Saturday, January 31, 2015

Coffee-Rubbed Cheeseburgers

Using coffee with beef, enhances the flavor and smokiness... 

Coffee Rub
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee
2 teaspoons (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

4 slices bacon (use the applewood smoked variety if you can get it)
1 pound ground beef or sirloin cut
4 slices cheese of your choice (Sharp Cheddar, Provolone, or Gouda cheese are good choices)
4 hamburger buns or sandwich rolls
4 slices red onion (if desired)
4 slices tomato (if desired)
Condiments of your choice: Mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, etc.

Servings: 4

If you don't have espresso (powder), just use some freshly/finely
ground coffee beans. 

Mix all ingredients in small bowl.  This can be made up to 1 week ahead of time.  Just store in an airtight at room temperature.

Cook bacon in large skillet or microwave until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Break in half.

Gently form meat into 4 equal-sized patties.   Don't overwork the meat.  If you make slight indent in center of each burger, it will keep them flat while cooking. Burgers and bacon can be prepared 8 hoursahead. Cover separately and chill until ready to cook.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coffee rub on top side of each burger and lightly pat down.

Place burgers in skillet or grill pan. Grill/cook until slightly charred, about 4 minutes; turn for another 4 minutes, or until at desired doneness.

Oh yes, baby!  That's what we want...that little crunchy "crust" on our patty! 

While the patty is still warm, go ahead and top it with cheese and allow it to melt for extra yumminess.  ;-)

Assemble burger on the buns with cheese, bacon, veggies and condiments and enjoy!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Coq Au Vin Brochettes

Co Au Vin is a traditional French stew, but this version serves it up BBQ style on skewers with a beautiful reddish-purple sauce!

8 skewers -  if using wood ones for outside grilling, soak in water for an hour
1 1/2 pounds boned chicken legs, with skin on (alternatively, you can use chicken breasts)
5 ounces lardons or cubes of smoked bacon
2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
8 small new potatoes
8 small button/pearl onions, peeled and left whole
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper
8 small button mushrooms, brushed or peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil

Prep: Wash, peel, chop veggies

Prep:  Cut smoked bacon into about 1" stacks.

Prep:  Cut chicken into about 2" chunks.

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 onion finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
4 small sprigs thyme
3 bay leaves
2 cups red wine

Directions for marinade:

Fry the garlic and onion in the butter until golden brown.

Add the thyme and bay leaves and cook for another minute.

Add wine.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

  Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Reserve 1 ¼ cups of marinade for later. 

For the chicken:

Cut the chicken into large chunks (see prep photo above).   Place in a large plastic container with the lardons/bacon and add the COLD marinade. (Cook's Note:  Make sure your marinade is completely cooled down before pouring over the chicken.  You don't want chicken to start cooking in the bag!)

3/4 cup of cold marinade goes with the chicken;
the other  cup should be reserved for the sauce. 

Seal bag up and marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours (best overnight).

After marinating for the desired time, you are ready to continue!

Put the carrots, potatoes and onions into a large pan of cold salted water and bring to a boil.
Parboil for 5 minutes, then drain the vegetables into a sieve and hold under cold running water for 2 minutes. Leave to cool.

On a high heat, pour the reserved marinade into a small pot and reduce the marinade by half before adding the vinegar.
Boil reserved marinade to the point where it is about HALF
the liquid of what it was originally. 

Add red wine vinegar.
 Mix the cornstarch to a thin paste with some water.
Mix cornstarch with a little water.  This will help thicken sauce.

Then, whisk cornstarch mix into the sauce, and boil for 5 minutes or until the consistency of heavy cream.

 Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper.

Sauce consistency should be that of heavy cream. 

Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down in direct contact with the sauce. Keep the sauce warm until needed.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers, alternating with the lardons, parboiled vegetables and mush­rooms. Brush with olive oil before cooking on the barbecue (or indoors on a griddle pan) for around 5 minutes, turning regularly. To check the chicken is cooked, cut a piece open—the juices should run clear, not red or pink.

Brush skewers with olive oil before putting on grill/in grill pan.

After grilling...
Drizzle skewers with the red wine sauce (reheated in a pan or microwave if necessary).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bang Bang Chicken

Extremely crispy chicken chunks drizzled with a sweet chili mayo sauce

1/2 cup vegetable oil, or more, as needed
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all­purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 large egg
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1­inch chunks
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

Prep:  Cut chicken into 1" chunks

1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons hot sauce (Frank's Red Hot preferred)

To make the sauce, whisk together mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, honey and hot sauce in a small bowl; set aside.  (Cook's Note: Instead of a bowl, I used a condiment squeeze bottle and a mini-whisk.)

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste.

Batter is done!

A few at a time time, dip chicken into buttermilk mixture, then dredge in Panko, pressing to coat.

Use a toothpick, skewer or your fingers to coat the chicken
pieces all over with the Panko crumbs.

Working in batches, add chicken to the skillet and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about ­5 minutes. As we've talked about in previous posts, be sure your oil is at the correct fry temperature (use a candy/deep fry thermometer) - ideally it should be 350 degrees.  Internal meat temp should be 165 degrees for optimum food safety.

Transfer to a paper towel-­lined plate.
Serve immediately, drizzled with sweet chili sauce.