We were rather fascinated to see the recipe for Freddie Mercury’s favorite chicken dhansak turn up on the internet recently, courtesy of his onetime personal assistant, who published the secret behind the dish at the late singer’s official website. We’re not surprised to discover that Mercury was a good cook, nor that his favorite recipe draws on his Parsi heritage — and anyway, the whole thing got us thinking about what some of our other favorite musicians might eat. Cooking is an extension of creativity, after all, and as it turns out, there’s a heap of good recipes to be found online, courtesy of musicians whose work we admire as much as their culinary skills.
Freddie Mercury: Chicken dhansak
Your correspondent loves Indian cooking (if you’re similarly inclined, by the way, we highly recommend Pushpesh Pant’s epic India cookbook), and as such, this is definitely going to get a whirl in the Flavorpill kitchen at some point.
25 gm channa, 25 gm moong, 25gm red and 50 gm toor lentils
125 ml oil
650 gm boneless chicken 2cm cubes
3 med onions
2 cloves garlic
410 gm tinned tomatoes
1 medium aubergine chopped
1 large potato chopped
115 gm spinach (frozen)
100 gm fresh coriander
50 gm fresh mint
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 brown cardamom
5cm cassia bark
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground fenugreek seeds
½ teaspoon chilli powder
Wash the lentils thoroughly, making sure you remove all the grit and residual husk. Soak together overnight.
The following day, cook the lentils in twice their volume of water for approx. 30 minutes. While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the meat at a high temperature for 5 – 10 minutes until browned.
Remove from the saucepan and keep in a warm place.
Fry the cumin seeds, cardamom, cassia bark and mustard seeds adding the onions, garlic and salt. When they have turned a golden brown, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Add the remaining chopped vegetables, mix and cook for 10 minutes.
Add the lentils and roughly mash everything together.
Add the meat and rest of the spices. Mix well and cook gently for a further 40 minutes.
Add the fresh coriander and mint and cook for at least 10 minutes.
Serve with plain boiled rice.
[via Dangerous Minds]
Miles Davis: Chilli con carne
Davis’ fairly lethal-sounding chili was something of a music industry culinary legend, so much so that it inspired at least one writer to compose a rather engaging piece about attempting to reproduce it. If you fancy doing the same, then everything you need is right here:
3 large cloves of garlic
1 green and 1 red pepper
2 pounds ground lean chuck
2 teaspoons cumin
½ a jar of mustard
½ a shot glass of vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder
Salt and pepper
Pinto or kidney beans
1 can tomatoes
1 can beef broth
This is the recipe, such as it is, as reproduced in John Szwed’s biography So What. There are no instructions as to how to cook it, save that it was to be served over linguine. Good luck. See you on the other side.
Steve Albini: an entire endearingly deranged cooking blog
If you’re not familiar with it, Steve Albini’s cooking blog is one of the greatest things on the internet. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect — i.e., Albini ranting about things that make him angry and being very, very serious about things that make him happy. Take, for instance, this recipe for short ribs with fennel on saffron potato puree, which contains a) a lengthy rumination on how short ribs taste good because they are “the muscles that control the body cavity, keeping the animal’s body in line and contracting for things like taking a dump and ruminating”; b) a lengthy rant about how much Albini despises wines with silly names (“I hate things being made cute and I want these wineries to fail”); and c) several mentions of how much he loves fennel and hates anyone who doesn’t (“they and the brussels sprouts guys should start an asshole club. Call it England.”)
Brian Ritchie, The Violent Femmes: Wild boar ragù
If you want to channel your inner Asterix and you can actually get hold of wild boar, this recipe, which Ritchie contributed to a book called I Like Food, Food Tastes Good sounds amazing — and even if not, we’re sure you could substitute some sort of stewing beef, or perhaps something gamier, like rabbit. (In any case, vegetarians best look away now.)
1 large Spanish onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds boneless wild boar meat (cut for stew)
1 can chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
5 cloves garlic, crushed
3 dried chili peppers (crushed)
1 cinnamon stick
3 sun-dried tomatoes
3 anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
Fresh or dried oregano, basil, and sage
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pasta (pappardelle or fettuccine)
Grated pecorino cheese (Parmigiano is an acceptable substitute, but pecorino, being sheep cheese, complements game)
In a large cast-iron pot, sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent.
Add the boar meat and brown. (That is, cook the meat over high heat, turning frequently, just until it’s cooked on the outside.)
Add the canned tomatoes and the bay leaves.
Add the wine.
Gradually add the garlic, dried chili, cinnamon stick, cloves, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies (or anchovy paste), oregano, basil, sage, red wine vinegar, and salt and black pepper to taste.
Simmer on low on the stovetop with the lid of the pot slightly ajar, and stir occasionally for at least two hours — or longer if possible. The longer you simmer this, the more tender the meat will become. The ragù is ready to eat when the meat has totally fallen apart and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the meat. Take out the cinnamon stick and bay leaves before serving.
Serve over the pasta and top with grated cheese. Accompany with some crusty peasant bread and a good red wine, preferably a strong Italian, like Amarone or Barolo.
Rufus Wainwright: Kate McGarrigle’s borsht
There used to be a YouTube show called Cooking With Rockstars, which narrated, well, cooking with rockstars. The videos are all still on YouTube, and there’s lots to explore — we’re particularly taken, however, by this pretty impressive borsht recipe, courtesy of Rufus Wainwright and his late mother Kate McGarrigle (whose explanation of the dish went as follows: “Now you will understand how the Russians survived Hitler’s 900-day siege of the city of Leningrad! THEY’RE NOT EASILY BEET!” Ha.)
1 to 2 lbs stewing beef, cut in cubes
5 large beets
1/2 rutabega (or turnip)
1 large onion (chopped)
1/4 c. butter
1 small can tomato paste
1T. vinegar (white or cider)
1/2 cabbage (small, preferably red)
sour cream (to garnish)
…so you purchase 1 to 2 lbs. of stewing beef, cut in cubes. You put this in a pot, the size of the bottom of a double-boiler, i.e. about 7” in diameter and at least 5” high, filled almost to the top with water. Add a bay leaf and a tablespoon of salt, cover and start cookin’. Simmer for at least 2 hours… until beef is stewed, no longer tough. When beef is ready, start doing the veggies.
With the grating blade of a food processor, grate 5 big (size of a golden delicious apple) beets… or the equivalent amount in smaller ones… cut off stems and grate. Put into good size soup pot.
Do the same with about 1/2 medium rutabega (or some turnip)… or the equivalent amount and 3 carrots (you don’t have to peel). Chop up a large onion, put in pot. Turn heat on… and add 1/4 cup butter. Stir to keep stuff from burning… add 1/2 can of tomato paste (you know those little cans about 3” deep). Keep stirring it up… add pepper (freshly ground) to taste.
After cooking for about 20 minutes, all the time stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn… add the contents of the beef pot. If the water has boiled away, add more, making sure that the “stew” is more soup-like, but not watery. A capful or two of vinegar is good at this point … NOT BALSAMIC: apple, wine, or plain will do. Put lid on and continue cooking, another 20 minutes or so.
Then cut up, in shred-like fashion, 1/2 of a small cabbage (I use a red cabbage)… add this to the soup. Cook until it all tastes great, another half-hour or so… or 1/2 day.
To eat, adjust seasoning, i.e. salt and pepper, put in a bowl and add a coupla teaspoons of sour cream to each bowl.
Soak up the soup with a loaf of black-Russian bread covered in unsalted butter.
[via Cooking With Rockstars]
Moby: Vegan blueberry pancakes
And here we were thinking Moby would be cooking the flesh of a freshly slaughtered calf!
1 1/2 cups whole-grain spelt flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup wheat bran
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups plain full-fat soy milk or rice and soy milk blend*
Vegetable oil for cooking
1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries or frozen, unthawed, plus 1/2 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries for serving
Maple syrup for serving
In medium bowl, stir together spelt flour, oat bran, wheat bran, baking soda, and salt. Add soy milk and stir until thoroughly combined.
Brush large nonstick or cast-iron griddle or skillet with oil and heat over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
Working in 3 to 4 batches, pour 1/4 cup batter per pancake onto griddle and press 12 to 15 blueberries into each pancake. Cook until bubbles appear and pop on surface and undersides are golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip pancakes, then turn off heat and let pancakes continue to cook in pan until undersides are firm and light golden brown, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to plate, berry side up, and keep warm.
Repeat to cook remaining pancakes, oiling and reheating griddle between each batch. Serve pancakes warm with additional berries and maple syrup.
John Vanderslice: Spaghettini puttanesca
And one more from Cooking With Rockstars: friend of Flavorwire and Bowie aficionado John Vanderslice, who apparently makes a pretty mean puttanesca sauce.
one can Italbrand san marzano tomatoes
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 cured black olives, chopped
2 tbsp Amore sun dried tomato paste
1 anchovy fillet cured in salt (optional)
8 capers cured in salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
good olive oil
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
reggiano parmesan cheese
spaghettini (slightly thinner than spaghetti)
Saute garlic in olive oil for a minute. Add anchovy fillet, olives, capers, and tomato paste, continue for two more minutes. Watch the heat, don’t let the garlic brown.
Add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
Add tomatoes, bring to quick boil and simmer covered for an hour. Uncover, season to taste, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Slightly undercook pasta, drain. Add reggiano parmesan cheese to pasta in warm saucepot to melt cheese. Add sauce to taste. Stir vigorously.
Serve on warmed plates with half a baguette on the side.
[via Cooking With Rockstars]
Darby Cicci, The Antlers: Gumbo
Last year Paste asked 32 musicians for their favorite recipes. Most of the results were kinda uninspiring, but this gumbo recipe sounds amazing if you have the time and inclination — it’s probably one to save for the weekend. (Also: extra points for describing okra as “like ectoplasm.”)
1 cup canola oil, 1/2 cup flour, 2 cups fresh okra, sliced thin, 1 large white onion (diced), 2 cups minced green onions (you can include the green parts), 2 cups celery (diced), 1/2 cup green bell pepper (diced), 3 or 4 minced garlic cloves, 28 oz. vegetable or chicken broth, 8 cups boiling water, 2-3 lbs. peeled and deveined shrimp (cut half of the shrimp in half, Leave the other half whole), 1 tbs. Tabasco, 2 tbs. sea salt, 1 tsp. ground black pepper, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tsp. Old Bay, 2 large bay leaves, 1/3 cup ketchup, 2 packages fresh crab meat (white lump or claw-don’t get the cheapest stuff, you really don’t want shells in your gumbo), Basmati rice. Optional: a few Littleneck clams (steamed in vegetable broth) per serving, Andouille sausage (sautéed in pan)
First you make roux, the foundation of any excellent gumbo. It takes a long time, but it’s super easy, and if you have someone helping you, this is a great job for them. In a big iron skillet combine 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup flour. Keep the stove on low. This is very important. DO NOT BURN YOUR ROUX. Stir the flour until the combination becomes brown and it sort of separates a little. This will take a little over an hour to get right. Stir the whole time and make sure you have a bottle of wine nearby and some good music on. You will need to listen to music and drink wine to pass the time.
Meanwhile, in another skillet, heat the other 1/2 cup oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the okra and onions until they wilt and the onions are kind of translucent. Add the other veggies and the salt and pepper and stir until it’s all wilted and sticky and mushy. Okra has a ton of slimy starch that kind of resembles ectoplasm. This is why gumbo is so thick and rich and amazing.
So when the roux is brown, add to the veggies skillet. Stir well and transfer to a giant soup pot. Seriously find a really, really big pot. Add the broth, boiling water, half of the shrimp (the half you cut up) and all of the seasonings.
At this point, feel free to toss in any kind of seasonings you want. Worcestershire sauce (which is NOT vegetarian FYI!), soy sauce, parsley, thyme, oregano, that strange Cajun seasoning you got somewhere, gumbo file, hot sauce, more hot sauce, beer, brandy, white wine. Seriously go nuts. Just keep tasting it until you love it.
Simmer this for about an hour over low heat. Your entire house will now smell delicious. Your guests will start getting very hungry at this point; so make sure they have plenty of alcohol and music to keep them occupied.
If you want to make some of the gumbo servings vegetarian, it’s easy. Just make sure you use vegetable broth (instead of chicken), and at this point move some of the gumbo to a different pot before adding the shrimp in this step. And don’t add Worcestershire sauce!
At some point cook the whole shrimp in a saucepan with `/1 cup boiling water [sic] and a pinch of salt. When they’re pink (it will take little to no time), put the shrimp and water in the gumbo pot. If you’re going to use Andouille sausage or Littleneck clams, now is the time to cook those as well. I recommend both. Just slice and sauté the sausage in a pan and add to the gumbo when cooked through.
If you’ve never cooked clams before, it’s easy. Scrub the outside of the clams with a stiff brush to remove dirt and sand. Put them in a saucepan with 1/4 cup broth or white wine per dozen. Cover and heat on high. As soon as the clams open, they are done. The liquid can go in the gumbo. Set the clams aside.
When the gumbo tastes delicious, remove from the heat add the crabmeat. The gumbo is now ready to eat.
Serve the gumbo over basmati rice, garnish with some leftover green onions, and clams.
Lydia Lunch: Jerk chicken
Serendipitously, the good folk at Dangerous Minds just published an interview with Lydia Lunch about… her new cookbook! The book is apparently entitled The Need to Feed, and Lunch’s favorite recipe from it is a rather delicious-sounding jerk chicken, which you can read right here.
Blixa Bargeld: Calamari risotto
And finally… “Time for the alchemistic transformation?” This may genuinely be the greatest video on all of YouTube.