maandag 26 januari 2015

Koken Eten: Tree Trunks

Say what???  Yeah well, we call it in flemish `boomstammekes`, and basically it`s a sort of minced meat in size between a meatball and a meatloaf.

But what I really wanted to do today, was to show a few tricks of how to get minced meat nice and crispy on the outside, and perfect on the inside.  Not to dry, not to hard baked... I do warn you, this way is very timing intensive, so if you want to do it, go for it, but be prepared to be flipping a lot of meat around.

I used a mixture of pork and beef minced meat (totalling about half a kilo), but this works just as well with any other sort.  It`s just the way most flemish like it, so I`m sticking with the regular here.  The other ingredients are an egg, chapelure (even better would be dried breadcrums, or if you want it more spicy and orangy, do some paprika powder mixed in it), and 100 grams of meltable cheese.  if you use Gruyere, you`re fine, but if you go for Emmental, some salt and pepper is also required as it is less strong in flavor compared to the Gruyere.

The mixing process is as follows: use a fork to part the minced meat in a loose mass.  Add in the egg and with the fork, mingle.  The you do the same for the chapelure, and finally once more for the cheese.  That gives you a mixture like this:

Roll these in balls, or short sausages or whatever you like (I personally made 4 small loafs out of it) and put it in the fridge for half until an hour.  That will cause the mixture to stiffen up and help in handling later as it will be more solid and less sticky.

To go with the meat, I decided to go for a veggie dish of sugar naps and sjalots. It`s a fresh little sidedish, adding freshness to the rather heavy minced meat and cheese mixture.  I prepared it my favorite way, very low fire (lowest stand on my furnace) and let it do while doing all the rest. 

Once the meat has stiffened, we`re dippin it top and bottom only in some more chapelure, and some parsley.

Now, put the meat in a pan and bake it shortly all around the top, bottom and sides, but NOT the endings.  As there is now a simmered close `coat` around the meat, I`m putting it in the oven at 180 degrees, heating from above and below, for 10 minutes.  At this point, do NOT was out the pan or toss away the baking fluid in it.

Now this is why the endings shouldn`t be closed in the first time in the pan.  It`s not exactly 10 minutes, and you can follow the process of the meat getting cooked in the oven by looking at the endings.  Once they look that typical grayish brown of minced meat, reheat your pan on a middle level fire. 

Now we put the meat back in the pan, and bake it all around nice goldenbrown., only takes a few minutes, and turn it around a lot to get an even coating.

Done now?  Nope, again not yet.  I now return the meat back into the oven, but at a low temperature of 150 degrees, for about 10 minutes again.  By then, the beans are ready and I cooked a potato to go with it.

In order to know when green beans are ready for serving, yet still `al dente`, the best trick is to watch the colour.  The moment they go from their `raw fresh green` to the bit paler green... they are ready.

Served up with the potatoes (I sprinkeled the rest of the parsley over it), you can see the meat is golden and crunchy on the outside, and nicely cooked on the inside.  The cheese has melted through the meat making it not dry at all.

And that`s my very timing intensive way of preparing the minced meat to a fine balance of crustiness outside and moistness inside.

Labour Rating: 4 - considering you are juggling constantly with the meat between an oven and a pan, and should get it timed right when the beans are done, this isn`t that easy actually.  On the other, everything but that is piece of cake, so that`s why I`m going with the slightly under half rating.

GF Appreciation Rating: 8.5 - she loves minced meat, and the cheese makes it different from the version you get in most supermarkets.

EXTRA 1: Today, for me, was a tragic one.  Demis Roussos, responsible for the most annoying song I ever heard, My Friend the Wind, passed away.  I really really hate that song so much I actually started to love it over the years.  Why I hate it?  Whenever I hear it, it sticks in my head for days, and I can`t stop mumbling it to myself.  So here you go Demis my friend.  Straight from the heart and out of my kitchen...

EXTRA 2: On one of my followers blogs, Legatus Food and Wine, I found an old recipy for a Napoleonic Area dish, Chicken Marengo.  I`m going to make it one of these weeks, namely the first time we have a childless (there`s wine in it) dinner party.  So I equipped the kitchen with a new, heavy iron casserole today...
I can also already tell you I have been thinking over the dish, and I will be changing `some` things to it, personal touch and such...

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