Saturday, 4 June 2011

Beer-Braised Chicken

Hey beer lovers, here is one recipe just for you!
Although I’m a big beer lover myself I don’t cook or bake much with beer. To be completely honest I think that cooking with beer is enormous waste of beer. I mean, you can put beer in almost anything but problem is you can hardly ever taste it in cooked dish. Its entire aroma evaporates during cooking so why bother adding it at all.

While this is true for most beer dishes it doesn’t apply to these chicken drumsticks. In this dish beer is definitely main ingredient. Chicken is slowly braised in beer until all of the liquid boils down and all that is left is thick and tangy beer sauce.
This dish is my friend’s speciality, he’s not much of a cook but he makes damn good chicken. When he told me what he had made for lunch I was quite sceptical. It sounded pretty much like cooked chicken which is one of the things I really hate. Well this dish turned out to be so much more than just cooked chicken. Actually it was nothing like cooked chicken. The meat was very soft and tender, and sauce just wonderful.
Believe me, this sauce is the best thing ever, so be sure to dip some bread in it. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget. :)

In this recipe you can use any beer you like, you can go with the popular brand or with something really fancy, the choice is yours. You can also use combination of spices you like and make it hotter with adding some chilly; basically you can be as creative as you wish. Only problem is the sauce which is really tangy so I don’t think kids would really appreciate this dish.
Anyway this is something I cook pretty often, it’s ideal for weeknights and with glass of your favourite ale it becomes a feast.

Friday, 27 May 2011

The daring bakers may 2011 challenge: Marquise on meringue

The May 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this recipe comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

When I first saw this recipe I was fairly frightened by it. It had so many components and it seemed quite challenging. To be completely honest, I was afraid it will turn into total disaster. But then I set down and read the recipe for couple of times. After carefully reading it I made an attack plan and decided to start this challenge early in the month, so if everything goes wrong I’d still have a chance to do it all over aging.
Recipe that was presented by Emma and Jen was very detailed and I had no difficulties following it, only problem was that it was calling for kitchen gadgets I didn’t have – candy thermometer and a blowtorch. Well I wasn’t about to let such a small details get in my way.

Finding a candy thermometer wasn’t a problem, I simply borrowed it form a friend of mine. Blowtorch, on the other hand, was a completely different story. As it turns out blowtorch is very difficult to come by in Croatia. Well, I could’ve bought one but I wasn’t ready to spend a small fortune on it and Amazon still doesn’t deliver kitchen appliances to my country. So I had to be resourceful and decided to use plain kitchen lighter instead of a blowtorch. And guess what? It worked like a charm!

I decided to make only a quarter of the recipe as I wasn’t sure how it will turn out. Since I was rather pleased with final result I think I’ll be making the whole quantity next time. And there will be a next time for sure. :)

Mandatory parts of this challenge were chocolate marquise and meringue and everything else was optional so I experimented with spices and caramel. I added cinnamon, allspice and coriander to marquise and instead of tequila I used pear rakija. Rakija is a our local brandy which is very popular allover the Balkans. I don’t really like to drink it, it’s way to strong for my taste but it was interesting addition to marquise. Also, I made some candied kumquats and aceto balsamico sauce to accompany the dessert.

I had some trouble photographing my fished challenge, it’s been really hot here these past few weeks and my marquis was melting rather quickly. Nevertheless dessert was delicious and I’m going to make it again for sure.

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