Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pasta Fagioli

"Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars!"

Pasta e fagioli - adapted from La Cucina Italiana
  • 1 16-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 oz pancetta, cut into ½" cubes
  • 8 oz sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 lb ruote (cartwheel) pasta
  • Fine sea salt
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Red pepper flake
In a large heavy stockpot, combine pancetta and sausage and a little oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, breaking up the sausage into bits with a wooden spoon until fat is rendered and sausage is just cooked through, about 7 minutes. Add onion and more oil, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, another 5 minutes or so. Add chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
Add beans, stock and 2 cups water; bring to a gentle simmer and cook covered for 25 minutes. Increase heat to bring soup to a low boil, add pasta and cook until pasta is barely al dente (pasta will continue to cook in soup; so do not overcook). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into serving bowls, sprinkle with grated cheese and red pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
So when your day sucks ass and the weather outside is more like winter than spring, don't get mad, get cooking.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

Rotisserie Chicken

Know who doesn't like rotisserie chicken? (Tell 'em, Matty.) Jerks, that's who. But how many of you have a spit in your home? Okay, how many of you live in New York City and have one? I thought so. Well, my muses at Canal House came up with a brilliant solution that works right in the oven. Everyone has an oven, right?
Rotisserie Chicken - adapted from Canal House Cooking
  • 1 whole roaster chicken, 5-6 lbs
  • 3-6 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh tarragon
  • Carrots, halved length-wise, then quartered
  • Heirloom potatoes, quartered
  • 2 medium yellow onions, quartered
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Crusty bread
Evidently, copyright infringement laws preclude me from sharing the recipe, but see if you can put two and two together on your own from the helpful illustrations provided by yours truly. (Maybe I should copyright my own photos, but hey, I'm not bitter.)
Golden, crispy skinned.
Moist, fall-off-the-bone flesh.
Vegetables soaked in rich chicken fat and stock.
Herbally aromas permeating the entire floor of my building.
Now that's how you cook a chicken.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Slow-cooked Pork Tacos

So if we just ignored the fact that I haven't posted a recipe since December 1, 2010, do you think anyone would notice? Yeah, me neither.
Winter is grudgingly giving way to spring, but not without a lot of fuss and some chilly nights. Why not chase to the blues away with Nature's comfort food - Mexican.
Slow-cooked Pork Tacos - From food52.com
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into ¾" chunks
  • Kosher salt
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 Serrano chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes, with their juices
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 large limes
  • Corn tortillas
  • 2 avocados
  • Pickled onions (recipe to follow)
  • Cilantro


Pickled onions
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • ¼ medium beet, peeled
  • Handful cilantro
  • Cider vinegar
Slice the onion thinly and put in a glass container safe for the microwave. Add the salt, sugar, beet and cilantro. Cover everything with 1 part water to 2 parts vinegar. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for another minute. Cool, then cover and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.
Put the cumin and coriander in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast the spices for a minute or two, shaking the pan occasionally, until they're fragrant. (Be careful not to scorch them.) Grind the spices using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in both chili powders and the oregano and set aside.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the pork well with salt and add about half of the meat to the pot. Brown well on all sides, about 4 minutes total, and transfer to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Add more oil and brown the second batch of meat, adding it to the bowl once it's done.
Lower the heat to medium and add another tablespoon of oil to the pot. Add the onion, poblano, Serrano and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, until fragrant. Stir in the spice mixture and cook for another minute.
Return the meat to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated, and add the tomatoes and chicken stock. (The meat should just be covered in liquid - if not, add a little water.) Squeeze in the juice of half a lime and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Turn up the heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer gently for an hour. Uncover the pot and continue to simmer until the pork is very tender and the sauce is reduced and thick, 20 30 to 60 minutes longer. Taste for seasoning, and squeeze another half a lime into the sauce.
To serve, heat tortillas on a dry griddle or skillet. Peel and roughly chop the avocados and sprinkle with a little lime juice to keep them from turning brown. Cut another lime into thin wedges. Fill each taco with some of the pork, cilantro, avocado, and pickled onion. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing. Don't forget the cerveza Mexicana!
Talk about getting back into the swing of things with a little verve and panache. The roomie was duly impressed. So was the cook for that matter! It's good to be back.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food