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Feature Thu Feb 03 2011

The 'Burgh Bulge

obamasteelers.jpgNot many cities gain such fierce allegiance from its citizens than our own lovely town of Chicago. Even for those long-departed from our stately inland shores, being a Chicagoan becomes something of a lifeblood wherever one may go. As a Chicago transplant, it's a trait I both admire, envy, and if a time ever comes to sled on elsewhere, feel pretty confident I'll embrace as my own.

Yet, one city that comes close, and may even leapfrog Chicago in terms of its expatriates' longing and affection, is another formerly soot-choked, architecturally astounding jewel: Pittsburgh. Whole schools of thought have been developed dissecting the power of the Burgh Diaspora , but really, with a football team gearing up for a possible record seventh Super Bowl victory, and foods so delicious writers move there pretty much just to talk about the food, is it a wonder people grow so attached?

After all, Pittsburgh is the city that gave the world the Primanti Bros., the iconic sandwich innovators whose concoction of meaty goodness (your choice of meat) slathered with french fries, cole slaw, and tomatoes all crammed inside the bun, has saved numerous drunken evenings from devolving into abandon, and inspired legions of followers. (Yes, Fat Darrell. That means you.) This is the city that's home to what's most likely the single best burger around, in the Bloomfield neighborhood's Tessaro's. Let's not forget an 137-year old Oyster House, a Belgian hideaway serving up delectable Moules Bowls, and a Hot Doug's-cousin called the Franktuary located in the back of a church.

Uhh, anyone remember when the Bears lost that game anymore? Now that we're all firmly and hungrily rooting for the Black and Yellow , why not make a little Pittsburgh platter to enjoy the big game. First step is to load up on some East End and Iron City Beer, and then, if you're unable to get some of the above treats Fed Ex'd out in time for Sunday, consider making some homemade 'Burgh originals as outlined below, perhaps stealing a page or two from your old 'Burgher grandparents.

Haluski Recipe (from The Pittsburgh TasteBuds)

Serving Size: 5 People

6oz of Egg Noodles
Water
1 onion - sliced and cut to desired length
1 cup of shredded cabbage
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 can of Snowfloss Sauerkraut (Not Bavarian Style)

Bring Water to a boil and add Egg Noodles. Cook for 8-9 minutes.

Drain noodles and let stand.

In a fry pan melt 1 stick of butter and add onion, shredded cabbage and sauerkraut. Slowly cook till onions get slightly tender.

Mix in noodles.

Cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes and add a half stick of butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Pittsburgh City "Chicken" (from Epicurious.com)

1 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1-1/2 inch uniform cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnish
4-6 six-inch wooden skewers
1 garlic clove, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1 10-oz can low-sodium chicken stock

Preheat oven to 350°F.

citychicken.jpgIn a medium bowl, combine flour, S&P, and the leaves of four thyme sprigs. Stir until well blended. Roll pork pieces in flour mixture until completely covered, gently shake off excess flour, and remove to a dry plate.

Pierce the meat onto skewers evenly. You should fit 3 -4 meat cubes on each stick.

Rub the bottom of an enameled cast iron pot or pan with the cut side of the clove of garlic. Reserve garlic for later use. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the pork skewers to the oil and allow to brown until golden and crispy on all four sides, about 4 minutes per side. Add a little more oil to the pan if it all gets soaked up early.

Leave the pork in the pan and pour in the chicken stock and drop in two sprigs of thyme and the reserved garlic. Bring to a simmer and transfer pan to the oven, uncovered. Let simmer for one half hour, turn skewers over and continue cooking for another half hour.

Remove pan to stovetop. If the juices are still thin, let simmer on stovetop until reduced to desired consistency. Serve City Chicken with a side of Haluski.

PghTasteBudB / February 4, 2011 4:31 PM

Thanks for the mention! I hope you guys like Haluski.

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Jesse Valenciana knew what he wanted his mole-inspired stout to taste like, but he was a cook and home brewer, not a professional brewmaster. The co-founder of ManBQue, the local men's grilling and social club, and recent author needed a...
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