Tag Archives: roast

Simple Herb Roasted Turkey

Despite the fact that turkey gets a bad name in the way of ease of cooking, it’s really not all that bad.  I still don’t understand why the cooking of the Thanksgiving turkey is the litmus test for a new chef’s mettle.  Screw up the turkey and you’re in deep doo-doo.  Craft a stunning bird with crisp skin and moist white meat, you can cook anything.

Well, in actuality, whether you can cook or not, if you follow a couple of simple steps, you can create an expertly seasoned and prepped turkey that will fool people into thinking that you are a vet in the kitchen.  Take the praise.  You deserve it for being wise enough to know you can fake it ’til you make it. Continue reading Simple Herb Roasted Turkey

Kalua Pork

When I last went to Hawaii, I made it a personal goal to eat my weight in kalua pork. Yes, that sounds disgusting, but I don’t even care. The stuff is so ridiculously good that I find myself longing for it in an almost atavistic fashion when I am not around it. I’ve known it to be a treat partially due to the complicated preparation – a whole pig is wrapped in ti leaves and banana leaves and then submerged into an underground pit called an imu and covered with coals and/or lava rocks. Sure, I could do that in my back yard. In Arizona.

Back to the drawing board, and as I’m looking through my We The Women of Hawaii cookbook, lo and behold, a recipe for kalua pork. In the oven, no less. I can do this! Apparently, after a little more research, I come to find out that the legendary Sam Choy makes his kalua pork in the same way, using mesquite liquid smoke to replace the flavors imparted by the burning banana leaves of the imu. But how the heck am I going to mimic banana leaves in my home oven? Continue reading Kalua Pork

Ginger Scallion Chicken

This one is hardly a recipe in that ginger scallion sauce does all the heavy lifting.  As much as I feel that recipes within recipes can be daunting (I’m talking to you, Thomas Keller), the actual ginger scallion sauce is so simple that you’ll barely feel like you are tacking on extra steps.

My first dance with the glory of ginger scallion chicken was at my favorite haunt for Chinese food in the DC Metro area, XO Taste.  Prepared the traditional way with a whole poached chicken accompanied by small dishes of the spicy, complex ginger sauce, I was in love.  Not with the chicken so much as the sauce, which I wanted to drink by the canteen full if possible.  When I set out to make this recipe for myself, I tried to amp up the chicken a bit to include all of my favorite elements.  Rather than poach and serve with loose, rubbery skin, I decided to sear the skin on bone-in chicken breasts and then finish them off in the oven.  The result is crisp, crackly skin protecting moist, white meat chicken, all of which is adorned with ginger scallion saucy glory.  Victory is mine, and can be yours as well with a few easy steps. Continue reading Ginger Scallion Chicken

Easy Baked Pork Buns

My younger sister, back before she nixed meat from her life, was a die hard consumer of pork buns.  Though she’s still a champion dim sum muncher, the title of pork bun king has been passed to my husband.  Apparently, he’s been a connoisseur his whole life, and in that my sister can’t partake, the torch has officially been passed to him.  And because he is truly the best ever, it was only a matter of time until I tried to make these bad boys for him.

I did my homework and found a lovely (GORGEOUS) recipe for homemade pork bun dough from master Chinese recipe writer, Andrea Nguyen.  And then I got a little sleepy and put off making it from scratch.  After roasting the pork myself and making the savory, sweet filling, I thought I owed myself a break.  What of some pre-made dinner roll dough?  I could still lacqueur it with a delicious glaze before chomping away?

Well, kiddos, although the buns are not a permanent substitute for the real thing (and homemade dough for that matter), they are still addictively good.  Plus, their smaller size makes for rapid-fire eating.  Consider adding these to your next cocktail party menu, or make a selection of dumplings and include these babies for a little home dim sum party of your own.  I’m sure my husband will find his way over to your house to indulge.

This recipe makes enough roast pork for 16 buns, with pork left over.  Consider using the rest of the pork sliced up for a delicious udon noodle soup or diced in fried rice.  Or eat plain with some sesame cucumbers.

Recipe for

Easy Baked Pork Buns

1 lb. of boneless pork ribs
1 packet of chinese barbecue seasoning mix
1 tbs. of sesame oil

1/8 tsp. of white pepper
1 tbs. of brown sugar
1 tbs. of dark soy
1 tbs. oyster sauce
1 tsp. sherry
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tbs. of vegetable oil
4 scallions, white part only
1 tbs. water
1 tbs. cornstarch
salt to taste

2 tubes of Pillsbury french bread dough
2 eggs

2 tbs. of water
2 tbs. of honey

Begin by making the roast pork.  Mix the barbecue mix with the water and sesame oil.  Toss the pork in the marinade and let rest overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Line a baking sheet with a wire rack and place pork on top.  Roast the pork until barely cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Chop pork finely with a knife or in the food processor.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the sesame and vegetable oil.  Add the pork, white pepper, brown sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sherry and scallions and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Mix the water and cornstarch together until smooth and pour over the pork.  Stir until thickened and then taste for salt.  Let cool.

Cut the roll of dough into 8 pieces.  Flour a board and rolling pin, and roll each piece of dough into a 3in wide circle.  Add a heaping tablespoon of the pork filling to the middle of the dough.  Pinch the dough together in the center.  Place the bun, pinched side down, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Repeat with the other buns.

Brush the buns with the beaten eggs and bake in the oven on 350° for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and while hot, brush with a mixture of honey and water.  Serve warm.

Chef Tim’s Roast Chicken with Chardonnay Sauce, Trumpet Mushroom Duxelle and Fingerling Potatoes

*in Jay-Z voice* “Tim, you did it again.  You’re a genius.”  Not too often when I’m cooking am I reminded of the fine balance between strict adherence to technique and freestyle improvisation in the kitchen.  This recipe is like a dance – you certainly want to follow the rules to coax it into perfection, but there is room for you to do your thang as well.  In essence, it’s everything I love about the kitchen.  And as I watched my husband take the first bite of the final product and nod his head knowingly that this was something of pure majesty, I loved it all the more.

In Chef Tim Ma’s interview for this site, he talks about the importance of organization in the kitchen.  As home cooks, although we don’t go all out with a true mise en place and prep kitchen work, there is something to be said for taking time to lay out all of your ingredients before you launch into the assembly of the dish.  This recipe is a great example of this fact – chopping all of your ingredients first and setting up your kitchen before turning on the stove will allow you the luxury of breezing through this one.  When you are all finished, you take a bite and marvel at the genius your tucking into without feeling as if you slaved at all.

Tim purports that this dish is an excellent use of many important kitchen techniques – I see it as a reminder of how much there is to learn in the kitchen, far beyond what we’ve learned from our families or from puttering around on our own with a bit of trial and error.  Spending the time to figure out how to properly treat ingredients is so very necessary, and though we won’t all have the honor or luxury of attending cooking school, it doesn’t mean we can’t go out of our way with a little self-directed study on proper methods and techniques.  Consider this recipe a solid lesson with Chef Tim as the instructor du jour.

Since we don’t have access to a live demonstration of this one (yet), a trickier part of the recipe is in the deboning of the chicken leg and thigh as one piece.  While you can absolutely have your butcher do this for you, it’s a lot more interesting to grab a sharp knife and try it out for yourself.  I found this old video of Paul Prudhomme doing it, and teacher that I am, I love his level of encouragement offered to newbies trying this for the first time.  Yes, you can do this, and no, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before.  Now, fancy names be damned, go get yourself some roast chicken and mushroom action.

Recipe for

Roast Chicken Leg and Thigh with Chardonnay Sauce, Trumpet Mushroom Duxelle and Fingerling Potatoes

2 trumpet mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tbs. of butter
half of a lemon, juiced
1 shallot, minced
1 oz. of slab bacon or salt pork
1/4 c. of caramelized onions

2 chicken legs and thighs, deboned
2 tbsp dry chardonnay
4 tbsp vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
parsley, chopped

1 lb. of fingerling potatoes
duck fat (or vegetable oil if you don’t have any)
salt and pepper

Melt 2 tbs. of butter in a large pan over low heat. Add bacon or salt pork and sweat for a few minutes without giving it color.  Add shallots and sweat without giving color for a few minutes.  Add mushrooms and continue to cook over low heat, adding a pinch of salt, pepper and the lemon juice.  The mushrooms will begin to release water – once the water is completely absorbed, stop cooking.  Add caramelized onions and toss to heat.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Heat a new pan that can go into the oven over high heat with a little blended oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Once pan is hot, add chicken legs skin side down and cook over high heat for a minute.  Place entire pan in oven and cook until chicken registers 165°, about 10 minutes.  Take pan out, remove chicken, drain oil.  Deglaze pan with chardonnay, scraping up the brown bits.  Reduce wine by half, add stock and reduce by half again.  Turn fire off, add 2 tbs. of butter and whisk until incorporated.  Place mushroom mix in center of plate, top with chicken, add sauce around, garnish with parsley.

Fingerling Potatoes

To cook the fingerlings, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add potatoes and blanch for 3-4 minutes.  Drain and dry well.  Add about 2 inches of oil (or equivalent amount of duck fat) to a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat until a piece of bread, when dropped into the oil, browns in 3 seconds.  Add the potatoes to the pan, being careful to stand back if the skins sputter a bit.  Allow to cook for a minute, remove and drain on paper towels and salt and pepper immediately while still hot.  If you’d like to time this all so that the potatoes are finished at the same time as the chicken, cook the potatoes as soon as the chicken goes into the oven.

Porchetta with Wild Boar Stuffing

Can I just take a second to swoon?  Fennel pollen is a dream.  I officially have a crush on the stuff and I am not even a bit ashamed. It’s floral and complex and imparts the delicious flavor of fennel in the most perfect way.  Why have I not been tossing this stuff on everything?  Fennel pollen cheerios?  Fennel pollen Haagen Daas? Yes, please.

Ok, maybe fennel pollen and ice cream isn’t the perfect marriage, but as part of the marinade for porchetta, it’s deliciousness personified.  Authentic porchetta is a celebration of pork – a tender roast is marinated in olive oil, fennel and garlic, wrapped in pork skin, trussed and rotisseried over an open flame.  The outside becomes super crispy while the inside of the roast stays moist.  In Italy, this is street food at its best – tender slices are tucked into crusty bread to form an addictive panino.  This version leverages a couple of different cuts to make the grade – a sirloin roast of pork is butterflied and stuffed with ground wild boar and pears.  The entire baby is wrapped up like a package with peppery pancetta and roasted until crispy.  I’d be lying if I said that it’s not a brilliant combo.  Nay, a genius combo.

For a little extra sustenance, I roast the porchetta over a bed of herbs and onions.  I also toss some quartered yukon golds with rosemary and olive oil into the oven and allow them to roast along side of the roast.  It’s about as good a Tuscan feast as I can get, and for those blissful tastes of roasted pork and fennel pollen, I’m cheesing ear to ear.

Recipe for

Porchetta with Wild Boar Stuffing

1 pork roast, preferably sirloin and about 5 lbs.
1 tbs. of fennel pollen
2 tsp. of telicherry pepper (black pepper)
2 tbs. of kosher salt
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed and minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 c. of olive oil

1 lb. of ground wild boar (or ground pork)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. of fennel seeds
1/8 tsp. of fennel pollen
1 tbs. of paprika
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
4 tbs. of chopped parsley
1 tbs. of olive oil
1/2 stick of butter
1 stalk of celery, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
1 pear, cored and chopped
1 tbs. of fresh sage, chopped
1 tbs. of fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/8 tsp. of white pepper
4 eggs, beaten

16 oz. of pancetta
handful of sage leaves
handful of thyme leaves
handful of rosemary leaves
1 large onion, sliced
2 c. of chicken stock
1 c. of white wine

2 lbs. of yukon gold potatoes
1/2 c. of olive oil
bunch of rosemary
kosher salt and black pepper

Begin by butterflying the roast (or have your butcher do it for you).  Mix the fennel pollen, black pepper, garlic, rosemary, red pepper, salt and olive oil into a paste.  Rub the roast with the paste and then place in a tupperware.  Refrigerate overnight.

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil.  Add the shallots, garlic, celery and pears and cook until tender.  Next add the ground wild boar, fennel pollen, fennel seeds, paprika, salt, white pepper, black pepper, cayenne, sage and thyme.  Cook until meat is no longer pink.  Add the butter to the pan and turn off the heat.  Once butter melts, stir in the fresh bread crumbs.  Let the mixture cool a bit and then stir in the eggs.  Set the stuffing aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Set up a roasting pan with a rack, lining the pan with the rosemary, thyme and sage.  Top with the onions and pour the chicken broth and wine over the herbs and onions.  Set aside.

On a cutting board, line up slices of pancetta to form a base for the roast.  Place the butterflied roast on top of the pancetta and fill the center with the stuffing.  You may have more stuffing than you can use, but this can be saved for another dish, to include stuffing turkey breasts or mushrooms.  Wrap the two sides of the roast over the stuffing to form a cylinder.  Continue to cover the roast with slices of pancetta, leaving no gaps.  Grab a length of kitchen twine and gently slide it under the roast.  Tie a tight knot, holding the length of the roast together.  Continue to tie rounds of twine around the roast perpendicular to the first tie.  Once the roast is tightly trussed, set on the rack in the roasting pan.  Pop the roast in the oven, cooking for about 90 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 150°.

After you put the roast in the oven, wash and quarter the yukon golds.  Chuck in a baking pan with the rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven with the roast, making sure to shake the pan around every 30 minutes to loosen the potatoes and crisp them on all sides.

Once the roast is finished, let it rest for 15 minutes to keep it moist and allow the juices to redistribute.  Slice the roast and serve with potatoes and the wonderfully melted onions and juices on the bottom of the roasting pan.  And last but not least, add fennel pollen to the list of beneficiaries on your will for it is deserving of that much love.

Whole Roast Chicken with Mushrooms and Herbes de Provence

A Roast You Can Boast About

I remember this stupid commercial – Perdue, I think – where this woman is freaking out about the prospect of roasting a chicken.  Jim Perdue came to the rescue (“My lucky stars!”) with a pre-seasoned chicken in a bag.  My real issue with the commercial was that it furthered the misconception that roasting a chicken is a daunting task.  Making a savory and deliciously moist chicken takes a few key steps, but the process itself is forgiving, adaptable and completely reasonable.   If you take the time to learn how to do it, roasting a whole chicken will quickly become a part of your recipe repertoire.

For me, all of the special techniques involve flavoring the meat and keeping it moist during cooking.  One of the easiest ways to inject flavor into a chicken is to brine it before roasting.  Think back to your days in Chemistry and lessons on osmosis – a porous object placed in a saltwater bath takes in the salt water and expells the unsalted water that is contained inside of it.  Same with the chicken – if you let it hang out in your fridge in some salty water, the seasoning will literally go all the way into the chicken.  Better than just salting the skin and ending up with tasteless chicken.  If you want to make the chicken without planning ahead, skip the brining and just make sure to follow the other two tricks below. Continue reading Whole Roast Chicken with Mushrooms and Herbes de Provence