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Potatoes Lyonnaise with Lemon and Chile

13 Sep

The countdown to my next trip to France has already begun! In exactly one month I will be boarding a plane for my favorite place in all the world. I am again going to Normandy (fall is such an incredible time to be there, with apples ripe and cider season in full swing), and then to Paris. This month is going to fly by, I just know it.

The latest Food & Wine arrived yesterday, and the theme of the issue is New French Classics. I love this, of course, because I do this all the time at home. One of the recipes that caught my eye immediately was the updated version of Potatoes Lyonnaise. If you aren’t familiar with the recipe, it is simply potatoes, onions, garlic. But the marriage of the three (with a healthy dose of butter, I’m not going to lie), exults the simple tubers into things of sheer genius. You will never eat plain old hash browns again.

I didn't have parsley on hand so this pic is missing the oomph of green needed to make these pop, but they tasted great anyway!

Potatoes Lyonnaise with Lemon and Chile
From Food & Wine Magazine

1 tbs unsalted butter
1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 baking potatoes (peeled and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick)
1/4 cup pork fat (I used leaf lard that I had on hand for pie crusts) or melted unsalted butter
1 large clove garlic, chopped
freshly ground pepper
pinch of crushed red pepper
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbs chopped parsley

In medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the sliced onions and a large pinch of salt. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft and golden, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the potato slices in a large pan of water, add a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately high heat until the potatoes are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; let cool to room temperature. Gently pat the slices dry.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the pork fat (or butter). Add the potato slices and cook over moderately high heat until they are browned and crisp, about 6 minutes on each side. Add the chopped garlic and shake it in the skillet until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add the cooked omnions and season them with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the crushed red pepper and lemon juice. Transfer to a platter, sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve right away.

 

Pie Crust with Leaf Lard

15 Aug

When I think of summer, I think of pie.  Cherry, peach, blueberry… I could live on fruit pie during this time of year, and I also like to freeze pies now for later in the year.  There is something wonderful about pulling out a blackberry pie for dinner in February, right about the time when I can barely remember what fresh fruit tastes like.  I am especially excited now that I have found the secret ingredient for perfectly flaky crust every time: leaf lard.

Leaf lard

The folks at Wooly Pigs would like you to know you can do much more with their leaf lard than make great pie crusts.  This is true, but it is also the secret to a pretty amazing crust.  Curious what exactly is leaf lard?  It is the highest grade of lard obtained from the pig, has no “piggy” flavor, and therefore is ideal for use in baked goods.

Think using lard is gross?  In my mind, nothing is grosser than using Crisco, which is made from highly-pesticide-laden cottonseed oil,  which is then partially hydrogenated to turn the liquid into a solid.  I am pretty sure my body knows how to process lard, a natural product, better than it does Crisco, which is made in a lab.  I still use mostly real butter in my crusts, but I have found that substituting 1/4 cup of leaf lard for some of the butter makes for the best crust I have ever made.

Finding leaf lard can be the tricky part.  We are lucky here in Seattle to have quite a few local farmers who raise pigs, but the lard is generally only available after the animals are slaughtered, often requires that you render it yourself,  and is quickly sold out.  The folks at Wooly Pigs had it on hand this summer when I stopped by their stand at the University Market, and fully rendered too.  Good news for those of us who don’t want the mess of doing it at home.

Pie Dough with Leaf Lard
Adapted from The Bakers Dozen

*This makes enough for a double crust recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter
1/2 cup leaf lard
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice cold water

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut in the butter and lard until the mixture is crumbly, with a few coarse, pea-sized pieces of butter.  Sprinkle in the water and mix with a fork, adding just enough until the mixture is moistened and begins to clump together.  Gather up the dough and form into a flat disk.  You can use this dough immediately.

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