Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Baked Potato Puffs – A New Way to Pomme Dauphine from a Potato Fiend

The hardest line cook job I ever had was working the broiler station at the Carnelian Room, where on a busy night I’d prepare over 250 steaks and chops, which wasn’t even the most difficult part. No, the biggest challenge was actually frying these potato puffs to order, to go on all those plates.

It was a lot of work, but a labor of love, since pomme dauphine, as my French friends would call this, is one of the greatest foods ever invented, especially for potato fanatics like me. However, as with most fried foods, they can be messy to make, and unless you have an industrial-strength hood fan, your kitchen will smell like a deep fryer for days, which is why I wanted to try and do a baked version.

I was very happy with the results, and while the outside wasn’t dark and crispy like the fried version, the inside was virtually identical, and thoroughly enjoyable in their own right. Whether you’re making them as a warm snack with a dip, or to go alongside some eggs, or a grilled steak, the baked version should work out just fine.

Of course, since we’re getting close to Thanksgiving, if you are one of these people who deep-fries the turkey, I would probably go with the traditional method. Especially since you’ll be cooking outside where sneaking a few of these while you’re working will be pretty easy to get away with. Either way, I really do hope you give these potato puffs a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 12 Small Baked Potato Puffs:
(I did a tiny test batch, so I highly recommend doubling or tripling the recipe)
1 cup cooked, plain mashed potatoes (Yukon or Russet)
salt and cayenne to taste
small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
butter for the muffin tin
For the pastry dough:
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 large egg

- For a mini muffin tin*, butter well, and bake at 450 F for about 20 minutes, or until browned and puffed.

- Or, deep-fry at 375 F for a few minutes until browned and puffed.

* These might work in a regular muffin tin, but you’ll need to bake longer.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Chicken Apple Sausage Patties – Doesn’t Feel Like Chicken

Imagine a sausage patty made from chicken that’s just as tender, juicy, and flavorful as one made from pork. What? A not-dry, not-rubbery feeling chicken-based sausage? Sounds impossible, and it is, unless you sneak in a little bit of pancetta, and follow a few simple techniques.

Instead of buying ground chicken at the market, which is always too finely ground, we’re going to use thighs, and grind our own. This makes for a significantly more succulent and tender patty, as long as you keep the meat very cold while working with it. I like to pulse it on and off in the food processer, but your can also use your grinder attachment, or go low-tech, and just chop it finely with a big knife or cleaver.

As I mentioned in the video, if you’re not into patties, you can make links, or simply crumble the raw mixture into a hot pan, and break it up as it cooks. Once browned, you can add your butter and flour, and continue with the pan sauce. Besides saving you a little time, this method probably makes for the most flavorful gravy.

By the way, most chicken apple sausage recipes call for some kind of sugar to be added, but I really don’t think it’s necessary, thanks to the natural sugar in the apples. As with all ground meat recipes, you can always fry up a small piece of your mixture, and test for yourself, but for me, the little touch of maple syrup in the sauce is all the extra sweetness this needs. Either way, I really do hope you give these chicken apple sausage patties a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 8 Chicken Apple Sausage Patties (about 4 ounces each):
For the sausage:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 ounces pancetta or bacon
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds (toast in dry pan until fragrant)
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh sage
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, grated, and squeezed dry

For the Pan Gravy (enough for 8 Patties)
6 tablespoons butter
8 sage leaves, optional (remove when crisp)
6 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste
1/3 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

- Click here for the Buttermilk Biscuits recipe.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Face Pie – The Halloween Pastry You Can’t Un-See

A few months ago I saw a pie image on Twitter so creepy, and disturbing, that I actually questioned whether it was too terrifying to post as a video. Usually, Halloween-themed recipes have the opposite problem, as they are almost never actually scary, but that’s not an issue here. By the way, can someone get sued for giving people nightmares?

Anyway, I eventually traced the image back to what I assumed would be some sort of food blog, but it was actually someone’s Etsy shop, where they were selling inedible versions of this basic design. So, I wasn’t able to see how it was made, but did use their “face” as a rough guide, and despite being somewhat anatomically challenged, I thought this came out looking great. And by great, I mean terrible.

If you’re disturbed enough to make this, you can use our tourtière recipe for the crust and filling, which is exactly what I did here, except for whatever reason I added a touch of ketchup to the meat. Of course, this technique would work for topping any pie, including all your favorite fruit versions, and the next time cherries are in season, I may just have to give this one more try. Or not. We’ll see. In the meantime, if at all possible, please enjoy!


- Follow this tourtière video link for the crust and filling recipes.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Black Lentil Stew with Sausage & Kale – Dark Food for Dark Days

There’s nothing like a big, steaming bowl of comfort food to make everything seem all right, and this dark, but delightful black lentil stew with sausage and kale is no exception. Whether you’re battling a lack of sunlight, or troubles at work, or you’re a NY Giants fan, a dish like this can do wonders to brighten your mood. 

Sausage and lentils is a marriage made in heaven, and so good together, that not even kale can ruin it. I’m kidding, and actually love kale, but if you’re not the biggest fan in the world, maybe try it one more time in this. As long as you cook the greens until they get nice and tender, you’ll be surprised how sweet, and mild they become.

In case that’s asking too much, spinach, and/or other vegetables will also work here, as these types of recipes are a perfect catch-all for seasonal produce. You people with neighbors who grow zucchini should pay especially close attention to that last part. Regardless of what you add, or don’t, I really do hope you give this black lentil stew a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, large dice
1 large carrot, cubed
1 rib celery, cubed
12 ounces smoked garlic sausage, or any kind of sausage (cook fresh sausage first, and then slice)
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups black lentils
6 cups chicken broth
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 bunches (about 12 ounces by weight) kale or other leafy dark greens, chopped, washed
1 large diced tomato, optional
sour cream and cayenne to garnish