Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday Night Test Kitchen - 3/4/09

Last night's theme for Wednesday Night Test kitchen was chocolate. Why did I up and decide to make savory dishes and sauces with chocolate? I have no clue. I've had a few 100% quality cocoa bars sitting in my pantry shelf recently and it seemed to stare at me this week, so I thought, "what the hell." There were however a couple of rules: no dessert and no mole (meaning no chilis). After all, nothing is fun and discovered unless you cook without absolute abandon.
So throughout the weekend, I was trying to toy with the idea of possibly playing on a combination of cocoa and black sesame paste. I came up with a few ideas and I just ended up incorporating them into a sesame chocolate master sauce of sorts and then testing two different flavors with that: one with crazy Asian flavors and the other more conventional common chocolate accompaniments.
The other dish, a chocolate cassoulet (chocolate pork and beans) was a result of soaking too many butter beans a day ago. As a result, I looked at the pork I had and the beans and put 1+1 together. There was nothing standing in my way of Pork + Beans Cassoulet except for the fact that I wasn't too stoked about a stock based cassoulet with chocolate (would taste pretty odd) added, so I thought I'd make it kind of baked beans American style over a claypot (so technically still a cassoulet for you purists).

Onto the menu:

Black Sesame Chocolate Asian BBQ Sauce
-Chinese "sacha" paste, shoyu, garlic confit

Savory Black Sesame Chocolate Ganache
-Aged Balsamic

A Modern American Cassoulet - Chocolate Pork and Beans
-Italian Butter Beans, Braised Pork, Garlic Oil, 100% Cocoa

Onto the pics:

A nice hunk of meat, trim a little of the hanging pieces, for a more symmetric clean.

Sear action going on prior to braising

A relatively clear stock happening, not throwing in too many veggies

Toasted black sesame ground and turning to paste

Glistening 100% Chocolate

Black Sesame Chocolate Asian BBQ Sauce

Black Sesame Chocolate Ganache

Cooking liquid for Pork & Beans from pork stock

Cutting that tasty braised pig

Chocolate chopping action

Simmer slow and long for hours, just how I like it

Tada! Savory Chocolate Pork and Beans

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