Monday, June 22, 2015




BBQ Chicken Legs and Country Style Pork Ribs with Caprese and Pappa a la Diablo

Nothing says "Summertime" like a good old bbq.  Spring and summer are grilling season; you break out the bbq, the gas or the charcoal grill, tie on the colorful apron, throw on the bbq mit on one hand  and grab on to the giant tongs or fork with the other, throw on your special only-for-bbq hat or cap and head outside!  Well, that is exACTly what I'd had planned for this dish, but it rained.  Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled it rained!  California has been experiencing serious, dangerous drought conditions the last four years and rain is a jubilant thing!  To be honest, I DID put the briquettes in my little round tabletop bbq annnnnnnnd........no go.  It would not light due to the monsoon-like humidity.  Not to be deterred, I had a Plan B.  Afterall, I did lobby my family for a year for a cast iron grill plate for Christmas three years ago, and, happily, Santa followed through!  So, Plan B it was!

The menu I'd planned was to bbq country style pork ribs and chicken legs, both of which were on an extremely good sale at my local grocer who periodically throughout has a 5 for $5 ea. sale.  Select five packages of any meats and each is only $5.00, so I stock up.  These are not small, dainty packages of meats, these are very generous!  Eight chicken legs and four large ribs per package.  I grilled 4 ribs and eight chicken legs.  The leftovers I had to freeze, and they lasted me four days. (I made this June 2nd).  Along with this, I made a traditional Caprese and an old favorite I'd learned from Rachael Ray, Pappas a la Diablo (spicy hot potatoes).  The star of my bbq, however, was my bbq sauce, my Tamarind Pomegranate Sauce.  You have seen Tamarind play a part in many of my sauces, previously.  I simply love it. While the recipe is on my Instagram, at crdn99, (if you did not know that, please look me up!), I will also share it here.  Let's get started, shall we?

Tamarind Pomegranate BBQ Sauce recipe  
1/4 cup Tamarind paste (this can be found in most grocers, specialty Mexican and Middle Eastern grocers, as well)
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce 
1 cup Pomegranate juice (100% Pomegranate juice)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 quartered red onion, roasted
4 cloves garlic, roasted
1 serrano chile, roasted
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chipotle or chile powder, or, 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed and coriander seed, both
pinch salt and fresh cracked black pepper, each
2 tablespoons aged Tamari sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and Mirin, both
4 fresh oregano sprigs
6-8 fresh thyme sprigs

To get the most flavor possible out of my ingredients, and a smoky flavor, at that, I roasted the onion, garlic and serrano chile in a skillet sprayed with non-stick olive oil spray at 400-degrees for eight minutes.  I toasted the seeds and spices in a dry small skillet on my stove-top over low heat for ten minutes.  The combined aroma of the two will knock your socks off!  

I threw in the herbs after roasting to heat up to release their oils.

As I stated, I simply roast the red onion, garlic and serrano in a little evoo spray at 400-degrees for 8 minutes.  I remove my oven safe skillet, toss in any fresh herbs, such as the fresh oregano and thyme to heat up and release their aromatic, flavorful oils.  At this point, I let the veg and herbs cool down a little, toast the spices on the stove top in a dry skillet, as mentioned above, remove from the heat and allow it to cool.  I combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl and whisk thoroughly.  It really is not necessary to put the wet ingredients together, as they are going to be blended, anyway.  That is just a "me" thing.  Once the veg has cooled, I add the wet ingredients to a blender (or, my nice new Ninja blender:  Thanks, Spinner!) followed by the spices and the veg and herb.  I pulse it, use a spatula to smush down chunks that try to escape upwards, pulse again, and then blend very smooth.  The Key is VERY SMOOTH.   Now, I usually love chunky sauces, but I wanted this one to be smooth, so it would caramelize onto the meats later.  I place the mixture in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring it to a slight boil, reduce the heat all the way to low and let it simmer for one hour.  The sauce will reduce by half and the flavors will intensify.  Season with salt and pepper, and perhaps a little honey, if needed, to balance the flavors.  

The sauce has reduced by half and when cooled, thickens. 


 And Finally, back to the proper verb tense!!!  Whew!


Marinade for the Chicken Legs and Country Style Pork Ribs

I marinate a lot of meats, even when I am going to slather them with a sauce or drizzle a sauce over the top.  The layers of flavors here are like the layers of an onion; a surprise follows every layer.  

For this marinade, I use my dad's old tried-and-true marinade.  It is extremely simple but flavorful.  Get ready.  It can get a little complicated, so do not look away or get distracted!

1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 white vinegar (or garlic white vinegar, in my case)
salt and pepper

Place the meats in a large baking pan, drizzle with the thoroughly whisked marinade, turn reapeatedly with tongs to thoroughly coat each piece.  Cover and place in the refrigerator as long as possible, turning every thirty minutes.  It is best to do this overnight (I did this Monday, June 1st), but if all you have is thirty minutes or an hour, that is how long you marinate it!!!

Whether you plan to grill outdoors or indoors, about twenty to thirty minutes before you plan to grill, get your bbq or grill plate ready.  Remember, in my case, rain and the charcoal would not light, so I had to grill indoors.  I opened up all the windows and had the stove top vent on high!  I rubbed my cast iron grill plate with extra virgin olive oil on a paper towel and turned the heat, front and back burners to high.  

Whatever your circumstance is, get it ready!  This is the fun part!  After this, well get to the easy, but flavorful sides. And, if you are grilling indoors, like me, preheat your oven to 350-degrees!

 
Place the meats on the grill and let them grill for at least four or so minutes before trying to move or turn them!  The sugars are developing and when done so, the meats will release easily on their own, like these bad boys above!

IMPORTANT!!!!!!!
If you are grilling INDOORS, do not grill the meat to the point of being completely done!  You are going to put these in the oven soon and add the sauce two or three times and finish them in the oven!!!   

IF you are grilling outdoors, you can start adding the sauce shortly before the meats are done in order to get that caramelization of the sauce on meat.  

 Yes, the stove top WILL get messy and you WILL need to clean your vent and fan and grate afterward!  Windex works great!

 
IF YOU ARE GRILLING INDOORS, Please keep reading.  Outdoors? Please skip to my mouth-watering side dishes below!


After I completely grilled the meats, I placed them on a baking sheet covered with foil and a rack. I brushed on generous amounts of the sauce on one side and placed it in the oven for ten minutes.  Your nose and ears will tell you when it is time to flip them and slather side two with sauce.  Repeat twice or thrice until the sauce is caramelized onto the meats.  Whatever you like best!

When all of the meats are done, cover with foil and set aside, but not back into the oven!  Crank that baby up to bake at 400-degrees again!  Pappas a la Diablo is next!

Pappas a la Diablo

This dish can be made myriad ways with whatever ingredients you want.  I simplified it and made a serving for two.  I washed four Yukon Gold potatoes and sliced them into equal chunks. In the meantime, I seasoned them with a little salt and fresh cracked black pepper, crushed dried oregano and thyme eaves, a pinch of crushed red peppers and tossed them in two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Into the oven at 400-degrees and start the coating. 

In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons spicy stone ground mustard with white wine, 1/2 teaspoon (or whole, if you want it really spicy!) pasilla chile powder or chipotle powder, 1 teaspoon sriracha or Harissa, 1/2 teaspoon crushed cumin seed and 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed. 

After eighteen (18) minutes, remove the oven safe skillet or pan (safely!) and toss the potatoes with the spicy mixture and set aside in a bowl or plate. 

 Ready to be tossed in the spicy coating!

And my salad crowning glory....

CAPRESE

Slice tomato, mozzarella rounds, stagger with fresh basil leaves, and serve over a bed of fine extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.  Elegant, simple, flavorful!

Here's my plate!

 

I know this dish has a lot of ingredients and steps.  It is one of those dishes you will want to serve to guests for a special occasion.  The bottom-line, however, is, I did not spend  a lot on this dish.  $10 for the meats, and about the same for all of the rest of the ingredients, combined. A  $20 dish to serve four - six people on a day where you have time and special guests is a winner in my book.  How about yours?  

THANK YOU for your time and consideration for reading my humble blog.  As always, I am grateful for all of you!!!  Enjoy!  Now Go Cook Something for someone you love!