I first learned about Goldbelly a few years ago when I was given a gift certificate for the holidays. If you aren't yet familiar with Goldbelly, it's an e-commerce platform that connects people with their greatest food memories, experiences and desires. The platform features small shops, chefs (famous and up and coming) and restaurants and brings their food to anyone in the domestic United States (including Hawaii and Alaska).
Goldbelly soared to popularity during the pandemic because when people weren't able to travel to their favorite destinations for their favorite foods, they could have them shipped to them. You can get Hot Chicken from Nashville, bagels from New Jersey, deep dish food pizza from Chicago, as well as dishes from your favorite top chefs like Marcus Sammuelsson, Thomas Keller and Stephanie Izard.
When I first perused the Goldbelly site back in 2020, I was overwhelmed - there were so many foods to choose from (spoiler alert: there are even more now!). Since it was Christmastime and I was headed to my parents house, I decided to get a gift the entire family would love.
When I was a kid and my grandmother lived near Natchitoches, Louisiana, we would get meat pies from the ever popular Lasyone's Meat Pies. Their meat pies were voted "Best Pie of Louisiana" by Food Network and have been featured by Gourmet, Southern Living, Garden and Gun, Flip My Food, the New York Times, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. These are seriously the best meat pies I've ever had in my life, and after making them from scratch, I know the amount of labor and love that went into these little hand pies. I was sure they wouldn't be anywhere close to as good as getting them in person, but I figured it was worth a try. So, I used my gift card to order a box of meat pies.
They arrived perfectly frozen with detailed instructions on frying them. To all of our delight, they were delicious! They had the exact same flavor I remembered and the crunchy crust was perfect. I know it was very special for my mom who has been eating these Natchitoches meat pies for close to 70 years.
Fast forward a few years, and I'm gifted another Goldbelly gift card by the same lovely person. The first thing that caught my eye when I perused the site again around Christmas was the famous Piecaken from Piecaken Bakeshop. I had heard about this three-in-one dessert, also known as the "turducken of dessert." But instead of surprising my family with this crazy dessert, I decided to make a DIY version. While I know it would be absolutely amazing, I just couldn't justify spending $100 on a dessert (the price has since dropped after the holidays, FYI).
Instead, I looked at some of the chef meal kits offered on Goldbelly. From Commander's Palace in New Orleans to Carla Hall to Ming Tsai to José Andrés, there were so many choices! I landed on a meal kit from Chicago's Chef Stephanie Izard that featured Citrus-Spiced Split Chicken for two.
The box arrived on the day I had scheduled it for, the chicken was still frozen and the rest of the ingredients chilled to the appropriate temperature. I love that all of the packaging is recyclable!
I wasn't cooking the meal until the next day so there was plenty of time for the chicken to defrost in the fridge. I set aside the paperwork without really looking at (or reading) it.
I assumed the instructions were included on the flyer but the next day, when I went to start cooking, I realized they weren't. So I had to dig the box out of the recycling can to scan the QR code on the inside to get the instructions. Just something to note for others!
Now that I had the instructions on my phone, I was ready to start! I was especially excited to get a spice blend and sauce that I will continue to use long after this one meal.
I was a little surprised the meal included a whole split chicken since it said it fed two. That just meant more meals for me!
The first step was to combine the spice mix with some oil of your choice (I used grapeseed) and rub all over the chicken.
I then cooked the chicken skin side down for a few minutes before popping in my preheated oven.
After about 20 minutes, I added a pat of butter (there was no amount indicated in the instructions), flipped the chicken and returned to the oven for about 10 more minutes.
The instructions said to cook the chicken until the point where you poke it with a fork and the juices run clear. I wished they had home cooks use an instant read thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees. Not everyone's ovens cook at the same rate so while my chicken was done after 30 minutes, not everyone's will be. I finished the sauce by whisking in the lemon juice from the already cut lemon, which was very interesting to me. Why not just leave it whole and have the home cook cut it? I guess they want to make it ultra convenient!
While the chicken rested, I turned to the green beans which came cleaned and trimmed which was nice. First, I blanched the green beans in boiling salted water for a few minutes before transferring to an ice bath to stop the cooking.
After draining, the green beans got tossed in a hot skillet with a little oil until they were slightly charred.
Sliced shallots are added to the pan next and I have to say, this shallot was the biggest one I have ever seen in my life. It was literally as big as my hand! I only used half of it for this dish and saved the rest to use elsewhere.
After the shallots were slightly caramelized, I added some of the sauce and some chopped cashews. Again, I felt like they gave me way too many cashews for just this one dish so I used the amount I thought was appropriate and saved the rest for a snack later!
The recipe calls for a drizzle of a mixture of the Kewpie mayonnaise (my favorite!) and the Little Goat sauce so I went ahead and mixed it up, but honestly, I used less than a quarter of this as the garnish on the green beans. I was trying to cut out some calories, but it was way too much for just this dish. Again, save it for another use!
When it was done, I had a beautiful and tasty meal that took about an hour from start to finish.
This meal kit costs $105 before shipping so while you could definitely put this meal together on your own for a lot less, I thought it was a fun experiment that resulted in several meals for me. And now, I have the Little Goat sauce and spice mix to use for a long time!
I must also mention that a longtime friend of The Chopping Block is now available for delivery via Goldbelly: Bill Jacob's Piece Pizzeria. Now I know what I'm going to do with my next gift card - have my favorite Chicago pizza delivered to Florida!
The beauty of learning how to cook is that you can make restaurant-quality meals like this at home! While this Goldbelly meal kit certainly doesn't claim to teach you any cooking techniques, there were plenty involved: blanching, shocking, sautéing, roasting, etc. At The Chopping Block, we have many classes that bring you restaurant-quality food to your own kitchen by teaching you the techniques behind them. Don't miss these upcoming classes:
- Hands-On Neapolitan Pizzeria Thursday, February 9 6pm
- Virtual Thai Takeout at Home Friday, March 3 6pm CST
- Hands-On Nashville Hot Chicken Wednesday, March 8 6pm
- Hands-On Steakhouse DIY Saturday, March 11 6pm
- Virtual Ramen Workshop Sunday, March 26 11am CST