A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.
This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Jiggs Dinner and New England Boiled Dinner...Part II
As promised...here it is, my version of Jiggs Dinner and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Since I love roasted meat and gravy, I always include it when I make this meal. This past weekend it was a whole roasted chicken, minus the stuffing (I had a lot going on, plus I ran out of savory at my in laws house). I trussed the chicken, seasoned it entirely with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted it uncovered with one chopped onion for about 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees, basting every 10 minutes for the last 30 minutes of cooking. At the end I sprinkled a little fresh rosemary from my herb garden. Besides the wonderful taste of the roasted meat, and the bonus of rich tasty gravy, the addition of a roast allows the corned beef to go farther, thus leaving some for leftovers.
With that being said I also cooked a corned beef brisket (flat cut). I purchased a 4 lb brisket and cooked it on a low simmer for 3 hours. I place the corned beef in a large stock pot and cover it with water. I watch it for the first 10 minutes or so to get the simmer just right. A rolling boil will not do any kindness to the corned beef. Low and slow is the way to go for this cut of meat. Once I had it just right, I went off for a 90 minute bike ride and came back in time to pop the chicken in the oven and start my veggies.
While I often make pease pudding (yellow split peas are easy to find here, and I have a couple of pudding bags), I opted out this time. My loss I know! What I did do was cook rutabaga for a mashed rutabaga side dish, carrots, new baby white and red potatoes, cabbage, and some onions. When my mom makes Sunday Dinner, she has a time chart of when everything goes in the pot as for it all to be ready at the same time. This method is so affective that even my father is able to cook this meal from start to finish all by himself, as long as he follows the directions EXACTLY. He is culinaryly challenged to say the least! For me however, I do things a little differently. I don't enjoy the "rush" of having everything ready at the same time. I like to get the turnip/rutabaga done a bit early so I can get em mashed up and put aside in a covered casserole dish. I also like to get the roast/chicken done a bit early so: A) I can turn the oven to low; B) I can let the meat rest before slicing; and C) so I can spend quality time making some really good gravy. Not only does cooking a few things early cause less mayhem at the end, it also assures that your veggies don't get horribly overcooked and fall apart. Here's how I do the veggies and gravy, one by one:
For the rutabaga, I cook them in a second stock pot. I add some tap water and a number of ladle fulls of the stock from the corned beef. To prep the rutabaga, using a heavy chefs knife I cut it in half, and then lay each half on the flat side and cut 1/2 inch thick half moon shaped slices. I then peel on the rind and that's it. I drop the rutabaga in the pot, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to simmer. At this time, I also add two yellow onions, peeled and halved. The onions makes a nice addition to the meal.
The rutabagas will take some time, up to 30 minutes. Check then regularly with a fork until done. I add them to a casserole dish, with a tsp of fresh cracked black pepper, 2 Tbsp of butter, and mash them until well incorporated. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Then top with fresh parsley.
Potatoes and Carrots
This is the easiest part of the meal. For the carrots I just peel'em, cut them in half, and cut the thick part in half again, so they are all about the same size. For the new baby potatoes, I just give them a wash under cold water. The carrots and spuds get added to the pot of turnip/rutabaga and will take about 20 minutes. Check them with a fork and once tender, put them on a platter and keep in the warm oven.
Well maybe the cabbage is the easiest part. All you have to do is quarter it and give it a wash. I cook it directly with the corned beef. The New England recipes seem to call for a quick 10 minute cooking time, while I've seen recipes for Jigs where the cabbage is the first vegetable added. I like to go in between, and give the cabbage about 25 minutes, so it is tender, but not falling apart too much.
Chicken and Gravy
As I already mentioned, it's a good idea to have the chicken finished a bit early. Once it is done (use a thermometer if you are not sure...160 in the breast, 175 in the thigh) and transfer to a platter, and keep warm in the oven. The rich chicken drippings, and the chopped onion make a great base. I add 4-5 cups of pot liquor (stock) from the corned beef and some water or canned chicken broth, depending on how much I need to make. I place the roasting pan on the stove top over a medium-high heat. Using a wooden spatula or whisk I scrape all the browned bits away from the pan, as this adds major flavor to the gravy. To thicken the gravy, I use a combination of flour and corn starch. I add 2 heaping Tbsp of each to a small mason jar and add a little water. Give it a good shake as to make it lump free and you have a "slurry" that will thicken your gravy. Once the gravy liquid is at a rolling boil, begin whisking in the slurry, until it reaches desired thickness. Reduce heat to low and add gravy browning to get the color right. Taste for salt and pepper. The key here is to let the gravy cook on low for about 10 minutes. This cooks off any of the raw flour taste and lets the flavors meld. and the thickness to get just right.
All in all this meal was a huge success. My in laws love it, and they're glad they have the opportunity to having such a feast on more than St. Patrick's Day. For me, this is a part of who I am. Jiggs Dinner or Sunday Dinner is a profound element of Newfoundland culture and food lore. This is my way of making a connection of where I come from through the food I eat, and a way to have one of my favorite meals a little more often.