Jack is Cooking Persian Rice

Well Hello Internet!
I recently discovered the deliciousness of persian cuisine.  One of the things i liked the best was the way this particular method of cooking rice creates a delicious crust of rice on the top.  Hidden inside can be all sports of delicious meats, fruits, and vegetables.  I investigated some recipes, and before long i had figured out my own delicious version of it.  There are quite a few steps to it, but each of the steps is relatively straight forward.  The rice is cooked very differently from my Perfect Rice recipe, which was an interesting thing to discover.  All together this takes about 3 hours.

Heres what you will need:
For the Filling:
1 lb Merguez Sausage with no casing (look for Jack’s Merguez Sausage at Herondale farm)
1.5 Onions (sliced)
1 cup prunes (chopped up0
1 small bunch of kale (finely chopped)
3 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
a few strands of saffron
1 teaspoon turmeric

For the Marinade/Crust
2 cups Yogurt (Especially good with Greek yogurt, but any yogurt will do fine.)
9 or 10 strands of saffron – soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water
zest of half an orange
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
2-3 cardamom pods (cracked open and ground)
1 tablespoon honey

For the Rice
3 cups basmati rice (cleaned and rinsed until the water is clear)
2-3 tablespoons ghee
1/2 onion
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper.

To Prepare the Filling

1.  Mix all the ingredients from the marinade together

2.  Take the sausage and place in a pan with 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, saffron and turmeric,  cook over medium heat until the sausage is cooked, and the onions are tender.  Leaving the juice in the pan, mix the cooked sausage and onions into the marinade.

3. Heat back up the juice in the pan, and add the other half an onion plus 1 clove of garlic.  Cook until its starting to get soft, then add the kale.  Toss for a few seconds, then add the salt and pepper, plus the prunes.  cover and cook for about 5 minutes.   Set aside.

To Make the Rice
1.  Preheat oven to 375°

2.  Fill a large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Add 3 cups of rice stir making sure all the grains are separate from each other (kind of like cooking pasta).  Cook for maybe 4 minutes, then strain the rice out through a sieve.  You want the rice to be soft on the outside, but still crunchy on the inside.  Its going to be cooked some more in a little bit.  Run it under cold water to stop the rice from cooking.

3.  Remove the meat from the marinade, and set aside.  Add 3 egg yolks into the marinade and whisk together.  Mix in about 1/3 of the rice.

4.  Take a Pyrex dish (it could be round or square), and add 2 tablespoons of ghee.  place in the oven for to heat up the pan and melt the ghee.   ( about 5 minutes)  Remove from the oven

5.  Spread the rice mixture into the bottom of the hot pan.  Try to make a nice even layer that goes a little up the sides.  Keeping mostly to the middle of the pan, spread out a layer of about half of the spinach and prune mixture.  Then a layer of all the meat followed by another layer of spinach.  Finally cover everything with the rest of the rice, fully encasing all the meat and spinach.  sprinkle with any leftover marinade and juice, salt and pepper.

6. Cover with a layer of greased wax paper, followed by 2 or 3 tight layers of tinfoil.  Press down on the rice mixture to make sure everything is good and compacted.  Place in the oven for about 1.5 hours.

7. After about an hour and a half, take a look at the underside of the rice, through the pyrex.  it should be turning a nice brown color.  At this point i like to turn the oven up to about 450° for the last 20 minutes or so.  This will make the crust nice and dark golden brown – and nice and crispy..

8. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15-20 minutes still covered.  Remove the wax paper, and tinfoil.  carefully run a knife around the edges to separate the rice on the sides.  Place a serving plate over it, and flip the rice out onto the plate so the brown side is up.  Garnish with some fresh parsley, and serve.

Jack is Cooking Sausages with Pepper and Onions

Well Hello Internet!
Today i have a simple recipe for Sausage with Peppers and Onions.  It’s very easy and fast to throw together for a good lunch, or dinner.  Also it is good to eat with beer, as a good beer is one of the ingredients.
Here’s what you will need:
1 lb Sausages (Herondale Farm Sweet or Hot Italian!)
1 Onion
1 Red Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 pinch Fresh Rosemary
Good Beer. (maybe a cup)  I used a Weihenstephaner.  
A Baguette
1. Slice the onion and peppers so they are the same size.  Open the Beer.
2.  First Brown the sausages in a skillet, until they are nicely brown on all sides.
3.  Using the same pan as for the sausages, heat the oil back up and add the onions and the peppers, and cook until they are a little brown.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and a little herbs de provence (maybe 1/2 teaspoon), as well as the rosemary.

4.  Add the sausages back to the pan, and just enough beer, so that the sausages are halfway covered.  let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until reduced 3/4 of the way down.  

5.  Serve on piece of baguette, with the rest of the beer.

Jack is Cooking Gluten Free Chipolata Sausages

Well Hello Internet!

In England, a traditional part of any Christmas Lunch/Dinner is Chipolata sausages.  these sausages are extremely delicious, and go along very well with all the other deliciousness that is the traditional English Christmas Dinner.  Sometimes they are wrapped in bacon and served as an appetizer, and sometimes they are just served right along with the turkey.

Two problems have arisen with chipolatas however!

the first problem is that, they are impossible to find in the good old U.S.A except for in a few specialty shops in NYC.  (after all, New York City is not really part of America, but really just a buffer between America and the rest of the world.  I have come to realize this more and more, every time i venture inland and visit the landlocked states.  woah!  this is a blog about cooking!  enough of this topic!)

Anyways, the Second problem with Chipolata sausages is they are inherently filled with Gluten!
so we can’t go to the fancy specialty shops in the city to buy them.  our only option is to make them from scratch!

so heres what you’ll need to make these delicious Gluten Free Chipolata Sausages:

(i used half this because i didn’t want to make 8 or more lbs of sausages!!)

7.5 lbs pork butt
1 lb pork fatback
(if you don’t have a meat grinder, just use ground pork, but make sure its kind of on the fatty side.  like 85% lean, or maybe even less.  these sausages need fat in them.  when they cook it all melts out, but its very necessary for the authenticity)

1 tablespoon sage
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon mace (mace is the outer shell of a nutmeg… nut.  if you cant find any you can grate some fresh nutmeg instead)
1.5 tablespoon salt
6 oz GLUTEN FREE bread crumbs
1 tablespoon pepper
1 pint water
Sausage casings!

so grind up the meat if you are grinding it yourself.  then put it in the fridge.  if you have preground pork, skip this step just put it in the fridge…

next in a bowl put the water, and all the herbs and spices and breadcrumbs.  mix together into a kind of mush.

then take the ground meat out of the fridge and in a food processor, blend the meat and the spice mixture together.  until its totally mixed!:

The next part is getting this mixture inside of the sausage casings!
i recommend a sausage stuffing machine…
i did not have one.
after  many different failed attempts of this my dad figured out a solution.
what you’ll need is a large soda bottle.  and a small soda bottle.
the large one we used was plastic. cut the large bottle in half to make a funnel
the small one was glass.
heres the machine at work:
Pull the sausage casing all the way up the spout of the big bottle.  fill the big bottle with meat, and use the small bottle to push it down forcing it out into the casings.  it takes a little while, and a lot of patience!
but in the end, you have sausages!  yay!!
mmm mmm delicious!

Jack is Cooking Penne Alfredo with Sausage

Well Hello Internet!

For this recipe you will need:

half an onion
two cloves of garlic
some sausage – i used Sweet Italian Sausage from Herondale Farm (www.herondalefarm.com)
Parmesan Cheese (3/4 cup)
Light Cream (half-3/4 cup)
Parsley (optional. i didn’t have any, but its good if you have just a little)

Jack is Cooking Macaroni and Cheese from a Box – and making it better!

Hello Internet!

For This concoction you will need any kind of macaroni and cheese that comes in a box. it usually will cost anywhere from 49¢ to $2.00

then whatever you want to put in it!

here are some things i reccomend

and pretty much anything else you can imagine that you think would be delicious!

so this is a pretty lazy one, but one day i will make a real macaroni and cheese video.