What’s for Dinner
5 Cooking School Recipes for the Week of January 5, 2009
I teach a number of hands-on cooking classes around the country using recipes I’ve developed. Over the past year I’ve noticed that some of the recipes are clear winners. A winner is when the students either -a- don’t leave any leftovers or -b- brings home every last crumb in a doggie bag.
The recipes for this week’s “What’s for Dinner” are the absolute best-of as voted by the folks in my cooking classes at I.C.E., a fun cooking school on 23rd Street in Manhattan.
Beer Batter Bread
Makes 1 loaf
This is the best bread you’ve ever tasted and it’s embarrassingly easy to make. No kneading or fuss.The bread is great served with kielbasa sausages or hot dogs and warm sauerkraut.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces beer, any kind, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Pour the flour, baking powder, sugar, rosemary and salt into a non-stick 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan. Add the beer and butter, mixing as little as possible. The batter will be lumpy, that’s fine.
3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Beer Can Chicken
It may sound weird but sticking a beer can up the butt of a chicken really makes for a tender bird. Plus, come on, how can you resist trying such an odd recipe?
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 (12-ounce) can of beer
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Mix dry ingredients in small bowl with the butter.
3. Rub 1/2 of the ingredients on inside cavity of chicken. Gently peel skin away from chicken breast and rub mixture under the skin and onto the legs and back.
4. Open beer can pour out about 1/2 cup. Drop the garlic cloves into the beer can. Place chicken, cavity end down, over the beer can and insert the beer into the cavity. Place chicken, standing up, in large bake pan.
5. Bake chicken in the oven for 10 minutes and then lower temperature to 325 degrees F and cook for another 1 hour, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
6. Carefully remove the beer can as it will be extremely hot!! Pour the pan juices into a gravy separator to remove the fat.
7. Carve chicken and serve with pan juices.
Beer Braised Short Ribs
The meat practically falls off the bone and into your mouth.This is a great dish to make when you have to be home anyway. It just sits in the oven for a few hours, you don’t have to bother with it.
6-8 pounds beef short ribs, about 18 ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
16 garlic cloves smashed
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
16 ounces beer
6 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 cup hoisin sauce (available in the supermarket near the Asian foods)
1. Season the ribs generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot with a lid (Dutch oven) over high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, in batches if necessary.
2. Remove the ribs and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the rendered fat.
3. Return the pot to the stove, lower the heat to medium and sauté the onions, garlic, and ginger for about 6 minutes. Add the ribs back to the pot along with the beer and vinegar.
4. Cover and simmer on low medium heat for 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees F.
6. Pour the hoisin sauce over the ribs and stir until well mixed. Put the pot to the oven, covered, and bake for 2 hours.
7. Skim off ALL fat from the top of the pot and serve.
Pork Tenderloin with Apricot Brandy Sauce
Pork tenderloin is the easiest, and fastest, cut of meat to cook. It’s ready in just about 20 minutes.
1 pork tenderloin, about 1 pound
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
3/4 cup dry apricots, sliced
1/4 cups brandy (you can substitute almost any spirits like cognac or rum if you don’t have brandy handy)
3/4 cup beef stock
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Put the pork on a baking pan. Season with lots of salt and pepper, then drizzle with honey and sprinkle with rosemary. Put the pork into the oven and cook for 18 to 22 minutes per pound or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.
3. Meanwhile, bring the apricots, brandy and stock to a low boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the apricots are very soft. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Remove the pork loin from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 5. Serve the slices topped with a dollop of brandy apricot sauce.
Penne with Grilled Eggplants
This smoky rich tasting eggplant are a perfect partner for this sweet Sicilian-style tomato sauce.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, very finely minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 twenty-eight ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 medium eggplants, peeled and sliced lengthwise, 1/2 inch thick
1 pound penne or other short pasta
1/2 cup ricotta salata*, coarsely grated
12 – 15 large fresh basil leaves
1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and stirring occasionally, cook for about 15 minutes until very soft. It’s important to cook the onion slowly for a long time to get a nice caramelized sweet taste to your sauce. Add the garlic and continue cooking until softened, about 2 minute. Stir in the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook covered for 15 minutes.
2. Drizzle a baking sheet with oil and arrange the eggplant slices onto the sheet so they don’t overlap. Drizzle the eggplant with oil, and season them with salt and pepper. Broil until tender, about 3 minutes per side. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to the package directions. Drain.
4. To serve, spoon the sauce on the penne and top with the eggplant, ricotta salata and basil leaves.
*Ricotta salata is ricotta that has been slated to remove the moisture. It’s chalk-white and has a nice mellow flavor. Try it. It’s available in most supermarkets in the specialty cheese section. If you can’t find it, substitute any hard grating cheese, like Parmesan or Romano.