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Archive | May 23rd, 2010

Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet-and-Sour Onions

Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet-and-Sour Onions

Light your charcoal

A veal chop is a spectacular cut of meat. But these cipollini onions (or other small onions) that go alongside are also special, and would go with almost any grilled or barbecued dish. They are first simmered with red wine, balsamic vinegar, honey and butter. Then, when they’re tender, you reduce the glaze and return the onions to the pot. You can do this a day ahead and reheat to serve with the grilled chops.

Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet-and-Sour Onions

1 pound small torpedo onions, cipollinis, pearl onions or shallots
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
1 cup honey, or more to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt (kosher or sea salt), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 thick loin or rib veal chops (each 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and 12 to 14 ounces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Allow yourself at least an hour to make the Sweet-and-Sour Onions.
Peel the onions, leaving most of the stem end intact; this helps hold the onions together as they cook. Place the onions in a large, deep saucepan, add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, honey and 3 tablespoons of the butter and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions until tender — they’ll be easy to pierce with a skewer — 12 to 15 minutes. If all goes well, the wine, vinegar and honey will cook down to a syrupy glaze at the precise time the onions are tender.  If not, use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a plate and continue boiling the sauce until it is thick and syrupy. Return the onions to the pan, if necessary and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste and more vinegar and/or honey as necessary; the onions should be a little sweet, a little sour and very flavorful. If you add more vinegar and/or honey, return the pan to the heat to let the liquid cook down. You should wind up with about 1 1/4 cups. The onions can be cooked several hours, or even a day, ahead and reheated just before serving.

Set the grill up for direct grilling and preheat one zone to high.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Generously season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the veal chops on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Grill the chops until nicely browned on the outside and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium. Use the poke test to test for doneness. Give each chop a quarter turn after 2 1/2 minutes on each side to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks.

Transfer the chops to a platter or plates and let them rest while you reheat the onion mixture. Just before serving, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Spoon the onions over the chops and sprinkle with parsley.

Source: “Planet Barbecue” by Steven Raichlen

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Raichlen’s ‘Planet Barbecue’ a Fiery Worldwide Tour

Raichlen’s ‘Planet Barbecue’ a Fiery Worldwide Tour

From recipes for Korea’s spicy grilled pork to real Moroccan shish kebab, barbecue king Steven Raichlen’s new book holds a feast of information on the worldwide art of barbecue.

Raichlen will share some of these secrets of his “live fire” cooking Monday, when he is in San Antonio for KLRN’s Chef Series.

Looking through the new “Planet Barbecue” (Workman Publishing, $22.95) is delicious enough that it will inspire the backyard cook to head for the grill.  As with all of Raichlen’s books on this subject there are recipes, of course, but so much more. Information is packaged in a logical, readable style, with clear instruction that has made Raichlen the country’s No. 1 teacher of the art.

The front of the book offers a timeline, beginning from the days of Homo erectus, or “upright man”  in Africa 1.9 million years ago.

“This manlike, if not fully human, ancestor of modern man invented barbecue.” he writes.  (This bit of information might be fun to impart to your own backyard fellow as he fumes over his fire.)

How did this man-animal figure out to use fire to cook? We have no historical record, but Raichlen poses that it probably was opportunistic. Think about this manimal returning to a burned out forest and finding a whole roasted auroch (an ancestral steer) or a hippidion (early horse) cooked to a turn. The real turning point, writes Raichlen, came about 1.8 million years ago when this same ancestral cousin to man began eating fire-cooked meat regularly.

Fire offered any number of social consequences.

Grilled corn

“Fire meant protection against predators. Fire meant leaving the safety of sleeping in trees for encampments based on the ground. Fire meant the shared communal activities of cooking, eating, sitting and sleeping around a fire,” he writes. Fire also meant a division of labor, first between man and woman, then between hunters and gatherers, and eventually “between people who tended the home fires (literally and figuratively) and people who did their work in the world at large.”

Bringing the information up to current times, the author includes a section “Grilling with a Conscience: A Word About Ingredients and Shopping.” (Buy free range, support your farmers markets, buy fair trade, etc.)

Another page is devoted to “The Perfect Burger” with 20 tips. My favorite tip: “Make a slight depression in the center of each patty. Burgers shrink more at the edges than at the center, so the indentation will give you a patty of a more even thickness when the meat is cooked.” The best combination of beef cuts for burgers, he says, is brisket with chuck, in a ration of 45 to 55 percent. Fat content should be 22 percent fat.  You can cut your fat content elsewhere, he suggests.

The book travels the globe for tasty recipes, and is presented in the logical progression of a meal, from starters through dessert. If Serbian Bacon-Grilled Prunes doesn’t grab you, the recipe for Smoked Ice Cream at the end certainly should. Salads, vegetables and breads have their turn as well.

Burgers on the grill

Sauces are paired with the appropriate grilled dishes, such as the Creamy Asian Peanut Sauce with the Chicken Satés from Malaysia. Sides are included, such as the Icicle Radish Salad that accompanies the German preparation, Onion-Stuffed, Spit-Roasted Pork Shoulder. This article also shows in clear photos how to prepare the pork shoulder for the rotisserie.

He presents the familiar-to-San Antonio recipe of Peruvian Beef Kebabs (Anticuchos), calling for beef rib-eye or sirloin, but also suggesting the traditional meat used in this dish, beef heart. The use of beef heart, he suggests might have originated with African slaves, brought to Peru to work the mines and plantations. They were likely to have been served the organs and innards of the cow. The traditional meat in Peru, though, was llama.

This is a book that any barbecue author would long to write, and Raichlen does it in great style. it is also a book that any barbecue lover should read.

Recipe: Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet and Sour Onions

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Torre di Pietra Wins Award

Torre di Pietra Wins Award

Don Pullum has had a busy year. In addition to growing grapes at his Mason vineyard and making wine for Sandstone Cellars, he’s been making wine for Torre di Pietra in Fredericksburg. But his efforts have been fruitful.

“One of the first wines, Torre di Pietra 2009 Black Spanish Reserve, just received a silver medal at the 2010 National Women’s Wine Competition in Santa Rosa, Calif.,” he says.

You can find the wines at the vineyard as well as Sandstone Cellars, which is carrying the Black Spanish, the Torre di Pietra 2009 Blanc du Bois and the Torre di Pietra 2009 Late Harvest Reserve Zinfandel. You can also order the wines directly from Torre di Pietra (click here).

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