Take three deep breaths, Christmas is over —and all that remains now is for the shops to peddle the unwanted trinkets of the season (before assaulting us with them again in a few short months) and for us to take store of our Christmas loot! On that note, the Boar has a new pan!
You know what this means (and if you don’t click here, here, here, and here to see what happened when the Boar acquired a paella pan). The new pan is a Blue Moon Disk manufactured in Little Rock, Arkansas and gifted to the Boar by a rather convivial accountant —rare sighting, I know (perhaps we can get some license plates like the ones for the ivory-billed woodpecker).
Turns out this gift was not just a pan but an education, as well. The pan is made from a reclaimed (anesthetic word for “used”) plow disk —that’s right an implement of husbandry (weird word for “farming”) pulling double-duty, helping to grow and cook the food (from the garden to the frying pan). Now, that’s a pretty literal application of the farm-to-table trend. The conversion involves filling in and welding the hole (or holes) in the center of the pan and adding handles (as an added bonus Blue Moon’s version welds horseshoes on for handles).
The resulting pan is similar to a wok, for it is conical shaped with a small circular flat area in the middle. But the sides are not as steep as a typical wok, and the metal is much thicker.
Cooking in this fashion is known as “discada” (a Spanish word meaning “to cook in an agricultural disk or disco” —boy they stuffed a lot into that word). The disks are popular in Mexico for preparing street fare (meaning “the good stuff absent any pretense –not to mention tables, chairs, silverware, plates…”).
The disk works perfectly on a propane gas cooker but can also be used on a grill or stove (but why take something like this indoors?). Typical preparations involve sautéing ingredients in the center of the pan and then moving them to the outer areas of the pan to stay warm. Popular ingredients include, shrimp, strips of meat, sausage, sliced onions, peppers, squash, zucchini, potatoes, corn and fruits.
The key is to have all of your ingredients prepped and ready to cook when you start cooking so that you can layer them onto the pan in your desired order —dazzling your feasters with the tantalizing sizzle and aromas (as soon as the first potato began sautéing on my pan, the feasters took notice and started asking “what are you cooking over there?”).
I tried out my new pan with these creations:
Venison and Pheasant Fajitas with Spicy Potatoes
Venison tenderloin cut into strips
Pheasant breasts cut into strips (I cooked the leg quarters also and served as a bonus to the fajitas)
Yukon gold potatoes (cut into small wedges)
Onion (sliced thinly)
Bell pepper (sliced into strips)
I marinated the venison and pheasant in a dark beer for about two hours before cooking. About thirty minutes before cooking, I removed the meat from the marinade and seasoned it generously with kosher salt, black pepper, and ground chipotle pepper. I then seasoned the potato wedges the same as the meat.
I placed the disk on a propane burner (fish cooker) and adjusted the flame to medium. I added olive oil to the center of the pan allowing it to heat until shimmering. I sautéd the potatoes with fresh rosemary. Once the potatoes had a nice brown crust, I moved them up the sides of the pan away from the center to continue cooking.
Next, I added the pheasant legs and browned them in the center of the disk (with fresh thyme). Once they were brown, I moved them away from the center and added the pheasant strips and then the venison strips. As they browned, I moved them to the outer area of the pan and added the onions and peppers.
Lastly, I covered the pan with flour tortillas allowing them to warm from the steam of the meats and vegetables on the disk.
The fajitas can be served straight from the pan.
Breakfast Taco Discada
The next morning (really early afternoon, but who can keep such things straight this time of year), I created breakfast tacos on the disk.
Diced meat (I made use of the leftover venison and pheasant, but sausage, bacon, ham, or steak will work fine)
Flour Tortillas (my preference for this dish is corn tortillas, but my feasters lobbied for flour).
Again, I started the cooking by adding a small amount of olive oil in the center of the disk. Once the oil was heated, I sautéed the potatoes until brown and crispy and moved them to the outer edge of the pan. Next, I quickly sautéed the venison and pheasant (just to crisp it a bit and warm it up as it was already cooked) and moved it to the outer edge of the pan.
I mixed the eggs with milk, pepper, salt and a dash of cumin (basic scrambled egg preparation with a little added seasoning). I added about a tablespoon of butter to the center of the disk and allowed it to sizzle. Then I poured the egg mixture into the center of the pan. Once the egg mixture began to set, I stirred the eggs and allowed them to set again. Stirred again. Set again. Stirred again. Just as the eggs were ready, I added shredded cheddar cheese and stirred it into the eggs. Lastly, I placed the tortillas over the pan and allowed them steam until soft.
Overall, I found the disk to be efficient, festive, and fun. I’m proud to bestow upon it the much-coveted Convivial Boar stamp of approval. And to my friend, the convivial accountant, I say thank you for opening my eyes to discada and the Blue Moon Disk.
For more information about the Blue Moon Disk click here.
May this year be filled with many new pans, my friend.