Instructional videos are such a mixed bag. Setting aside the people who don’t know as much as they think they do, and the people who can’t write their way out of a wet paper bag (because those are problems with text instructions also), the basic problem with video is that it moves at the rate chosen by the producer. (Yes, I have software to play videos at multiple times that, but not everybody does.)
However, some things involving physical manipulation are much easier to learn when you can see it being done (for many learners; we vary).
Here, for example, is Alton Brown showing how little you actually have to do to “butterfly” (or “spatchcock”; where the heck does that come from? Apparently Ireland, then Anglo-Indian, and the OED dates it to 1785) a turkey. This lets you cook a turkey in less time (the video begins by geekily making the argument that he needs to double the surface area to cook it in the time he wants), less space (especially, less tall space), and also it lets you put a much bigger pan of stuffing under it to collect the drippings (he uses vegetables, silly man).
And he does it in under 3.5 minutes. (The fact that it’s well-produced also helps of course.)
WARNING: the Food Network’s ads come in hugely louder than the actual video, and hugely too loud, so be prepared to be blasted when you click “play” there!
I kept seeing complicated recipes that would be more trouble than they were worth.Â I eventually worked out a very simple one that I findÂ satisfactory.
Makes one large serving.
To make multiple servings, I’d use a larger pan, and I’d try making the patty thicker (cooking covered should cause the part not in contact with the hot pan to still cook by steaming).
1 medium russet potato
1 pat butter
1T olive oil
salt and pepper
Scrub, remove eyes and anything else you don’t want to eat, and coarsely grate the potato.
Pre-heat a cast-iron skillet of suitable size (I find 8″ works well for one serving). Must have cover. On my particular stove the cooking setting is #4 on the left rear burner, and I pre-heat at 6 or 8 because I’m impatient. I might call that “medium” heat?
Add butter to pan. It should sizzle a bit, right away, but not burn. Also add olive oil.
Dump the potato shreds into the pan, and arrange them flat over the entire bottom of the pan.Â Pressing down a little doesn’t hurt.
Cover the pan and cook for 5-7 minutes (depends on heat, size of potato, etc.).
Flip the patty of potato. It should stick together well, not stick to the pan, and the bottom should be medium brown to golden.Â Push down all over.
Grind some pepper and shake some salt over the cooked side.
Cover the pan again, and cook this side for 5-7 minutes. If you think it ends up too moist, omit the cover for some or all of the second cooking period.
Mostly I prefer real chili (a bean and pepper stew with tomatoes and often meat ranging from beef to pork to turkey), but there are also uses for Texas chili (a beef and pepper stew without beans or tomatoes).
Toast the whole dried chiles for a couple of minutes each side over low heat. Remove seeds and chop into quarter-inch squares.
Heat olive oil in pan big enough to hold the whole mess. Saute onion and garlic. Add other spices towards the end. (Original recipe blends all the spices to a paste with 1/4 cup water. That’s actually beneficial in that the squares of chile skin are notable in the final dish my way.) (The use of whole dried vs. ground chiles was simply the luck of the draw in my spice cabinet today, not anything of artistic intent.)
Add ground beef and cook until brown, breaking up into smaller pieces as much as practicable.
Add water and beef broth, and bring to a boil.Â Immediately reduce to a very low simmer (occasional bubbles) and cook uncovered for two hours.Â Add water and/or broth as needed.Â Towards the last half hour whisk the masa with water and stir into the mixture to thicken.
For some uses, you’ll want to thin it out considerably at the end.Â Not so much for others (for example, you want it pretty thin for making home-made chili cheese burritos, but not for using in an omelet or “skillet breakfast”).