Archive for the ‘Poultry’ category

Chicken gravy without a chicken

March 4, 2020

When I roast a chicken, I really  like to have gravy with it. But you won’t have the carcass to make stock until the chicken’s been eaten, and in my experience there are never enough pan drippings for good gravy. There’s no need to resort to the jarred stuff, here’s how to make your own before you cook the chicken. I use wings for this because, weight for weight, they have more skin, and they are usually cheaper than other cuts. You can finish this recipe in a slow cooker, on the stove top, or in a pressure cooker.

2 to 2-1/2 lbs whole or cut up chicken wings (about 12 wings)

Put the wings in a single layer in a roasting pan and pop into a 450° oven. Roast undisturbed until the wings have turned a lovely dark golden brown. Remove the wings to your stock pot, don’t worry if some skin sticks to the roasting pan.

If more fat has accumulated in the roasting pan than you want, pour it off. Put the roasting pan over low heat and add 2 c water. Bring to a gentle simmer while using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the lovely bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour this liquid into the stock pot.

1 large carrot in big chunks. No need to peel if the carrot is clean.
1 celery rib in big chunks
1/2 a medium (baseball size) onion cut in 2 pieces. No need to peel if the onion is clean.
2 halved garlic cloves, unpeeled (optional)
1/2 tsp rubbed sage OR 1/2 tsp dried thyme OR 2 bay leaves (optional)
6 whole peppercorns
Big pinch of salt

Put all the above in your stock pot and add water to cover by about an inch. Cook as follows:

  • Pressure cooker: Cook for 1 hour once the cooker has reached pressure. Let pressure release on its own for 15 min then release the remaining pressure manually.
  • Stovetop: Bring almost to a boil and then cook, partially covered, at a gentle simmer for 4 hours.
  • Slow cooker: Cook on the high setting for 10-12 hours.

Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove most of the solids. You can pick the meat off the bones for your dog or cat if you wish, but otherwise discard–99% of the flavor has been cooked out. Strain the liquid thru a fine-meshed strainer. If there’s more fat than you want, use a fat separator to remove it.

This recipe makes 2 c of gravy. You can scale it up or down as needed. Leftover stock can be frozen almost indefinitely. If you have saved some of the chicken fat, you can use it in place of the butter. For a cream gravy, replace 1/4 c of the stock with half and half.

2 TB butter
3 TB all-purpose flour
2 c stock

Melt 2 TB butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the flour and stir over medium-low heat until completely combined. Add 1/4 c stock and stir until you have a smooth paste–the mixture should be gently bubbling through all this. Continue adding stock in 1/4 c increments, stirring each time until completely smooth. A small whisk is ideal for this. Once you have added 1 c of stock, add the rest all at once. Stir and simmer until completely smooth and thickened. Taste for salt and correct if needed.

Korean-style chicken wings

January 18, 2020

Korean chicken wings are often deep-fried, which is certainly tasty but more hassle than many people want to go thru at home. With baking, you still get an excellent result with much less work. I provide  two methods–one is more involved but gives a better skin texture while the other is dead-simple but still excellent.

If you cannot find gochujang, sriracha is a good substitute. But given that sriracha is garlicky and gochujang is not, you might want to cut down on the minced garlic.

Ingredients

12 chicken wings, tips discarded and separated into drumettes and wingettes.
1/2 c gochujang
1 TB finely minced garlic
2 TB toasted white sesame seeds
Salt and pepper

The more involved method

Place the wings in a steamer, bring to a boil, and steam for 12 minutes. Remove, pat dry, and place on a rack on a baking sheet. Set in the fridge for at least an hour to dry. Remove baking sheet and put in 425 degree oven and bake for 30 min. Remove from oven and transfer wings to a bowl. Toss with a bit of salt and pepper and the garlic and gochujang. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 min. Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving.

Simpler method

Follow the above steps but omit the steaming, putting the wings on the rack directly into the oven. Make the first bake 40 minutes, then proceed as above.

Mexican chicken enchilada casserole

January 7, 2020

Greatly simplified by the use of a jarred enchilada sauce. Homemade tortillas are best, but not necessary.

About 12-6 inch corn tortillas, preferably home made
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Adobo seasoning (preferred) or chili powder
1 small or ½ large green bell pepper
1 medium onion
2 cans red or green enchilada sauce (you may have extra, which can be frozen.)
1 small can chopped jalapeño peppers, or 2 fresh
1-12 oz package shredded Mexican cheese blend

If you have a sous vide gadget, dust the chicken with adobo seasoning or chili powder. Seal in the bag and sous vide at 165o for 90 min. Remove from bag and shred. Set aside.

Lacking a sous vide, poach the chicken in gently simmering salted water for 25 min. Remove to bowl and shred, then dust with adobo or chili. Set aside.

Seed the bell pepper, peel the onion, and dice. If using fresh jalapeños, seed and mince.  Sauté all in a little oil for a few minutes. If using canned jalapeños, add them at the end. Set aside

Pour a little sauce in the bottom of a 12” square casserole. Cover with a single layer of tortillas, cutting to fit as needed. Distribute 1/3 of the chicken, 1/3 of the pepper mixture, ¼ of the cheese, and enough sauce to just cover. Repeat 2 more times. Finish with a layer of tortillas, then sauce, then the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered at the middle level in a 350o oven until bubbling around the edges, about 40 min. Let cool for 10 min before serving.

Roast game hens with red rice and fruit stuffing

November 29, 2019

Red rice has a slightly nutty flavor that works perfectly in this recipe. Cooking it like pasta–lots of water–gives the best results.

2 Cornish game hens
Salt, sugar
1/2 c raw red rice
1/3 c raisins or currants
1/3 c dried cranberries
1/4 c pine nuts
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c chopped onion

Remove giblets from the birds and put them (the birds!) in a soup pot. Add cold tap water to cover the birds, measuring the water as you go along. Remove the birds and add, for each quart of water that you used, 1/4 c kosher salt and 2 TB sugar and stir to dissolve. Return the birds to the brine, make sure they are fully submerged, and refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

Bring 4 c water to a boil and add 2 tsp salt. Add rice, stir and lower heat to a simmer. Start checking after 30 minutes, and when done to your liking drain thru a strainer and set aside in a bowl.

Put the pine nuts in a small saute pan over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently and when toasted to a light brown add to the rice. Add a bit of oil to the same pan and saute the celery and onion for about 5 min. Add to rice along with cranberries and raisins. Mix well and taste for seasoning.

Remove the birds from the brine (discard brine) and pat dry. Stuff the cavities (you will likely have some leftover stuffing) and tie shut with small skewers and kitchen twine. Tuck the wing tips under the body and, if necessary, tie the ends of the drumsticks together. Place on a rack in a roasting pan and roast at 375 for about 90 minutes. Use an instant read thermometer in the thigh and when the internal temp reaches 165 remove from oven. Let rest for 10 min before serving.

Miso-glazed chicken

October 12, 2019

Miso, a fermented soybean paste, is a prime source of umami, the mysterious fifth flavor that is so valued. It comes in two basic varieties, white (milder and a bit sweet) and red (stronger and saltier). It makes a great coating for baked chicken.

1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces (see note)
1/2 c white miso, or a mix of white and red
2 TB honey
1 TB soy sauce
4 TB softened butter
Black pepper

Note: This means 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and each breast piece cut crosswise into 2 pieces. Use the wings and trimmings for stock. Or, use 4 whole chicken legs, divided.

Put the chicken in a large bowl. Mix all the other ingredients until well blended–you may still have some flecks of butter visible. Add to the chicken and mix well. Place skin side up in a baking pan with some separation between pieces. Bake at 375f until nicely browned and the inside of a thigh registers 165f.

Chicken with wild mushrooms

April 7, 2015

This simple dish emphasizes the flavor of the mushrooms, I like this with oyster mushrooms or chanterelles, but many others would work – a mixture is nice! Note: DO NOT use mushrooms you have picked yourself unless you know what you are doing, or you might end up sick or dead.

8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
1 to 1-1/2 c slivered mushrooms
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
1 c dry white wine such as pinot grigio, or 2/3 c dry white vermouth
Salt, pepper

You need a covered nonstick skillet large enough to hold the chicken in one layer without crowding.

Trim excess fat and flaps of skin from the chicken. Place in the cold, dry pan with the skin side down. Put the pan on medium heat. As the pan warms up the chicken will start sizzling and after perhaps 10 minutes the skin will develop a lovely brown color. Turn the chicken and brown the other side. Remove from heat and check to see how much chicken fat has rendered. If necessary, remove some of it by tipping the pan to one side and using a wadded paper towel held with tongs to soak it up.

Return the pan to the heat, scatter the mushrooms and garlic over it, and pour in the wine. Add salt and pepper to taste, Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer slowly for 1/2 hour. Add a little more wine if it looks dry. The goal is to end up with just a small amount of sauce, perhaps a cup. Serve with rice or pasta.

While the chicken is browning, saute the mushrooms in a little olive oil until they are partially cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in a pinch of salt.

Bourbon-glazed smoked chicken

March 17, 2015

Adapted from the wonderful cookbook Charcuterie, this recipe makes moist, flavorful chicken that is tasty either warm or cold. I think it goes well with German potato salad. The glaze is terrific and will make your kitchen smell very good! You need to start the process the day before you plan to eat.

1 gallon room temperature water
1-1/2 c kosher salt
1/2 c brown sugar (light or dark)
A 4 pound (more or less) chicken, preferably organic and/or locally raised
1 c bourbon
1/2 c maple syrup
2 TB dark brown sugar
Big pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water. If there’s a giblet packet inside the chicken, remove it and save for other uses. Truss the chicken, which means to use cotton kitchen string to tie the ends of the drumsticks together and to wrap the main part of the chicken so that the wings are held against the body. Immerse the chicken in the brine, weigh down with a plate if needed to keep the bird submerged, and refrigerate for 20-24 hours.

Remove the chicken, rinse, and pat dry. Discard the brine. Place chicken on a rack, uncovered, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to a day. This dries out the skin and makes for better penetration of the smoke flavor.

Combine the bourbon, syrup, 2 TB sugar, and cayenne in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan and simmer, stirring, until reduced to about a cup. Let cool. If the glaze has reduced too much and is very stiff, add some water and stir over heat to thin it out.

Smoke the chicken at 200-220 degrees. I prefer mesquite or hickory for this, I think fruit woods would have too delicate a flavor. After about 90 minutes, remove the chicken and brush all over with about half the glaze. Return to the smoker until the internal temperature in the thigh is 165 degrees. Total smoking time will probably be 3 to 4 hours depending on the temperature used and the size of the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the smoker and brush with the remaining glaze. It is now ready to serve.


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