CRAWFISH BISQUE


Crawfish bisque

Last summer was a good time for crawfish.  We had some excellent catches and made some great recipes.  After one of those great meals, I took all of the heads and tails of the left over crawfish and transformed them into stock.

It is fairly simple to make a crawfish broth.  You will need a large stock pot.  First, I took the leftover crawfish and rinsed them in cold water to clean off any residue from the boil. I then sauteed two minced shallots and 2 cloves garlic in olive oil.  I then added two chopped carrots, one chopped onion and 2 chopped celery stocks.  Once the vegetables were soft, I added the crawfish bodies.  As I stirred the crawfish, I also smashed the bodies to expose the meat and juices.  Use the entire crawfish, most of the flavor will come from the heads.  Once the bodies are smashed and browned, I added about 3 gallons off water to the pot.  The amount of water will differ based on the amount of crawfish you are using.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Let the crawfish simmer for about 3-4 hours and the water will have reduce in half.  Strain the stock and discard the bodies and vegetables. After stirring the stock, I then run it through a China hat to get rid of any larger pieces that passed through the initial strain.

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Once you have made your stock you can use it in many different crawfish recipes.  I like to use my stock to make soups.  My favorite crawfish soup is crawfish Bisque.  The following is the recipe I like to use for my crawfish bisque.

CRAWFISH BISQUE

Ingredients

  • 12lb crawfish tails
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4  cup dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paparika
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 quart crawfish stock
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  1. In a saute pan heat a little oil over med-high heat and saute shallots, onions, and garlic for one minute.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
  3. Add the Tabasco, and thyme and saute for another minute.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the sherry.
  5. Add the paprika, and crawfish stock base and combine well.
  6. Stir in tomato paste and add the bay leaves.
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  8. Whisk in heavy cream and the butter and bring to a boil.
  9. Add the crawfish tails and simmer until cooked through.
  10. Garnish each bowl with chopped chives and a few whole boiled crawfish.  Shrimp makes a great substitute if whole crawfish are not available.

If you would like to learn more about how to catch crawfish or cook them “The Crawfish, From Pond To Plate” on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ED47QVA

 

 

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Five Spiced Pork Belly With Maple Whiskey Sauce


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Sometimes you make a recipe and it turns out awesome.  This recipe is one of those dishes that fits that description.  The pork belly is flavorful, tender and juicy.  The parsnip puree serves as a nice compliment to the five spiced pork and maple whiskey sauce and the radish sprouts help cut through the fat and bring the dish together.  Without tooting my own horn to much, I would have to say that this is one of the best dishes I have ever made.  I recommend that you try this recipe as soon as possible.  Just make sure you make enough of the sauce because people will want to drink it!

Note;

Pork Belly can be bought at Costco, fine meat markets and oriental grocery stores.

Chinese five spice can be bought at most grocery stores as well as oriental markets.

Ingredients

For the pork belly

  • 1 – 2 lb boneless pork belly
  • 2 tablespoons miso
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt (maldon salt works great)
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place cooling rack on top of a baking tray.
  2. Prepare the pork belly by washing and drying thoroughly.  Make sure the skin is completely dry. Make slits in the fat, 1 inch apart,  my pork belly already had the skin removed.  If your pork belly has the skin still on it you can either remove it or leave it on.  Make sure you cut all the way through the skin but be careful to not cut into the meat.  Turn the pork belly over and stab the meat all over with the tip of your knife.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the miso, maple syrup and Chinese five spice. Coat the meat side of the pork belly only. Place the pork belly skin side up on top of the  rack.
  4. Pour the sesame oil over top of the skin and rub it into all of the slits and over all of the skin or fat.. Sprinkle the top with the Maldon sea salt.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 2 hours.
  6. Remove the pork belly from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes, uncovered. Slice the pork belly and serve with the maple whiskey sauce and puree of parsnip.

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Maple Whiskey Sauce

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  • 3-5 tablespoons of juices from the cooked pork belly
  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 shot Crown Royal Maple Whiskey
  • 1 tbsp apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp real maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard

Place the skillet back on the stove top and heat the juices and another 1 tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until transluscent, about 5 mins. Add the whiskey. It will sizzle and bubble quickly. Add the apple sauce, maple syrup and dijon mustard and whisk until smooth. Reduce the sauce a little, whisking regularly. Finally, remove from the heat and whisk in the last 1 tbsp butter.

Parsnip Puree

  • Parsnip puree
  • 5 medium parsnips (2-2.5 pounds total), peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. In heavy large pot combine parsnips with enough cold water to cover. Place over moderately high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Continue boiling until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain. Working in 2 batches, pureé hot parsnips, butter, and chicken stock until smooth. Transfer to large serving dish, stir in salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Plating The Dish

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  1. In the center of the dish place 1/2 cup of the parsnip puree and spread across the plate.
  2. Spoon some of the whiskey sauce on the the puree.
  3. Place two pieces of pork belly on the puree.
  4. Drizzle more Maple Whiskey sauce over the top of the pork belly.
  5. Top the pork with some baby radish leaves.
  6. Serve when hot.

Wood Grilled Utah Lamb


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I love lamb.  I especially love Utah Lamb.  Some people complain that lamb has a gamey taste and that they don’t like the flavor.  To these people I say, you have not eaten a good piece of lamb! People also complain the price of lamb is too expensive. While legs of lamb, rib chops and racks of lamb can be expensive, there are other cheaper cuts that are just as delicious as the more expensive cuts.

It is becoming more important to people to know where their food comes from.  In Utah, I know where the lamb comes from. It comes from the same place I hunt deer and elk. From the pristine mountain forests and meadows of Northern and Central Utah.  In the spring and summer, Utah sheep are raised on the same grasses and forbs that deer and elk eat and they drink from the same crystal cold springs and waterholes.  In the fall, the animals are herded out of the mountains and the lambs are then slaughtered.  In the past, I have bought whole lambs directly from the rancher.  This is the best way to enjoy Utah lamb, however if you do not have access to a Utah sheep rancher then the next best thing to do is to look for Utah lamb in your grocery store.  You can also find Utah lamb Purveyors on the internet,  Below are two excellent Utah lamb produces and their website addresses.  Contact them and see if they can provide you with fresh Utah lamb.

http://morganvalleylamb.com/

http://www.utahnaturalmeat.com/lamb

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The following is one of my favorite ways to cook a lamb shoulder chop.  This recipe brings out the flavor of the lamb and combines it with the fresh flavors of the herbs and vegetables from my back yard garden.  The recipe calls for the lamb to be grilled over oak wood and charcoal.   If you can’t cook with wood over an open fire, this recipe is also good when you broil the chop in your oven.

Ingredients For Lamb

4 lamb shoulder chops.

Garlic powder.

6 sprigs of fresh Rosemary.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Salt and pepper.

Directions for cooking lamb.

  • Bring the lamb chops to room temperature.
  • Rub the chops liberally with the olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with the garlic powder.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Take 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary and strip the leaves from the stem.  Sprinkle leaves evenly over the chops and press into the lamb chops.
  • Marinate the lamb chops for 2-4 hours or over night in the refrigerator

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  • Remove the lamb chops from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
  • While the chops are coming to room temperature, fill a charcoal chimney with charcoal briquettes and lite.

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  • Once the charcoal briquettes on the top are white, pour the coals into your grill and pile to one side. Place a small piece of oak on the coals.  Allow the wood to burn down a few minutes before you grill the lamb.
  • Let the grill rack heat up.
  • Once the grill rack is very hot, place the lamb chop on the grill and sear both sides.  About 2 minutes per side.

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  • Move the chop to the side of the grill that has no coals.
  • Now, lift the charcoal grill and place 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary on the hot coals.

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  • Place the chops on the rack directly over the rosemary sprigs on the coals and cover the grill.  Allow, the rosemary to smoke and infuse the meat.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and turn the chops several times over a 5 minute time span.  I prefer my lamb medium rare.  If you want it cooked more leave it on the grill for longer.  Remember that the thickness of the chop will effect the total time needed to cook your chop.

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Ingredients for Vegetables

4 fresh green zucchinis from the garden, sliced into 1/4 inch rings.  For best flavor, the zucchinis should be no larger then 12 inches long.

2 Japanese eggplant, sliced in rings.

4 sweet Hungarian wax peppers, sliced.

2 green bell peppers, sliced.

4 garlic cloves, chopped.

6 fresh basil leaves, chopped.

1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves.

1/2 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, no stems.

1/2 cup of fresh chives, chopped.

3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Directions for cooking the Vegetables

  • Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot.
  • Add cut vegetables and garlic to the pan.
  • Stir vegetables and cook until they begin to soften.
  • Add all of the herds, salt and pepper to the pan. (Salt and pepper to taste.)
  • Cook until  the vegetables are tender and soft.
  • Place the vegetables on a plate and place the lamb shoulder chop on the center of the vegetables.
  • Garnish the lamb chop with a few fresh basil leaves and serve immediately with a nice red wine..

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ENJOY!

Woodfire Roasted Chicken And Game Birds


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Do you have a fat duck, goose, pheasant or wild turkey in the freezer.  This recipe is designed for the wood oven but you can also use it in for your birds in the regular oven.  This recipe is meant for birds that have been plucked and have a layer of fat under their skin.  The fat is important as it will melt and help baste the bird as it cooks. A wood burning oven tends to have hotter and drier heat then a regular oven. In addition to any fat you add to the bird, the birds own fat will keep the meat moist while it roasts.

Since I have no wild birds in my freezer, I chose to use a free range organic chicken to illustrate this recipe.  Of course, the best chicken flavor and meat is going to come from a backyard chicken or a chicken from a family farm that has led its life chasing bugs and pecking seeds and weeds.  If you live in farm country, these kinds of chickens are easy to find.  If you live in a big city or metropolitan area, it will take some research to find a purveyor of these types of chickens.

Ingredients

  1. Whole, chicken or large game bird cleaned and plucked.
  2. Juice of 1 1/2 lemons.
  3. Herbs De Provence
  4. 2 cloves of Garlic cut in half
  5. 1 small onion quartered
  6. Olive Oil
  7. Garlic powder
  8. Onion powder
  9. Salt and pepper
  10. Chopped parsley for garnish
  11. 6 Yukon Gold potatoes cut in quarters

Directions

Build a fire in the wood oven using oak, apple or cherry wood.  When the wood has burned to mostly white hot coals with a little bit of flame, move the coals to one side of the oven.  Add a piece of wood to the fire to keep the temperature in the oven steady.  Add wood as needed during the roasting process.

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Rinse the bird and pat dry.  Make sure you rinse the birds cavity and pat dry as well. Take some olive oil and coat the cavity. Salt and pepper the cavity and add the 4 garlic halves.  Squeeze half of the lemon on the inside of the bird and place the squeezed half into the cavity.  Seal the cavity with the other half of the lemon.

Place the bird into a roasting pan. Cover the whole bird with a generous amount of olive oil.  Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the skin of the bird. Season the bird with the garlic powder, onion powder and Herbs De Provence. Take the potato quarters and place around the bird.  Season the potatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  The potatoes will also be seasoned by the fat and drippings from the bird.

Place the bird into the wood oven for about 5-8 minutes to brown the skin. Make sure you watch the bird to ensure the skin does not burn.

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Once you have a nice brown color on the skin take the bird out of the oven and cover the whole pan and bird with aluminum foil.  Place the bird back on the deck of the oven with the pan slightly protruding into the oven. The temperature in this area should be about 350-375 degrees. The side facing the interior of the oven will be hotter then the side facing out.  It is important to rotate the bird about every 8-10 minutes to make sure it cooks evenly.  Remove the aluminum foil and baste the bird at least 3 times or every twenty minutes.  Put the foil back over the bird and continue to cook.

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A 4 to 5 pound chicken should take about 40- 60 minutes to cook.  The timing depends on your ability to keep the heat in the oven fairly constant, size of the bird and the bird type. After 60 minutes, check the internal temperature of the bird for desired doneness.  The following internal temperatures are recommended for different game birds in degrees Fahrenheit.

Chicken – 165 degrees

Duck – 165 degrees

Goose – 165 – degrees

Grouse – 150 – degrees

Pheasant – 160 degrees

Wild Turkey – 180

The potatoes should be done when the bird is finished cooking.  If not, remove the bird, set aside and cover.  Place potatoes back into the oven until done.

Cut up the bird into its different parts.  Pour juices from the cutting board over the bird and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately with the potatoes, a salad and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Enjoy!

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