This recipe has been moved to The Friendly Gourmand (my new blog). Sorry for any inconvenience.
A brine is a fool proof (famous last words?) way to ensure you get moist, juicy chicken or turkey every time. It actually doesn’t have to be poultry, that’s just what we use it for the most. Any dry meat is fair game. Simply soak the bird in the brine (time depends on the size of the meat), rinse thoroughly and then use in the recipe of your choice.
Bringing works in a couple of ways:
- Moisture enters the flesh, so the meat is juicier before cooking, thus the typical fluid loss during cooking does not dry it out to the same level as non-brined meats. This happens in two parts – firstly, the water leaves the chicken’s cells to create an isotonic solution with the brine; once equilibrium has been reached, the water flows in and out of the meat, carrying with it the dissolved salt and flavourings that you added, trapping them within the flesh.
- The dissolved salt also acts directly on the proteins, causing the peptides to swell and then unwind. Water then flows within the protein and is trapped there when heat denatures them and causes the protein chains to bind together once more.
Enough for one 2.5-3.0 kg (5.5-6.0 lb) chook/other bird.
- 2.5 litres of water
- 0.5 litres of FF stock (or water)
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup ground black pepper
- Aromatic vegetables – such as celery, green leek tips and carrots (optional, performs the same role as the FF stock, if you have none)
Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Watch it closely, as it will boil very quickly with all the salt in there. Let it gently boil for 5 minutes, then take it off the heat and allow it to come to room temperature. Do not strain it.
Once the brine is at room temperature, submerge the (cleaned) bird and weight it down, if necessary, to ensure that the entire bird gets the brine treatment. Leave a chicken in the brine for 3-4 hours and a turkey for at least 6 hours. Place the saucepan with the brine and chook inside in the fridge to keep cool while the process takes place. If your pot won’t fit in the fridge, put the lid on and submerge it in icy water. The ice will need to be replaced regularly to maintain a cold temperature, so you’ll need to stick around to keep an eye on it. An Eski (cooler) also works to keep the temperature at or below 38 F/3 C.
Once the brine is complete, remove the bird just before cooking and rinse thoroughly to get rid of excess salt etc. Use it in the recipe of your choice, such as this spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving or BBQ smoked rosemary chicken.
So this post is a little belated an really just an excuse for some fun. I have a couple of drafts ready to go up soon; I’m sorry for the long break!
Our eldest dog turned 6 in July – he’s officially a 42 year old man – and we decided to celebrate. Yes, there are only 5 candles, these photos are from last year. The cake looked better and we didn’t have any candles this year.
To make this extravagant birthday cake for one (or more) spoilt doggies, you will need:
- 1.5 lb mince beef/pork etc
- 1 packet bacon strips
- 1 cup chopped veggies if you’d like to make it a little more nutritious
Line a rectangular baking dish with baking paper and put aside. Mix the veggies and mince meat together and press down into the lined baking dish.
Bake at 180 C/350 F for 40 minutes or so, until cooked through.
Meanwhile, create a bacon weave – this will be your “icing” – from the bacon strips (one over, one under – just like a basket) and bake in the oven, along with the “cake.” Turn once after 15 minutes and continue to cook for another 15; after this, monitor it until it looks fully cooked and slightly crispy.
Once they are both completely cooked, up-end the “cake” onto a serving dish and cover it with the bacon weave “icing.” Stick in the right number of candles and garnish with some colourful cooked veggies or some dog treats.
Last night Ev made the most delicious ribs ever.
I helped, I suppose – as much as my post half marathon legs would allow. Never before had I realised that having the pots and pans in the lower cupboards was such a hassle, that the slightest steps would be so hard. I felt like I was 100 years old… still do, well maybe 80 by now, which is why I’m choosing a seated activity like blogging over cleaning the kitchen.
I will regret being seated for so long when I attempt to get up again… ouch. But I’m already planning the next one! 2 hours and 25 minutes for my first half marathon, I’m pretty stoked; especially considering I couldn’t run for the three weeks preceding it due to a recurrent hip injury. Now I need to improve on it!
These ribs can be served with blanched or stir-fried vegetables and rice. I will only explain the ribs in this post and I’ll do the rice in another. But they are so delicious. And grinding the star anise was my favourite part. Because I haven’t found a wheat-free/fructose friendly liquorice that I can eat, the aniseed aromas that wafted out of the food processor were like magic. Combine that with the ginger in there and it was like Christmas had come for me. All I could smell were liquorice and fresh ginger bread… at least in my mind!
- Dextrose is a low FODMAP sugar.
- Ginger root (fresh and ground) is low FODMAP in 1 tsp serves.
- Tomato sauce – in Australia – is safe in 13 g serves. The 1/2 cup called for in this recipe equates to about 100 g, so around about 7-8 serves of this recipe for FODMAPers.
- Golden, maple and rice malt syrups are all low FODMAP.
- Hoisin sauce has not been tested for FODMAP content. I have found a brand in the US that I am okay with, please check ingredients and, if you are not sure, then skip this recipe.
- Rice vinegar and rice wine are both low FODMAP.
- Brown sugar is low FODMAP in the amount present per serve.
- Sesame oil contains no carbohydrates, so is low FODMAP.
- Five spice powder is a blend of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, szechuan peppercorn and fennel seeds. All but the szechuan peppercorns have been tested by Monash and are low FODMAP and five spice powder as a premade blend is low FODMAP in 1 tsp. serves.
- Asafoetida is low FODMAP and, given that you’d only ever need a tiny amount per recipe, it’s easy to not go over. Just make sure that you buy a gluten free version if you have Coeliac disease.
Chinese Style Sticky Ribs
Serves 8 FODMAPers.
For each rack of spare ribs, you will need…
- 2 tbsp. dextrose
- 6-8 chunks of ginger root, cut into 0.5 x 5 cm (1/4″ x 2″) chunks.
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (aka ketchup, HFCS free)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, GF if required
- 1/2 cup golden syrup/maple syrup/rice syrup
- 1/4 cup GF hoisin sauce – has not been tested, check ingredients
- 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. rice wine
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar – sub in dextrose if this is problematic
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 tsp. five spice powder
- 2 tsp. grated/ground ginger
- 1 pinch asafoetida
Prepare your ribs. You can either buy them St Louis style or by the whole rack (usually cheaper per pound) and cut them down yourself. You can find more detailed instructions here but essentially you trim off the membrane, skirt and the riblets to reveal a neat, rectangular rack of ribs.
The rack should then be cut into individual ribs and then those ribs cut (read – bashed with a meat cleaver, ribs are hard) into 5 cm/2 inch lengths. You can also cut the riblets down to size and include them… I actually like those bits best because they have more meat on them.
Next, soak the ribs in slightly salty water for 15 minutes. This gets rid of any funky odours that packaged meat sometimes comes with due to chemicals that warehouses spray on them to impede bacterial growth.
Seal your pot. Once it is properly sealed (and only then!) pour in the 2 tbsp. castor sugar and fry it on a medium heat til it caramelises. You will need to seal it with more oil than usual, or the sugar will absorb it all too quickly and dry out and burn. In the meantime, drain the ribs (they need to be thoroughly dry or the water and hot oil mixing will create a nice explosion) and have them ready to go. Once the sugar has caramelised, sear them in the pot with the ginger chunks.
Leaving the ribs and ginger in the pot, fill it with water until everything is just submerged, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. When it comes to the boil, the blood will rise to the top in a layer of scum – skim this off and discard. Set the timer.
While the ribs are boiling, make the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. We didn’t have five spice powder (and I couldn’t find it anywhere locally) so I made it myself. I couldn’t find one of the more typical ingredients, either, so I substituted it for another type of pepper.
Once you have dried the ribs, seal your fry pan because you will need to sear them once more until they are a crispy brown.
Remove them once more (for the last time, I promise). Leave the pan off the heat for a few minutes to allow it to cool properly or there will be another explosion when the water based sauce hits the hot oil and heat your sauce through on a low-medium heat til it is smooth and well combined.
This definitely worked a treat as a post looooong run meal with protein and carbs. If you have problems with table sugar, which is 1:1 fructose to glucose, then this meal might not be for you unless you substitute a cooking sweetener like Stevia or dextrose in its place.
I have never cooked with Stevia because in the small amounts that I eat sugar, it hasn’t bothered me; this is what I hear from most other people I know with FM – which is different than HFI. Brown sugar, on the other hand, has about 101 g fructose to 100 g glucose. The 1 g of extra fructose doesn’t bother me in small amounts (though I haven’t sat there and eaten a bowl of it to see how much would bother me) but again, if you know it affects you or you don’t want to risk trying it, then skip it or replace it with something like Stevia.
After reading many instructionals on the internet and watching a few videos on YouTube.com for good measure, this is how we prepare our St Louis Style ribs. Spare ribs are cheaper by weight than prepared St Louis Style ribs, and even though there are off-cuts, these aren’t wasted as our two spoilt dogs usually get them for dinner, or you can use them in stir-fries.
Here is a rack of spare ribs.
Cut off the skirt (labelled above). Find the joint between the ribs and the riblets. Slice along this joint to separate the two. The riblets are great to serve as an entree (appetiser).Here, the ribs and riblets are separated.
The ribs have a membranous layer on one side. This needs to be removed or it will become very chewy and unpleasant once cooked.
To do so, place a spoon in one of the gaps like so…
Separate the membrane from the flesh and pull it towards the end. Doggie on-looker not required.
Trim excess fat.