Jerk Chicken

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With all the warm weather we have been having recently, and with my cousin’s Jamaica wedding coming up in two weeks I decided to make Jerk Chicken. The recipe is very simple but for best results does require it to marinate overnight. The Jerk rub is quite spicy but not overpoweringly so. You can use boneless chicken breasts or a full chicken depending on what you feel like using. Enjoy!

Jerk Chicken

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Smoky Poblano Mussels

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I have wanted to make a dish with mussels for the longest time. One of my future culinary goals is to perfect my own recipe for muscles marinara but I’m still working on developing a sauce that has the right mix of flavor and heat. In the meantime I wanted to make something just to get some practice with cooking mussels. I found a very simple recipe for muscles in a pablano pepper broth in Cooking light magazine and adapted to suit my tastes.

On important step in this recipe is to combine the ingredients for the broth and simmer then for 8-10 minutes before adding the muscles.

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This allows for the flavor of the sauce to develop and become more complex. After cooking the muscles you remove them from the pot and again reduce the broth until there is about 1 cup left then you pour it over the muscles. This recipe is very simple and is a great dish to try if you want to experiment with mussels.

Smokey Pablano Mussels

Chicken with Spicy Ginger Soy Reduction

Asian chicken

I recently experimented with creating an Asian inspired sauce for chicken. I was surprised at how this sauce turned out, reducing the soy sauce brings develops a very savory flavor in this sauce and the addition of the garlic chili sauce lends a nice heat. The only downside to this sauce is that it is a bit thin, to fix this you need to add some flour to bring it to your desired consistency. You can serve this dish with Spicy Ginger Noodles and snow or snap peas.

Chicken with Spicy Ginger Soy Reduction

Spicy Ginger Noodles

Guinness Reduction Part 2

steak and shrimp

Inspired by St. Patrick’s Day I worked on perfecting the Guinness pan sauce that I made a few weeks ago. Before cooking the steaks I took 4 cups of beef stock, carrots, celery, garlic, and onions and placed them in a saucepan; I then reduced the broth by half to build more flavor in the stock. After fortifying the stock I cooked the steaks in the pan. I sauteed half a shallot then deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup of Guinness. I reduced the Guinness by 2/3 then added the fortified beef broth. I simmered the sauce for ~2 min then added 1tsp dijon mustard, 1 tbs soy sauce, salt, and chopped fresh parsley. I let the sauce simmer for another 2 min then added 1 tbs unsalted butter and 1/2 tsp truffle butter. I then did a final taste to get the salt level right. I then served the sauce over the steak.

To cook the shrimp I took a cast iron skillet and cooked 4 pieces of bacon. I then added the shrimp, which I seasoned with Old Bay and cooked them in the bacon grease.

Guinness

Pan Cooked Chicken in Pale Ale Bacon Reduction Sauce

Pale Ale chicken

Tonight I continued my series in cooking with beer. The beer featured in this recipe is the Blue Heron pale ale from the Mendocino Brewing Company in Saratoga Springs, NY. I chose their pale ale because I thought its flavor would work better with chicken. Their beer is also great for drinking. The pale ale very good but my favorite beer the have is the red tail ale.

The recipe for the sauce has the same proportions for many of the other pan sauces I have made. You can get creative and switch out different ingredients to build new flavors.  Their pale ale and the bacon in this sauce worked great with each other and built a very complex flavor into the sauce. You can also use this sauce with beef or pork. However if you are making it for beef substitute beef broth for the chicken broth. You can find the recipe below as well as a link to the Mendocino Brewing Company’s website.

Pan Cooked Chicken in Pale Ale Bacon Reduction Sauce

Mendocino Brewing Company

Pork Chops with a Normandy Style Pan Sauce

pork

After experimenting with the duck dish earlier in the week I wanted to make something that used the duck fat I had saved. In the end I decided to make a Normandy style pan sauce to put over pork chops. This sauce is very rich and packs a lot of flavor. It would go well over chicken and lamb as well so feel free to mix it up.

Pork Chops with a Normandy Style Pan Sauce

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Honey Balsamic Pan Sauce

Duck1 Duck2

I’m continuing on with experimenting with new dishes on Tuesday. This is the first time I have ever attempted cooking duck. To start I scored the fatty side of the duck with a knif then seasoned it with kosher salt and black pepper. I then heated a pan over high heat until I could barely hold my hand 2 inches over the pan. I then reduced the heat to medium high and placed the duck, fatty side down, in the pan and cooked it for 7 min, turning the heat to medium low after 3 min. I then flipped the duck over and cooked for another 6-7 min. I suggest using a meat thermometer to make sure the duck gets to 145 degrees F before removing it from the pan. Once done place on a plate and cover with foil. Return the pan to medium heat and add 1/4 cup honey, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and salt to taste. Cook sauce down for 3-4 min then add duck again to coat. Take remaining sauce and drizzle on duck when serving. Hope you guys enjoy!

I will be posting a collection of easy yet impressive recipes tomorrow just in time for Valentines Day.

Penne Pasta in a Vodka Cream Sauce

Vodka cream sauce2 Vodka cream sauce1

Tonight I am posting my signature recipe. I have been making this dish for 4 years now and have tweaked it many times to get it to where it is now. The sauce is surprisingly healthy for a vodka cream sauce and only uses 1/2 cup of heavy cream. The addition of the crushed red pepper gives the sauce a subtle heat. You can modify the protein you want to use in this dish. I tend to make it with crab meat. If you use crab meat add it at the end right before you mix the sauce with the pasta. If you use an Italian ham like pancetta or prosciutto saute it with the onions in the beginning to get their flavor infused throughout the sauce. I highly recommend trying this dish. Like I said at the start of this entry this is my go to signature dish and is very special to me, I make it the night before I have a big race or other athletic event. I hope you enjoy it!

UPDATE: I added step by step pictures to go along with the recipe.

Penne Pasta in a Vodka Cream Sauce