Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Oven-Braised Chicken Stew, Hungarian-Style from Bogre at

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs
Founders of Food52
Have you ever visited  It’s the brainchild of former New York Times Food writer, Amanda Hesser and her partner, Merrill Stubbs, a Brown University and Cordon Bleu grad who worked with Amanda on “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” (The New York Times Company 2010). The site is characterized by exquisite photography –especially of its carefully curated “Provisions” area where Food52 sells an intriguing and artful collection of housewares and pantry items.  It’s a full on-line community which actively requests recipes from its audience.   There are any number of contests to enter and readers select “Community Picks” of their favorites.  It was there that I found today’s recipe. As I often do, I started a recipe search with one ingredient in mind and one hope: to discover something hearty to do with chicken thighs for that cold night’s dinner.  And boy, did I find
This is a Bogre
according to Wikipedia
it. Its creator, 
Bogre, who describes himself as a ‘library acquisitions specialist, bartender and District of Columbian', is a significant Food52 contributor who has won one contest, been a finalist in another and has 5 “Community Picks” to his name. "Bogre", I was to discover, is a specific type of mug in Hungary.  Not being fluent in the language and relying on a web translator, it appears that a "Bogre" is also used as a measuring cup.  At any rate, Bogre's Hungarian credentials are pretty well summed up in his screen name.  That and his use of that most Hungarian of all ingredients.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Clarks and Porchetta for Days: An unforgettable Pork Roast and a Cannellini Vegetable Soup from the leftovers.

Jill Clark, Redhead and Cook 
My friend Jill Clark introduced me to Melissa Clark’s recipe for “Counterfeit Porchetta” at the dinner party she and her husband Steve threw right before Christmas.  Like Jill, I’d seen the recipe in the New York Times the week before and, like Jill, I was intrigued.  Melissa Clark explained that in Italy, Porchetta is a spit-roasted, de-boned and stuffed baby pig seasoned with fennel, garlic, rosemary and lemon. (Confession:  I wasn’t a Porchetta virgin.  I’d made a mean counterfeit Porchetta before (see
Melissa Clark, Redhead and
  But the version I had at Jill and Steven’s had me hooked from bite one.  It is incredibly flavorful and juicy. The spicy, salty crust just begs the cook to pick at it before serving.  Pork Shoulder is used here.  You’d be hard-pressed to find any protein as economical as Pork Shoulder. The one I special-ordered came in at about $4.00 a lb.   It’s terribly easy to cook mostly because it’s not fat-free by any means.   The amber crust keeps the meat underneath juicy and tender.  The platter of meat that emerged from our kitchen was soon devoured and with barely any leftovers.  But there was the bone and a couple of slices of meat.  So a day or two later, I turned both into a soup so perfect for cold weather, so ideal for using fresh and leftover vegetables, that I’d make Porchetta again just so I could make it.