Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

House-warming

When we first moved into our new house, we wanted to do something that would really make it ours.  We thought of “cleansing” it with a sage-burning, and a million other ideas.  But what we finally settled on was to make chicken stock.  I think the smell of chicken stock on the stove is one of the most comforting smells around.  You can smell it from every room.  Plus, it really does warm up the house, which was perfect for that mid-winter’s day.

We make chicken stock a few times a year, in big batches, and store it in zip-top, quart-sized bags in the freezer.  That seems to be the perfect “portion” size, no matter what we’re making.  Of course, this recipe doesn’t need to be exact.  Scale it up or down, depending upon the size of your stock pot.  And if you want it to be really chicken-y, use less water and more bones.  I like mine to be somewhere in the middle.  Not too chicken-y, but not too dilute.

For the bones, I usually just go to my local butcher and see what he has.  Chicken backs and wings are great because they have lots of collagen in them, making a nice rich, viscous stock.  But you could also just buy some bones and one whole chicken.  It’s a good idea to get some bones that actually have meat on them too, which is why I favor the wings.

This is what I do…

Chicken Stock

  • 7 pounds chicken bones
  • 3 gallons cold water
  • 2 cups roughly cut onion (each onion into about 8 pieces)
  • 1 cup roughly cut, peeled carrot
  • 1 cup roughly cut celery stalks (use the outer, dark green stalks)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf

Place the bones (and whole chicken, if using) in the bottom of the stockpot.  Add the water and salt.  Place the stockpot over high heat and bring to a simmer, skimming the scum as it rises with a ladle.  Leave as much of the fat as possible when you’re skimming, as the fat itself lends flavor to the stock.  Once most of the scum is gone, add the vegetables, peppercorns, and bay leaf, and simmer gently for 6-8 hours.  Don’t allow the stock to boil, as that will emulsify any remaining impurities into the stock.  Taste the stock, periodically, as it’s cooking to assess the flavor development.  When the stock is ready, use a large ladle to pour it through a fine seive, into a large bowl, pot, or other large storage vessel.  Allow the stock to cool at room temperature for a few hours before placing in the refrigerator to cool completely.  Allow to chill over night.  The fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it easy to skim off and discard.  Use a ladle or large measuring cup to pour the stock into individual bags.  Freeze.

Read Full Post »

chicken bake #1Another fun “find” from my beloved Mr. Oliver.  I love finding ways to use a variety of veggies in one dish, and chicken thighs are practically a staple around here ’cause they’re so darn cheap and delicious.  This was so good the first time around that I promptly called my parents to suggest that I bring it over for the upcoming Birthday Extravaganza-part deux (Laura, Dave and a belated Father’s Day).  And happily, they accepted.  It’s a great one for dinner parties because it can be fully prepared earlier in the day and then popped in the oven at dinner time.  We served it with thick slices of bread to sop up all the extra juice.  Yum.

Baked Summer Chicken Stew adapted from Jamie at Home
serves 4

  • 2 pounds new potatoes, washed and partially peeled (I like a little skin!)
  • 4-8 each, boned, skin-on chicken thighs, depending upon their size
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed, cut in half, and drizzled with olive oil
  • 1 medium heirloom tomato or 1/2 pint plum-sized tomatoes, cored and scored on their bottoms
  • 1 medium hand full green beans or yellow wax beans, trimmed
  • 4-8 sprigs oregano, leaves plucked
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat and slice each thigh into 3 strips.  Preheat a saute pan over medium heat, and brown the chicken, skin-side down until golden.  Set aside.

Place potatoes in a medium-large pot of cold, salted water, and bring to a simmer.  Cook until they can be easily pierced with a paring knife.  They’ll need about 20 minutes to cook, depending upon their size.  When they are done, remove them from the water, and set aside. While the potatoes are cooking, you’ll prepare the rest of the veggies….

Dump the heirloom (or plum tomatoes) into the simmering potato water  for 5-10 seconds, to loosen the skin.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. When cool, remove the skin and discard.  If using a large heirloom tomato, you’ll need to dice it.  Leave plum tomatoes whole.

Dump the beans into the simmering potato water and cook until tender.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

By this time, the potatoes should be nearly done.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Choose a baking vessel that will easily hold the stew ingredients in approximately one layer. First add the potatoes, crushing them lightly with a spoon, then add the chicken, skinned tomatoes, beans, and oregano.  Drizzle the vinaigrette over, and toss everything very gently with your hands, distributing it evenly in the baking dish.

Place baking dish in the pre-heated oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Carefully remove from the oven and sprinkle the cherry tomatoes over the top.  Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and the chicken is cooked through.

Read Full Post »

P6240006My sincere apologies for the quick-snapped shot of this delicious chicken, but we were starving.  And it only occurred to me to take a photo after half of it had been carved.  But the aroma was calling, calling, calling us to eat.  And I just couldn’t delay any longer!

This is another recipe out of The Herbfarm Cookbook, which has served as my mid-afternoon-sit-down-with-a-snack–and-read book for the past number of days.  We ate it along side that yummy Marjoram-scented cornbread

I baked it in a 9×13 baking dish, and when it was half-way done, I added some salted zucchini and red onions chunks.  Mmm, good.  If you want to serve it with carrots or potatoes, salt them and add them to the pan, under the chicken, before putting the chicken in the oven.

P6240007

Bay Laurel roasted chicken adapted from The Herbfarm Cookbook, by Jerry Traunfeld

Note that you must use only fresh Bay Laurel leaves for this recipe.  California Bay and dried Bay are far too strong, but you could easily substitute sprigs of another herb such as thyme, or marjoram.  Also note that baking this chicken creates a lot of smoke as the fat spatters around in the oven.  Be sure to turn on your ventilation fan (or open the windows if you have poor ventilation, as we do!)

  • 1 3-1/2 pound chicken
  • 2-3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 6-8 fresh Bay Laurel leaves, depending upon their size
  • optional 2 cloves garlic, sliced

One to two days before cooking, sprinkle the salt over all sides of the chicken, including the cavity.  Use your fingers to loosen the skin around the breast and legs.  Gently crush the Bay Laurel leaves.  Stuff 2 of them into the cavity, and the remaining leaves with the optional garlic under the loosened skin.  Place in the refrigerator to “cure” until you are ready to cook.

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.  Place the chicken, breast side up, in a 9×13 baking dish and set in the oven to bake.  Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the juices run clear in both the breast and the thigh.  Pull from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving.  (And if you’re like us, you’ll save the chicken fat from the bottom of the pan for sauteing vegetables in the future!)

Read Full Post »

A couple of weeks ago, Scott and I found ourselves working the day shift together for a full week and a half.  And you know what that means?  It means dinner together, every night.  And do you know how rare that is?  Very rare. So the Monday before it all began, we plotted out our week in dinners.  Call us nerds, if you must, but I thought it was brilliant.  Wednesday was going to be our day off, and so we declared it Fried Chicken Wednesday.  And oh, how we looked forward to it.  And oh, was it worth it!  It’s pathetically easy to make really.  good.  chicken. And Scott has got it nailed.

It looks a little something like this.

Scott’s Fried Chicken

First he cut up a whole chicken into 8 pieces, and liberally salted the pieces with kosher salt.  Then they hung out in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, I picked some sage and marjoram from the garden.  Scott poured about a cup of buttermilk into a zip-lock bag, added the herbs, a chili pod, salt, and two huge garlic cloves, gently smashed.

P5200044Then he added the chicken pieces to the bag ‘o’ buttermilk, smushed it all around, and left them to marinate for the day.

P5200046When dinner time rolled around, we poured about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil into our 8-quart dutch oven, and heated it to 350 degrees. (Yes, we love our thermometer and use it all the time!).

As the oil heated, he poured all-purpose flour into a 9×11 pyrex baking dish, removed the chicken from the buttermilk, and coated the pieces in the flour.  Then he set them on a tray to wait for “the plunge”. (By the way, he also removed the sage leaves from the marinade, and coated them in the flour too.  Brilliant, really.)

When the oil was hot, he added three pieces of chicken (adding too much chicken will cool down the oil too much) and fried them, turning them as needed, until they were done.  You can check to see if they’re done by poking a paring knife in to the center of the meat.  If the juice runs clear, they’re done.  On to the serving platter they went with a sprinkling of salt.

Oh gosh.  It was good.  Really good.  And the battered sage leaves……….

P5200069

Read Full Post »

P5180034

I like to refer to this as “the roasted carrot salad” even though carrots are not, by any means, the main ingredient.  But they are my favorite ingredient, and I’m totally smitten with them.  The deal is this…I love the idea of carrots, but I’ve never really been a big carrot eater.  Raw carrots, sure.  Pickled carrots, heck ya.  But cooked carrots, plain, in just butter.  Ehh, not so much.  Then I happened upon this fun little method and I fell in love.  Shall I say it again?  Love, I tell you.  It all started with Mister Jamie (Oliver, that is).  I know, I know, that’s two Jamie inspired dinners back to back, but what can I say?  (I may have fallen in love with him too…)  Eh hem.  Back to the carrots.

Versatile Dinner Salad

So I took those bee-u-tiful carrots that I pulled from the garden, peeled them, and cut them into halves and quarters, lengthwise.  Threw them in a shallow sauce pan, and barely covered them with salted water.  Brought the water to a simmer, and cooked them at a gentle simmer until they were just done, with a little tooth left.  Meanwhile, I had prepared a high acid vinaigrette using equal parts vinegar (sherry and red wine) and extra-virgin olive oil.  Into the vinaigrette, I threw a small pinch of crushed cumin, a small pinch of crushed caraway, a bit of chili flake, and a few leaves of chopped mint.  (Of course when I say “pinch”, I’m referring to my own little hands, so you crazy big-handed folk may want to scale back a bit!)

P5180023

There’s that vinaigrette just longing for those hot, simmered carrots to bathe in it.  Let the hot carrots hang out in the vinaigrette for about 10 minutes so they really soak up the flavor.  Then I pulled the carrots out of the vinaigrette, threw them into a pan, and put them under the broiler until they were slightly charred and roasty-looking.

P5180026

When they were done, I just pulled ’em out of the oven and let them cool while I put the rest of the salad together.

P5180028I used “little gem” lettuces, which is an heirloom cross of romaine and butter lettuce, but don’t think of this “salad” as being mostly lettuce.  All the other stuff played principle roles.  I threw in a little sliced spring onion that I macerated in some of that carrot vinaigrette while the carrots were roasting in the oven.  Avocado is a must in this salad if you ask me, and then I tossed in some rice.  Oh,…and those lovely beets.  I flaked in some tuna, right out of the can, and tossed it all with a little more olive oil.  You may find that you need more vinaigrette, depending upon how much you made in the first place…taste it and decide.  And you’ll likely need a pinch of salt too.

P5180035You know when you dig in to dinner sometimes, and you can’t even stop to talk about how good it is because you just keep stuffing it in?  Yup, that’s what happened.

So the reason that this salad is so great, is that it’s built using categories.  The lettuce/ greens, the starch, the protein…

I use whatever lettuce I can find at the farmer’s market.  Arugula, frisee, chicories…

We often use left-over shredded chicken as our protein, but tuna or even hard-cooked eggs, sliced into wedges are great too.

And for the starch, you can really go crazy.

  • Beans
  • Rice (red, white black, brown, wild)…so many possibilities
  • lentils (a true favorite)
  • staled bread croutons, tossed in oil and toasted in the oven ’til golden
  • left-over potatoes, cut into chunks and tossed in
  • farro, quinoa or other grains

And as I said before, we always use avocado.  Seriously.  It’s a must.

Read Full Post »