Archive for the ‘Thomas Keller’ Category

Day 35 – Keller Chicken

March 24, 2007

March 18, 2007: Keller Chicken

A family favourite…when the four of us were done, there were no left overs, not a piece of skin, a wing-tip or morsel to be found. 

K. also whipped up some garlic mashed potatoes, a simple green salad and roasted carrots to round this one out.

No dessert for me as missed work due to the damaged clavicle has finally caught up and far too much writing is due Monday morning.


Day 9 – Roast Chicken

February 19, 2007

February 19, 2007  – Thomas Keller’s roast chicken with a side of roasted root veg.

This dish is so preposterously easy to make and so unbelievably good that we probably eat it about once every seven to ten days (I’d never done the math on this before, that’s like 40+ roasted chickens a year…)

There are maybe three steps to this:
1. Make sure the bird is dry
2. Shower the bird with one tablespoon of kosher salt (inside and out)
3. Truss the bird and pop it in a 450F oven

If you’re really lazy (and you’d have to be incredibly lazy) you could likely get away with just salting and roasting the bird.

That’s it.

At about the 35 minute mark, throw some peeled and roughly chopped carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and whole unpeeled garlic cloves into a shallow oven safe roaster with a bit of chicken stock on the bottom. Drizzle on a touch of olive oil, some kosher salt and keep the lid on.

In an hour there’s one succulent bird with crispy salty skin ready to go. 

The bird has to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, at that point pull the lid off the veggies, take the oven temp down to 375 and let veg finish roasting.

The Wine
2004 Henri &Gilles Buisson Margauttiere Pinot Noir: a pretty but simple wine, it has a bright lively acidity that matches perfectly with the salty moist chicken.

The Verdict
Our daughter loves the drumsticks (food she doesn’t have to battle with a knife and fork) and the boy will easily eat both thighs and some of the breast.

This dish used to be good for leftovers, but now the four of us consume the whole thing. I can see a day in the not too distant future when we’ll have to roast two birds…

Day 8 – Squash Soup; Braised Lamb Shanks

February 18, 2007

February 18, 2007: Squash Soup and Braised Lamb Shanks

The soup is based on Thomas Keller’s Butternut Squash Soup recipe from his cookbook Bouchon. The lamb shanks are based on  a recipe in Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries (the book that inspired this blog).

Another freezing cold day, -19C with wind chill. The weatherman promised it would be +7C on Monday. Same folks are now calling for it to be -14C.  A 21 degree swing this time of year is just plain cruel.

If it was a weekday, it would be time to crack out the slowcooker, but as it’s a lazy Sunday it’s time for a nice soup and a good in-the-oven braise.

The Soup Prep
A large butternut squash is split in half, the cavity cleared of seeds and the neck removed.

The cavity gets a splash of olive oil, some salt and pepper and a collection of fresh herbs. The split squash goes cut side down on a foil lined sheet into a 350F oven for an hour.

While it roasts, I slice and dice: 1 cup of leeks, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of shallots, 1/2 cup of onions. The neck of the squash is peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch dice.

Stage II
Once the squash is out of the oven and cool enough to handle, a neutral oil is warmed in a large pan and in go the leeks, onions, carrots, and shallots. After five or so minutes, the raw diced squash, six cloves of peeled garlic, salt and pepper go into the pan.

Here’s the secret to this dish – two minutes after the squash and garlic go into the pan, add 2 tablespoons of honey. This is a twist I never would have thought of and it gives this soup a really deep, complex flavour.

After that, the roasted, skinned squashed, 6 cups of vegetable stock go into the pot -the whole thing is brought to the boil – and then simmered for at least 30 minutes.

Working in batches,  the soup is run through the blender and passed through a sieve back into a waiting saucepan. Taste the soup, adjust the seasonings; if it’s too thick add a bit more vegetable stock. Then it’s ready to just re-heat and serve. To finish it, Keller calls for nutmeg infused creme fraiche and fried sage, but that will have to wait for another day…

The Shanks
Last night I trimmed up a couple of lamb shanks, removing the excess fat and cutting back some of the silver skin. They trimmed shanks went into a Tupperware with a cup of red wine, a bay leaf, a touch of salt and a garlic clove that had been passed through a rasp.


This afternoon, the shanks get browned in hot oil and then a mirepoix hits the pan. Once the mirepoix has cooked off, the shanks, three smashed cloves of garlic, an onion cut into wedges, a cup of red wine and a cup of beef stock are added to the pan. The whole thing goes into a 300F oven for an hour.

After an hour, a tablespoon of grainy pommery mustard gets stirred into the mix, the shanks are turned over (wet side up, dry side into the mix) and it all heads back into the oven for another hour. 

Some garlic mashed potatoes go into the bowl and the shanks go on top…(with way too much steam for the camera to handle)
Shanks with a steamed lens

K. made chocolate pots de creme from the December issue of Cooks Illustrated. She said they were very easy to make and they were delicious; however, they were really heavy. Way heavier than any pots de creme I’ve ever had, bordering on being solid chocolate…perhaps she overcooked the creme anglais. Still, a bowl of dark chocolate with whipped cream is never a bad thing.

The Wine
2004 Saintsbury Chardonnay with the soup (thank goodness for half-bottles) and Plan Pegau Lot 2004 with the lamb.

The Verdict
Both kids liked the lamb, though they weren’t so sure about the soup or the mashed potatoes. As could be expected, the chocolate was a the most popular dish of the night.