A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Kooking with Kaberle (v 2.0)

It is a well known fact that Frantisek Kaberle, defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes, scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Canes last June. He's widely
respected as a well above average defenseman (although not as dominant as his brother) and is a fan favorite wherever he goes.

The reason is pretty plain. Frantisek Kaberle is much more than a hockey player. He's a freakin genius at everything he does.

As Greg from Post-Pessimist Association rightly points out, he is the author of several incredible novels including Underworld, White Noise, and Libra. He also wrote (but refuses to admit) a rare and out-of-print mock-memoirs entitled Amazons: An Intimate Memoir By the First Woman to Play in the National Hockey League. It's a memoir written from the perspective of a fictional woman named Cleo Birdwell, who broke the gender barrier in the NHL before Manon Rheaume. Anyway, Kaberle skirts the issue when anyone talks about this book and he refuses to autograph it, claiming "I didn't write that book. Cleo Birdwell did". Whatever.

F. Kaberle is also widely believed to be the original author of the joke around which the documentary film "The Aristocrats" is based. At a season ticket holder's event, I heard Frantisek riff on the joke for about 25 solid minutes. It was incredible. Even in his broken English, that was hands down the funniest thing I have ever heard.

Kaberle is also an accomplished violinist, is fluent in 9 languages, and can hold his own in just about any professional sport. He has three times defeated American tennis Superstar Andy Roddick in straight sets, most recently this past September at Roddick's home. Former Formula 1 champion Mika Hakkinen has never defeated Kaberle in their semi-annual road race, which will have its 9th renewal this August. The list goes on and on...

To the point here. Frantisek Kaberle is also an award winning chef. He has appeared on "Iron Chef" three times. He defeated Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi in a lobster challenge, lost to Iron Chef Japanese Masaharu Morimoto in an eel challenge, and he defeated Iron Chef Italian Masahiko Kobe in a lamb challenge.

Thanks to a post at Post-Pessimist, I got my hands on one of his recipes.

Here's what it calls for:
1 chicken breast fillet, boneless and skinless.
1 medium onion, chopped (I omitted this)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt to taste
1 1/2 cups water (I substituted one bottle of Pilsner Urquell)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp flour

Of course, I modified the recipe to suit my own taste. I figure if it's good enough for Frantisek Kaberle, inventor of Velcro™ brand hook and loop fastener, then there has to be a way for me (a hopeless loser) to improve upon it.

Greg recommends placing a photo or reasonable facsimile of Frantisek Kaberle somewhere in the kitchen whilst preparing the meal. I used a signed puck, and that worked out just fine.

I used a Harris Teeter brand chicken breast, roughly eight ounces. The original recipe called for Butterball brand chicken, but we ain't exactly talking about high end electronics, are we?

The recipe says to brown the onion in the butter, but I hate onions, so I skipped that bit, and just started with a pan and melted butter. I diced the chicken into 1/4 inch cubes, added to the pan with salt and paprika, and browned it. This only takes a few minutes at medium heat. The recipe calls for this to be covered with a cup and a half of water and simmered for about 40 minutes. For the preparation of this meal, I thought it would be appropriate and more Czech to have some Pilsner Urquell on hand. After one sip, I quickly remembered how much I dislike that beer, and in an effort to get rid of it quickly, I decided to substitute it for "water" in the recipe. I mean, it practically begs for the use of beer. 12 ounces? C'mon! Anyway, I dumped the entire contents of one bottle of Pilsner Urquell into the pan, turned the heat down, covered and went back to the game.

Here again, PPA recommends the consumption of vodka limeade during the 40 minutes of simmering. I drank the Pilsner Urquell instead. I don't think actual Czech people drink Pilsner Urquell, but I didn't have time to go to the fancy beer store.

The recipe calls for this dish to be served over pasta, but I substituted risotto instead. I was quite pleased with the results on that front.

I also decided to include bacon. I dare you to name one thing that cannot be improved by adding bacon. While the chicken was simmering and the risotto was cooking, I quickly fried some bacon, cut it into bits and added to the chicken.

After about 40 minutes, roughly half of the liquid had cooked out of the chicken pan. In a separate dish, I mixed the sour cream and flour into a paste, and I diverged from the recipe a bit. It calls for the chicken to be removed from the pan, then the paste to be added to the pan, then the "gravy" simmered for a few minutes, then everything piled on top of pasta. That sounded silly to me. I mean, this is pretty much a variation on beef stroganoff, and I always cook it all in the same pan when I do that. Accordingly, I did all of this in the pan without removing the chicken. It worked just fine.

After a few more minutes of cooking it all together, I poured the whole thing over a plate of risotto and enjoyed the exciting conclusion of the Canes-Cats game.

Huzzah to Frantisek Kaberle for assisting on the game-tying goal and for finishing with a +2.

If I do this again, I might not use Urquell where it says "water" I was quite pleased, though, with my decision to use risotto.

Please note that some of the things I have said about Frantisek Kaberle aren't entirely true.


gsdgsd13 said...

Great post. Never knew that about "The Aristocrats."

I like to imagine Frankie googling himself one day, finding these posts, and wondering "what the hell?" (in Czech).

Chris said...

This is frickin' hilarious.


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