Tag Archives: chicken

Double feature from our friends across the pond: British bird and muffins

10 Aug

Well up came that first cool cat,
He said: “Man, look at that!
Man, do you see what I see?
Well I want that middle chick”
“I want that little chick!”
“Hey man, save one chick for me”

Recipe source: Adapted from Elaine Lemm of about.com, original recipes here and here

Lemon Roasted Chicken

When my cooking club decided to have a British theme last month, I’ll admit, I raised an eyebrow. Among the many fond memories of my college semester in Cambridge, food did not feature. I thought about suddenly coming down with mad cow disease, or staying home to mourn the loss of my chances with Prince William and draw mustaches on the flawless Kate. But my friend Mary would have none of this, so I dubiously began looking up recipes.

This simple roast chicken was one I found, and although I don’t know how famously British it is, it sounded like a good opportunity for me to roast a whole chicken for the first time. Yes, embarrassingly enough, this food blogger had never roasted a whole bird.

Happily, I found the experience to be painless. I did modify the recipe slightly, to make it a wee bit more involved, but still brilliant. (I’m really working on all the English English I know, here.) I added carrots and onion into the pan and drastically reduced the amount of butter. Next time, I think I’ll mash some fresh herbs into the butter as well – perhaps rosemary or herbs de provence.

lemon roasted chicken

Jump to recipe, including my modifications, below.
Asparagus & Cheese Muffins

Although the chicken was lovely, it seemed a little pedestrian by itself, so I decided to make these muffins as well. With milk, yogurt, and cheese, if you’re in the mood to support dairy farmers, this is the recipe for you! It calls for Cheshire cheese, a cheese I’ve concluded is impossible to find in San Diego County. Wikipedia describes it as a “soft crumbly texture,” similar to a Wensleydale. But all the Wensleydale I found included fruit or berries, so I opted for an aged Irish white cheddar instead.

Kerrygold aged cheddar

Before folding the asparagus into the batter, the recipe calls for blanching the chopped stems. I love blanching green vegetables for the vibrant color they get, not to mention crispness. Green is my favorite color!

asparagus

The sad part about this recipe is that it makes about 20 muffins, although it is written for 12. The 12 spears of asparagus are enough for the batter, but not for decorating each muffin with a tip in the top. My suggestions for remedying this problem are as follows:

1) skip the decoration and just add the tips to the batter
2) cut tips off additional spears to make up for the recipe’s original sin
3) only give the decorated muffins to special people
4) sculpt eight lifelike asparagus tips from leftover green birthday candles
5) abandon recipe entirely and just eat the cheese

asparagus & cheese muffins

These muffins are pretty easy to make and would be lovely served at a brunch, as savory muffins are unusual and these have a slightly dry, biscuit-like texture. Of course, the muffins and chicken, served with a simple tossed salad on the side, would also make a nice dinner.

Jump to muffin recipe.

RECIPE – Lemon Roasted Chicken

1 3-lb 5oz/ 1.5kg roasting chicken
1/2 stick/55g butter, softened
1 medium lemon, halved
1 bulb garlic, skin on and halved across the bulb
2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
3.5 fl oz/100ml dry white wine
1/2 pint/200ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon cold butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 400°F/200°C/Gas 6.

Place the chicken breast side up in a deep roasting tin. Massage the softened butter all over the chicken breasts, legs, sides, and under skin. Season with kosher salt and pepper.

Tuck one half of the lemon and one half of the garlic into the chicken cavity. Squeeze the juice of the second half over the chicken breast, and pop the squeezed lemon into the roasting tin with the second half of the garlic bulb, carrots, and onion.

Place the roasting tin into the oven and cook for 1 hr 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170°F. Remove the chicken from the tin and wrap tightly in aluminum foil and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

Place the roasting tin on a medium heat on the stove top and bring the juices up to a gentle simmer. Raise the heat to high and add the white wine. Stir the wine and juices thoroughly and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock, stir again and simmer until reduced by one third. Mash butter into flour, remove sauce from heat and vigorously whisk in flour-butter mixture to thicken.

Unwrap the chicken and add any juices released by the chicken into the sauce and bring back to the boil. Remove from the heat, and strain into a warmed sauceboat or jug. Serve the chicken immediately with the sauce on the side.

RECIPE – Asparagus & Cheese Muffins

12 spears of asparagus, British when in season
14 oz/400g all-purpose flour (about 2.5 cups)
1 tablespoon baking powder
7 oz/200g Cheshire cheese, cubed
4 oz /125g butter (1/2 cup or 1 stick)
1 small bunch chives, snipped into pieces
2/3 cup/150ml milk
1/2 cup/100ml plain yogurt
1 tsp English mustard
2 eggs
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and spray with nonstick coating.

Cut the asparagus stems into small pieces, about 1 cm in length, leaving the tips a little longer and blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain and refresh under cold running water, separating the tips from the pieces of stem.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and baking powder with the cheese. Melt the butter and pour into a jug. Add the chives, milk, yogurt, mustard and eggs. Mix well until combined and season generously with salt and pepper.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour & cheese, and stir through the asparagus stems. Be careful not to over mix and stop as soon as the mixture is combined.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the muffin cases and push an asparagus tip into the middle of each.

Bake in the oven from 15-20 minutes until golden. Best eaten hot out of the oven, spread with a little cold butter.

Updated: Almost Tandoori Chicken

16 Apr

** Update: now that I’ve been blogging for a year, I thought it was time to improve the shabby photos on my first post. As my photography skills improve, and/or I run out of new ideas, it’s possible this post will recycle itself yet again! So if you missed this recipe the first time around, I hope you enjoy it. **

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Recipe Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray

This recipe is “ala Jen” primarily because of mistakes. The first time I made it, I did not have turmeric, so I used garam masala* instead, figuring something along the lines of “it’s Indian, it will work.” Also, in the course of halving the recipe, I forgot to halve the measurement for cumin. But I was still really happy with the result.

The second time I made it, I followed the recipe to a tee and didn’t like it as much. So what I’m giving you here is my version, including turmeric and garam masala, and twice the amount of cumin RR thinks is fittin’. I tend to be a fan of spices in general. But I guess the moral of the story is, you can’t really mess up this recipe. And don’t worry – it has a lot of spices, but it is not spice-y.

The recipe calls for chicken thighs, but I have used breasts in a pinch and they work fine. First, you’ll be making a yogurt-spice mixture to coat the chicken. I wouldn’t recommend substituting regular yogurt for the Greek, as the texture of Greek is just… well, phenomenal. It’s thick and will cling to your chicken like this recipe will cling to your thighs. (No, not really!) If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can pick up the yogurt as well as the naan I’m going to talk about later. To zest the lime, you can use a cheese grater or a microplane grater. I just got my microplane and I’m loving it!

turmeric, cumin, coriander, lime zest et. al.

Coat the chicken in the yogurt mixture, then roast it on a rack in a preheated 500 degree F oven. Since I don’t own a roasting rack, I put a cooling sheet over a foil-lined cake pan, like this! Like a charm.

yogurty marinated chickeny bits of goodness

While the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the apple-tomato topping. This topping might seem improbable, but trust me, it is perfect. So, sooo perfectly wonderful with this chicken. I like to use my trusty apple-peeler-corer-slicer for this task.

apples & tomatoes

To serve, I like this with a dressed-up naan from Trader Joe’s. I like to buy their whole wheat naan, or if that’s not available, multigrain. Then I brush the top with olive oil, some fresh minced garlic and fresh cilantro, and toast at 350 degrees F for about 5-10 mins. Ahhh, heaven.

Rachael Ray's Almost Tandoori Chicken

RECIPE – Almost Tandoori Chicken

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 lime, zested and juiced
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 green apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced into matchsticks
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and very thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
4 pieces naan bread, plain or flavored, store-bought, warmed

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Combine the yogurt with the spices and zest of lime in a large bowl.

Cut the chicken into large chunks and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add to the yogurt mixture and toss to coat evenly. Put a small wire rack on a baking sheet or a slotted broiler pan. Arrange the chicken on the rack or slotted pan and roast until charred at the edges and juices run clear, about 15 minutes.

Combine the apple, tomatoes and scallions in a serving bowl. Add the lime juice, oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to combine.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve with apple-tomato topping and warm bread.

Serves 4.

*If you can’t find garam masala, you can make it yourself using this recipe. San Diegans, I recommend buying it in bulk at Henry’s – you can get a small amount for a small price, then decide if you need to buy more. Black Mountain Road, off Miramar, also has some great Indian markets!

Portobello or Chicken Pot Pie

22 Jan

Recipe Source: Adapted from allrecipes.com

For my first recipe of 2011 – albeit a bit tardy – I want to share with you my last meal of 2010. (Boy, that sounds morbid!) After New Year’s Eve plans with friends fell through and our enthusiasm for celebrating increasingly waned, the prospect of staying in with a home-cooked meal and fire in the fake electric fireplace became increasingly attractive. We decided to perfect our pot pie-making skills.

I originally made a portobello version of this pie for a group of my best friends, which includes a vegetarian. But the recipe can easily be adapted for meat-eaters by substituting chicken and chicken stock for the portobello caps and vegetable stock.

I also made a number of modifications based on consistent reviews from allrecipes, such as increasing the amount of flour for the gravy, using stock in place of water, and adding a splash of wine. The proportions here are half of what they were in the original recipe, since we made two pies with it!

filling pot pie

Part I: Make your own crust. It’s worth it.

My go-to recipe for crust is David’s go-to recipe, which he and his mother have perfected after years of baking amazing apple tarts. If you’re pressed for time, the crust can be made partially or entirely overnight.

Are you ready for the Golden Proportion?

200g all-purpose flour
100g cold butter (or 1 stick)
100g cold water

This will make enough crust to fill the bottom of an 11-inch tart pan. For the pot pie, which uses a 9-inch pie dish and needs a top and bottom crust, we used 1.5 times the recipe, so 300g flour, 1.5 sticks butter and 150g of water. (Yes, you need a scale. Every real cook should have one, and if you want to make your own crust, you are a real cook! :))

There are a couple of ways to accomplish mixing the dough together. The easiest method is to beat the flour and butter in a food processor while slowly pouring in the water. Be careful not to overbeat the butter – coarse crumbs will result in a flaky dough. It’s better to undermix than overmix, at this stage.

Or, for a more “rustic” method, you can cut the butter into the flour in a large bowl using a pastry cutter then form a well in the center, pour in the water, and continue mashing the flour mixture to incorporate. Note: you’ll want to avoid using your hands during this process, as their warmth will melt the butter and reduce the flakiness of the finished crust. And when it comes to crust, it’s good to be flaky!

Form a ball with the dough and turn it out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten the ball into a disk, wrap it tightly, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Then remove the dough from the fridge and, on a smooth, floured surface, roll it into a thin strip, about 5 inches wide, 10 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. (If the dough has been chilling overnight, let it sit out for about 5 minutes so it will be easier to work with.)

rollling dough

Fold the top and bottom ends over to meet in the center, then fold in half. Roll the dough out again, repeating this process twice. You’ll want to do this step quickly, so the butter does not melt. Wrap the dough again and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

folding dough

At this point, preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Finish the crust with one more round of rolling and folding, then cut 1/2 off the end to save for your top crust. Wrap and refrigerate this portion.

cutting dough

Roll the dough into a thin disk large enough to fill your pie dish on the bottom and up the sides. When the dough is about the size you want, let it “relax” for a minute or two. The dough will shrink slightly, then you can roll it a second time. You don’t want it shrinking in your pie dish!

Finally, fold the disk into quarters (a dough scraper can be a great help with this, if you have one, otherwise use the thinnest scraper you have) and place it in the pie dish. Unfold the dough and gently adjust it as needed to evenly fill the dish.

quartered dough

Lightly prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Cut a piece of parchment paper (not wax!) into a circle the size of the bottom of your pie dish, and place it onto the dough. Over that, pour enough pie weights to cover the parchment paper. Large, raw beans such as black or pinto are great to use as pie weights and inexpensive – but avoid small legumes such as lentils, and especially avoid popcorn!

pie weights

Bake the crust for 15 minutes, remove the parchment paper and weights, and bake for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Part II: Make the filling.

To make the filling, start by boiling three potatoes. I like red potatoes for this, but you can use any kind you like. (If they are larger, account for the difference by using two.) Lightly steam the peas, if frozen. If you are making a chicken pot pie, lightly salt and pepper both sides of a chicken breast, and cook through in a pan over medium-low heat. Cut into bite-size pieces and set the meat aside for later.

potatoes

Next, chop the onions, celery, carrots, and shiitake and portobello mushrooms (if using). I like everything in this pie to be a fairly fine dice, slightly smaller than bite-sized.

veggies

Saute the carrots and celery for about five minutes, then add in the all remaining veggies except portobello mushrooms and saute another 5-8 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. If you’re making the portobello version of this pie, add the portobellos last. Otherwise, add in the chicken here. To make the gravy, whisk the flour into the stock and wine in a medium bowl, then pour into the vegetables and stir to incorporate everything. Finally, pour the filling into your pre-baked pie crush.

pot pie filling

Remove the reserved dough from the refrigerator, roll it into a disc large enough to overlap your pie dish by about one inch on all sides, and gently drape the dough over the pie.

baked pot pie

Part III: Bake, eat.

Bake for 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until the crust is golden brown. Then chow down on that baby!

pie slice

RECIPE – Portobello or Chicken Pot Pie

For crust:
300g all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter
150g cold water
OR 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

For the filling:
3 small red potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sliced onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, cubed
1/2 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (or a blend)
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 portobello mushroom cap or 1 small chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup peas
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Press one of the pie crusts into and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Prick holes into crust with a fork, cover with parchment paper and Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, and cut into cubes. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and shiitake mushrooms, cover, and let the mushrooms sweat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk flour into stock and pour mixture along with wine and soy sauce into saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer.

Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add portobello or chicken pieces and sauté briefly until mushrooms are browned on the outside or chicken is cooked through. Add to the gravy mixture along with the peas and potatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.

Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Cover with the other pie crust, and crimp edges to seal. Make a few slits in the top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until crust is golden brown.

Tequila Lime Chicken & String Beans with Shallots

9 Dec

Recipe source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

“The idea of family is behind much of what defines my cooking style. I want everyone who comes to my house to feel like family.” – Ina Garten

 

Today’s a twofer! And one I’m excited to post, because both of these recipes are the bomb. I was a little frazzled on the night of my cooking, so this is not a photo-heavy post, but I will update the next time I make it.

tequila - lime - chicken

First off, the marinade for this tequila lime chicken is fantastic, just the right amount of tart, and it makes the chicken very moist, especially since you leave the skin on the breast. When I was titling the above photo, I realized the acronym for this recipe is TLC – exactly what you will feel when you make it for yourself.

To make the marinade, you’ll combine tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large Tupperware container, add skin-on chicken breasts, and refrigerate overnight. Grill to blacken just slightly.

green beans w. shallots

String beans are one of many vegetables to recently become at home in my palate. I grew up positively hating them, which I now think was partly because I hated all vegetables, and partly because the ones I ate were canned. I’ll never go back to the can, but fresh string beans are a treat, especially these thin French variety, aka haricorts verts.

This is an extremely simple side dish, and blanching the string beans in advance gives them a beautiful, bright green color and loud, satisfying crunch. You can use regular string beans for this recipe as well, but I like the French variety.

After blanching the string beans, set them aside and melt butter and olive oil in a skillet. Saute shallots until they are lightly browned. I like a coarse chop on my shallots, since they’re not as intense as red or white onions. In the same pan, add the string beans and heat until they are just warm, tossing with kosher or sea salt just before serving. Note: The first time I made these, my package of string beans was half the size Ina calls for, yet I used her full portion of olive oil and butter for sauteeing. The taste was uh-maz-ing, if not the healthiest. But it might just be the trick to this dish, as I haven’t been able to bear cutting my portions down. Good thing I recently took up running.

tequila lime chicken & green beans w. shallots

RECIPE – Tequila Lime Chicken

In warm weather, this chicken flies out of Barefoot Contessa. We can buy boneless chicken breasts with the skin on, but if you can’t get them that way, just buy chicken breasts on the bone and run a sharp knife between the meat and the bone to separate them. It takes a bit of skill but the technique is easy to learn.

1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6

RECIPE – String Beans with Shallots

French string beans are the slender ones you are most likely to find in specialty markets, but you can also make this with regular string beans. This recipe can be prepared almost entirely in advance. After the string beans are blanched, all you have to do is sauté the shallots in butter and toss the beans in the pan until they’re warm.

1 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 large shallots, large-diced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 1/2 minutes only. Drain immediately and immerse in a bowl of ice water.

Heat the butter and oil in a very large sauté pan (12-inch diameter) or large pot and sauté the shallots on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Drain the string beans and add to the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper, tossing well. Heat only until the beans are hot.

If you’re using regular string beans, blanch them for about 3 minutes, until they’re crisp-tender.

Serves 6

Chicken Noodle Soup

5 Dec

Recipe source: Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Ina Garten Week

“I’d like to think that when I invite friends to my house, they know what I’m *really* saying is ‘I love you; come for dinner.'” -Ina Garten

Welcome to Day 1 of Ina Garten Week! As I was skimming through this book, I noticed Ina included a lot of classic recipes that might seem simple or “everyday” to be publishing in a cookbook. And yet, I’ve never made a lot of them. Today’s post is one such example – homemade chicken noodle soup. (Jump to recipe) Not only have I not made it, I’ve never made my own chicken stock, which really is a fundamental of cooking.

With a slight wince, this realization made me think of an episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. He was observing two young, untrained chefs who were making a lot of ultra fancy, high-end food (the kind in little towers on big plates with a balsamic drizzle…), but they didn’t really know much about the basics. One had never shopped for meat before, and both failed a blind taste test to distinguish the difference between beef and pork. Ouch. Finally, Gordon asked them make him an omelet, the first thing they would have learned in cooking school. One said, “I’ve never made an omelet before.” With his classic incredulous look and best sneering British accent, Gordon said, “Oh, don’t be steew-pid!”

So, here goes. I am going to de-stupid myself with a few recipes in this book, starting with chicken noodle soup.

Making homemade chicken stock

From what I can tell, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to making a stock. The basics are, throw some chicken, vegetables, and seasonings into a large pot, cover with cold water, turn on the heat and let it cook until you think it’s ready.

My inspiration for making my own stock came from a knife skills class we took for my birthday. The instructor taught us to save all our vegetable scraps in a bowl when preparing our mis en place for any recipe – including onion skins, carrot peels, celery stems, garlic heels, herb trimmings, and any other vegetable we find flavorful. (A trio of carrots, onions, and celery is the basis for most soups and stocks, and is called a mirepoix.) Freeze these in large Ziploc bags, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to make a stock. I have also started freezing my veggies just before they turn, if I can tell I won’t have the time or energy to cook with them. I hate throwing away food, and this habit has been a relief to my conscience! Sometimes life just gets in the way after I do my grocery shopping… and unless you’re Martha Stewart or June Cleaver, I imagine you can relate. 🙂

chicken

If you’re making a chicken stock, there are a few options. You can use a storebought rotisserie chicken, as this article suggests, or use the scrap bones, skin, and innards from a bird you’ve carved yourself. I did the latter, after spontaneously deciding to buy and de-bone three whole chickens one night, with nothing more than an online video to guide me. I’m pretty sure I did it wrong, but it was a surprisingly empowering experience!

I was also excited to finally unearth this beautiful Williams-Sonoma pot my mother gave me, which has been sitting for years in its box. This was the perfect pot for making a stock – 8 quarts, with an inner pot for straining pasta, or in this case, chicken and veggies. If you don’t have a pot like this, you can line your pot with cheesecloth to making straining easier.

So to begin, add your chicken, veggies, herbs, salt and pepper into your stock pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a slow boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for a few hours, taste-testing as you go, until the stock is flavorful. You will want to skim the chicken’s white fat from the surface periodically. How concentrated you make the stock is a matter of personal preference, but if it is strong, always remember you can water it down later.

To store, you can strain the stock into several Tupperware containers, freeze, then transfer to gallon-size freezer bags until needed. Ice cube trays can also be handy for freezing small amounts of stock. One thing I learned – as the stock cools, a layer of fat will rise to the surface. It is easier to skim this off while the stock is still liquid, so let the stock cool at room temp or in the fridge, if possible. I made my stock at night and wanted to sleep, so it cooled in the freezer. It was slightly more difficult to scrape the fat off the frozen stock.

Making chicken noodle soup

I hope the above doesn’t sound intimidating, because it’s really not, and it’s so worthwhile. After years of fighting with nasty bouillon cubes that would never dissolve and were undoubtedly filled with sodium and preservatives, I smelled my homemade stock and it smelled like chicken noodle soup all by itself! So warm and comforting, I had forgotten what that smell was like. And once you’ve made your stock, the rest of the soup is a breeze.

In a large pot, warm two quarts of chicken stock, then add carrots, celery, and wide egg noodles. I used “No Yolks” brand egg noodles in my recipe, as they have no added cholesterol. In the ten minutes these are cooking, you can prepare your chicken.

Ina Garten suggests roasting a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast, but frankly, I don’t see the point. Finding bone-in, skin-on chicken breast can be difficult, and it’s easy to over-roast and dry out your chicken in the oven. My preferred method is to filet a boneless, skinless breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook through in a pan with a little oil over medium heat, then pull with a fork along the natural lines of the breast to shred. It will look like this.

Once the noodles are fully cooked, add the cooked chicken and parley to the pot and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve up a big bowl of this comforting goodness!

RECIPE – Chicken Noodle Soup

Forget canned soup – this is the real thing. And wouldn’t we all feel better after eating a bowl? I love having homemade chicken stock in the freezer so I can make this soup in a hurry.

1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone in, skin on
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups wide egg noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breast on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred or dice the chicken meat.

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add the celery, carrots, and noodles. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the noodles are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and parsley and heat through.

Season to taste and serve.

Serves 6

Crunchy Oriental Chicken Salad

28 Sep

Recipe source: my friend Stephanie

Here’s a new favorite salad recipe, thanks to my Gourmet Friend Stephanie. She made this for our summer picnic potluck, and I was so excited she did, because I’d had something similar at our July 4th picnic, but forgot to ask that friend for his recipe.

This isn’t exactly what I’d call a *healthy* salad, due to the sodium content in the ramen spice packet and sugar in the dressing. But, we can’t always be healthy, can we? Time to accept the facts of life.

I love this picnic for a potluck or just on a hot day. Like this past weekend, for example… after a summer of weak low-70s weather, our Fall is kicking off with a heat wave of 100+ temperatures. So, salad time!

To start out, you’ll need to cook a chicken breast. You can do this any way you like, really, but I’m a fan of shredded chicken. To accomplish this, I filet my chicken breast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cook through in a pan with a little oil over medium heat, then pull with a fork along the natural lines of the breast.

shredded chicken
The next step is to cook the ramen noodles. They should be very finely chopped. The first time I made this salad, I crumbled it all apart with my bare hands, which, wimpy though it is to say, made my hands a bit sore. The next time, I put the block in a large mixing bowl and crushed the life out of it with a dough cutter. It worked great!

Once you have attained fine bits of ramen, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan, dissolve in the ramen seasoning packet, then add the noodles and cook, stirring constantly, for a couple minutes. Then toss in 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and stir it some more.

Ramen noodles
Remove the ramen mixture from heat and allow it to cool. In the meantime, prepare a dressing of white wine vinegar, vegetable oil, sugar, and pepper. Toss the chicken and ramen mixture with the dressing, along with coleslaw mix, dry-roasted peanuts and green onions.

Light, crunchy, delicious. YUM!

crunchy oriental chicken salad

RECIPE – Crunchy Oriental Chicken Salad

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 package (3 ounces) Oriental-flavor ramen noodle soup mix
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
4 medium green onions, sliced (1/4 cup)
1 bag (16 ounces) coleslaw mix (or chop your own cabbage and carrots)

Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Stir in seasoning packet from noodles.

Break block of noodles into fine pieces over skillet; stir noodles into butter mixture. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly; stir in sesame seed. Cook about 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly, until noodles are golden brown.

Mix sugar, vinegar, oil and pepper in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Toss in noodle mixture just before serving.

Stir-Fry

28 Jun

The kitchen is a country in which there are always discoveries to be made.
-Grimod de la Reyniere

Recipe source: yours truly

Stir-fry is one of those magical “throw-together” recipes that has a million variations… it can be made to clean out your produce drawer, exercise your creativity, and give you a big, delicious serving of veggies. It’s also a balanced one-dish meal, which makes it great for leftovers.

All of the following ingredients can be good choices for a stir-fry, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

garlic
ginger
lemongrass
vegetable oil
kosher salt
black pepper
chicken
carrots
celery
snow peas
broccoli
bamboo shoots
water chestnuts
bell pepper
jalapeno
potatoes
mushrooms
peanuts

Most crucial for me is the grated ginger. (Well, maybe second to garlic, but that goes without saying, no?)

ginger

I like my stir-fry over rice, so the first step is to get that cooking. I use a rice cooker and usually make jasmine rice, because I love the smell of it cooking.

Next, I sprinkle cubed chicken breasts with salt and pepper and saute.

chicken

Once chicken is cooked through (or nearly cooked), I remove it to a plate. In the same skillet (the biggest one I have), I saute garlic and ginger in vegetable oil, then add all the chopped veggies at once.

veggies

Once they’ve begun to soften, I add the chicken back in to warm up, and saute for about 2 to 3 minutes. During the last minute of cooking, I sprinkle in a handful of chopped peanuts, to coat them in sauce but not soften. I love the crunch the peanuts give.

Lastly, spoon over rice and serve!

stir-fry

RECIPE – Stir-Fry

1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
1 lb chicken breast, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
~10 snow peas, halved
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts

Cook rice according to preferred method. Sprinkle chicken cubes with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook chicken until no longer pink. Set aside.

In the same skillet, cook garlic and ginger until just shrinking, about 15 seconds. Add bell pepper, carrots, celery, mushrooms, snow peas, and jalapeno, and cook until slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Add chicken and peanuts and cook just long enough to heat chicken through, about two minutes. Spoon mixture onto rice and serve.

Serves 4