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Archive for the ‘Poultry’ Category

Stuffed chicken…

…is actually a lot easier to make than it looks (or at least I always thought it looked difficult). However, I found the following recipe in a recent issue of Food Network Magazine and couldn’t resist trying it.

For a nice way to jazz up a basic chicken breast, you need:

  • 8 oz spinach
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (don’t forget to trim them)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 8 oz ditalini (I just fixed the whole box)
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Start by mixing about 2 cups of the spinach, the feta, and 3 tbsp water. Then, use a paring knife to make a pocket in the chicken breasts. Cut into the thickest part of the chicken and continue cutting along the side to make a nice deep pocket that is about 2 inches wide. Stuff your spinach mixture into the pockets, season each side of the chicken with salt and pepper, and marvel at how easy that was. Then, heat the oil in a deep skillet. Place the chicken rounded/stuffed side down to seal the chicken. Cook until it starts to brown, about three minutes. Flip and repeat on the opposite side. While you’re waiting, start a pot of water for the pasta.

DSC_0722

When you’ve browned both sides, add the chicken broth, vinegar, and tomatoes to the skillet. I thought I had some sun-dried tomatoes in my pantry, but only found dried chiles. So, I heated a little stock and threw an ancho chili in it to soften. Then, I chopped it finely and threw it in with the liquids. Anyway, after you’ve added the liquids and whatever tomato or pepper you have, partially cover the skillet and let the chicken finish cooking for about 15 minutes, until it is just cooked through.

DSC_0723Salt your boiling pasta water and cook the ditalini (one of the world’s greatest pastas, no??) for 10 minutes. Put your remaining spinach in a colander and drain the pasta over it to wilt the spinach. Then put everything back in the pot along with the mint and 1/4 tsp salt. Remove the chicken from its skillet and slice; toss the remaining pan sauce with the ditalini.

DSC_0724Top a plate of ditalini with some of the sliced chicken.

DSC_0727Yum! Then again, I am convinced that any dish that includes ditalini is culinary gold. I just love the stuff. It also helps that this dinner comes together in a snap and honestly, who can resist chicken stuffed with cheese and served on top of pasta?

*sc

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…is quite an ordeal, and we experienced our own first turkey-roasting this weekend.  We decided it would probably be a good idea to go ahead and have a faux thanksgiving dinner while it is just the two of us, so we could figure out the process with slightly less stress.  We stretched the meal over a couple of days to make plenty of sides, and our full menu included the turkey (of course), gravy, bacon green beans, rice and mushroom stuffing, scalloped potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.   I am not going to lie to you.  If you have never roasted a turkey, it is not as easy as your mother (who has most likely been doing this for years) makes it look.  However.  This recipe for lemony roasted turkey from Rachael Ray is probably as easy as it gets, with absolutely incredible results!!

For Rachael’s amazing turkey you need:

  • 1 14-16 lb. turkey, rinsed/patted dry–save the giblets and neck to make stock
  • 4 tbsp. butter, at room temp.
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 2 onions, roots chopped off and halved with skin on
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and pepper

Here is where the fun begins…as turkey newbies, we fell into the typical trap of not allowing enough time for our very frozen bird to thaw.  Give it at least three days in the fridge!  We had to push our feast back a week, but it ended up working out.  On roasting day, cut off the first two joints of the wing, but leave the drumettes attached.  Keep the wings for your stock.  Let your turkey come up to room temperature in its roasting pan for about 2 hours.

When time gets close, aka 20 minutes out, start heating your oven to 400 with the bottom rack in the lowest position.  Meanwhile, mash together the butter and lemon zest.  Proceed to smear it all over your bird (we are talking Anne Burrell love-your-meat style), then squeeze all of the lemon juice over it.  Stuff 2 onion halves and the sliced lemon in the cavity, and the other 2 onion halves in the pan.  Sprinkle on the thyme and salt/pepper to taste.  Tie the legs of the turkey together, and pop the pan in the oven for an hour.

When the first hour is up, rotate the pan a half-turn, lower the heat to 350, and roast for another hour.  Then, after the second hour has passed, baste the turkey with the juices in the pan.  Continue to roast the turkey for another half hour or so, basting often, until a meat thermometer stuck into the inner thigh registers 150-155.  Once you reach the golden temperature, use tongs to pour any juices from the turkey cavity into the pan, and save all the drippings for some great gravy.  Let the bird rest at least 30 minutes before carving, and get to work on said gravy.

Well, before you make the gravy and while the turkey is a-roasting, make you own super-easy turkey stock.  Simply save the neck, wings, and giblets (not the liver), and toss them into a big pan along with a a quartered onion (skin on), one chopped celery rib, some parsley and thyme, 1/2 tsp. coarse salt,  1/4 tsp. whole black peppercorns, and 2 1/2 quarts water.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, then knock the heat back to low, partially cover (pretty sure we forgot this step…), and simmer gently for 2 1/2 hours.  Strain off any solids and your stock is ready to go.

For the lemon cream gravy you need:

  • 2 1/2 cups pan drippings (if you don’t have enough, add some chicken stock)
  • zest of one lemon (use a vegetable peeler to peel into strips)
  • 4 cups of your homemade stock (or 2 cups chicken broth + 2 cups water)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • salt and pepper

I won’t lie: Schatzi made the gravy.  And it is so fantastic–it’s one of those things you will want to swim in…anyway.  Remember those onion halves from the roasting pan?  Chuck their skins and pour all of the drippings and solids from the roasting pan into a measuring cup.  Let the liquid settle (you can toss in some ice cubes to speed up the process), then skim off/discard any fat.  Return your 2 1/2 cups of drippings and solids and the lemon strips (+premade  stock if you need) to the roasting pan.

Put the flour in a bowl and gradually stir in 1 cup stock.  Slowly mix in 1/2 cup more stock.  Then, place the roasting pan over two burners on the stove over medium-high (Rachael, you are a genius.  Thanks for sparing me an extra dirty pan!).  Bring the drippings to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits as you go, then whisk in the flour paste mixture and return to a simmer while whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of stock and bring to a boil, still whisking constantly, until the gravy is nice and thickened.  Season with salt and pepper, then whisk in the cream and thyme.  Discard the lemon zest strips, and the gravy is complete!

The remaining sides will follow…but wow.  This turkey was incredible.  Juicy, and so full of flavor.  Don’t even get me started on that gravy!!!

*sc

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…is Julia Child’s fancy way of saying chicken simmered with cream and onions.  Or, as Schatzi I like to call it, Heaven in a bowl.  You may think that’s an exaggeration, but trust me.  This creamy, comforting chicken is absolute perfection.  Julia Child is famous for a reason, you know…and this dish (with a few modifications) is actually one of her easier ones.

For Julia’s delicious French chicken you need:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. chicken, cubed
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. curry powder
  • 1/3 cup cognac
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • more salt and white pepper
  • a few drops of lemon juice
  • 3-4 more Tbsp. whipping cream
  • parsley

Now, a person will feel practically sacrilegious to modify a Julia Child recipe, but even on the weekend, we don’t have time to cut up and bone an entire chicken…so, we just bought the prescribed amount of chicken breasts and chopped them into bite-sized chunks.  It worked beautifully, and made this dish beyond easy…sorry, Julia.  Anyway, start by thoroughly drying your meat, however you choose to go about acquiring it.  She’s not kidding when she tells you meat won’t cook properly unless it is dry.  While you’re doing that, melt the butter in a large casserole (Dutch oven) over medium-high heat.  Add the chicken (don’t move it around a lot in the pan!) and cook 3-4 minutes, flipping once, until the chicken looks a bit puffy and the outsides are white.  Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.  Also, start to boil the 3 cups of whipping cream.

Now, I am guessing that if you stick with Julia’s method, you can plow ahead to step two and add the onions.  However, I needed to drain a bit of the cooking liquid from my pre-cut chicken and melt a bit more butter in my pot, first.  Once your pot is satisfactory, add the onions (I chopped, she thinly slices).  Pop a lid on the pot and cook over lowered heat until the onions are tender (but not browned), 4-5 minutes.  Add the chicken back to your pot, covering and cooking again for about 10 minutes, until the chicken puffs even more.  Only turn it once.

Next, add the curry powder, salt, and pepper to the chicken.  Raise the heat and add the cognac to deglaze the pan, boiling the liquid rapidly until it is almost completely gone.  Pour in the hot cream, continue simmering and make sure the chicken has been coated with the cream.  Return the lid to the pot and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes.  Honestly, my chicken was already pretty well cooked, so I only let it simmer for about 10 minutes.  Here, all you need is for the chicken’s juices to run clear when pricked.  At this stage, if your cream looks curdled and lumpy, not to worry!  Julia will fix it.

Put the chicken and most of the onion on a platter again.  If there is any, skim the fat off the sauce and bring the cream to a quick bubble.  Stir it until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Then, add a few drops of lemon juice and season it with more salt and pepper to taste.  If it still looks a bit lumpy, take the sauce off the heat and stir in those few extra tablespoons of cream–all fixed!  Serve a bowl of luscious chicken smothered in sauce and a hint of parsley.

Words do not describe the amazing taste of cognac and cream mixed together.  Neither of us had ever tasted it until this dish, but there is something about it that just makes me think of the holidays (which start NEXT month?!); I think it is just the comfort and rich smell and taste of it.  If you are reading this, you must make it.  Or, come visit us and we will make it for you.  We get to keep any chance of leftovers, though…

Bon appetit!

*sc

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…makes my mouth water at the mere thought of it.  Has it really been almost 8 months since I was last helping clog the Internet with a delicious recipe I dug up somewhere?  At the encouragement of my mom, I decided to jump back in and occasionally update good old SC when a recipe is just too good to keep to myself.   So, here it is: an incredibly easy, yummy chicken pot pie–no pictures for this post though, as it is all gobbled up!

For this simple pie with great reward you need:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 2 Tbsp.  Italian Dressing
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
  • A couple pinches of crushed red pepper
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 can creamof chicken soup
  • 1/4 lb. (4 oz.) VELVEETA, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten

The original recipe call for a pound of chicken breasts, cut into chunks.  I typically prefer to cook with ground chicken, as I think it is much easier (and faster!) and I prefer the texture.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the chicken tossed with the salad dressing.  While the meat is cooking, heat the oven to 400.

When the meat is fully cooked, stir in the mixed vegetables, soup,  pepper seasonings, and Velveeta.   Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch baking dish.  Place the sheet of puff pastry on top, pressing it closely to the sides and top of the mixture to form a good seal.  Cut a few slits into the pastry and brush the top with egg to give it that beautiful golden coloring when the pie is baked.  Place the dish on a cookie sheet (in case of spills!) , pop it into the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Let the chicken pot pie rest for 5 minutes, then dig in and enjoy.  This dish literally comes together in minutes with the help of the soup and puff pastry.  It will absolutely delight your (and your family’s!) taste buds.  With Fall practically here, and Winter trudging along behind, put this on your list of must-tries.

bien manger!

*sc

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…is such a comforting type of food, particularly in the Winter.  Lately, I have been attempting to devise some original recipes, and came up with my own version of a turkey and corn chowder.  We made a batch last weekend, and it is actually pretty tasty!

For my turkey and corn chowder you need:

  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 28 oz. fire roasted tomatoes
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high and cook the onion and garlic until slightly browned and tender.  Knock the heat back to medium and stir in the wine to de-glaze the pan.

Bump the heat back up to medium-high and add the turkey, cooking until almost no pink is left.  Stir in the peppers, adobo sauce, and spices.

Mix in the stock, regular corn, and tomatoes.  Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, until the turkey is finished cooking through.

Finish up by stirring in the creamed corn and cream.  Bring the soup to a bubble, stirring constantly.

We made some delicious spicy broccoli to serve alongside the chowder.  You need:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 chipotle en adobo, chopped
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 1 bunch broccoli, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 450.  Beat together the butter, garlic, chipotle pepper, and lime zest/juice.

Toss the broccoli in the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread the veggies out on a large baking sheet and roast until they begin to brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Combine the roasted broccoli with the butter mixture until the butter melts.  Place the mixture back into the oven for another 10 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.

Serve a bowl of chowder with spicy broccoli alongside.

This is a great meal to come home to on a cold day!  It is incredibly warm and cozy and simply tastes downright delicious.  Now, I know that broccoli looks absolutely burned and gross.  But, you must trust me–it is absolutely fantastic!

*sc

 

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Chicken curry…

…has been on our list of dinners to make for awhile, and we finally got around to it last weekend!  We made spicy red curry and rice by Robert Irvine, and it was wonderful!

For this spicy curry you need:

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps quartered
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Steamed rice and lime wedges, for serving

Whisk together the coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce.

Heat a large skillet over high heat until it is very hot.  Add 2 tbsp. oil and heat until it barely smokes.  Meanwhile, season the diced chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the skillet, arranging the meat in a single layer.  Cook the meat, turning once, until it is browned on both sides, but not completely cooked through (4-5 minutes).  Remove the chicken to a skillet and drain off any fat.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until lightly browned.

Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for just a minute.  Then, return the chicken to the skillet along with the red curry sauce and bring the mixture to a bubble.  Knock the heat back and let the mixture simmer for a couple of minutes to finish cooking the chicken.

Serve a bowl of rice and curry garnished with lime and chopped cilantro.

This curry is so easy and is quite tasty.  However, next time, I would probably add a little less than the half cup of water and might add another teaspoon of curry paste.  Who needs to go out when you can make Indian cuisine this delicious at home?!

*sc

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…are perfect days to spend playing in the kitchen!  The weather was pretty terrible last Thursday, and our roads remained untouched most of the day, so Schatzi and I stayed curled up inside and decided to be productive by making a soup to help clean some clearance out of the fridge.  Our end product, which turned out to be delicious, was the result of throwing a bunch of Thanksgiving leftovers in a pot with some orzo.  We had the intention of making turkey soup, but ended up with delicious risotto instead!

For Thanksgiving clearance risotto you need:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 package of orzo
  • 2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
  • leftover gravy (our recipe is a few posts back; I’d say use about 3/4-1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2-3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bottle of beer
  • salt and pepper

Start by melting the butter in a Dutch oven or large soup pot.  Add the orzo and toast for a couple of minutes, until slightly golden.  Then, add the shallot and celery and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, until a bit tender.

Next, add about a cup of stock, the turkey, gravy, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until the liquid is absorbed, then pour in the beer.  Cook this mixture until the new liquid is also gone, then slowly continue adding stock while constantly stirring.  We realized about halfway through our cooking process that we didn’t actually have enough liquid for a soup, so by continuing to add what liquids we did have slowly and in small amounts, we ended up with a perfect risotto!  True risotto is made by toasting the rice in butter, then slowly adding ladlefuls of liquid, stirring until it is all absorbed.  What a pleasant surprise for us!  When the liquid stops being quickly absorbed as you add it and the rice is not crunchy when you test it, your Thanksgiving risotto is ready to eat.

Serve up a bowl of risotto seasoned with a bit more salt and pepper to taste.

It never ceases to amaze me what delicious things you can make by clearing out the fridge!  This is a delicious meal that I know we will enjoy each year in the aftermath of Thanksgiving!

*sc

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