Sunday, May 2, 2010

First Sunny Day of Summer......

It's amazing that a bit of good weather can suddenly bring out the Neanderthal in all of us - "It's sunny - let's through large amounts of red meat onto an open fire and eat outside with the flies and things...."
But, not being immune myself, we decided to venture outdoors last weekend and fire up the pit - cows and chickens everywhere, beware.....

The menu, in fairness, wasn't overly adventurous - Kofta Burgers with Portabello Mushroom and Fried Chicken with Animal Ice-Cream for dessert. 

Kofta Burgers
Some years ago we got tired with the same old burgers - I've always made my own (mix mince beef, herbs and seasoning of choice, breadcrumbs and egg to bind and grill/fry as needed) but this got just plain boring.  Whilst making a recipe for Indian Koftas (meatballs in a spicy sauce) I suddenly realised that I didn't have all the ingredients for the sauce.  So, left with spiced meat balls and no dinner, I did what any self respecting man would do - flatten, grill and cover with cheese and ketchup......the rest, as they say, is history.


One Pound of Minced / Ground Beef

One Large Onion
One or Two Chillies
2 Cloves Garlic (optional)

1 and 1/2 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Garam Masala
1/2 Tsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Tsp Ground Black Pepper
Chop the onion, the deseeded chillies and garlic together
Mix all the ingredients either by hand or in a food processor (I use the processor as it gives a more "Pattie" like consistency - just ensure that you don't over process the mix as will break down the meat fibres too much - using smaller batches, 4 to 5 quick pulses should be enough)

Grill or Fry (or BBQ) until cooked through - this varies depending on the thickness of the meat but to be sure, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (seriously, invest in a meat thermometer - it's a lifesaver)

Garnish as you will and enjoy!

Portabello Mushrooms
These were cooked at the edge of the BBQ for 5 mins each side and were covered in Butter, Cheese and a clove of chopped Garlic melted in a ramekin on the BBQ

Fried Chicken
Pure Soul Food is what this is - now I have found this I find I regret not having been born in Georgia or Louisiana so I could say I was brought up on Fried Chicken.

Chicken Pieces (with Skin on) - Leg, Thigh, Brest - whatever...
1 Tbs Paprika
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Chili Powder (optional)
1 Tbs Salt
2 Tsp Garlic Powder
Plain flour for coating.
Vegetable Fat/Shortening for frying


1) Mix all the ingredients in a bowl 2) For frying, I have been using a 10 inch cast iron fry pan
Into this I put enough Vegetable Fat to come halfway up the edge. 
P10100763) Bring the fat up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (preferably use a fry/candy thermometer to ensure that the fat is at the right temperature and is maintained there. (of course, never leave hot fat unattended and never have young children around when cooking fat - a good fire blanket would be good too just in case...)
4) Liberally coat the chicken in the flour/spice mix and shake off the excess flour - leave to one side for a minute or two before putting into the fat
5) Place the chicken into the fat (325 degrees - remember...) laying it away from you (in case of splatters) ideally the fat should come halfway up the pieces
6) Leave alone for 10 to 12 minutes - seriously, It doesn't need to be moved or jiggles around. When that side is golden brown turn over and cook the other side for a further 10 minutes (again, internal temperature should be around 165 F) Note - there may be darker areas where the skin touches the pan but that's OK..
7) Take out and drain on a wire rack over kitchen towels - Leave to rest for 15 or so minutes before serving (Cover in foil loosely if the ambient temperature in the room is cool/cold but don't
P1010088Animal Ice-Cream
Finished off with some Hagen-Daz Ice-cream with Cadburys Chocolate Animals - Seriously, what did you think it was..?

So, as the light faded on the first (and possibly only) day of an Irish summer, we sat back, licked our fingers, took a sip from our glass and sent in our daughter to wash the dishes....aahhh, life is hard..!