If you’ve read through one of my cookbook ideas, An American Family Cooks, you met my sons, Mickey and Chris—Mickey the Francophile and Chris the chip off of the mom block. I have asked each of them to contribute a recipe this month, so you might better get to know them early in the game as they will appear often.
Some words from Mickey: Here we go. Of course, it all starts with the classic sauces. As far as I’m concerned, they are really the basis of all cuisine. For me, life in the kitchen begins with Veal Stock. My recipe is basically as follows:
10 pounds of meaty veal bones
4 medium carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
Several springs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
Traditionally you’d roast the bones in a hot oven but modern chefs are sometimes foregoing that because you get the color from the tomato product and the roasted bone flavor won’t be so pronounced so you can use the veal stock to make other meat sauces by cooking it down on say lamb or duck bones.
First you bring the bones to boil and then rinse them. This eliminates quite a bit of the scum. You then cover the bones with water and slowly bring it up to a simmer constantly skimming. This takes about an hour. Then you put the rest of the ingredients in and let it cook for 6 hours. If the water level falls below the bones then you need to pour some more in. The stock should then be strained, cooled in an ice-bath, and stored, covered and frozen until ready to use.
These other French recipes or techniques are part and parcel of my repertoire and I’m sure mom will get me to share them as time goes on.
- Beurre Blanc
- Clarified Butter
- Buerre Manie
- Compound Butters
- Crème a l’Anglais
- Crème Chantilly
- Pate Sucrée
- Puff Pastry
Mickey’s Pan-Roasted Veal Chops with Asparagus and Morels
4 veal chops, Frenched and tied
1 tablespoon canola oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound asparagus, trimmed with stalks peeled
1 pound morel mushrooms, rinsed to eliminate grit and insects
1 cup veal jus
(Judie: I have to say that I think that you need more than 1 pair of hands to bring this to the table, but Mickey seems to manage all alone.)
Season the veal with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the chops and sear both sides to make a nice brown glaze. Cook, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until just about cooked to medium. Add the butter and, as it melts, begin basting the chops with the butter and pan juices. Continue basting for another 3 minutes or until the meat is well-glazed and medium. Remove from the heat and let rest a minute or two.
While the meat is cooking, place two additional sauté pans on the fire. Place 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in each one. When just hot, add the asparagus to one pan and the morels, garlic, and thyme to the other. Season both with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally; the asparagus for about 6 minutes or until crisp-tender and starting to color and the morels for about 10 minutes or until just softened.
Lay an equal portion of the asparagus across each of four warm dinner plates. Place a veal chop on top and spoon the morels over the meat and around the plate. Drizzle the veal jus over all and serve.
(Above is Mickey’s spring version of the dish, with rack of lamb and fava beans.)
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Some words from Chris: Last Christmas, some of my closest friends gave me a paella pan, Spanish olive oil, saffron, and Spanish sweet pimenton for the Spanish Table in Mill Valley (California)—www.spanishtable.com. I wasted little time in taking it for a test drive. I made my first paella to celebrate New Year’s Eve with Canada, my daughter. I love one pot cooking, so my love affair with paella began instantly. I failed to get a good, golden crust (the mark of a truly excellent paella) on my first attempt, but I made it again within a few weeks and nailed it. Paella has become a go-to recipe for me and as long as I am familiar with the heat source, I can now almost always get a great crust without burning the bottom layer of rice. The most traditional heat source would be the open BBQ, but I haven’t tried that one yet. I did have to purchase a heat diffuser for my stove to help distribute the heat evenly over the bottom of the pan. Following is my recipe, but you can add almost any seafood, meat, sausage, or veggie you like. Whatever you do, you will eat well!
8 threads saffron per serving
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup Spanish olive oil
1 chicken leg or thigh per serving
¼ cup diced onion per serving
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced, per serving
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
As much chorizo as you like, cut into chunks (my secret is Mexican chorizo from the Fatted Calf – www.fattedcalf.com)
½ cup uncooked Valencia rice per serving
½ teaspoon pimenton per serving
1 cup hot chicken stock (or broth) (or fish stock or vegetable broth) per ½ cup rice, plus a little extra in case the rice eats up too much liquid too fast
2 prawns per serving
2 clams per serving
1 artichoke heart per serving or more if you like
Place saffron threads in a small pan over medium heat and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the wine and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat the oil in the paella pan. When hot, add the chicken and fry, turning frequently for about 15 minutes of until just barely cooked through. Move the chicken to the outer edge of the pan.
Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Then, stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Stir in the red and green pepper and sauté for about 4 minutes or just until beginning to soften. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring, to brown slightly.
When the chorizo is nicely colored, add the rice and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until the rice is glistening with oil and the pan juices. Stir in the pimenton and then the saffron-infused wine.
Add the hot stock and bring to a boil. When boiling, scrape the bottom of the pan. Immediately lower the heat to a bare simmer. Do not stir again as you want the crust to form in the first 10 minutes. Place the prawns, clams, and artichoke hearts on top of the rice; the rising steam will cook them. (I tend to push the clams slightly into the rice to ensure that they get enough heat to cook and open.)
Cook for another 15 minutes and then check the rice for doneness. It should be just a tiny bit toothy.
Remove from the heat and serve directly from the pan. You can garnish with lemon wedges and chopped parsley if you want to fancy it up, but we usually just dive right in.