Modified from the recipe in Ken Forkish’s book “Flour Water Salt Yeast“.
The part I disliked most about the original recipe was how much starter I was throwing away, and that it used commercial yeast. If I’m going to bother with starters and levains, I don’t want to use commercial yeast. So I modified it to make half the amount of levain, all of which goes into the main dough.
Feed Your Starter the Night Before
If you bake once a week like I do and not every day, you’ll need to refresh your starter that’s been sleeping in the fridge.
Mix well with a metal spoon
Throw out all but 3/4 of a cup or so
Add 100 grams of ~90 degree Fahrenheit water and 100 grams flour
Put into the oven with the oven light on
Leave until the next morning.
Make Your Levain
The next morning, around 8 or 9 am:
Get a medium bowl and add and mix together the following:
50g or your starter
200g of white / all-purpose flour
50g of whole wheat or rye flour
200g of 85 to 90 degree Fahrenheit water
Cover and put in your same oven with the oven light on (or some other warm place)
Autolyse the Main Dough
Around seven hours later (3pm if you started at 8am), get a bigger bowl and add the following:
740g white / all-purpose flour
60g whole wheat or rye flour
620g 85-90 degree Fahrenheit water
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes
Add Starter and Salt to Main Dough
After the 30 minutes are up and the flour is nice and autolysed:
Do three or four “stretch and folds” every 30 minutes or so, then let sit covered on the counter until it is a little more than doubled in size.
Divide the dough into whatever you’re making
I always make Boules. So I cut my dough in half, form into tight balls, and put into proofing baskets. Cover the baskets and then put them into the fridge for 12 hours or so (i.e. overnight and into the next morning).
Bake the Bread
The next morning or afternoon, set the oven to 450, put a dutch oven in there, and let both come up to temperature, and then stay up to temp for another 20-30 minutes to let everything get good and hot.
Take one of your bread dough baskets out of the oven, flip it upside down to get it out of the proofing basket and onto the counter
Take the dutch oven out of the oven, place it on top of the stove, and remove the lid (carefully!)
Put the dough in to the dutch oven, replace the lid, and put the whole thing back into the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes
Remove the dutch oven lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or longer if you want darker/crispier/thicker crust.
Remove the dutch oven from the oven, take out your loaf of sourdough, and put on a cooling rack.
Resit the urge to cut into it right away and instead let it cool on the rack.
If you have more dough put the dutch oven back into the oven for 5-10 minute to let it re-heat and then do your next loaf.
Flour + Water Slurry (for optional gravy thickening)
Chicken broth / bullion (maybe need it for sauce)
Trim the excess fat off the chicken thighs,
Season the 4 chicken thighs on all sides with salt, pepper, and thyme (or any other spices/herbs you think might go well)
Heat a large skillet or cast iron pan over high heat to get it nice and hot (but not all the way to smoking in the case of cast iron). The pan will be going into the oven, so keep that in mind. If you don’t have an oven-safe pan then you could use a baking dish or whatever.
Place the 4 chicken thighs into the pan, skin side down
While the chicken thighs brown, cut the onion into 4 large slices like you’re making large onion rings, but keep them together in one piece.
When the chicken thighs are browned, remove them from the pan, place the 4 onion rounds into the pan, and then place a chicken thigh, skin side up, on each. (you can also do this without having to remove the chicken from the pan bu stacking them all together and working your way around the pan building the onion+chicken stacks – I always save creating a dirty dish when I can!).
While the chicken and onions cook, start some rice.
Remove the chicken when it reaches whatever temperature you like your chicken at (165 degrees fahrenheight is the official temp, but I usually go a tad higher since my gauge might be in a weird spot, and chicken thighs are much more forgiving to a little more heat than breasts).
Place the chicken and onion rounds (carefully! They will want to fall apart) on a plate under some foil to let it rest / stay warm).
Pan Sauce / Gravy
Place the pan the chicken was in back on the stove with high heat. It should have plenty of juices and fat from the chicken.
Add about a cup of orange juice and a tablespoon of mustard (this is relative, the actual amounts will depend on how much juice you have in the pan).
Mix these together and then taste it. You may have to:
Add more salt and pepper
Add more orange juice or mustard if one or the other is overpowering
Add some chicken bouillon / broth if there’s not enough chicken flavor.
When it tastes right you can now optionally add some flour/water slurry to thicken it up, or leave it the way it is.
I like to serve it on a bed of rice, then the chicken, topped with one of the onion rounds, with sauce over the top. You can also go rice > onion > chicken > sauce if you want to show off the chicken more and make sure the skin stays crispier, but in my experience both will result in the skin not staying “crispy”, so why not put the large onion slice on top since it’s really almost more of a feature of this recipe – it’s the thing that’s “a little different”.
Serve with a side salad, or whatever vegetables you want.
Almost an entire box of ziti (or your favorite pasta)
1 Can Tomato Soup
1 or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Ground Black Pepper
Get a nice big pot of water boiling with some salt (if it tastes like tears then it’s probably salted about right), although, the soup has plenty of salt in it too, so you could salt the water a bit less in this case if you want.
Brown beef in pan.
Around this time also put your pasta in the water (which should be good an boiling by this point)
When the beef is about 80% cooked, add in the garlic. You don’t want the garlic to brown, but you do want to sweat it a bit. Might as well throw a few grinds of black pepper in there as well.
When fully cooked, remove beef and drain off excess fat. You can put the beef back into the pan to keep warm if you want while you wait for the pasta to cook. If you’ve timed it well, it should be pretty close to done.
When the pasta’s done, drain it and then add back into the big boiling pot. Add the beef mixture to this pot, as well as the entire can of tomato soup. Season with additional black pepper if you want.
Mix well and serve immediately with some garlic bread of something (I like it best when it’s screaming hot).
To borrow some words from my old roommate whose father cooked meals for a firehouse, this is one of those things that can be cooked “hot and a lot” for a group of people. Super simple, easy, and fast.
This can be cooked in 30 minutes and be ready to eat. In Matt’s words, his father used to make this for the Fire Station where he worked because it can be made and served “hot and a lot”. I don’t actually eat the broccoli, I really just like the flavor it adds, so depending on how much you want it cooked you might add it at a different time in the process.
Chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces.
1 Onion, sliced.
1 Pepper, sliced.
1 Jar store-bought chicken gravy
1/4 cup White Wine (guessing on quantity here)
2 – 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Red Pepper flakes (add as much or as little as you want)
Salt / Pepper
Get water and pan for egg noodles ready.
In large skillet, cook onions and pepper over medium heat in olive oil until onions start to turn clear. Add chicken, cook until mostly cooked-through. Try not to let onions brown.
Add red pepper flakes to taste.
Add gravy and white wine, let cook more to burn off alcohol. Turn heat down to simmer, cover and let cook until desired doneness.