Posts tagged chicken
Posts tagged chicken
My Mum’s Chicken Salad
This is probably the least cool post I have ever had on my tumblr, which is saying a lot, because approximately half the posts on my tumblr are objectively uncool. First, it’s about chicken salad. Second, it’s my mum’s chicken salad recipe, not even some newfangled hipster chicken salad with sriracha. Third, it’s illustrated with what turns out to be a blurry phone photo so it’s hard to get much detail beyond it looking like a lumpy beige mass. Fourth, the key cooking technique here is poaching, which you would be surprised still exists as a legitimate way of rendering meats edible given the amount of media coverage it gets.
While the rest of you are grilling shit I’m just going to be over here gently simmering my skinless boneless chicken breasts in water, thanks.
It’s really good chicken salad, though. Fantastic in a sandwich, but also great on its own.
And here’s the deal on poaching: it’s super uncool, but it’s a great for things like chicken salad, because the meat comes out evenly cooked and really moist.
My mum wrote out this recipe for me at some point when I was in college and she was worried about my being able to feed myself (not an unfair concern: there was a year or so when I subsisted on frozen peas, carrots and dip, takeout from a nearby Japanese restaurant, toast with taramasalata and tomatoes, and ice cream. And vodka cranberries. I weighed less in college.)
Poach the Chicken
Combine the chicken and any of the aromatics in a pan. Cover with water. Cook slowly at a simmer until the chicken is somewhat resistant when pressed— it will continue to cook a bit once you take it off the heat— take off heat and let cool in broth.
(This, by the way, is where my mum’s recipe ends, because while I think she didn’t want me to starve, it was also beyond her ability to imagine that I couldn’t figure out the next steps on my own. This is the same reason my grandmother’s pie crust recipe includes only a very rough list of ingredients.)
Combine the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Cut up or shred the chicken. Add the chicken and salad ingredients to the dressing and toss to coat.
Illustration from Joy of Cooking. It depicts “preparing an undrawn bird for roasting” which is not the same as loosening the skin from the meat, but I couldn’t resist including it anyway.
In any relationship, there is one person who is less revolted by the idea of shoving their hand up underneath the skin of a raw chicken. I did not think I was that person, but apparently I find it less objectionable than Dave does. Are you that person in your relationship? Congratulations, you are now the person who stuffs seasonings into pockets in the chicken skin. This is part of your life now. You may add it to your resume.
I bring this up because stuffing seasonings under the skin of chicken allows the skin to crisp better and infuses the meat with more flavor than just coating the skin. It’s incredibly effective.
And I would highly recommend trying it with this recipe from A Bird in the Oven and Then Some by Mindy Fox, which I totally bastardized when I was trying to put together dinner without resorting to lemon mustard chicken AGAIN but was still revelatory.
Roast Chicken with Saffron, Ginger, and Golden Raisins
Preheat oven to 425.
Prepare the seasoning: Cut the butter up into pieces and put in a bowl. Zest the orange into the bowl. Add the raisins, ginger, garlic, saffron, and coriander. Mix together. My butter was pretty cold, so I used one of those pastry cutter dealies to mix things together.
Pull of excess fat around the cavities of the chicken and discard. From the edge of the cavity, wriggle your fingers up under the skin of the chicken and loosen the skin from the meat. You may have to get in here with some kitchen shears or a knife if you have a hard time getting around the membranes that attach the skin to the meat. This is basically terrible, but you get more used to it the more you do it.
Using your hands, work the butter into the spaces between the chicken skin and meat. You can rub your hand over the outside of the skin to smooth the mixture out and push it farther down between the skin and meat.
Season with salt and pepper.
What I did: I put the chicken thighs on a roasting pan with some cut up root vegetables and cooked the whole thing until done.
The recipe directions: Roast for 15 minutes, then pour the wine over the chicken, reduce the heat to 350, and continue to roast, basting every 15 minutes until the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes, then carve.
This is so wonderfully good, even my bastardized version.
Last week I was so disappointed by roast chicken, but lo! how things have changed!
Every year at Christmas, I accidentally end up with extra gifts. Mostly I get carried away with how wonderful this thing or another would be for someone but then when push comes to shove not be totally clear who “someone” is (it is me). This year, I ended up with the cookbook A Bird in the Oven and Then Some by Mindy Fox. In theory I bought it as a gift, but it turns out I bought it for me. The premise is ridiculous: a whole book about roast chicken. However, there’s a wide range of recipes and they looked wonderful and the paper is nice and thick and the fonts are all really nice.
I made the parsnip soup from the book a little while back, which was delicious, and then last night I made the recipe for Roast Chicken with Green Olives, Fennel Seeds, and Thyme. I feel vindicated in my purchase.
For the roast chicken, basically you chop up 1 cup chopped green olives, 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme, 1 garlic clove (read: two), the zest of two lemons, and 1 3/4 teaspoons fennel seeds and stuff it all under the skin of a chicken. Then you roast the chicken.
I used the roast chicken recipe I normally use for the actual cooking.
Here’s a tip regarding stuffing things under chicken skin: cookbooks like to tell you that you can just loosen the skin with your fingers. That is total bullshit. Skin is attached to the meat. That’s how skin works. I find it easier if I can get it there with a knife or kitchen shears and just snip the membranes (are they membranes? I don’t know) that attach the skin to the meat. Then you can loosen with your fingers.
It would also be good to note whether you have any small cuts on your hands before doing this, because stuffing olive, garlic, and lemon mixtures into tight spaces with your hands is not super comfortable if you have small cuts on there.
Those whole thing is more of a hassle than just roasting a chicken, but it’s delicious and I am sick of plain roasted chicken by now. It would be perfect for a casual dinner party.
So…I made this the other night. I used regular spaghetti because that’s what I had and regular chicken breasts that I deboned and skinned myself because I think purchasing chicken cutlets is RIDICULOUS.
Beyond that, it was amazing.
I mean, god, dinner can be hard. It happens every day! After work! You have to work and then you have to cook dinner. And you’re supposed to eat healthy things, too. I have a few easy dinner fall-backs, but they tend to involve a lot of cream (for instance, and also).
This, though, man, this is so good and it doesn’t even involve cream. It has so much flavor. It is not hard to make.
Bravo, Martha Stewart.*
* Or, rather, chefs and food people who work for Martha Stewart.
In between dealing with my sort of pathetic dog (he has a t-shirt now in addition to the cone because he figured out how to scratch with his back legs*) and reblogging amusing things from the internet, I’ve also been cooking new things!**
Later I will tell you about the lamb with pomegranate molasses and also the greek chicken baked in yogurt, but first: the roasted fennel, chickpeas, peppers, and more peppers, plus leftover chicken thighs. It’s inspired by this recipe (that’s a nicer way of saying, I meant to make that recipe, but then didn’t have all the ingredients, and had other ingredients, and then started improvising). It’s crazy simple.
Roasted Fennel, Chickpeas, Peppers, and More Peppers, Plus Leftover Chicken Wings and Thighs
1. Preheat oven to 400F or 425F.
2. Slice up the peppers, fennel, peppadew peppers. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. When I cooked this tonight, I tossed in the garlic and chickpeas, but because they cook faster than everything else, and I like my vegetables well done, the chickpeas got a little dried out. In the future, I’ll add the chickpeas and garlic a little later. Salt and pepper the chicken.
3. Divide the vegetables and chicken over two cookie sheets and set the timer for 30 minutes or so.
4. After 10 minutes, you could add the chickpeas and garlic.
5. After 20 minutes (with 10 minutes left), mix the maybe a tablespoon or two of the vinegar, a little bit of mustard (a teaspoon?) and a little bit of honey (less than a teaspoon?). Brush that on the chicken.
6. Pop everything back in for the remaining 10 minutes.
7. Enjoy the deliciousness.
* And we may have to get him baby socks for his back legs and apply cortisone cream to the parts of his belly that he’s scratching THROUGH THE T-SHIRT. On the other hand, he likes to snuggle up in your lap even with his cone on, so he just kind of plows the cone straight into your chest and assumes that you’ll help him figure it out. Which is both kind of uncomfortable and heart-meltingly sweet.
** And, you know, doing my job.
(Photo from Whole Living magazine)
You know how much I dislike the New York Times magazine’s Recipe Redux series? As much as I dislike Recipe Redux, I adore the series that it alternates with, Cooking with Dexter by Pete Wells.
It’s funny, well-written, the recipes are good, and it feels very practical for home cooks. In addition, Wells gets, and can express through his writing, the crazy idiosyncrasies, deeply-held convictions, and tyrannical leanings of small children. He won me over about a year ago with an article about tangerine sherbet. It’s incredibly funny and includes an unspeakably delicious recipe for tangerine sherbet.
The fried chicken recipe that he includes with this week’s article sounds delicious, but for some reason (the burning hot oil? the potential for spattering?) I am petrified of deep frying things at home. So…we’ll see.
I have come to believe that if you eat chicken regularly, knowing how to break down a chicken is maybe one of the most valuable cooking skills you could have.* You just get so much more when you buy the whole chicken. Case in point:
Our dog occasionally gets some intestinal distress (don’t we all?), and according to our vet, if your dog gets diarrhea, you should feed them chicken and rice and most of the time that will clear everything up. Basically, you poach some skinless, boneless chicken (you don’t want fat here) and then mix it up with rice. And you know, it really works. I’m going to be away for a bit next week, so I’m making up a batch of chicken and rice to freeze in case things go awry again.
Do you all know how much boneless, skinless chicken breasts cost a pound? Something like $6. That’s crazy talk. I’m not spending $6 a pound on meat for dog food.
On the other hand, a whole chicken costs something like $2 - $3 a pound. If you buy yourself a whole chicken, you can get your chicken breasts for the dog food, plus legs and wings for chili and honey chicken legs for dinner, plus a carcass that can be made into stock, all for $10 or so. With all that money you saved, you can buy yourself a small- to medium-sized hunk of gruyere.** You win!
Generally I keep the chicken neck for stock, but have sort of been at a loss as to what to do with the remaining giblets. Not today, though. Today I stood at my kitchen counter with my baggie of assorted chicken bits and decided, I’m going to do something with these chicken livers. I don’t care if it’s eating them myself, or giving them to the dog, but they are not getting thrown away.
I would have added them to the dog food, except they’re really rich, which kind of defeats the whole point of bland dog food.
So I wiped out the skillet I had used to poach the chicken breasts, added half a pat of butter, then some chopped shallots which I cooked until they were translucent, then added the livers and cooked until they were browned. It was crazy delicious. And I ate them all before Dave got home because he finds chicken livers revolting.
This is the kind of excitement you get when you live with me. Let me tell you, it is awesome.
* Behind knowing how to chop up an onion which is REALLY IMPORTANT. Here is an illustrated tutorial. If you do not know how to do this, you must go to read this tutorial right now. I cannot say that strongly enough.
** What I did.
1. Chicken thighs with marmalade are delicious. Line a baking sheet with foil, then pop the chicken thighs or legs on there, salt and pepper and stick in the oven at 400 or so. After 10 - 15 minutes, spread some marmalade over the chicken thighs. Continue to cook until chicken is done. You can finish with 2 - 4 minutes in the broiler.
I’m not sure this is exactly life-changing, but I do have a large amount of marmalade at home and I wouldn’t say no to a two-ingredient dinner.*
I have spoken the gospel of chicken legs before, but just in case you missed it: chicken legs are fantastic. They’re more flavorful and less dry than chicken breasts, and they’re generally cheaper, too.
Save the bones in a baggie in your freezer for making stock later.
2. Sausages cooked in honey and mustard are also delicious. Theoretically, you’d bake the sausages, covered with a mix of approximately half honey and half mustard, in the oven, again on a baking sheet lined with foil at approx. 400. If you’ve purchased brats, you could stick everything in a skillet on relatively high heat to warm and make the honey mustard more glaze-like. Obviously these are to be eaten with homemade sauerkraut.
* Note: this is not really a two-ingredient dinner, unless you’re eating chicken and nothing else for dinner. Now, I’m not above this, it’s just not a great way to feel particularly healthy.
I appreciate a fancy dinner as much as the next lady, but I also appreciate a dinner that involves sticking one pan in the oven for 30 minutes and leaving well enough alone.
I haven’t made this recipe for chili and honey chicken legs in a while, but we had a chicken that needed to be eaten, and I didn’t feel like roasting the whole bird. Chicken legs are really good— they have a lot more flavor and moisture than the breast, generally, and this is a great recipe for them, both really flavorful and straightforward. So I cut that sucker up, froze the breast to eat later and the back and neck for stock, which left me with the legs and winglets for dinner.
In terms of vegetables, we had cabbage, a sweet potato, and a delicata squash. I figured the seasonings for the chicken wouldn’t taste so bad with the sweet potato and squash and I could cook them in the same pan as the chicken.
Here’s how you do:
Chili and Honey Chicken Legs
Photo from Gourmet, via Epicurious
Hello Readers! Posting will probably be light for the next few days as a result of bizarre and freakish arm swelling that requires my arm to be elevated (this sounds like something I made up, but is, in fact, not. My elbow made a reappearance today, though, so I’m feeling pretty positive about things). Good thing I had a few posts already written and stashed away for just such a situation.
I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, because honestly, I’ve been eating it practically weekly for a few months now. Sometimes you get on recipe kicks. And I am seriously on this one.
Behold, the chicken, roasted pepper, chickpea and preserved lemon salad. In leftover form, since I didn’t have my act together to take a picture of it the day of. (This makes you miss the professionalism of smitten kitchen already, no? Imagine if I had photos like that! I would be unstoppable [freakish arm swelling not withstanding]! Bwa ha ha!)
Here’s why the salad so good, apart from being delicious:
1. It’s pretty un-fussy and straightforward to make.
2. It makes a lot of food, which is nice for guests or for leftovers.
3. The leftovers save really well (see above).
4. Because it’s chicken and chickpeas, it’s super filling and satisfying.
5. Because it involves bell peppers, I think that counts as a vegetable and I can make just one thing for dinner. I love when I can make just one thing and it counts as a respectable dinner.
6. The degree of healthiness is pretty good given the degree of deliciousness.
It’s from Diana Henry’s Pure Simple Cooking, which I’ve mentioned before and continues to be a great regular dinner cookbook, despite the dopey name.* The one caveat is that it requires preserved lemons. The Whole Foods in Portland carries them in their olive/tapenade/grated cheeses section. Otherwise, you might find them in a cheese shop. I think you can also make them pretty easily, but it takes a while (as one might expect from anything with “preserved” in its name).
Warm Chicken, Roasted Pepper, Chickpea, and Preserved Lemon Salad
1. Preheat oven to 375. Lay the peppers in a roasting pan with the chicken breasts (skin side down for peppers, skin side up for chicken). Drizzle with olive oil (mostly just the peppers), and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35 minutes, or until the chicken is done and the peppers are soft and slightly charred.
2. For the dressing, mix the garlic, pine nuts, and lemon juice in a food processor, and, with the motor running, pour in the oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. When the peppers and chicken are cooked, let them cool slightly and then cut the pepper into strips and pull the chicken apart into chunks (or slice it, whatever). You probably want to remove the skin here so it doesn’t get cold and soggy.
4. Either toss the ingredients together or arrange them on a platter. If I go the arranging route, I lay down a bed of chickpeas, add the peppers and chicken, then the lemon and parsley, then pour the dressing over it all. It may seem like too much dressing, but it’s not.
* The way the name of this recipe just rolls of the tongue suggests that Ms. Henry may have a way with food but not so much with naming.
** Recipe calls for grilling 4 skinless chicken breast fillets. I think this is silly because grilling skinless, boneless, potentially dry things seems like maybe not an awesome idea and also because it requires a whole extra step that is not really required.
*** The recipe calls for a 14 oz. can of chickpeas, which works and is fine. But you can also make them yourself in big batches ahead of time and freeze them. This is what I do:
I try to pick out the translucent chickpea shells/peels that float around in the water like little chickpea ghosts. But I don’t think that matters. Once they’re cooled, I put them in ziplock bags, suck the air out, and freeze them. Mark Bittman recommends freezing them with the liquid, but I don’t do that. No, I don’t know why.