Archive for the ‘Poultry’ category

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.

Chicken wild rice soup in the slow cooker

February 15, 2015

An old favorite made even easier by use of the slow cooker. Freezes well.

1 c raw wild rice, rinsed (see note 1 below)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 lb
1 c diced onion
1/2 c each diced celery and carrot
1-1/2 tsp poultry seasoning (see note 2 below)
A few grindings of black pepper
1/2 c dry white wine or 1/3 c dry white vermouth
6 c chicken stock (if homemade is not available, I like Swanson’s low sodium)
about 2 c water or milk
1/2 stick butter (optional)

Note 1: Wild rice is not really a rice but the seed of a grass. Still, the seeds are shaped like rice grains, hence the name. There are two kinds: Cultivated wild rice is (well, duh) cultivated, it is mechanically harvested and dried under artificial heat. The grains are very dark, almost black. Natural wild rice is harvested by hand from wild growing plants and dried without artificial heat. The grains are brown to dark brown. It is more expensive, but a lot tastier. This recipe will work with either kind, but will be better with the natural wild rice.

Note 2: Poultry seasoning is a commercially available mix of herbs and spices: thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg in the brand I use. Lacking it, the thyme, sage, and black pepper are the important ingredients for the soup.

Put all ingredients except the last two in the slow cooker and cook on low, covered, for 6-8 hours. Remove the chicken and use 2 forks to shred it. Return to the cooker and add water or milk to get the desired consistency. Add the optional butter, if using, Cook for another 30 minutes or so until the heated through and well blended. Check for seasoning and correct if needed. Serve.

Fesenjan (Persian chicken stew)

December 11, 2014

This delightful and unusual stew combines chicken with the flavors of pomegranates and walnuts. It is rich, sweet, and tangy, and its rich red color makes it an attractive dish to serve at a feast. The only specialized ingredient is pomegranate molasses, a syrupy concoction that is available at middle eastern and specialty markets, as well as on the web. This molasses has become a pantry staple for me. I rarely use it in such large amounts as this recipe calls for, but a tablespoon or two added to stews, soups, and the like it can add a layer of flavor and complexity that I often find welcome. I like to serve this stew over plain, long-grained white rice with a cucumber, yogurt, and mint salad.

8 boned, skinned chicken thighs
3 c shelled walnuts
1 medium onion, diced fine
1-1/2 c pomegranate molasses
3/4 c grated butternut squash or sweet potato (peeled)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Chicken stock as needed, 1 to 2 c
1/2 tsp saffron dissolved in 2 TB warm water (optional)
White sugar, as needed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

While the walnuts are toasting, cut each chicken thigh in half. In a skillet, sauté in a bit of olive oil until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

When cool, put walnuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground, perhaps the size of cooked rice grains. Do not let it get pasty.

Put walnuts, onion, and 2 c water in a stew pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the squash or potato, molasses, chicken, cinnamon, saffron (if using), 1 c chicken stock, and a good pinch of salt. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while. Add more chicken stock if the mixture is getting too dry. At the end of 30 minutes, taste the stew and if necessary use small amounts of sugar, molasses, and/or salt to get the flavor where you want it. Simmer slowly for another 10-15 minutes and serve.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms, risotto style

November 30, 2014

Inspired by a Mark Bittman recipe. Cooking pasta this way gives a very creamy, rich result.

1/2 lb raw pasta (see note below)
3 TB olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
2 c sliced mushrooms (shitake are more flavorful but the standard white ‘stools work fine too)
3-4 c chicken stock
2 c diced cooked chicken

Use a heavy 4 quart saucepan. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown. Add the pasta and stir for 1-2 minutes until the pasta is coated with the oil. Add 1/2 c stock and stir almost constantly until the liquid is almost gone. Continue adding stock 1/2 c at a time, stirring until the liquid is almost gone, then repeating. After 10 min, start testing the pasta for doneness – the total time will depend on the type of pasta used. Note that you may not use all the stock. When the pasta is done to your liking, stir in salt and pepper to taste and add the chicken. Cover and let sit for a few minutes, then serve (with grated Parmesan if desired).

Note: You can use pretty much any shape of pasta for this, including long pasta broken into short lengths. My favorite is fusilli. Use a good quality pasta such as de Cecco (of course!).

Miso-glazed chicken

July 31, 2014

Miso, fermented soybean paste, is a traditional Japanese ingredient that can impart a wonderful flavor to many non-Japanese dishes. In Japan I was amazed to see a dozen or more large barrels of miso on display at the market where customers could buy in bulk. There are many varieties in Japan and regional differences as well, but the main distinction is between shiromiso (white miso) and akamiso  (red miso), both of which are widely available in packaged form at Asian markets. It keeps essentially forever in the fridge. For this recipe I prefer the shiromiso for its somewhat milder and sweeter taste. Because miso is rather salty, you do not want to salt or brine the chicken. For this recipe you’ll also need mirin, sweet Japanese cooking wine.


4 whole skin-on chicken legs
1 c shiromiso
1 tsp powdered lemon grass
1 tsp ground white pepper
Mirin as needed (perhaps 1/2 c)

Mix the miso, lemongrass, and pepper in a bowl, adding enough mirin to get the desired consistency. Put half of this mixture in a large bowl with the chicken, mix well, and let sit for at least an hour. Longer is fine! Now you can either grill or bake.

To grill: Because the marinade contains sugar it can burn easily, so you need to use medium to medium-high heat keep an eye on things, moving the chicken to a cooler or hotter part of the grill as needed. Cook until done, perhaps 30-40 min, flipping and brushing with more marinade a couple of times.

To bake: Put a flat rack in a baking pan and spray with cooking spray. Put the legs, skin side up, on the rack and bake at 375 degrees until done, about 35 minutes or until the center of the thigh reads 165 degrees. Brush a couple of times with the extra marinade during cooking. No need to turn.

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