Welcome! Below are a few photos of some new small plate ideas I’ve been working on including: chili crusted tuna tataki, bobwhite quail w blue corn arepas, vanilla spiked foie w barrel aged burbon and 24 hr sous-vide short rib w syrah redux. Ultimately, the goal here will be to post easy recipes of dishes like these along with plating notes, a step by step photographic guide and wine pairing suggestions. I would love to hear any requests for specific dishes from our readers and of course, #wine pairing suggestions are always welcome. Hope you enjoy!
A spectacular winter dish, this simple wild mushroom bisque is rich yet elegant.
Slow roasting intensifies the flavor of mushrooms, giving this soup a rich, earthy flavor. Madeira is a sweet wine made in Portugal. Sherry makes an excellent substitute.
Ingredients: (serves 6-8)
- 1 pound fresh portabellos- stemmed, dark gills removed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms stemmed, caps cut into 1/2 to 3/4-inch pieces
- 6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 5 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira or Sherry wine
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole organic milk
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup organic whipping cream
- 1/4 sourdough croutons, crushed
- garnish option: chopped cooked bacon
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the mushrooms between prepared baking sheets. Drizzle the mushrooms with the olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the mushrooms are tender and still moist, about 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly. Reserve any liquid from the roasted mushrooms
2. In a food processor or blender, combine half of the mushrooms with 2 cups of the broth and process until smooth.
3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the sherry wine and simmer until almost all the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
4. Add the remaining 3 1/4 cups of broth, organic milk, and fresh thyme. Stir in the remaining cooked mushroom pieces and the mushroom purée. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and ladle into serving bowls or demi-tasse coffee cups. Top with a little dollop of the whipped cream, sourdough croutons and some porcini powder (or any dried mushroom ground in a spice mill or coffee grinder) and the bacon.
• Almost all mushroom varieties are very absorbent and will soak up any moisture that’s available. Moisture causes mushrooms to decay rapidly, so the single most important aspect when cleaning them is not to soak them in water.
• Before you clean mushrooms, trim off the ends of the stems and any clumps of dirt that may be clinging. A soft-bristled brush or damp cloth can usually clean most of the dirt off of mushrooms. If the mushrooms are a little damp, use a clean cloth to dry them.
• Don’t discard the stems of fresh mushrooms like shiitake and Portobello. Use them to flavor stocks, soups, and stews. Wrap them in a square of cheesecloth and add them to a simmering liquid. The stems will release their flavor in about 20 to 30 minutes, then discard the cheesecloth bundle.
Confit (pronounced con-fee) originated as a French method of preserving meat. Nowadays, it’s mostly used as a way to make delicious, fall-off the bone duck. In our version of duck confit, duck leg quarters are cooked slowly in rendered duck fat, fresh herbs, orange peel and spices resulting in an incredible flavor. This method also works well with chicken, pork and goose. Great with a salads, sandwiches, charcuterie and more. Lots of options!
The flavorful fat from the duck confit may also be used in many other ways, as a frying medium for sautéed vegetables, potatoes, savory toasts, scrambled eggs or omelets, and as an addition to short crust paste for tarts and quiche.
Some of the more classic recipes call for you to fry or grill the duck legs in a bit of the leftover fat until they are well-browned and crisp, or to roast potatoes and garlic as an accompaniment. The potatoes roasted in duck fat to accompany the crisped-up duck confit is called pommes de terre à la sarladaise. Duck confit is also a traditional ingredient in many versions of cassoulet.
1 dozen Duck Leg Quarters (frenched)
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
6 T Whole Peppercorns
5 Bay Leaves
5 Juniper Berries
3 Tbsp Coriander seed
3 Cloves Garlic
1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
1 bunch fresh Rosemary
stems from 2 bunches fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh Thyme
Peels from two large fresh oranges-pith removed
Rendered Duck Fat to cover
Combine herbs, spices, salt, orange peels & bay leaves. Rinse duck legs, dry, place in large roasting pan or oven proof casserole pot, & cover with rendered duck fat, gently stir to mix ingredients. Cover pan & place in 225 degree oven for 7 – 8 hours or until duck is tender and falling off the bone (test by using tongs to lift a duck leg by the bone and gently shaking). Leave duck in the fat & allow to cool overnight. Remove from fat, heat and caramelize in 350 degree oven. Enjoy!