Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Illinois Horseradish - By: Chef John Johnson

A horse of a different flavor

While most people know Horseradish only in the grated form from a jar and use it to make cocktail sauce and horseradish cream to eat with Prime Rib. Which by the way is one of my favorite cut of meat; we will save that for another day. Fresh horseradish root can be used in so many ways. In contrast to its name horseradish is not a radish at all and has nothing to do with horses. Some think the name came from the English translation of the German word “ Meerrectich” which means sea radish. The prefix “meer” is pronounced mare, giving the English translation as horseradish.

The horseradish is related to cabbages and mustard greens with its pungent flavor and distinct heat you may  have wondered if it had anything to do with the Japanese wasabi you get when your order your favorite sushi. Good wasabi is made from a root from Japan that is a cousin to horseradish but is much more expensive to cultivate so for this reason green coloring is added to horseradish to make commercial wasabi.
Did you know? Collinsville, Illinois is considered the capital of horseradish and holds a horseradish festival May 31st to June 2nd. This is a great way to see and taste this horse of a different flavor.  While, in most cases horseradish is used as an additive to spice up a dish rather than a main attraction. I have two recipes for you that will show you its diversity and hopefully give you some ideas to play in your kitchen.

Horseradish country Fried Steak
Beef tenderloin 2 (4 oz) portion
Garlic crushed 1 glove
Grated horseradish 1 ½ tsp
Salt         ½ tsp
Black pepper 1 ½ tsp
Smoked paprika 1 tsp
Milk         1 cup
Eggs beaten 2 each
Butter 4 tbl

White gravy
Italian sausage ½ c
Onion diced 3 tbl
A/P flour         ½ c
Milk 2 ½ cups

Add garlic and horseradish to milk and place steaks in for 45 minutes to marinate. While steaks are marinating add dry ingredients to flour mixture and set up a standard breading station. Heat you fry pan to medium high and add butter. When butter it hot, dip steaks in egg mixture and dredge in flour mixture to create an even coating. Repeat. Place breaded steaks into hot pan and brown on both sides. Remove from pan and place on paper towel to remove excess butter. While pan is still hot add breakfast sausage and onions cook until sausage in brown. Reduce heat to low, add flour and cook stir constantly until flour is cooked, should take about 4 to 5 minutes. The flour will start to have a nutty aroma. Add milk and let simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce is thick. If it is to thick add water until you have the desire thickness.
I like to serve mine over roasted potatoes and carrots which have been seasoned with simple salt and black pepper.

Pickled Horseradish
Horseradish (thin sliced) 4 c
White vinegar ¾ c
Sugar 2 Tbl
Pickling spice 3 Tbl
Salt         1/2 tsp

Place all items except for the horseradish in a pot and bring to a slow boil. Clean horseradish very well with warm water and a small brush to remove all dirt. When liquid is ready slice the horseradish with the skin on very thin until you have 4 cups. Place in a bowl and pour the hot liquid over the horseradish and let cool. Refrigerate for an hour.

Note: Horseradish will get hotter the longer to let it sit after cutting. So, to control the amount of heat I want is why I do not cut the horseradish ahead of time in this recipe. I want the flavor without the intense heat. This pickled Horseradish is great on a steak sandwich or as an accent for the country fried streak. I have even served it on its own as a snack.

By: Chef John Johnson

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