I have always been independent.Â I like to operate on my own, and this includes in the kitchen.Â Truth be told, I am a control freak. And when it comes to cooking at home, I only use my own recipes. When I post recipes here, they are mine, or serious adaptations. I like the learning process and the satisfaction of knowing a dish’s success (or epic failing) is completely my doing. Since this is extremely sassy and close-minded,Â I recently decided to teach myself a lesson. After all, I had it coming.
This past week, I stumbled upon Food 52, and its ‘community picks’ pages. Fellow bloggers try out member recipes and select their favorites.Â I took dibs on testing out one blogger’s submission of Buffalo Chicken Rillettes. Buffalo chicken what? I know – out there. But I figure my husband will eat anything with Frank’s hot sauce on it – he puts that $&*! on everything.
On a Saturday afternoon, I simmered the chicken thighs in a pool of fat, strained, mixed, and packed the spicy, shredded meat into ramekins, topping it off with more spicy fat I concocted by melting lard with sriracha.Â My method for achieving the original picture varied in many ways from the given recipe – like many cooks I made a few adjustments in my kitchen to ensure success.Â And my rillette is nowhere near as cute as the ‘Notes From Home Plates’ version.
While this is exactly what I feared in letting another cook take the wheel, I suddenly realized this is what’s fun about the food blogoshere.Â Different strokes for different cooks – discoveries along the way.Â It’s not just about the food, but about the kitchen bonding happening silently over thousands of miles and html code, between you and someone very much like you.Â If you lived in the same town as your commenting contacts, you’d probably be besties.
And as my husband and I watched the NFL playoffs last weekend , we spread the luscious rillette on baguette after baguette…
Sucked it down with celery sticks…
Until it was… well…
Yep. We couldn’t quite put our fingers on why, but this recipe just tastes good.Â Spicy, creamy and perfect with ale and football. And I, Miss Independent, learned a great lesson.Â Food bloggers won’t let you down with recipes because they are as into what tastes good as you are.Â More importantly, they are inspiring, crafty and cool (not that I didn’t know this already). Especially, chefJennifer, because her recipe makes three servings, and we’ve got two more left.
Question: What’s your favorite part about reading food blogs? (answer in comments)
Spicy Chicken Rillettes
Makes 3, 8 oz servings
adapted only slightly from Notes From Home Plates
8 ozÂ Â Â Â Â Â pork fat or lard (reserved bacon fat is awesome) Â¾ cup Â Â Â Â Â Frankâ€™s 'Buffalo Wing' Hot Sauce 1 eaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â onion medium, large dice 1 tspÂ Â Â Â Â Worcestershire sauce Â½ tspÂ Â Â Â Â Sriracha, or other hot sauce 1 tspÂ Â Â Â Â cayenne 1 eaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â garlic clove, minced 1 Â½ lbsÂ Â Â Â Â boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch dice 1 TbsÂ Â Â Â Â white vinegar
Directions:Â Combine all the ingredients, except for the chicken and white vinegar, in a saucepan and heat on low until the fat melts. Add chicken and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often for an hour. Add the vinegar and cook another hour, stirring occasionally to help shred the chicken.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a mixing bowl (or one of a stand mixer).Â Mix on medium speed until the chicken is well shredded, adding small amounts of the cooking liquid so the rillette is thick but moist.Â Adjust seasonings to taste (it should be stronger than your usual preferences, because cold-serving a dish results in constricted flavors).
Pack the meat into three ramekins or preserving jars. Allow the fat to cool slightly, and spoon over the top of each rillette. Serve with toasted baguette and celery.