic. But me, well, I got to say something I never in my life expected to be able to say: Apparently I like pigeon liver, in the appropriate context.

Intrigued yet?

We bought the pigeons from our current favorite Chinatown butcher, where they were completely uneviscerated and, of course, labeled squab. Fowl is supposed to be eviscerated before it can be sold here, but these squab were clearly labeled as coming under the Confucian Exemption.

I’d never eviscerated a bird before. Fish, sure. But birdies were a new adventure. Dave read me instructions off the internet, always a step behind what I had already done with gloved hands and a sharp little knife. I was very proud of myself for leaping ahead blindly into something new and making it work, always the skill I’m most proud of in myself, in every arena.

So, I butchered my pigeons and Dave roasted them for me. He made the pasta dough and I rolled it out and cut it. He minced the giblets and hearts and cooked the livers, and I pounded the pigeons through the food mill. We make a good team, me and him, splitting up the tasks to create fun, tasty monstrosities just because I saw the phrase “pigeon essences” and decided it had to be done.

So, here it is, just about straight from the original recipe. Next time I’d get some extra pigeon and shred roasted meat into the dish, too, for extra texture and to make Dave happy. If there is a next time. We’ve made the rosemary noodles since, but no matter how tasty, food milling the pigeons was just too traumatic for us to repeat.

2008: Saffron Duck Pot Pie
2007: Banana Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Rosemary Noodles with Pigeon Essences
(from Chez Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertolli and Alice Waters)
rosemary noodles (recipe below)
4 pigeons, with hearts, livers, and giblets
1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 oz pancetta, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
4 C chicken stock
4 C beef stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 tbsp butter

Make the rosemary noodles as per the recipe below, but do not cook them yet, just set them aside in the fridge while you do the rest of the steps here.

Grill the pigeons (organs removed and set aside, heads and feet removed and discarded) over a hardwood charcoal fire, uncovered, turning frequently, until the skin is nice and brown and the bird is fully cooked. This should take about half an hour. If you don’t have a grill, you can cook them under the broiler instead, but they’ll suffer from the lack of smokiness.

Remove the birds from the grill to a bowl, careful to catch the juices from the cavity, then transfer them to a large cutting board. With a cleaver, chop them into very small pieces, making sure to crack all the bones. Transfer all the pieces to a large saucepan and add the chicken and beef stock. Bring to a quick summer, making sure not to boil, and simmer for 1 hour.

In the meantime, saute the hearts and giblets in the olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until they are browned all over. Add the pancetta and garlic. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often. The aim is to not brown the pancetta and garlic.

Remove the heart mixture from the pan and transfer it to a clean cutting board.

While the pan is still hot, add the livers and cook gently over low heat, turning them as soon as the edges begin to lighten in color and touching them frequently to test for doneness. When they are just firm in the center, remove from the pan and set aside.

Finely chop the heart mixture and set aside separately.

Now, back to the stock you’ve had simmering for the past hour. Sieve it through a chinoise or food mill, pounding or milling as much pigeon meat and marrow as possible through with the stock.

Set up a pot of salted water to boil for the noodles.

Return the pigeon broth to the stove and reduce it to 2 C. Add the chopped heart mixture, the butter, and a big dash of freshly ground black pepper. Check for salt and adjust to taste. Simmer until the butter is melted and stir well. Coarsely chop the reserved livers.

Cook the noodles for just a few minutes, until they float. Add to the sauce with the chopped liver. Stir well and serve immediately.

Rosemary Noodles
1 C all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

Make the pasta dough by creating a mound of the flour with the other ingredients in the center. Slowly stir them in with a fork, then knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, until smooth. Add in a bit of water if necessary to help it form a smooth dough, but don’t go overboard, try to be a bit patient.

Form it into a ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Set it aside and let it rest for 45 minutes.

Take 1/3 of the dough at a time, leaving the rest covered until you’re ready to deal with it.

If you have a pasta maker, run the dough through the pasta maker at its widest setting. Fold in half (parallel to the line of the pasta maker). Run it through again. Fold again, run it through again. Fold in half (perpendicular to the line of the pasta maker, to make it narrower), and run it through again. Reduce the width by one setting. Run the dough through. Reduce the width again. Run the dough through again. Keep going as long you can, which will probably be the second-narrowest setting (6, on our machine). Then cut the sheets of pasta into lengths one foot long, and run them through the fettucine cutting attachment.

Separate the strands of pasta and set them aside in the fridge on a floured plate, covered, until needed. They can last all day in there waiting for you, but probably not overnight.

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Jerk Chicken and Jerk Corn Chowder http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/10/28/jerk-chicken-and-jerk-corn-chowder/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/10/28/jerk-chicken-and-jerk-corn-chowder/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2008 15:23:02 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/10/28/jerk-chicken-and-jerk-corn-chowder/

I’m feeling very justified in my lifelong Depression-era housewife mentality lately, I must say. Times are rough for everyone, and it feels like they’re just getting worse. Good thing I’ve been doing home canning and jam-making for years, not to mention saving bacon grease in a can in my freezer and freezing chicken carcasses every time we roast a chicken to turn into stock. I do it partially because it’s fun, and partially because I feel guilty for being wasteful otherwise.

This set of recipes and photos is actually from late summer. We had a large crowd come over for dinner one night, and we bought about twice as much chicken as we needed to feed them all. It was a simple matter to put together this fantastic jerk seasoning sauce and braise the chicken in it to feed the crowd, and everyone loved it.

When our guests left, we looked at the leftover jerk chicken and decided to break it down into useful components immediately. We put on gloves and shredded the meat off the bone, freezing it in single-serving ziplock bags for later packed lunches. We put the skin and bones in the freezer, and the next day we simmered them down to create a pot of fragrant jerk chicken stock, which we strained and froze as well.

Once amazing fresh local corn started coming in at the greenmarkets, we mostly got into the habit of grilling it or putting it under the broiler until the husk blackened, and then eating it plain. Sometimes I add a bit of lime juice, salt, and chipotle to perk it up, but only with less spectacular corn, really. The good stuff would be wasted with that sort of dilution of flavor, at least for the first few weeks it’s available each summer.

Point being, once I sated my corn urges to the point where I was willing to eat it gussied up, we started thinking about chowder, and remembered the jerk chicken stock waiting in our freezer. A perfect solution! And so jerk corn chowder was born, to my great delight.

Both of these meals were wonderfully tasty, comfort food, and very much dishes I intend to make again.

2007: Almond Buttermilk Biscuits with Sour Cherry Compote, Butterscotch, and Candied Pickled Ginger
2006: Dave’s Autumn Rice

Jerk Chicken
2 chickens (3-4 lbs. each), cut into quarters
1 C jerk mix (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Slather the jerk mix all over the chicken and put it into a baking dish. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil and crimp around the edges to seal tightly.

Leave in the oven for about an hour or two, or until tender and delicious.

Save the bones/skin/&c for stock when serving the meat.

Jerk Mix
(adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson)
2 tbsp olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cayenne, or to taste
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
4 scallions, green parts only, sliced into thin rounds
1/3 C freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 C red wine vinegar

Heat the oil in a pan until it shimmers. Add the garlic and saute until it just starts to get golden.

Stir in the allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, and brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and the mixture starts to clump together.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Transfer it to a blender with all the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

(Makes about 1 C.)

Jerk Corn Chowder
(adapted from 50 Chowders by Jasper White)
4 oz. bacon, cut into 1/3″ dice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
6 C jerk chicken stock (recipe below) (or 4 C stock and 2 C heavy cream)
2 large onions, peeled and cut into 3/4″ dice
3 C fresh corn kernels (from approximately 3 large ears of fresh corn)
2 lbs potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
Salt, cayenne, and freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the bacon pieces in your chowder pot and render them over medium-low heat, until they have released their liquid fat and begun to crisp. You want to keep the heat fairly low to keep from burning the fat.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp fat (retain the bacon!). (Save your poured off bacon grease in a can in the freezer. It is really nice to have around.)

Add the butter and onions. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and only just barely starting to get lightly golden.

Add the potatoes, corn, and 4 C jerk chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook until the potatoes are soft on the outside but still somewhat firm on the inside. Smash a bunch of the potatoes (smashing all of them is nice, even) against the side of the pot to thicken the chowder.

Remove the pot from the heat.

Stir in the extra 2 C jerk chicken stock (or heavy cream, if you prefer). Season to taste with salt, cayenne, and freshly ground pepper.

If you have the time, let the chowder cool to room temperature and then reheat it gently before eating, in order to give the flavors a chance to meld together more fully.

Jerk Chicken Stock

Put those jerk chicken remnants in a pot. Cover with water. Simmer until delicious, about 4-7 hours. Don’t let it come to a boil! When it’s tasty, strain and boil down to intensify the flavor if necessary. Leave in the fridge overnight to let the fat solidify, and defat in the morning. You can freeze it until needed.

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Duck Confit and Fig Crostini http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/08/21/duck-confit-and-fig-crostini/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/08/21/duck-confit-and-fig-crostini/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2008 00:14:04 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/08/21/duck-confit-and-fig-crostini/

Figs are marvelous. Dave and I have been eating them with duck confit (as in this spectacularly tasty recipe, all rich luscious duck and bright fresh figs with mustard seeds and curry leaves to perk everything up), pickling them, and just generally reveling in their availability lately.

Instead of apologizing for not updating this blog often enough, let me tell you some interesting things:

Comment #17 was randomly picked as the winner for the A Pig in Provence by Georgeanne Brennan book giveaway from Yummr. Congratulations, Michelle! Just get me your address and Yummr will ship the book directly to you.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to create dishes and meals based on color palettes from Kris’s Color Stripes?

Our occasional restaurant will be catering the VIP suite at SalonCon on September 13th. SalonCon is a one day event in NJ focusing on.. well.. check out their FAQ. Their tagline is “the Victorian Era for the 21st Century”. They have music, book readings, steampunk and neo-Victorian art, a ball, and a set of salons with speakers, suggested readings, and of course a lot of spirited discussion. If you can, please stop by to say hello, join in the event, and taste some of the tasty treats that we will be providing.

Nancy Weber, an author, caterer, and all-around magnificently creative and wonderful woman, has started making these fantastic butcher’s aprons. The photo below is of me wearing mine while trimming lamb shanks (which we braised into melting tenderness using a adaptation of our Pomegranate Ginger Saffron Braised Lamb Neck recipe). I got mine when I saw it hanging in her apartment and fell in love with it on the spot. You can buy your own butcher’s apron here if you’re interested.

2007: Ma La Chicken with Roly-Poly Squash
2006: Fig and Date Basteeya

Duck Confit and Fig Crostini
Approximately 1 1/2 C shredded duck confit (recipe below)
5ish fresh figs
30 or so fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp mustard seeds
Olive oil

Slice the cucumber into thin rounds, using a mandoline if you have one. Mix with a few tablespoons of salt, then set aside for at about an hour. Rinse the cucumber slices, squeeze them dry as you can, and set aside.

Slice a baguette, and toast the slices is you like.

Splash a bit of oil into a pan, then add some mustard seeds, some curry leaves, and some of the shredded duck confit. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mustard seeds start to pop, the curry leaves start to sizzle, and the duck is warmed through.

Slice the figs into 1/4″ thick rounds. Put fig slices onto the baguette slices, then the duck confit with curry leaves and mustard seeds, then the cucumber slices. Garnish with an extra curry leaf.

Duck Confit
1 duck, legs and wings only (save the breasts to sear and eat separately)
Rendered duck fat or oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
Plenty of salt.

Take you some duck legs, and wings if you have them, and put them in a pot. Cover them with rendered duck fat and/or oil. Add the other ingredients. Cook for a couple of hours at a low simmer (the moisture in the duck will simmer; the oil won’t, of course), until the duck is very tender and easily pierced with a fork or even a toothpick. Remove the duck, cool and drain, then shred the meat.

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Duck Hearts with Cinnamon Juniper Sauce http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/07/17/duck-hearts-with-cinnamon-juniper-sauce/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/07/17/duck-hearts-with-cinnamon-juniper-sauce/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2008 14:27:04 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/07/17/duck-hearts-with-cinnamon-juniper-sauce/

Let me explain. No, it is too much! Let me sum up.

I got it into my head that I had to pick up some duck hearts. These things happen.

It turns out that you can buy duck hearts at Ottomanelli’s Meat Market (285 Bleecker Street, NY, NY) in 5 pound bags for something like $3-4/pound. Just order a bag and in a few days you will have infinite duck hearts to play with. Thaw them just enough to separate them into ziplock bags with maybe 1/2 pound duck hearts in each, label the bags with the date and contents, and freeze whatever you don’t cook immediately.

This way, if you want a quick snack of duck hearts in the middle of the week, you can pull out a small portion of them to play with! You never know when the duck heart munchies may hit. INFINITE DUCK HEARTS!

I get these urges sometimes, you see.

My partner, Dave, said that he’s going to have to put a single duck heart in with my lunch every day from now until eternity, and if I’m good he’ll even cook them first.

If you’re in a rush, you can quickly saute the hearts in butter and make a simple pan sauce with chicken stock and balsamic vinegar to pour over them. This takes just a few minutes to throw together and is splendid with toasted english muffins.

But on nights when you have the time to cook something a little more complex, it takes just a few minutes longer to throw together these duck hearts with cinnamon juniper sauce instead. Cinnamon juniper duck is an old Hungarian specialty, according to George Lang, who provided the inspiration (but not the recipe) for this dish.

Don’t worry. This dish was so good, it’s even four-year-old-picky-eater approved.

My grandmother informs me that we did it all wrong, and we should have browned onions in the pan before adding the duck hearts and done it up as a paprikas.

Anyways, duck hearts.

2007: Turkish-Style Burdock Root
2006: Basil Sorbet with Lemon Olive Oil

Duck Hearts with Cinnamon Juniper Sauce
1/2 lb. duck hearts
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
10 juniper berries, finely crushed
1/2 C red wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Thaw the duck hearts. Reserve the blood that melts when they thaw. Remove the fatty tops and cut the hearts into 1/4″ thick rounds.

Brown the onion in butter until it is golden, but not too dark. Add the duck hearts and spices and saute briefly. Remove duck hearts from the pan and set aside when they are almost cooked through.

Add the wine to the pan and boil until slightly syrupy.

Reduce the heat and stir in the duck blood to thicken. Add the hearts back to the pan and simmer, stirring, until heated and cooked through. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

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Goose Stew http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/04/09/goose-stew/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/04/09/goose-stew/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2008 17:34:16 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/04/09/goose-stew/

This is another recipe adapted from A Drizzle of Honey: The Life and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson, a cookbook full of recipes for foods cooked and eaten by Jews and conversos in the Iberian Peninsula during the time of the Inquisition. About a year and a half ago, I posted my adaptation of the Crypto-Jewish Brazilian Yellow Stew from this book, which was absolutely splendid.

This goose stew is a bit harder to put together, but it is tasty as well. In fact, one of the adaptations we made here was adding bulgur to soak up some of the spiced goose stock and add heft to the stew, which I realized later makes it somewhat more similar to the Crypto-Jewish Brazilian Yellow Stew than the cookbook authors intended.

I shared the recipe with my friend Cat, who made a completely different adaptation of it. She used pomegranate seeds, as the recipe originally called for, and didn’t add in the bulgur. She left out the rose hips (as we did) and the ginger (which we left in). And most drastically, she used lamb instead of leftover roast goose. Oh versatile recipe! She and her fiance said that their version was mindblowingly delicious as well.

We made it with goose because we just happened to be roasting a goose anyway, for our belated second (or perhaps fourth, depending on whose count we use) Thanksgiving dinner in March. It’s never too late for an extra Thanksgiving, and it’s always worth making the time for more food, family, love, and gratitude for the time we share with each other. Also, goose.

Although I described A Drizzle of Honey when I posted that last recipe we adapted from it, I feel compelled to repeat the description here:

The recipes in this book were mostly gleaned from testimony denouncing the Jews during the inquisition. Jews were often identified by cultural signs, such as their culinary customs, and servants would be called to testify on the types of food their mistresses would cook. Testimony against them would often allege that they cut the fat and veins from their meat, salted their meat, would not eat pork, or cooked stews on Friday afternoon to eat cold on Saturday. Even cooking meat in olive oil was seen as evidence of secret “Judaizing,” because most Christians preferred to cook their meat in rendered fat, particularly lard.

Jewish women were cited as having myriad creative excuses, such as claiming that they ate cold meat on Saturday because it tasted better cold. Many really did seem to believe that they removed the fat and veins because the meat tasted better that way, or salted the meat in order to better preserve it. We do these things because our mothers did them, and we do not always quite remember why.

Many of the women whose recipes I have here were murdered for cooking these meals. It is a strange feeling, going through this book and reading stories of betrayal and death, each followed by a description of an intriguing dish. Following their recipes feels like a very delicious act of remembrance.

2007: Baby Lion’s Head Meatballs
2006: Freeform Caramel Prawn Pies

Goose Stew
(adapted from A Drizzle of Honey: The Life and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson)
1 roast goose carcass and neck
1 bay leaf
4 lbs coarsely chopped leftover roast goose
3/4 C red wine
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 dried birdseye pepper, coarsely ground
1/4 C honey
1 1/2 C bulgur
A bit of goose fat, to taste
Salt to taste

Two nights before you make the stew, scald the goose and make some stock.

Fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Scald the goose by placing it in the boiling water for 1 minute (dipping the top for 1 minute and then the bottom for 1 minute.) Pat the goose dry, then set it uncovered on a rack in your fridge to fully dry overnight. This process will make the skin crispier, less fatty, and tastier.

Place the uncooked innards and bay leaf into the scalding water. Cover and simmer for several hours, until tasty. Reduce to intensify the flavor as necessary. Strain and let cool in the fridge overnight.

The next day, roast the goose on a rack over a big roasting pan. Start it on one side, at 400 F. After 30 minutes, rotate it to the other side, and lower the heat to 350 F. After 45 minutes, rotate it breast up, and continue cooking until it hits an internal temperature of 175 F (going by a thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the thigh). Remove it from the oven and cover with aluminum foil and let it rest for 30 minutes, to let it hit an internal temperature of 180 F.

Strain the liquid fat left in the baking pan (there will be quite a lot) and reserve. Freeze whatever you don’t use. Potatoes fried in goose fat are delicious.

Eat roast goose and rejoice. Reserve 4 lbs meat for the stew. (Or scale the stew down to match however much meat you do have left.) Make stock from the carcass.

The day after that, skim the fat from the stock and pour 6 C stock into a large pot, along with some of the fat to taste. Chop up about 4 lbs leftover roast goose meat and throw it in, too. Add the wine, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, birdseye pepper, honey, and pomegranate molasses. Cover and gently simmer, covered, for 40 minutes.

Add the bulgur and salt and continue to simmer, covered, for 20 more minutes.

Take the lid off and let the stew continue to simmer about 10 minutes more. Add more goose stock (or water) if necessary to fully cook the bulgur.

Garnish with fresh mint and/or pomegranate seeds.

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Saffron Duck Pot Pie http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/06/saffron-duck-pot-pie/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/06/saffron-duck-pot-pie/#comments Sun, 06 Jan 2008 15:41:44 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2008/01/06/saffron-duck-pot-pie/

Here is a meat pie to warm and satisfy you, now that winter has come and I am waiting on the edge of my seat for the first real snowstorm of the year. Loosely inspired by Moroccan basteeya, this pot pie marries a rich and savory meaty filling with traditionally sweet spices, and you can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top if you like to heighten the effect.

I only post recipes I actually like, but I have to tell you that this one makes it to my list of personal favorites. Dave and I made one of these pies at first, and the next night we couldn’t resist making another few to last us for the rest of the week.

The crust is made with lard and butter, resulting in an extravagantly light and flaky pastry that contrasts well with the luscious filling.

And speaking of meat pie, has anyone seen Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd yet? I saw Sweeney Todd on Broadway a few years ago, and wasn’t very impressed by the production, but the story is fun and Johnny Depp is usually wonderful in all that he does.

Anyways, I suspect this pie tastes better made with duck than it would if it were made with your neighbors. And for best flavor, I suggest making it with duck, with the help and company of your neighbors.

Saffron Duck Pot Pie
2 C chicken or duck stock
3 big pinches saffron (threads)
1 pekin duck (about 5 lbs)
3 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cayenne
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 tbsp olive oil, plus more for sauteing
Juice from 1 1/2 lemons
Cinnamon pie crust (recipe below)

Prepare the pie crust as described in the recipe below, then leave it in the fridge to rest until needed.

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Warm up the stock, and add in the saffron, leaving it to steep.

Remove all external fat and skin from the duck and set aside. You should absolutely render the fat and skin to have tasty, tasty duck fat around the house. Cut it all up into little chunks, put it in a pot with some water, and simmer for hours. When that’s done, strain and refrigerate. The next day, you can skim the fat off the top, and enjoy both that and the duck stock that will have gelled on the bottom. The fat and skin can be refrigerated if you don’t have time to go through this process immediately.

Break down the duck into 7 pieces: 2 legs/thighs, 2 breasts, 2 wings, and the rest of the carcass. Lightly salt them all.

Roast the duck for about 40-50 minutes, taking out pieces as they are done (when the juices run clear, that is).

Let the duck pieces rest 15 minutes or so to cool down, then shred the meat. Save the neck and bones in your freezer to make stock (or make it immediately, if you prefer).

In a small saucepan, saute the onion in olive oil until golden. Remove the onion from the pan and transfer it to a large bowl. Mix in the shredded duck, spices, and cilantro, and set aside.

Whisk the flour and olive oil together in the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is nice and thick and just barely golden, still fairly pale. This is your roux. Slowly add the saffron-steeped stock to the roux, whisking it all together as you go.

Raise the oven to 500 F.

Prepare your pie tins by buttering them, sprinkling flour over them, and then shaking out any extra flour. I really think this is tastiest made in smaller, deep-dish tins – the pies pictures above were only about 2-3 servings each.

Roll out the pie dough about 1/8″ thick and line the pie tins with it.

Fill the pies with the meat mixture. Add juice of 1 1/2 lemon (spread out among multiple pies as necessary). Pour the sauce over the meat. Cover with a top crust, and poke a few holes in it to release steam.

When you put the pie in the oven, lower the heat to 425 F. Bake until top crust is pale gold, about 25 minutes. At that point, rotate the pie from front to back (to even out the baking), reduce the heat to 375 F, and bake an additional 30-35 minutes until the crust is deep golden brown and it is done.

Cinnamon Pie Crust
12 1/2 oz flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 C lard
12 tbsp (3/4 C, or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6-8 tbsp cold water

Mix the dry ingredients in a food processor. Add the lard, and process until sandy. Add the butter, and process until you have pea-sized lumps.

Pour the dough out into a bowl. Add 6 tbsp cold water. Press the dough against the sides of the bowl with a spatula to combine. If needed, add up to the remaining 2 tbsp cold water.

Flatten into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.

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What Makes a Formal Dinner http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/04/03/what-makes-a-formal-dinner/ http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/04/03/what-makes-a-formal-dinner/#comments Mon, 03 Apr 2006 17:45:33 +0000 http://habeasbrulee.com/2006/04/03/what-makes-a-formal-dinner/

If posting is sparse for a while, it’s because we just moved to a new place and this week they’re painting our new kitchen, so it will be a few more days before we can get in there to unpack the kitchen stuff and start cooking. In the meantime, I’ll simply do my best, even if all we have made in the new place so far was lemonade to drink together out of a mason jar in the backyard. We traded the jar and my laptop back and forth, mooching internet access off a neighbor, as we do not yet have our own.

Anyways, here’s a photo and essay from the vaults.

Dave and I wanted to host a formal dinner party last New Year’s Eve, and we had a bit of an adventure trying to determine what makes a formal dinner. In the end, of course, I turned to Miss Manners.

I have trusted Miss Manners implicitly ever since I first read her response to the lady who wrote in asking what she should do when her husband wishes to kiss her after having eaten garlic and developed strongly odorous breath.

“Well, Miss Manners isn’t going to do it for you!” wrote Miss Manners. My hero! She should have also pointed out that anyone who minds garlic breath is not worth kissing at all.

In her Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Miss Manners set out a list of the fourteen courses to be served at a formal dinner. They are as follows:

1. Oysters or clams on the half shell. Fruit or caviar may be served instead.
2. Soup, giving each guest a choice of clear or thick.
3. Radishes, celery, olives, and salted almonds.
4. Fish, served with fancifully shaped potatoes and cucumbers with oil and vinegar.
5. Sweetbreads or mushrooms.
6. Artichokes, asparagus, or spinach in pastry.
7. A roast or joint, as we say, with a green vegetable.
8. Frozen Roman punch, to clear the palate and stimulate you to go on.
9. Game, such as wild duck or little birdies, served with salad.
10. Heavy pudding or another creamed sweet.
11. A frozen sweet. It is a nice touch to have tiny crisp cakes with this.
12. Cheeses. with biscuits and butter. Or you may serve a hot savory of cheese, which is more filling.
13. Fresh, crystallized, and stuffed dried fruits, served with bonbons.
14. Coffee, liqueurs, and sparkling waters.

We followed her guidelines, more or less, but I don’t think we would do so in the future. Formal dinners no longer need follow such rigorous guidelines. Miss Manners may consider that a great shame, but it seems to open the door to far more creativity. We could have such fun serving a vast array of very small tasting dishes to be shared among the guests, and play with all the diversity that allows.

But perhaps we lose something by being so used to small, very different sorts of dishes being served at each meal. My father likes to tell me that when he was growing up, he thought of each record as a work that made sense when listened to in its entirety, each song in order. Each song led into the next, and the record as a whole was the work of art. But I always rip my CDs immediately after purchasing them and listen to the mp3s on shuffle. So many of us have lost the ability to hear a record as more than just a jumble of songs, or a meal as more than just a jumble of dishes.

I know how to cook individual dishes that work in themselves, but I don’t know how to plan a meal where the courses lead each into each in a rising crescendo of taste, until the coda of coffee in the end. I still consider Miss Manners’s fourteen course list to be too restrictive, but it was a good starting point in my quest to learn how to put together a complete meal. I will certainly post about other good resources on this as I come across them.

In case you were wondering, the little birdie in the photo was a seared quail with cranberry vinegar reduction. When that course was served, our guests very formally and correctly put down their silverware and ripped into the little birdies with their bare hands.

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