Baby, It's (Finally) Cold Outside
Comfort food, Chef Moffett style
With the new year came the cold weather that we've been promised for a while. While it's not exactly polar outside, there is just enough chill in the air that those comfort food cravings are kicking in. Comfort doesn't have to be complicated (and can still involve some vegetables), as Executive Chef Bruce Moffett demonstrates with some of his favorite wintertime recipes below.
The Pan Roasted Chicken has long been a crowd favorite at his first restaurant, Barrington's. After chatting with Chef Moffett, we strongly suggest opening a window when browning the chicken—even if it is cold outside.
Pan Roasted Chicken with Wilted Greens, Mashed Potatoes, and Natural Pan Sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 bone-in chicken breasts
2 large Idaho potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick butter
Salt and white pepper, to taste
1 bag spinach
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
For the Chicken
Heat oven to 450°. Add vegetable oil to a large sauté pan and heat over high until it begins to smoke. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place it skin side down into pan. Cook until the skin starts to brown. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes, or until the breast meat is no longer pink. Pull the breast out of the pan and allow it to rest (skin side up) until you finish the sauce.
For the Sauce
Deglaze the roasting pan with the chicken stock and reduce over medium heat until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Whisk in the butter and adjust the flavor with salt and pepper. Hold over low heat to keep warm until use.
For the Mashed Potatoes
Cover whole potatoes, with their skins on, with cold water in a pot. Place pot over low heat for about an hour, or until the potato is fork tender. When the potatoes are tender, drain water and peel the skins with a paring knife, then rice (or mash) the potatoes. Melt the butter along with the cream, then add to the freshly riced potatoes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.
For the Spinach
In a small pot over medium-high heat, brown the garlic in the olive oil. Add the spinach and gently stir until the leaves are tender. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Assemble each dish by placing half of the wilted spinach on top of a serving of mashed potatoes. Top with one of the chicken breasts, then spoon some of the warm pan juices over the chicken. Serve immediately.
Warm Mushroom Soup with Roasted Garlic and Thyme
6 portobello mushroom caps with gills left in
1 yellow onion
1/4 cup garlic, roasted
1 cup white wine
2 quarts water
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh thyme, for garnish
Slice the mushrooms and onion, then place in a large sauce pot with the roasted garlic and white wine.
Slowly sweat vegetables over medium heat until they release their liquids, lowering the heat if necessary, about 15 minutes. Add water and simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off heat and add the heavy cream. Purée with an immersion blender until smooth, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Ladle the soup into a bowl and garnish with fresh thyme.
Port Wine-Braised Short Ribs
Chef Moffett serves these ribs with roasted root vegetables, such as carrots or turnips, and a microgreens garnish that adds a fresh, lighter element to the dish.
3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 onion, peeled and sliced
3 ribs of celery, sliced
4 ounces tomato paste
1 cup red wine
4 ounces port wine
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart veal stock
Fresh thyme, bay leaves, and parsley stems
1 tablespoon cold butter
Heat oven to 350°.
Generously season the beef with salt and pepper and sear in a hot Dutch oven with vegetable oil. When the meat is nicely browned, pull it from the pot and set aside. Caramelize the vegetables, then return the meat to the pot. Add the tomato paste and stir until it starts to brown, then deglaze with the wines. Reduce the wine to a syrup, then add the stock and herbs. Bring to a simmer, cover, then place in oven for three hours or until the meat is fork tender.
When the beef is tender, gently remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Strain the braising liquid and skim the fat off the top. Reduce the stock until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Finish the sauce by whisking in a tablespoon of cold butter.