Thursday, February 19, 2015

Beef Chorizo Cilantro Omuraisu

     Omuraisu And Omu
     Omuraisu is basically a Japanese style omelette that is stuffed with fried rice and garnished with ketchup.  The traditional rice flavor is a basic fried rice recipe.  Omuraisu was first created in the early 1900's at a restaurant in Tokyo.  This egg entree was a Japanese chef's interpretation of the American omelette.
     Apparently the Japanese chef that created omuraisu either traveled to America or gained knowledge from a fellow tourist who visited America, because ketchup was part of the omelette recipe interpretation.  Pouring ketchup over an omelette was an American tradition in the early 1900's.  Some snobbish gourmands scoff at such an idea, but ketchup and eggs go well together.  Eggs with ketchup and hot sauce is even better!

    Omu translates as Omelette.  The word Omu usually precedes whatever featured ingredient fills the omelette.  For a Taco Meat stuffed Omu, the name would be Omutaco.   Omu stuffed with buckwheat noodles is called Omusoba.  Descriptive words can also precede the word Omu in the recipe title.  Omu recipes are now served as street vendor style food in Japan, so the wilder sounding the name is, the more attention it gets.

     There are many conflicting stories about the origin of ketchup, but only one fact is agreed upon.  Ketchup is a post Colombian Exchange cooking sauce that was created in Northern China or Southeastern Russia.  Ketchup was originally intended to be used in recipes, like soy sauce.  Because ketchup had an appealing flavor on its own, it eventually was offered as a condiment more often that a cooking sauce.

     Making ketchup is easy to do, but pre-made ketchup products do offer a better food cost value.  Of course, that is unless a home garden is the source of ripe tomatoes.  Most ketchup brands really are not worth bothering with, because they contain corn syrup and preservatives.  The best pre-made ketchup product for cooking is organic ketchup.  Organic ketchup is like the original ketchup recipe and the flavor is superior.
     Mexican Chorizo
     Mexican Chorizo is a bulk uncased chorizo sausage that has a high fat content.  After cooking Mexican Chorizo the paprika, the grease in the pan is used as a flavoring agent.  Mixing the chorizo sausage, the dark red chorizo paprika grease and the rice together will yield a nice traditional chorizo rice stuffing.  Nothing else is needed, because chorizo is highly seasoned.

     Infused Oil
     Infused oils are easy to make, but there are tricks to the trade.  The concentration of herbs in an infused oil can be low, for a light colored oil or the concentration can be high for a deeper green color oil.  Infused oil, like cilantro oil, do not have to be deep green.  A light green cilantro oil carries plenty of flavor.  Gourmands do value delicate flavors and colors, as well as the opposite extreme.

     One item of importance concerning infused oil is that they are highly perishable.  Infused oils must be kept chilled and then gently warmed shortly before serving.  Infused oil that is left in the temperature danger zone (41º to 135º) for four hours or more should be discarded, because there is a high risk of pathogen contamination and botulism is likely to occur.  The refrigerated shelf life of infused oil is seven days.

     Today's Recipe
     Cooking eggs at too high of a temperature yields a browned omelette.  Browned eggs are rarely called for in a omelette recipe, but there are certain omelette recipes that benefit from caramelization. Omuraisu are usually never browned, so cooking patiently at a lower temperature is the best method.

     Cilantro Infused Oil:
     This recipe yields about 1 cup of medium light cilantro infused oil.  Use 1 whole bunch of cilantro if a bolder flavor and deeper color preferred.
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 bunch of cilantro in a pasta net strainer.
     Briefly dip the strainer in boiling salted water 2 to 3 times, till the cilantro blanches and just begins to wilt.
     Immediately dip the pasta net in ice water to shock the cilantro.
     Set the strainer aside and let the water drain off.
     Spread the cilantro out on a parchment paper lined pan and allow the excess moisture evaporate.
     Step 2:  Puree the blanched cilantro with 1 cup of neutral flavor oil.  (Vegetable oil, canola oil or light pomace olive oil are good choices.)
     Step 3:  Place a fine mesh chinoise strainer on top of a catch pot.  (A regular strainer that is lined with a coffee filter or deep fryer oil filter can be used.)
     Pour the cilantro oil puree into the strainer.
     Allow the infused oil to slowly pass through the filter.  Do not press the remaining cilantro solids in the strainer, or excess moisture will be released.
     Step 4:  After filtering, a tiny amount of moisture may be in the bottom of the container.  If so, then slowly pour the infused oil into a second container and leave the watery liquid in the first container.
     Place the cilantro infuse oil in plastic squirt bottle.
     Keep the infused oil refrigerated up to 7 days.  Warm the oil to room temperature before serving.

     Beef Chorizo Rice Stuffing:
     This recipe yields enough stuffing for a 2 Egg Omuraisu. 
     Mexican style chorizo is not packed in an edible sausage casing, like Spanish chorizo.  Mexican chorizo is an uncased sausage that has a very high fat content.  Only a portion of the fat should be drained off after cooking, because the fat is full of paprika flavor.
     Step 1:  Boil 1 cup of water over high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of long grain white rice.
     Bring the water back to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat and cover the pot with a lid.
     Simmer and steam the rice, till it is fully cooked.
     Set the rice aside and keep it warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Heat a saute pan over medium heat.
     Add 5 ounces of Mexican style uncased beef chorizo.
     Sauté till some fat renders.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 2 tablespoons of small chopped onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced celery.
     Sauté till the chorizo becomes fully cooked and the vegetables become tender.
     Step 3:  Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the excess grease out of the pan.
     Add the prepared rice.
     Add 1 small pinch of Mexican oregano.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced epazote.
     Adjust the seasoning with sea salt and black pepper.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Keep the beef chorizo rice stuffing warm on a stove top.

     Beef Chorizo Cilantro Omuraisu:
     The size of the eggs is the same in every recipe that I write.  Large eggs are the standard of the restaurant industry.  Large eggs weigh 2 ounces to 2.75 ounces.  Most unshelled large eggs are about 2.5 ounces.
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped cilantro.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of water.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Whisk the ingredients till they are blended.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add about 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  (No butter for omuraisu!)
     Add the egg mixture.
     Gently saute the omelette, till the bottom half becomes cooked firm with no browning.  Tilt the pan occasionally and use a rubber spatula to even the edges.
     Flip the omelette.
     Saute till the omelette becomes fully cooked with no browning.
     Step 3:  Place the omelette on a cutting board.
     Mound the Chorizo Rice Stuffing evenly across the middle of the omelette.  (Use your judgement for figuring how much stuffing is needed.  There may be a little bit of excess stuffing leftover.)
     Roll the omuraisu into a cylinder shape.
     Trim the ends of the omuraisu so they look nice.

     Beef Chorizo Cilantro Omuraisu Presentation:
     Ketchup is traditional with Omu!
     Use a long spatula to transfer the omuraisu to the center of a plate.
     Place four evenly spaced petite dollops of ketchup on top of the omuraisu.
     Garnish each ketchup dollop with a cilantro leaf.
     Arrange 5 long bias sliced green onion top slivers on both sides of the omuraisu, so they fan out on the plate.
     Drizzle a small portion of the Light Cilantro Oil on the plate around the omuraisu.
     Sprinkle some diced roasted red bell pepper over the cilantro oil.
     Sprinkle some small chopped pickled ginger over the cilantro oil.

     Viola!  A really nice looking Beef Chorizo Cilantro Omuraisu!  This omuraisu tastes great and it can be served any time of day.

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