Great Year-Round Grilling in the Midwest: The Flavours, the Culinary Traditions, the Techniques

Great Year-Round Grilling in the Midwest: The Flavours, the Culinary Traditions, the Techniques

by Ellen Brown
     
 

Cooking in the Heartland is cooking from the heart. A generosity of spirit accompanies the simple, hearty dishes drawn from the diverse ethnic cuisines brought to the Midwestern states. While seasoning and spicing is generally mild, in line with Scandinavian traditions, in the past century Mediterranean flavors have joined in the mix. German immigrants brought

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Overview

Cooking in the Heartland is cooking from the heart. A generosity of spirit accompanies the simple, hearty dishes drawn from the diverse ethnic cuisines brought to the Midwestern states. While seasoning and spicing is generally mild, in line with Scandinavian traditions, in the past century Mediterranean flavors have joined in the mix. German immigrants brought with them not only the tradition of beer-making, but also sausages and wurst of all shapes and sizes. All this and much, much more shines through in this vast region’s delectable and distinctive grilling traditions.

Great Year-Round Grilling in the Midwest celebrates the regional diversity of America’s most cherished outdoor culinary pastime. Written by a leading food author in a clear, easy-to-follow style, it provides step-by-step hints and techniques in year-round grilling, along with more than 100 recipes and 50 mouthwatering color photographs. Regional recipes are complemented by international specialties, and basic grilling information is also included. In addition to main courses, this indispensable resource will show you the fine art of grilling everything from hors d’oeuvres to pizza. There are also recipes for regional side dishes and luscious desserts made in the kitchen to further enhance the food coming off the grill.

From regional favorites to more global cuisine, just a few of the recipes inside:

 

Beer-Simmered Sausages Grilled Corn and Sausage Salad Kansas City BBQ Sauce Pork Chops with Apple Cream Sauce Rhubarb Chicken Steaks with Maytag Blue Cheese and Red Wine Sauce Walleye Pike with Dilled Tomato and Corn Relish

Whitefish with Tarragon Sauce Dilled Salmon Burgers Grilled Corn Soup Middle Eastern Lamb Salad Toasted Cake with Berry Sauce Sunday Dinner” Midwest Smoked Prime Rib of Beef

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599214818
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/14/2009
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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Sample Recipes (These appear in all books)

 

Chicken Satay with Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

(Makes 3 dozen)

 

Satays are part of many Asian cultures, and these morsels of spicy chicken are inspired by Thai cooking. Almost any form of protein—from cubes of pork and beef to strips of salmon—can be treated in the same way and will be equally delectable.

 

4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons Chinese chili paste

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 cup Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce, recipe follows

 

            1. Trim the fat from the chicken breasts and pull off the tenderloin. Remove the tendon from the center of the tenderloin by holding down the tip with your finger and scraping away the meat with the dull side of paring knife. Cut the tenderloins in half, and cut the remaining chicken meat into 1-inch cubes.

            2. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, chili paste, garlic, and sesame oil in a heavy plastic bag and blend well. Add the chicken pieces and marinate, refrigerated, for 3 hours, turning the bag occasionally.

            3. Light a charcoal or gas grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken pieces for 3 to 5 minutes, turning them with tongs, or until brown and cooked through. Spear each piece of chicken with a toothpick or bamboo skewer and serve hot with a cup of the Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping.

 

Note: The chicken can marinate for up to 6 hours, and it can be cooked 1 day in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat it in a 350°F. oven wrapped in aluminum foil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until hot.

 

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

(Makes 2 cups)

 

There are many ways to make peanut sauce, some of them cooked and some not. I take the easy way out and use commercial peanut butter as the base, so this rich and luscious sauce can be created in a matter of minutes.

 

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil

2 tablespoons Asian chili paste

6 garlic cloves, minced

3 scallions, trimmed and chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

 

            1. Combine the peanut butter, water, brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili paste in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well combined. Stir in the garlic, scallions, and cilantro and chill well before serving.

 

Note: The sauce can be prepared 5 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.

 

Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

(Makes 3 cups)

 

This colorful and vibrantly flavored spread has myriad uses. I serve it with crackers as an hors d’oeuvre, as a sauce for grilled foods—ranging from meats and poultry to vegetables—and as a dressing for chicken salad.

 

1/2 pound cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream

3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained

4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch sections

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

            1. Combine the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, and herbes de Provence in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree until smooth. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and scallions to the work bowl and finely chop them,  pulsing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until well chilled.

 

Note: The spread can be prepared 3 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.

 

Indonesian Barbecue Sauce

(Makes 4 cups)

 

Sweet-and-sour sauces play a role in all Asian cuisines and this one is zesty, and has tangy pineapple juice as its base. I serve this as a dipping sauce for Asian hors d’oeuvres such as potstickers, and it’s also a great grilling sauce for any meat, fish, or poultry.

 

3 cups pineapple juice

1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups ketchup

3/4 cup (firmly packed) dark brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

 

            1. Combine the pineapple juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and ginger in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, stirring occasionally. Add the ketchup and brown sugar to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce for 5 minutes.

            2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Ladle the sauce into containers and refrigerate until well chilled.

 

Note: The sauce can be made 5 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered.

 

Grilled Chicken Hash

(Serves 6)

 

Chicken Hash is a specialty of the much-touted 21 Club in New York, and I was terribly disappointed when I tasted it. It was bland, though the concept was good. So I devised this recipe using grilled chicken to add innate flavor. It’s also a great way to use up leftover grilled chicken.

 

4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves

1/3 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon herbes de Provence

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Bermuda, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 pounds red-skin potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

 

            1. Light a charcoal or gas grill.

2. Trim any fat off the chicken breasts and pound between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper to an even thickness of 1/2 inch using the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet. Place 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a mixing bowl and add the garlic, herbes de Provence, and salt and pepper. Add the chicken breasts and marinate for 30 minutes. Grill the chicken breasts for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. When cool, dice the chicken into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

            3. Heat the butter and remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onions, toss to coat with the fat, and cover the pan. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover the pan, raise the heat to medium, sprinkle with salt and stir in the sugar.  Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are medium brown.  If the onions stick to the pan, stir to incorporate the browned juices into the onions.

            4. Place the potatoes in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Salt the water and bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat. Boil for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender when tested with a knife. Drain the potatoes and mash them roughly with a potato masher. Add the chicken and onions to the potatoes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

            5. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

6. Spread the hash into a buttered 9 X 13-inch baking pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Serve immediately.

 

Note: The hash can be prepared 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat it, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more.

 

Grilled Lamb Sausage Salad

(Serves 6)

 

There’s no trick to making sausage yourself; it involves nothing more than seasoning meat. In this case, the spicy lamb tops salad greens and the simple honey mustard dressing complements both. Double the recipe, and it will serve six as an entree.

 

2 pounds lean ground lamb

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds, ground

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Salt to taste

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup honey

3 cups mixed salad greens

 

            1. Light a charcoal or gas grill.  Combine the lamb with the garlic, chili powder, fennel seeds, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Form the mixture into 12 patties 1/2 inch thick.

            2. To prepare the dressing, combine the mustard and honey. Broil the patties for 3 minutes on each side, or until medium rare.

3. To serve, toss the greens with a little of the dressing and place 2 patties on a plate with a dollop of dressing and some greens. Serve immediately.

 

Note: The patties and sauce can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap. Do not grill the meat or toss the salad until just before serving.

 

Aegean Grilled Swordfish

(Serves 6)

 

When sailing the Aegean you know you’re coming to an island by the aroma of fish grilling on the beach with its combination of herbs, garlic, and lemon. This treatment is a natural for swordfish or any thick fish fillet or steak, and during the summer I’ll serve this with Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with Oregano (page 000) and corn.

 

Six 6-ounce swordfish steaks

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grated zest from 1 lemon

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

            1. Rinse the swordfish steaks and set aside. Combine the remaining ingredients in a heavy plastic bag and mix well. Add the fish steaks and marinate, refrigerated, for 2 to 3 hours.

            2. Light a charcoal or gas grill.

3. When the fire is hot, remove the fish from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Grill the fish for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, or until slightly translucent in the center. Serve immediately.

 

Note: Other firm-fleshed fish such as sea bass, halibut, or scrod can be substituted.

 

Grilled Corn and Sausage Salad (Midwest)

(Serves 6)

 

It’s not an August meal at my table if fresh corn in some form isn’t part of it, and this salad is an especially appetizing way to prepare it. The sausage and simple dressing enhance the flavor of grilled corn. You can also serve this as a side dish with grilled meats or poultry.

 

1 cup mesquite chips

4 ears of fresh corn, unshucked

3/4 pound bulk pork sausage

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

3 scallions, white parts and 2-inches of the green tops, finely chopped,

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

 

            1. Light a charcoal or gas grill and soak the mesquite chips in cold water to cover for 15 minutes.

2. Remove all but 1 layer of the husks from the corn and pull out the corn silks. Soak the corn in cold water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain the mesquite chips and place on the fire. Grill the corn for 10 to 15 minutes, turning with tongs occasionally.

            3. When cool enough to handle, discard the husks, and cut the kernels off the cobs, using a sharp serrated knife.

            4. Cook the sausage in a frying pan over medium heat, breaking up lumps with a fork. Cook until brown. Combine the sausage and its fat with the corn, red and green bell peppers, and scallions in a mixing bowl. Combine the olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup, and salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well, and toss with the corn mixture. Toss with the cilantro and serve at room temperature.

Note: The salad can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered with plastic wrap. Allow it to sit at room temperature for a few hours to take the chill off. Do not add the cilantro until just before serving.

 

Asian Steak Salad

(Serves 6)

 

Entree salads that combine hot grilled food with crisp cold greens have been gaining in popularity during the past decade. This salad’s Asian marinade/dressing contrasts sweet hoisin sauce and mellow rice wine vinegar to achieve complex flavor.

 

Dressing

 

1/3 cup rice wine vinegar

3 tablespoons soy sauce

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup Asian sesame oil

 

Steak

 

One 2-pound flank steak

1/4 pound snow peas, tips removed

1 pound baby spinach leaves, rinsed and stemmed

1/4 pound bean sprouts, rinsed

2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, thinly sliced

 

            1. To prepare the dressing, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well. Add the vegetable and sesame oils and shake well again.

2. To prepare the steak, score the flank steak in a diagonal pattern 1/4 inch deep. Place the steak in a heavy plastic bag and add 1/2 cup of the dressing. Marinate, refrigerated, for 4 hours, turning the bag occasionally so that the steak marinates evenly. 

            3. Light a charcoal or gas grill. Place the snow peas in a microwave-safe container with 1 tablespoon of water. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 30 seconds. Plunge the snow peas into a bowl of ice water. Drain. Combine the snow peas with the spinach, bean sprouts, cucumbers, and red pepper in a salad bowl.

            4. Grill the steak to desired doneness. Allow the meat to rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice it on the diagonal.

5. To serve, toss the salad with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette. Divide it among the plates, top the greens with steak slices, and pass the remaining dressing separately.

 

Note: This dish can also be made with leftover grilled steak. Drizzle the meat with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette before serving.

 

Grilled Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Rosemary and Lemon

(Serves 6)

 

While rosemary and garlic are a traditional rub for rosy, tender lamb, I find the addition of lemon zest balances the meat’s natural richness. While this dish can be prepared entirely on the grill, or entirely in the oven, this dual cooking method relieves the need for split-second timing.

 

1/2 leg of lamb, boned, rolled, and tied, to yield 3 pounds meat

10 garlic cloves, peeled

Zest of 1 lemon, cut into thin strips

3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup beef stock

 

1. Allow the meat to reach room temperature and cut deep slits into any thick portions with a paring knife.

2. Light a charcoal or gas grill.

3. Combine the garlic, lemon zest, and rosemary leaves in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and chop finely using an on and off pulsing action. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the salt and pepper. Stuff the garlic mixture into all the crevices of the meat formed when it was boned, as well as into the slits. Rub some of the mixture all over the surface of the roast.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

5. When the coals are just beginning to cover over with gray ash and the fire is very hot, sear the roast, turning it gently with tongs, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the exterior is browned on all sides. Remove it from the grill and place it in a roasting pan.

6. Roast the lamb, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the temperature registers 125°F. on a meat thermometer; the roasting time will depend on the thickness of the roll. Remove the lamb from the oven and place it on a platter lightly covered with aluminum foil for 15 minutes to allow the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat.

7. Pour the grease out of the roasting pan and pour in the stock. Place the pan back into the oven and bake, stirring from time to time to dislodge any brown bits clinging to the bottom of the pan. Carve the meat into slices, adding any juices to the pan, and pass the sauce separately.

 

Note: If cooking the roast entirely in the oven, roast it for 15 minutes at 500°F., then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F., and follow the procedure outlined above.

 

Stuffed Grilled Veal Chops

(Serves 6)

 

Part of the elegance of Italian cooking is its simplicity, and this veal dish embodies that principle. The herbed cheese and prosciutto stuffing moistens and flavors the tender veal, and a sauce is not really necessary. I serve these chops with pasta and a tossed salad.

 

Six 1-inch-thick veal chops

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

6 thick slices of prosciutto, cut into strips

1/4 pound fontina cheese

2 sprigs of fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage

1 1/2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce, heated (optional)

 

            1. Light a charcoal or gas grill.

2. Cut a horizontal pocket into each of the veal chops, and sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. Place the prosciutto, cheese, and sage in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and chop fine. Stuff the veal chops with the mixture. Secure the chops closed with toothpicks.

            3. Grill the chops for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, or until cooked to desired doneness. Serve immediately, topped with tomato sauce, if desired.

 

            Note: The chops can be stuffed up to 3 hours in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. They can also be cooked in a preheated oven broiler.  You can also use the same stuffing for pork chops or chicken breasts on the bone.

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