Steak and mushroom pie

This British pub fare doesn’t have to take two days to make. This recipe is full of short cuts, but packs in major savory flavor. The crust is heartier than most pastry (thanks to the egg and the sour cream) so it won’t melt when you put it over the hot filling to bake. The fish sauce and dried porcini ups the umami – and gets rid of the need to brown for your Millard reaction. If you live alone, make it on a weekend and enjoy leftovers all week. If you live with people, make it and enjoy the compliments.

Filling
2.5 lbs quality beef chuck, trimmed into 1-2 inch cubes (grass fed if possible, around 2 lbs total after trimming)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp fish or Worcestershire sauce
2 slices bacon, cut to lardons
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh thyme, 2 tsp
1 lb of mushrooms, cut
2 dried mushrooms, powdered (optional)
1/4 cup flour
1 cup brown or pale ale
1.5 cups beef broth (go easy on salt if you’re using bullion)
1 teaspoon cornstarch + water (slurry)
1-2 tablespoons Parsley or chives, minced

Crust
1 cup flour
tsp salt
5 tbsp cubed, cold lard, butter or a mix of the two
1/4 cup sour cream, chilled
1 egg, beaten (separated in halves)
1 large pinch of caraway seeds

Six servings

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

You can make the filling and crust on different days, then bake it another time… or knock it out all at once. Your call. But I’m going to break it down as if you were doing it all in one go.

Cube beef (around 1 inch), toss with salt, pepper and mix of water and baking soda. Reserve.

Using a food processor, finely chop garlic (5-7 pulses). Add roughly quartered onion and thyme, pulse until garlic is minced, onion is diced and herbs are well mixed (usually about 8-12 pulses). Reserve in a bowl. *Time saver* – instead of mincing garlic, then chopping onions, then finely chopping herbs, I use my food processor to get ‘er done quick saving myself about 10 minutes or so of chopping. You can always use a knife instead.

Wipe out food processor until dry, then add flour and salt, pulse about 10 times. Add cold butter/lard. Pulse until about dough begins to form pea sized pieces. Add half the sour cream and egg mixture, pulse about 3-5 more times. Then add remaining mixture and pulse another 3 times or so. On a floured surface, fold the dough a few times and create a disk. Cover with cling wrap and reserve in the fridge.

Add bacon to a hot dutch oven. Wipe or wash mushrooms clean of dirt and quarter or slice them. Add mushrooms to semi cooked bacon and a little beef broth to scrape up any brown bits. Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add onion, garlic and herbs cook for about 5 more minutes. Add 1/4 cup flour, mix and cook for another few minutes.  Add broth and beer. Mix well, then add beef, mix and bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.

Cover and bake filling in oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, roll pastry into a 9″ pie crust, then return to fridge.

Remove Dutch oven and add slurry if the filling needs thickening. Return filling to oven for another 15-30 minutes until finished.

Up the oven to 400 degrees

Add filling to pie pan and add fresh parsley/chives on top, then cover filling with pastry.
Egg wash the pastry. Using a biscuit cutter or a knife make a hole in the middle for ventilation. Dust crust with caraway seed. Push the sides down all around. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes> Allow pie to cool 20-30 minutes before serving.

Serve with fresh salad.

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BoyEatsWorld Jambalaya

img_0434Creates about 8 servings 

Tip 1: Don’t do it on a weeknight.
Tip 2: Half the recipe if you are just cooking for yourself.
Tip 3: Only speak in a Cajun accent while you cook this classic NOLA fav.

The Substance
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups washed basmati rice
1 lb andouille, chorizo or kielbasa sausage
1 lb shrimp, deveined

Spices
4-6 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh)
1 teaspoon of turmeric or pinch of saffron (both optional)

Holy Trinity Base
1 onion, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
1 poblano or green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4-5 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Finishing Touches
1 lemon, juiced
3 scallions, sliced
1 handful parsley, chopped

Seasoning
1.5 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper

—-

Prep the sausage and shrimp. Give sausage an hour or so in freezer to harden (if it’s loose). slice 1 cm thin. De-vain shrimp. Reserve shrimp.

Brown sausage in a dutch oven or med-large pot. Remove browned sausage and reserve for later.

Prep Holy Trinity. I like to use my food processor to first mince the garlic and jalapeño, then remove. Add onion and celery together, pulse until evenly diced. I use a knife to chop peppers into small cubes for better presentation, but you can pulse them in the processor if you like.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to pan, and add the onion, celery, bell peppers, garlic and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper. Sweat vegetables: lower heat to low, partially covered, stir every few minutes. 10 minutes total.

Add spices and flavorings: Add tomato paste and spices, herbs and cook for another 5 minutes or so on low to medium low heat stirring.

Add chicken stock, rice and reserved sausage, bring to boil, reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes on low heat.

While the rice cooks:
De-vain/peel shrimp to your liking (I prefer to have fully de-vained shrimp, with the outer shell still on. I buy them this way)
Juice one lemon
Chop the parsley and thinly slice the scallions

Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat then add shrimp, lemon and parsley, mix loosely, and cover for another 10 minutes. Allow the Jambalaya to steam and settle, just enough for the shrimp to cook through.

Top with scallions and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crispy Chicken Sandwiches

Few things get my friends and family more excited than crispy, spicy chicken sandwiches. Actually, they ask for them by name! One time I fried 26 chicken breasts to fulfill a birthday request. I don’t recommend frying 26 chicken breasts, but I do recommend trying this recipe.

Crispy chicken sandwich

Every once in a while you just want something fried. Skip the fast food and fry it up at home with BoyEatsWorld crispy chicken sandwiches!

The buttermilk brine acts to tenderize, season and flavor the chicken from the inside out. The slaw goes directly on the sandwich. It adds necessary crunch and brightness. If you can’t handle spice, only put a few drops of hot sauce in the buttermilk brine.

For 8 chicken sandwiches

Slice boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half. Using some cling wrap, a cutting board and a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound breast halves into flat, even cutlets. About 1/2 an inch thick. Set aside.

Buttermilk Brine

1 cup of buttermilk
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp dried garlic granules
1.5 tbsp hot sauce (I like Tabasco)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and refrigerate no less than 4 hours and up to over night. Remove chicken from fridge about an hour before frying.

Create both dry and wet batter bowls:

Dry
1.5 cups flour
1.5 tbsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp cayenne (optional)

Wet
1.5 cups buttermilk
2 tsp of salt

Heat oil in a cast iron pan, about 1/2″ to 2/3″  inches at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a deep fry thermometer and moderate the heat to always be around 350 degrees.
Controlling oil temperature is important. If it gets too hot it will scorch the breading, if it isn’t hot enough, the chicken will turn out greasy.
Dredge chicken, first in dry mixture.
Shake off any flour and dredge in wet mix, then once more in the dry.
Fry, about 3-5 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack and salt the chicken.

Slaw

1/2 a head of green cabbage
1 red onion
2 jalapeños
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp celery salt
1/3 cup sour cream

Either chop thinly or use a food processor to slice all produce.
Toss in a bowl with seasonings and sour cream.

Sandwich assembly
Toast some quality sesame seed buns
add a smear of mayonnaise
stack a piece of chicken and cover with a hearty scoop of slaw.

Enjoy… and make sure you have napkins handy!

Savory Breakfast Pudding

Savory breakfast pudding

Simple and impressive: Savory breakfast pudding

Breakfast pudding is a weekend staple. It’s quick, easy and very adaptable. I got inspiration for this English style dish from the master: Martha Stewart. While her recipe is very similar, I find adding an extra egg and a little more salt really helps with the pudding’s consistency and flavor.

1 ½ cup flour
1 ½ cup whole milk or half and half
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 tspn salt
4 large eggs
About 1 pound of sausage (I prefer fresh, circular sausage )
4-6 scallions
8-12 grape tomatoes or small ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoons canola oil or butter

Preheat oven to 425-450
Heat a seasoned 10” cast iron pan to medium high
Add the canola or butter to pan
Brown sausage in the fat, about 4 minutes a side. remove and reserve
Brown scallions in fat, about 5 minutes
Off heat
add sausage back to pan
Blend flour, milk, melted butter, eggs and salt with beaters
Pour mixture into pan over the other ingredients
Add tomatoes around in mixture

Add pan to oven, cook for about 25-30 minutes, until the pudding cooks through and crips up on the edges.

Allow about 5 minutes to cool and set before serving.

Variations: Tomatoes out of season? Mix it up! Crisp up leftover potatoes, some Swiss chard, and goat cheese for a delicious Fall/Winter savory pudding.

“Supermarket” inspired Rigatoni Bolognese

Tasty, cheap with major milage: Pasta Bolognese

The final product: Rigatoni Bolognese – after lots of love and attention. Read my recipe story so you save yourself some effort!

 

Super market meat may be cheap but get ready to work. Hard. Here is what you need to make a Bolognese sauce your nona would be proud of (even though you skipped the fancy meat counter):

2 lbs ground meat  (I prefer a mix of pork, veal, and beef, but you can go any way with it)
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tspn dry oregano (or 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh if you have it)
1 tbsp tomato paste
16 0z canned San Maranzano tomatos, pureed
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Vodka (any dry or distilled you have on hand)
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 tbsp Olive oil
2-4 tbsp Lard or butter

and
Your favorite pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta liquid if it’s dry pasta!

I was at a Key Food store in Brooklyn, picking up pantry staples for my new place. You know, all those little things you need to (actually) cook food: Flour, honey, rice, vinegar, and so on. But I needed something to cook that night. With very limited kitchen functionality due to the move. I wanted something simple, with good flavor that would feed us for a few nights. Bolognese.

Sadly, my new neighborhood Key Food market did not boast the best meat section. I went in thinking spicy pork ragu, but the sight of grayish, hardly marbled pig discouraged me. The most suitable pre-packed meat option was a trio of veal, beef, and pork. There was no fat ratio on the label. This was discouraging because this boy usually jumps for 80/20 exclusively. But If I wanted avoid another delivery from Shanghai Gardens… this was my only option.

Cheap Sunday supper

After adding milk, vodka, love, and more love

After lugging nearly $250 worth of groceries and pantry staples home, it was time to think. How do I make delicious Bolognese from this super sad super market meat? Unfortunately, due to the move, my options were quite limited. So I threw some veg in a food processor and starting thinking about the meat. I did what I always do, season, brown, break it up, but I could SEE how dry it was. Normally, I add milk at the end of cooking my Bolognese (it’s just what people do). But I figured this needed the richness now so boom. Milk added, cooked into the meat then I removed it all into a dish to focus on my veg.

How was I going to make this dish taste rich and decedent with every step? I decided on bacon and butter. I cooked up the veg with bacon, butter, and seasoned it all with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Then I cooked in some tomato paste and followed that with pureed San Marzano tomatoes.  I cooked the fragrant tomato and veg mixture for a few minutes then re introduced our trio of meats. I added a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, another little hit of pepper flakes, set the stove to a simmer and said a prayer.

2 hours later, the place smelled great. Sadly the Bolognese did not taste great. The seasoning was okay, but the meat was dry and the flavors weren’t melding. What was I going to do? VODKA! Drink it, yes, but also put a whole bunch of it in my sauce! I added about a 1/2 cup to cup of vodka to the Bolognese. I figured this would help break down fats and meat more, help the flavors mix and add depth to the sauce. Turns out, I was right! After another 30 or so minutes,  I could tell the vodka was doing it’s magic. The sauce was beginning to to taste meaty. My final touch was another cup or so of whole milk. Once that cooked for another 30 minutes or so, a final touch of grated Parmesan Reggiano and I had made it to the end. Supermarket Bolognese.

I strongly recommend starting with quality, high fat ground meats and sausage when you make Bolognese at home, but let’s face it, we don’t all have the money or resources to start there. So if you live near a Key Foods (or any chain supermarket) and have some time on Sunday, make Bolognese. But be prepared!!! I used Vodka but any booze would do. And make sure you have good fatty flavor enhancers like milk, cream, butter or lard around to substitute for the super lean meat to fat ratio.