main course recipe

Classic Meatballs

by Anne Maxfield on January 21, 2019

Accidental Locavore Spaghetti and MeatballsEvery now and then you need a meatball fix.

And every now and then you just want the comfort of spaghetti and meatballs.

With a winter storm about to hit, it seemed like the perfect time to whip up a batch of my favorite classic meatballs.

This recipe on the Food52 site from Rao’s had to be pretty much the standard. It makes about 24 meatballs.

Classic Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • Olive oil, for cooking, about 1 cup

Combine beef, veal, and pork in a large bowl. Add the eggs, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands, blend ingredients together. Blend bread crumbs into meat mixture. Slowly add water, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture is quite moist. Shape into 2 ½” balls.

Accidental Locavore Frying MeatballsHeat about 1/4” oil in a large sauté pan. When oil is very hot but not smoking, fry meatballs in batches. When the bottom half of the meatball is very brown and slightly crisp, turn and cook top half. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.

After browning them, if you want to cook them in sauce, use your favorite sauce and add the meatballs into the simmering sauce and cook for 15 minutes. Serve alone or with pasta and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Finished MeatballsMy verdict: About as good as they get!

It’s going to seem weird to be adding water when you’re making them, but it does get absorbed and the meatballs always come out great!

The amount of olive oil you’ll need will depend on the size of your pan and be sure not to crowd the meatballs or they’ll never brown. Better off to do them in batches.

What’s your go-to meatball recipe?

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

by Anne Maxfield on May 7, 2018

Accidental Locavore Mustard Chicken With AsparagusFrank requested chicken with mustard “like the pork chops you make” last night.

I had just enough bandwidth to get it done (being in the throes of putting the house on the market) and thought it would be a good recipe to remind you of.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of David Lebovitz’s new book My Paris Kitchen. 

The recipes look great and the first one I put to the test was this one for poulet à la moutarde. It was one of those “what’s not to like?” recipes, with bacon and so much mustard I actually ran out of Dijon – something I wouldn’t have thought possible! This serves 4.

Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
  • 4 chicken legs and 4 thighs
  • 1 cup bacon, thick cut and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

In a bowl big enough to hold the chicken, mix ½ cup of the Dijon with the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the mustard, coating the pieces well, and rubbing some of it under the skin.

Heat a big skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is just starting to brown. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest.

Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, cook for another few minutes and scrape everything into a medium-sized bowl.

Accidental Locavore Mustard ChickenIncrease the heat to medium-high, add a little olive oil if needed and the chicken pieces in one layer. Don’t crowd them and cook in two batches if necessary. Brown them well on one side and then flip them over and brown the other side. Give it time as you want the chicken to be really browned as this is where the flavor comes from.

Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the pan and scrape off the bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the chicken, onions and bacon back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes (165° on an instant-read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, stir it a couple of times, to coat with the sauce.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard seeds or grainy mustard and the crème fraîche into the sauce. Sprinkle the parsley over the top, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Wonderful! An important lesson I learned from Gabriel Rucker and again, making this recipe, is that you really have to have some patience (something I have in terribly short supply) and let the meat really brown – it makes a world of difference! This is a pretty classic recipe and I’ve done a variation of it with rabbit – also delicious! Since Frank isn’t fond of chicken legs, I just used thighs and that worked fine. As you read in the intro, I ran out of smooth Dijon, so added in about 3-4 tablespoons of grainy Dijon, which was fine. If you used a good, strong Dijon, it will give you more of a pronounced mustard taste (which is a good thing – right?). He suggests serving it with some fresh pasta, but rice or mashed potatoes would soak up the sauce nicely too. Definitely give it a try, it’s probably under an hour, start to finish.

Share

{ 0 comments }

Spare Ribs Vindaloo

by Anne Maxfield on January 26, 2017

How could you resist a mash-up like spare ribs vindaloo, recently in Food & Wine?

And then, spare ribs were on sale.

Kismet.

This made a lot of ribs and the Accidental Locavore only bought a single rack. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but you probably have most of them.

Spare Ribs Vindaloo

  • A 2-pound rack St. Louis–cut pork ribs, halved
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and broken into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • One 1-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (mixed use)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1/4 cup silver tequila
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated jaggery (or brown sugar)

Season the spare ribs with salt and pepper and let stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a spice grinder, grind the dried chiles with the cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick until finely ground.

Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the chile powder, turmeric, cayenne, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon of pepper until a paste forms.

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Add the red onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger and the spice mixture and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until deep red in color, 8 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the stock, tequila, jaggery, the remaining vinegar, add the ribs and bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the ribs are very tender, about 1 hour.

Transfer the ribs to a work surface and let cool slightly; cut into individual ribs.

Simmer the sauce until thickened and reduced by half, about 10 minutes; season with salt.

Return the ribs to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve with steamed basmati rice and enjoy!

My verdict: I think we were a little underwhelmed by these the first time around. However, like a lot of slow cooked food, they were much better the second night and Frank gave his “you can make these any time” seal of approval.

We both thought they could be hotter and the next time, I’ll add some minced serrano, or jalapeno.

There was a lot of sauce because I didn’t halve the sauce recipe (too lazy to do math) just the ribs, but it just meant more sauce for the rice.

I didn’t have any jaggery (do you?) so just used some brown sugar. If I get some, I’ll let you know if I think it makes a difference. However, this seems to be one of those stealth trendy foods for 2017, so you might want to be one of the cool kids and find some.

 

 

 

Share

{ 0 comments }

Slow Roasted Duck Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on December 15, 2016

Accidental Locavore Slow Roasted DuckThis slow roasted duck is the Accidental Locavore’s favorite way to roast a duck.

If you’ve got an afternoon, and need an excuse to binge watch ______, this is your meal.

The fact that it couldn’t be easier, or more delicious, are just bennies.

A V-shaped roasting rack helps, but you can do it with a regular rack and roasting pan. Clean-up is much easier if you lightly oil the rack.

Slow Roasted Duck:

  • 1 whole duck
  • Salt & pepper
  • Garlic cloves, peeled (optional)
  • A lemon or orange cut into chunks (optional)
  • Fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme (optional) or a spice rub of your choice

Preheat your oven to 250°

.

Accidental Locavore Duck for RoastingRinse and dry the duck.

Salt and pepper it, inside and out, and if you’re using them toss some peeled garlic cloves, orange or lemon chunks and herbs inside.

Prick the duck all over with a fork, and put it on the rack in the roasting pan.

Roast for an hour.

Remove it, turn it over, and prick it with the fork.

Do this total of 4 times (4 hours).

After the last time, turn the oven up to 400°, and put the duck back in for 15-30 minutes, depending on how crispy you like the skin.

Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this duck. It’s great and foolproof!

You can rub the duck with any spice mix, or just simply salt and pepper.

I happen to like barbecue sauce with duck, the plum hoisin sauce is also great with it, and often take some of my cousin Ellen’s amazing clementine marmalade, warm it with some citron vodka, and a tablespoon of maple syrup to thin it down with, making a my version of duck à l’orange.

Don’t forget to save the fat (run it through a fine strainer or coffee filter) to sautée some spinach or roast potatoes with.

Speaking of potatoes, some par-boiled chunks of potatoes tossed in the bottom of the roasting pan for the last 15-30 minutes, are always incredible!

Share

{ 5 comments }