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Have a Pre-Holiday Holiday Meal – Holiday Turkey Burgers

Everyone gets into a bit of frenzy as holidays get nearer and you feel like you have a million things to take care of and plan. I know that is the way it is around here right now as we try to get all of the last-minute things done before the Christmas holiday really sets in. That usually does not leave you with a lot of time to make detailed meals in the days leading up to the holiday as you want to try to keep things as easy as possible. Sure, take-out is always an option when you are looking for something, but an easy alternative is to make some burgers of your own. You can have any type you like of course, but since it is the holidays why not try something different and have this holiday turkey burger, which uses ground turkey and turkey sausage together with some other holiday ingredients for a very different type of burger. I got this recipe from Serious Eats and tweaked it a little to make it my own.

Holiday Turkey Burgers

1 sweet potato

1 tablespoon butter

1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1/4 cup finely chopped celery (about 1 small stalk)

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1 pound ground turkey

1/3 pound loose turkey sausage or pork sausage

4 rolls

Cranberry relish, for topping

Turkey gravy, for topping

Fresh spinach. for topping

Fried onions, for topping

Using the tines of a fork, poke holes all over the sweet potato. Place the potato on a plate and microwave it on high until a paring knife can be inserted in the middle of the potato without any resistance, about 9 to 12 minutes, checking and flipping the potato every 3 minutes. Alternatively, place the potato in a 425 degree oven and cook until a paring knife can be inserted in the middle of the potato with no resistance, about 1 hour. Split the potato open and allow it to cool slightly, about 5 to 10 minutes. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh into a small bowl and discard the potato skin.

Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the sage, thyme and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove the mixture from the skillet and allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place the turkey, sausage, 1/4 cup of the sweet potato flesh and the vegetable mixture in a medium bowl and mix the mixture with your hands until it is well incorporated. Form the mixture into 4 patties and season each patty with salt and pepper to taste.

In the now-empty skillet, heat the skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted and the foaming has subsided, place the burgers in the skillet and cook the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the burger registers at least 145 degrees, flipping the burger halfway through the cooking process to cook it on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Using the rolls (you can lightly toast them if you like), top each bottom half of the bun with a burger and then add the condiments you wish, such as cranberry relish, turkey gravy, spinach and fried onions.

You can get the complete flavor of your traditional holiday meal with this burger. The sweet potato adds to the density and taste of the burger and you get a bit of a stuffing flavor thanks to the sage and thyme in the mixture. Add on the gravy, relish, onions and spinach and you have everything to make a holiday meal right on the bun. It is a nice and different alternative to a regular hamburger if you want something a little different for a quick meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on December 22, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Holidays, Poultry, Sandwiches, Turkey

 

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Is This the Best Chicken Parmesan Recipe Ever?

I admit I am no real expert when it comes to any type of Italian cooking. Since I don’t eat cheese or pasta myself I am hard one to ask to judge whether the dish is good or not so I have to rely on my pasta and cheese eaters Sean and Michelle to let me know whether the dish is worth making again or not. I had seen this recipe for chicken Parmesan on the Internet from Serious Eats that says it is the best chicken Parmesan recipe out there and was curious about it. What makes this recipe better than any other. in my opinion, chicken Parmesan is a pretty basic dish on its own that anyone can make pretty successfully, so what made this one stand out? The difference with this seems to lay in the use of a buttermilk brine for the chicken and a whole lot of Parmesan cheese in the breading, along with some buttermilk in the breading to change things up. The results were pretty impressive.

The Best Chicken Parmesan

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 3/4 cups buttermilk, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 loaf crusty Italian bread, crust removed, sliced into 1/2 inch slices

5 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 quart tomato sauce, homemade or your favorite store-bought brand

10 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, basil or a mix of herbs

With a sharp knife, split the chicken breasts in half horizontally. Working with one piece at a time, place the chicken inside a plastic zipper-lock bag and pound the chicken with a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet until the chicken is an even thickness of about 1/4-inch. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and repeat the process until all of the chicken pieces have been pounded.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the buttermilk and the minced garlic to the bowl with the chicken. Season with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Turn the chicken with your hands until the salt, pepper and garlic are evenly incorporated and all of the chicken is coated in the buttermilk mixture. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a large zipper-lock bag, press the air out of the bag and seal the bag. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

Meanwhile, place the Italian bread slices on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Leave out the bread on a counter for at least 4 hours and up to overnight until it is mostly dried. The next day, break the bread into rough pieces and combine the bread with 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Season the mixture with black pepper. Process the bread until it is finely ground, about 20 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large shallow bowl or pie plate.

Place the flour in a second shallow bowl or pie plate. Whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of the flour in a third pie plate. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk over the breadcrumb/Parmesan cheese mixture and incorporate it with your fingertips. The mixture should be mealy, but hold together in clumps if you squeeze it together with your hands.

Working with one piece of chicken at a time, remove a piece of chicken from the bag and add it to the flour. Turn the chicken to coat it, shaking off any excess, and then add it to the egg mixture. Turn the chicken to coat it, letting the excess egg mixture drip off, and then add it to the breadcrumb mixture. Turn the chicken to coat it, piling crumbs on top of the piece and pressing down firmly so a thick layer of breadcrumbs adheres to the chicken piece. Transfer the coated chicken to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and repeat the process with the remaining chicken breast pieces.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the sauce in a medium saucepan and heat it over low heat, stirring occasionally until it is barely simmering. Remove the sauce from the heat and set it aside.

Heat the vegetable or canola oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375 to 400 degrees on an instant-read or deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches so you do not crowd the skillet, carefully add the chicken pieces by lowering the cutlets away from you into the oil. Add as many cutlets as will fit in one layer (depending on the size of your skillet, this can be anywhere from 2 to 4 pieces). Cook, swirling the pan gently and using a thin flexible spatula to loosen the chicken if it sticks, until the chicken is golden brown and crisp on the bottom side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula and a fork, carefully flip the chicken and cook until it is golden brown on the second side, about another 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and repeat the process with the remaining chicken pieces.

Spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce onto the bottom of a casserole or oven-safe serving dish. Shingle the chicken pieces on top of the sauce. Top the chicken with more sauce, forming a line down the center. Combine the mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese in a large bowl and toss to coat. Lay the cheese mixture over the chicken in a straight line down the center. Transfer the dish to the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and immediately grate fresh Parmesan cheese on top. Allow the dish to rest for about 3 minutes, top with the chopped herbs and serve immediately.

I did try a little bit of the chicken and I have to immediate using the buttermilk brine does improve the overall flavor and the tenderness of the chicken. Sean and Michelle both really enjoyed the breading on the chicken and the cheese combination of the mozzarella and the Parmesan was just right for the meal. As I said, I am not an eater of dishes like this, so I did have a piece of chicken I kept separate with just the breading and I thought it was great. They both enjoyed the meal over pasta and I served it alongside of the onion focaccia bread I had made. I would certainly do this recipe again, though you do need to plan this one ahead to do the brining if you want the taste difference.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pasta, Poultry

 

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Back Home for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Vegetables and Dijon Jus

After spending last week visiting my family in North Carolina it’s back to the real world of work, school and cooking here in New York. We had a great visit with everyone and had a fun time over the Thanksgiving holiday, enjoying a great meal and good times with the family. It was good to get home after a long drive back so we took it easy Saturday and had a nice one dish meal on Sunday, making use of a whole chicken, some fresh veggies and this recipe from Serious Eats for a pan-roasted chicken with vegetables in a Dijon jus for some added zest and flavor. it’s another great one dish meal that you can put together pretty easily and is packed with great flavors.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Vegetables and Dijon Jus

16 fingerling or yellow new potatoes, scrubbed

3 carrots, 2 peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, 1 roughly chopped

Kosher salt

16 Brussels sprouts, halved

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 8 serving pieces, backbone reserved

1 cup dry white wine

1 onion, split in half

1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

3 to 4 sprigs fresh sage

2 bay leaves

2 cups chicken stock

1 shallot, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon

2 teaspoons fish sauce

Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the potatoes and the carrots cut into 1-inch chunks in a medium saucepan, cover the vegetables with cold salted water and bring them to a boil, then simmer the vegetables until they are just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the vegetables and transfer them to a large bowl. Add the Brussels sprouts, season the vegetables with salt and pepper, toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and set the vegetables aside.

Transfer the chicken backbone to the now-empty saucepan. Add the roughly chopped carrot, onion,celery, sage, and bay leaves. Set the saucepan aside. Season the chicken pieces thoroughly with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet set over high heat until the oil is lightly smoking. Add the chicken pieces skin side down and cook, moving the chicken pieces as little as possible, until the chicken skin is rendered and a deep golden brown, about 10 to 14 minutes. Flip the pieces as they finish and lightly brown the second side, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a plate and set them aside.

When all the chicken is browned, add the white wine to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Transfer the white wine to a medium saucepan and put in the reserved chicken backbone. Pour in any juices that have accumulated on the chicken resting plate and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel.

Add the chicken stock to the saucepan with the chicken backbone. Bring the stock to a simmer over high heat, reduce the heat to the lowest setting, cover and let the stock gently bubble while the chicken roasts. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat the skillet over high heat until the oil is lightly smoking. Add the vegetable mixture and top the vegetables with the chicken pieces, skin side up. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the chicken breasts register 150 degrees and the chicken legs register at least 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer, removing the chicken pieces and transferring them to a clean plate as they finish roasting, about 45 minutes total.

When all of the chicken pieces have finished roasting, add the shallots to the skillet with the vegetables and toss them to combine. Return the skillet to the oven and continue roasting, flipping the vegetables occasionally, until the vegetables and shallots are browned all over, about 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven, add the parsley, toss to coat and then place the chicken pieces directly on top of the vegetables.

Strain the simmering chicken broth mixture into a small saucepan or bowl. Whisk in the butter, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and fish sauce. Season the jus to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken and vegetables, serving the jus at the table.

This meal is packed with ingredients and lots of great flavor. You get a really nice browning on the chicken pieces and I liked everything set over the vegetables to get even more flavor onto the veggies. I actually added the shallot in from the start and roasted the vegetables just with the chicken, tossing them lightly when I took the chicken out and then put the chicken right back in the skillet. The Dijon jus was a nice touch with the chicken and vegetables, with a good mix of the mustard, lemon juice and fish sauce. It all came together very nicely and mostly in one dish (outside of the prep work) so it was easy clean-up as well.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Marcus Knows Best: Helga’s Meatballs and Gravy with Carrot Apple Mashed Potatoes

I am a big fan of Swedish meatballs. I have been making them for several years with different variations, most commonly one recipe that my grandmother had passed on to me years ago and one from chef Marcus Samuelsson that he uses at his restaurant, Red Rooster, in Harlem here in New York. I like both recipes but the one from chef Samuelsson seems much more authentic to me so that is the one I have used, still use, and is basically the same as the one in this recipe, but this recipe also has the addition of carrot-apple mashed potatoes to go with the meatballs to make it more of a meal and less of an appetizer. This is the way you will find it on the menu at Red Rooster and the flavor is fantastic. I did tweak the recipe just a bit from the original. I decided to bake my meatballs instead of grilling them, as is called for in the original recipe to get more of a char on the meatballs. It just seemed easier to bake them, though doing them in a skillet would work pretty well too. Other than that, I followed the recipe, right down to the lingonberry preserves. This particular version is from the Serious Eats website.

Helga’s Meatballs and Gravy with Carrot-Apple Mashed Potatoes

For the Meatballs:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 pound ground chuck or sirloin

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 pound ground pork

2 tablespoons honey

1 large egg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the Gravy:

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup lingonberry preserves

2 tablespoons pickle juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the Carrot-Apple Mashed Potatoes:

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon horseradish, preferably freshly grated

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the red onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and allow them to cool.

Combine the bread crumbs and the heavy cream in a large bowl, stirring the mixture with a fork until all of the bread crumbs are moistened. Add the sautéed onions, ground beef, ground veal, ground pork, honey, egg, and salt and pepper to the bread crumbs and mix the ingredients well. Wet your hands to keep the meatballs from sticking and shape the mixture into meatballs the size of golf balls, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with some water. You should end up with about 24 to 30 meatballs.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet with a rack inserted, place the meatballs on the rack and bake them in the oven until they are golden brown all over and cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.

To make the gravy, bring the chicken broth, heavy cream, lingonberry preserves and pickle juice to a simmer in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the gravy, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the gravy thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep the meatballs and gravy warm.

To make the carrot-apple mashed potatoes, place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with salted cold water by at least one inch and cook the potatoes until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Put the carrots and apples in a separate saucepan covered with salted cold water by at least one inch and cook until the carrots and apples are tender, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes, apples and carrots cook, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, garlic, shallots, balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the onions and shallots are tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and the apples and carrots and return all of them to one of the cooking pots. Mash the mixture coarsely with a fork or a potato masher. Stir in the buttermilk, horseradish and onion mixture. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the carrot-apple mashed potatoes onto dinner plates and top them with the meatballs and gravy.

The meatballs have fantastic flavor and the gravy makes them even better. If you can get the lingonberry preserves it makes a big difference in the overall taste, adding that hint of flavor that makes them distinctly Swedish meatballs. I really liked the apple-carrot mashed potatoes as well as it was a great mix of flavors with the apple and carrot along with the onions, horseradish and garlic. I actually made the meatballs a little bit smaller so we had a bunch leftover that I could freeze and use for appetizers for the holidays coming up. It is definitely a recipe worth giving a try.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Appetizers, Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Pork, Potatoes

 

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20 Breads and Rolls for Your Thanksgiving Feast | Serious Eats

20 Breads and Rolls for Your Thanksgiving Feast | Serious Eats.

You have to bread for your Thanksgiving meal, whether it is rolls, biscuits or a nice crunchy loaf of bread you can use to sop up gravy (and for turkey sandwiches late in the evening or the next day!). No matter what type of bread you might want to choose, Serious Eats gives you 20 great options for different kinds of breads you can make for the day. Check it out!

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in Breads, Cooking, Cooking Websites, Holidays

 

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Indulge That Craving with Chocolate Chocolate Teacake

Desserts are not something we have every night in our house. Many nights, if you want something it is a piece of fruit, maybe a cookie or a bowl of ice cream. Then there are those days where one of us gets a craving and really wants to having something sweet, or decadent or chocolate. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen and there are some times where you just don’t have a candy bar or anything like that around the house. If you have the right ingredients around though, you can whip up a very easy chocolate cake that is rich and succulent like you would not believe. I came across this recipe on Serious Eats a few days ago and the cake, called a chocolate chocolate teacake, sounded too good to pass up and looked like it could be made pretty easily. The recipe does call for pastry flour, but if you do not have any on hand (and I didn’t) I found a substitute online that says you can make a cup of pastry flour by combining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of cake flour (which I did have) and it worked out well for me.

Chocolate Chocolate Teacake

3/4 cup pastry flour

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped dark chocolate, 60 to 70% cacao

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

3 eggs

Powdered sugar, for topping (optional)

Position a rack to the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan.

Sift together the pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Set the bowl aside.

Combine the cooled coffee, buttermilk and vanilla extract in a measuring cup and set it aside. Melt 3/4 cup of the chopped dark chocolate gently over a double boiler or in a small bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water. Remove the pan from the heat, but leave the chocolate over the double boiler to keep it warm while you mix the cake. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until it is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl well. pause the mixing and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the ingredients are incorporated. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the coffee mixture. Fold in both the melted chocolate and the remaining chopped chocolate pieces.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake the cake for about 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean. Do not overbake the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely.

Place a flat plate on top of the cake and the loaf pan. Carefully invert the cake onto the plate by flipping both upside down. Lift the pan off the cake. Rest your serving plate on the bottom of the cake and turn the cake right-side up onto the serving plate. Top the cake with powdered sugar, if desired and serve.

This is a very rich, very chocolately cake. Between the cocoa powder, the dark chocolate that is melted and the chopped chocolate pieces there is a lot of chocolate and the cake itself is very dark. I think the coffee adds a really nice flavor and moistness to the cake itself as well. The flavor of the cake is fantastic and it is just the right size for you to keep around for a few days so you can have a piece at night after dinner. This would also be something that you could easily bring to someone else’s home. I’ll certainly be making this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 6, 2014 in Cakes, Cooking, Dessert

 

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Jennifer Probst

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