Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Both Mrs Flannestad and I feel like we’ve been fighting off bugs lately, just tired a lot of the time.

Might be allergies, or maybe just restless pets waking us up during the night when the neighborhood raccoons are out.

But a little homemade chicken soup never hurts.

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1 Whole Chicken, Quartered
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Onion, roughly chopped
2 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp whole Black Pepper corns
3 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick

Cover above ingredients with water, bring to a low simmer, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from water and rest until cool enough to handle. Strip chicken from bones, trying not to drop any on the floor, reserve, and return bones, skin, and cartilage to water. Cook as long as time allows. Strain Solids from stock and reserve.

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1 large onion, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, skinned and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder*
1 Pound Sweet potatoes
Reserved Chicken Broth
Reserved Chicken Meat
1 Can Garbanzo Beans
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder*
Olive Oil

Cook onion, ginger and garlic in olive oil until tender with one tablespoon curry powder. Add broth and sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Puree soup with a hand blender, in a blender, or food processor. Return to pot, add chicken meat, remaining tablespoon of Curry Powder, and Garbanzo beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Check seasonings, and serve with a spoonful of Cucumber Raita** in each bowl.

*Curry Powder

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1 tsp Whole Fennel Seed
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek
1 tsp Whole Brown Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 Small Stick Cinnamon, Broken
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Chili de Arbol
1 tsp Ground Tumeric

Toast whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in Coffee Mill or Spice Grinder. Add Tumeric.

**Cucumber and Basil Raita

1 small Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
Tops of 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP Cilantro Leaves, thinly sliced
1 Cup Yoghurt
Orange juice
Salt, to taste

Toss Cucumber with salt and let stand in a colander for a bit. Rinse Cucumber and pat dry with towels. Chop Cucumber and combine with other ingredients. Thin slightly with orange juice, add salt to taste and chill.

Chicken Posole

Rancho Gordo Posole.

Rancho Gordo Posole.

The other day I happened to be at the Ferry Building during the day. Since there is a new Rancho Gordo store at the Ferry Building, I couldn’t resist taking a look at the products on display. Technically, I was shopping for Beans to use for Red Beans and Rice on Fat Tuesday, but I had a hard time resisting purchasing Posole.

I used to make Posole for Pasqual’s Southwestern Deli in Madison, Wisconsin back in the day, but I haven’t made it at home ever. Just seemed a little troublesome. Canned Posole kernels suck and the whole soaking and cooking thing for dried fresh hominy is time consuming.

But, we had some folks coming over for dinner, and I figured no time like the present.

I looked at a few recipes for Posole on the Internets, but didn’t see any that were exactly what I wanted to make: Chicken with fresh Poblanos and pureed dried chiles. So, I just sort of went with what I felt like making. FYI, the heat in this is mostly coming from the Poblanos, but they are highly variable. The ones I got this time were pretty zippy, but sometimes they are no spicier than green peppers. If you feel like you need some extra heat, add cayenne peppers either as powder or to the dried chile sauce.

It turned out well, so mostly writing it down here, so I don’t forget what I did, and in case someone who was over wants to make it themselves.

If anyone else is looking for something similar, and feels ambitious, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Posole, Finished

Posole, Finished

Chicken Posole

1 Chicken, Cut into quarters
1/2 Carrot, coarsely chopped
1/2 Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Stalk Celery, coarsely chopped
4 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
4 Sprig Thyme

1 Pound Posole

12 Guajillo Chiles, stemmed and seeded
8 Dried Cascabel Chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 Carrot
1 Onion
1 Stalk Celery
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Olive or other cooking oil

Cooked Chicken Meat, Chopped
8 Small Zucchini, Chopped and sauteed
8 Poblano Peppers, roasted, skinned, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Oregano, Chopped
Salt

Cilantro, chopped
Radish, thinly sliced
Avocado, slices
Lemon or lime wedges

METHOD:

The Day Before: Soak dried posole in plenty of water. Place cut up chicken, onions, celery, carrots, and spices in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a low simmer and continue to cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken meat from bones, cool, and refrigerate. Return bones and skin to pot. Continue to cook as long as time allows. Strain solids out of stock, cool, and refrigerate.

Drain posole and add to large pot. Cover with chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until it begins to be tender, about an hour and a half. When Posole is tender, salt generously.

While you are waiting for Posole to cook: Cover dried chiles with water, bring to a simmer, and cook until rehydrated. Puree cooked chiles in a blender or food processor and run through a sieve to catch seeds or large pieces of chile skin. Reserve chile puree. Sautee zucchini in oil and reserve. Sweat garlic, onions, celery, and carrots in oil until tender. Deglaze with dry white wine or vermouth and add to Posole pot. Add cooked and chopped chicken to Posole pot. Add Zucchini to Posole pot. Add Roasted Poblanos to Posole pot. Add Chile Puree to Posole pot. Simmer over low heat. Serve with Radish, Cilantro, Avocado, and Lemon wedges for garnish. It will be even better the next day. Makes about 5 Quarts.

Roasting Peppers.

Roasting Peppers.

Dried Chiles.

Dried Chiles.

Prep.

Prep.

Posole, Pot

Posole, Pot

Pork, Kraut, and Cider

“What do you want for New Year’s Eve Dinner? Lobster? Beef Tenderloin?”

“Not really.”

“How about Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Prunes, herbs, and chestnuts?”

This is kind of a joke, as I’ve made two dinners recently have involved prune stuffing of various small animals.

But, hm, Pork sounds like a good choice, maybe something like Charcuterie Garni, but not so complicated?

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1/2 tsp juniper berries, 1/2 tsp caraway seed, 1/2 tsp aniseed ground and mixed with curing mixture of sugar and salt.

Smoked Salmon and Meyer Lemon Fromage Blanc

Smoked Salmon with Fromage Blanc mixed with meyer lemon zest, juice, and thyme.

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La Tur Cheese. So good!

Kraut Cider and Pork Chops

Brown the Pork Chops. Give the apples a slight head start in the oven with hard cider. When chops are browned, place in pan, cover with warmed kraut and cook until done.

Dinner

Dinner! Serve with some delicious hard cider and maybe roast winter squash.

Cider

Chinese Style Curried Chicken with Squash

There’s a specific kind of Chinese American comfort food which you will often find on a menu in San Francisco.

The Chinese version of “Curry” doesn’t really have much to do with the Indian version of same.

Basically, it is meat or tofu served in a curry powder flavored gravy thickened with corn starch.

Mrs Flannestad wanted stew and I wasn’t really feeling like American/European Stew.

Well, Curry is stew, isn’t it? I’ll adapt my Chicken Gumbo recipe and instead of flavoring the ‘gravy’ with ‘Creole Seasoning’, I’ll flavor it with Curry.

Cooking the Chicken

Cover a quartered chicken with water and add to the pot some roughly chopped garlic, onion, and ginger. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat. Cook until the chicken is done. Cool enough to handle, and remove chicken from bones. Chop and reserve meat. Return bones, skin, and cartilage to liquid and continue cooking as time allows, at least an hour.

Aromatic Vegetables

Mince Garlic, Ginger, and Jalapeno chiles. Make Curry Powder*

Ghee

In a heavy pot, make a roux, about 1/4 cup vegetable oil (or Ghee) and 1/4 cup flour. Cook flour until it no longer smells like raw flour. Drain

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Chop a winter squash and set aside. Chop a Turnip and set aside. Chop some potatoes and set aside. Chop a large onion. Add Minced Garlic, Ginger and Chile to roux. Cook briefly, and add chopped onion. Cook until onion is clear and wilted. Strain solids from stock and pour into roux, stirring vigorously to avoid clumping. When it reaches a simmer, stir in curry powder and check salt level. Add chopped squash, turnips, and potatoes to liquid and cook until vegetables are just about tender. Stir in cooked chicken.

Stew

Check seasonings again and serve over rice and garnish with cilantro and yoghurt. It’s better the second day.

*Curry Powder

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1 tsp Whole Fennel Seed
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek
1 tsp Whole Brown Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 Small Stick Cinnamon, Broken
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Chili de Arbol
1 tsp Ground Tumeric

Toast whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in Coffee Mill or Spice Grinder. Add Tumeric.

Lucky Peach No 5

Lucky Peach #5

Yay! The Chinatown Issue of Lucky Peach!

What’s inside Issue Five:

• Heady talk from Anthony Bourdain
• Harold McGee plays with white balls in China
• If Fuchsia Dunlop weren’t in this issue, it’d be an utter failure
• A beginner’s field guide to dim sum by Carolyn Phillips.
• Martin Yan on the Martin Yan-ness of it all
• New fiction by Nelly Reifler
• And the sort of celebrity chef detritus you expect from us, including recipes by Danny Bowien, Roy Choi, and more

Thanksgiving, 2012

Some notes from this year’s Thanksgiving festivities.

Willie Bird Turkey

Regarding the Turkey, for the last couple years I bought heritage breed turkeys. While these were tasty, I found the cost/benefit for them didn’t really work out. They are very, very expensive for a Turkey that pretty much tastes like any other Turkey. So this year, I went with an Organic, free range, plain old, Willie Bird from Santa Rosa.

For all of my adult life, I have approached the turkey by separating the leg/thigh half from the breast and cooking them separately, a trick I learned from Julia Child’s The Way To Cook. For some, I guess there is a little disappointment in not presenting a whole bird to the table, but for me the benefit of being able to cook the dark and white meat separately has always outweighed that. It also significantly reduces the cooking time of both halves.

However, this year I took this a step further. Mrs. Flannestad found a recipe in Parade Magazine, of all places, from Mr Mario Batali:

Mario Batali’s Stuffed Turkey

Tacchino Ripieno — for non-Italians, that means turkey stuffed with chestnuts and prunes — is chef Mario Batali’s favorite way to cook turkey because, he says, it never comes out dry. It features a crisp-well-seasoned skin, can be baked in an hour, and may be cut straight through, just like a regular roast.

Turkey Breast stuffed with Prunes, Chestnuts, and pancetta! How could we NOT make this recipe?

I more or less followed the recipe, though I did buy a whole turkey and bone it out myself. What can I say, I like dark meat.

Boned Out Turkey Pieces

I found I really only needed about half the amount of stuffing which the recipe made. I also didn’t quite pay attention, that Mr Batali instructs you to separate the two breast lobes and stuff them separately. Stuffing the whole breast added a little time to the roasting. One big advantage to this recipe, is you can use most of the bones and giblets to make turkey stock before thanksgiving day and have it ready to go for gravy.

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For the Leg/Thighs, I took out the thigh bones and cured them overnight in a mix of sugar, salt, and ground porcini mushrooms. Then the next day, I stuffed the thigh cavities with some of the prune stuffing and tied them up.

For dressing, I bought a rustic sourdough loaf a couple days before and cut it into cubes. I sauteed maitake and cremini mushrooms and also some mirepoix. Then mixed them with the cubed bread, moistened with stock and cooked the leg/thighs on top of the dressing.

Sweet Potatoe Pecan Pie

This year’s pie came from Alton Brown: Sweet Potato Pie with Pecans The only liberty I took with Alton’s recipe was roasting the sweet potatoes and to use Goat Yoghurt, instead of cow.

Strange, how dogs seem more attracted to raw Turkey than cooked…

Monty, Paying Attention

Turkey Divan

One of the traditional day after thanksgiving meals in the Flannery house is always Turkey Divan.

Here is my version…

Turkey Divan

Turkey Divan
1 Bunch Broccoli, cut into spears, stem skinned and sliced
Roast Turkey, Sliced
Mornay Sauce*

METHOD: Preheat oven to 350F. Blanch or steam Broccoli and stem slices until nearly cooked. Line roasting pan with spears and stem pieces. Place roast turkey in the middle and cover with mornay sauce. Heat in oven until turkey is heated through. Serve with leftover dressing or mashed potatoes.

I know you can buy Mornay Sauce in packets, but it’s really one of those things you should know how to make, forms the basis of so many American classic casseroles, like Mac & Cheese and Turkey Tetrazzini.

*Mornay Sauce
1 Cup Milk (warmed)
1 Cup Turkey Stock (warmed)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2+ Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Shredded Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
Salt

METHOD: Melt butter in small sauce pan. Whisk in flour to form stiff roux and cook over low heat until the flour is toasted smelling. Remove from heat. Whisk in Turkey Stock and Milk. Return to heat and warm quickly to a near simmer. When thick enough to coat the back of spoon, reduce heat. Stir in cheese and spices, adjusting salt level. Remove from heat and keep warm.

Girl Music Geeks

As anyone who has worked in food service will tell you, oft times you get pressed into service making Food and/or drinks for your significant other and their friends.

Mrs Flannestad has a group of friends who also are really into music, and they get together from time to time to listen to music or watch concert videos.

This time they came over to our house, so I made dinner.

Beets!

One of my favorite winter vegetables, Beets, are great, and tomatero farms had some that were so great looking at the Alemany Farmers’ Market Saturday that I couldn’t resist. Though, it is good to float them past the attendees to make sure no one has had bad experiences in the past. Like cilantro, people often have strong opinions about beets. My favorite way to deal with them is just to wash them, wrap them whole in foil, and throw them in the oven until they are cooked through. When they are done, it is very easy to rinse them under running water and just slide the outside skin off the beets.

Mirepoix

I wanted to make Israeli Cous Cous, but our local grocery doesn’t carry it, so I opted for a type of italian pasta called riso instead. It is about the size and shape of rice and can be braised, just like arborio rice.

Spatchcocked!

I can’t remember what magazine I got this chicken recipe from. It’s kind of a ‘wet rub’, not dissimilar to some Mexican preparations for grilling. You roughly chop an onion and a couple cloves of garlic. Throw them in a blender with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, salt, a couple tablespoons of vinegar, fresh Marjoram, and a generous helping of good paprika. I like to use a mix of regular and smoked paprika. Then rub this over your whole, or Spatchcocked, chicken and let it stand. Grill or roast in a hot oven. Super tasty and super easy.

Greens!

For the riso dish, you basically do it like risotto. Put some stock on a low heat. Toast the riso in a pan with olive oil. Add some mirepoix and saute. Add stock to just cover and continue to cook until it is al dente. I added some saffron to the stock and cooked some thinly sliced collard greens to add later.

Roasted Beets

When the beets are tender, and you have skinned them, you can do whatever you like with them. I tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper. I made a simple sauce of yoghurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, and scallions to serve with them.

Roasted Chicken

The marinade does get a little dark, but it is super tasty, the onions become sweet and really tasty.

Dinner

Deglaze the roasting pan, add some flour and cook. Stir in some chicken stock and you’ve got pan gravy. Cut your chicken into serving pieces.

Dessert

I’ve been into fuyu persimmons lately, often serving them with salads. This time I opted for dessert. Before dinner, I tossed them with sugar and balsamic vinegar and left them to macerate. To serve, I put a shortbread cooking into a bowl, a spoonful of Cowgirl fromage blanc with a drizzle of San Francisco Beekeepers’ Mission Honey, and then added the persimmons with the juice that had accumulated. Super easy and super tasty.

Then we all popped some beers, sat down, and watched the new Jonathan Demme Neil Young concert film ‘Journeys’.

A great night of music geekery, food, and beer.