Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Bill Neal's Southern Cooking" - Chicken Purloo (Chicken and Rice Stew) and Beet and Endive Salad



Date I made these recipes: August 22, 2010

Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking by The University of North Carolina Press
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0-8078-1649-3 © 1985
Recipe: Chicken Purloo – p. 63 (and poached chicken p. 131)

Remembering Bill Neal – Favorite Recipes From a Life In Cooking by Moreton Neal (foreword by John T. Edge)
Published by The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0-8078-2913-7
Recipe: Beet and Endive Salad – p. 16-17

So people, before we can “remember” Bill Neal as the title of the book suggests, we have to know him.

From what I can tell, Bill Neal turned southern cooking on its ear a while back, bringing a more haute cuisine approach to southern cooking than had ever been seen before. When his restaurant, La Residence, opened in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, rumor has it the residents about went Cuckoo for Coco Puffs lining up to get their southern favorites with a twist. Not bad considering it was the ‘70’s! Bill and his ex-wife, Moreton (author of the book Remembering Bill Neal) were the talk of the town back then, both as restaurant owners and cookbook authors.

Fast forward to today. I’m reading my latest Food & Wine Magazine, featuring southern cooking and found an article about Bill’s son, Matt Neal, who now owns and operates Neal’s Deli in Chapel Hill. And of course, talk about Matt made me think about Bill that made me think about the cookbooks I have on hand and there you have it!

Now you may question why on earth I paired a chicken and rice dish with a heavy salad made with beets but I did so because someone had given us a few beets from the garden. And since we love beets (and you either do or you don’t), I decided to use them up and make this salad, summer temperatures be damned! I have to say though, that whereas the chicken dish was very good, the beet dish was just okay. But such is life.

And for those of you who have been waiting for me to explain just what the heck a “purloo” is— it is a chicken and rice stew dish brought over by African slaves and made popular in the Low County of South Carolina.

And thus we conclude our southern history lesson for the day—now go eat!

Chicken Purloo – Yields 6 to 8 servings
1 chicken weighing about 4 pounds, poached (recipe to follow)
3 cups stock from poaching
6 slices bacon
2 ½ cups chopped onion
¾ cup chopped celery
¾ cup chopped, peeled carrot
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
1 14-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ to ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
½ ounce dried French cepes or Italian porcini, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 ounces cold butter
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
6 cups hot, cooked rice

After poaching the chicken, bone, skin and chop it into regular pieces (3/4 inch by 1 ¼ pieces). (Note: I think it’s funny that the author uses the word “regular” pieces—like we would know what that means. And is this opposed to your “irregular” pieces? Just asking.)

Chop and render the bacon in a Dutch oven or other heavy cooking pan, cooking slowly until it browns at the edge; do not let it become crisp. Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic and continue cooking until vegetables are tender. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until the flour browns lightly. Pour in stock and tomatoes with the chicken, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes, and chopped mushrooms. Bring to a simmer, taste for salt and pepper, and cook for 30 minutes.

Before serving, stir in the fresh parsley and the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Serve over hot rice.

Poached Chicken
Note: for my money you don’t need to add as many ingredients to this chicken since it will be used as a base for another dish, but since I had most ingredients on hand, I did. But I tell you what, folks, if you follow the directive to poach about 90 minutes in all, you will be crying. I poached it for just over 30 and some pieces were already leaning toward the tough side. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Also, this recipe advises you to run the chicken under cold running water and drain. I have since read that washing chicken might spread salmonella and it’s better to let the heat kill any germs that might be lingering. It’s up to you of course but I am happy to say we didn’t rinse and lived to tell about it!

Wash the chicken under cold running water and drain in a colander. Combine the onion, celery, red pepper flakes, bay leaves, thyme, salt, peppercorns, and water in the stockpot. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Carefully add the chicken and return to the boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and poach about 90 minutes in all (**30 minutes is about right).

Beet and Endive Salad – serves 4
4 medium beets
2 heads Belgian endive
½ - 1 cup vinaigrette made with half walnut oil, half olive oil (see p. 36)
6 T. chopped fresh parsley
½ c. Walnuts, toasted and chopped coarsely
½ c. crumbled fresh goat cheese

La Residence House Vinaigrette (Note: I did not use this recipe for the beets and maybe that was my problem, but I was running short on time and so just used half walnut oil, half regular oil for my salad. Let that be a lesson to me…)
¼ c. white wine vinegar
2 T. Dijon mustard (preferably Maille or Grey Poupon)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 t. finely minced shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ c. olive oil (here’s where I think you could go half walnut, half regular oil…or not. The directions were unclear!)

With a whisk blend together all of the ingredients except the oil. Gradually add the oil, whisking constantly. The dressing should be a thin emulsion.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and place them in a baking dish with just a little water. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and roast the beets until they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 45 minutes. When the beets have cooled, peel them, slice them into thin strips (julienne) and toss with a little vinaigrette.

Slice the Belgian endive crosswise into thin slices (chiffonade). In a glass or wooden bowl, toss the endive with vinaigrette and chopped parsley. Pile the endive onto serving plates. Arrange julienned beets over the endive, taking care not to stain the endive red.

Sprinkle the walnuts and goat cheese over the salad. Add a little more vinaigrette and serve immediately.

No comments: