Recipe of the Week: Choucroute Garnie

Recipe of the Week: Choucroute Garnie

RecipesBrian Knapp

This simple Alsatian dish, abridged from my book “Cooking Meat”, takes some time to make but it is rustic comfort food at its best, and truly celebrates many of the cuts the pig offers us. On the next cold night, invite some friends over and throw this popular French bistro dish in the middle of the table with a baguette, some good mustard, a jar of gherkins, and plenty of Riesling. You’ll be a star.

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients

2 Tbsp butter (divided)
½ pound sliced bacon, cut in 1-inch dice
3 large onions, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large smoked ham hock , 1 ¼ lbs, cut in quarters (ask your butcher to cut it on the band saw)
1 small head Savoy cabbage , shredded
1 herb sachet (1 Tbsp juniper berries, 10 thyme sprigs, 6 bay leaves – all tied in a cheesecloth or a tea-ball)
2 cups sauerkraut, drained
2 cups dry white wine
4 smoked pork chops
4 large good-quality smoked pork sausages
4 weisswurst (found at German/Eastern European delis)
4 pork wieners (hot dog–style)
1 pound mini potatoes, washed
1 Tbsp sliced chives
Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter with the bacon. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until translucent.
  2. Add the pork hock, turn down the heat to medium-low, and cover the pot. Sweat for 15 minutes, then add the cabbage and herb bundle. Stirring frequently, cook for 30 minutes, or until the cabbage is translucent. Add the sauerkraut and wine, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours.
  3. Turn the heat off the cabbage and keep warm. Using a pair of tongs, remove the ham hock and cool slightly. When cool to the touch, discard the skin and the bone, and shred the meat. Add the shredded hock meat back to the pot with the smoked pork chops, smoked sausages, weisswurst, and wieners. Cover and steam for 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. While the meats are steaming, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the mini potatoes and boil until fork-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and toss with the remaining 1 Tbsp of butter and the chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chops, smoked sausages, weisswurst, and weiners to a cutting board. Slice them into attractive, bite-sized pieces. Taste the cabbage, and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  6. To serve, pile the cooked cabbage and hock-meat stew onto a large platter and arrange the smoked meats on top. Serve with the mini potatoes.

 

 

 

Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger

Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger

RecipesBrian Knapp

At this time of year, when winter’s grip is loosening but still hanging on, I like to make food that will warm my bones and give me the energy to push through to spring. Chicken soup fits the bill, and while I generally make a chicken soup or broth with bones, using chicken legs can increase the flavour and body. Legs have skin and fat, which carry extra flavour, and has a good amount of meat that can be shredded from the bone to add to the soup. I recommend using whole legs in your next soup!

Chicken and Rice Soup with Ginger

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4                           whole chicken legs
1                           large onion, peeled, and cut into quarters
6 cloves                garlic, peeled
2 knobs                ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (each “knob” should be                                     thumb-sized)
2                           carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1                           celery stalk, washed and roughly chopped
1 tbsp                   salt
1 tsp                     peppercorns
2                           bay leaves
2 cups                  cooked rice (jasmine works well, but you can use any type)

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients (except for the rice) and a large pot and fill with enough cold water to cover the ingredients by an inch.
  2. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 1.5 hours, skimming the surface of the soup often to remove impurities.
  3. Cool the soup down for 2 hours, or until the chicken is cool enough to handle. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and reserve the liquid in a clean pot.
  4. Using your clean fingers, separate the skin and bone from the chicken leg meat. Add the meat to the strained broth. Discard the remaining solids from the strainer.
  5. Add the cooked rice to the broth and chicken meat and bring back to a simmer. Stir and serve immediately.
5-Spice Roasted Duck Breast

5-Spice Roasted Duck Breast

RecipesBrian Knapp

Millions of people will be celebrating Lunar New Year tomorrow, and with that celebration comes much feasting. There are the traditional dishes, such as Longevity Noodles, Steamed Whole Fish, and Sweet Rice Balls, but perhaps my personal favourite is Peking Duck. I love ordering this at restaurants because of the multi-course aspect: the crisp skin is commonly eaten first while still hot, followed by the carved meat that one wraps in thin crepes, and sometimes also served with more of the meat chopped and used in a fried rice. The rich flavour of the duck meat and the shattering crispiness of the skin are heavenly. However, true Peking duck is a very challenging dish to make at home. The preparation involves blowing air into the whole duck to separate the skin from the meat, then blanching the whole duck before hanging them to air dry to tighten the skin. The hanging duck gets brushed with honey and spices before left to dry for 24 hours.  The final step is roasting in a preferably wood burning oven until the skin is lacquered and the meat to fully cooked.

As much as I like to try to make everything myself, this is one of those dishes that is just so much better at a restaurant that knows what they’re doing. However, there’s nothing holding us back from replicating the flavour of Peking duck at home with some spices and a duck breast. Is it authentic? No, it is not. Is it delicious? Absolutely.

 Five-Spice Roasted Duck Breast with Chive Crêpes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4                           duck breasts
to taste                 salt
1 tbsp                   Chinese Five Spice Powder (approximate amount)
2 tbsp                   honey, warmed to liquify

Chive Crêpes:
2                           large eggs
1¼ cups               milk
1 cup                    all-purpose flour
1 tbsp                   vegetable oil, plus more for cooking
Pinch                    salt
1 tbsp                   minced fresh chives

For Serving:
1 cup                    cucumber, sliced into thick matchsticks
1 cup                    green onion, thinly sliced
to taste                 hoisin sauce

 Method:

  1. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern at ¼-inch intervals. Score only the skin so the fat can escape while rendering, not the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper, then sprinkle lightly all over with the five-spice powder. Set the duck, skin side down, in a large frying pan, place over medium-low heat, and allow the duck to warm and cook slowly for about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the crêpes. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk vigorously until a smooth batter forms. In a small non-stick frying pan, heat a little oil over medium heat, using a paper towel to spread the oil around the base of the pan. When hot, add a stream of the batter until it just coats the bottom of the pan. Allow the batter to set (about a minute), before flipping to finish cooking for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer the crêpe to a plate and cover with a clean towel. Repeat the process until all the batter is used.
  3. At the 10-minute point, turn the duck breasts over and brush each skin with the honey. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the duck breasts to a plate and allow them to rest.
  4. To serve, thinly slice the duck breast and arrange on a platter. Serve with the warm crepes, the vegetables, and the hoisin for dipping/spreading. Enjoy!
All-Beef Chili Recipe

All-Beef Chili Recipe

RecipesBrian Knapp

Nothing cures the winter blues like a bowl full of chili! Invite your friends and family over to your very own chili cookout! Warm your bellies and your kitchen with this slow cooked pot of simmered spicy beef. Heck, you could even make a bread bowl out of one of Blackbird’s Kensington White Sourdoughs and fill it up with this recipe – you’re the boss!

All Beef Chili
adapted from Cooking Meat

Serves 6-8

2 pounds ground beef
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (divided)
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 celery stalk, finely diced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp Spanish paprika
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
⅓ cup tomato paste
⅓ cup water
Salt and pepper
1 (16 ounces) can plum tomatoes|
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce
1 heaping cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Beef Stock
1 heaping cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice

 

Method

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, brown the beef in 2 Tbsp of the oil. Once brown, drain off the excess oil, transfer the beef to a plate, and set aside.
  2. Return the pot to the heat and add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the celery and bell peppers and continue cooking and stirring for another few minutes.
  3. Turn down the heat to low, stir in the chili powder, paprika, coriander, and cumin, and cook for 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Finally, add the tomato paste and water, stir well and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pass the tomatoes and chipotle peppers through a food mill or food ricer. (If you don’t have one, use a food processor—but the seeds may add a bitter taste to your chili.) Add this puréed tomato mixture, the cooked beef, kidney beans, and stock to the pot and stir well to combine. Bring the chili to a simmer over low heat, cover, and simmer for 1¾ hours. Stir occasionally, to prevent the meat from sticking to the bottom.
  5. Add the black beans and cilantro, then stir in the sugar and lime juice. Season to taste: the chili should be tangy and spicy with a hint of sweetness. Cook until the beef is tender, about 15 minutes.
  6. To serve, pour the chili into a large serving bowl and pass the bowls.

Note: Chili, like people, improves with age. Make this recipe a day or two before serving and refrigerate to allow the flavor to develop.

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Wings

Oven Baked Crispy Chicken Wings

RecipesPeter Sanagan

One of the challenges with making wings at home is how to get them crispy. Air-fryers have certainly made that step easier, but what if you don’t have that appliance? I learned a trick years ago to make super crispy chicken wings in a regular oven, and I’m here to tell you this is a game changer.

The following recipe is adapted from the one in “Cooking Meat”, my cookbook all about meat. If you like this recipe, you should really get yourself a copy of the book, available at all fine booksellers. Crispy wings aren’t the only secrets I divulge in there!

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings

Serves 6-8

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 pounds chicken wings, split between drumettes and flats

2 Tbsp baking powder (divided)

3 tsp salt (divided)

1½ tsp pepper (divided)

½ cup butter, cold, diced

½ cup Frank’s RedHot sauce

 Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Set a wire baking rack over a baking tray and rub it with a bit of vegetable oil.
  2. Divide the wings between two medium bowls. Divide the baking powder, salt, and pepper evenly between each bowl. Toss the wings well to coat them thoroughly.
  3. Arrange the wings on the wire rack, leaving room between them so the hot air can circulate freely. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn up the oven to 425°F and cook the wings for another 50 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the hot sauce, stirring until emulsified. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. To serve, place the wings in a large bowl, pour the sauce over top, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Baked City Ham with Ginger Beurre Blanc

Baked City Ham with Ginger Beurre Blanc

RecipesPeter Sanagan

There are few roasts more delicious – or simple - than a smoked ham. A good smoked ham is ready for the oven—all you need are some cloves and a roasting pan. The ginger beurre blanc in this recipe is definitely an indulgence, and completely unnecessary, which makes it that much more enjoyable.  

Baked Ham with Ginger Beurre Blanc

Serves 10 to 12

1 (about 10 pounds) smoked ham, skin-on and bone-in
20 whole cloves
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cans (each 355 mL) ginger ale (divided)
1 cup water
1 cup white wine
3 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves (dried is fine)
Salt and pepper
½ cup butter, cold, diced

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of the ham in a crosshatch pattern at 2-inch intervals. Press a clove into every second X of the crosshatch. Rub the ham with the oil.
  3. Set the ham on the baking rack and pour 1 can of ginger ale and the water into the roasting pan. Cover the ham with aluminum foil and bake until hot all the way through, about 2 hours. A meat thermometer inserted in the ham should read 150°F.
  4. Remove the foil and bake until the skin is dark golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the rack.
  5. While the ham is roasting, make the beurre blanc. Pour the remaining can of ginger ale into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the wine, ginger, thyme, and bay leaves, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup, about 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to very low. Gradually add the butter, whisking until the sauce is emulsified. Strain the beurre blanc through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.
  6. To serve, slice the ham and arrange it on a platter. Set the beurre blanc alongside.
Braised Lamb Shank with Moroccan Flavours

Braised Lamb Shank with Moroccan Flavours

RecipesPeter Sanagan

Braised Lamb Shank is an excellent dish to add to your repertoire. It is a cut that needs to be slowly cooked for hours to break down the tough meat, turning it into a fork-tender supple shank that marries well with many different flavours.

In this recipe, adapted from my book Cooking Meat, the lamb shank is rubbed in a mix of warm spices before being browned and slowly bathed in stock with preserved lemons and black olives. It will brighten the corners of an otherwise dreary winter’s night.

Braised Lamb Shank with Moroccan Flavours

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 tsp harissa paste
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 tsp salt (divided)
4 lamb shanks, about 12 oz each
3 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½  tsp ground ginger
½  tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp smoked or regular paprika
4 shallots, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rings
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 small carrots, quartered lengthwise, and cut in 2-inch lengths
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in ½-inch wedges
2 celery stalks, cut in 2-inch lengths
½  bulb fennel, cut in ½-inch wedges
20 black olives, pitted or whole
12 dried apricots
2 preserved lemon, peel only
6 bay leaves (dried are fine)
5-6 cups Chicken Stock

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the harissa, oil, and 1½ tsp of the salt to form a paste. Using your hands, rub the paste all over the shanks, cover, and refrigerate for 6 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1½ tsp salt, the pepper, cumin, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and paprika.
  3. Line the base of a Dutch oven with the shallots. Sprinkle the garlic over the top, and then place the lamb shanks on top of the shallots, crossing one on top of the other. Sprinkle half of the spice mix over the meat and shallots.
  4. Arrange the vegetables over the lamb. Sprinkle the vegetables with the rest of the spice mix.
  5. Scatter the olives, apricots, preserved lemon skin, and bay leaves around the vegetables. Pour 5 cups of the stock into the base of the Dutch oven (don’t pour it over the vegetables and meat).
  6. Cover the Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, bring to a simmer over medium heat, then transfer to the oven until the meat is tender, about 2 hours. After 2 hours, check the lamb. If the liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency, add another cup of stock and cook until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 1 hour.
  7. Remove the pot from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes. Bring the dish to the table and remove the lid in front of your guests for a “wow” effect.
Chicken Paillard with Mediterranean Flavours

Chicken Paillard with Mediterranean Flavours

RecipesPeter Sanagan

Paillard refers to a lean and tender protein that has been thinly sliced and gently pounded. It is usually veal or, as in this recipe, chicken breast, but could be done to any tender protein, including some types of fish.

I like making paillard because it allows the chicken breast to cook very quickly and evenly and eliminates much of the risk of drying out. This recipe, which pairs the paillard with a fresh salsa made with olives and capers, will have you dreaming of summer.

Chicken Paillard with Mediterranean Flavours

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

5 tbsp                   olive oil, divided
2 cloves               garlic, sliced thinly
12 pc                    sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp                   capers (drained if in brine; rinsed if packed in salt)
8-10                      black olives (such as kalamata), pitted and halved
2 tbsp                   red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp                   parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp                   chives, minced
1 tsp                     fennel pollen (optional)
2 tbsp                   red wine vinegar
4 pieces               boneless and skinless chicken breast, each approximately 10 oz (275 gr)
to taste                salt and pepper

Method

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and sauté until translucent. Remove from the heat and put the garlic and oil into a small mixing bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes, caper, olives, red onion, parsley, chives, fennel pollen, red wine vinegar, and 2 more tbsp of olive oil. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the paillards.
  2. Lay a chicken breast on a cutting board with the fatter end facing away from you. Using a sharp knife, slice the breast through the halfway mark horizontally, stopping about ½ inch away from the other side of the beast. Open the breast up like a book. Repeat with the other three breasts.
  3. On a separate cutting board or counter-top, spread out approximately a 12” x 12” layer of plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper. Place an opened-up breast on the plastic, then lay a same-sized second sheet on top of the chicken. Using a mallet (or a heavy bottomed sauté pan), gently pound the breast until it is flattened and a uniform thickness (this is called a paillard). Take the paillard out of the layered plastic and set on a baking tray for seasoning. Repeat with the remaining breasts.
  4. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high. Season the paillards with salt and freshly ground pepper and rub 2 tbsp of olive oil over them all. When the pan is hot, lay the paillards in, two at a time. Sear for about two to three minutes per side, or until the chicken is golden on the outside and just cooked through. Transfer the cooked paillards to a warm plate while you cook the second batch.
  5. Once the chicken is all cooked, place each paillard in the centre of a plate.  Divide the salsa between all four paillards, ensuring each gets a tbsp of the vinaigrette. Serve immediately with a salad or pan-roasted potatoes.

 

Prime Rib Recipe

Prime Rib Recipe

RecipesPeter Sanagan

If you are going to make a beef roast this year, I highly recommend a prime rib roast. This “king of beef roasts” has a ton of flavour due to the marbling and ageing but is also a very tender roast. As far as beef roasts go, you really can’t go wrong. It is definitely a special occasion meal, but if there ever was a time to splurge and celebrate, it’s the holidays!

This recipe is abridged from Cooking Meat, my book of all thing meat. If you like the recipe, please check out the book! We sell it in stores and online, and it is a great reference book for anyone who loves meat and would like to know more about it.

Prime Rib Roast

Serves 8 to 10

Seasoning Salt

1 bunch rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch thyme, leaves picked and chopped
1 bunch sage, leaves picked and chopped
10 bay leaves, leaves sliced
⅓ cup salt (divided)
8 garlic cloves
¼ cup pepper

Prime Rib

1 (7–8 pounds) prime rib, 3 bones, frenched
¼ cup olive oil

Red Wine Sauce

3 Tbsp butter, cold (divided)
3 Tbsp beef trim (page xx) or ground beef
3 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup red wine + ¼ cup for finishing the sauce (divided)
6 thyme sprigs
3 bay leaves
4 cups Beef Stock
Salt and pepper

 

Method

  1. To make the seasoning salt, blitz the rosemary, thyme, sage, and bay leaves in a food processor with 2 Tbsp of the salt. Add the garlic and pulse to chop. Add the remaining salt and the pepper and pulse until well combined. The salt should have a greenish hue.
  2. Remove the roast from the fridge and rub it all over with oil, then the seasoning salt. Allow the roast to come to room temperature before cooking, about 1 hour for this size of roast. This step allows the meat to cook more evenly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 500°F and adjust the racks so the roast can fit in the oven. Have a roasting pan with an elevated roasting rack and a roll of strong butcher’s twine ready.
  4. Place the rib eye back onto the rib bones to recreate what the roast originally looked like. Using strong butcher’s twine, tie the rib bones to the meat, with knots in between each bone. Place the beef on the roasting rack.
  5. Place the roasting pan on the lower rack of the oven, close the oven door, and immediately turn down the heat to 300°F. Cook for about 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare, or 2 to 2½ hours for a 7-8 pound roast. To test for doneness, insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. The roast is medium-rare to medium cooked when it reaches 125-130°F. Remove the roast from the pan and transfer it to a platter. Cover with aluminum foil, then a kitchen towel, and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes while you make the sauce.
  6. To make the sauce, first skim off any excess fat left in the roasting pan. Set the roasting pan over medium heat and deglaze with the 1 cup of wine, scraping up any cooked bits from the bottom of the roasting pan and reduce the wine by half. Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the beef trim and brown it all over. Add the shallots and caramelize, stirring constantly, then add the garlic and stir. Add 1 Tbsp of the butter and the flour and stir until the flour is nut-brown. Add the thyme and bay leaves. Pour in the reduced red wine from the roasting pan and stock, and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, then simmer the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a separate saucepan and whisk in the remaining 1 Tbsp of cold butter and ¼ cup of wine. Pour into a gravy boat.
  8. To carve the roast, cut and discard the twine. Cut the rib bones into individual pieces and arrange them on a serving platter. Using a long slicing knife, slice the beef and arrange it beside the bones. Serve the gravy alongside.