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The Pats lost, but food was good.

We had a small impromptu Super Bowl gathering, and I decided on serving good old New England fare: pot roast, Boston baked beans, New England clam chowder, Boston cream pie and Indian pudding.

 

Pot Roast - The pot roast was possibly the best pot roast I’ve ever had. It was so tender you could eat it with a spoon. The recipe was a simple one from Cook’s Illustrated, but what really made it was the quality of the meat. I am now a through and through believer in Savenor’s meats. I got 4 pounds of prime flanken and used a traditional braising method. 2.5 hours later, it merged tender and flavorful. I can’t wait to have a leftover sandwich. 

 

Baked Beans – I’m not such a fan of beans in general, much less baked beans, but R loves them, so I always make them out of a can. I decided it would be fun to make them from stretch. The beans were good, but not worth the 6.5 hours (half an hour of prep time, 6 hours in the oven, with occasional stirring). The one thing that is notable about this recipe is that I used 3 kinds of pork fat: maple bacon, salt pork and triple smoked bacon (more about this in my next post).

 

New England clam chowder – I admit it, I eat the chowder from a can all the time, but there’s really no comparison to home made. I originally planed to go to the fishmonger and get littleneck clams, but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble for clean and shucking them myself. I got a pound of frozen shucked clams and bottled clam juice from Whole Foods and they worked fine. I also used triple smoked bacon for the chowder. YUM. 

 

Boston Cream Pie – Had the most trouble with this recipe. It has three parts: the sponge cake, the pastry cream and the chocolate glaze. The sponge cake was easy and turned out perfectly, and the glaze was standard, but the pastry cream did not set up as firm as it should have been. It was loose and runny, therefore I could not sandwich a nice thick layer in between the sponge cakes, like it should have been. I served half of the pastry cram on the side. It was all still very tasty, but I was annoyed at the presentation.

 

Boston Cream Pie

The egg whites should be beaten to soft, glossy, billowy peaks. If beaten until too stiff, they will be very difficult to fold into the whole-egg mixture.

Serves 8


Foolproof Sponge Cake
1/2cup cake flour 
1/4cup unbleached all-purpose flour 
1teaspoon baking powder 
1/4teaspoon table salt 
3tablespoons milk 
2tablespoons unsalted butter 
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract 
5eggs , room temperature
3/4cup granulated sugar 

Pastry Cream
2cups milk 
6large egg yolks 
1/2cup granulated sugar 
1/4teaspoon table salt 
1/4cup cornstarch , sifted
1teaspoon vanilla extract 
1tablespoon rum 
2tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)

Rich Chocolate Glaze
1cup heavy cream 
1/4cup light corn syrup 
8ounces semisweet chocolate , chopped into small pieces
1/2teaspoon vanilla 


1. For the sponge cake: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans and cover pan bottoms with a round of parchment paper. Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl (or sift onto waxed paper). Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and add vanilla; cover and keep warm.

2. Separate three of the eggs, placing whites in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or large mixing bowl if using hand mixer or whisk) and reserving the 3 yolks plus remaining 2 whole eggs in another mixing bowl. Beat the 3 whites on high speed (or whisk) until whites are foamy. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar; continue to beat whites to soft, moist peaks. (Do not overbeat.) If using a standing mixer, transfer egg whites to a large bowl and add yolk/whole egg mixture to mixing bowl.

3. Beat yolk/whole egg mixture with remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Beat on medium-high speed (setting 8 on a KitchenAid) until eggs are very thick and a pale yellow color, about 5 minutes (or 12 minutes by hand). Add beaten eggs to whites.

4. Sprinkle flour mixture over beaten eggs and whites; fold very gently 12 times with a large rubber spatula. Make a well in one side of batter and pour milk mixture into bowl. Continue folding until batter shows no trace of flour, and whites and whole eggs are evenly mixed, about 8 additional strokes.

5. Immediately pour batter into prepared baking pans; bake until cake tops are light brown and feel firm and spring back when touched, about 16 minutes for 9-inch cake pans and 20 minutes for 8-inch cake pans.

6. Immediately run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen cake. Cover pan with large plate. Using a towel, invert pan and remove pan from cake. Peel off parchment. Re-invert cake from plate onto rack (see illustrations below). Repeat with remaining cake.

7. For the pastry cream: Heat milk in a small saucepan until hot but not simmering. Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan until mixture is thick and lemon-colored, 3 to 4 minutes. Add cornstarch; whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in hot milk. Cook milk mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly and scraping pan bottom and sides as you stir, until mixture thickens to a thick pudding consistency and loses all traces of raw starch flavor, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla, rum, and butter (if using) and transfer to another container to cool to room temperature, placing a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface of mixture to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate pastry cream until firm. (Can be refrigerated overnight.) To ensure that pastry cream does not thin out, do not whisk once it has set.

8. For the glaze: Bring cream and corn syrup to a full simmer over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Off heat, add chocolate; cover and let stand for 8 minutes. (If chocolate has not completely melted, return saucepan to low heat; stir constantly until melted.) Add vanilla; stir very gently until mixture is smooth. Cool until tepid so that a spoonful drizzled back into pan mounds slightly. (Glaze can be refrigerated to speed up cooling process, stirring every few minutes to ensure even cooling.)

9. While glaze is cooling, place one cake layer on a cardboard round on cooling rack set over waxed paper. Carefully spoon pastry cream over cake and spread evenly up to cake edge. Place the second layer on top, making sure layers line up properly.

10. Pour glaze over middle of top layer and let flow down cake sides. Use a metal spatula, if necessary, to completely coat cake. Use a small needle to puncture air bubbles. Let sit until glaze fully sets, about 1 hour. Serve.



Indian Pudding – Not many people are familiar with this dessert, but it’s about as old school Yankee fare as you can get. It’s basically a baked cornmeal mush with molasses and spices. We served it with plenty of Christina’s ice cream. It was okay, and it fit the theme. I doubt I will ever make it again.

indian pudding Bon Appétit | October 1998


The name for this time-honored dessert probably is derived from the fact that it was prepared with cornmeal, which the early American settlers strongly associated with the Indians. Similar in texture to thick porridge, this easy-to-make classic is great on a cold day when you want something warm, comforting and sweet.

Serves 8.

ingredients
5 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt

preparation
Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens but can still be poured, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract.

Transfer pudding mixture to prepared baking dish. Bake pudding until golden brown and center no longer moves when pan is shaken, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Scoop pudding into bowls. Top with ice cream or frozen yogurt and serve.


As for the Patriots losing, all I can say is that you can’t expect to leave your baby’s mama for a Brazilian supermodel and not expect Karma to bite you in the ass.

 

Quick Pantry Clam Chowder



Serves 6 (about 2 quarts)

4slices thick-cut bacon (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1large Spanish onion , diced medium (about 2 cups)
2tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour 
2(8-ounce) bottles clam juice 
4(6.5-ounce) cans minced clams 
1cup water 
3medium boiling potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed and diced medium
1large bay leaf 
1teaspoon fresh thyme  or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1cup heavy cream 
2tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves  
Table salt and ground black pepper 


Fry bacon in kettle over medium-low heat until fat renders and bacon crisps, 5 to 7 minutes. Add onion to bacon; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour; stir until lightly colored, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in bottled clam juice, reserved clam juice from clams, and water. Add potatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Add clams, cream, parsley, salt (if necessary) and ground pepper to taste; bring to simmer. Remove from heat and serve.

 

Boston Baked Beans



The beans can be made ahead. After cooking, cool them to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Serves 4 to 6

4ounces salt pork , trimmed of rind and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2ounces bacon (2 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1medium onion , chopped fine
1/2cup mild molasses 
1tablespoon mild molasses 
1 1/2tablespoons brown mustard 
1pound dried small white beans (about 2 cups), rinsed and picked over
Table salt 
1teaspoon cider vinegar 
Ground black pepper 


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 300 degrees. Add salt pork and bacon to 8-quart Dutch oven; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and most fat is rendered, about 7 minutes. Add onion and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 cup molasses, mustard, beans, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and 9 cups water; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil. Cover pot and set in oven. Bake until beans are tender, about 4 hours, stirring once after 2 hours. Remove lid and continue to bake until liquid has thickened to syrupy consistency, 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer. Remove beans from oven; stir in remaining tablespoon of molasses, vinegar, and additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

Simple Pot Roast


For pot roast, we recommend a chuck-eye roast. Most markets sell this roast with twine tied around the center. If necessary, do this yourself. Seven-bone and top-blade roasts are also good choices for this recipe. Remember to add only enough water to come halfway up the sides of these thinner roasts, and begin checking for doneness after 2 hours. If using a top-blade roast, tie it before cooking (see illustrations below) to keep it from falling apart. Mashed or boiled potatoes are good accompaniments to pot roast.

Serves 6 to 8

1chuck-eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds), boneless
Table salt and ground black pepper 
2tablespoon vegetable oil 
1medium onion , chopped medium
1small carrot , chopped medium
1small rib celery , chopped medium
2medium cloves garlic , minced
2teaspoons granulated sugar 
1cup low-sodium chicken broth 
1cup low-sodium beef broth 
1sprig fresh thyme  
1 1/2cups water 
1/4cup dry red wine 


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough water to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook, turning roast every 30 minutes, until fully tender and meat fork or sharp knife easily slips in and out of meat, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

3. Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface; discard thyme sprig. Boil over high heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add red wine and reduce again to 1 1/2 cups, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat against the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices, or pull apart into large pieces; transfer meat to warmed serving platter and pour about 1/2 cup sauce over meat. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

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