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Food & Drink

Ask A Denver Chef: Unexpected 4th Of July Recipes

June 18, 2014 6:00 AM

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The Fourth of July is all about being outside, being with family and friends, celebrating the United States’ independence and, of course, great food. For those who are hosting guests this Fourth, it can be a daunting task to prepare food for everyone. Here are some recipes from Michel Wahaltere from the Dorchester Social Eatery that will definitely please and make your holiday a memorable one.
Executive Chef Michel Wahaltere
Dorchester Social Eatery and Rooftop Lounge
1448 Market St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 872-5986
www.dorchesterdenver.com

Executive Chef Michel Wahaltere helms the kitchen of the newly opened Dorchester Social Eatery. The historic corner building, built in the 1800s, includes a lower level 70-seat restaurant and 4,000-square-foot rooftop lounge with unobstructed views of the Rocky Mountains and Denver’s downtown skyline. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and brunch with a daily happy hour and late night lounging on the rooftop.

dorchester merguez patties Ask A Denver Chef: Unexpected 4th Of July Recipes

Moorish Lamb Kefta Sliders (Courtesy of Dorchester Social Eatery)

Moorish Lamb Kefta Sliders
Serves 18-20 (slider-sized servings)

Merguez, the spicy lamb sausages of North Africa, are popular throughout Belgium and France due to a large population of Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian immigrants. These nearly labor-free patties are a quick way to re-create them in your kitchen.

Ingredients):

  • 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 1/4 lbs ground lamb
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground lamb fat back (very cold)
  • 1/4 c garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 c shallots, minced
  • 3 tbsp harissa (spicy North African condiment)
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground caraway
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid
  • 3/4 c chopped Italian parsley

Preparation:

Toast fennel seeds in a small heavy skillet over medium heat until fragrant and a shade darker, about 1 minute. Grind to a fine powder in grinder. Combine together the salt, spices (including fennel) and citric acid in a bowl. Mix in shallots, garlic and parsley. Add the harissa paste and mix well.

Mix together lamb, beef and harissa spices. Mix thoroughly with your hands and then add the ground lamb fat back (do not over mix – if the fat warms up, it will smear in the mixture). Form into oval patties of 2 3/4 oz to 3 oz each (about 1/2 inch thick).

Heat the grill. Put patties on a grill on the medium high heat side or heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat and then cook patties, until it shimmers turning once, about 6 minutes total for medium-rare. Meanwhile, prepare the harissa aioli to use as a spread.

dorchester figs Ask A Denver Chef: Unexpected 4th Of July Recipes

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Figs (Courtesy of Dorchester Social Eatery)

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Figs
Serves 16

Enjoy the ultimate smoked bacon-wrapped fig with Maytag blue cheese.

Ingredients: 

  • 16 figs halved lengthwise but not completely
  • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 c port wine
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 4 each thyme sprigs
  • 1 c Maytag blue cheese – crumbled
  • 1/2 c mascarpone cheese
  • 8 each sliced applewood smoked bacon
  • 2 c port wine
  • 1/2 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Place the figs in a bowl with extra virgin olive oil, port wine, orange juice and thyme. Stir, then marinade for 1 hour at least and up to 3 hours. Strain marinade and broil the figs for 1 minute on each side. Let cool down and set aside.

Meanwhile, place applewood smoked bacon slices in oven to render some of the fat but do not overcook it. It need to be a bit soft to wrap around the figs later.

Make the port balsamic glaze. Stir port wine, balsamic and honey in heavy small saucepan over low heat until well combined. Increase the heat to medium and cook until mixture is reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Mix water and cornstarch in small bowl. Whisk into port mixture and simmer until slightly thickened, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Set aside and cool down (can be made 2 days ahead).

Combine blue cheese and mascarpone in a bowl and blend until creamy. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Open figs slightly and stuff them with blue cheese mixture. Wrap around with half of applewood smoked bacon slices (lightly precooked). Put under broiler (lower level in oven) for 1 minute or 2 minutes on each side of figs until bacon is lightly crispy on all sides. Drizzle figs with port-balsamic glaze.

Related: Ask A Chef: Breakfast Recipes For Mother’s Day

dorchester croustillons Ask A Denver Chef: Unexpected 4th Of July Recipes

Croustillons (Courtesy of Dorchester Social Eatery)

Croustillons

Croustillons are a favorite snack food served at summer carnivals in Belgium, such as the Foire du Midi / Zuid Foor. The heavenly bites are similar to the zeppole from Italy, the sopapilla from New Mexico or even the churro from Spain.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c of milk (7.5 cl)
  • 1/2 c of lager (1 dl)
  • 1/2 oz of yeast (15 gr)
  • 7 oz of sifted flour (200 gr)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg 
  • 1 oz butter

Preparation:

Melt the butter and keep aside for later at warm temperature. Warm up the milk and dissolve the yeast into it. Add sifted flour and whisk well.

Separate the egg yolk in one bowl and the white in another. Stir in the flour, then mix salt, sugar and egg yolk. Whisk in the beer.

Mix the dough well and when all is well blended, add melted butter. Beat the egg white until stiff and fold into the batter. Let the dough rise for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Heat frying oil in wok or deep fryer on high. Carefully remix the dough but don’t overwork it too much. Take small balls of dough (quail egg size) and drop in the fryer for 1 minute on one side and then flip the balls and cook for 1 more minute. Serve immediately with powdered sugar.

Related: Top Spring Salads In Denver

Ellen Marchman Larkey has a savvy knowledge of culture and events and maintains trusted partnerships around
the country. She has substantial expertise with food, wine and lifestyle including Aspen Food &
Wine Festival, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Cochon, Top Chef and numerous destination
restaurants and master mixologists. She has beeen Examiner.com‘s Denver’s Fine Dining writer since 2009.

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