Archive for the ‘Poultry’ category

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.

Chicken with shallots

March 31, 2014

Modified from a NY Times recipe, very tasty! I serve it with good bread and a big lettuce salad. Rice or egg noodles would not be out of place, either.

4 chicken thighs (not boned or skinned)
8-12 shallots, depending on size
1 TB butter
1 c dry white wine
2 springs tarragon or 1 tsp dried
1 c cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 TB Dijon or other good mustard
Salt and pepper

In a heavy Dutch oven, brown the chicken (well-dried with paper towels) in a little oil on both sides. Set aside. Remove most of the rendered fat from the pan and discard; add 1 TB butter. Cook the shallots over medium heat until browned and starting to soften. Add the wine, tarragon, and mustard, stir to combine. Return the chicken to the pot. Cover and simmer for ~30 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for a while more to reduce the sauce, perhaps 15 min. Stir in the tomatoes and S&P to taste. Simmer another minute then serve.

Chicken wings on the grill

September 24, 2013

Chicken wings have exploded in popularity, with deep-fried seeming to be by far the people’s favorite. As good as they are, the deep frying is a hassle for most home cooks and of course adds some fat to what is already a fatty dish (that’s why they taste so good!). But, it’s hard to get that nice crispy skin any other way–hard, but not impossible! The trick is to render out some of the fat in the skin at low temperature before a final crisping at high temperature. There are two ways I have done this, one using the grill and the other, devised when a sudden rainstorm made grilling impossible, done entirely in your kitchen.


Start by cutting your wings into 3 sections and discard the tips (or save for making stock). Then:

On the grill

Build a 2-level fire in your grill – that is, put the charcoal on one side only so you’ll have a hot side and a less hot side. If using a gas grill, light only one burner. When the grill is ready, put the wings on the less hot side of the grill, cover, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, turning once or twice. While this is happening, make your sauce (see below).  At this point the wings will be cooked through and will have lost some of their fat. Remove to a bowl and toss with enough of your sauce to coat. Return to the grill, the hot side this time, and cook, turning as needed, until nicely browned – 5 minutes or so. Serve with the remaining sauce for dipping.

In the kitchen

Place the wing sections in a steamer and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove, let cool, and pat dry. Place on a rack set on a rimmed cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes, turning the wings over about halfway through. Adjust cooking time to get a nice brown skin on the wings. Remove from oven, toss with some of your sauce, and serve.


The traditional Buffalo sauce is quite easy – simply mix 1/3c melted butter, 1/3c hot sauce, 2 cloves garlic put thru a press, big pinch salt, and some ground black pepper. There are lots of other sauce possibilities – experiment!

Vietnamese-themed rice noodle and chicken salad

May 22, 2013

This is a lovely cold salad, perfect for dinner on a hot summer day. Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.

2 chicken breasts with skin and bones (technically half breasts, but you know what I mean)
8 oz thin rice noodles (see note)
1 jalapeno chili, red or green
2 large shallots
2 cloves garlic
1/3c fresh lime juice
1/3c Vietnamese fish sauce
2 TB brown sugar
5 baby white turnips (golf ball size or smaller)
5 red radishes
2c basil, Thai basil preferred but “Italian” basil works well also

Note: The rice noodles can be vermicelli or “rice stick” as long as they are thin, no thicker than thin spaghetti.


Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and either bake at 400 degrees or grill until done. Do not overcook or it will be dry. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat and discard the skin and bones (or save for stock). Set aside, can be done the day ahead.

Peel the shallots and cut into thin rings; separate into individual rings and saute in a bit of oil until browned and crisp. Drain on a paper towel and reserve.

Cover the rice noodles with boiling water and soak for 10-20 minutes. You want them soft but not mushy, and the time will depend on the specific noodles you are using. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Remove the stem from the jalapeno and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pith for a milder salad, leave them in if you like a bit of heat. Cut into thin half-rounds.

Combine the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar, stir to dissolve (warm a tiny bit in the microwave if needed, should not ever get hot). Add the sliced peppers, the garlic (put thru a press), and set aside. This is the dressing.

Wash, then trim the stems and roots from the radishes and turnips (but do not peel). Cut into very thin slices. Set aside.

Coarsely chop the basil leaves, discarding the stems.


Set aside the fried shallots and half of the basil. Combine all other ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. Can be done a few hours ahead. If refrigerated, take out a while before serving to get the chill off.


Top with the shallots and remaining basil.

Chicken with oyster mushrooms

February 23, 2013


If you are lucky enough to have access to an oyster mushroom-producing stump, you are indeed lucky. They are available in some stores, and in a pinch the standard button mushrooms can be used (with inferior results). I prefer using chicken thighs; the drumstick is tasty but has too many tendons for easy eating, and the breast has less flavor and can be dry. I like to serve this over pasta.

Oyster mushrooms (see below)
6 to 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into half-rings
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
big pinch dried sage
1/4c olive oil plus an additional, optional 1/4c
1/2c dry white wine or dry vermouth (or use water)

Trim and clean the mushrooms, then cut into strips about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide (no need to be fussy). When cleaning, do not be afraid to rinse; the cooking will get rid of any extra water that clings to the mushrooms. You want 2-3 cups of mushrooms, it’s not critical (but more is better!).

Heat 1/4c olive oil in a skillet (preferably nonstick) that is large enough to hold the chicken comfortably in 1 layer. Over medium-high heat, sauté the mushrooms, stirring. In almost all cases, the mushrooms will release their liquid – this is OK, just keep cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt, lower heat to medium, and continue cooking, with occasional stirring, until the onions and mushrooms have just started to brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pat the thighs dry with paper towels and place skin side down in the pan. Cook undisturbed over medium heat for 10 minutes. Start checking at this time – the skin will develop a lovely browning. Turn the thighs over, season with S & P and sprinkle the sage over. Return the mushroom mixture to the pan, distributing evenly, and add the wine along with 1/2c water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 45 minutes. Check now and then and add a bit of water if needed. The goal is to have about a cup of sauce at the end of cooking. When done, remove from heat and if desired drizzle the remaining 1/4c olive oil over, then serve.

Turkey legs with yellow turnips

November 27, 2012

A simple and delightful dish from my mother, written in her inimitable style. Can be doubled.

Turkey legs with yellow turnips

Start with 1 turkey leg quarter, separated,  2 turkey thighs, or 2 drumsticks, skin removed if desired. Rinse turkey, dry, rub a little salt and pepper on them. Brown gently in a little vegetable oil (canola, corn – not olive) Chop a good 3/4 to 1 cup of celery including leaves, about the same amount of onions. You can add 1/2 chopped carrots or omit them as desired. Add all veg to turkey after it has browned lightly on all sides. It won’t be evenly browned. Be patient about letting the vegetables wilt and begin to color, stirring once in a while. Add about a scant cup of white wine, whatever’s in your fridge, some soave or even dry white vermouth if that’s what’s available. Let it evaporate over medium heat until you have a moist but not liquidy potful. Now add some stock – usually chicken, to come about half way up the turkey pieces – as you know, this depends on the size of your pan.  Stir lovingly, add a bay leaf or 2, cover and keep at a simmer.

Have a large (softball size) yellow turnip (rutabaga), peel and cut into 1 inch chunks which you then parboil in salted water for a few minutes. Drain and set aside. When the turkey has cooked for about an hour, add the turnip to the turkey, tucking the chunks down into the liquid. Turn the turkey pieces over. Cover, simmer over low heat until tender (this depends on the size and “maturity” of the turkey. Just poke every once in a while – it is not a fine-timed recipe. Allow an hour at least after adding the turnip.

Cut peeled medium onions into halves or use smaller onions –  as many as you want to eat – microwave them in a little chicken broth until almost done. Transfer to turkey pot and let all meld over low heat for a little while. You can serve at this point – having prepared whatever potato you would like – plain boiled chunks, mashed. Keep an eye on the amount of sauce that the dish is providing and add a bit more stock or take the cover off if you want to reduce. Good with applesauce with horseradish, or cranberry sauce if you like that. Reheats well.

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