Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Getting Under Our Skin

July 25, 2017

 

I am mesmerized by all of those short little cooking videos. The ones where the entire recipe gets prepared and cooked in about 30 seconds. Today, as I was watching one from Food + Wine, showing New York restaurant Made Nice‘s chef prepping their chickens for roasting I had an epiphany.

It is fairly common for recipes to suggest rubbing some butter or tucking herbs under the skin of poultry before roasting to let the flavors really soak in, crisp the skin, and keep the meat moist. The problem is, it isn’t so easy to really get under there and get the mixture well dispersed. When I saw this chef using a pastry bag filled with herb infused butter to get under the skin, I had a major “aha!” moment.

The technique involved filling a pastry bag fitted with a large tip with very soft herb butter. The chef inserted the tip under the skin at the farthest point, releasing the contents as he slowly pulled the bag out, and then quickly massaged the area to disperse the herb butter evenly under the skin. It also allowed him to get into the harder to reach spots, such as the legs and wings.

This genius trick could totally change my poultry roasting game!  I can’t wait to try it with my roasted garlic and mustard herb butter.

Thanks Made Nice! 

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Celery Caesar

May 16, 2016

Sometimes, the slightest twist on a classic makes the old seem new again. Such was the case with the Celery Caesar Salad that I stumbled upon this weekend. Truth be told, it was a little bland, but the combination of diced celery, matchsticks of endive and Parmesan cheese were a hit. Mine had diced chicken breast in it, and to add insult to injury, they forgot the croutons. But even with its faults, the salty Parmesan and the crisp and crunchy celery held their own. A squirt of fresh lemon juice and a few shakes of pepper re-invigorated it and helped make the flavors sing. I think a julienned apple would be a nice touch; a welcome addition of tangy and slightly sweet.

Hooked on the concept and knowing it could be easily be improved, we bring you our take on the Celery Caesar.

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Celery Caesar Salad

For the salad:
Clean, scrape and dice a few stalks of celery. Julienne an endive, an equal amount of Parmesan cheese and a tart apple, so that all the matchsticks are similar in size. Add diced chicken breast if desired.

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For the dressing: 

Whisk together about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, and the juice of about 1/2 a small lemon. Add a couple of shakes of Worchestershire sauce and a little salt. Taste, and adjust the lemon /olive oil ratio as needed. It should be tangy and the lemon flavor should stand out.

Toss the salad with the dressing and sprinkle with a liberal amount of fresh black pepper. Add croutons and enjoy!

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chicken With Sundried Tomatoes

March 17, 2016

 

T02Sundried tomatoes were all the rage in the 1980’s. You couldn’t go to a restaurant without finding them scattered in the pasta or cooked into a sauce. They were tucked into sandwiches and tossed into salads. Then, after a nice long stretch of being the ingredient of choice, they faded away into the oblivion.

For years, I couldn’t even look at one; that is how over-saturated they became. Yet, there was something about the deep slightly sweet flavor that added dimension to dishes that was worth exploring again. When the request for “that chicken stuffed with sundried tomatoes you used to make” came up, I initially turned up my nose. But after a few weeks of Whole30 induced deprivation, I was willing to stretch a bit to introduce something new to my palate. And you know what? It was good!

It may be time to de-stigmatize the sundried tomato and give it another chance.

Chicken Stuffed With Sundried Tomatoes

Lay sliced chicken breasts ( or slightly pounded and flattened breasts) out on a tray, inside up. Spread the breasts with dijon mustard, a few pieces of chopped scallion, and lay on a rehydrated sundried tomato* or two. Roll the breast up and place it seam side down on a baking dish. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.

Bake the chicken breasts in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through and enjoy!

*Be sure to use oil packed tomatoes, or rehydrate the plain dried tomatoes in warm water before using them. Dried tomatoes that haven’t been rehydrated will suck every ounce of juice from your chicken and leave you with a hard, dry meal. No bueno.

These are perfect to make in advance. I had a late meeting tonight, and left them all prepared in the refrigerator so the pan could be popped in the oven while I made my way home.

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Unrecipe of the Week: Roasted Chicken

February 19, 2016

There is very little that evokes good old home cooking more than a whole roasted chicken. They take a little longer to make than many recipes that utilize chicken parts, but most of that time is spent in the oven. There are lots of ways to roast a chicken, and this method seems to yield that desired “juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside” ratio that we love. This is perfect Sunday dinner with the promise of leftovers to ease you into the week.

Start with a good quality chicken that is fresh, not frozen, and free of hormones and pesticides. Opt for organic, if possible.

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Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and remove the “innards” that are often stored in the cavity. Pat the chicken dry, and place it in a roasting pan, sprayed with cooking spray for easy clean up later.

Gently lift the skin and slide a few cloves of garlic between the skin and breast meat. Rub the bird all over with a little olive oil and a mixture of salt, pepper and paprika. Cut the ends off of a lemon and slip it into the cavity along with some garlic cloves. Sprinkle the chicken with fresh rosemary or thyme leaves, and toss some into the cavity. You can vary the seasonings, omit the lemon or change up the herbs to your liking

Place the chicken into the hot oven, breast side up. We like to add some baby potatoes to the pan to roast along with the chicken. You can also add chunks of carrots or onions if you like.  Cook for about 20 minutes, and then adjust the temperature down to 375, and roast another 50-60 minutes or so, until done. The rule of thumb is that the bird should roast about 20 minutes per pound once the temperature is reduced, but depending on size and fat content (a free range chicken will roast more quickly than a conventionally farmed one,) it could vary.
The chicken is done when the juices run clear, the thighs and wings move easily when jiggled, and a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

Let the chicken rest for 10- 15 minutes before cutting it to allow the juices to settle. Remove the lemon from the cavity and squirt the juice on the chicken before serving and enjoy!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Chicken in Tomato Tarragon Sauce

February 1, 2016

Lately, I am facing the ultimate dilemma; trying to eat clean, and longing for something warm, hearty and a little more comforting. When I saw a photo of this on the New York Times cooking site, I knew I had to try it. It was quick, healthy and full of flavor, taking those boring chicken breasts to a better place. The sauce is good enough to eat with a spoon, and was perfect over pasta for the non-carb deprived members of the family. This one may become part of my regular dinner rotation this winter!

Photo via The New York Times

Photo via The New York Times

Chicken Breast In a Tomato Tarragon Sauce: (adapted from Pierre Franey)

Heat olive oil in a saute pan, and add 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Season with salt and pepper and saute for about 3 minutes on each side to brown, turning often.

Add a large diced shallot or two, and a few diced garlic cloves to the pan and saute quickly. Add a handful of chopped fresh tarragon (or 2 teaspoons of dried tarragon), 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of drained capers, 1 cup of dry white wine and a couple of big squirts of tomato paste. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Add a can of drained, chopped tomatoes(or pureed tomatoes for a saucier dish), and continue to simmer covered, for about 8-10 more minutes. Serve over pasta or zucchini noodles and enjoy!

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Brining

December 15, 2015

Another cooking confessional: I have never brined my meat or poultry. I have always felt that it was a messy, unnecessary step in the process. Until yesterday.

I had a catering project that was overflow from another cook who couldn’t handle the quantity requested at the last minute. We communicated briefly about recipes and plating so that it would not be blatently obvious when the guests opened their lunches and discovered that they were the same but extremely different. One of the dishes being served was a sliced chicken breast, which she said she was brining for two hours and baking with a garlic and paprika rub. Simple enough.

I got up and brined the chicken breasts in the morning before cooking them. I was skeptical. I honesty didn’t think it would make a bit of difference. I was wrong. The chicken was extremely tender and juicy. I had a couple of extra pieces that I removed from the brine and refrigerated until dinner time. My husband remarked that I should buy my chicken from this butcher all the time, as it seemed superior in taste and consistency. I am a brine believer now! 

So what is brining and how is it done? Read along…

Brining is the process of soaking meat or poultry in salt water for a period of time to lock in moisture before cooking. The salt in the water serves to denature, or break down some of the protein bonds in the meat, and allows the water to become trapped between the fibers, making it more hydrated before it is cooked. Depending on the size and amount of time spent in the brine, the food will weigh 6-8% more, due it the amount of liquid it has absorbed.

While a large turkey might benefit from an overnight brine, smaller portions will become water logged if left to soak too long.  A couple of hours for a large amount of skinless, boneless chicken breasts ( I was serving 30 people) was perfect. Even 30 minutes would make a difference. If you place the breasts in the brine while the oven heats and you get the rest of the meal prepared, it will be well worth the extra effort, and not take too much extra time.

How to Brine:
Use 1/4 cup of kosher salt for every quart of warm water. Place the food into the mixture so that it is just submerged but not swimming in the brine, cover it and place it in the refrigerator. You can add herbs, lemon juice or other flavors to the mixture if you like, but for a short brine, it won’t have that much effect. When you are ready to cook the meat, remove it from it’s bath, pat it dry with paper towels and you’re good to go!

Word of warning: Raw meats and poultry have potentially harmful bacteria that can make you and those who eat your food very sick. Be sure to wash the brining dish and disinfect anything that the brining water came in contact with. I put my dish on a baking tray to catch any drips to avoid contaminating other things in the refrigerator.

Happy Brining!

Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Preheating

November 4, 2014

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We always preheat the oven before we start cooking and we would never consider putting food into a cold frying pan, yet most of us overlook this step when roasting foods in the oven.

Once the oven is preheated, place the pan you will be using in it for a few minutes to heat. If you will be using fat, add the butter or oil at this point, allowing it to melt and coat the pan. When you add the meat, chicken or vegetables to the hot pan, they will sear, getting a nice caramelized edge as the food continues to cook.

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Miso Butter

April 28, 2014

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Just as there are finishing salts, there are also finishing butters. These items are meant to provide a flavor blast at the end of the preparation, after the food is nearly cooked. This delicious miso butter, is not for sautéing. Try brushing it on seafood, vegetables or even chicken at the end of the cooking process, and watch how it ramps up the simplest of dishes.

I used this on shrimp and scallops, but I also sautéed them with some shallots, garlic and ginger in a little neutral oil before adding the miso butter. Since this is an unrecipe, feel free to toss some of these into the mix to suit your taste.

Miso Butter:

Take 1 stick of unsalted sweet butter and a couple of generous tablespoons of miso paste, and mix it together in the food processor. Add a bit of  soy sauce, and a splash of sake if you have it on hand, and blend until smooth. If you like, toss in a clove of garlic, and a little peeled ginger and blend until minced. Brush the miso butter on fish, seafood, vegetables or chicken during the last minutes of broiling, sautéing, or roasting and enjoy!

This keeps well when placed in a sealed container in the refrigerator for at least a week.

photo: Glasshouse Images

Unrecipe of the Week: Miso Coconut Chicken

March 10, 2014

I was craving something with some interesting flavors, but nothing too spicy, too heavy or too obvious. I stumbled upon this recipe adapted from i am a food blog, and knew this was just what I was looking for. The smell of onion, ginger, mushrooms and garlic, perfumed the kitchen and added just the right amount of flavors to chicken. The miso paste and coconut milk combined to make the perfect sauce; creamy, but not cloying, and so delicious we wanted to eat it with a spoon. Of course, I tweaked it, or maybe just didn’t bother to measure it, to make it into an real unrecipe.

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Miso Coconut Chicken:

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and sear, skin side down, in vegetable oil for 6-8 minutes until it is crispy and brown.

Remove chicken from the pan, and sauté about 1/2 of a large onion diced, 2 or 3 cloves of diced garlic, and a nice sized hunk of diced ginger until it is soft and fragrant, but not too browned. Add in about a pound of sliced shitake mushrooms, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are done, scraping up any browned bits as you go.

Add 2 tablespoons of water, and 2 heaping tablespoon of miso paste to the pan, stirring until it becomes smooth. Add 1 can (14-16 oz. ) of unsweetened coconut milk to the pan and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, and add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. Taste the sauce and correct the seasonings if necessary. Serve over steamed jasmine rice, and enjoy!

photo: glasshouse images

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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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