Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

New Tradition – Forno Bravo Oven Fire Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving is a mere two weeks away so why not throw a turkey in the “Drago Affamato” or “The Hungry Dragon” as my family calls our oven. Obviously maintaining a steady low fire is key to evenly roasting for your bird. Think back to your cure, ideally a low fire around 350 is ideal. You’ll get charring, similar to your pizza, in spots, especially on the top but the crispy blistered skin and silky smoke flavors are a pleasant bonus. To make it easier and less time, I’ve opted to remove the wings, legs and thighs for this round. For the legs and wings, I’ve roasted them separately in the oven and transferred into my stockpot for a rich, roasted turkey broth base for my gravy. As for the thighs, I’ve minced them up and added the meat to my stuffing for an additional layer of flavor.

1 10-12 pound turkey, fresh
1 each small-medium yellow onion, diced large
1 each lemon, diced large
6-8 sprigs fresh thyme, picked
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, picked
6 sage leaves
6 basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Rinse the turkey in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove legs, thighs and wing joints. Set aside for other use (see above). Rub the turkey with olive oil add season liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Place the onion, lemon and herbs into a small mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and toss so that the mixture is mixed through. Stuff the turkey cavities, including the front neck portion with the lemon herb mixture.

Place on a baking pan with a wire rack. Slide into the oven and roast. For this version I had a 12-pound turkey and averaged 350 degrees for approximately an hour and 10 minutes. I rotated the bird every 10-15 minutes to ensure even heating. I did not opt to cover the hot spots with aluminum foil, as I did not want to steam the skin. Once you turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees it is done, remove from oven and let rest for about 20 minutes or 2 minutes per pound to ensure a juicy, tender result. Hope you enjoy … until next week feast well!

I am a bug fan of brining meat, especially turkey. Brining helps retain moisture as well as help season the meat through out. While I did not brine this particular turkey you certainly could do with this simple brine recipe.

3 cups kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
.25 cup of cracked black pepper corns
4 apples, chopped
4 lemons, chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1 head garlic chopped
Water to cover

Combine all the ingredients into a large pot with 1 quart of water. Bring mixture to a boil, remove from heat and let cool. Place mixture into a brining bag or similar large container that can be refrigerated. Remove turkey from packaging, rise with cold water and pat dry. Place the turkey into the brine mixture, and add additional cold water to cover the turkey. Place in refrigerator and let stand for 4 hours. Remove from brine, rise and pat dry.

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Rating: 4.1/5 (8 votes cast)

Steak & Tomatoes

A late ode to the summer grill

Our local farmer’s market had a handful of late harvest tomatoes left and I just could not resist a simple, fast and delicious ode to a summer meal off the Tuscan grill. Once your fire has burned down most of the way and your are left with a great bed coals, spread the coals evenly across the hearth and insert your Tuscan grill centered over the coals. Allow grill to preheat for a few minutes prior to adding your foods.

1 each beef flank steak / flat iron or skirt steak
1 bunch green onion
8 -10 tomatoes, small – medium sized
olive oil
kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper

Add a bowl of your favorite steak topping, dip or sauce … chimichurri for me!

Remove steak from package, rinse with cold water and pat dry. Set aside on a sheet pan or plate and season liberally on both sides with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Best to let the meat temper to room temperature approximately 15-20 minutes prior to cooking. Similarly once you have cooked the meat, let it rest for 2-3 minutes per pound to help retain juices.

Trim the roots and split the bulb end of the green onions. Place in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and a touch of olive oil.

Using a larger metal skewer, or bamboo skewers that has been soaked in water (to reduce burning) align the tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Once the Tuscan grill is hot, slide towards the oven opening and place the meat, onions and skewered tomatoes on the grill. Slide grill back over the coals and cook for 3-5 minutes. Using tongs, make a quarter turn of the meat and vegetables and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Slide the grill towards the door, flip both the steak and vegetables and continue to cook until desired doneness … about another 5 minutes for medium. Remove from grill and oven, let meat rest and serve with your favorite sauce. Chef Bart … until next week feast well.

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Rating: 4.5/5 (6 votes cast)

BBQ Ribs

BBQ Ribs

Last week I posted a quick recipe and technique to utilize while your oven is heating up and this week I thought I’d share a post pizza party, oven cool down recipe for St. Louis BBQ ribs. The residual heat after an evening of cooking pizzas provides a great opportunity to utilize your Forno Bravo oven for a smoky slow roast. While there are countless rubs and marinades for ribs out there in the community, this is the one, that over the years family and friends have come to love the best.

2 racks St. Louis Pork Ribs
1 cup Ancho Chili Powder
¼ cup Brown Sugar
1 tblspn Mustard Powder
1 tblspn Cracked Black Pepper
1 tblspn Kosher Salt
½ tblspn Garlic Powder
1 cup Apple Cider

In a small mixing bowl combine the chili powder, brown sugar, mustard powder, salt, pepper and garlic powder and mix with a spoon until incorporated.

Rinse the pork ribs with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Place ribs on a work surface / sheet tray and using your hands gently rub and massage the spice mixture into both sides of the ribs. Place ribs into the refrigerator and let sit for 4-6 hours. If you feel organized and plan ahead the ribs can be rubbed down the day prior and let stand overnight.

Remove ribs from refrigeration about 30-40 minutes prior to cooking allowing then to temper to room temperature. Place one rack on a large sheet of aluminum foil and fold up the edges around the rack. Add ½ cup of apple cider, and wrap the aluminum foil to cover, leaving a few small gaps open so that smoke is allowed in and repeat for the remaining rib rack.

In this method we are cooking the ribs at a higher temperature for a shorter time than a traditional slow smoke. The addition of the apple cider will assist in braising the meat, making it tender and juice in a shorter time. You can choose to wait the additional time to let the temperature of your oven to drop 200 – 300 degrees and let the ribs go much longer approximately 6 hours.

Place the ribs on a Tuscan grill so that they do not rest on the hearth and air and smoke can circulate the meat. Close the door of your oven so that the remaining coals snuff out and add smoke the meat.

Once the ribs are fork tender, about 3.5 hours at 600 degrees, peel away the foil to expose the meat, transfer to a sheet pan and brush with your favorite bbq sauce on both sides and return to the oven for an additional 15 -20 minutes. Enjoy as a midnight snack or cool ribs overnight in the refrigerator and heat up the next day for a BBQ dinner. Until next week … Feast well – Chef Bart

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Rating: 4.0/5 (12 votes cast)

Juicy Lucy Burgers

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Claims to the origination of the Juicy Lucy are hotly debated, but we do know the first versions emerged from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and spread around the country from there. And anyway, who really cares? It’s a burger with gooey delicious cheese in the middle. That’s what really matters. I made two versions for this recipe, one plain-old cheese-filled patty, and one with the addition of pickled hot peppers. Let your imagination run wild. Just remember that, as with topping a pizza, moderation in stuffing a patty is key, or you’ll never get the burger to hold together.

24 oz your preferred ground beef
6 oz colby cheese, or whatever you decide to use
1 oz pickled hot peppers, or make your own (see below)
4 hamburger buns
lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayo, mustard – you know the drill
salt and black pepper, to taste

Divide the ground beef into four 6-ounce portions. Then divide each portion into two balls, about two-thirds to one-third by weight. To form the patties, it helps to have a ring mold somewhere around 4 inches in diameter. You can also use a large cookie cutter, or even the lid to a sour cream container in a pinch.

Pat the larger portion of the patty out into a flat disk the diameter of your mold and place it inside. Form a lip around the edge so that you have a meat crater. Place 1.5 ounces of shredded cheese inside the crater. Add a scattering of peppers if you desire.

(If you want to make your own, it’s really easy. Bring to a boil 1 cup of white wine vinegar, 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/3 cup of sugar and a clove of garlic. While you’re doing that, slice your preferred hot peppers into thin rounds. When the brine boils, pour it over the peppers. Cover with plastic and let sit for at least 15 minutes. That’s it.)

Pat out the smaller portion of meat into a flat patty large enough to cover the crater. Place it on top of the cheese. Using your fingertips, poke down around the outside of the patty to crimp the two sides together. Remove the mold and check the patty for holes. If you find any, pinch them together the best you can. Repeat with the other three burgers.

Refrigerate well. When you’re ready to cook, season with salt and pepper. Preheat a cast iron pan or your favorite burger cooking implement in your wood oven. Cook the burgers until they’re warm inside. Remove, put on a bun, top as you see fit, eat, and be proud of America.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (9 votes cast)

Roast chicken with lemon and thyme

1 whole chicken
Lemon
Fresh thyme
Garlic
Salt pepper

Sprinkle salt and pepper in cavity and
Stuff with a few sprigs if fresh thyme and lemon chunks and garlic to taste.

Truss chicken and sprinkle with a good amount of salt and some pepper. Chop up some fresh thyme finely and sprinkle on entire chicken.

Put into oven with a temp around 550f no flame and close door

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Rating: 2.9/5 (9 votes cast)

Seared Beef Tenderloin With Black Sheep Cheese and Roasted Tomatoes

This is one of those dishes that isn’t really a dish at all – just a confluence of good ingredients that happened to be at hand, with the end result being something beautiful and delicious. You’ll never really be able to recreate this dish: My tomatoes were grown by a family friend, and my cheese came from a farm that anyone outside of Illinois isn’t going to have access to. But that is the beauty of cooking – if you use your favorite tomatoes and seek out your own special cheese, you’ll end up with a finished product that is different from mine, but just as good (or better), and more importantly, one that is personal to you and your dinner companions.

tenderloin1

tenderloin2

If you do happen to live in the Midwest, Black Sheep is one of the many delicious cheeses made by Prairie Fruits Farm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. It is an ash-washed-rind sheep’s milk cheese similar in style to a Robiola. If you don’t have access to Prairie Fruits cheeses, check out your local artisanal cheese maker or cheese shop for something similar in style.

5 tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 T extra virgin olive oil
10 sprigs fresh thyme
5 sprigs fresh savory
1 T vegetable oil
1 whole tenderloin, cut into 6-oz portions
3 T butter
1 round of Black Sheep or Robiola-style cheese
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Remove your beef from the refrigerator and allow to temper for a least a half hour before cooking. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes on a wire rack over a sheet tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter half of the thyme and savory sprigs over the top of the tomatoes. Roast in a hot wood oven, rotating once, until soft, about 6-10 minutes depending on your tomatoes and oven temperature. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, discard the herb sprigs and remove the skins from the tomatoes. You should be able to peel them right off with your fingers.

Preheat a large roasting pan or skillet in a very hot wood oven. Add the vegetable oil – it should smoke. Place the steaks in the pan, slide the pan back into the oven, and seal up the oven. Allow the steaks to roast for 4-5 minutes. Remove the oven door and turn the steaks. Scatter the remaining savory and thyme over the steaks and roast for 2-3 minutes more. Add the butter to the pan; when melted, baste the steaks with the hot fat for 1 minute. Cooking times will vary depending on your oven temp and the thickness of your steaks – listed here are the approximate times for this particular session, with the meat cooked to medium rare.

Remove the meat from the roasting pan. Cut your cheese into wedges and top each steak with a piece. Allow to rest for 5-7 minutes, then serve with the roasted tomatoes alongside.

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Rating: 4.4/5 (5 votes cast)

Braised Beef “au Chasseur”

Don’t let the fancy name fool you – what we’re talking about here is pot roast. I took my inspiration for the flavors in this dish from the classic French sauce chasseur, or hunter sauce, so I thought I’d give credit where it’s due. Sauce chasseur is a hearty amalgam of tomatoes, mushrooms and wine, so I have all those flavors working here, plus a couple more just because. This is one you want to cook low and slow, and it’s going to take a while in the oven, so plan ahead. The end result will be worth it, though.

braised-beef

2 C red wine
8 oz crimini mushrooms, quartered
1 chuck roast, about 2.75 lbs
1 lb split beef shank
3 oz bacon, diced
2 T butter
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 T Dijon mustard
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart beef stock or broth
8 oz carrots, cut into equal-size pieces
1 lb fingerling potatoes, cut into equal-size pieces
vegetable oil as needed
salt and pepper to taste

Place the red wine in a small pot and bring to a simmer. Reduce by half and set aside. In a large saute pan set over high heat, cook the mushrooms in a small amount of vegetable oil until nicely roasted. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Next, heat the vessel you’re going to cook the pot roast in over medium-high heat – a medium-size roasting pan should do the trick. Add enough vegetable oil to film the bottom of the vessel. Season the chuck roast and the beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper and sear on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the diced bacon to the pan and render until golden brown and crispy. Add the butter and the sliced onions sweat until the onions are soft and just starting to take on a golden hue, about 7-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pan, bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes to slightly reduce the tomato liquid.

At this point, bring the rest of the flavoring ingredients to the party – add the reduced wine, Dijon, thyme and beef stock to the pan and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the liquid is going to reduce. Put the chuck and the beef shanks, along with any accumulated juices, into the pan, cover loosely with foil, and transfer to a low-temperature wood oven. You want your braise to be just barely simmering in the oven. If it’s too hot, you’re going to end up with tough, dry meat. Try placing your roasting pan on a rack to cut down on heat conduction from the bottom of the oven.

Cook, rotating the pan every so often, until you think the meat is about halfway done. This is the (only) tricky part of this recipe – judging the doneness of your meat. Cooking times are going to vary depending on your exact cut and type of beef, as well as oven temperature. You could be looking at anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. The difficulty is that you want to add the carrots and potatoes to the pan at a point when they’re going to have enough time to cook and be tender, but not so much time that they’re completely obliterated when the meat is done. I’d say to add them when you think the meat is about 1 1/2 hours from being done. At that point you can add the mushrooms and any accumulated mushroom juices to the pan as well.

When the beef is fall-apart tender and your carrots and potatoes are soft and have soaked up loads of delicious flavor, remove from the oven. Between the starch from the potatoes and the reduction of the cooking process, you should be left with a delicious, unctuous sauce in the pan. If the liquid is a little too thin for your taste, try this: Use a fork (or your fingers) to mash together 2 tablespoons of soft butter with 3 tablespoons of flour. When well mixed into a smooth paste, place your pot roast over low heat so that the liquid is simmering, then whisk in the flour mixture. Allow to cook for 4-5 minutes to let the flour work its thickening magic, and you should be left with a beautiful hearty sauce. (For the food-nerd people out there like me, this is called a beurre manié.)

And that’s that – you have a delicious (almost) 1-pot meal. Serve with a simple salad for some acidic contrast and some bread to soak up any sauce left on your plate and you’re good to go.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (4 votes cast)

Slow-Roasted Duck Breast With Rhubarb-Savory Compote

The bright acidity of rhubarb is a great counterpoint to the meaty richness of duck breast. This is a wonderful dish for the wood oven, because that faint lick of smokiness infused in both the meat and the compote really ties everything together. It’s also very simple, but the depth of flavor will make it seem as if you worked on the dish for hours. Savory is delicious, underused herb that adds a nice minerality to the compote. If you can’t find it, try substituting marjoram or chervil.

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2 boneless duck breasts
1 onion
10 oz rhubarb
1 T plus 1 tsp vegetable oil
1/4 C plus 1 T sugar
1/4 C red wine
1 T butter
1 T fresh savory, chopped
Salt and black pepper, to taste

First, clean up the duck breasts: Remove any silver skin from the flesh and any excess fat and skin from around the edges of each breast. Using a sharp knife, score the skin of each breast in a crosshatch pattern, being careful not to cut through to the meat. Set aside.

Preheat a roasting pan or large skillet in your wood oven. Meanwhile, cut the onion into a small dice. Do the same for the rhubarb. (Hopefully it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: You need to remove any green leafy parts from the rhubarb and use the red stalks only – the leaves are toxic.) Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to your preheated pan, then add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sweat until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the rhubarb and the sugar to the pan and allow to cook until the rhubarb becomes soft and starts to break down. If you get a little caramelization during this process, all the better. Once the rhubarb has starting falling apart, add the red wine and allow to reduce until your mixture has taken on a somewhat thick, jam-like consistency, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and savory. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as necessary.

To cook your duck breasts, place a heavy skillet in the mouth of your oven, where the floor is still warm but the air above the pan isn’t blazing hot. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan. Season the duck breasts liberally with salt and pepper and then place them in the pan skin side down. What you are trying to do is slowly render the fat on top of the breast, so that you are left with crispy skin, a thin, unctuous layer of fat, and rosy medium-rare meat.

Allow the breasts to slowly render, draining off any excess fat as necessary. This process can take as long as 15 minutes, depending on the level of heat you’re working with. If you notice that the meat side of the breast is starting to cook, pull the pan farther back out of the oven. At this point you only want to render fat, not cook the meat.

Once a good deal of fat has rendered and the skin is beginning to turn golden, slide your pan into the heart of the oven and allow the breasts to roast for 3-5 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven. You’re looking for crispy mahogany-hued skin and medium-rare meat. Again, depending on your oven temp, you may cook the breasts entirely on the skin side. If you check and the skin is done but the meat still feels under, flip the breasts over onto the meat side and cook for 30-45 seconds.

Remove from the pan and allow to rest for five minutes. Cut the duck into thin slices and serve with the compote. Enjoy it as-is, or serve with some braised lentils and wilted spinach, and you have a fine meal on your hands.

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Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes cast)

Baked Chicken with Rice

chicken rice

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup of Arborio rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic glove, smashed and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • Saffron (optional)

Cooking

Fire your oven until hot, and then let the heat fall to moderate temperature, roughly 400-500ºF. This dish can be cooked either with the coals in the oven, or the oven raked out. You need enough heat to fully cook the chicken and the rice and stock combination.

Using a terracotta pan in your oven, sauté the onions, garlic, zucchini, pepper in olive oil until tender.

Add the rice and sauté until slightly translucent – only a minute or so. Do not brown the rice.

Add the chicken and optionally, brown it slightly.

Place the whole garlic bulb in the center of the pan, arrange the chicken, and then add the stock. Bake until brown and the rice is done. Roughly 45 minutes.

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Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)

Roast Whole Turkey

turkey

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-size turkey
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper and herbs of choice

Preparation

Coat the turkey with olive oil, and them lay it on a bed of onion, carrot and celery, skin side up. Add salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil to the bird, then 1/2 cup of water. Cover the turkey with foil. The foil and water let the turkey cook through without burning.

Cooking

Fire your oven until hot, and then let the heat fall to a moderate temperature, roughly 450-500ºF. If you have fired your oven for a longer period (2 hours or more), rake out the coals to allow the temperature to keep falling. If you do not have enough retained heat in the oven, you can leave a small fire, or coals at the start of cooking.

Add the turkey to your oven, and let it roast for about 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. After about 1 hour, remove the foil, and let the turkey brown. Take the turkey out of the oven, and covered it to rest.

Serve with oven roasted potatoes.

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Rating: 1.9/5 (21 votes cast)