What a great couple of food days it has been. Almost a daily marathon of grilled and slow roasted meats. It started with a birthday party at my new neighbors house. They are a young couple from El Salvador, with a little 8 year old girl and a massive family on both sides. They invited my wife and I to the party – which meant I had to cook because I can’t go anywhere empty handed.
I told them I was bringing some food – what I didn’t tell them is that I was making my signature roasted chicken drumsticks which are chicken drums with Frenched bones, twice baked in any variety of sauces – this one was a fresh made tomato/pepper. The next dish was a very typical rosemary-garlic roasted drum. I also made them fresh mini-eggplant bruschettas topped with fresh mozzarella, and baked them a 2.5 lb boule bread. It sounds like a lot of food – but the people at the party wiped it out in about 20 minutes.
The meat they were cooking at the party was a very thin-sliced beef top-round, marinated and grilled to a crispy black, almost charred consistency served with rice and fresh tortillas and lime wedges. 50 lbs were gone over the course of the evening. Then the next day they invited me to the house for cross cut rib sections, grilled and served with lime wedges and rice. We belted them down with cerveza and mezcal con gusano – a few too many as I recall. The food was rich and packed full of flavor, yet very simple.
Then, back at home, I had promised my wife an Osso Bucco dinner. So the next day I moved on to making a stock reduction which takes a day to make anyway. It was about 3.5 gallons of stock reduced to just over a quart – then red onion and green peppers were added along with diced tomatoes and some tomato puree. Then the sauce is ladled over-top of the browned shanks and the whole dish is braised in the oven for several hours. I served the dish with simple chopped white potatoes with butter and olive oil. I also made small eggplant pancakes with pureed eggplant, green pepper, egg, bread crumbs, seasonings and lemon juice. They were topped with fresh yogurt.
So, at the end of the two day run, flavors have been running wild, and dense, meaty dishes have taken over as the weather turns cool. Though I love them – and I only make reduction sauces in the winter, I think I am just about ready for a nice crunchy salad and a piece of fish….