Thursday, January 21, 2010

Texas BBQ

We had a few things to celebrate, so we threw a huge BBQ before departing for summer holidays. I was keen to try out some Texan BBQ, since I still think about the brisket sandwich I had in the Fort Worth airport last September. Twenty-four people turned up for the BBQ, including several vegans and vegetarians, so the menu had to have something for everyone. I settled on the following:

Barbecued Texas Beef Brisket
Vegetarian Texas Chili (I changed the recipe a lot ans will post the modified version later)
Grilled corn
Peach ice cream, vanilla ice cream with pecans, and peach sorbet

Acquiring brisket was problematic, three days before the barbecue I couldn't get one from any of the butchers in Belconnen and then my shopping patience ran out. I could get a few large pieces of silverside which in the American meat vocabulary is known as top round (and coincidently is the preferred cut for Baltimore-style barbecue). To make something with a similar texture and flavour to my recollection of to brisket from silverside I followed these instructions for barbecuing bison top round, the meat was cooked for 90 minutes per kilo with the barbecue set up for indirect heat and a tray of water placed in the centre to create some steam. The barbecue was about 135 °C for the duration, I wanted the meat cooked medium to avoid potential toughness, so left it cook until it reached and internal temperature of 63 °C, then took it out of the BBQ to rest for 30 minutes wrapped in foil. It wqs really good, but a thinner and fattier cut may have been even better.

The dessert required less experimentation. Peach ice cream is a Southern US speciality, this version comes from Texan former First Lady Ladybird Johnson; it was extremely delicious.

Mrs. Lyndon B Johnson's Peach Ice Cream
Makes about 2 liters
Adapted from The Texas Cookbook by Mary Faulk Koock

1 kg ripe peaches
1 cup water
600 ml cream
250 ml milk
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 egg yolks

To make peach purée halve, pit and quarter the peaches, then cut the quarters into smaller pieces. Put the peach pieces and the water into a saucepan, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the peach skin has separated from the flesh and the flesh can easily be pierced with a knife. Let the peaches cool then process into a purée with a blender, pass the blended mix though a sieve for a very fine purée.

To make the custard, mix the cream, milk, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan and heat gently. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl, remove the cream mixture from the stove and gradually whisk in half of the warm milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened.

Strain the hot custard into the puréed peaches and stir until well mixed. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions, for a standard ice cream machine with a 1L bowl divide the mixture into two portions .

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cabbage and Potato Curry

Clockwise, rice, sour chickpeas (khatte chhole), papadum, cabbage and potato curry

I made this Pakistani curry for the first time last May, I remember choosing it because it used up staple vegetables. I really enjoyed it when we ate it then but I didn't make any notes and the recipe was a bit vague in places.

The version below is quite hot, you could easily use the same spice mix and increase the vegetables to make a more mild curry that feeds more people, just maintain the 2:2:1 ratio of cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes.

Bund Gobi Aur Aaloo
Serves 4-6
Adapted from Asian Spicy Recipes

400 g wedge of cabbage
400 g potatoes
200 g tomatoes
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion
3 cm piece ginger
1 tsp chilli powder
1\2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander seed, ground
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 green chillies, chopped

Remove any tough cabbage leaves, shred the leaves and discard the tough core. Peel and cut the potatoes into a 1.5 cm dice. Roughly dice the tomatoes. Set the vegetables aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Peel and dice the onion, peel crush and chop the garlic. Add the onion and garlic to the hot oil and sauté until soft or about 5 minutes. Add the chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, and salt and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring frequently, add a little water if the mixture sticks.

Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and fry the mixture until the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp and the oil begins to separate from the mix. Add the cabbage and potatoes and stir to cover them with the aromatic tomato mixture. Reduce the heat and cover the pan, allow to cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the curry looks quite dry

Add garam masala, fresh coriander and green chillies and serve.