Monday, December 9, 2013

Thai Red Curry Spareribs

I was searching my files for some recipes the other day and ran across this one.  It is from circa 2009.  I do not know the original source.  I do know it was published fairly widely.  I like Thai food, so I thought what the heck?  Let's try it.  It works surprisingly well for how simple it is to put together.
I will post my notes and thoughts after the recipe.  Here is a photo of the dish.
Here is the recipe:

Thai Red Curry Spareribs
Yield: approximately four servings 

3 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 to 4 dried red chilies, chopped
Pinch salt
15-ounce can coconut milk
1 rack baby back pork ribs (about 2 to 3 pounds), membrane removed
1 cup long-grain white rice
Pinch saffron threads
1 ½ cups water
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a blender, combine the curry paste, tamarind paste, oil, fish sauce, sugar, chilies, salt and coconut milk. Puree until smooth, then set aside.
Cut the ribs into 3- to 4-rib portions, then arrange them in a large non-reactive bowl. Pour the curry paste mixture over the ribs, then use your hands to rub it in and ensure all surfaces are coated.
Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Transfer the ribs to a roasting pan, spreading over them any marinade that has collected in the bowl. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hours, or until the meat begins to pull away from the bone.
After 30 minutes of baking, in a medium saucepan combine the rice, saffron and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
Serve the ribs with saffron rice. Garnish everything with cilantro.
Total time: 2 hours 15 minutes (15 minutes active). Serves 2 to 3.

 1.  the recipe makes it sound like the marinade is fairly dry.  It is not.  It is a very thick liquid.  There is a lot of it for the amount of meat.  Don't worry follow the recipe.
2.  If you look at the photo you will notice that the rib on the left looks dry.  I  scraped some of the marinade/basting liquid off of some of the ribs and broiled them for color.  My suggestion is follow the recipe as far as leaving the marinade/basting liquid on them.  The ribs will taste better and be moist.
3.  I do suggest finishing the ribs under the broiler for a little color and caramelizing of the sauce ingredients.
4.  The ribs were not spicy to me.  The heat in the marinade comes from the dried chiles and the curry paste.  Taste the marinade when you first mix it.  It will be slightly spicy.  If you want it hotter add more red curry paste.  Keep in mind that when it is on food it not taste as spicy.
5.  I had a rack of St. Louis style pork ribs in my freezer so that is what I used instead of the baby back ribs.  My rack of ribs was about 3.5 lbs.  I cut the rack into two rib sections.
6.  As you can see I had steamed sticky rice and steamed broccoli with the ribs.  
7.  Most of the ingredients are available at most grocery stores.  The one item that may be difficult is the tamarind paste.  You can make your own from fresh tamarind if you can not find the paste.
8.  You can marinate the ribs in a zip lock bag to reduce the dirty dish load.
9.  If your roasting pan is non reactive (stainless steel) you can marinate and cook the ribs in the same pan.  Even Pyrex should work, but, think about getting it to room temperature before putting it into the hot oven to avoid shocking the glass (just for safety).
10.  Don't overcrowd the roasting pan.  Leave some space between the rib sections.
11.  This recipe has earned a place in the rotation in our home.

I hope you enjoy.
Until next time:
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pickled Red Onions

Over the last two or three months I have developed a real fondness for pickled red onions.  So much so they have become a staple in my kitchen.  We have made one in International Cuisine for some years now.  But, when I saw a new recipe I just had to try it. 
This recipe is an adaption of a version by Rick Bayless, published in Gourmet Magazine in July 2006.  It is much easier and faster than the one we have done in class.
Pickled red onions are common fair in Yucatan.  They are commonly paired with grilled meats.  I like them with most items.  They do go exceptionally well with grilled meats, and poultry (think fajitas, steak, grilled pork loin, etc); but they also go well with Turkey and Dressing and in sandwiches as well.
I hope your like this recipe.  It is simple and good.

Pickled Red Onions
2 Red Onions, sliced
1 cup Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar

Add the sliced onions to a sauce pan of boiling water, enough to cover them, and cook for 1 minute.  Drain.

Return the onions to the sauce pan and add the cup of the cider vinegar, kosher salt and sugar.
Add enough cold water to just cover the onions.  Bring to a boil over high heat and simmer for 1 minute.

Transfer the onions and brine to a non-reactive container (plastic bowl, glass bowl, glass jar, stainless steel bowl and allow to cool for 10 – 15 minutes, at room temperature.  Place the container with onions in the refrigerator and chill. 

The onions will turn bright pink and will get crisp as they cool.  They will keep for weeks covered in your refrigerator.
So there you go.  Pickled red onions in four easy steps.  I hope you enjoy.

Until next time:
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hearty Quinoa, Chicken, and Butternut Squash Stew

Yesterday I posted a couple of alternative recipes for Thanksgiving.  Here is another one.  This is very good, easy to do, low sodium, low in carbohydrates and high in protein.  I wish I had noted where I got the recipe.  I would be glad to give credit where credit is due.

 Hearty Quinoa Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew


  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 pounds boned, skinned chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed into ½-inch pieces
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • Parsley for garnish
  • Bring broth to a simmer in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken and lower heat to a simmer. Cook chicken, covered, 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through; transfer to a plate.
  • Pour broth into a large bowl and set aside. Wipe out pot.
  • Add oil, onion, and salt to pot and cook over medium heat until onion softens and is starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in cumin, coriander, curry powder, and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add cayenne, diced tomatoes, reserved broth, and butternut squash. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Add quinoa and simmer another 10–15 minutes until the quinoa turns translucent.
  • Meanwhile, shred chicken.
  • Add shredded chicken to pot, and heat through.
  • Stir in parsley

When we made this I modified the recipe some and included a garnish of Queso Fresco, fresh cilantro and avocado (see picture below).  The cilantro and  avocado went well.  The queso when combined with the spicing was a little sweet.  Beware of the cayenne.  If you like spice it is okay.  But, if your tolerance of spice is low, reduce the amount by 1/2.  You can always add more in if you like.

Well, I hope you enjoy.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh

Monday, November 25, 2013

Alternative Thanksgiving idea

Sometimes even a small turkey is a little too big for a household.  And of course some people just don't like turkey. So, here are a couple of alternative dishes for you.
First, one with no picture.  Sorry.  This one is very easy and very good!  A combination that I really like.

Supremes aux Fines Herbs
Yield: 4 servings

4 ea                  Boneless, skinless, chicken breast
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 tsp                Shallots, finely minced
Wine, white, dry, as needed
Chicken stock, as needed
12 oz               Cream
4 tsp                Herbs, mixed, chopped, (chervil, tarragon, parsley, chives)

Butter pan, and evenly distribute shallots on bottom.
Season chicken breast and place on shallots.
Add equal amounts of white wine and chicken stock to come half way up the chicken breast.
Bring to simmer on stove top, cover with buttered parchment paper, place in 325° oven to finish cooking.
Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Reduce the cuisson (the poaching liquid) to sec. (technically sec = dry; but you can't go totally dry because the pan will burn, so almost dry and syrupy.)
Add heavy cream and herbs.
Reduce to nappé (sauce consistency, coats the back of a spoon)
Adjust seasoning.
Sauce the chicken.

Notes: Some herbs, like tarragon, release their flavor readily.  You can easily make this dish with just tarragon.  You can also make it with the combination of basil and tomato, which also does quite well.  Or if spices are more to your liking, think about using no herbs but using paprika or even curry powder instead.

Now here is one with a picture: :-).  This one is a little more work but, easily done in an hour or so.
Here you see the recipe accompanied by rice pilaf and steamed broccoli, but the choices are endless.  The rice pilaf and broccoli would also go well with the first recipe.

Supremes A’lestragon
Yield: 4 servings

4 ea                  Boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Flour, as needed
4 tsp                Shallots, minced
8 oz                 Wine, white, dry
8 oz                 Chicken velouté
4 oz                 Cream
2 tsp                Tarragon

Dry the chicken breasts thoroughly (skin on or off) and dredge in flour.
Cook chicken according to the principles of sauteing in clarified butter.
Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
Degrease pan and sauté shallots until they are translucent.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, add tarragon and reduce until au sec.
Add the velouté and cream.
Reduce to Nappe.(remember sauce consistency, coat the back of a spoon.)
Adjust seasoning.
Typically we want people to see our work (the beautiful golden brown of the chicken breast) so we place the sauce around the chicken breast instead of on top.

Well, I hope this gives you some alternatives if you need them.
Happy Thanksgiving.
Bon Appetit Ya'll
Chef Leslie Bartosh