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The Gourmet Cookbook - Article

Contributed by: Lee Faber of Copywrite Corporation

Article: "The Gourmet Cookbook"
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Copyright:  2004 Chris Sadler
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The Gourmet Cookbook

by Lee Faber

Containing more than 1000 recipes from six decades of Gourmet
Magazine, this is a weighty book of 1040 pages. Unlike the
original two-volume Gourmet Cookbook first published in 1950, the
current book contains no photographs. This should not put anyone
off since the original photos now look very dated. Instead, it is
illustrated with simple little drawings that explain everything
from cuts of meat to how to make fresh pasta. It also has a
proper ingredients list which the original lacks.

The Gourmet Cookbook is a book for both novices in the kitchen
and experienced cooks with both basic and wonderfully ambitious
recipes that have been thoroughly tested and well-written. For
such a large volume, it has been cleverly bound to stay open on
any page. It also has a very well thought-out index. My only
criticism is that the titles of the recipes are printed in yellow
ink - not very easy to read. This is a book that will certainly
live in my kitchen, to be used over and over again rather than
sit forlorn on the bookshelf.

Chicken In Pumpkin Seed Sauce (Pollo en Pipian Verde)

The Mexican states of Puebla and Veracruz are know for the nutty,
herbaceous, almost creamy pumpkin seen sauce called pipian.
Seasoned with spices and green chiles, it is intriguing in
flavor, gentle in heat, and very easy to make. Hulled green
pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are the whole point here, so select
them with care. Serve the chicken and sauce with rice; it also
makes a great taco filling.

For Chicken

8 chicken quarters (4 pounds total), rinsed and patted dry
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
1/2 large white onion
6 large fresh cilantro sprigs
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 black peppercorns
3 allspice berries

For Pumpkin Seed Sauce

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) green (hulled) pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 allspice berries
3 while cloves
6 black peppercorns
1 pound fresh tomatillos or 1 (28 ounce) can tomatillos
6 serrano chiles, stemmed
1/2 large white onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup lard or vegetable oil
1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled and seeded

Optional Garnish

chopped toasted green (hulled) pumpkin seeds and chopped fresh
cilantro

Special Equipment

electric coffee/spice grinder

Combine chicken, garlic, onion, cilantro, salt, peppercorns and
allspice with water to cover in a 6 quart heavy pot and bring to
a simmer. Simmer, covered, until chicken is just tender, about 50
minutes. Transfer chicken to 13 x 9 inch baking pan. let stock
cool.

Pour stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bow, pressing garlic
pulp through sieve; discard solids. Measure 3 1/2 cups stock for
sauce and reserve remainder for another use.

Heat a dry 10 inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot,
then toast pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly, until puffed and
beginning to pop, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Add sesame and cumin seeds, allspice, cloves and peppercorns to
skillet and heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute;
transfer to plate. When seeds and spices are cool, grind to a
powder, in 4 batches, in coffee/spice grinder.

If using fresh tomatillos. remove husks and rinse with warm water
to remove stickiness. Combine fresh tomatillos, serranos, and
salted water to cover in a 5 quart heavy pot, bring to a simmer,
and simmer for 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer
tomatillos and serranos to a blender. Or, if using canned
tomatillos, drain them and transfer to blender, along with
uncooked serranos. Add onion, garlic, 1/4 cup cilantro and salt
to blender and puree until completely smooth (use caution).

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 F.

Heat lard (or oil) in a 5 quart heavy pot. Add tomatillo puree
and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Add 3 cups
reserved stock and stir in ground pumpkin seed mixture. simmer
over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until some greenish oil
is visible on surface, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, puree poblano with remaining 1/2 cup stock and 1/4 cup
cilantro in blender until completely smooth.

Stir poblano puree into sauce and pour over chicken. Back just
until chicken is heated through, about 20 minutes. Garnish with
pumpkin seeds and cilantro, if desired.

Cook's Notes:

The chicken and stock can be made up to 1 day ahead. Cool
completely, uncovered, then refrigerate separately, covered. The
extra stock can be frozen for up to 1 month.
The sauce can be made, without the poblano puree, up to 1 day
ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then refrigerate, covered.
Reheat over moderate heat before proceeding.
You can use this as a taco filling by shredding the chicken
(discarding bones and skin) and stirring it into the sauce with
the poblano puree before baking. Serve with warm tortillas.

Pumpkin Seeds

Green (hulled) pumpkin seeds, or pietas, are an essential part of
Chicken in Pumpkin Seed Sauce. They're terrific cocktail nibble
as well: toast them in a hot cast-iron skillet until they puff up
(stir constantly so they don't get too dark), then drizzle them
with a little olive oil and sprinkle them with sea salt. Because
the seeds go rancid quickly, buy them at a place with a high
turnover. We've had the best luck at natural foods stores. Store
them in the freezer.

Makes 8 Servings

Active Time: 1 1/4 hours - Start to Finish: 1 1/2 hours

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