I Am Very Sorry, Marcella Hazan

dcarch7October 7, 2013

John's thread inspired me to want to make some Hazan recipes. I have chicken quarters in the sous vide cooker, so why don't I make Hazan's risotto rice with Porcini Mushrooms to go with it?

I took a test taste of the chicken, cooked at 150 F, was very juicy and tender with nice Calamansi orange/oregano flavor, it occurred to me that it really needed something with a little more chew and distinct flavor to pair with. Arborio rice tastes like rice, aborio risotto tastes like rice with butter.

There sitting on the counter was a very large package of Wild Rice gift from Teresa. Perfetto! exactly what the chicken needed. So I used wild rice to make the risotto. Now obviously I was unable to find porcini mushrooms, but I was able to find a kind of oyster mushrooms that looked like porcini.

The end result was very satisfying. Life was good!

Sorry, Marcella Hazan for not followed your recipe completely, I did my best, and thank you Teresa, your wild rice, real wild rice would have been Hazan's preferred rice for the risotto if she had had some. :-) :-)


This post was edited by dcarch on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 0:33

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The talent of a fine cook is in the improvisation.

Hazan was masterful at improvising - she had a modest (by today's Gigantic Kitchen standards) but custom-fitted kitchen in her NY apartment where she tested her US cookbook recipes. The WS Journal did a nice piece on her with shots of her kitchen. They followed her on a shopping trip where just like the rest of us, she couldn't find certain ingredients and so subbed something else, or switched recipes altogether.

She was fine and wonderful cook, and so are you!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:18AM
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jkom51 said it better than I. Isn't the best compliment to a cook is when they inspire you?

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:01PM
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I am new here (I mostly live in the Harvest forum :), but I just have to say -- your presentation is amazing! What an eye for design! And I never would have thought to slice oyster mushrooms that way :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Welcome to the forum Nila! Leave it to Dcarch to be the reason you decided to come out and post.

Another great presentation Dc. Glad the box made it. I am looking forward to more surprise rice dishes from you.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 8:03PM
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jkom51, debrak2008, Thank you! Hazan was a very good cook. She got to be a great cook because she was applying basic science to basic cooking. She was a trained scientist.

NilaJones, welcome to the Cooking Forum and thank you very much for your kind words. Deliberate arrangement of food on the plate adds a great deal to eating pleasure, all for free.

I hope you do post your cooking experiences here. It is only logical coming after the Harvest Forum. You have to cook you harvest.

Teresa, all kinds of rice taste about the same, just different texture. Real wild rice has a distinct flavor as well as texture. I am happy to have the opportunity to explore the many virtues of wild rice, thanks to you.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Very nice! Love the sear on the chicken. Looks perfect!


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:59AM
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Very nice looking meal, dcarch! Except for calling the aquatic grass seed risotto it has nothing to do with Marcella Hazan though, so I think you still owe her a meal on that thread!

I would have to disagree with you about all rice tasting basically the same. Jasmine rice, for one, has a quite distinctive taste. And then of course there's brown rice which is completely different even though it's from the same plant.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:00PM
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I agree with you everything you said FOAS. And would add, that risotto isn't just about taste, but also about texture. And there is no way that wild rice has the texture of a well made risotto.

That said, the chicken does look really good. Nice colour on the chicken.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Thank you Tracey, FOAS and Ann.

I too will have to agree with FOAS. I have forgotten about Jasmine rice, which does have a distinct aroma. Long time ago I read that there are fake artificially flavored jasmine rice, so I have stopped buying them.

Ann, the idea of my making wild rice risotto is not to see how close I can get to imitate Arborio risotto. I see wild rice risotto as a separate recipe that shares the same technique as typical risotto making.

Wild rice risotto is not my invention by any means. If you Google, you will find over two million hits about wild rice risotto. There are many other people who like the taste and texture of wild rice cooked in the risotto style.

There is a difference, however, in the way that I make wild rice risotto. Because it is very difficult to get wild rice to be creamy, most recipes just use Arborio rice and mix it with wild rice. I have been able to make wild rice risotto without any Arborio rice, and make it to any degree of combination of creaminess and al dente quality. I have always been interested in the manipulation of food textures.

Likewise in the making of the chicken, I have tried to resolve the dilemma of how to cook chicken to ideal meat temperature (texture) throughout with no overcooking or undercooking, regardless of how thick or thin the meat is, and still mange to get the skin actually crispy. I mean âÂÂPeking duckâ skin kind of crackling crispy. I am always amused by all the TV cooking shows by famous chefs. They canâÂÂt seem to know the difference between browned skin and crispy skin.

The sous vide method can get the meat 100% perfect, but the skin is a problem. So many just peel off the skin and fry the skin separately and use meat glue to glue the skin back on the sous vided chicken.

By the optimization of balance of exact temperature and timing, as you can see, the chicken is 150F juicy cooked and the skin is crispy and practically grease-less and still attached on the sous vided chicken.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:18PM
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I've made wild rice risotto that is creamy like normal risotto.

Normal rice softens easily and has plenty of starch that dissolves easily (unscientific explanation).

With wild rice it seems like you actually have to cook and stir long enough to soften and mechanically grind some of the rice into creaminess (another totally unscientific explanation). A pressure cooker helps a lot. The other thing that helps (blatant cheating) is to take a little of the rice and food process it into forced creaminess. An even more shameless cheat is to cook a small amount of black (forbidden) rice and stir, mash, process that into the creamy sauce. Being a sticky rice, it creams easily.

I don't have any wild rice but will make it next time I do.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:03PM
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By the optimization of balance of exact temperature and timing, as you can see, the chicken is 150F juicy cooked and the skin is crispy and practically grease-less and still attached on the sous vided chicken.

Dcarch - care to elaborate on that? I'm still a SV chicken virgin but you make those quarters look and sound really good.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:07PM
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John's various methods are the basics for my making real wild rice risotto. Pressure cooker, and mechanical stirrer. There is no cheating if you can get the results you want. The only thing qualifies as cheating is if you go and buy ready made risotto and claim you have made it.

FOAS, here you go, amazing crispy chicken:

1. Most important first step: get some chicken. :-)

2. Prepare chicken as flat as you can with skin on and trim away excess fat.

3. Season chicken and freeze chicken with skin side on a flat surface.

4. Determine the lowest safe cooking temperature for yourself. I did mine at 150F, very slight pink. If you don't have bones, people will not see blood.

5. Sous vide frozen chicken, it doesn't matter, 3, 4 hours. It will not be overcooked. The chicken is thawed, marinated and cooked all at the same time. Isn't it great? No need to poke around with a thermometer either.

6. Remove chicken from sous vide bag and dry totally. Put chicken back in freezer for about 20 minutes. Skin side on flat metal surface. cover back of chicken with a few layers of paper towel for insulation.

7. Heat cast iron skillet, no oil, 550F to 600F. (good to have an IR thermometer)

8. Turn on exhaust fan on high, and put chicken on skillet skin side down, no need for oil.

9. Cover skillet with grease screen while chicken is fried in fat rendered from its own skin.

  1. Check how crispy you want to skin to be.

  2. Enjoy your chicken and accept humbly all the praises you will be getting from other eaters.

  3. You will need help to clean up the mess you have made in your newly remodeled kitchen. :-)


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Thanks a lot dcarch, I'll be trying that very shortly and will report back.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 4:39PM
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