Posts Tagged ‘chicken broth’

Unrecipe of the Week: Moroccan Chicken Tagine

December 11, 2013

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Those of you who follow us on Facebook ( and you really should!) know that I got a slow cooker as a gift. Those of you that follow this blog, know that I am more of a fast cooker type, using fresh ingredients to create seasonal, flavorful and simple dishes. I admit to being a bit intimidated by this concept of slow cooking, and put off trying it out. Finally, on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I was home long enough to attempt to try it out. First, I did my due diligence, researching recipes, and reading the comments. Many of the readers complained that the cooking times were off. There was lots of conversation about too much liquid, or not enough. Many of the recipes were for dishes I simply don’t care for. Finally, I stumbled upon a recipe for a Moroccan Style Chicken Tagine, with dried apricots and chickpeas. The comments were all favorable, and dish did not disappoint. The rich flavorful stew that accompanies the chicken is hearty and tasty enough to hold its own as a vegetarian dish, with a few minor tweaks ( like losing the chicken!).

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I learned a few lessons experimenting with the slow cooker:

Just tossing the ingredients into the pot and turning it on isn’t going to happen very often. Browning meats, sauteing onions, and finishing sauces on the stove top are part of the success of slow cooked foods. This (un) recipe, is adapted from the Kitchn, and requires a bit of before and after work, but the results were worth the extra effort, and the added mess.

Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chickpeas:

Sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown them in olive oil until golden. Work in batches if necessary, until all pieces are done.  Transfer them to the slow cooker.

Using the same pan, saute one diced onion and 2 peeled and diced carrots in olive oil, until soft and slightly brown. Add 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves, and a chunk of ginger root, peeled and minced to the pan, and cook for about 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon or so of cumin, and cinnamon. Continue to saute until mixed.  Pour the mixture over the chicken. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, and a few large handfuls of dried apricots, chopped.

Turn the slow cooker up to high, and cook for roughly 4 -5 hours.

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Remove the chicken from the cooker, and place on a platter, covered with foil to keep warm. Pour the sauce, including the fruit and vegetables into a pan, add 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.  Simmer until the sauce reduces a bit and starts to thicken.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the finished sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped almonds.

Serve on a bed of cous cous and enjoy!

photos: Glasshouse Images

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How to Roast the Perfect Turkey

November 27, 2013

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I always hear people say they don’t like turkey. They describe it as dry, tasteless and lackluster. I always tell them they haven’t had my turkey yet!

It’s not that I am the best cook in America…nor is it due to a secret recipe. It is due to a great technique perfected over the years, and even more so to the quality of the bird itself. I get mine from DiPaola Turkey Farms, based out of Trenton, New Jersey, and sold at the Union Square Greenmarket. The turkeys are fresh, never frozen, and raised in a humane environment. Since buying from them each year, my turkey score has gone from very good, to great. The price is high, but the results are worth every penny!

Start with a cool, but not icy cold turkey. Rinse the bird, remove all of the innards ( the liver, neck and giblets are often stored in the cavity of the bird in a little bag. Be sure to remove them before cooking!!!) Pat dry and place on a rack in a heavy roasting pan. It’s easier to clean later, if you spray the pan and rack with cooking spray first.

Place a cut onion, 2 stalks of celery and 1 large carrot cut into chunks in the bottom of the pan.

turkeys, traditions, Thanksgiving, ovens

Season the turkey with salt and pepper and rub the bird all over with  roasted garlic and herb butter, being sure to loosen the skin and rub some underneath it, and inside the cavity, reserving some to use in the gravy. Stuff if desired, and stuff a little ball of foil into the edge of the cavity to keep the stuffing from falling out. Tuck the wings under the legs if you can.

Boil 1 cup of dry white wine and 1 cup of chicken broth, and pour it into the pan. Roast for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Cover the breast loosely with foil so they do not brown too quickly, and roast another hour. Continue to pour 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of wine over the bird every hour until cooked through. Roast uncovered for the last hour to make sure the skin gets golden brown. The turkey should register 175 degrees when a meat thermometer is inserted in to the thickest part of the thigh. Remove it from the oven and allow it to rest covered, for 30 minutes before carving. It will continue to cook slightly while resting.

The rule of thumb for turkey roasting times:

Roast for about 15 minutes per pound if it is unstuffed, and a few minutes longer per pound if it is stuffed. The internal temperature of the thigh should be 175 degrees, and the stuffing should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Our 18-19 pound bird takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes unstuffed, and about 4 hours and 45 minutes stuffed. Do not rely on the pop up times inserted in many turkeys. They often don’t pop until the turkey is already over cooked. Invest in a good digital meat thermometer for a more accurate and safe reading. A free range turkey will roast much faster than a previously frozen one, so start checking it after a few hours to make sure it is not cooking too fast.

Once the turkey is resting on the carving board under aluminum foil, its time to make the gravy. Pour any pan juices into a bowl and scrape the brown bits from the pan. Strain the juices and add 1/2 cup of wine and enough chicken broth to it, until you have about 6 cups of liquid.

Heat butter in a large skillet, and saute 2 pounds of sliced mushrooms until brown, about 18 minutes. ( You can do this earlier and just reheat them in the pan when you are ready.)

Mix in more of the garlic and herb butter. Sprinkle the mixture with 1/3 cup of flour and stir until the flour begins to brown. This will integrate it into the mushroom mixture, and avoid lumps later. Gradually whisk in the reserved liquid until it comes to a boil and thickens to the desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with the turkey.

Enjoy!

Photo of our Thanksgiving turkey from Spencer Jones/ Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Mustard Chicken

March 13, 2013

This is a great weekday dish, that is full of flavor and quick to prepare. While butter and cream can make it extra delicious, a lightened up version using olive oil and half and half tastes pretty yummy too! Pick your degree of richness, and your fresh herb of choice, because hey, that’s why we call it an “unrecipe”.
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Chicken Breasts With Mustard Sauce

Season boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt and pepper and saute them in olive oil or butter ( or a combination of the two) on both sides, until browned and cooked through. Remove from the pan and place the chicken in the oven to keep warm.

Add a chopped shallot to the pan and saute until transparent. Scrape the shallots and the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle it with flour.  Stir the flour until blended, and add about 3/4 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup half and half or cream, and about a 1/2 cup white wine (or champagne if you happen to have some open!) and whisk, allowing the mixture to thicken, but stay smooth and lump free. If it gets too thick, add more wine or broth. Mix in a couple of tablespoons of dijon mustard, and some fresh herbs of your choice. Tarragon, thyme or rosemary are all good options. Put the chicken breasts back into the pan, and allow to simmer for a few minutes to start to absorb the flavors of the sauce.
Place the chicken on a plate, and pour the sauce over it. Garnish it with a sprig of fresh herbs if you are feeling fancy, and enjoy!

photo: Glasshouse Images


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