Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

Chicken Fricassee???

March 14, 2022

My family isn’t at all French. We’re probably 75% Cornish and 25% Norwegian. The meal I most requested from my grandmother, a truly wonderful southern cook, was Chicken Fricassee though. Or that’s what she called the bone in chicken in gravy, cooked in a bag if memory served, over rice that she whipped up to my constant demands. I’ve chased whatever that was for my entire adult life, though I don’t frankly remember very much about it except how satisfied it made me feel. It was hearty, and savory, and like any good southern girl “smothered” is my favorite adjective. This is my version.

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs patted dry w/ paper towel
2 tbs bacon fat
2 leeks, quartered/rinsed/sliced
16 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 lemons, juiced
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs cornstarch in 2 tbs water slurry
1/3 cup chopped tarragon

Set a straight sided sauté pan on a medium heat. Liberally season the chicken thighs on all side. Add bacon fat to pan and allow to render. Then place the thighs, skin side down in the fat. Brown them on all sides until a deep mahogany color forms. Also great… encourage that brown-ness on the bottom of the pan. That’s the flavor.

Remove browned thighs to a plate and add the diced/cleaned leeks. Soften the leeks, then add the mushrooms until they’re also browned. Sometimes I need to lid the pan w/ the leeks and sometimes not. Just don’t let them burn. Drizzle in a little more bacon fat or butter if necessary to keep it all from sticking. Squeeze in the lemon juice to deglaze, then add the stock and mustard. Let that come to a boil and reduce slightly. Add S&P, and cream. Add the starch/water slurry and stir until uniformly thick.

Add the browned chicken back to the pan with the skin side up. The darkly colored tops should sit proud of the liquid. Put the lid on and cook on low, just barely a simmer, for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 5 or 10 minutes. Sprinkle with tarragon.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Chicken Plov

February 26, 2018

IMG_1321

I based this on a beautiful chickpea plov recipe from 101cookbooks.com.  This was a bit more quickly thrown together, but worked very well.  I used white basmatti rice instead of brown since it cooks more quickly.

1 cup white onions, chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 chicken breasts, diced
salt, pepper, paprika, chili flakes
1/3 cup black olives, diced
1/3 cup dill, chopped
1/4 chives, chopped
2 cups basmatti rice
1 tsp saffron threads
2 tsp kosher salt
2.5 cups chicken stock

Saute onions in olive oil at the highest heat level.  Add chicken seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika, and chili flakes.  Just brown.  Turn off heat.   Add chopped spices and olives in layers but do not mix with the chicken and onion mixture.  Pour rice over the herb layer, still without mixing.  Bloom saffron in chicken stock and add salt to the liquid.  Pour over rice.  The liquid should just cover the rice, if it doesn’t add water.   Lock lid in place.

Select “rice.”  On my Duo 6 quart, this brings up an un-adjustable 12 minute cycle.  After the rice cycle is up, allow a natural pressure release of 10 minutes.  If liquid still remains, do a quick 2 minutes on manual, with a quick release to follow.   Serve with yogurt, if desired.

A Pickled Chicken.

May 12, 2008

Meat contains three layers of water. There’s free water, which is the stuff running out of the raw meat. There’s intermediate water, loosely bound to the tissue. Lastly, there’s bound moisture which is essentially the water chemically bound tightly to the cell walls of the muscle. This water is unable to exit the meat during cooking. By brining, it is possible to build a salt bridge via a positively charged sodium molecule between the water in the intermediate layer and the water in the bound layer since water has a net negative charge. The end result is the retention of the intermediate layer of moisture within the meat and a nice juicy meal. The salt also adds flavor. I could go on about how the difference in osmolarity between the salt water (high) and the bird (low) causes a migration of salt molecules (and whatever other flavorings you might add) into the meat, but that would just be nerdy of me.

This weekend we smoked a chicken I had brined with the solution below. I’ll grant that it was a tad salty because of the additional salt from the pickle juice, but the flavor was fantastic, and this was maybe the juiciest bird I’ve ever made over dry heat. We smoked it on the trusty Big Green Egg, sitting up on a half empty beer can. Before cooking I coated the bird lightly in olive oil, salt, and pepper. I’ve cut the salt back a little in the recipe, so this should be a sure fire brine. It’s what I’ll be using next Thanksgiving…. and I take my Thanksgiving turkey very seriously.

Brine:
¾ cup kosher salt
¾ cup pickle juice (I had Valasic kosher dill)
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp red pepper flakes
5-10 black peppercorns
2 quarts warm water
4 quarts (aprox) cold water

Mix dry ingredients in a large stock pot. Add warm water and stir to dissolve. Add cold water. Submerse cleaned bird. Add more water as needed to cover the bird. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

Note: When brining a turkey, I usually use about 2 cups of kosher salt, dissolve it in a small amount of warm water, then dilute with half cool water, half ice in an ice chest. Then I sink the turkey and add more water to cover. As long as the lid is tight on the cooler, the ice will easily last over night, so I don’t have to find room in the packed fridge.