Thursday, May 7, 2009

Favorite Hamburger

Another great recipe from the Pioneer Woman.

2 pounds of 80/20 ground beef.
One red onion, sliced not too thick, not too thin. I cut the onion in half from bottom to top, then lay each half on its side, cut off the top, then slice away.
Crumbled blue cheese. If you think you’re not a big blue cheese fan, please give it a try on this burger.
Throw the hamburger into a medium mixing bowl. And here’s why I use 80/20 for burgers: It’ll stay juicier and more flavorful than lean ground beef will.
Never just grab a hunk of ground beef, form it into a patty, and season the outside—sacrilege! You must season all the meat evenly.

So to the bowl, add 1 teaspoon salt.Next, add 1/2 teaspoon, give or take, of ground black pepper.

Add a few dashes of Tabasco to the meat.Don’t be afraid! It adds just a tiny bit of spice, but a nice burst of flavor. I added a good five or six dashes.

Reach in one of your claw-like hands, and give it a good mixin’. Set the meat aside.

Next, for the onions, heat a medium skillet over low heat. Add in 2 tablespoons butter. Dump in the sliced red onions…And 2 (generous) tablespoons brown sugarGive it a toss to combine the ingredients, then allow the onions to caramelize over low heat for about twenty minutes, tossing occasionally, while we prepare the other ingredients and cook the burger itself.

While the onions are caramelizing, make the spicy mayo: Place 1/4 cup mayonnaise into a small bowl… And simply add a few dashes of Tabasco. Stir it together, and give it a little taste. You’d be surprised at how much Tabasco you can add before the spicy takes over.

Next, slice the Kaiser rolls in half (if they aren’t already halved) and spread each half with about 1/2 tablespoon butter.

Then throw ‘em on a skillet or grill pan over medium heat. We just want to lightly grill/toast the rolls so they’ll be tough enough to hold the spicy mayo…and the burger itself.

So let’s make the patties.Reach into the bowl and grab a hunka hunka burnin’ beef.Form a patty and throw it on a grill pan or skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Not too hot or the burger will smoke somethin’ silly.Allow it to cook about 3 minutes, then use a spatula to rotate it 45 degrees. Continue cooking it for 3 to 4 minutes. Rotating it will cause lovely little grill marks on the burger. Flip patty and cook other side.

With tongs, add a heapin helpin’ of the gloriously delicious onions to the top of the patty.Immediately add a nice helping of crumbled blue cheese

While the burger is finishing cooking, slather the spicy mayo on both halves of the Kaiser roll. Now just grab a nice handful of greens and plop them on the top.

Ranch Chicken

I got this recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I love her recipes, but beware nothing she makes is low fat.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Thick cut bacon
Bacon grease
Dijon Mustard
Lemon juice
Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Canola oil

To begin, mix together 1/2 cup Dijon or country/grainy mustard with 1/2 cup honey. Add juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle in some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne if you like things a little spicy.
Whisk it together until smooth.

Next, rinse the chicken breasts under cool water and pat them dry.

We’re going to pound the chicken breasts so they have a more uniform thickness, which means they’ll cook more evenly and won’t be dry around the edges.

Place one chicken breast between two sheets of waxed paper…Lightly pat the waxed paper so it adheres to the chicken. With a mallet or a rolling pin (you can also use a heavy can!) lightly pound the chicken breast so that the thickness is uniform. By the time it all evens up, it’s usually around 1/2 to 3/4″ thick.

Also, if the chicken breasts are overly huge, I often cut them in half just to create more manageable (and kid-friendly) pieces.

Next, just add all the chicken to the bowl with the marinade. You’ll want to cover this with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour—usually I let it go about 2 to 3 hours.

While the chicken is marinating, go ahead and fry up some bacon: any kind of bacon will do; just keep in mind that the bacon will eventually go into the oven, so you don’t want to get it too crisp in the skillet.

Next, and this is important, reserve 1/4 cup of the bacon grease, and go ahead and clean out the skillet. Otherwise, it’ll get too smoky.

When you’re ready to prepare the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and pour off excess marinade into the sink. Heat half of the reserved bacon grease with an equal quantity of Canola Oil in the clean skillet over medium-high to high heat. (We want to sear the chicken, not cook it completely.) When the grease is sufficiently heated, add a batch of chicken to the skillet. Don’t overcrowd the skillet—just 3 pieces is usually enough.

Watch the chicken, and when it starts to get brown/black on one side…Flip it to the other side. Cook just until brown/blackish areas appear. Each side should cook for a maximum of 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.

Repeat with all the chicken breasts, then set them on a large baking sheet. If you look a little closer, you’ll notice the chicken is definitely not fully cooked.

Go ahead and throw the pan of chicken into the hot oven for about ten minutes to continue cooking. Then remove the pan from the over and lay a couple of bacon slices over each chicken breast.

Next, grab some grated sharp cheddar and sprinkle it over the top as generously as you’d like.

Just return the pan to the oven for an additional five minutes, or until cheese is melted and bacon is sizzling.

Then serve immediately…