Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Raging River Brussel Sprouts AND Smoke 'em If You Got 'em Chicken

Well I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head, that didn't hurt
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

Except for the beer, it sounds like Johnny Cash was singing that about me.  I haven't stumbled down the stairs yet, which means I haven't had my coffee yet.  Which doesn't bode well for man nor beast crossing my path.  Grrrr.

Chelsea - Before

We have so much to do today, the very thought is making me anxious.  Drive here, buy this, cook that, and buzz cut the dogs.  I'm leaning toward waiting until the end of the week when we can work them in between episodes of Doctor Who, but we have a tiny bit of a flea problem, and two bottles of flea shampoo on the counter.  My head hurts just thinking about it.

My weekend cooking list developed a life of it's own, and somehow I find myself at least emotionally committed to preparing that wonderful Mushroom Cappuccino we tasted on the cruise, a batch of potato latkes, and some smoked chicken. 

All I want to do, right here and now, is close this iPad and slide back under the covers.  Besides, Rob and I had some delicious potato latkes at the Wheeler's Hanukkah party, so we should be all latka-ed out for the year, right?  And did I mention my back hurts?

But first, from the Waste Not, Want Not Department:  Raging River Brussel Sprouts - I had about a half pound of bacon hanging out in the fridge, and being Sunday, I decided to offer it for Sunday breakfast.  All I did in lay the bacon out in an aluminum pan and stuck it into a 450 degree oven.  Well, first though, I sprinkled it with some Raging River Five Pepper Blend, from The Salt Table in Savannah, and then with a healthy amount of dark brown sugar.  When it was done to our liking, I removed the bacon to a clean aluminum pan with tongs (don't try to drain this on paper towels), and along with a couple of toasted waffles, my man had a fine Sunday breakfast.

And I had a pan with some marvelous sweet and spicy bacon drippings.  To which I added some leftover fresh Brussel sprouts, halved, a 3.5 oz. package of roasted chestnut kernels, also halved, which I had picked up in my favorite Korean market (I suspect you can find them in any Asian market) and some slivered onions.  I gently mixed the ingredients in the pan so everything was coated with the bacon drippings, sprinkled on a little more of that Raging River, and put the pan in the 450 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the sprouts were done but still toothsome.  Season with kosher salt and more Raging River, if desired.  If you have any of the bacon, chop it and top the sprouts.  Serve immediately.

Not going shopping.  Wa-Hoo!

So now going to figure out how to approach the smoked chicken idea.  I have this cute little smoker bag I am dying to try, and some chicken thighs, but I am in a quandary regarding the spice rub.  The spice must flow.  I started researching through my collection of barbecue books, which took a while, but nothing struck my cooking fancy.

Then I went online, looking specifically for spice rubs to be used with smoked chicken.  The top of the list was from Bobby Flay, and the only thing that gave me second thoughts was the name:  Sixteen Spice Smoked Chicken.   Which wouldn't necessarily bother me - I have an excellent spice cabinet - but knowing Bobby Flay's recipes, he was going to be using a bunch of pure chili powders, and the only pure chili I had in the cabinet was chipotle.

No kidding, he's included ancho, pasilla, and chili de arbol, but no freaking chipotle.  I really want to try this recipe!

In the meantime:  we bit the proverbial bullet and shaved all four of the dogs.  We will give Chelsea her bath, but right now, we are totally drained.  What a project!  Almost four hours on our feet.  Needless to say, there was no mushroom cappuccino bubbling on my stovetop, and I am no closer to making potato latkes than I was last night.

What I did manage to do was try out the smoker bag on the chicken.  I seasoned the chicken and left it in the fridge for a couple of hours while Rob and I did our demon barber thing.  During the break between Romeo and Indiana, I washed my hands, preheated the oven, and put the chicken in the smoker bag.  The rest is rather delicious history.

As far as the spice rub is concerned, I deviated a bit from Bobby's recipe based on my family's tastes and the content of my spice cabinet.  I'm sure his original recipe is awesome, but this version has depth of flavor without competing with the smoke.  This one is a keeper.

All those spices ... pretty!

Smoke 'em If You Got 'em Chicken

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon McCormick's dark chili powder
1/2 tablespoon Badia chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 chicken thighs, skinless

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Combine all of the ingredients, except for the chicken.  Season the chicken on both sides with about half of the spice blend.  Place the chicken in the smoker bag according to directions, and seal well.  Place the bag on a metal baking sheet, and slide into the oven.  Leave the oven door open slightly, as you would when broiling.  Bake for 15 minutes at this temperature, then lower it to 375 degrees and close the oven door.  Bake for another 40 - 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the smoker bag to sit, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.  Open the bag by cutting across the top.  The chicken can be served as is, or brush the tops with a favorite barbecue sauce (I used the regular barbecue sauce from Jimmy Bear in St. Cloud) and place under the broiler for a few minutes, just until the sauce shows a few small bubbles.  This is so very good.  Your home will have the rather pleasant scent of hickory smoke, and it will dissipate by the next day.

I was thinking the hickory scent was a nice change from the floral, fruity, and baked goods scents we generally use to deal with the ubiquitous scent of dog and cat.  I may be in a minority here, I realize.

Chelsea - After

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