Sometimes I gotta go back to my training and French things up…. Here’s what I am up to in the kitchen this week;
Aligote on Toast
1 pound Blue Sky German Butterball potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk, warmed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces Langres cheese
2 ounces Monte Enebro cheese
White truffle oil, for serving
Toasted baguette slices, for serving
Place potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover; generously salt water and bring to a boil, adjusting the heat so that the water is bubbling, but not too rapidly. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain and mash or pass potatoes through a ricer into saucepan. Place over low heat and add milk; stir to combine. Add butter and stir until melted. Beat with a wooden spoon until stringy.
Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with truffle oil. Serve with toasts.
Coq Au Vin
[Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms and Bacon]
Blah Blah Blah… I know the recipe is long and seems a bit complicated. News flash, nothing great comes easy and this is great! After you have done it once (maybe twice) it will be much easier and it will be the impress the guests dish in your home! The onions and mushrooms will become a staple in many of your dishes. It’s all about technique!
3- to 4-ounce chunk of bacon, cut the bacon into lardons (rectangles 1/4-inch across and 1 inch long)
heavy, 10-inch, fireproof casserole
2 tablespoons butter
3 to 4 pound cut-up Blue Sky Farms chicken (or we have cuts already done for you)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups young, full-bodied red wine such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti
1 to 2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock (or canned beef bouillon)
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed Blue Sky garlic
1/4 teaspoon Blue Sky thyme
1 bay leaf
12 to 24 brown-braised onions (recipe follows)
1/2 pound sautéed mushrooms (recipe follows)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
Sprigs of fresh Blue Sky parsley
- Sauté the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.
- Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the hot fat in the casserole.
- Season the chicken. Return the bacon to the casserole with the chicken. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.
- Uncover, and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.
- Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock or bouillon to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to the simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a side dish.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms (recipe follows).
- Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for a minute or two, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.
- Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste (buerre manie). Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
- Arrange the chicken in the casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. If this dish is not to be served immediately, film the top of the sauce with stock or dot with small pieces of butter. Set aside uncovered. It can now wait indefinitely.
- Shortly before serving, bring to the simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is hot enough.
- Sever from the casserole, or arrange on a hot platter. Decorate with spring for parsley.
Oignons Glacés a Brun [Brown-braised Onions]
For 18 to 24 peeled Blue Sky white onions about 1 inch in diameter:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
9- to 10-inch enameled skillet
1/2 cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine or water
Salt and pepper to taste
A medium herb bouquet: 3 Blue Sky parsley springs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon Blue Sky thyme tied in cheesecloth
When the butter and oil are bubbling the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.
Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet. Serve them as they are.
Champignons Sautés Au Buerre [Sautéed Mushrooms]
10-inch enameled skillet
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
1 to 2 tablespoons minced shallots or Blue Sky Purple Bunching onions
Salt and pepper
Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating that it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. During their sauté the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from heat.
Toss the shallots or green onions with the mushrooms. Sauté over moderate heat for 2 minutes.
Sautéed mushrooms may be cooked in advance, set aside, then reheated when needed. Season to taste just before serving.
Makes 4 generous servings
For the beef and bouillon
1 pound cube steak or boneless beef chuck, cut into small pieces
1 small Blue Sky onion, sliced
1 small Blue Sky carrot, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1-inch-long pieces
1 small Blue Sky celery stalk, trimmed and cut into 1-inch-long pieces
2 Blue Sky garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 Blue Sky parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
6 cups water
1/2 beef bouillon cube (optional)
For the filling
1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound sausage, sweet or spicy, removed from casings if necessary
1 teaspoon tomato paste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For the topping
2 pounds Blue Sky Kennebec potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon butter, cut into bits
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere, Comte, or Emmental
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan (optional)
To make the beef: Put all the ingredients except the bouillon cube in a Dutch oven or soup pot and bring to a boil, skimming off the foam and solids that bubble to the surface. Lower the heat and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours. The broth will have a mild flavor, and that’s fine for this dish, but if you want to pump it up, you can stir in the 1/2 bouillon cube — taste the broth at the midway point and decide.
Drain the meat, reserving the broth. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and discard the vegetables, or if they’ve still got some flavor to spare, hold on to them for the filling. Traditionally hachis Parmentier is vegetable-less, but that shouldn’t stop you from salvaging and using the vegetables. Strain the broth. (The beef and bouillon can be made up to one day ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
Using a chef’s knife, chop the beef into tiny pieces. You could do this in a food processor, but the texture of your hachis Parmentier will be more interesting if you chop it by hand, an easy and quick job.
To make the filling: Butter a 2-quart oven-going casserole — a Pyrex deep-dish pie plate is just the right size for this.
Put a large skillet over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. When it’s hot, add the sausage and cook, breaking up the clumps of meat, until the sausage is just pink. Add the chopped beef and tomato paste and stir to mix everything well. Stir in 1 cup of the bouillon and bring to a boil. You want to have just enough bouillon in the pan to moisten the filling and to bubble up gently wherever there’s a little room; if you think you need more (a smidgen more is better than too little), add it now. Season with salt and pepper, especially pepper. If you’ve kept any of the vegetables from the bouillon, cut them into small cubes and stir them into the filling before you put the filling in the casserole. Scrape the filling into the casserole and cover it lightly; set aside while you prepare the potatoes. (You can make the dish to this point up to a few hours ahead; cover the casserole with foil and refrigerate.)
To make the topping: Have ready a potato ricer or food mill (first choices), a masher, or a fork.
Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted cold water and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife, about 20 minutes; drain them well.
Meanwhile, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or a silicone baking mat (you’ll use it as a drip catcher).
Warm the milk and cream.
Run the potatoes through the ricer or food mill into a bowl, or mash them well. Using a wooden spoon or a sturdy spatula, stir in the milk and cream, then blend in the 3 tablespoons butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the potatoes over the filling, spreading them evenly and making sure they reach to the edges of the casserole. Sprinkle the grated Gruyere, Comte or Emmental over the top of the pie, dust with the Parmesan (if using), and scatter over the bits of butter. Place the dish on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling steadily and the potatoes have developed a golden brown crust (the best part). Serve.
Bring the hachis Parmentier to the table and spoon out portions there. The dish needs nothing more than a green salad to make it a full and very satisfying meal.
It’s easy to make this dish in stages: the beef and bouillon can be made up to a day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator, and the filling can be prepared a few hours ahead and kept covered in the fridge. You can even assemble the entire pie ahead and keep it chilled for a few hours before baking it (directly from the refrigerator if your casserole can stand the temperature change) — of course, you’ll have to bake it a little longer. If you’ve got leftovers, you can reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven.
Quick Hachis Parmentier. You can make a very good hachis Parmentier using ground beef and store-bought beef broth. Use 1 pound ground beef instead of the steak, and when you add it to the sausage in the skillet, think about adding some finely chopped fresh parsley and maybe a little minced fresh thyme. You can also saute 1 or 2 minced garlic cloves, split and germ removed, in the olive oil before the sausage goes into the skillet. (The herbs and garlic help mimic the aromatics in the bouillon.) Moisten the filling with the broth, and you’re good to go.
(Pepper and Tomato Chicken Stew)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 drumsticks + 2 thighs, skin on… Blue Sky of coarse
- 1 Blue Sky onion, chopped
- 2 Blue Sky garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 red bell pepper, peeled and cubed
- 1 Blue Sky green bell pepper, peeled and cubed
- 2 lb Blue Sky cubed tomatoes
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Blue Sky thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a deep saucepan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Season the chicken all over with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Brown chicken for about 8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Drain excess fat if needed.
Add onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Deglaze with wine and scrub the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Add bell pepper, tomato, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix and return chicken to the pan.
Reduce heat, cover with a lid and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Serve with rice pilaf on the side!
Soup au Pistou
Serves 8 – 12.
1 pound white beans, soaked for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, then drained
1/4 cup olive oil
4 medium Blue Sky onions, chopped
2 medium Blue Sky leeks, trimmed and chopped
4 stalks Blue Sky celery, chopped
12 cups water
1 28-ounce can, whole tomatoes, well drained, chopped
4 medium Blue Sky German Butterball potatoes, chopped
1 bouillon cube, optional
1/4 pound small pasta
3 small Blue Sky zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup (a big handful) Blue Sky chard stems, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon crushed Blue Sky garlic
3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
4 1/2 cups Blue Sky basil leaves, torn into small pieces
1 Blue Sky tomato, well chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup grated aged Gruyere cheese
In your largest soup pot heat the oil, then add the onions, leeks, and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes, then stir in the soaked beans and 12 cups water. Bring to a boil, dial back to a simmer, then cook for about 15 minutes. Reserve one of the tomatoes for the pistou, then stir the remaining tomatoes into the pot, then the potatoes. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the beans seem like they are nearly cooked. Add a bouillon cube, then the pasta, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and the chard stems and cook for another 3 minutes. Salt to taste. At this point the pasta should be cooked through, as well as all the beans and vegetables. For the soup to taste good, you really need to get the right amount of salt in it – just be mindful of this, and adjust if needed.
While the soup is cooking, you can make the pistou. I use a mortar and pestle, but you can use a food processor if you like. Pound the garlic with the salt into a paste. Add the basil a handful at a time and pound and grind until nearly smooth. Add the tomatoes, then gradually stir in the olive oil a bit at a time. Stir in the cheese, then chill until ready to use.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with a generous dollop of pistou.
Sautéing dried herbes de Provence in olive oil for this vegetable dish awakens their fragrance. You can substitute fresh Blue Sky tomatoes for canned, when in season.
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dried herbes de Provence
6 cloves Blue Sky garlic, smashed and peeled
2 large Blue Sky yellow onions, quartered
1 bay leaf
2 medium Blue Sky zucchini (about 1 1⁄4 lbs.), cut into 2″ pieces
1 medium Blue Sky eggplant (about 14 oz.), cut into 2″ pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and quartered
10 whole peeled tomatoes from the can, drained
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. chopped fresh Blue Sky basil leaves
1 tbsp. chopped fresh Blue Sky parsley
Heat oven to 400˚. Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add herbes de Provence, garlic, onions, and bay leaf; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to high; stir in the zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Uncover pot, transfer to the oven, and bake, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
Stir in basil and parsley, transfer ratatouille to a serving bowl, and serve warm or at room temperature.
All-purpose flour, for dusting
10 ounces slab bacon, cut into 3/4-by-1/4-by-1/4-inch strips
3 large Blue Sky eggs
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out a 13-inch circle from dough. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; trim dough flush with top edge of pan. Prick bottom all over with a fork. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Line tart shell with parchment paper, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until dough starts to feel firm on the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove parchment and weights; continue baking until crust is pale golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Leave oven on.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
- Whisk eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour mixture into tart shell, and scatter the bacon strips on top. Bake until puffed and pale golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Please email me and let me know what you tried and how it turned out. Pictures would be great! I will post on the blog and Instagram
Next up cold noodle dishes for summer… I have been craving them in this heat!