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Paul Kahan

Wed, 05/14/2008 - 15:28
Submitted by admin_rg
Paul Kahan
Blackbird Chicago

Tuesday, September 16 2:00PM—3:10PM

Fine Dining Chefs who have Opened Successful Casual Restaurants Business Seminar


Paul Kahan has become a recognizable face for a new guard of Chicago chefs. With an ever-growing list of accolades for the white tablecloth Blackbird and the casual avec next door, and a Modern American beer hall slated for mid-2008, Kahan can be said to be one of the architects of Chicago’s current culinary scene, and a model for American restaurateurs across the country.

Kahan grew up around food, in his parents’ Chicago delicatessen and smokehouse. This sparked his interest in cuisine, which led to 15 years in Chef Erwin Drechsler’s Midwestern kitchens at Metropolis and Erwin, during which time the foundation for his seasonally, locally driven cuisine was laid. He later worked for Chef Rick Bayless at Topolobampo and in 1999 opened Blackbird, a sleek, hip, passionately seasonal, distinctly American restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop.

Kahan is credited by many (including fellow Chicago restaurateur Shawn McClain) with laying the groundwork for the expansion of the upscale casual segment of Chicago’s dining – an area that has blossomed in the decade since the opening of Blackbird. Kahan has been recognized as a Food & Wine Best New Chef (1999), James Beard Foundation Best Chef Midwest (2004), and a nominee for the James Beard Foundation Outstanding Chef Award in 2007


avec Braised Pork Shoulder
Chef Paul Kahan of Blackbird, avec, The Publican – Chicago, IL
Adapted by

Yield: 4-6 servings


• ¾ cup brown sugar
• 1 cup coarse kosher salt
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 teaspoon allspice
• 2 teaspoons coriander
• 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed
• 2 medium-size rosemary sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
• 1 medium celery stalk, roughly chopped
• 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
• 2 quarts water
• 3 pounds boneless pork loin or shoulder

• Brined pork (from above)
• 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
• 1 small onion, roughly chopped
• 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
• 1 small celery stalk, roughly chopped
• 1 thyme sprig, leaves removed
• 1 bay leaf
• 10 black peppercorns
• 1 small apple, roughly chopped
• 1 cup white wine
• 3-4 cups pork stock (enough to cover)*

*can substitute chicken stock


For the Brine:
Place brine ingredients (except for meat) in a saucepan and boil, stirring occasionally, until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove pan from heat and let liquid cool completely. Place pork in a gallon-size plastic bag and add the brine. If the pork is not completely submerged by the mixture, add additional water. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or up to 3 days.

For the Braise:
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Remove pork from the brine and pat dry. Add 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil to a large lidded casserole and heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove the meat and wipe grease out of the pan with a clean paper towel. Add the additional 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, add the onion, and sauté until it softens. Add carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns, and sauté until vegetables begin to soften. Add apple and sauté until the mixture has taken on a nice light brown color. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add pork and enough stock to submerge ¾ of the meat. Cover the pan with a layer of parchment paper and then with the pan's lid. Cook for 3½ to 4 hours. Remove meat from pan, strain the jus and return the liquid to pan. Cook liquid until slightly reduced, and serve over sliced meat.

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