Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Goose Stew

(This recipe can be altered easily to use two leftover ducks, and slightly less well with one leftover turkey. If turkey is used, try to select as much dark meat as possible.)

Leftover meat reserved from one roast Christmas goose
4 oz. bacon, diced
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. butter
1 onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups of goose stock (see below)
1 tsp. dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
4 carrots, chopped on the bias
5 small Yukon gold or white potatoes, cubed
5 sprigs Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 bottles Anchor Steam 2008 Christmas Ale

1 goose carcass, picked fairly clean
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
10 whole black peppercorns
4 springs fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried thyme
2 dried bay leaves

1) Combine the goose carcass and all the stock ingredients, divided into two large pots if necessary. Fill pot(s) with water until the goose is just submerged. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 1/2 hours covered, then continue to simmer for 1 1/2 hours uncovered. Strain stock through a colander into a large bowl and refrigerate overnight.
2) The next day, use a wide spoon to scrape the solid fat from the surface of the stock. (Reserve fat for other recipes--it's divine.) Stock may be somewhat gelatinous when cold. You will likely have more than the four cups needed for this recipe; freeze the remainder and save for other soups.
3) Place the diced bacon in a large soup pot or Dutch oven and set burner to medium-high. Cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered. Remove bacon to a paper towel-lined surface and turn off burner.
4) In a sauce pot, melt the butter over med-high heat until foaming subsides. Add the flour to the butter and stir quickly to form a roux. When the flour is a deep, nutty brown, slowly add a cup of the goose stock, whisking to form a liquid thickener. Turn off heat.
5) Return the bacon fat pot to heat and add the onion and garlic, cooking until translucent, about 3 minutes. Open one of the bottles of Anchor Steam Christmas Ale and pour it in, scraping any brown bits of bacon fond off the bottom of the pot with the liquid. Take the mixture of stock and roux and add to the pot, stirring constantly.
6) Add thyme, bay leaves, and the remaining goose stock. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes on low heat.
7) Uncover pot and add the Worchestershire, nutmeg, and sugar. Grind plenty of fresh black pepper, and add salt to taste.
8) Add potatoes and carrots and simmer the stew uncovered for about five minutes. Stir in the reserved goose meat and bacon and continue to cook until potatoes and carrots are tender. Garnish the stew with 3 tbsp. chopped Italian parsley.
9) Open the second bottle of Anchor Steam 2008 Christmas Ale.
10) Enjoy together.

When you're using a beer to cook your meal, you can bet the same brew would pair well with the food. The Anchor 2008 is well-rounded and dark, the consistency of a porter, with hints of allspice, chocolatey malts, and sprucey hops. 'Tis the season to pair beer with goose! Huzzah!



1) Set the alarm for early Christmas morning.
2) Throw open bedroom window and stick head out.
3) Find an urchin. Shout down to him (or her) "What day is it?"
4) When the urchin replies, "Today? Why, today is Christmas Day!" throw the urchin a shilling and tell it to fetch a goose.
5) Await arrival of goose. When the urchin returns, don't forget to tip him or her for prompt service. (Note: this is the easiest way to procure a goose, and one of the most cost-effective. Recommended. If you live in a town without a large urchin population, see other options below.)


1) Go to the Upper West Side, to Fairway Market or Citarella.
2) Pay WAY too much money for a goose. (Put it on your credit card to get points. This will make you feel better.)
3) Carry goose home on the subway in a backpack.
(Note: this is simultaneously the most expensive and the most arduous way to purchase your Christmas goose. Not recommended.)


1) Find out where geese like to congregate nearest you. This could be the woods, Central Park, a nearby field, or even a friend's backyard.
2) Load rifle.
3) Shoot goose.
4) Pluck goose, then proceed with the roasting recipe of your choice.
(Note: this is the cheapest way to come by your Christmas goose, but it unfortunately involves the extra work of plucking and trimming the bird. It also requires that you possess accurate, steady aim.)


1) Get on the A train.
2) Go to Chinatown.
3) Ask for a goose. If they don't understand English, hold up the picture of the Christmas goose feast at the Cratchits' in your copy of A Christmas Carol. Point wildly at the image.
4) When the Chinese people still don't understand you, flap your arms at the elbow while turning in a circle. Honk vigorously.
5) After they have thrown you out, go to the next Chinese market down the block. Ask for two fresh ducks. Purchase ducks.
6) When you roast the birds on Christmas Day, post a guard at the entrance to the kitchen and allow no one inside. Plate the roast duck elegantly. When your friends exclaim, "It looks delicious! Is it duck?" smile benevolently and say, "There is nothing in the world as delicious as a slow-roasted Christmas goose."
(Note: this is an effective and inexpensive way to procure a Christmas goose. Be certain your kitchen guard can be trusted implicitly.)


1) Order take-out on Christmas Day. Tacos are nice. If you don't care for tacos, consider Beef with Snow Peas and Hot-and-Sour Soup.
2) Pay delivery man.
3) Eat take-out.
4) When asked how your Christmas dinner celebration went, and whether your goose was a success, adopt a dreamy expression and say, "There is nothing in the world as delicious as a slow-roasted Christmas goose."
(Note: this technique is fairly effortless, and lies in the lower range of cost. Recommended.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Duck Breast with White Bean Puree, Blackberry Sauce and Endive Salad


(Original recipes by Gabe all, so expect plenty of dashes, splashes, and handfuls of ingredients. ;-p)

1 duck breast (Mine was already marinated, but I wish it wasn't. I would have dry rubbed it w/ something delicious.)
1 tbsp. minced rosemary

1/3 cup no-crust 1/4 inch bread cubes tossed in dashes of cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp. bacon fat or butter

1 14 oz. can of white beans, rinsed
Pinch of chili powder
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of allspice
1 heaping tablespoon of tahini
Several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon

1/2 pint container of blackberries (pureed and strained through fine mesh strainer)
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Dash of cumin
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
Dash of balsamic vinegar

2 Belgian endives
1 small shallot
Handful of arugula
1 Bosc pear
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted

Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
A splash or two of balsamic vinegar
A drizzle of agave or honey
A tablespoon or 2 of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

1) Toast pine nuts until golden in a dry pan. Set aside for salad.
2) Toss the bread cubes w/ spices and place in a skillet on med. with butter or bacon fat (if you're the type of person to have bacon fat laying around) and brown, tossing occasionally. Reserve for duck.
3) Thinly slice endive and shallot and combine w/ arugula. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing. Reserve both separately until right before serving.
4) Cut and core pears. Slice into wedges, then place in pan with a bit of butter or oil and cook for 5 minutes on med-high heat until they start to turn golden. Right before you remove them from the pan, pour in a tablespoon or two of balsamic. It will absorb into, and add color to, the pears. Set the pears aside on the plates to be topped w/ dressed greens right before serving.
5) Pulse the blackberries in a food processor until smooth, press through a fine mesh strainer and mix juice w/ remaining ingredients. Reserve to drizzle on the duck plate.
6) Put rinsed beans, spices, and tahini in food processor, and start blending. Slowly drizzle in oil until completely combined and smooth, scraping down side if necessary.
7) Put the beans and lemon zest in a small pot, but wait to heat until the duck is resting after it has been cooked.
8) Place duck breast skin side down in pan on med-high heat. cook 10 minutes. Flip and cook on the opposite side about 8 minutes or until a thermometer reads 135-140. Tent w/ foil and set aside to rest about 5 or 10 minutes.
9) Heat beans. Toss salad w/ dressing and plate everything. Slice duck across the grain, place atop the beans, and sprinkle with minced rosemary.
10) Open the bottle (or 8) of Jolly Pumpkin/Nogne-O/Stone Special Holiday Ale.
11) Enjoy together.

Dear God, this was a good pairing. This holiday collaboration is brewed with a 25% rye malt, white sage, juniper, and chestnuts, with very well-balanced pie spices and piney hop tones, so it went fabulously with the duck and rosemary white bean puree. A pairing worth remembering, and also a fine addition to our holiday beer lineup--not over-spiced, very balanced and full, bitter and sweet without ever getting syrupy, and as one blogger on put it, "packs enough of a punch to make some serious sea donkeys look like catches." Well, God bless us, and especially--at this festive and welcoming season of the year--the sea donkeys. God bless us, every one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spanish Lentils with Mushrooms, Chorizo, and Thyme-Scented Rice

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
6 oz. dry hot Spanish chorizo, diced into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups brown cap mushrooms, sliced
1 cup lentils of your choice--red, green, yellow or brown, soaked if necessary (small ones won't need it)
1 bay leaf
2 dry star anise pods
1 tbsp. paprika
1 cup white rice
1 tbsp. dried thyme
3 1/2 cups water, divided
Salt and fresh black pepper
Gouden Carolus Grand Cru of the Emperor

1) Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil until shimmering, and add spicy chorizo. Stir to brown, allowing chorizo to release some of its fat.
2) Add the onion, celery, and carrot and sweat for 3-4 minutes.
3) Add garlic, paprika and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are just wilted, about 2 minutes more.
4) Add the lentils, along with the bay leaf, star anise, salt and pepper, and 2 cups of water. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are cooked. If the water is absorbed into the lentils before they are done, feel free to add more.
5) Meanwhile, heat the remaining tbsp. oil and saute the rice until opaque. Add thyme, salt and 1 1/2 cups of water, bringing to a boil; cover and turn heat to low for 15 minutes.
6) When rice is done and lentils are tender, spoon some rice over the lentils and serve with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
7) Open Grand Cru of the Emperor.
8) Enjoy together.

Whoa. This is the thickest bloody strong dark Belgian-style ale we've had in a spell of time. It's very sweet, like figs-and-dates sweet, with a deep mahogany purple color and not much in the way of carbonation. The alcohol, predictably for such a malty brew, is eleven percent, and unfortunately you can taste it in the finish along with a more pleasant hint of pepper. Plenty of raisin and clove here, all dark fruits and pie spices, not the most balanced beer we've ever tasted in our lives, but if you're into the strong Belgians and don't mind ingesting beer with a knife and fork, this Cru is for you.

This is our monster; his name is Grendel. We just figured it was about time he made an appearance on the blog, since he spends a great deal of time in the kitchen, watching us cook from the top of his stepladder. This is his resting position. It's also his please-brush-my-spine position. Grendel has a lot of strong opinions about cooking, particularly when bacon, lunchmeat, or fried chicken are somehow involved.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Macaroni and White Cheddar with Artichokes


8 oz. of small dry pasta (I prefer cavatappi)
3 tbsp. butter
3. tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, set aside in a small bowl
6 oz. shredded white cheddar
3 oz. shredded Gruyere
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
14 oz. diced artichoke hearts
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. bottle Kasteel Cru Lager

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a casserole or glass pie dish.
2) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions for its shape, being very careful to drain when just al dente, or still firm. Toss with a little oil to prevent sticking in the colander and set aside.
3) Melt butter over medium-high heat until foaming subsides; add flour, whisking quickly to form a roux.
4) When roux is golden and nearly done (about 2 minutes), add minced garlic, whisking constantly for about 20 seconds (the roux is extremely hot).
5) Carefully add the milk and bring to a simmer. Add cayenne and chili powder. Stir constantly.
6) When mixture has thickened slightly, about 4-5 minutes, add 3/4 of the shredded mixed cheeses, stirring constantly. When cheese has dissolved into the sauce, add salt or pepper to taste.
7) Add pasta to the saucepot along with artichoke hearts, and stir to coat.
8) Pour mixture into baking dish. Combine the remaining 1/4 shredded cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle evenly over the top. Season with salt, pepper and dried parsley. Bake for 20 minutes or until top has formed a golden, crisp crust. Cool for 5 minutes, and serve.
9) Open Kasteel Cru.
10) Enjoy together.

Kasteel Cru is a French lager--I know, I know, generally that's just an all-around terrible idea, akin to a vintage Jersey City pinot noir methode champagnoise, granted, calm down, settle yourselves. Crack one open anyway. It's brewed with Alsace spring water (largely irrelevant) and champagne yeast (surprisingly tasty and surpassingly refreshing). A great beer for a rich dish, and this sucker is comfort food.

Thanksgiving was a blast, but as Fate would have it, Gabe and I spent the Monday and Tuesday prior watching plumbers tear out all the pipes in our kitchen and bathroom at our landlord's behest. Then on Wednesday we watched sewage drip through the hole in our bathroom ceiling onto our toilet, making the prospect of using it rather less than usually desirable. Thanksgiving Day (we're up to Thursday now, yes?) the emergency plumber arrived, but alas! was sent away by our charming upstairs neighbors, who are apparently very kinky and like to dump waste on people's heads, but semi-anonymously and without consent or bothering with ads in the Village Voice. That's right, they wouldn't let the man in. Well, at long last the problem was resolved, right after our landlord told our upstairs neighbors that if they still weren't in the mood to let in an emergency plumber, he was going to find himself in the mood to shut off their water. Sometimes moods align themselves like that, I suppose.

So on Thanksgiving, when we had twelve people at the apartment, what did we do? Gabe took a page from MacGyver's book and made a plastic drainage system, while I composed a sign stating WE ARE THANKFUL FOR INDOOR PLUMBING. BATHROOM IS SANITIZED; IGNORE CEILING. And we made merry anyway. Purple doesn't look as merry as she could in that last picture, but that's just because she didn't know the camera was on.