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"Local Colo(u)r-Type Q's for UK & Aussie Readers: Little Chef and "Smart State"

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Author Topic: "Local Colo(u)r-Type Q's for UK & Aussie Readers: Little Chef and "Smart State"  (Read 829 times)
Bad Penny
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« on: September 13, 2010, 03:38:02 am »

To UK readers:

Have any of you eaten at a Little Chef since the introduction of the new Heston Blumenthal menu?  How do you like it?  (I'm basically a fan of Mr. Blumenthal, but I don't always know how to take some of his culinary ideas.)


Also, in one of his recipes, HB specifies the use of the Maris Piper potato, which is not available in my part of the US.  Can anyone who's lived in both the US and the UK suggest a potato available within the US which would serve as a rough equivalent to the Maris Piper?


To Australian readers:

I was spending a few idle minutes checking out motor vehicle registration plates from around the world, and I noticed that Queensland has the slogan:  "Queensland -- The Smart State".  What makes Queensland any smarter than any other state or territory in Australia?   Huh?

P.S.: HOLD ONTO THE  GROUND DOWN THERE!!  According to my globe, you guys 'n' gals are upside down!!   Grin
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2010, 10:34:04 pm »

I've just eaten my very first dish cooked the Heston Blumenthal way: the roast potatoes.  I used the Red Kennebec potato (in place of the Maris Piper),  and the results were EXCELLENT!!!  They seriously were the best potatoes I've ever tasted: the man knows what he's doing.

Besides the potato substitution, the only variation I allowed myself was to forgo the rosemary (because I don't have any on hand) which is to be added towards the end of the roasting process (actually a deep frying process, considering how much olive oil the recipe calls for).  The dish's Mediterranean flavo(u)r came through nevertheless, and, in retrospect, I think oregano would have been an excellent substitution for the rosemary.  Further, due to the salinity of the water used in the par-boiling stage (basically a 0.8% saline solution), I decided to taste the taters before I added any more salt (as the recipe calls for).  I found them to be perfectly salted, and refrained from adding any more.

Here is the recipe's conversion into US customary units:

Par Boiling Solution:

To four cups (one quart) of water add one teaspoon PLUS one-half teaspoon PLUS one-third of a quarter teaspoon (and, yes, non-Yanks, I realize that this last equals one-twelfth of a teaspoon, but US measuring spoon sets typically come with a one-quarter teaspoon as its smallest measure, so we'll just have to eyeball it).

***

One centimeter's depth of olive oil (like I said, this is really deep frying) is a little less than half an inch.

***

190 degrees Celsius equals 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Actually 374, but that's not a typical US oven setting.)

***

Happy cooking and eating!   Smiley

***

EDIT:

Yesterday I tried this recipe with the oregano.  Great success.  Also tried HB's recipe for roast chicken: a tremendous amount of work and results such that I'm not making it again.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 01:34:24 am by Bad Penny » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 04:02:20 am »

By kitbashing a(n) Heston Blumental recipe (in turn, and in part relevant to this recipe, derived from what Chef Blumenthal says is a traditional Chinese recipe for roast duck) with a recipe I came up with on my own via technical advice from the "America's Test Kitchen" television program(me), I managed to create what I believe to be the perfect recipe for roast chicken, which, since I invented it in Providence, I'll call "Chicken Providence".

I'll give the recipe for a single portion, in order to facilitate the math(s) for multiple portions.

Begin with an approximately one-half US pound (1/5 to 1/4 kilo) bone-in chicken thigh.  (I prefer thighs to whole chickens due to their flavo(u)r, and also due to the fact that they have skin on only one side, which means that all the skin will be exposed to the oven heat (which makes it crispy), where as a whole bird is surrounded in skin, which means the part of the skin touching the pan won't become crispy unless you use Chef Blumenthal's method of post-roasting searing in a pan of near-smoking-point oil.)  Brine (in your refrigerator) for six hours in an 8% saline solution (which gives a rather salty taste (not so salty as to be unpleasant, but salty enough to overwhelm the other spices in my mix without overwhelming the chickeny flavo(u)r, which still comes through massively), so I'll experiment with lower saline solutions of 4 to 6 percent, and I should also add that in US volumetric terms an 8% solution is equal to one-quarter cup of regular salt plus 2 and 7/8 cups of water, while a 4% solution is equal to 1/8 cup (= 2 tbsp) salt plus 3 cups water, and a 6% solution is approximately equal to 3 tbsp salt plus 3 cups water).  Following the brining, rinse the chicken piece thoroughly in cold running water, and then soak in cold fresh water for one hour, changing the water every 15 minutes.  Immediately following the soaking, immerse each chicken piece in boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately immerse in iced water until cool to the touch.  Then plunge the cooled piece back into the boiling water for another 30 seconds, and then immediately plunge the piece into the ice water bath until cool.  (Perform this operation for each piece of chicken separately!)  Once each piece has been subjected to this operation (known as "blanching"), wrap each piece in paper toweling (to about 4-ply thickness) and place on a plate, and then place the plate into your refrigerator overnight to dry.

Once the chicken pieces are thoroughly dried, take 1/2 tbsp (which is equal to 1 and 1/2 restaurant-sized pats of butter, or 1/16 of a 1/4 pound stick of butter, or 7 grammes) of butter.  (The butter must remain cooler than room temperature to the point that it remains solid throughout the following operation.)  Then, drop spices onto the butter, to the extent of 1/8 tsp (0.75g) ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp dried oregano (UK readers, you get the point: volumes of garlic powder and dried oregano equal to the volume of the 0.75g of ground black pepper).  Roughly mix the spices and the butter with your fingertips, and then, having created with your fingers a pocket of space between the skin and the meat, spread (as evenly as you can, but don't worry about unevenness) one-half the mix underneath the skin, and the other half onto the outer surface of the skin.

Once all the pieces have been thusly coated in the spiced butter, place them, evenly spaced on a baking sheet, onto the middle rack of an oven preheated to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F for one hour.  Rest for five minutes, and serve.  Pour the buttery/chickeny/spicey grease left in the pan into small bowls for use as a dipping sauce (my equivalent of Chef Blumenthal's butter melted with chicken wing tips, which he then injects into the meat).
« Last Edit: October 07, 2010, 05:11:33 am by Bad Penny » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 04:52:24 am »

Here's an additional point for the roast potato recipe:

Since the skin of the Red Kennebec potato is thin and flavo(u)rful and attractive-looking, simply wash the potato thoroughly under cold running water before cutting into pieces, and cook and serve with the skin attached.
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 03:04:32 am »

I forgot to mention that I have a gas oven, and, as the combustion of methane (natural gas) produces water as a by-product, thus humidifying the hot air in the oven, I always roast my chicken in an al(i)uminum container with sides higher than the height of the chicken pieces I'm roasting, so that I can cover the top of the container with a piece of alumin(i)um foil without allowing the foil covering to touch the chicken pieces, and I further crimp the edges of the foil around the edges of the cooking vessel, to partially protect the chicken skin from the humidity present in the gas oven, and also to produce a mild pressure-cooker effect.

Sorry for my forgetfulness on this point!
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2010, 10:32:23 pm »

By kitbashing a(n) Heston Blumental recipe (in turn, and in part relevant to this recipe, derived from what Chef Blumenthal says is a traditional Chinese recipe for roast duck) with a recipe I came up with on my own via technical advice from the "America's Test Kitchen" television program(me), I managed to create what I believe to be the perfect recipe for roast chicken, which, since I invented it in Providence, I'll call "Chicken Providence".

I'll give the recipe for a single portion, in order to facilitate the math(s) for multiple portions.

Begin with an approximately one-half US pound (1/5 to 1/4 kilo) bone-in chicken thigh.  (I prefer thighs to whole chickens due to their flavo(u)r, and also due to the fact that they have skin on only one side, which means that all the skin will be exposed to the oven heat (which makes it crispy), where as a whole bird is surrounded in skin, which means the part of the skin touching the pan won't become crispy unless you use Chef Blumenthal's method of post-roasting searing in a pan of near-smoking-point oil.)  Brine (in your refrigerator) for six hours in an 8% saline solution (which gives a rather salty taste (not so salty as to be unpleasant, but salty enough to overwhelm the other spices in my mix without overwhelming the chickeny flavo(u)r, which still comes through massively), so I'll experiment with lower saline solutions of 4 to 6 percent, and I should also add that in US volumetric terms an 8% solution is equal to one-quarter cup of regular salt plus 2 and 7/8 cups of water, while a 4% solution is equal to 1/8 cup (= 2 tbsp) salt plus 3 cups water, and a 6% solution is approximately equal to 3 tbsp salt plus 3 cups water).  Following the brining, rinse the chicken piece thoroughly in cold running water, and then soak in cold fresh water for one hour, changing the water every 15 minutes.  Immediately following the soaking, immerse each chicken piece in boiling water for 30 seconds, then immediately immerse in iced water until cool to the touch.  Then plunge the cooled piece back into the boiling water for another 30 seconds, and then immediately plunge the piece into the ice water bath until cool.  (Perform this operation for each piece of chicken separately!)  Once each piece has been subjected to this operation (known as "blanching"), wrap each piece in paper toweling (to about 4-ply thickness) and place on a plate, and then place the plate into your refrigerator overnight to dry.

Once the chicken pieces are thoroughly dried, take 1/2 tbsp (which is equal to 1 and 1/2 restaurant-sized pats of butter, or 1/16 of a 1/4 pound stick of butter, or 7 grammes) of butter.  (The butter must remain cooler than room temperature to the point that it remains solid throughout the following operation.)  Then, drop spices onto the butter, to the extent of 1/8 tsp (0.75g) ground black pepper, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and 1/8 tsp dried oregano (UK readers, you get the point: volumes of garlic powder and dried oregano equal to the volume of the 0.75g of ground black pepper).  Roughly mix the spices and the butter with your fingertips, and then, having created with your fingers a pocket of space between the skin and the meat, spread (as evenly as you can, but don't worry about unevenness) one-half the mix underneath the skin, and the other half onto the outer surface of the skin.

Once all the pieces have been thusly coated in the spiced butter, place them, evenly spaced on a baking sheet, onto the middle rack of an oven preheated to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F for one hour.  Rest for five minutes, and serve.  Pour the buttery/chickeny/spicey grease left in the pan into small bowls for use as a dipping sauce (my equivalent of Chef Blumenthal's butter melted with chicken wing tips, which he then injects into the meat).

Sounds wonderful.  I will give Chicken Providence a try.  Thanks for posting--I am always looking for new and innovating ways to cook chicken!
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2010, 06:38:39 am »

Donnay:

Let me know the results.  If you have a gas oven, remember my aluminum foil thing, and don't forget to use an oven thermometer, rather than trusting you oven temperature setting.

Enjoy!   Wink
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