Experimental home chef seeks semi-challenging recipes
November 18, 2017 8:11 AM   Subscribe

I'm a home chef looking for new and different recipes that will challenge my lately-underused cooking skills, or at least encourage my creativity in the kitchen. Intermediate to advanced is OK. I have no dietary restrictions. Anything goes, but bonus points if 1) it's fun to cook [and eat, of course], and/or 2) doesn't require too many expensive ingredients. Doesn't have to be fancy or haute cuisine - could be anything from chicken & waffles to, well, consommé. Prefer direct recipe links online (with photos) over cookbook recommendations.

Surprise me!
posted by nightrecordings to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This Swiss chard and ricotta gnudi with mushrooms is a delicious and kind of involved recipe.
posted by obfuscation at 8:24 AM on November 18, 2017

I got this same itch last night and was googling things like "cooking challenge" and "hardest things to cook." A lot of the suggestions weren't very appealing to me, but of the ones that were, I've got:

xiao long bao
beef wellington

For a cookbook recommendation, you could work your way through Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible or Pie and Pastry Bible and never go wrong and learn a whole lot.
posted by HotToddy at 8:27 AM on November 18, 2017

Fresh, homemade Scotch kisses are amazing.
posted by beccaj at 8:55 AM on November 18, 2017

Croquembouche is pretty impressive and delicious.
posted by castlebravo at 9:15 AM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you like Chinese food and don't make it at home, it's a great thing to try. Our portal was the Betty Crocker's Chinese Cookbook, Recipes By Leann Chin. The tempo of making Chinese food is different from western food. It's chop, chop, chop, then stir fry. (I see there is now Betty Crocker's New Chinese Cookbook: Recipes by Leeann Chin. From what I see on Amazon, it covers a lot of the same ground.) I know there are lots of web sites featuring Chinese cuisine, but I don't follow any, so can't recommend one in particular.

I suppose the same advice applies to just about any cuisine you are not familiar with.

A different tack is to buy a new piece of equipment, e.g. slow cooker, dutch oven, instant pot, and find recipes to suit.
posted by SemiSalt at 9:44 AM on November 18, 2017

I like Smitten Kitchen for these types of recipes (usually in the intermediate difficulty range).

Most of my Thanksgiving recipes are coming from there.
posted by minsies at 10:11 AM on November 18, 2017

Did you ever read Danny the Champion of the World when you were a kid? Were you totally enthralled with the description of the meat pie?

I don't eat pork but if I did I would be running out to get the stuff for this.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:35 AM on November 18, 2017

Thanksgiving is coming up and being able to say you successfully made a turducken is always a huge bragging point.

If all that poultry is too much Peking duck is also guaranteed to be a huge hit. A bonus for this is you can boil the bones and leftover meet the next day for some soul warming broth.

Or just some good old knife skills and break down a chicken to make some amazing southern fried chicken
posted by astapasta24 at 11:20 AM on November 18, 2017

Bo Ssam is a great party trick; it's fun to serve and eat, not hard to make but a lot of steps. A big hit.
posted by lois1950 at 12:51 PM on November 18, 2017

Making a chicken galantine will allow you to practice boning-out a bird and stuffing it without going over the top on a monster turducken.
posted by mumkin at 1:36 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is a challenge. It's how to make tonkotsu ramen broth, but from there you get links to other elements like chasu pork belly and marinated soft boiled egg. Generally, the site has some challenging recipes alongside simple hacks.
posted by mumimor at 3:31 PM on November 18, 2017

Making a chicken galantine

Or if you're really a glutton for punishment (like me) you can also try its relative dish, the ballotine. Rather than boning out the chicken, the ballotine requires you to remove the skin in one piece; the meat is then removed from the carcass and ground in to a forcemeat which is then rolled back up in to the skin. The carcass is used to make a stock which the sausage/pate/thing is poached in. If you want to go the extra mile, make the stock extra gelatinous (reduce it thoroughly, add gelatin, or cook it with some pork bones) and then encase the ballotine in an aspic of the poaching broth.

Something on my list for the winter is making a choucroute garni from scratch. This would involve making sauerkraut, several kinds of sausage, bacon or other salted pork, smoked hocks, and just about any other salted and smoked pig parts you can get your hands on. If that's too much work, you might try cassoulet which only requires you to make duck confit and one or two kinds of sausage.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:22 PM on November 18, 2017

If you have sous vide setup confit duck legs are great, and use much smaller amounts of fat than to do confit conventionally.

Also, stuffing cherry tomatoes with olives is quite the party trick.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 6:47 PM on November 18, 2017

This recipe for Goila Butter Chicken takes multiple days, and involves many of the more advanced techniques in Punjabi cooking. It is supremely worth it.
posted by beijingbrown at 6:57 PM on November 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

the best chili recipe is complicated and good.

Princess cake
Verdens den beste
Anything from Chef Iso especially the entremets.
posted by vespabelle at 10:11 PM on November 18, 2017

These sourdough bagels are amazing. Very cheap if you can get hold of some sourdough starter.
posted by kjs4 at 3:49 AM on November 20, 2017

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