Tidbits

20151231_152309 (1600x1060)Ginger taste tests the doggies’ chow.  Mrs J has a recipe she’s been using to add a little flavor to the regular dry fare.DSC_1916 (2)I’ve always liked this photo of a cardinal and her wingman swooping by a feeder on a bright day against a snowy background.DSC_1637 (1600x1060)Here are those pressure cooker baked beans.  I’ve added some bbq sauce and ketchup because the original beans were a tad dry.  They accompany a sammich of ham salad on dark rye.DSC_2587 (1600x1060)Here’s a whole flock of cardinals, attracted by a pile of seed on the ground.DSC_2637 (1600x1060)And several bluejays take their turn.DSC_1649 (1600x1060)A pretty good tasting chicken noodle soup I made up today to use up a few chicken thighs I did up in a confit the other day.  Mrs J tells me she likes hominy so there is some in there today.DSC_1640 (1600x1060)Here are those chicken thighs I mentioned, with yellow rice and steamed broccoli.  I have the legs quarters and breast of a medium sized turkey salted down, I’ll do a confit with them tomorrow.  All the rest of that turkey is simmering in my stockpot this afternoon.DSC_2731Moar bluejays!

Turkey Confit

20151125_173752

I did these turkey leg quarters last week and they’ve been in the basement fridge since then.  I finally brought them up today to finish them off for a nice Sunday dinner.I only had duck fat enough for one so I bought some cheap olive oil for the second one.  These have just spent four hours in a 275-ish oven and I’ve already lost track of which was which but I sorted them out today when they warmed back up a little.  I did do the green salt thing on both, letting them spend the night with a generous coating.DSC_1446You will want to brush most of it off but leave a little on because it’s delicious.  I found a few recipes online for the salt mix but most agree that fresh thyme and parsley should be part of it, tarragon, bay leaves, and green onions were also suggested.  This time I went with parsley, thyme, and sage.  A food processor makes short work of blending the kosher salt with the herbs.  Like mine, they can spend a week or more submerged in the oil.  When you are ready to eat them, let most of the fat drain off then brown them in a skillet on the stove top and then pop the skillet into the oven to warm through.DSC_1517I made more cranberry sauce to go with the turkey, and roasted some root veggies with honey and olive oil.  There’s a slab of Parmesan polenta under there, too.  These are absolutely the best turkey legs I’ve ever eaten.  The green salt was perfect and the meat came right away from the bones.

Turkey Leg Confit

DSC_9582 [1600x1060]I finally found the time to gather all the parts I needed for my first go around with the confit method of cookery.  I’m not sure that’s quite the right term, confit is more a method of preservation than cooking.  Generally speaking, a food item is salted down for a day or two, then cooked at a low temperature while covered in fat.  Duck fat is all the rage in foodie circles but it can be done with most any any vegetable oil.  I’m using the duck fat I bought the other day with a couple of turkey legs that have spent the night marinating in garlic, thyme, and kosher salt.DSC_9587 [1600x1060]Brush off all the salt you can then cover with fat.  This quarter sized hotel pan was just right for this because it didn’t take a lot of fat to fully cover the legs.  I made a foil cover and cooked them at around 200 degrees for about 4 hours.  I was able to easily poke a skewer right through the legs.  They were showing 185 degrees on my digital temperature probe.DSC_9589 [1600x1060]I managed to get them out without them falling apart, mostly.  I gobbled down the pieces that came off, declaring then and there that the project was a success.  Yum!DSC_9590 [1600x1060]I served them up with smashed tiny golden potatoes and Brussels sprouts that were tossed with the handy duck fat and roasted.  I am a big fan of duck fat roasted stuff.  Where has it been all my life!  LOL

Men Who Cook: Kirk Spencer, Pork Tenderloin Confit

From the Men Who Cook series, Kirk Spencer offers another tasty recipe:

Here’s another fun one to try:

Pork Tenderloin Confit

It’s a three-step process: curing, preserving, and cooking.

Step one, Curing: You’ll do this 12-18 hours before the next step time. Make a curing rub of approximately 1 cup coarse salt and seasonings of choice. For your first run I’m going to recommend about 10 cloves of garlic and 10 sprigs of fresh thyme. Smash the cloves, strip the leaves from the sprigs, and toss with the salt to mix thoroughly. Now in a pan large enough to hold the tenderloin make a bed of half the cure, put the tenderloin on it, and sprinkle the rest on top. Take any that’s loose and pat it on the sides so the whole loin is covered. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.

Step two, preserving: Set your oven to 200 degrees F (180 F if you can manage it). Melt about two pounds of butter. Remove the loin from the refrigerator and rinse off the salt, then place in a clean oven-proof dish that will hold it. Pour the butter over the top. If the loin is not covered by at least half an inch, melt and add more butter. Put in the oven for approximately 3 hours. (NOTE: You’re poaching this loin in butter.) Two tests for done – the traditional skewer (the meat will give almost no resistance when done) and the temperature test (aim for 165 internal).

The following is optional but explains why this step is preserving, not cooking. Pull the pan out of the oven, let it cool for half an hour, then put meat into a quart masonry jar. Strain the butter through a cheesecloth, and pour enough into the jar to fully cover the loin. Close with a lid, and place in refrigerator. Keep for one week to three months. The flavors will intensify over time, but at three months it’s supposedly getting a bit strong. (I don’t know. I’ve never lasted past a month.)

FINISHING: Two options: For both, slice the loin into medallions. If you’re finishing instead of preserving, you can serve these hot, buttery loin medallions as is. Alternately, put medallions with a bit of the butter in a hot skillet to brown both sides – about two minutes on a side. This can be done with the cold or hot loin medallions. I really like serving these with parboiled and parsleyed new potatoes and red cabbage, but have been known to use buttered noodles (yes, more butter) and a cold pea salad as well.

Confit is a traditional means of preservation. Poach the meat in fat till it’s done, then let the fat solidify around it and store in a cool location. Traditionally you do this with a fatty meat (duck and goose being the most famous) and use its own fat. I’ve discovered that poaching in butter is delicious, too, and works for oh so many other meats.

Use either or neither, and good luck,

Kirk

Thanks Kirk.  For more of Kirk’s recipes and thought on life in general, check out his blog:  Mental Meanderings