Forno Bravo Community Cookbook

Juicy Lucy Burgers

juicy1 juicy2

 

 

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: 4.5/5 (6 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: 2.0/5 (3 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: 4.3/5 (3 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: 4.0/5 (3 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: 3.7/5 (3 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: 4.5/5 (2 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 (17 votes cast)

Roast Turkey Breast

turkey breast

Sometime you want turkey and gravy, but don’t want to roast a whole turkey. Try this turkey recipe instead. Use a stainless steel pan to brown the vegetables on the bottom to help make gravy.

Ingredients

  • 1 large turkey breast
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • Olive oil

Preparation

Lay your turkey 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

Add the turkey to a hot oven, roughly 600ºF, and let it roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. After about 1 hour, remove the foil, and let the turkey brown. Take the turkey out of the oven, cover, and let it rest for a few minutes.

Remove the turkey to a serving plate and put the pan back in the oven to finishing browning the vegetables. After a couple of minutes, put the pan on a medium burner and add 4 Tbs flour and a little extra butter to thicken the sauce. Lightly brown the flour, and then added chicken stock for gravy — put the gravy through a strainer to remove the veggies. The kids were thrilled – this was the best gravy ever. As they said, great gravy with a little turkey on the side.

Serving

This dish works well with vegetables, such as green beans and cauliflower, roasted in terracotta pans in the oven. Add 1/2’ water in the pan for steam and covering the pan with foil.

It isn’t the thrill of a whole turkey, but you will enjoy it.

 

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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Roast Chicken with Lemon

chicken

You have a lot of flexibility when doing a simple roast chicken. If your oven is hotter than 550ºF, you can wrap the chicken in foil to keep it from burning, and remove the foil a few minutes before the chicken is done for browning. If your oven is less than 400ºF, you can leave it in the oven longer, 90 minutes or more. If your oven warm, but too cool to roast a chicken, you can light a small fire. The heat from the fire will not only help bake your chicken, it will give you a smoky flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt and paper
  • Lemons
  • Fresh herbs
  • Aromatic vegetables

Preparation

Fire your oven until hot, and then let the heat fall to a low to moderate temperature, roughly 450-500ºF. Roast your chicken until done, according to the times listed above.

Rub inside and outside with olive oil.

Salt and pepper inside the cavity.

Place a whole pierced lemon, thyme and rosemary branches into the chicken’s cavity. One trick is to roll your lemons on the counter before piercing with knife to get better release of fluids.

Options

Place a layer of aromatics in the bottom of the pans (onions, carrots and celery), to start a nice sauce or gravy.

Use a steel pan when roasting, and add diced onions under the chicken. When the chicken is cooked, put the pan and the browned onions on a cool top and de-glaze the pan with Madeira wine, then add 2-3 Tbs butter to make a nice sauce.

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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

Roast Beef

beef

Ingredients

  • One 8lb beef roast
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2 Tbs rosemary (for the marinade)
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary (for the roasting pan)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Preparation

Marinate a nice piece of beef overnight in red wine, olive oil, thyme, and rosemary.

The next day, fire your oven until hot, and then let the heat fall to a low to moderate temperature, roughly 350-400ºF. If you have fired your oven for a longer period (90 minutes 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.

Place the roast on a bed of rosemary in a terracotta dish, and top it with some garlic cloves halves and a branch of rosemary.

The roast will brown at the higher heat, then roast slowly as the oven temperature falls. It should take somewhere from 2 to 3 hours to cook. When the roast just starts to drip its juices and it is brown on the outside, check the temperature with a meat thermometer. Pull the roast from the oven when the inside temperature of the roast is 135° to 140°F. Let the roast sit for at least 15 minutes before carving to serve.

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)