Chef Amanda Ray's Yogurt and Harissa Marinated Chicken
Amanda Ray (@chefaray) and I worked together at Auberge du Pommier way back in 2005, under Chef Jason Bangerter. We had a great team back then, with many of the cooks and sous chefs we worked with going on to fantastic careers. Amanda was the type of cook you immediately had respect for. She was fast, detailed, and a very good cook. Her enviable work ethic has led her to rise through the ranks of the Oliver Bonacini company to her current position as Chef de Cuisine of Le Mount Stephan Events and Hotel. (https://www.lemountstephen.com/). I am so proud to call her a good friend. Peter Sanagan Yogurt and Harissa Marinated Chicken Amanda Ray During this time, I, like so many others, have been cooking in my kitchen more than ever before…such a rarity for most chefs. I see so many friends on social media (chefs and non) cooking, enjoying (...well not always) and finding pleasure making a meal, taking the time to slow down. Food is so many things but often we cook our feelings, going to comfort foods in times of stress or anxiety. I know I went through my repertoire of my family comfort food favs. Then I moved on to travelling to other countries to feature cuisines from places I’d either been to or ones that are on my list of places to go next. That’s the only travelling I’ll be doing for some time, I think. The dish I wanted to make was a harissa & yogurt marinated chicken. I love harissa, it’s a hot chili paste that is commonly found in North African cooking, mainly Moroccan, Algerian, and Tunisian cuisines. You can purchase it in Middle Eastern stores generally. Sanagan’s sells the locally made El Tounsi brand https://www.eltounsifoods.com/ , or you can make your own version. I also love using yogurt as a marinade, the lactic acid in fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and buttermilk, react with the proteins at the molecular level. It also creates a great texture and flavourful crust; the dairy caramelizes beautifully. I don’t have a BBQ but there is something incredible about grilling meats that have been marinated with yogurt, it’s that combination of caramelized yogurt and that smoky flavour. Next up, I just need to buy a BBQ & life will be complete! For Harissa (if making it yourself) Makes approximately 1 cup Ingredients: 2 tsp coriander seeds (or 1¼ tsp of ground coriander) 1 tsp cumin seeds (or 1¼ tsp of ground cumin) 1 tsp caraway seeds (or 1¼ tsp of ground caraway) 2 tbsp paprika 1 tsp red chili flakes 3 cloves garlic, peeled 1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded To taste sea salt 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat the top of the harissa Method:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a small bowl, combine the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and caraway seeds. Spread the spices on a sheet tray and toast in the oven for 1 to 2 minutes; you should faintly detect the scent of the spices. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool. Add the paprika and chili flakes to the spice mix.
- Using a mortar and pestle (or, alternatively, a food processor), grind the garlic cloves until they become a paste, and then add the red bell pepper. Season with salt, and then add the spices and the 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and blend well. When blended, transfer the harissa to a container and top with some additional olive oil. This will keep for 3 to 6 weeks, covered, in the refrigerator.
- In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, ginger, ground cumin, chili flakes, espelette pepper, harissa, olive oil and salt. Whisk until smooth and pour into a baking dish.
- Lay the chicken halves, skin-side up, in the yogurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours to marinate. (You can make the marinade the day before and marinate overnight).
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up. Place marinated chicken skin-side up, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Turn temperature down to 375°F.
- Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers between 155°F and 160°F, 35 - 40 minutes.
Korean Braised Beef Lettuce Wraps with Asian Pear Slaw
Salty, spicy, tangy, and over-all delicious – you’ll be delighted with these wraps! This is a spin on a recipe from Melissa Clark at Epicurious, and while I love the use of the pressure cooker, you can make this easily without one (see *note at the end of recipe). I found that the preparation lent itself beautifully to a hand-held treat. Some ingredients may be difficult to find, but if you’re able to get to an Asian grocer they will have all of these things. This is a great time to go out and support our local Asian grocers, as fear of the Coronavirus has made many people avoid them. I urge you to get out to these stores, there is so many delicious treats waiting for you! Serves 6 Ingredients 3 lbs beef blade stew 2 tsp sweet paprika 2 tsp Korean (gochugaru) chili flakes (if you can’t find this, regular chili flakes will do) 1 tbsp salt ½ tsp black pepper 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, diced 4 garlic cloves, minced or grated on a microplane 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated on a microplane 1 cup lager or pilsner beer (Asian beer like Hite (Korean) or Sapporo (Japanese) is great for this) 1.5 tbsp ketchup 1.5 tbsp soy sauce ¼ cup gochujang (fermented chili paste) 1 tbsp brown sugar 2 tsp Asian fish sauce 1 tsp sesame oil Asian Pear Slaw ½ Asian pear, sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)* 1 cup napa (Chinese) cabbage, shredded ½ cup Kim Chi, chopped finely 1 small carrot, peeled and sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)* 2 inch daikon piece, peeled and sliced finely into sticks (a mandolin works very well)* 2 tbsp green onion, sliced 1 lime, juiced 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tbsp vegetable oil to taste salt and pepper To Assemble 12 leaves iceberg lettuce, rinsed and dried 1 cup short grained rice, rinsed and cooked as per package instructions 2 tbsp ssamjang (fermented bean paste) ½ cup Korean dried chili threads (optional) Method
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the stewing beef with the paprika, chili, salt and pepper. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours (and up to 8 hours).
- Turn your pressure cooker to the sauté setting, and add the vegetable oil. Add the beef and sear until brown all over. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside to rest.
- Add the onions to the pot and sauté until slightly soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for another 3 minutes until very fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up any good brown bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Add the meat back to the pot. Add the ketchup, soy sauce, gochujang, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Stir well.
- Turn the setting to high pressure, seal the cooker, and set it for one hour. After the hour is up, let it naturally release the pressure for half an hour, then manually release the rest of the steam.
- Meanwhile, make the slaw. Add all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss, seasoning to taste. Make the rice as per the package instructions.
- To assemble the lettuce wraps, place a tablespoon or two of rice into a lettuce leaf. Smear a tsp of ssamjang on the rice, then add 2 tbsp or more of the braised beef on top. Top the beef with the slaw, and finish with a pinch of the chili threads (if using). Serve individually or on a platter.
Gemelli with Milk-Braised Pork Ragu
Gemelli, the Italian word for twins, is a spiral-shaped pasta similar to a tight fusilli. It works very well with meat ragus, as the sauce gets into the narrow folds of the pasta, reinforcing the overall flavour of the noodle. Braising meat in milk is a very old technique – the acidity of the milk helps break down the protein, and the fat gives the sauce a smooth mouthfeel. You should use very fresh milk, and not let it come to a hard boil, or else you risk curdling the milk. If the milk curdles though, have no fear. It will not have an effect on the finished sauce other than looks. Serves 4 to 6 Ingredients 1 ½ lbs ground pork 1 ½ tsp salt, plus more to taste ½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste pinch ground clove pinch ground nutmeg 3 tbsp white wine 1 ½ cup chicken stock 1 ½ cup milk ½ lb oyster mushrooms, torn into strips 1 cup frozen peas 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated, plus more to top the pasta 1 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped 2 cups gemelli pasta (or substitute with fusilli or penne rigate) Method
- In a work bowl, mix the ground pork with the 1 ½ tsp salt, the ½ tsp pepper, the clove, the nutmeg, and the white wine. In a sauce pan over a medium heat, brown the seasoned pork, stirring constantly, for ten minutes or until the meat is slightly browned.
- Add the stock and the milk, and reduce the heat to low. Bring to a low simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by just over half. The ragu should be saucy, not soupy or completely dried out. If the liquid evaporates too much, add in a little extra stock.
- Add the mushrooms and the frozen peas to the ragu and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the peas are completely defrosted. Turn the heat off and add the butter, Parmigiano Reggiano, and parsley to the pan, stirring vigorously to emulsify. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Bring a large pot with at least 2 quarts (liters) of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the gemelli and cook until al dente, or just cooked through. Drain and toss with the ragu.
- Serve immediately, and top with a grating of Parmagiano Reggiano, if desired.
Chicken Caesar Redux
Sure, you could make a regular Caesar salad and throw some grilled chicken strips on it. Or you could level up with this spin on the classic! The star of this recipe is easily the Brussels sprouts, which have the classic flavours of a Caesar salad. The marinade for the chicken breast is very versatile, and works especially well on pork, lamb, and chicken for kebabs. Any extra can be frozen in an air-tight container and saved for six months. The cutlets can be any thickness, but I like them thin so the marinade really penetrates the meat. Serves 4 Ingredients Marinade 4 tbsp salt 1 tbsp ground black pepper 1.5 tbsp dried oregano 6 tbsp lemon juice 4 tbsp garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely 2 tbsp hot mustard 1 cup olive oil 2 tsp paprika 1.5 to 2 lbs chicken breast, boneless and skinless, sliced into cutlets 2 tbsp olive oil Brussels Sprouts 5 cups Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and quartered 4 cloves garlic, minced To taste salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 tbsp olive oil 3 tbsp mayonnaise 1 tbsp fish sauce 2 tbsp grated Parmagiano Reggiano, plus another 1-2 tbsp for garnishing the sprouts 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 3 tbsp sliced green onions Method
- Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, whisking well. In a shallow container, place the chicken breasts and add enough marinade to cover well. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to six hours. Store the remaining marinade in the fridge (up to 7 days) or freezer (up to six months).
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the garlic and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lay them out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to roast for twenty minutes, turning once at the halfway mark. When golden brown and slightly crispy, remove from oven.
- While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, cook the chicken cutlets. Preheat two heavy bottomed sauté pans on a medium high heat on the stovetop. Add a tbsp of olive oil to each pan and fry the cutlets, 2-3 cutlets at a time, for about 4 minutes per side, or until fully cooked. Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature. The cutlets are cooked at 160°F. Remove from pan and keep warm; continue cooking the remaining cutlets until they are all cooked.
- In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, fish sauce, 2 tbsp grated Parmigiano, red wine vinegar, and green onions. Season with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. When the Brussels sprouts are finished roasting, toss them in the bowl with the dressing while still hot.
- To serve, slice the chicken cutlets and arrange on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the Brussels sprouts on the side and top with more freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Bacon, Pea, and Gruyere Risotto
In the north-eastern part of Italy, close to Venice, risotto tends to be slightly wetter than in other regions. This recipe is a play on the classic Venetian Risi e Bisi, translated as “Rice and Peas”, that uses the regional rice varietal “Vialone Nano”, but regular arborio or Carnaroli also works. I use some smoky bacon and the nutty Swiss Gruyere cheese to create a stick-to-your ribs type of risotto that will leave you full, warm, and ready for the start of summer! Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main course Ingredients 1 L chicken stock 1 tbsp shallot, minced 3 slices bacon, finely chopped 2 tbsp butter, divided in half 1 bay leaf 1 cup vialone nano, arborio, or carnaroli rice 2 tbsp white wine (pinot grigio or other mildly flavoured wine) 1 cup frozen green peas, or fresh if possible 2 cups gruyere cheese, grated Method
- In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer over a low heat.
- In a sauce pan over a medium heat, sweat the shallots and bacon in 1 tbsp of butter. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bacon fat has been rendered and the shallots are translucent. Add the rice and the bay leaf and stir well, cooking for another minute. Add the white wine, stir, and allow to evaporate.
- Add the hot stock to the rice 1 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid before adding another cup. Continue stirring while adding the stock. Test the rice for doneness after 3 cups have been added, and add a bit more stock if necessary. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes, and the rice should have a bit of a chew but be fully cooked through the grain. At the fifteen-minute mark, add the frozen peas (if using fresh peas add them at the ten-minute mark). The finished risotto should be wet, like a soupy porridge consistency.
- Once the rice is cooked, take the pan off the heat and vigorously stir in the gruyere and the second tablespoon of butter. Pour into a dish and serve immediately.
Maple and Dill Glazed Pork Tenderloin, with Maple Gastrique
I find that when I want to cook with maple syrup, my mind is always drawn to pork. Sugar shacks make good business in the springtime with hunks of bacon roasted with the golden syrup served with stacks of flapjacks, and it makes a great marinade for fresh pork as well. Dill is an herb I don’t commonly associate with pork, but after making this recipe I think I’ll be using it a lot more with that particular meat. A gastrique is a type of basic sweet and sour sauce, or glaze, and commonly made with sugar or honey, and some fruit-based vinegars like sherry, or apple cider like in this recipe. It goes very well with the leaner pork tenderloin, or even a nice pork sirloin. Serves 4 Ingredients 2 whole pork tenderloins, or one pork sirloin roast (1.5 lbs), trimmed of all fat and silverskin 1 tbsp salt 2 tbsp maple syrup 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped finely 1 tsp ground black pepper Gastrique ¼ cup maple syrup ½ cup apple cider vinegar to taste salt and pepper Method
- Season the pork tenderloins with the salt and place in a casserole. Mix the maple syrup, Dijon, dill, and black pepper together, then pour the marinade over the pork, massaging it into the meat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least one, and up to 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Take the tenderloins out of the fridge and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in the hot oven for ten minutes, then flip them and roast for an additional ten minutes or until an internal thermometer plunged into the center read 150°F. Remove and rest for ten minutes, covered.
- Meanwhile, make the gastrique. In a sauce pot on a medium heat, bring the maple syrup to a low simmer and cook for about five minutes, or until slightly caramelized. Add the vinegar and stir frequently as it cooks for another ten minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Slice the pork tenderloin and arrange on a platter. Drizzle with some of the gastrique, and serve the rest on the side.
Pot-au-Feu With Marrow-Stuffed Beef Shank Roast
There’s lots to love about pot-au-feu: it’s an unfiddly, flexible yet grand way to feed a group; it accommodates multiple, cheap cuts of meat; and, if made with care, provides its own first course of delectable broth. My recent rendition, shown below, features Sanagan’s boneless beef shank roast stuffed with herbed marrow. This is one of the our most affordable cuts. When slow-cooked the shank’s multiple muscles eventually break down, yielding up full, earthy, beefy flavour and satisfying texture. When I was discussing this recipe with Peter he emphasized the value of having some boney stuff in the pot to enrich the broth. To that end, I added a marrow bone cut into rounds. I wrapped these pieces in cheesecloth so as not to lose the yummy marrow in the depths of the pot. And to exploit pot-au-feu’s versatility, I threw in some duck legs. Here’s a basic Pot-au-Feu How-To, including the first course broth, that you can tailor to your meat and veggie preferences and number of mouths to feed. But don’t stint on the quantities. It makes for great leftovers, reheating easily, or resurrected as a sublime hash.
- Place your main cut(s) like, beef or game chuck roast, shank, short ribs, brisket, pork or boar shoulder, whole birds etc. in a big pot and cover in cold water.
- Very gradually bring to a bare simmer. For approximately the first hour of simmering regularly skim the cooking liquid. The scum should get whiter as you skim. Rigorous skimming’s not so essential if your foregoing the first course soup but it’s still a good practice to illuminate some of the scum. The more vigilant the skimming, even beyond this initial stage, the clearer the broth.
- Season to taste.
- Add roughly chopped vegetables like clove-studded onion, carrot, celery, a whole unpeeled garlic bulb and a big bouquet garni (a bunch of fresh herbs like parsley, thyme and bay leaf, held together with string or cheesecloth) Because I was using the herbed shank roast, I decreased the size of the bouquet garni. The Time/Life Good Cook series* suggests adding an apple to the pot so as to decrease fatty flavours. I’m unsure how necessary this is but it looks very chefy and picturesque.
- Continue to simmer until the meat is tender, 2 hours or more depending on the cuts. Add additional smaller items like sausage or poultry pieces as you go, aiming to have them all finish together.
- Towards the end of the meat poaching, prepare the finishing vegetables; things like pearl onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips and potatoes, all cut into bite-size pieces. These will be served with the meat.
- Once all the meat is tender, set it aside, keeping it warm and moist in a bath of stock and dispose of the exhausted vegetables left in the pot. Strain and degrease the broth. Here you will be glad of a gravy strainer jug. Reserve a portion of this broth for the first course.
- Return the remaining broth to a fresh pot. Add the finishing vegetables and, while you enjoy your soup, cook them until well done.
- Arrange all the meat on a big platter and strew the finishing vegetables around it. Douse with the broth, present the platter to the table and start carving. Oohs and aahs guaranteed. An extra jug of broth on the table will not go amiss.
- Traditional accompaniments include gherkins, horseradish and mustard.
Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin Steak with Brandy-Peppercorn Sauce
This is a great recipe to use on St Valentine’s Day, as one tenderloin easily feeds two people. Reverse searing is a technique for achieving a perfectly cooked steak; it takes the stress of over-cooking out of the equation by cooking the meat at a very low temperature in your oven, then finishing the steak with a quick pan-sear at a super-high temperature. To do this recipe, you will need an internal probe thermometer (luckily, we sell awesome ones at the shop)! Serves 2 Ingredients: 16 oz beef tenderloin steak, center cut 3 tbsp olive oil to taste salt and pepper 4 oz ground beef 1 tbsp butter 1 shallot, minced 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp tomato paste 3 branches fresh thyme 2 bay leaves ½ cup red wine ½ cup brandy 1 cup beef stock ½ cup whipping cream, or our additive-free European-style 45% cream from Sheldon Creek to taste salt 2 tbsp black peppercorns, cracked and crushed with a rolling pin or the bottom of a clean pot Method:
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper, then rub it with 2 tbsp of the olive oil. Place the steaks on a rack on a baking sheet, and place in the oven. Cook for an hour, or until an internal probe thermometer stuck in to the center of the steak reads your desired temperature:
- In the meantime, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan over a high heat, brown the ground beef in the butter. Once browned (about five minutes), lower the heat to medium and add the shallots and garlic, stirring well, and continue cooking for five minutes or until the shallots are translucent. Add the herbs and deglaze the pot with the red wine and brandy. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the beef stock, bring back to a simmer and reduce by half again. Add the cream, and bring to a simmer. The sauce should coat the back of a spoon. Season with the salt to taste, then strain the sauce into a clean pot. Add crushed peppercorns. Keep the sauce warm by placing the saucepan on a warm part of the stovetop.
- Once the steaks have reached the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven. Heat a large pan over a high heat on the stove top. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and heat until it’s almost smoking. Sear the steak on all sides (about 30-60 seconds per side), until golden brown all over. Remove from the pan and rest for five minutes before slicing into eight or so slices.
- Serve the sliced steak on a platter with the peppercorn sauce on the side.
Lamb Shanks with Sumac, Mint, and Roasted Eggplant
Braised lamb shanks are excellent comfort foods. After slowly cooking for hours in an aromatic liquid, the meat falls from the bone in luscious strips. Sumac, a tart and lemony spice ground from the fruit of the sumac shrub, is a great foil to the rich lamb meat. You can find it in larger grocery stores with a good selection of Middle Eastern ingredients. Serve this dish with cous-cous, rice, or roasted root vegetables. Serves four Ingredients 4 lamb shanks, approximately ¾lb to 1lb each to taste salt and pepper 3 tbsp sumac, divided 2 large eggplants, cut in half lengthwise 1 red pepper 4 tbsp olive oil, divided 1 sweet onion, diced 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 carrots, diced 1 celery rib, diced 1 herb bundle (2 bay leaves, 4 thyme branches, 6 parsley branches) 1 lemon skin, peeled into strips 1 orange skin, peeled into strips 1 small (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes 1 cup chicken stock 2 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped 1 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped Method 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. 2. Lightly salt the meat side of the halved eggplants, and allow to sit for 1 hour at room temperature. This step will help draw out any bitterness in the eggplant. 3. Season the lamb shanks with salt, pepper, and 2 tbsp of the sumac. Rub them with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set the shanks on a rack in a roasting pan and place in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes, or until browned all over. Remove the browned shanks and set aside. (This step allows you to brown the meat without having to tend to them in your braising pot). 4. Rub the pepper with 1 tbsp olive oil, and wrap in tin foil. Pat the eggplant dry and rub with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Wrap the eggplant in tin foil as well. Place the pepper and eggplant in the oven (with the shanks), and roast, turning the vegetable packets once, for 30 minutes or until fully cooked (the vegatables should be roasted and softened). Remove the vegetables from the oven and cool. Turn the oven down to 325°F. 5. In a large covered Dutch oven (or heavy bottomed pot) over a medium heat, sweat the onions in 1 tbsp of olive oil. When slightly translucent (about 5 minutes), add the garlic, stir, and cover. Sweat for an additional 3 minutes before adding the carrot, celery, herb bundle, and lemon and orange peels. Stir well, cover, and cook for ten minutes, or until the carrots are soft. 6. Meanwhile, peel the roasted pepper and the eggplant; discard the seeds and skin. Chop roughly, and add to the pot. Add the canned tomatoes (with juice) and the chicken stock. Nestle the lamb shanks into the liquid, ensuring they are at least 80% submerged, and bring to a simmer. Place in the oven and braise for 2 hours, or until the meat is falling from the bone. 7. Arrange the lamb shanks on a deep platter, and spoon the vegetables and cooking juices around them. Scatter the mint and parsley leaves all over, then sprinkle the lamb with 1 tbsp of the sumac. Serve immediately.