Monday, March 1, 2010

Dinner, Continued...

I am continuing yesterday's Braised Chicken dinner into tonight's dinner for two reasons: one - just about all braised meals taste even better the second day, and two - I made a HUGE amount of food.

I'm serious. I did 2 bone-in chicken breasts (one which apparently belonged to a pterodactyl-chicken, for size, not age...) and 4 thighs. That's a lot of food for two people. So tonight, leftovers!

One thing I wasn't prepared for in my leftovers, tho, was that the sauce was now basically gelatin. I had reserved all the cooking liquids in a bowl and put them in the fridge for easy fat-skimming and reheating purposes, but once I skimmed the (considerable) layer of fat away, the clear sauce was jiggling at me in a frighteningly aspic-like manner. In fact, it IS aspic. And I am really NOT a fan of aspic. On any level. Or so I thought.
<-- Extra revolting, I know.

I don't like aspic in its traditional serving form, which is to say, cold and jiggling. I find the whole concept revolting. But I guess I didn't really understand that consommé is just warmed aspic. So I guess as long as it's warm and I don't have to think of it possibly turning back into a solid inside my very warm interior, I can deal with it. Because dang is the sauce tasty! My sauce still tastes of concentrated cider and chicken, etc. (and melts the instant it hits a warm pan, as it aught) but the visual unnerved me. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised that by slow-cooking that much bone-in meat, I ended up with aspic. I just hadn't planned to make it, and that would be one thing that All About Braising failed to mention. Unless I glossed over that paragraph, which is entirely possible. I just feel like The Accidental Gourmet, inadvertently creating something delicious (and presumed fancy) that I previously thought was revolting. Whoops!

Anyhoo... continuing on the theme of questionable yet delicious substances:
My refrigerator is not a safe place to blindly search around in at the moment, as there are many little glass bowls filled with various solids. One of these is the leftover duck fat from this fabulous meal I made a few nights ago. So tonight, as promised, I shall reheat the chicken in its cider reduction, and make duck-fat-sautéed potatoes. And they shall be delicious!!
And do you know WHY they shall be so delicious? Because not only am I using the leftover duck-fat in the potatoes, but I also have about a tablespoon and a half of saved BACON drippings from the start of yesterday's braise. (Save. Everything.)
Duck-fat AND Bacon-fat. (Both freeze beautifully by the way.)
Good thing I only cook like this once or twice a year or no one would pity my insane and uncontrollable cholesterol levels.

For the meat, I will ladle some of my Accidental Aspic into a pan and simmer the meat in it, lid on, just to bring it back to a warm temp, keep it juicy, etc..

For the veg, I will do my usual roasted carrot method in the oven as explained here in my previous duck recipe. Although I may throw some more hard cider, or Accidental Aspic, so it follows the flavors of the whole dish more closely.

For the potatoes: Preheat your oven to 375º (I am following a Gordon Ramsay recipe)

I'm using baby red bliss potatoes, so I'm just going to halve them, and throw them in some (cold) water and bring them up to a boil. After five minutes of the water actively boiling, drain the potatoes.
Meanwhile heat some of the duck fat in a stainless pan until "murky" or starting to smoke. CAREFULLY toss the potatoes in and stir to coat them all. Add your seasonings (salt and thyme or rosemary work the best) and place them in the oven for about 30 minutes. Check on them once to stir and make sure all sides are becoming browned.
Can you say, "YUM!"? Say it with me now... Yum.

Everything came out super tasty, as expected. The carrots were actually surprisingly sweet and tender, so the extra cider/aspic worked out great. I'm not sure the potatoes were worth the extra calories from the fat this time, only because I did not think they were any better than my usual crispy potatoes (mix of butter and evoo), but they were still damned tasty.

But that's how to make use of leftovers, people.
Go forth and cook!

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