Chicken Larb

Rounding out our March recipes using the Meat Grinder Hunting Package with a little Laos flavor: Larb.  Larb is basically a minced meat salad, and is very popular in Laos as well as Thailand.  Pronounced laab, it can feature chicken, pork, beef, sometimes even fish.  The dominant flavors are lime juice, fish sauce and chilies and it is served with fresh herbs and a variety of toppings.  I am certainly not an expert in Laos or Thai cooking, but developed this recipe by taking my favorite components of the Larb dishes I have had over the years.

This dish is very versatile, you could serve it with rice and make it a hardy dinner, or serve it in lettuce leaves for lunch or a lighter supper.  I went with chicken because, well, it was what I had in my freezer.   I am all about adapting recipes to suite ones personal needs and likes.  You could also use pork or turkey.  If you want to go with beef, you might need to punch up the flavor since beef has a stronger taste than pork or poultry.

If you are new to grinding your own meat, an important step is chilling the cubed meat and metal components of the grinder.  This is especially crucial when grinding poultry to prevent a gummy and over-ground texture.  I usually cube up my meat and spread it out on a sheet tray and then toss it in the freezer with the grinder parts for about 30 minutes while I prep other ingredients.

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The white feeding tray is perfect for holding the metal components and stashing in the freezer to chill.

Since the Hunting Package comes with the extra disc grind sizes, I went with the largest, the 8mm, when grinding the chicken.  You could always scale down if you prefer.  But since the meat is the main ingredient in this recipe, I wanted the grind to be larger.

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Featured mixer color: light creme

Most of the ingredients in the recipe are fairly easy to find except one: toasted rice powder.  However, you can easily make this at home.  You just toast some jasmine rice in a skillet and coarsely grind it in a blender. I included instructions on how to make it below.

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When serving the dish, just remember that the toppings are an important part of the dish, kind of like tacos.  I like to serve it with sliced radishes, fresh mint, basil and cilantro, chopped peanuts and bean sprouts.  And lime wedges for anyone who wants an extra citrus kick.

Check out this video for further instructions on assembling and caring for the meat mincer attachment.

Chicken Larb

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 11 minutes

 

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/4 cup chopped green onion

1 Thai chili or serrano pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted rice powder*

For serving: chopped peanuts, lime wedges, bean sprouts, fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, mint), sliced radishes, large lettuce leaves and/or rice

 

Cut chicken into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces and lay out on a sheet pan lined with wax or parchment paper.  Place in the freezer, along with the metal parts of the grinder, for 30 minutes.

Once chilled, remove from freezer and assemble the grinder attachment with the 8mm disc.

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the shallot and garlic in the oil for 1 minute.  Add the rest of the ingredients, including the freshly ground chicken.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Serve with toppings over steamed rice or wrap up in lettuce leaves.

 

Yield: 6-8 servings

*Toasted Rice Powder: Place 1/2 cup of jasmine rice in a skillet over low heat.  Cook, stirring constantly until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.  Coarsely grind in a blender or mortar and pestle.  Use in above recipe and store remainder in an airtight container at room temperature.

 

 

 

 

Pan-Fried Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

 

Well I don’t know about you all, but February is always the gloomiest month to me.  The holidays are over, the cold weather is still lingering, and you start counting down the days till spring.  However, I do love the food of wintertime.  There is something so comforting about tucking into hearty dishes, cozy and warm indoors, keeping the bleak weather at bay.  This month’s featured attachment is the grain/spice/coffee mill, and I thought it would be perfect for showcasing a winter favorite of mine: polenta with creamy mushroom sauce.

What I appreciate about this recipe is the fact that you make the polenta in advance.  Then when dinnertime actually comes around, you just cut it into wedges and pop it in the pan for a quick sear.  Top that with a simple mushroom sauce and add a salad on the side, and dinner is done in less than 30 minutes.

This was my first time using the grain mill attachment, and it was very easy and self-explanatory.  Excellent for grits and polenta, since you can adjust the coarseness to your personal preference.

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featured mixer color: matte black

 

The actual process of making polenta is quite simple.  It is basically a corn porridge, and once you have ground the corn, all you need is some water and a little salt.

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If you like pepper, add freshly ground after the polenta has cooked.

 

There are 2 important parts in the polenta making process.  The first is pouring the polenta SLOWLY into the boiling water to minimize lumps.

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Place the polenta in a piece of parchment or wax paper to easily pour into the pot.

 

The second important step is stirring or whisking often.  Whisking every 5-7 minutes is essential for a smooth polenta, and to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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Vigorously whisk to prevent the polenta sticking to the bottom of the pot.

 

After it has cooked, just pour into a greased pan and refrigerate till firm.

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Ready for the fridge

 

Once firm, flip the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares or wedges.  it only takes a few minutes to brown it in a pan, and then it is ready to be topped with a satisfying creamy mushroom sauce.

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Left: a pizza cutter is ideal for portioning out the polenta. Right: creating a crispy crust.

 

The mushroom sauce comes together quickly, and can easily be done while you are browning the polenta.

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garlic, mushrooms, chicken broth and heavy cream make a simple mouthwatering sauce.

 

I hope this comforting dish gets you through the winter blahs.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, we always love to hear from our readers.  Enjoy!

 

Pan-Fried Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

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Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes (total cook time for everything)

 

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon whole dried corn

8 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

freshly ground pepper, optional

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Mushroom Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

16 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

 

Attach the grain/spice mill to the base of your Ankarsrum mixer.  If needed, click HERE for specific instructions on assembly.  Place a bowl underneath the attachment to catch the ground corn.  Adjust the coarseness setting between medium and fine, according to your preference.  Set the speed to medium and grind the corn.  This should yield 2 cups ground polenta.

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a 4 quart pot over high heat.  SLOWLY whisk in the polenta.  Reduce heat to low.  Let cook uncovered, for 50 minutes, vigorously whisking every 5-7 minutes to prevent lumps.  Add freshly ground pepper, if desired, once the cooking time is done.

Pour the cooked polenta into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.  Let cool to room temperature, cover, and then refrigerate until firm.  Alternately, you can hold up to 2 days in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Once polenta has firmed up, place a large cutting board on top of the baking dish and carefully flip the polenta over and out onto the cutting board.  Using a large knife or pizza cutter, cut the polenta into 12 rectangles.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place 4 pieces of the polenta in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, creating a golden brown crust.  Working in batches, cook the remaining polenta pieces in the remaining olive oil, 4 pieces at a time.

Mushroom Sauce:

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté 5 more minutes.  Add the chicken broth and heavy cream and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 12-15 minutes until thickened.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper according to preference.

Spoon mushroom sauce over polenta.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired.  Serve immediately.

 

Yield: 6 servings

 

A reminder of our current sale for February: Grain & Spice Mill Attachment is on sale for $119.95 ($40 SAVINGS).