The Art of The Pig
The Art of The Pig

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

The Chicken
1 Chicken 3-4 pounds
Vegetable Oil
1 medium onion, large chop
1/2 cup dy white wine (Chardonnay)
4 cups chicken stock
Garlic clove, fine mince
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
2 medium turnips, peeled, large dice
Sea salt

 The Dumplings

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 tablespoon flat leaved parsley, chopped

1/2 cup whole milk

Fresh ground pepper


Small ramekin beurre manie (see below)

Rinse and dry the chicken

Remove one wing

Remove the other


Remove one whole leg quarter


Remove the other


Split both leg quarters into leg and thigh. With the wings that gives us six pieces


And a carcass


Separate the back from the breast. We will save and freeze the back for stock. With the back, the neck and the wing tips we would probably get our two cups of stock, but it would take some time, best to have it made in advance and either frozen or canned.


Split the breast into halves


Split each half into quarters. That gives us a total of 10 pieces, plenty for 2 meals for 2 people


Pour vegetable oil into large pan, which will need a cover, and heat. You want the oil very hot but not enough to smoke.


You can see a distortion in the oil, that is also a sign of proper temperature. Put five pieces of chicken, skin side down, in the  oil and brown. It is going to cook 4-5 minutes a side, but see below


Leave it alone, checking gently to see if it is loose yet. Don't break the bond with the pan, that simply tears the chicken. When it is ready, it will come loose without leaving anything sticking. 

Use the time to prep the vegetables for the dish, see below.


See, all nice and brown.


Remove chicken and set aside on plate.



Add the remaining five pieces to the hot oil.


And when browned turn over.


And when done, add to plate of chicken from the first batch. The hot sauce has nothing to do with this recipe. This is a working kitchen and it left from lunch, the crystal bowl is left from Thanksgiving.


Add the onions you prepped while the chicken was cooking and sautee.


This is a good time to ensure that the vodka hasn't gone bad.

Onions are done.


Add the white wine


Put the plated chicken back in, this is a good hour and a half from done


Add the chicken stock


Add cayenne, black pepper, bay leaf, garlic and thyme


Cover, set timer for an hour, go enjoy the martini and appetizer


An hour later


Add carrots and turnips


After 15 minutes of cooking, at this point you could remove from the flame for up to 20 minutes, just bring back to temperature before proceeding.


In four or five pieces add the beurre manie. This will serve as a thickening agent.


Take your dumpling batter, which you also prepped (see below) while browning the chicken and has been rising for an hour.


In 7 or 8 equal sized amounts, add to the pan.



Heat 15 more minutes, with cover on.

Vegetable prep

There isn't much to this, but a few pictures may help


Big dice on the onion


Peel the vegetables.

You don't use a 40 gallon bin for garbage?

Years ago we were having a pool party for 40 or 50 people. I got tired of taking out these small full garbage bags, and brought in a clean bin from the shop with a construction bag, promising a startled Virginia I would change it out before the guest got there. About 10 minutes after I put the small bin back, she wanted her big garbage bin back. It has been there since. The table was built so there is a place for it underneath.


Cut turnip in half, cut each half in thirds, rotate 90 cut in thirds, rotate again and cut again



From bottom and CCW, onion with bay almost out of frame, garlic, carrot and turnip.

Mise en place


Mise and a bowl




Baking Powder



Stir, yes with a fork.

Chopped parsley, flat leaf





Let rest until needed

Beurre manie (Kneaded butter) is a mixture of equal parts soft unsalted butter and flour, equal in volume. As it is here it is used as a thickener

Note: If serving as leftovers, discard old dumplings at time of first meal and make new.

Breaking up a chicken

Chicken Stock

 Plated meal check under Sunday

PDF download version of this post

Pictures of the chicken break up Nikon D-90 AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f1.4G, natural light

All other pictures Nikon D-90 AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G with internal flash

All contents © 2011 Virginia L. Dyson & Warner W. Johnston

Bistecca Maremma

This is the beginning of a new major project for us. Last year my wife knitted hats for everybody, and there are 17 of them.

This year we decided on a collection of our favorite recipes, in some cases these are ours in many cases from a noted collection. We are known in the family for our food and cooking, thus passing on our favorites would be good.

As we prepare these for ourselves we will give you our version of it, not Lydia's, Craig's or Julia's, but Warner's or mostly Virginia's. How often I'll get one up, I have no idea, but we will be doing at least three of these dishes for Thanksgiving and probably more. And I did one the other night.

This is from the category: Beef. There are about 19 other categories.

The first is one of the simplest dishes I have, Steak Maremma. 

From the Maremma area of Tuscany this is a simple, easy and delicious method of preparing a steak.

1 Porterhouse at least two inches thick, room temperature.
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Chop the rosemary and mix with the salt and oil, set aside. I actually don't chop the rosemary very fine, but crush it in a mortar which I have added the salt and oil too. The pestle works just fine. 

The rosemary, salt and oil are the only seasoning and will be added during the rest period. That steak is 2 inches, it possibly should be more, but we will still get four servings off it and save the bone for dark beef stock. The first time I did this I did it from a butcher on Arthur Ave, inside the market not on the street, and it was three inches, this is supermarket loss leader, but it is also $5.99/lb not $15.99 or more.

Have your grill all the way up and let it heat for 30 minutes or so.

I use a very old Weber. It is on it's third set of grills and is on it's last year of service. That orange is the wood clamp holding the frame together and the bottom has fallen off. It burns natural gas not propane and is run off the house supply.

Put the steak on the grill, direct heat. This is right over the flame.

After about 5 minutes rotate 90 degrees. Now I wouldn't use a fork for this, but I will use tongs. A very high end place will use two spoons to not damage the meat at all.

After 10 minutes flip and repeat for a total of 20 minutes. If you want you could cut that a little and use the time to stand it to heat and mark the edges, on a 3" steak I would as I want a total of 30 minutes on heat, not 20.

Put on cutting board.

Brush with the rosemary - salt - oil mixture.

Cover in foil and let rest for 10 minutes. This will give you a steak a bit on the medium side of rare, but not quite medium rare.

That is what is left of the fillet after I'm carved three slices for my wife, if I can find a picture better showing the slices I'll slip it in here later.

I prefer the strip side of the Porterhouse and I don't like my steak sliced. Seved with a salad, baked potato, bread and a decent red. In this case a Rosemount Cabernet, an inexpensive Australian wine. 

Photos, grilling, sauce and carving -wwj Plating VLD

With few pictures you can find just what else I  ate this particular week, November 14, 2011 go down to Friday.

PDF download version

Feel free to copy and pass it on, but do give credit if you use text or pictures.

All photos on this entry: Nikon D-90 with 18-55mm VR Nikkor Zoom

(C) Virginia L. Dyson & Warner W. Johnston 2011

Sausage - again

Do understand I won't give recipes here unless they are mine. In this case the authors are trying to make a living from their craft and I won't under cut them. You might find some sausage recipes at Ruhlman's blog.

That is everything from a meat grinder except the motor. The knife is to cut the meat into pieces that will fit down the grinder feed tube.

Starting from the top left and going clockwise we have the tray, the part that holds the rest together, the screw, the pusher, the die (small die in this case), the blade - and don't forget to steel the blade as it is a knife and the feed tube.

The blade goes on the inside with the sharp edge against the die, and I had done it backwards.

Do not, repeat do not, put the blade or the die in the freezer. I don't care who tells you to. A grinder blade is made of a brittle metal, it hold an edge better, brittle metals may chip or break when frozen. My big freezer gets to -10 F. Do keep them in an ice bath when not using them and for 10 minutes before and between starting grinds. My grinder does about 5 pounds of meat before it needs to be steeled again. I make sausage in 5 pound batches as result. Well also my stuffer is a 5 pound model.

The above is the whole assembled grinder in use, in this case turkey cranberry from Charcuterie by Ruhlman and Polcyn (turkey cherry in their case).

End shot. Note the double bowl. Grind into a bowl in an ice bath, cold is good, warmth is bad. This kitchen is at 55 F.

Fresh ground about to go in mixer.

Keep the meat very cold, and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes before the grind.

We start with 10 pounds of turkey thighs, I need five pounds of meat, anything left over goes in the freezer for the next time.

I can pull the skin off with my fingers, you may need a knife, but get the skin off. Save it.

Bone it.

Save the bone, put it with the skin, put it in a baggy and freeze it for stock.

Cut it so it fits down the throat of you grinder, mine takes 3/4 inch cubes easy. You should not have to push meat down it, the screw should pull it in. 

Add the mise in place, or those items need pre-grind.

I don't put breakfast sausage in casing, but do note that when frying this sausage, it may burn from the sugar of the cranberries.

I also did a chicken basil sun dried tomato, right after this. 20 1/2 put ups of breakfast sausage, tomorrow I'll do 10 pounds of pork sausage, a Mexican Chorizo which we also use as a breakfast sausage and a fresh garlic, which is our principle cooking sausage.

On things - gym, sausage and stocks

Knees do not like the tread mill, which since I was walking almost 3 miles daily on the streets, is a bit surprising. The elliptical machine leaves me stiff, but not hurting and for what it says is the same distance, feels like a lot more work. Tomorrow I up the distance and try to start a regular swim.

After lunch it is off to market. 40 pounds or so of chicken quarters, a pork loin, turkey thighs and a pork butt. 

The loin will get butchered mostly into chops, but perhaps a roast or two.

The butt goes into the freezer for my next sausage session after this one. Hard sausages, it is that time of year, but I need to check casings and fermentation agents first. I will need five pounds of chuck for that too.

The turkey gets trimmed off the bone with five pounds going to this sausage session in the form of Michael Ruhlman and Polcyn Turkey sausage with cherries, only I use cranberries. Excess meat and the bones go in the freezer. The meat for the next turkey sausage, the bones go in with the carcasses from Thanksgiving for turkey stock

The chicken thighs get trimmed with the meat going in five pound lots into the freezer for sausage. Going to try Charcuterie's Fresh Garlic with chicken instead of pork. Taste change not a health thing. 

The legs and the thigh bones, as well as a couple of frozen carcasses, go in the stock pot on Saturday. This will warm the house. Chicken stock. I do separate Turkey and Chicken stocks when I can, Poultry stock is some mixture of the two. I also have Goose stock, which will probably be used in the Duck Cassolet for the Friday after Thanksgiving dinner (13-19 people possible).

The rest of this sausage session tomorrow will be one 5 pound batch of fresh garlic sausage, we use a lot of it. Last night meal as example Wednesday dinner. The pork is defrosting now, one batch of Mexican Chorizo which we use as a loose breakfast sausage, the aforementioned Turkey with dried Cranberries. I'm also defrosting 5 pounds of chicken thigh meat for Chicken with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil. Both poultry sausages are breakfast sausage and thus loose, it is easier. All four are from Charcuterie and I'm awaiting the publication of their new book, hopeful in the next month or two.

I will be posting pictures, including of the simple butchering of the pork loin. It is boneless, so simply a dozen or so knife strokes

Back after summer

Much of what I do isn't suitable for warm weather, so with the return of fall, I will be posting some again.

The first project later this week will be sausage. 4 lots of 5 pounds each.

Bread and Butter Pickles

Kirby Cucumbers
Cubanelle or other banana pepper, sweet perhaps a little heat, halved and seeds removed.
Large Onion quartered and skinned
White Vinegar
Kosher salt
Garlic cloves
celery seed
mustard seed
black or mixed color pepper corns

For every pound of cucumbers I use a large pepper and half of a large onion.

Using a mandolin, a knife, or a 2mm slicing blade on a food processor, slice the vegetables and mix together. 

Cover in a measured amount of white vinegar.

For every cup of vinegar 
add 1-1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard ( I use yellow) seed
1 teaspoon pepper corns


Refrigerate 2 weeks


To can , drain off liquor but do not discard.
Heat liquor
Pack vegetables in pint jars (or quarts, but I think those are too large)
Cover in liquor which has just boiled.
Seal and boiling water bath for 15 minutes pints, 20 minutes quarts

If you are short of liquor you can make more as above, white vinegar, sugar, Kosher salt and spices in the same proportions.

Deep Fried Turkey

Above is a turkey fryer. It holds not quite 4 gallons of oil and up to a 20 pound turkey. However before you put a 20 pound turkey in 4 gallons of 350 degree oil, think. First put the cold bird in the fryer and fill it with clean, cold water to cover the bird. Take the bird out and measure the water. Use only that much water. If the bird is frozen, make certain the wrapper is punctured to fill the cavity.

That paticular Fryer is from Lowes, it has a couple of interesting safety features in that the propane shuts down after 15 minutes, and must be manually restarted and the burner re-struck. This means you need to stick around it and not forget about dinner. If you do as I did, and turn it off when it starts to warn you, and turn it right back on, a portion of the ignitor is hot enough to re-ignite the propane.

Also the connection between the valve and the tank only needs to be finger tight, which means removing he tank is simple and fast. No wrench needed.

3.75 gallons of cold oil.

The bird, it has been injected with a marinade and covered in a pepper, check your recipe This is a New Orleans marinade.

Oil is not quite 350 F

You do not do this inside, and be very careful the oil does not catch. Turn off the gas when putting the bird in or out.

Now resting in the fridge for dinner tonight.

Eggs on a raft

Now I've no idea where this paticular dish came from. My father used to serve it as breakfast when I was a kid. 

First fry up some bacon. I cure and smoke my own, and you will want a bit of the bacon fat for the egg portion. I pour off, and save of course, most of the bacon fat. This bacon is from Charcuterie, as much of my work here is. 

There is also a nation wide meat curing wave going on, with several hundred participants. Check here, check The Yummy Mummy, and check Mrs Wheelbarrow. On Twitter check #Charcutepalooza .

Tear holes out of the center of four pieces of bread. My father would have used Wonder, but we have much better breads available to us.

Having melted some butter in with the bacon grease, put the four pieces of bread in a large, hot skillet.

Crack an egg into the hole in each piece.

Flip over to fry the other side, you will probably be adding butter at this point. Salt and pepper as you wish.

Plate and enjoy.

Stuffed Pork Chops

Start with a pair of well marbled, bone in, double chops. I get mine from Dietrich's in Pa. but there are good shops all over. I've seen some lovely chops at Johns Custom Meats. 

And a few ounce piece of a good pate, I've been making this one for a couple of decades now. It also freezes very well, and that is where this piece came from. 

With a sharp knife, cut a slit down the middle of the double chop, but not all the way through at either ends or back. Spread the pork to make a hole for the pate stuffing.

Oil the bottom of a cast iron dutch oven, this one is enameled and heat over a high flame.

After salt and pepper to taste, sear the two chops.

Both sides and all the edges.

Now prepare your stuffing, this is one of the few processed items that gets into our diet. It is the Pepperidge Farm - blue bag. I added a little more onion than called for, and a little less butter, because I poured the oil I used to brown the chops in here. Certainly make this with stock, preferable home made stock. Now I pointed you to a post on chicken stock, but I happened to use pork stock, yes we have that. I use bones left from roasts and from sausage making. Works just fine.

Stuff the browned chops with the pate, maybe let them cool a bit first. If needed you can use wooden toothpicks to hold them closed, but use the same number in each chop and tell people how many went in.

Push the chops down into the stuffing a little bit.

And into a 350 F oven for 1.5 - 2 hours. You want a meat temp of about 155 or higher. With the marbling these have they will not be dry.

Plate and serve. I served a Merlot with this, but any wine should work, pick one you like. I would also do this with a Shiraz or a blend without hesitation. This is an Australian, Rosemont.


Lime Marmalade

Same recipe

3 pounds of lemons

Five pounds of limes

Trim and quarter

Food mill with 2mm slicing disk.

Put in stainless 20 quart stock pot

It is going to take about five batches

Add one gallon of water and let sit in the cold over two nights.

Add six quarts of sugar and one more gallon of water. let sit over night.

In small batches, I do it in 3 quart batches, heat over high flame, stirring a lot, to 222 F. It should be at 222 F even while stirring. Note: Do not get this on your skin, it will stick and burn badly.

I really like the color.

18 pints, one in fridge as it did not seal. The 3 quart batch will reduce to 3+ pints. 

Lime, lemon and blood orange. Still want to do orange and pink grapefruit. If I can find them a Seville orange and/or Key lime. If not a 3 or 4 fruit.