Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Cooking: A long and involved recipe involving things and stuff and elbow grease.

So while I was snoozing this morning I was thinking about how I was hungry and needed something to eat and about what there was in the fridge. I didn't want biscuits and eggs or ham and eggs or sausage and eggs or anything particularly breakfast-y.

I remembered that we had leftover paste I made earlier in the week after cooking a chicken. While “paste” sounds unappealing, I can assure you that it is anything but. It is more along the lines of curry paste but more Northwestern African than South/Southeastern Asian. Let me give you a run down and then I’ll get back to what I made for break fast.
I won’t go into the process of slow roasting poultry (again) so we are going to start with end of the process. After roasting your poultry, deglaze your pan with about two cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want). You’re going to be doing this on the stovetop just to give you the heads up. Don’t worry about trying to do this with your head in the oven. Personally, I do this at a low medium temperature, stirring constantly, and adding all the stock at once. Don’t worry about all the gunk and chunks on the bottom of the pan, keep stirring – gently – and all that goodness will be incorporated into the reduction. Hey look, we’re making a reduction!
I love making reductions because I reach a zen point of stirring. Once the stuff in the pan starts looking more appealing remove the pan from the heat and go do something else for about 15-30 minutes. Now get back to the kitchen. There should be a kind of congealed slick on the top of the liquid in the pan. That’s fat from the roasted poultry, skim this layer off. Here’s a trick, use a piece of bread. Then you can eat it or give it to the dog. Fat gone, put the pan back on the stovetop and heat it up again (medium-low heat). Keep stirring, the texture should be getting smoother. Again, the sauce should have the look of something you would want to consume.
Here comes the fun part, spicing it up. Now I used some spices most folks aren’t going to have in their kitchen but they are all easily purchased online and are cheaper than buying crap in a bottle in your supermarket. I purchased all of these from World Spice Merchants for less than twenty bucks including shipping and handling.
To the reduction add: (please remember that my measures are guesstimates and suggestions)
Simmer and stir until spices are blended in.  Turn off the heat.  Go do something for 15-30 minutes.  Come back skim off fat, yes again.  Taste, tinker with the flavor, whatever you want to do.  I do not recommend adding more salt, there should have been plenty of salt in the earlier processes.

Here's another fun part.  By now the reduction should be at the end stages (about 3 cups of stuff).  Get out your blender/food processor.  Got it?  Pour everything into the blender/food processor.  Hit blend.  Blend the shit out the mixture so it has a very smooth, uniform texture.  Check?  Good?  Now pour the mixture into a tupperware container and throw it in the fridge.  You can also put it several containers and put some in the fridge and some in the freezer.  Ultimately you should have about 2-4 cups of the final mixture.

Use this mixture on poultry or whatever the hell you want.

Now back to breakfast this morning.  I used a big dollop of the paste (about a half cup?) to saute some onions, adding a little stock to help reconstitute the sauce.  After lightly browing the onions, I added a cup of rice, a little more stock, and some water.  Before I clapped a lid on I added a fistful of diced dates.  Cooked until the rice was done.  Mixed in some crushed walnuts.  Ate.  Added some hot sauce.  It was good and I recommend it to a friend or neighbour.

I will make this again but next time I will add the dates in at the end with the walnuts and will add a bit of my capsicum blend to balance out the sweetness.  Sigh, fine, and maybe some salt.

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