Monday, January 23, 2012

Chicory Stout Lamb Burgers with Braised Fennel

Sometimes when cooking is brought up it makes us a little bit stupid. We get excited, the two of us, we start planning menus and pairings. The logistics. Transferability. Which is exactly how we found ourselves laden with bags of half prepped food and ingredients trudging down an icy Greenpoint street towards our friend's home.

"How the fuck did we let him talk us into this again?"   An astute question.

Somehow we'd been presented the idea of a Barleywine tasting at Brouwerij Lane and then dinner. And then us cooking dinner. To which we enthusiastically agreed, this is what put us in the middle of the snow with more shit than we needed to carry. Last night was a learning experience, both in the rigors of cooking in another person's kitchen and trust. Primarily, don't do it and if a mildly insane lush of a friend hands you a shot glass, question it first.

When determining the recipe Lapin took a couple of key aspects into consideration. Lots of beer, lots of fire, lots of Jacob. Fucking delicious.

No regrets though, and all things considered we managed a rather delicious meal on the heels of alot of high ABV's. This recipe makes about six burgers, Lapin over aimed on portions because she's insane and says that she wasn't sure how much us boys could eat.

Chicory Stout Lamb Burgers with Braised Fennel

What You'll Need:

For the burgers.
Two shallots finely diced
1 bottle of Dogfish Head's Chicory Stout (or when it's off season, any Irish dry stout)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tbsp unsalted
2 tablespoons of garlic and onion flakes
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
A light pinch of Herbs de Provence.
1 tbsp buckwheat honey
2 lbs ground Suffolk lamb

6-7 hamburger buns or parker house rolls. We like them from Eataly NYC's bakery.

For the fennel:
1 bulb of fennel, roughly chopped.
1 bottle of chicory stout
2 tbsp of buckwheat honey
1 tbsp butter
A heavy pinch of sea salt

Second Level Burger Topping Tactics:
2-3 shallots or one sweet onions thinly sliced.
One half cup flour, seasoned with cayenne and salt.
Frying oil of choice.
4 tbsp of mayonnaise
4 tbsp of non fat greek yogurt.
Black Pepper.

The Logistics:

In a nonstick skillet melt 2 tbsp of butter, then add your finely diced shallots, honey, herbs, and spices. Cover with stout and worchestershire, over low heat reduce down into a thick syrup, this should take about 10-15 minutes, and set aside to cool in a large bowl. Once cool, mix into your 2 pounds of ground lamb and set into the refrigerator to  let the flavors meld, if you can do this the night before cooking it's even better.

While that cools, follow the same procedure for the fennel. While that braises in the stout, crack open a Green Flash Double Stout and curl up on the couch with a loved one. It'll run about another 20 minutes.

Now, time for some second level burger topping techniques.  Not necessary, but far more delicious. Put on a pot of frying oil (Lupo demands Canola) and bring it up to about 350-375 degrees fahrenheit. Dredge the onions in the seasoned flour, fry at the last minute before serving.  Mix together equal parts mayonnaise and yogurt, season with black pepper.

Form the meat into six or seven burgers dependent upon the size you prefer. Oil and heat up a skillet.  When the fennel is finished, fry up your burgers to medium rare.

Proper assembly follows as such. Split your buns. Layer down the fennel with syrup on the bottom half, followed by your burger, yogurt sauce, and then fried onions.

Crack open another Double Stout and Enjoy.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bacon and Pecorino Egg Cups.

Did you know that there can be such a thing as too much eggs benedict? Heresy, I know. But entirely true. And surprisingly still a lot of work and dishes to clean even after we've perfected the art. And Lupo and I, we both hate doing dishes. Especially Lupo.

So Lapin worked this one out as an easy break from our routine.

This is a recipe that requires very little to no work, a maximum of four items to clean, and time to sneak in a quickie while they cook. And who the hell can complain about that? Serve with your favorite breakfast beer, we'd recommend Sierra Nevada's Celebration ( a delicious, light bodied fresh hopped amber, cuts through the bit of fat nicely without torching your palate.) , Or just a nice cup of tea and coconut water if you're feeling a bit hungover from the night before.

Bacon and Pecorino Egg Cups for Two.

What you'll need: 
4-8 strips of bacon depending on the cut.
Old bread, preferably a rustic baguette, cut to fit muffin tin bottom.
About 4 ounces of cheese, we prefer Pecorino Ginepro, Toscano, or Parmigiano Reggiano. But any decently sharp cheese will do.
Four large eggs. Preferably pasture raised...
Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne (or spicy pepper blend)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The Logistics:
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Cut the bacon in half and line a non stick, or well greased muffin tin with bacon strips first. Place in the oven while you cut your bread and shave off pieces of your cheese. Remove from the oven and then begin layering your bread down into the muffin tin on top of the bacon, drizzle each piece with olive oil, then top with black pepper and your cheese.

Crack an egg into each cup, I prefer to begin with cold eggs to prevent them from over cooking and to keep them still a little runny, and top with cayenne and sea salt. Bake about 10-12 minutes, or until eggs reach your preferred doneness. You'll get two cups per person.

Enjoy. Take a nap... and maybe follow up with breakfast number two.