Friday, December 02, 2011

It's good to be an unprofessional jackass [RECIPE]

I know you're coming here for holiday rants this month, and don't you worry, there will be plenty, but I also said I'd be talking about food we're eating, so here we go.

And I just hope that no one out there was hoping for super gourmet professional type dishes because, oh friends, that is not really what we've got here.

See, I'm a no-professional-culinary-skill-having home cook. I make stuff I know we like, stuff the magazines and internets say we'll like and stuff that either Bubba or I make up out of the weirdness in our minds.

This is a "Made Up Out Of The Weirdness In Our Minds" recipe, just so you know before getting all excited that I'm going to share something with you that you might make and serve to fancy people. Since I'm sure you're all embroiled in Fancy Dinner Party menu planning right now and then came to this blog for help.

Which would make you misguided and lost, but we'll just stop there with the assumptions.

For this recipe though, the Weirdness In Our Minds part comes from something cuh-lassy that Bubba and I call, affectionately - even reverently - The Big Bowl of Failure.

I'm not 100% sure that we ripped this off from a stand-up comedian we saw or whether it came to us by way of one of our wittier friends or maybe from Bubba's hilarious mind, but that's what we call it. And by "it" I mean the KFC Famous Mashed Potato Bowl.

In case you didn't know what a Big Bowl of Failure looked like.
Yeah, this thing - this atrocity of fast foodiness - has been haunting our household, particularly Bubba's part of the household, for some time. My beloved, he has an odd weakness for KFC, and although he's able to avoid its grotesqueness 99.99% of the time, every now and then he can be found elbow deep in a red and white striped box that's gone nearly transparent on the bottom and sides from the...ahem...goodness held therein.

He has not, however, ever gotten one of these heinous bowl things, even though every time he sees it advertised on TV, he begins making the yum-yum face and stares at me as if to plead, "Baby, don't you think it's time I sampled one of these sure-to-be-delicious items?"

To which I respond, with my no-no face, "That's fucking gross and I'm ashamed of myself for also sort of wanting to try one, too."

We both have weaknesses, is what I'm saying, and this monstrosity of food badness hits us right in the OH GOD NOT THERE spot.

I mean, come on, the fucking thing has fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn (ok, whatever with the corn), cheese and it's covered in god damned gravy. COME ON. I don't understand why they didn't go ahead and wedge a big fat rock of crack cocaine in the top there and and call it a day.

But whatever, I guess they have some limits over there at KFC, where we all know the F still stands for Fried and the other two words are mearly suggestions.

Regardless, neither of us can see our way to eating this thing. The shame in ordering it alone would be the end of us.

However, it has not been forgotten in our annals of I WANT THAT NAUGHTY IN MY MOUTH (whoa), and so, as I stood in front of my stove with a whole butternut squash, a whole smoked and crockpotted chicken and a giant leek, it became the answer to the What The Fuck Am I Going To Make From This Shit? question.

It was questionable at first, but after we both ate it (quietly and quickly, I might add), we decided it should be called The Big Bowl of Success. Both for its tastiness and for its not-going-to-send-you-to-an-early-grave-ness.

If you choose to make it, feel free to sub in your own items where you see fit because the other beautiful thing about being an Off The Reservation Home Cook is that you can do whatever the fuck you want in your own kitchen because Michelin rarely barges into residential kitchens on Wednesday nights to write up abominable home cooks.

And thank god for that.

Big Bowl of Success
Serves 2
1 Butternut squash - peeled, cubed and roasted in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes
1 Giant leek - halved and trimmed of dark green parts
1 large breast from a smoked and roasted whole chicken (or one of those rotisserie bad boys from the grocery store), meat removed from bones, chunked and drippings held aside
1-2 T flour
1 T butter
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
White wine

To make
Butternut squash puree

In a large bowl, puree the cubes of roasted butternut squash and butter with an immersion blender (the stick kind, you know) until super smooth and amazing looking. Seriously, it will look amazing, and it is. Use a rigid spatula to incorporate as much salt and pepper as you like. If it's too thick and you want it to be less so, add in olive oil, more butter, milk or cream until it's the consistency you desire in your heart of hearts. Set it aside.

Take the drippings from the crockpot (in which you've cooked this whole chicken for most of the day at 300 degrees) or rotisserie pan and bring to a simmer in a sauce pan with about 1/2 cup of white wine.

Here comes another example of my mom's secret genius and another time when I realized this woman truly has me on a need to know basis for important shit:

When incorporating the flour, for thickening up your pan drippings into a tasty roux, remove about 1/2 cup of your liquid into a small bowl, whisk in the flour a teaspoon or so at a time and then - once all your flour is mixed into that small amount of liquid, return THAT to your pan with the other liquid on low-medium heat.

The gravy looks on with great anticipation. "Come to me, Roux, I'm ready for you now." Sexy!

I should have turned the heat down on this. It was a tad high. Don't be like me! Low-medium is best.

This will make for a lumpless gravy because those little bits of flour won't stick together and refuse to incorporate. It's magic. It's amazing. It's another one of those things my mom has held back from me in order to reign supreme forever. Or because who really thinks to tell that to their kids? Probably not a lot of people.

Chop them up. That's all

Then assemble the whole thing in one big bowl - butternut squash puree first, then chunks of chicken, then leeks, then gravy.

I'm sorry that these photos are in no way appetizing to look at. Also, I forgot the gravy in this photo. Boo.



  1. My mom never made gravy, so I got no words of wisdom from her on that subject. From my MiL, however, I learned to combine the liquid and the flour in a screw-top jar and shake like hell to get it all combined. Same principle as the whisk. Hooray for smart gravy-makers.

    P.S. My husband is there with Bubba on the KFC thing. He will occasionally indulge in an atrocity called the Double Down, which is a sandwich in which the buns are fried chicken patties with I think bacon inside. Or something nasty like that.

  2. yep. I'll be making that this week. (minus the flour. We are entering hard core paleo over here.) but man, oh man does that look good right now.

  3. Something happened to me when I was 35: after eating a KFC meal, I would be unable to focus or keep my balance and I would have to go to bed (seriously, I'm not making this up). After the third time this happened, I just stopped eating KFC (duh). Just thinking about it makes me feel a little whoozy, ya know? It's about as appealing as eating a large bowl of lard (with a lot of salt).

    Your recipe is very creative! Good job!

    Wish you had e-mail subs enabled. That way I could read at work.

  4. Kris - Bubba will be so pleased to know that A. has experienced what we call "The Bacon Sandwich Where The Bread Is Chicken"! I guess we have dumb names for all their food.
    Meanwhile - the jar method is totally getting worked in to my cooking repertoire next time I go to make gravy and find all my whisks dirty. I mean, why clean something if there's a clean jar nearby, am I right?

    Kelli - And how does the hard core paleo treat you?

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