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Tag Archives: Roast

Roast pork, slow cooker style

Slow cooked roast pork

Everyone has made roasts in slow cookers. It’s a fabulous way to make a delicious meal when you have a busy day ahead. And it’s so easy. After all, it’s just prepping the meat and veggies and dropping them into the slow cooker and letting the slow cooker do the work while you go off for the day. Easy peasy, right?

Today I wanted to share something simple with you. Brittany likes crispy potatoes. Who doesn’t? Problem is, the slow cooker doesn’t brown the vegetables. So here is what I did. I cut the soft crackling off the pork and allowed the pork to rest covered with aluminium foil. In a sauté pan, I rendered off the pork skin, making some crispy crackling.

What is a pork roast with out the crackling?

After I removed the crackling, I threw the potatoes in the pan and used the pork fat to brown the potatoes and bring in that delicious crunch. After I crisped up the potatoes, I used the left over juices to make a rich gravy.

It’s a difficult but delicious trade-off. Yum!

Ethically, I’ve used the whole cut, even the fat and juices. For the health conscious consumer like diabetics, pork fat is high in saturated fats and is not the best choices. There are may scientific links between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease. The choice to consume or limit your intake is ultimately yours. Generally I avoid it, but today, I indulged.

 

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Roast Duck with Cherry and Ginger Glaze

And so it has come – the last of my duck experimentation recipes.

I have to admit to glancing at a recipe in a book store by Maggie Beer that has inspired this creation. I remember it used a cherry jam with some fresh ginger as the glaze and suggested some preparation ideas that were a little unusual to me. Never the less, I committed those few things to memory and have created this dish with those things in mind.

Roast Duck with Cherry and Ginger Glaze

[ Serves: 4 – 6 | Time: 30 Minutes | Cost: $4 ]
[ Joes Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients

½ duck – I used the thigh / leg pieces
¼ – ½ cup cherry jam
1 teaspoon ginger

Method

  1. Mix the jam and ginger together. Apply heat if necessary to make it thin and well incorporated.
  2. Trim the excess fat and skin from the sides of the cut of duck.
  3. Lay the pieces on a wire rack in a sink and pour boiling water over the flesh. It should contract however, the pores in the skin will open to allow the marinade to sink right into the flesh.
  4. Transfer the pieces to a bowl and pour over about half of the jam mixture, rubbing it well into the skin.

    Notice the tightness in the flesh after the hot water has been used to open the pores?

  5. Bake the duck on a wire rack at 180°C until cooked. My pieces took roughly 30 minutes. Pour half of the retained glaze mixture about half way through the cooking process
  6. Rest for 10 minutes, covered with aluminium foil.
  7. Pour the remaining glaze mixture over the meat and serve while hot.

Hot sticky and crispy skin is a diabetics dilemma.

Observations

  • Be sparing with how much hot water you apply to open the pores in the skin. You don’t want that flesh to retract too much. It takes too long to relax again. The pores will visibly open though, so watch closely.
  • By baking the duck on a wire rack, you allow for the fats to run off rather than being absorbed into the meat. Its a healthier option for you. 
  • Ensure that you rest the duck before serving it. It will need it to relax or it will be tough.
  • I have to admit that I over cooked the duck by about 5 minutes. Watch the texture of the meat and try not to over cook it.
  • Diabetic Note: Like all jams, the cherry jam has a fair amount of sugar in it. I didn’t pour anywhere near as much jam on my piece. Go lightly with the jam and it will be a wonderful choice just the same.
  • Ethical Note: This is the last of my three dishes from one duck bird. I have to say, I am kinda thrilled at what I got off this one bird. It fed us three satisfying meals and the entire bird was utilised.

I served the duck with crispy baked vegetables and steamed greens.

 

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Roast vegetable salad with cheese kransky

Yesterday was a big day in the kitchen with lots happening. As I was already preparing vegetables for last nights dinner, I decided to do extra on a similar theme for lunch. We all live busy life styles, and where possible, I will think ahead and prepare several meals at once, keeping refrigerated in containers to retain its freshness. This time saving strategy means we can enjoy fresh, healthy, hearty meals when when we are flat out with work / school / life / whatever. We also had some cheese kransky’s left over from the medieval murder mystery night so I decided to add them – I hate waste!

Ingredients

1 packet of kransky’s – 1 sausage per person
1 medium potato
1 small onion
1 zuchinni
¼ butternut pumpkin
¼ sweet potato
½ leek
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 teaspoons crushed garlic
sprinkle of chilli flakes
sprinkle of rosemary
sprinkle of paprika
few torn basil leaves
a little parsley finely chopped
drizzle of olive oil

Method

  1. Chop the vegetables into smallish bite size pieces (see photo 1 above as a guide). In a baking tray, mix the vegetables with the oil and herbs, ensuring all pieces have an even coating.
  2. Cook in the oven at a moderate temperament (200°C) for  30 minutes (photo 2). Check every 15 minutes, stirring vegetables to redistribute the oil and herbs over all the vegetables as needed.
  3. Warm a tiny bit of oil in a shallow saucepan or skillet over a medium heat setting. Chop the kransky into bite size pieces, placing into the oil cut side down. Cook for several minutes before turning (photo 3 above).
  4. Pile the vegetables on a warmed plate, topped by the kranksy. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika or sprig of parsley. Enjoy!

Observations

  • I make variations of this dish quite often. Almost weekly. Its actually my “mustn’t waste vegetables!” technique. At the end of the week when the cupboards are starting to look bare, I will whip something like this up to use up any left over vegetables before shopping day. Sometimes I will serve this on a bed of couscous, sometimes mixed in with left over pasta with a cheese sauce. The herbs used vary according to what I am feeling at that moment. Experiment with this idea in an effort to reduce the amount of waste your family generates through uneaten vegetables.
  • I made this in my portable convection oven. If you use a PCO, don’t forget to add a little water to the bottom to keep the air moist / stop the veggies from drying out.
  • Diabetics Note: The kransky is VERY high in fats, so portion control is essential, regardless of how delicious they are! The carb content from this meal comes primarily from the potatoes and sweet potatoes. I often omit those vegetables if I am using couscous or pasta. Adjust to suit your carbohydrate needs, but this meal ran well within my exchange point budget, and my BGLs were fine.
  • One last (but big!) note – I would love to say this meal is ethical, but I don’t think the Kranskys were. Although the company was ethical, the ingredients list “meat including pork”. I can only assume that there is beef in the mix, which for us is highly unethical. Read my post regarding the big beef debate to find out why.
 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Roasted Buttermilk Chicken

This recipe is straight from Smitten Kitchen with very little alterations. It was divine. The soaking processes lend a silky texture to the chicken that just has to be experienced.

Ingredients

Chicken

2 cups buttermilk
5 teaspoons of minced garlic
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons paprika
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 – 1.5kg free ranged chicken pieces
Drizzle of olive oil

Vegetables

1 portion size of each vegetable per person – Potato, Pumpkin, Carrot, Sweet Potato
1 teaspoon minced garlic per person
salt, pepper, paprika and rosemary to taste
Drizzle of olive oil

Method

  1. Prepare your chicken for the marinade by removing any excess fat and skin (Photo 1 above). If you have boned a whole chicken as I have, remove the excess bone such as the backbone, rib cage and pelvis
  2. To prepare the marinade, mix all the ingredients together with a whisk in a container deep enough to accommodate the chicken (Photo 2 above). Refrigerate for 2 – 24 hours.
  3. To prepare the vegetables, peel and dice into large chunks – Use the photo 3 above as a guide. Add the vegetables to a baking tray and mix well with the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary and oil ensuring each piece of vegetable is thoroughly coated. Cook in a moderate oven for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on quantity. Check every 15 – 20 minutes, basting the vegetables in the oil as needed.
  4. To cook, place the well drained chicken into a baking dish that has been lined with aluminium foil (shiny side against the meat). Sprinkle with a little paprika to the skin before placing into a moderate oven (200°C) for 40 minutes to one hour. Check every 15 – 20  minutes, and adjust cooking time as needed for quantity.

Observations

  • The chicken was silky smooth, moist and delicious. The trick here is to check the chicken regularly to ensure it isn’t drying out. To test if the chicken is cooked thoroughly, piece the flesh with a fork. If the juices run clear, its cooked. If no juices run, it is drying out already.
  • Vegetable portion sizes can be tricky to work out. Tonight, I didn’t plan on doing any steamed vegetables, so I aimed for a rough serving size of each vegetable of approximately ½ – 1 medium potato each person and an extra serve “for the pot”. These extra serves are there in case of unexpected arrivals, extra hungry family members or lunch tomorrow for Joe’s work lunch box.
  • This meal was cooked in our awesome little portable convection oven (where would I be without it!). Just a reminder – if you are using a PCO, add a little water into the bottom to ensure that the air is moist. This will stop your vegetables from drying out. If only I had of remembered that trick before I cooked tonight…
  • I only marinaded this chicken over a five hour period. I would LOVE to have done it for a full 24 hours. I would recommend a longer soaking time. If you do marinade for a longer period, ensure that you agitate the container periodically to ensure that all the pieces are still sitting in the buttermilk.
  • I boned out a whole free ranged chicken, as whole birds are often much cheaper than pre packaged pieces. Boning out a whole chicken does leave you with a little extra bones (usually considered waste), but these can be saved to make some fantastic home made chicken stock. There is no need to waste any part of the bird, and it will be much more economical. I am sure there will be youtube instructional videos on how to bone out chickens, and you shouldn’t feel daunted – its actually quite easy!
  • Diabetics Note: I added potato to this dish to lift the carbohydrate content. The buttermilk is very low in carbs, as are all the other ingredients. A slice of bread would bring it within the 30-45g carb allowance (2-3 exchanges). You should also be aware that there can be a lot of fat on the chicken so ensure you trim your meat well to avoid the excess fats. Portion control may be important, however, my BGL’s were fine after this dish.
 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Food: Diabetic Friendly, Food: Ethical Eating

 

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Roast Chicken with Mango

Christmas before last, Joe’s grandmother gave us a Portable Bench Top Convection Oven (PCO). As we are quite concious about our power consumption, we choose to use the PCO over the  (non convection / non fan forced) stove oven more often than not. It has been one of the best presents we have gotten, and is in line with our “footprint reduction” targets. I’ve cooked all manner of things in there, but despite the awesome roast picture on the box, have never been able to make a good roast dinner in it. The vegetables often dry out, don’t cook evenly or are under cooked and the meat is usually falling off the bone, making it difficult to serve. I’ve searched the interwebs on several occasions for a good PCO recipe for the perfect roast without success. Through several attempts of trial and error, I finally nailed it! Here is my take on a perfect roast.

Ingredients

1 free ranged chicken (We used a size 18 today, but generally use a much smaller size, perhaps a 12)

2 large potatoes

½ butternut pumpkin

½ large sweet potato

1 mango

salt, pepper, parsley

Method

  1. Place a good 200mls of water in the bottom of the PCO. This will create a bit of moisture during the cooking phase to stop the chicken from drying out. Put a wired rack into the bottom, ensuring the water doesn’t come up as high as the rack.
  2. Dress the chicken by removing any excess fat and skin around the neck. Score the mango and use the diced flesh from one mango cheek to stuff between the flesh of the breast and the skin. Place the dressed chicken onto the centre of the rack. Retain the rest of the mango and the seed until later.
  3. Cut the vegetables into quite large chunks. Place them haphazardly around the chicken as seen in the photo above. Make sure there is still sufficient room to allow for air flow.
  4. Put the lid onto the PCO and set the temperature to 200°C and the timer for 30 minutes. When the timer sounds, rotate the vegetables to ensure that the vegetables at the bottom have a chance to brown by being closer to the top. Use the retained mango seed (or cheek flesh if you haven’t used it in a stuffing – see note below) to squeeze fresh pulp and juice over the outside of the chicken and drizzle it over the vegetables. Ensure there is enough water still in the bottom of the POC and add another cup if needed. Cook for a further 30 minutes.
  5. Check that the chicken is ready by pushing a long pronged fork into the breast. If the juices run clear, then it is ready. Remove the chicken from the PCO and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting to serve. Serve with the roasted vegetables for a delicious meal!

Observations

  • I ran out of breadcrumbs today, and couldn’t stuff the chicken as I normally would do. Stuffing is easy to make, and if you have the ingredients on hand, it would be an awesome addition to this meal. To make a stuffing for this dish, I would combine 1-2 cups of bread crumbs, the flesh from the remaining mango cheek, salt, pepper, parsley, sage, rosemary and a little garlic to make a firm stuffing mixture. I would also be tempted to add some dried cranberries or some nut – possibly hazelnut. Be careful with the herbs; you still want the sweetness of the mango to be evident.
  • The size of the vegetables seems to be important in the cooking process. Don’t be tempted to cut the vegetables smaller, as this will cause them to dry out fast. Use the photo above as a guide, keeping in mind that this is a size 18 bird!
  • It is vital that the water in the bottom of the PCO does not dry out. Once it dries out, or there is insufficient steam, the meat and vegetables will dry out.
  • I opted not to make a gravy today, so that we could enjoy the flavours of this dish. I did consider doing a jus for it with the liquids in the bottom of the PCO, and in hindsight, this would have been a good addition. If you find that your chicken is a little dry, this would be a good option.
  • If you use a smaller bird, you may need to finish the vegetables while the bird rests. As a rule of thumb, check the bird every 15  minutes to ensure it isn’t drying out / over cooking.
  • Id like to apologise for not having a “completed” picture for this dish… we kinda got distracted and devoured it before any of us realised I had missed the photo.
  • Diabetics Note: I added some potato and sweet potato for carb content to this meal, but it wasnt enough to lift it to 3 exchanges. The addition of stuffing would possibly be enough to meet the carb requirement for this dish.
  • In our household, we only ever consumer free ranged chicken. I wont use this post to educate about the evils of mass produced caged birds, however, I highly recommend doing your homework on this topic and remember; you are what you eat. Free ranged chicken is definitely a more expensive option when compared to the mass produced caged birds that are mostly available, however, we have combated this expense by eating chicken a little less often. This choice was not only a healthier option for us, but it was also much better on our ethical conciousness. The ethical debate aside, free ranged chicken tastes SO MUCH better than any other available poultry option!
 

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