Chicken a la King

Tender pieces of pastured chicken simmered in bone broth with fresh cream, sherry, nutmeg, peas and mushrooms.  Invented in the late 1800’s, this retro dish is every bit as good now as it was then..

Chicken à la King

Chicken à la King

To make roux, melt 4 oz. pastured butter over medium-low heat until it just begins to sizzle.  Add 5 oz. by weight sprouted wheat or spelt flour and whisk to combine.  Stirring continuously, continue to cook until it smells like baked bread, about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

To make topping, toast a piece of sprouted wheat or spelt bread in the toaster, then tear it up into small pieces and sauté in butter and parsley until golden brown.

Gently simmer chunks of pastured chicken (I’m using thighs, skin removed) in chicken stock with a little sherry and fresh thyme until just done.

Lightly sauté halved pearl onions, wild mushrooms and a bit of red bell pepper, then stir into the chicken.

Add fresh cream, green peas and freshly-grated nutmeg and simmer 5 minutes.

Whisk roux into the chicken and simmer, stirring continuously until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground pepper.

To serve, simply spoon chicken mixture into a deep dish and top with toasted bread crumbs.

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(not your average) Liver and Onions

Sometimes described as metallic or overly strong tasting, mushy or tough or simply uninteresting, beef liver has gotten a bad rap over the years.  It doesn’t have to be that way..


Liver and Onions with Bacon and Sage

click to enlarge

Pastured beef liver fried with bacon, just-dug onions, brown mushrooms and fresh sage leaves brings this inexpensive, nutritional powerhouse back to the dinner table.  Even the kids will dig it.

Select only the freshest, pastured beef liver, never the frozen feed-lot stuff from the supermarket.  Cut into 1/2 strips and lightly dredge in sprouted flour seasoned with sea salt and cracked pepper.  Set aside.

Fry uncured, pastured bacon until crisp and all the fat has rendered out.

Add sliced onions and continue to cook until well browned.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon grease and reserve for another use.

Add 2 tablespoons pastured butter to the hot pan and swirl to combine with the remaining bacon fat.

Add sliced brown mushrooms (I like the dark, earthy-flavored varieties) and sauté until they begin to crisp on the edges.

Make sure that the skillet is still good and hot, then add strips of floured liver and coarsely chopped fresh sage and flat-leaf parsley.  Cook until well browned, turn and brown on the other side.

Arrange on a plate, drizzle with pan juices and enjoy.

Pan-fried beef liver is a good source of Iron and Zinc, and a very good source of Protein (approx. 22g per 4oz), Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Copper and Selenium.

This post is part of the Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet

Calf’s Liver w/Mushroom and Onions, Sauce Poivrade

A mild, tender, rich and savory dish prepared in a classical French meets modern shortcuts manner.

Start with very fresh slices of peeled and deveined calves’ liver obtained from a healthy animal of known origin.  True calves’ liver is paler in color and milder in taste than the much redder baby beef liver typically found in US supermarkets.  If using the latter, it often helps to soak the slices in fresh, whole milk for up to 2 hours to lessen the strong flavor.

“Calf’s liver is less likely to have the accumulations of toxins such as pesticides, hormones and antibiotics found in the liver of older animals. Selecting organic calf’s liver provides the greatest assurance that the liver is free of these toxins. Calf’s liver also is more tender and has better flavor than beef liver (including baby beef liver).”

For the sauce, gather mushrooms, green peppercorns, vinegar, tomato paste, onion, celery, carrot, parsley, butter, lemon, stock and (optionally) demi-glace.

Sauté the mirepoix in butter until well colored, about 10 minutes.  Add a good spoonful of tomato paste and continue to cook until all moisture is evaporated and the tomato begins to brown.  Moisten with a splash of vinegar and a little sherry and stir to combine.

Add stock and a mashed clove of garlic.  Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until reduced in volume by half, about 45 minutes.  Strain into a clean saucepan and add demi-glace. Simmer until thickened and shiny, about 20 minutes.

Sauté thinly sliced mushrooms and onions in very hot butter until brown and slightly crisp.  Add to the pan with the brown sauce.

Pat the liver dry and lightly dredge in unbleached flour.  Sauté quickly in a generous amount very hot butter, turning only once.  Add chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavor before saucing.

A big thanks to my son-in-law Jeff, whose amazingly delicious liver & onions revived my interest in this classic dish!

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Beeff in a Faire Possenet

Beef Pot Roast, adapted from 16th century recipes using techniques suggested by Cooks Illustrated.

“Take faire ffresh beef, and (if thou wilt) roste hit til hit be nygh ynowe; theñ put hit in a faire possenet”

Beef chuck, garlic, thyme, bay, bacon, horseradish root, gelatin leaves, celery root, onion, wine, S&P, stock, parsley, carrots and turnips (I decided not to use the potatoes after the picture was taken).  Not shown: barley, barley malt, mushrooms and flour.

Following the natural seam, pull/cut the roast in two. Trim away thickest fat, but leave some thin layers intact.

Sprinkle roasts on all sides with kosher salt and place on a rack to rest for 1 hour at room temperature.  After about 15 minutes, you will begin to see moisture (containing sugars and proteins) forming on the surfaces of the meat.  The osmotic effect will begin to reverse after about 30 minutes as the salt partially dissolves and the liquids are reabsorbed.  Salting the meat helps to ensure a proper Maillard reaction which is critical to the success of this recipe.

While the meat is resting, cut the bacon into 1/2 inch dice and cook over medium-low heat in a Dutch oven until all the fat is rendered, about 10 minutes.  Set cooked bacon aside and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the melted fat.

Meanwhile, reduce an entire bottle of decent red wine (more fruity than dry) until the volume is halved.

Blot any remaining moisture from meat, pepper it on all sides and brown well on all sides in the bacon fat. Remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, cook the onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cooked bacon and about 1 tablespoon of flour and cook another minute.

Add reduced wine and broth to the pan with the onions, scraping the sides and bottom to release the fond.

Put the browned meat and its juices into the pot. Seal the pot with foil, cover and place into a 300 degree oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove the pot from the oven and turn the meat over. Replace foil and lid and put back into the oven for another hour.

Prep the rest of the ingredients- celery leaves, stalks, celery root, carrots, barley, mushrooms and turnips.

After 2 hours of cooking, remove the pan from the oven. Transfer the meat to a rack and cover with the foil to keep warm.

Turn up the heat on the cooking liquid and reduce its volume by half.

Meanwhile, saute the celery root and turnips in butter until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add this to the pot of cooking liquid.

Saute carrots and celery stalks in butter until browned, about 5 minutes.  Glaze with a spoonful of barley malt before transferring to the pot with the turnips.

Salt the mushrooms and saute in butter until browned and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms to the pot with the rest of the vegetables.

Add the cold-water softened gelatin to the pot and stir until dissolved.

Cut meat into thick slices and ladle gravy and vegetables over the top.  Garnish with chopped celery leaves and grated horseradish and serve accompanied with a glass of wine and a dish of hot, roasted chestnuts.

By far the best pot roast and one of the most satisfying meals in recent memory.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Salmon Croûte, Brussels Sprouts in Cream and Wild Rice with Mushrooms and White Truffle Oil

Dried oyster, trumpet and morchella mushrooms, shallot, wild rice, (real) white truffle oil, Brussels sprouts, heavy cream, butter, whole nutmeg, black sea salt, white peppercorns, wild Alaskan salmon and a blend of dried onion, garlic, carrot, red pepper, tomato, orange peel, parsley, bay, thyme, basil, celery, lemon peel, oregano, savory, mustard seed, cumin, marjoram, coriander, cayenne and rosemary.

Rinse and begin cooking the wild rice according to package directions.

Moisten a salmon filet with olive oil and season with the spice blend, sea salt and white pepper. Place fish onto an oiled skillet, wrap in a sheet of water-soaked red cedar paper and tie with kitchen string.

About 20 minutes before the rice is done, brown the trimmed and split Brussels sprouts in a little butter until browned.  Add heavy cream and simmer partially covered until almost tender, about 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are simmering, saute minced shallot and sliced mushrooms in butter and truffle oil, stirring frequently until just done, about 3-5 minutes.  Set aside.

Place the salmon in a 350 degree oven and cook about 10-12 minutes.

Uncover the vegetables and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Add the mushrooms and shallots to the rice and fluff with a fork.

Assemble the plate, topping the Brussels sprouts with seasoned, toasted bread crumbs.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦