Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

This was one of my dad’s favorite dishes that I can remember from my childhood. It was usually always served for his birthday and maybe one other time a year, but this was not something typically made in the home. For me, Chicken and Dumplings is comforting and healing the way Matzo Ball Soup is for my Jewish friends. I simply cannot get enough and there is no pot that can ever make enough dumplings.

I think it’s because the length of cook time can be incredibly long if you make your own chicken stock (which I cannot recommend enough). But if you utilize a pressure cooker, this dish can be put together in about 75 minutes from start to finish. And if you don’t have a pressure cooker, do yourself a favor and still make your own chicken stock ahead of time.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 lbs chicken, shredded
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4c chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place the chicken stock and shredded chicken in a large stock pot. You can add some of the vegetables from the chicken stock or you can add some fresh celery, carrots, and/or onions to the pot. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. If adding fresh vegetables, allow 20 minutes or so to soften before eating.

2. Place the butter in the bottom of a medium size stock pot over high heat. When the butter has mostly melted, add the chicken stock and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. The flour will immediately soak up the liquid and form a dough. Cook this until the color turns a mustard-ish yellow.

3. Place the dough in a mixing bowl with the two eggs. Mix with a hand mixer until the mixture just comes together. The batter should be thick like cake batter. You do not want to over mix this. Season with pepper if you wish. Add the thyme to the dough and fold in with a wood spoon.

3. Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the simming chicken stock. When you have filled the pot, cover with a tight fitting lid. Allow the dumplings to cook for 10 – 15 minutes until they are puffed, but firm.

4. Ladle the soup mixture into a wide mouth bowl. Ensure everyone gets a sufficient amount of dumplings. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

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Enchiladas are a staple in my weeknight cooking rotation. They are full of flavor and incredibly easy to make. I make my life even easier by buying an already cooked rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. I use the breast meat to use as filling for the enchiladas and use the rest of the meat for another meal.

Ingredients (serves 3)

  • 1 1/2 lbs cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 2 c Enchilada sauce
  • 1/2 c mozzarella, grated
  • 1/2 c cheddar, grated
  • 6 flour tortillas

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1c enchilada sauce in the bottom of 9 X 12 baking dish. Turn the dish to cover the entire bottom evenly.

2. Place a flour tortilla on the counter. Line 1/2c chicken down the middle running the entire diameter. Fold the end closest to you over the chicken and tuck under. Roll the rest away into a cigar shape.

Note: If your tortillas aren’t easily pliable, you can microwave the stack for 10-15 seconds.

3. Place the finished enchiladas into the dish until it is full. You may have to squeeze the last one in, but this is okay.

4. Pour the 2nd cup of enchilada sauce over the rolls. Spread the sauce with the back of a spoon to coat all of the tortilla. Cover with the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the inside filling has warmed.

5. Let the enchiladas sit for a couple minutes to set. Serve hot with refried beans or rice.

I don’t think the snow is ever going to stop falling. And even if it does, it’s never going to melt.

Because the snow gods hate me and want to punish Chicagoans for thinking they were going to get an easy winter following a snowless December, I whipped up a batch of romesco sauce to remind me of summer and its beautiful fresh flavors. Romesco is a fresh Spanish sauce typically used with seafood, but can be utilized with roasted vegetables or poultry.

Note: I had written this post several weeks ago thinking that certainly the snow would start falling. It never did and it’s even 55 degrees out today. The sun in shining and the birds are chirping. Life feels pretty good in Chicago. Perhaps this is just naive optimism, but could we really have no snow coming?

To me, Romesco tastes like summer.

I also want to note that this recipe utilizes smoked paprika which will add a smoky flavor to the sauce mimicking the flavor a charcoal grill provides.  I highly recommend you do not use sweet or hot paprika as the flavor profile will fall a little flat. The smoky element adds something unique and interesting to the sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large red pepper, roasted (or 1/4 c jarred roasted red pepper)
  • 1 tomato, quartered
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp almonds
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

1. Prepare your ingredients by measuring out the spices, almonds, and orange juice. Mince the garlic, cut the tomato into quarters and chop the red pepper into smaller pieces.

2. Place all the ingredients into a food processor with 1/4 tsp salt. Turn the food processor on and allow the sauce the blend. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, this will take about 2 – 3 minutes. For a smoother sauce, 5 minutes will do.

3. Serve the sauce immediately. If you are making this ahead of time, place the sauce in an airtight container. The sauce will stay fresh for up to two days in the refrigerator. If the sauce begins to separate, just stir it together with a spoon.

Biryani was originally a Persian dish that remains wildly popular in Southeast Asia. Biryani has as many variations as stir fry in that you can use any vegetables, meat, fish, or eggs in this dish. I appreciate the versatility of the dish in that if you learn how to cook one version, you can easily substitute ingredients to suit your fancy. But what I really appreciate  about this dish is that the whole thing cooks entirely in one pot making clean up a snap.

Cooking will go fast on this one so make sure you have your ingredients in order and accessible. Even though there is a bit of prep to go through before you even touch the stove, it’ll pay off in the end.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2c chicken stock
  • 1c basmati rice
  • 1/2c golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Cut the chicken into cubes. Place a skillet overr high heat with 2 tbsp of canola oil in the bottom. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place in the pan. Sear the chicken on all sides. Take the chicken out of the pan and set aside.

Note: The chicken does not need to be cooked through as it will finish cooking later.

2. Lower the heat to medium high. Place the onions in the pan and sauté until nearly translucent.

3. Add the cinnamon, curry powder, cumin, garlic, and ginger to the onion and stir to combine with the onion. Cook until fragrant – around 30 seconds.

4. Add the chicken stock to the pan to deglaze. Be sure to scrape up as many brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and add the raisins and rice. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to simmer and cook covered for 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed all the liquid.

5. Turn off the heat and let the dish sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the Chicken Biryani piping hot in large bowls.

At some point, I think we’ve all heard that what has commonly been regarded as “stuffing” should actually never be stuffed inside of anything. While pictures from the 1940s and 1950s showed an iconic turkey bursting with goodness, putting stuffing inside a turkey or chicken actually slows down the cooking process and leads to what I believe is a lesser quality flavor. So yes, for your geniuses out there that will inevitably critique my recipe, this should be called “dressing” and not stuffing, but I suppose if you really wanted to, you could easily stuff this inside a chicken or turkey after everything is cooked separately.

Ingredients

  • 16oz unseasoned croutons
  • 1 lb lean pork sausage (without casing)
  • 1/2 lb thick cut bacon
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 3c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp sage, ground
  • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1/2 tsp basil, dried

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the bacon strips. You are probably going to have to do this in two batches. The goal is to achieve a beautiful crispiness that will not become soggy once inside the stuffing. Set aside to cool on some paper towels.

2. Remove all but two tablespoons of the bacon fat. Keep the heat on medium high and place the carrots, celery, onion, and apple in the pan. Saute for 5 minutes or until the carrot just begins to soften. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, and sage and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze. Continue to cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Place the cooked vegetables inside a large mixing bowl.

3. In the same pan, add the sausage and cook through. You can choose to cut the sausage into small bits, or keep in large clumps. The choice is yours. Cook until you cannot see any pink. Add the sausage to the vegetables.

4. Chop the bacon and add to the mixing bowl with the croutons. Add the chicken stock 1/4 c at a time until the croutons begin to get soggy and fall apart slightly. Combine the vegetable and meat mixture to the bread crumbs. Add to a casserole dish.

5. Cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes until the top begins to get crispy. While cooking, the outside will get brown and crispy, the inside will remain moist and delicious. Serve piping hot.

Why are you posting a summer inspired grilled chicken, when fall is here?

That is an excellent question. But I’m from New England, and unless the grill is buried beneath 4 feet of snow, we snow blow a path to it and continue to grill for 365 days a year. In this regard, I wanted to inspire some of you to refuse to put away your patio furniture, top off the ol’ propane tank, and continue to utilize the great outdoors instead of your kitchens.

Besides, some food is just meant to be cooked over an open flame and chicken legs are certainly high on my list.. This recipe is perfect to invite some friends over that have good taste in both food and humor as it is incredibly cost efficient and utilizes simple ingredients that you are sure to have access to year round.

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken legs
  • 1 lemon (juiced and zested)
  • 1/4c orange juice
  • 1/8c dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp dried basil (or 1 1/2 tbsp basil oil)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce

1. Gather the ingredients for a marinade and add them to a large zip lock bag. I like to keep the bag stable by placing it inside a mixing bowl. This way the bag never tips over and you can just add the ingredients in as you measure them out.

     

Note: I had some extra scallions hanging around so I added them in. I don’t think it’s entirely necessary and added little to the end product.

2. Add about a 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to the marinade and mix to combine. Add the chicken to the bag and remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing. Leave in the refrigerator for at least two hours (8 to 24 hours would be much better).

3. Heat the grill over medium high heat. When the grill has come up to temperature, place the chicken legs on the grate, reserving the marinade. Cook the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes, turning frequently, and basting with the marinade periodically until a nice crust forms.

     

4. Serve the chicken fresh off the grill hot with just about any side dish you desire.

Eggs are far and away my favorite breakfast food. Many people (myself included) have had difficulty cooking a flawless fried egg mostly in part to the inevitable flipping that is necessary if you want your egg whites cooked through. I’ve split the yolk far too many times to count or folded the whites into the yolk making an unappetizing, scrunched up breakfast.

The secret to perfect fried eggs lies in three things: 1) Proper heat 2)Breaking the Albumen (the thick white part) and 3) Time Maintenance.  If you can master these three principles when cooking eggs, your eggs will never fall apart on you again, and your eggs with come out perfect every time.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • non stick cooking spray
  • salt and pepper
1. Set a shallow, non-stick pan over medium heat (a 4 or 5 on the dial). Coat with cooking spray and let heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
Note: High heat is the enemy. The goal here is to preheat the pan to a perfect cooking temperature. Even if the pan stays on a little longer, the pan can never get hotter than the heat that’s coming out of the stove. A pan over high heat will keep rising in temperature.

2. Crack an egg into a small bowl. With a fork, scoop up the thick egg white that surrounds the yolk. This will pierce the membrane holding it together which will allow the egg white to spread evenly in the pan. Be careful not to pierce the yolk.
Note: This part is crucial. you may have to scoop up the white part three or four times to ensure it has separated. It will still be thick, but you should be able to see a difference.

3. Carefully place the egg into the pan and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the pan with a fitted lid. Let cook for 1 to 3 minutes until the egg whites are set to your liking.
Note: If you leave the pan covered for too long, the yolk will cook. This happens quickly so this is not the time to check your email, Facebook, Twitter, iPhone, iPad, iPod, or anything else you think you can multitask with.

4. Serve hot with toast or home fries.