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Crispy-Skinned, Juicy Roast Chicken

15 Apr

I took a friend on her inaugural visit to the St. Lawrence Market the other day and, while there, figured I ought to pick up something for dinner. I didn’t want to do anything too complicated as J and I had plans later that night so I stopped by De Liso’s and grabbed a whole chicken. I had already picked up some herbs and cippolini onions so, after picking up the bird, I was good to go.

I so love roasting chickens and am always on the look out for tricks to make this simple dish even better. I saw someone make one up, carve it in the pan in which it was cooked with carrots, potatoes, onions and celery and then he mixed it all together in the same roasting pan. I thought that was kind of genius as the elements in the pan soak up all the delicious juices released by the bird. Though I didn’t use most of those aromatics, I did have the onions and I also tossed in some garlic. It came out fabulously and I’ll likely be making my chickens this way from now on.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 4lb chicken
2 tb extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt & fresh black pepper
3-4 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary
8-12 cippolini onions
6 garlic cloves

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 500F. Rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat the chicken dry, placing it on top of the onions and four of the garlic cloves in a roasting pan.
2. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub over the skin, coating it completely but not heavily. Liberally salt and pepper, including inside the cavity.
3. Place the herbs and the remaining garlic cloves into the cavity.
4. Wrap a little bit of tinfoil around the wing tips so they don’t burn.
5. Place the chicken in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350F. Cook for roughly 70 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. You can also tell if it’s done if the juices run clear.
6. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes once it’s cooked. Carefully carve the chicken in the roasting pan and mix the pieces in with the onions, garlic and juices that have accumulated. (You can also cut the bird on a cutting board and then return the meat to the pan if you’re not comfortable doing it in the pan itself.)
 *Note – the skin should be nice and crispy and you don’t want to lose that by soaking it in the pan juices. Reserve the skin off the breast and leg meat, adding it back when you’ve plated.

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Ginger-Lime-Honey Chicken

16 Feb

This was one of the first recipes I tried out back when I started cooking more on my own. It makes use of stuff you may well already have in the kitchen: lime, ginger, honey…and chicken. I use chicken thighs, but you can certainly use chicken breasts if you like.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

1 lime
2 tb honey
2 tb fresh ginger, grated
4 chicken thighs
1 tb butter
salt & pepper

Directions

1. Mix together the juice of the lime, ginger and honey in a small bowl.
2. Season the chicken with salt & pepper.
3. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter on medium-high. When it begins to bubble, add the chicken. (Make sure your pan isn’t too crowded.)  Cook 3 minutes/side.
4. Add the mixture to the pan with the chicken. Lower the heat and cover. Cook for 10-12 minutes, turning a couple of times.
5. Remove the chicken from the pan and allow it to rest 10 – 15 minutes. Make sure you scrape up all the caramelized bits from the pan – they’re delicious!

Turkey 2011

28 Dec

Another Christmas dinner has come and gone and the troops have been well fed. Seven of us arrived at my folks’ place Christmas evening and tucked right in to a cheese and pate plate while glasses of red and white wine were poured.

But before the feast could be devoured, that turkey had to get prepped & cooked!  I posted earlier my general plan for the turkey and I stuck pretty close to what I had planned out. For this recipe, you’ll need either a large cooler or a non-reactive container (a large bucket and garbage bags work, I promise) and you’ll want to start at least 24 hours ahead. I actually brined my turkey for 36.

Here’s what I got up to…

Serves 10.

Ingredients

1 11lb fresh, organic turkey
2 c hot water
2 c brown sugar
2 c kosher salt
1.5 c molasses
1 head garlic, halved
4 sprigs rosemary
2 lemons, quartered
2 onions, halved
2 oranges, quartered
1/2 c black peppercorns
enough cold water to cover the turkey

2 leeks, halved
4-5 carrots, rough chop
4-5 stalks of celery, rough chop
1 head garlic
1 orange, halved
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tb ground black pepper
2 tb butter, room temperature
4 c chicken stock

Directions

Brine

1. Take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove the neck and giblets, then rinse with cold water.
2. In a large pot, combine the hot water, salt and brown sugar. Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved and cool the mixture. (You don’t want hot water in with your turkey.)
3. When the mixture has cooled, place it in the cooler/container. Add enough cold water to cover the turkey. Then add in the molasses and stir.
4.  Toss the oranges, lemons, rosemary, peppercorns and garlic halves into the mixture.
5. Place the turkey in the brine and store in a cold place.

Cooking

1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
1. Remove the turkey from the brining solution. Rinse and pat dry.
2. In a roasting pan, place the leeks, carrots, celery and 3/4 of the garlic.
3. Place the turkey breast-side up on the bed of vegetables and smother completely with the butter. Season thoroughly with the black pepper, including in the cavity. (You won’t need salt.)
4. Place the rest of the garlic, orange halves and rosemary in the cavity of the turkey.
5. Pour 3 cups of the chicken stock into the pan, reserving the last cup for gravy  or if you need extra liquid during the cooking process.
6. Wrap a little bit of foil on the tips of the wings so they don’t burn.
7. Put the turkey in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 325F. Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 30 minutes, until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches about 160-165. Let it rest for 20-30  minutes and enjoy!

Christmas Turkey Plans

12 Dec

It’s about that time of year when I start plotting how I’m going to cook the Christmas turkey. I’ve taken on turkey-cooking for the last few Thanksgivings and this will be Christmas turkey number two. (Last year J & I hosted Christmas for the first time. Fun but exhausting, I’m glad the duties are being split up among guests this year. Even happier that I won’t have to do any dishes.) I’ve been keeping an eye on different brines and recipes and I think I’ve come up with the one I want to use:

2 c salt
2 c brown sugar
1 c molasses
2 lemons, quartered
2 oranges, quartered
1 bunch of rosemary
2 onions, halved
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 c peppercorns

The plan is to dissolve the salt & sugar in hot water in a large cooler, then add the rest of the ingredients. Top that off with enough cold water to cover the turkey and leave the whole concoction alone for a solid 24 hours, maybe longer. Will then stuff the birdie with garlic, rosemary, lemons & oranges and roast on a bed of celery, carrots and leeks. I have chicken stock in the freezer that will go in the bottom of the roasting pan, too, which should help make for some delicious gravy! (Actual gravy prep is Dad’s job. He still makes it the best. I always end up with lumps in mine because I’m impatient.)

Thoughts, anyone? Anyone have an amazing turkey recipe they’d like to share?

NYT Project: Elizabeth Frink’s Roast Lemon Chicken

28 Nov

With so many ways to roast up a chicken, sometimes I find it a little overwhelming to choose one. Fortunately, the NYT Cookbook had a recipe that looked both delicious and simple. I think I may have used a bit too much salt in seasoning the bird, as the pan juices, when reduced, were overly sodium-ized. (Sure…that’s a word.) I tend to err on the side of using more seasoning than less as I’m disappointed when bland food arrives at the table. However, because flavours intensify when you reduce them, the salt flavour increased in the pan juices and even after cutting them with more water, I still couldn’t use them. Ah well – next time!

The bird itself, though, was fantastic. The vibrant lemon flavour came through and the meat was tender and juicy. I used cilantro instead of parsley, as that’s what I happened to have in the fridge and what I prefer to use in general. Either parsley or cilantro work well with chicken, lemon and garlic, so feel free to use either. I predict this recipe will be rotated in to my regular rotation!

Ingredients

1 3lb chicken
1/2 ts salt
1/4 ts black pepper
2 lemons
6 cloves garlic
2 tb unsalted butter
2 tb olive oil
1 tb flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, plus extra for garnish

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 325F.
2. Place the chicken in a large baking dish and season inside and out with salt and pepper.
3. Remove the skin from one lemon with a peeler and rub the skin over the outside  of the chicken. Quarter the rest of the lemon and squeeze over the chicken. Place the lemon pieces and garlic cloves inside the bird.
4. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a small pan. Pour about one-third of the mixture inside the chicken.  Tie the legs together with kitchen string and pour the remaining mixture over the chicken.
5. Roast the chicken for 90 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165F, basting every 15 minutes with the juices from the pan. Half an hour before the bird is done, pour juice from the second lemon over it and sprinkle with parsley.
6. When done, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it sit for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, pour 1/2c water/broth into the roasting pan and place it over high heat. As it comes to a boil, scrape up the pan drippings with a wooden spoon. Reduce the juices to the desired consistency and season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Carve the chicken and serve the sauce on the side.

*side note – the leftovers make for excellent chicken sandwiches – assuming you’ve got any chicken left!

Chicken, Mango & Brie Quesadillas

28 Jun

I came across this recipe while surfing the net and knew I had to try it out. I was already planning to do a roast chicken over the weekend, so I knew I’d have some leftovers that I could use. But even if you don’t have any chicken already cooked up, you could just buy a couple of chicken breasts and poach them for 20 minutes or so. Let ’em cool and pull them apart – easy peasy!

Serves 2 hungry people.

Ingredients

4 large tortillas
1/2 cooked chicken, shredded
1 mango, sliced
125g brie, cut into small pieces
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
3 tb picked jalapenos (or fresh – up to you), diced
1/4 c sour cream
zest & juice of 1 lime

 

 

Prepping!

Directions

Lime Dip

1. Heat a non-stick surface to medium-high. (I used my Griddler, but a non-stick pan, sprayed with oil, will work!)
2. Place one tortilla on the heated surface. On half of the tortilla, place 1/4 of the chicken, mango, brie,  jalapeno & cilantro.
3. Fold the tortilla in half over the ingredients. If using a Griddler, lower the top half and press. Leave for 4 minutes. If using  a pan, cook for 2 minutes per side. Repeat process for remaining three tortillas, keeping the cooked quesadillas in a warm oven.
4. Meanwhile, mix together the lime zest, juice & sour cream. Season with a little salt & pepper to taste.
5. When all the quesadillas are ready, cut the halves into quarters and serve with the dip!

 

Finito!

Crispy Chicken w/ Lime & Poblano Sour Cream

4 Apr

Many thanks to a girlfriend who sent this recipe along! (Check out her blog here!) The roasted chiles provide a smoky background in the smooth sour cream while the lime brightens it. This recipe could also be modified to make it healthier with low-fat sour cream and skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs. If you’re going to use breasts, I’d recommend roasting them as opposed to using the broiler!

Serves 4.

Ingredients

4 poblano/cubanelle peppers
1 lime
1/2 c sour cream
2 tb cilantro, chopped
2 ts Kosher salt
1 tb ground coriander
1 ts cumin
1/2 ts ground black pepper
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on, trimmed of fat
3 tb extra virgin olive oil

Directions

1. Position oven rack 5″-6″ below the broiler.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place chiles on top.  Broil 12-15 minutes, turning several times, until the skin of the chiles has charred.
2.  Remove the chiles, put them in a bowl and place a plate on top. Allow to rest of 5 minutes.
3. In a bowl, add the juice of half a lime, the cilantro and sour cream.
4.  Once the peppers have cooled, remove the skins, stem and seeds. Chop them into a 1/2″ dice and add them to the sour cream mixture. Season with salt to taste. (You could also add in a little hot sauce if you need more heat!)
5. In a small bowl, combine the salt, coriander, cumin and pepper. Coat the chicken with the olive oil and then with the seasoning.
6. Place the thighs skin-side down on a foil-lined sheet and broil for 7-10 minutes. Turn the chicken and broil another 7-10 or until a meat thermometer reads 180F. If the chicken looks like it might burn, lower the oven rack.
7. Plate the chicken with the sour cream sauce on the side. Garnish with a few cilantro sprigs and lime wedges from the other half of the lime et voila!

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