Monday, January 13, 2014

Duck Prosciutto

Home-cured duck prosciutto 

My brother bought me a very exciting cookbook for Christmas:

This book is all about preserved meats--pate, sausages, confit, salami, etc--types of foods you'd never consider making at home, mostly because the idea of aging meat in your house sounds icky or potentially dangerous to a reasonable person.
I, however, have a cavalier attitude towards germs--I've enjoyed ceviche purchased on the street in El Salvador and live to tell that harrowing tale--and the thought of creating these kind of delicious, salty, fatty delicacies at home was wildly thrilling. I read the whole book cover to cover, like a novel. And I had to try my hand at Charcuterie as soon as possible. I've made confit, pate, and rillettes previously, always to spectacular results--so this time I wanted something new. Duck prosciutto was one of the simplest recipes in the book--and DUCK PROSCIUTTO? Duck in the style of cured, dried pork? I had to try it.
The recipe is simple:

HOW TO MAKE DUCK PROSCIUTTO: Pack one duck breast in kosher salt, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.  Remove from salt, rinse it, dry it, wrap in cheesecloth and hang for a week or so.  A general rule is dry-cured products are done when they lose 30% of their weight.

I bought a package of four duck breasts. I decided to make one breast (2 lobes) plain, no seasonings, and to make one with a rub of garlic and bay leaves. 
Fresh duck breasts. 

Duck breasts about to cure in kosher salt for 24 hours. 

Removing the duck from the salt a day later. 
I hung these to age in our basement--cheesecloth was hard to find (they didn't have it at Alberton's) so I cut up some of Adam's old shirts and used those. 
Coming soon to an app plate in Denver!
This turned out delish--if you like salty, meaty, gamey things--which I very much do. The layer of fat is meltingly soft, the meat is chewy and deeply ducky. I sliced some as thin as possible and ate it with some cheese and pickled sweet onions. Just perfect. 
And now I have four big lobes of duck prosciutto, waiting for the perfect occasion. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Oven "Fried" Chicken and Collard Greens

A crunchy, juicy oven-fried chicken thigh. 
I was surprised at how fantastically this recipe turned out--I've made fried chicken before (for a chicken-and-waffles party) but never baked "fried" chicken. I invented the recipe, basically just doing everything the same as I would for fired chicken but subbing baking for frying.
It was GREAT. The outside was crunchy and salty, the inside juicy and perfect. Plus, the recipe is really easy and far less messy than frying chicken on the stove.
To go with, I made collard greens--a delicious, super easy side that braises for the hour when the chicken's baking.

Oven "Fried" Chicken

6 chicken thighs (or a whole cut-up chicken). Make sure it's on the bone, with skin.
1 cup lowfat cultured buttermilk
5 cloves of garlic
juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
2 teaspoons of cajun seasoning (or just salt and pepper if you don't have it)
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
a little bit of olive oil for greasing the pan

What to do
Combine the buttermilk, garlic, lemon juice, paprika and cajun seasoning (or salt and pepper) in the blender. Blitz it up to combine.
Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and cover them with the buttermilk mixture. Allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or up to overnight.
Marinating chicken
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking pan or cookie sheet.
Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl. Dredge each chicken thigh in the breadcrumbs, covering completely.
Place skin-side up on the greased baking sheet. I like to tuck the skin underneath, forming a little roll.
Bake at 375 for about an hour--until skin looks golden brown and feels crisp when you poke it.
I like my fried chicken drizzled with hot sauce and honey.

Collard Greens

2 bags of cut, cleaned collard greens (available by the bags of salad in all grocery stores)
I buy pre-cut bags like this 
4 strips of bacon
1 red onion, diced 
1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar 
1/8 cup packed brown sugar

What to do 
Dice the bacon and add it to the bottom of a large pot with a lid. Fry the bacon until crispy. Add the diced onion and cook for a couple minutes in the bacon fat.
Add the greens and stir, coating the greens in the bacon fat. Cover the pot--the greens will reduce considerably.
Add about a quarter cup of water, a dash of salt, the vinegar and the sugar. Mix everything together.
Cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Cook gently for an hour.
Before serving, taste for salt and acid--add more salt / vinegar / sugar as needed.

Chicken and collard greens, with some leftover spicy corn relish.