Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Crispy Panko Chicken

This is a really simple and fast way to just use a few ingredients to end up with a surprisingly delicious and fairly healthy main dish. Panko rules–if you’ve never tried this type of bread crumb, you’re in for a nice surprise. The outside gets nice and crispy and brown, and the inside says very moist and tender and the mustard gives it a great kick. I like making this when I am pressed for time and don’t want to make a big mess doing a more traditional ‘breading’ which requires lots of bowls of stuff and goopy fingers, too.

This recipe serves 2, but you can easily double it or triple it if you’re serving more people.

Crispy Panko Chicken

1 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp mustard –i like Dijon, but you can use whatever kind you prefer
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (found in most supermarkets in the Asian aisle)
small amount of flour
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Melt the butter and mix with the panko in a small bowl.

2. Dry the chicken with a paper towel. Dredge the chicken in a little flour and shake off the excess.

3. Coat chicken breasts with mustard. Place on a greased, foil-lined baking sheet, top with crumbs and bake approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

That’s it!


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Or, Meal #2 from your roast chicken leftovers

Chicken quesadillas are great if you’re in a rush and want to be sitting down and eating something delicious in less than 10 minutes. Also, you don’t need to use very much chicken at all, so it’s terrific way to stretch leftovers. The apple slices are the trick in this simple recipe, adding a nice texture and sweet tart contrast. You could do this with flour tortillas instead, but try it with the corn because they really are yummier that way. If you have more time, make the rice recipe too.

Chicken Quesadillas

Leftover chicken, sliced or shredded
Corn tortillas
Butter, softened
Monteray Jack cheese, shredded
Granny Smith apple, sliced
Salsa, sour cream, guacamole or avocado, chopped cilantro, lime –whatever combo of flavorful and ‘wet’ you like

Heat up a skillet over med-high heat. Briefly warm up your leftover chicken, remove from pan and set aside. For each quesadilla: Take one tortilla, spread a little butter on it, and put it in the pan. Add a little handful of cheese to the tortilla and spread it out. When the cheese is melted and the tortilla is lightly browned, put another lightly buttered corn tortilla on it, and flip it over. (Or you can take the lightly browned single tortilla out of the pan and fold it in half. Your choice.) After about 30 seconds or so, remove from pan to a cutting board. Open it up, and add a little chicken, some apple slices, and your condiments. Put it back together, cut into wedges and serve.

Yellow Rice with Corn

I was watching Daisy Martinez on PBS one day with Anne, and we saw her make this rice. She went on and on about how tasty it is, so Anne wanted me to make it. It is *really* good, and once you buy the stuff you probably don’t already have on hand, you’re all set to make many more batches in the future. Prior to making the rice, David thought he didn’t like green olives. I made it anyway, and he scarfed it down. I didn’t point out he just ate green olives until he’d finished his second helping. (Now I am allowed to put green olives in whatever I want. Score!)

Good to know:

1) Annatto seeds, known as achiote in Spanish, are small irregularly shaped, deep reddish colored seeds about the size of a lentil. They grow in pods but are sold loose in jars in the spice aisle. I found them with the Goya products. Steeping annatto (achiote) seeds in hot olive oil for a few minutes gives the the oil a brilliant orange-gold color and it infuses it with a nutty, delicate aroma and add a quick kick to whatever you use it in.

2) Sofrito is also found in the Goya section in tall jars. It’s a combination of tomato, peppers, onion and herbs and spices which have been sauteed together and pureed. If you’re ambitious, you can make your own from scratch and keep it in the freezer.

3) Alcaparrado is also in the Goya section. It’s just a combination of green olives, pimentos and capers. The last jar of it I bought had unpitted olives in it, and I was mad when I got home and realized that I grabbed the wrong jar.

4) This recipe makes a ton. It freezes marvelously, though. So I usually make the full amount, and freeze the leftovers. You can heat up the frozen leftover rice in the microwave and it’ll be just as good as the day you made it.

Yellow Rice with Corn (adapted from a Daisy Martinez recipe)

1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of annatto seeds
1/2 cup sofrito
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup alcaparrado or coarsely chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
2 to 3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups long grain white rice
Homemade or boxed chicken broth as needed (about 4 cups)
Cilantro, chopped (optional, but suggested)

1) Heat the oil and annatto seeds in a small skillet over medium heat just until the seeds give off a lively, steady sizzle. Don’t overheat the mixture or the seeds will turn black and the oil a nasty green. This only takes a minute or two. Once they’re sizzling away, pull the pan from the heat and let stand until the sizzling stops. Strain out the seeds and put the pretty red oil into a big dutch oven, or large 4 to 5 quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid.

2) Turn the heat on medium. Stir in the sofrito and cook until most of the water is absorbed. Add the alcaparrado or olives, salt, cumin, pepper and bay leaves and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.

3) Add the rice, and stir to coat the rice with the oil and other ingredients. Cook and and stir until the rice changes color–you are shooting for a chalky opaque color.

4) Pour in enough chicken broth to cover the rice by about 2 fingers width–this should be about 4 cups.

5) Add the corn. Bring to a boil, and let cook, uncovered until the broth reaches the level of the rice.

6) Stir the rice once (just once!) and cover. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for exactly 20 minutes. While it is cooking, don’t stir and don’t even open the pot. After the 20 minutes, let rest for 5 minutes before opening the pot. Gently fluff the rice from the bottom to the top, and sprinkle on some chopped cilantro if using and serve.

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Easy Easy Chicken Stock

Or…what you do after Meal #1 to prepare for more meals

One thing I forgot to mention about Thomas Keller chicken–Unless you have a scrupulously clean oven (which I do not), you may wish to remove the batteries from your kitchen smoke detector and or/open a window or two. Expect some smoke because it’s a spattery process roasting a chicken at a high temp. (Note to Santa: EZ Off Oven Cleaner will fit in my Christmas stocking.)

One of my least favorite cooking tasks is dealing with removing meat from bird bones. I think this might be from childhood– Sarah often waving a chicken leg around in my face, with all the unappetizing looking bits hanging off, gobbling it down like it was no big deal while I squirmed. For a long time, I was a boneless breast sort of girl. So the idea of cooking the bones to make stock didn’t appeal to me at all.

I got over it when I realized just how often I use chicken stock in recipes. A cup here, a half a cup there–buying it is so expensive and I’d end up throwing away half used packages. And god only knows how some factory is making their stock. And just what are those strange chemicals they’re putting in?

These days after we have a whole chicken, I steel myself up and take as much meat off the bird as I can and put it aside for later and make stock with carcass. It’s easy, it makes my house smell great, makes me feel like I am recycling, and tastes way better than anything you can find in a can or box. It lasts about 4 days in the fridge or about 3 weeks in the freezer. (Not that it ever stays in my freezer that long.)

Here’s how I do it:

You can cook this in either a big pot, or a big crockpot.

Take your chicken carcass and sort of crack it up a bit–that allows the marrow to seep out of the bones for a tastier result. Put the bones in your pot. Grab a couple of carrots and a couple of stalks of celery (with the leaves). If you have a parsnip or turnip laying around, great. If not, no stress. Grab a good sized onion and a couple of cloves of garlic. Give your veggies a chop or two so they fit in the pan. I don’t bother peeling anything–not even the onions. (The skins give your stock a prettier yellow color.) Just whack the garlic with the side of your knife so it’s a little crushed. Throw all this into the pot with the bones. If you have them, throw in a sprig of thyme, a sprig of rosemary, a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and a small handful of fresh parsley–if you don’t, don’t worry about it. Add just enough cold water to cover the bones by two fingers–any more than that and you’ll end up with watery stock. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat until you’ve got a really low simmer. Skim off any foam. Go back every now and then and skim off any more foam that forms. Let it simmer gently for 3-4 hours (or overnight if you’re using a crockpot). Strain your stock, and throw away all the bones and veggies. Let it cool for at least a half an hour or so, and refrigerate. Later, after it’s cold, all the fat will have risen to the top and can easily be scraped off and discarded. You’ll note your stock looks like jelly. That’s good! It’ll turn liquid again when you heat it up.

And now you’re ready to make chicken pot pie, or my version of Anne’s chicken fricassee, or chicken soup, or any number of yummy things.

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Sublime Roast Chicken

Or…how to get three meals out of one bird.

Meal #1
A long time ago I found Thomas Keller’s ‘recipe’ for making roast chicken. I basically dismissed it at first because it seemed just too simple to be anything special. A chicken, kosher salt and pepper–really? But I kept seeing references to it all over the web, with people raving on and on about just how good the method is, so I made it. And yes, it’s shockingly good–gorgeous crispy skin, incredibly juicy meat and no need for gravy (and I adore gravy, so that’s saying a lot). I usually serve it with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Good to know:
1) The recipe calls for a 2-3 lb chicken. However, you can do this with any size chicken, you just have to cook it longer. I generally buy a larger one than that so it’ll feed us 3 times. Until you get comfortable roasting chickens, it’s alright to get the kind with the pop out indicator thingamajig to tell you when it’s done.

2) The trick to this chicken is high, high heat and drying off the skin and inside the cavity really, really well. You’ll use a lot of paper towels. It’s ok. When you think it’s dry enough, dry it some more.

3) Trussing a bird is not hard. You have to truss the bird.

4) You can not substitute regular salt for kosher salt. You’ll think a tablespoon is a crazy amount to throw on your bird. Just do it. Throw a little inside the cavity of the bird, too.

5) It’s still amazing even if you skip the thyme. And mustard.

Here’s a printable version of the recipe: Print recipe

My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken by Thomas Keller

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons minced thyme (optional)
Unsalted butter
Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it’s cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don’t baste it, I don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don’t want. Roast it until it’s done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.

Remove the twine. Separate the middle wing joint and eat that immediately. Remove the legs and thighs. I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters, the two succulent morsels of meat embedded here, and give the other to the person I’m cooking with. But I take the chicken butt for myself. I could never understand why my brothers always fought over that triangular tip—until one day I got the crispy, juicy fat myself. These are the cook’s rewards. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is not meant to be superelegant. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve with mustard on the side and, if you wish, a simple green salad. You’ll start using a knife and fork, but finish with your fingers, because it’s so good.

Here is an explanation of how to carve a chicken:

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