Tag-Archive for ◊ chicken ◊

04 Oct 2011 Chicken Pot Pie

It rained here yesterday!  Happy, happy October, my very favorite month of the whole year.  I was so excited with the cooler weather and the rain that  I put on slippers and a sweatshirt to celebrate.   Then I decided to teach my son how to make Chicken Pot Pie.  He has his own apartment now, and needs to know how to make things like this.  I went shopping for ingredients, started to prep them…and no man-child.  He ended up staying late at work, and I had to make the pie by myself.  He was home when it came out of the oven though (how does he doe that?!).  He walked in, kissed me and said, “I love it when you make stuff like this.” he then proceeded to eat half the pie.  Then he called his friend to say there was Chicken Pot Pie at his house, and to come over and have some!  I’d say the pie was a hit.

This is my son.  He’s a good sport about learning how to cook and wearing an apron his mom made for him!

This is a pretty simple Chicken Pot Pie.  Absolute comfort food!  No spices other than salt and pepper, so the true taste  of sauteed chicken and fresh veggies shine through…and are then snuggled up in a smooth gravy and encased in pastry.  Yummmm!

The hardest part of this pie comes after removing it from the oven.  You have to wait!  You have to wait for the gravy to set up a bit, or it will run all over your pastry.  If you can’t wait, it’s  not really a bad thing!  The loose first slice will still taste delicious and by the time you are ready for your second slice, the filling will have set a bit.

Believe me, after making your own Chicken Pot Pie, you will never buy one from the frozen foods  section again.  You might never order one from a restaurant either…

Chicken Pot Pie

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs, or a combination)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 can condensed chicken broth (or 1 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup petite frozen peas
  • 2 9″ Pillsbury pie crusts (1 box) OR 1 homemade double crust pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter along with the olive oil (you can use all oil, if you want) in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. When the butter has melted and the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and saute over medium heat for a few minutes.
  4. Stir in the diced carrot and celery and saute for approx. 5 more minutes, still over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. While the veggies are sauteing, dice the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir the diced and seasoned chicken into the veggie mixture and saute for three more minutes, still stirring occasionally.
  7. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and veggie mixture, stir constantly over medium heat for 3 minutes (the flour might try to stick to the bottom of the pan, try to release it by stirring vigorously. If necessary add another tablespoon or so of butter or oil. Do not burn the flour!).
  8. While the chicken/veggie/flour mixture  is sauteing, combine the chicken broth and half-and-half or milk and microwave for three minutes.  When the microwave beeps, remove the pan from the heat and remove the liquid from the microwave.
  9. Now you are going to make the gravy.  Turn the heat off the pan.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the hot broth-milk mixture.  Stir until mixture is smooth.  Add another 1/2 cup of broth-milk mixture. Stir until smooth.  Repeat two more times using 1/2 cup broth-milk mixture each time.
  10. Return chicken-veggie-gravy mixture to heat.  Stir in frozen (of fresh) corn and peas. Simmer for gently over medium heat to defrost the frozen veggies.
  11. Turn off heat and let filling sit while you unroll the pasty and place one sheet in the bottom of a pie pan.
  12. Pour the filling over the pastry in the bottom of the pie pan, and cover with the second roll of pasty.  Cut 3-5 vent holes in top of top pastry (with scissors or a knife).  Crimp the edges of the pastry so the filling is fully encased.
  13. If you want a nice, shiny crust, brush pastry lightly with egg wash (egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water).  This is optional (but nice if you want to show off!) You won’t need all of the egg wash. (Scramble the leftover egg for the baby, or the dog!)
  14. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
  15. Remove pie from oven and let sit…for as long as you can.  The longer the pie sits, the thicker the gravy will get.  Letting the pie sit for 30 minutes to an hour, is about right. (Don’t worry, the filling will remain hot.)
  16. Serve, and enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Hope you enjoyed the visit.  See you again, soon, I hope!

 

02 Aug 2011 Fried Chicken

Frying chicken wasn’t just another hedonistic pursuit you know.  I had a good reason.  A very good reason.  My friends and I have started an M&M group.  LOL!  I crack myself up. A Movie & Meal group. We are going to go to movies together and after the movie dine on food inspired by the movie.  We SO know how to have a good time!  BUT…, our first movie pick is “The Help”.  Now how could we have a “The Help” movie meal without fried chicken?   I HAD to start frying chicken.  Had to.

I didn’t expect to end up making the best fried chicken on the planet though.  Truth be told, I haven’t eaten much fried chicken in my  life.  I’ve had the occasional KFC, once or twice a decade, perhaps.  Never been to Popeye’s.  Had a few pieces from Safeway’s deli when my son was in middle school. There are no southern cooks in my family, so I have had no home fried chicken. Until now.  So perhaps I am not the most qualified person to declare this chicken “the best fried chicken on the planet”, but it is certainly the best fried chicken on MY planet.

This recipe came from Epicurious in 1998 and it’s called “Deviled Fried Chicken”. The chicken needs to marinate a day or two before frying, so plan ahead. I reduced the chili powder quite a bit, and it still has a bit of a bite.  The original recipe called for 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper.  YIKES.  The first batch I fried up was hunks of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  The next time I had a hankering for some bones,  so I fried up a mess of drumsticks.  Drumsticks were harder.  They had to be finished off in the oven.  For “The Help” party, I am going back to big juicy hunks of chicken breast.

I have to tell you the rest of our menu for “The Help” dinner!  It’s going to be goooood!  Cucumber Sandwiches and Deviled Eggs for appetizers, Crab Bisque for the soup. Fried Chicken and a Pineapple Ham for the main dishes.  Southern Biscuits (we tested several recipes), Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Collard Greens or Green Beans, and a Jell-O salad (a MUST have!) for side dishes.  Caramel Cake (we tested several recipes) and Chocolate Cream Pie (with no off-putting ingredients) for dessert.  Lots of Sweet Tea, too. I’ll wear my “pearls”, of course.  One of my friends is getting out her cinch waist dress.  Another has her gloves ready.  I hope there are a few hats, too!

Fried Chicken

2 cups buttermilk (the non-fat stuff won’t work)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons garlic powder (divided use)
5 teaspoons salt (divided use)
2 teaspoons dry mustard (divided use)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (divided use)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (divided use)
4 or 5 chicken breasts, cut into 8-10 pieces, skinned or about a dozen drumsticks, or one frying chicken cut into 8 pieces.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

5 cups (or more) oil, for frying (recipe suggested peanut oil, but vegetable oil and canola oil will work, too)

In 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, mix buttermilk, Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

Add chicken pieces. Seal bag, eliminating air. Turn bag to coat chicken evenly. Refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days, turning plastic bag occasionally.

A bit more than one hour before you want to start to fry chicken…whisk flour, baking powder, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon onion powder, 4 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoon1 cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass dish. With marinade still clinging to chicken pieces (do not shake off excess), add chicken to flour mixture; turn to coat thickly.

Let chicken stand in flour mixture for 1 hour, turning chicken occasionally to recoat with flour mixture.  (The chicken will look ugly at this point,. The flour mixture should cling thickly to the chicken.)

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/4 inches into deep 10- to 11-inch-diameter pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.

Add 4 pieces of chicken to oil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and fry 5 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature between 280°F and 300°F (oil should bubble constantly around chicken).

Turn chicken over. Fry 7 more minutes. Turn chicken over again. Fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. (I think I had my oil too hot, because my chicken was getting too dark, so when the chicken was the right color, I put it on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and baked in preheated 250 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes to thoroughly cook the drumsticks.  I had no problem with the boneless chicken breasts.)

Reheat oil to 350°F. Repeat frying with remaining 4 pieces of chicken.

Serve chicken warm or at room temperature (within 2 hours), or chill up to 1 day and serve cold.

Reheating has been a bit of an issue. My son has reheated pieces in the microwave, but this does not result in the coating getting re-crispy.  I have reheated pieces in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, and the coating gets almost recrisped.  Two day old fried chicken reheated in the oven is STILL better than Safeway’s fresh from the deli counter!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It’s always a pleasure.  Maybe you will have your own Southern dinner after finishing “The Help”, either the book version or the movie version, or maybe you will just fry chicken for the hedonistic thrill of it!  Either way, I hope you try this recipe.  It’s a keeper!

10 Jan 2011 Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets

I know a thing or two about chicken nuggets as I have been making them for two decades with a recipe very similar to the one Sara Moulton contributed to The 150 Best American Recipes.  Sara calls her version  “Garlicky Baked Chicken”, but I think she uses thighs or chicken-on-the-bone.  I don’t.  I use the same coating as she does, but I make chicken nuggets from boneless chicken tenders. To die for.

Make a bag-full of chicken nuggets to keep in the freezer. Double the recipe! You will be so glad you did. If you have kids at home, this recipe will probably become a staple.  Check out my recipe for Oven Baked Fries, too.  Put the two recipes together and you’ll be able to bake up some better-than-McDonalds Home Baked Happy Meals on a regular basis!

Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets

6 T. butter
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use the minced-in-a-jar kind)
2 cups Panko* (Japanese breadcrumb, found in the Asian section of the grocery store-regular or Italian Herb)
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not that stuff in the green shaker tube)
3 lbs. chicken tenders (for chicken nuggets cut each chicken tender into two pieces)

Melt the butter and the garlic in a shallow bowl. Mix the Panko*, grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in another shallow bowl. Set out a cooling rack. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces into the garlic/butter, and then into the Panko/parmesan mix. Once the chicken is well coated with crumbs place on rack to dry for a bit. (Use one hand for dipping in the butter and placing in the breadcrumbs, use the other hand for dipping in the breadcrumbs and putting on the rack. If you don’t use this alternate hand method, you’ll get big clumps of gunk on the fingers of both hands). When chicken has dried a bit, transfer to a plate or tray and place in freezer until firm. Once chicken is firm remove from plate and place in Ziploc bag and return to freezer.

To bake:

You need a hot oven to get a nice brown color to the nuggets. I cook at anywhere between 375º and 425º (preferring 425º). Take desired quantity of frozen nuggets from freezer and place on cookie sheetwhich has been sprayed lightly with a cooking spray or lined with parchment paper (to prevent nuggets from sticking to pan). Place in hot oven for 6-8 minutes. Turn over and cook for an additional 6-8 minutes. DONE! Serve as is, or with any desired dipping sauce. My son likes ketchup.  My daughter likes honey mustard.  On of my daughter’s friends swears by ranch dressing.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  See you tomorrow!

*Panko is my current favorite to use for chicken nuggets but in the past I have also used a wide variety of homemade and boxed breadcrumbs (both the plain and the Italian kinds)—and one time I even used crushed Wheaties! Everything seems to work with this recipe. One of the notes in The 150 Best American Recipes suggests adding some chopped pecans to the breadcrumbs. Now I’ve never done this, but nut-lovers might want to consider it!

20 Nov 2010 Turkey Dressing/Stuffing

Yesterday I went to Costco and Trader Joe’s.  Both places had samples of make-it-from-a-box turkey Dressing/Stuffing.  Did they think the samples would entice people to buy that stuff? What WAS it?  The texture was glue-y…, the taste was…, was…, there was no taste, it was just warm.  It’s no wonder we have a generation of kids who don’t like much more than hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and soda.  If I were served that stuffing, I’d be longing for McDonald’s, too. C’mon, folks. We can do better than that.  I know I am preaching to the choir, but I was so taken aback at how horrible that boxed stuff was that I just can’t keep my mouth shut.

Here’s my recipe for Dressing/Stuffing for turkey or chicken.  It’s evolved over the years.  Thirty plus of them. I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner for 30 consecutive years.  That’s right.  Thirty years.  No break.  Before that, my Dad used to make the stuffing when I was a kid.  It was always sage and onion.  He boiled the onions, then chopped them, mixed them with breadcrumbs, lots of powdered sage-sometimes too much, cooked turkey liver and pork  sausage, and then used the onion water to moisten the dressing before stuffing it into the bird.  When I was a teenager, my friend’s mother told me her secret, she said to use crackers instead of bread in the stuffing, so I did, and still do, most of the time.  I have tried making this dressing with cornbread too, but it didn’t work out very well.  I had cornbread mush.  It wasn’t very appetizing. One of these days I will try the cornbread again, because it should have worked. I must have done something wrong.

My recipe is amazingly similar to my friend, Kayte’s, whose mother told me the cracker secret.  Kayte and I have been friends for over 40 years, but we had never compared stuffing recipes until she wrote hers down and shared it with our cookbook club. Kayte’s recipe evolved through the Irish women on her side of the family, mine evolved through English men, we overlapped a bit with the cracker tip, and we basically have the same recipe!  It’s a good one, too!

This is an old school dressing. Nothing too fancy, but compared to those samples of that boxed stuff, it’s out-of-this-world!

Advance Prep Tip:  Prepare and saute all  ingredients, then refrigerate (or freeze) until needed.  On Turkey Day, defrost if needed, and then just mix the prepared ingredients with the crushed crackers or toasted bread crumbs, stir in the fresh herbs, moisten with broth and eggs, and bake according to the directions below.

Turkey Dressing (or Stuffing)

  • 1 1 lb. box saltine crackers with salt (or 1 lb. loaf sourdough bread or 2 baguettes, stale, cut into ¼ inch cubes, and toasted)
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter or  olive oil or vegetable oil, divided use
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • about 3 cups turkey or chicken stock, divided use
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, chopped (not sliced–mushrooms should be about the same size as the onions and celery)
  • 1 lb. pork sausage (Jimmy Dean’s Sage is my preferred sausage)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sage plus 1 teaspoon dried sage (or 1 tablespoon dried sage), or to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • ¼ cup melted butter (or bacon fat), optional
  • Directions

    1. Crush the crackers and set aside.  Hints…you want crushed crackers, not cracker meal. I crush the crackers in their sleeve over a large bowl, and when the package bursts I let them fall into the bowl and use my fingers to crush any larger pieces.  Set crackers aside.  If you are using bread cubes, pour them into the large bowl, and set aside
    2. Heat 1-2 tablespoons butter or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  When hot, stir in chopped onion and saute until soft, about 8 minutes.  Stir in chopped celery, and saute for another 3 minutes or so.  Add 1 cup of hot stock to pan.  Stir to release any stuck on brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove mixture from pan and let cool.
    3. To same pan add a bit more oil, and the pork sausage.  Brown sausage over medium high heat and then set aside to drain on paper towels.
    4. Add more oil to hot pan, if necessary, and add chopped mushrooms.  Saute mushrooms until cooked.  Turn off heat and let mushrooms cool slightly.
    5. Add the onion/celery mixture, the drained sausage, the cooked mushrooms, and the grated apple to the cracker crumbs. Toss to combine. Stir in sage, parsley, and pepper. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
    6. In a separate bowl combine the beaten eggs with 2 cups of stock.  Pour this mixture over the crumb, meat, veggie mixture in the large bowl and stir to combine.  If needed, add a bit more stock for mixture to be uniformly moist and clumpy.
    7. Stuff turkey with dressing and bake according to directions on turkey package for your sized turkey OR pour mixture into a 9 x 13 inch pan**see NOTE below!. Drizzle with 1/4 cup melted butter and cover with foil.
    8. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes the uncover and bake for an additional 12-20 minutes.  If dressing looks dry, stir and add another 1/2 to 1 cup broth.  When baked dressing should be puffy and have a nicely browned top crust

    **NOTE:  This year I am going to put some of the stuffing mixture into sauteed mushroom caps, and then bake for 20 minutes.  I will use the stuffed mushrooms to make a ring on the serving plate, and then mound additional stuffing in the middle of the plate.  Won’t that look nice?  I expect the stuffing aficionados in the family–that would be all of us!–to go wild over this.

    Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving!

    17 Nov 2010 Wild Rice Turkey Soup

    I know you are all busy making your Thanksgiving grocery list, and checking it twice; be SURE you have the ingredients for this soup on the list.  You have to make this with your turkey carcass, have to, have to, have to!  This is the best turkey soup I have ever tasted.  I made no changes to the recipe I found in “The 150 Best American Recipes” cookbook.

    Mmmmm… Homey, rustic, northwoods-y…, which, with a little imagination, might just transport you to a log cabin in the snow, fire blazing, a quilt over your feet, and a good book on your knee.  The soup has wild rice, mushrooms and turmeric, yes, turmeric, which compliment the strong flavor of turkey to make a soup that, according to “The 150 Best American Recipes” is “neither exotic nor bland”.  It’s my favorite after-Thanksgiving treat.  I can’t imagine making any other turkey soup.  It’s just the thing for an-after-Thanksgiving restoration, before the Christmas craziness commences.

    BTW, I like this soup so much I can’t just make it once a year.  When it’s not Thanksgiving, I start with a whole chicken which I boil or roast.  I remove 4 cups of the meat from the chicken, and then proceed as below.

    Wild Rice and Turkey Soup

    For stock

    1 turkey carcass (remove 4 cups of meat from the carcass-set aside for the soup)
    2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
    1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
    1 small onion, coarsely chopped

    Put turkey carcass in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes, remove any foam from the top. Add the celery, carrot, and onion (peels and all). Simmer for at least 90 minutes (I cooked mine for about 3 hours). Strain broth into a large (4-5 qt) bowl. Discard carcass and all veggies (You will need 3½ – 4½ quarts of stock for this soup). If at all possible, refrigerate stock overnight and then remove all the hardened fat from the top of the broth. The next day continue with the directions below…

    For soup

    1½ cups wild rice, rinsed (the book specifies “hand harvested” but I couldn’t find that written on the package I bought from Trader Joe’s)
    ½ cup long grain white rice
    4 T. butter
    2 cups sliced celery
    2 cups sliced carrots
    1 diced onion
    ½ cup sliced green onion
    2 T. chopped fresh dill
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
    3 cups sliced mushrooms (8 oz. pkg sliced)
    4 cups diced cooked turkey
    salt and pepper to taste

    Bring 3 ½ quarts of stock to a boil. Stir in rinsed wild rice and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet; add celery, carrots, onion, and green onions and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in dill, bay leaves and turmeric. Turn off heat, and set aside. Add white rice and sauteed veggies to the stock and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir sliced mushrooms and diced turkey into hot soup. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked. Add more broth if the soup gets too thick for your taste (I added the extra 4 cups). Season to taste with salt (I used 2 tsp. Kosher salt) and pepper. This makes a lot of soup. The recipe says the soup freezes well for several months. If you do reheat the soup, it will have thickened and you will need to add more broth or water when reheating.

    You’re going to love this, I just know it!  Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.

    17 Oct 2010 Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Chicken with . . .

    . . .  New Potatoes and Seared Asparagus Spears!

    My friend John, the rugged he-man, Lake Superior Chef (of Asian Glazed Thigh fame), has submitted another recipe.   I am posting this now because it sounds like it’s just the thing for a Sunday supper.  Go now! Get a chicken! You can have this for dinner tonight!

    John says: “I adapted the chicken and potato recipe from Williams-Sonoma.  The recipe for the asparagus spears is my own.  I like this recipe for a number of reasons…, you only have to use two pans and one bowl, your kitchen smells wonderful when you’re done, you can drink chardonnay while you cook and the recipe is so easy.”

    Roasted Rosemary-Garlic Chicken

    with New Potatoes and Seared Asparagus Spears

    Ingredients:

    3 cloves garlic (diced)
    2 sprigs fresh rosemary (rough chop)
    1 roaster chicken (3 to 5 lbs)
    1 ½ lbs small red potatoes, quartered
    Olive oil
    Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
    Asparagus spears, washed and trimmed.

    Directions For Cooking the Chicken and Potatoes:

    Preheat oven to 400º.
    Pour a glass of cool (not cold) chardonnay to enjoy while you cook.
    Mix olive oil, garlic and rosemary in small bowl.
    Coat chicken with olive oil mixture, reserving about ¼ of the mixture for the potatoes.
    Place chicken in a large oven-proof fry pan, breast side up.  Tuck wings behind back, and tie the legs together.
    In another bowl, stir together potatoes and remaining olive oil mixture.
    Arrange the potatoes around the chicken, sprinkle both chicken and potatoes with salt and pepper, and transfer pan to oven.
    Roast until instant read thermometer (inserted into thickest part of the breast, away from bone) registers 160º F, about 60 to 70 minutes.
    Transfer chicken to carving board and cover loosely with foil.  Let rest for 10 minutes.

    Directions for Roasting the Asparagus:

    Rinse asparagus and pat dry.
    Coat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
    Heat ribbed skillet over high heat until “screaming hot”.
    Sear asparagus, turning frequently.
    Transfer skillet to oven (still hot from cooking the chicken) for five minutes.

    To Serve:

    Carve the chicken and serve with potatoes and asparagus.  Another  glass of chardonnay wouldn’t hurt either!

    Now doesn’t that sound good?  I think a slice of the Chocolate-Pumpkin cake–I just posted the recipe–would round off this meal quite nicely!