Freestyle

I finally got around to turning the chicken carcass from Sunday into broth, and turned half the broth into risotto. The other half I froze. We got a call from Sirkka, so we invited them over for dinner since Chris just left for another tour. And risotto is nothing if not scalable. To begin, since Milo was hungry and it was going to take me a while to get everything ready, I tried a recent snacketizer idea: smoked duck fat/maple syrup/togarashi popcorn. Win. Smoky, sweet, a little hot- it’s the cracktacular bar snack you’ve been waiting your whole life for.

For the risotto, I baked half a butternut squash until it was good and soft, and cut half of the other half into small (1 cm) cubes. This particular squash was a volunteer from the place we get our manure for the garden; last time I was there, I got a car full of cowshit AND a complementary squash. Country life suits me. Here’s the view from our front door, to underscore the pleasure of this place right now:

I also crisped the squash seeds up in a pan with a little more of the smoked fat for good measure, then salted them. After softening the soffrito, I added the cubed squash and began ladling broth. The squash and rice both got to al dente at the same time (hence the careful cube size) and I stirred in the roasted squash mashed with a little yogurt, truffle oil, and parsley to finish. It made for a nice squashy bite, with good depth of flavor and gently contrasting textures.

I also tried to make a terrine of some leftover roast chicken meat that they brought over by cooking it in some pork stock, adding chopped garlic-stuffed green olives, a dab of peach-basil jam from our last guests, and herbs, then packing it into a terrine and quick-chilling it in an ice bath in the fridge. The flavor was excellent, but it didn’t have quite enough time to gel properly; it unmolded all right, but did not slice very obediently. It was particularly good with the salad and some mustard, though we lacked crusty bread. It is most definitely rillettes season, and I’m going to get on that toute de suite.

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9 Comments

  1. The Spiteful Chef
    October 16
    Reply

    I can’t figure out what the little seeds on top are. Pomegranate? Am I stoned?

    Oh–duck fat and maple syrup go together like sex and money.

  2. cook eat FRET
    October 16
    Reply

    i’m trying to decide which photo is more beautiful

    of course if they were BIGGER….

  3. peter
    October 16
    Reply

    Kristie: They’re the squash seeds. I should have made that clearer- especially since my certain of my readers are so obviously baked like clams.

    Claudia: Did you click on them? They’re like TWICE as big as before.

  4. Heather
    October 16
    Reply

    Nice touch with the pepitas on the risotto. I’d make my own, but I hate the choky hulls and the trouble of removing them. :\

    This is the season where I teach myself to make terrines and rillettes. Even though rillettes still sounds like a disease of the bones, for which children are immunized before kindergarten.

  5. peter
    October 16
    Reply

    I didn’t hull them- just got ’em super-crispy in the fat.

    Potted meats are super-easy, keep a long time, and allow you to say (and write) “potted meat” on a regular basis. And they’re genius with your homemade pickles.

  6. The Spiteful Chef
    October 16
    Reply

    Okay, I don’t ACTUALLY smoke “the pot.” I gave that up after high school, wherein I figured out I could bypass the locating and consuming of pot and skip directly to the munchies and napping, which were always my favorite parts anyway.

    College was a time for whole different classes of drugs. And now, as a grown up, I’ve gone back to my childhood roots and just mainline sugar at every possible opportunity. I’ve been found at many a party shaking in a bathroom somewhere holding a Zippo underneath a spoonful of sugar muttering “Caramelize, bitch. Fucking caramelize.”

  7. cookiecrumb
    October 16
    Reply

    I’m comin’ over for the popcorn. I’ll bring the truffle salt.

    And! Please don’t mind the meddling, but here’s a cool method for pumpkin (squash) seeds. Boil them in very salty water for a little while. Then roast them in lipid of choice. Tender and crunchy. Sex and money. (That whore.)

  8. peter
    October 17
    Reply

    Kristie: Your personal chemical predilections aren’t on trial here. You are.

    CC: You can meddle in my pepitas any time. I’ll try the blanching thing next time, though these butternut seeds were WAY less hully than the kabocha seeds I tried last time.

  9. Zen Chef
    October 20
    Reply

    Nice view, damned! I have a pile of gunk in front of my door.

    The risotto is perfection!

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