Thursday, April 28, 2016

Livening Up Everyday Meats

Chicken and port have become everyday occurrences in our daily diets. The problem is that everyday can become boring very quickly. The solution? Pair them with interesting vegetables or make them in interesting ways to liven up dinner. They'll go from boring to exciting in no time.

Melissa Clark and David Tanis know this and wrote about chicken and pork respectively in their Wednesday columns in yesterday's New York Times Food section. Ms. Clark paired chicken with artichokes for her A Good Appetite.This is the season for chokes  and they're wonderful made any way thanks to their inherent sweetness. Unfortunately they are a bit thorny to deal with , due to theie sharp tipped leathery tips. Ms. Clark removes all of  these to reveal the tender heart and the surrounding core of baby leaves which are good braised in a mix of olive oil, chile, white wine and herbs. The chicken is cut up, bones and all and seared first for about six minutes .It's taken out and  then the artichokes and garlic are then put in to cook.Tomatoes and red pepper flakes are added along with wine , olives and rosemary branches. Butter is then added after everything has been oven simmered for half an hour. Ms Clark warns that the chicken skin will lose its' crispness. To remedy this she recommends adding a dusting of Parmesan cheese and quick cook under the broiler. It is a saucy dish so make sure there's a crusty baguette served with it.

Chicken can also be used in David Tanis' satay recipe  from his A City Kitchen column. He uses pork  though in this Thai inspired dish. Satay is an Asian version of shish kebob but instead of using thick chunks of meat, the pieces are thinner and flatter.They should be cut as rectangles in order to lie flat on the skewers. Doing such will allow the satays to cook quickly, just a few minutes per each side. Mr Tanis recommends using the pork shoulder because of the marbling in it with the fat giving the pieces more flavor . Satays are meant to be grilled and , even a small hibachi one can do the job nicely. Even an indoor grill or broiler can do if the weather doesn't cooperate.What makes satays so appealing is the marinade. Mr. Tanis uses one that is highly spiced with cumin, and coriander along with ginger and cayenne for heat. Lemongrass and coconut milk, the mainstays of Thai cuisine , is also added as are fish and soy sauce. The meat pieces are marinated for at least thirty minutes and at the most overnight, the last a must for a more flavorful taste.There is also a fiery cucumber relish made from Japanese or Persian cukes to complement then.Of course there is peanut dipping sauce. - a have to have with the dish. Again , most of the ingredients from the marinade is mixed with pulsed dry roasted peanuts.

Chicken and pork are versatile meats that can be made a variety of ways. Try chicken with artichoke hearts for a  sweet and mellow dinner. Pork can be made into a fun  Thai inspired dish.Try both for a departure from the ordinary.

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