Saturday, January 31, 2009

French Chicken in a Pot

I picked up the Best Recipes & Reviews 2009 from America's Test Kitchen recently and found this gem. I'm going to recommend you pick it up as well. This edition has everything from Chicken Tikka Masala to Tiramisu. Mr. Kimball never lets me down.

If you like crispy skin on your chicken, feel free to go ahead and skip this post.

This recipe's method basically steams the chicken in the oven to create the most succulent poultry you could imagine. Chicken that tastes like chicken, novel concept! Not to mention the heavenly jus rendered from the process.

The second best part of this recipe is how amazing your house will smell while making it.

French Chicken in a Pot
Serves 4

1 (4 1/2 - 5 lb) roasting chicken
2 tspn kosher salt
1/4 tspn pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled & trimmed
1 bay leaf
1 med. rosemary sprig (I used thyme)- optional
1/2 - 1 tspn fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 250. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Heal oil in dutch oven over med. heat until just smoking. Add chicken, breast side down, scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf and herb (if using) around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Using tongs inserted in cavity, flip breast side up and cook until chicken and veggies are well browned, 6-8 minutes.

Remove dutch oven from heat; place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with the lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until thermometer reads 160 degrees in the breast. and 175 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh (80-110 minutes).

Transfer chicken to carving board, tent w/foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain juices from pot through a fine mesh strainer into a fat separator. Discard solids, you should have about 3/4 cup juices. Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into a sauce pan over low heat. Carve chicken, adding accumulated juices to the saucepan. Stir lemon juice into jus to taste.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chili, how can I make thee.....

.....let me count the ways.

Ok, seriously, how many ways can I futz with chili? I dunno, I feel like haven't even scratched the surface yet. I love just throwing stuff into a pot and seeing how it turns out. And apparently chili is my medium. This particular recipe is reminiscent of a diner chili, which happens to be my favorite style. I don't care for chunky veggies. I want a sweet tomato base, beans and meat. Simple, straighforward deliciousness!

I will say, all modesty aside, that I think this is my favorite one thus far in my home cooking career. Not as spicy as my other chilis, it's a nice balance between sweet (tomatoes/ketchup), sour(lea & perrins chicken marinade/beer), salty and spicy. Some of you might turn your nose up at the ketchup, but I saw someone use it recently on food network's Triple D (one of my fav shows currently!) and I thought I'd give it a shot. In my opinion, I think it works!

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Chili

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 c. ketchup
1 T. Lea & Perrins "White" Worcestershire/Chicken Marinade
1 large onion, chopped fine (I pulverize mine in the food processor)
4 large garlic cloves, pressed
1 bottle Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Pinch of dried Oregano
Chili powder
Garlic Powder
Red Chili Flake
4 regular cans beans of your choice
3-4 frozen/fresh chicken breasts
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, rub chicken down with olive oil and season with pinch of oregano, chili powder (be generous), 1 tspn cumin, salt and pepper. Roast anywhere from 35 minutes (fresh) to 45 minutes (frozen). Place in bottom of crockpot. Pour in tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, ketchup, lea & perrins chicken marinade and beans.

On stovetop, sweat onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent (approx 5 minutes). Adding palmful of chili powder, 1 tspn cumin, salt and pepper while onions cook. Pour in beer and reduce by half. Pour into crockpot with rest of ingredients.

Cook on low all day, or cook on high for a few hours. Shred chicken a few hours in when tender.

Serve with your favorite sides! Preferably a nice beer bread or jalepeno corn bread~!

Pepper Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

This is one I can't believe I haven't blogged about before! It's a standard and a favorite in our home. Originally from Cooking Light, this recipe's title is a mouthful, but just wait until you try it! My two changes were to use brown sugar instead of regular white sugar and I strain the sauce. I always want to eat this delectable sauce like it's a soup. Yes, Virginia, it is that good.....

Peppercorn-Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Soy-Caramel Sauce

The crushed peppercorns that coat the pork provide taste and texture counterpoints to the smooth, semisweet sauce. When adding the soy mixture to the caramelized sugar, be careful of steam that may rise from the pan.

Cooking spray
1/4 cup minced white onion
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar(brown)
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce(tamari)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add water and sugar; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat; carefully stir in soy sauce, vinegar, and mustard. Add butter, stirring with a whisk. Set aside; keep warm.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Rub tenderloins evenly with crushed peppercorns, thyme, and salt. Heat a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add tenderloins, browning on all sides (about 5 minutes). Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink); let stand 10 minutes. Cut each tenderloin into 12 slices; serve with sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 slices pork and 2 tablespoons sauce)

Whipped Cauliflower

Ahhhhhhhh New Year's resolutions! That's what brings me to this post today. After the holiday noshing on fondues and all things lovely and fattening, I am craving vegetation. And I'm laying starches to the side at the moment. Enter, Cauliflower.

Even if you detest Cauliflower, I'm going to challenge you to try this recipe and tell me you didn't like it. Very yummy! Not potatoes by any stretch, but certainly a worthy accompaniment to any protein. In my case, my pepper encrusted pork tenderloin with a soy ginger sauce, which I will post about next!

This makes either 2 generous portions or 4 modest ones.

Bella's Whipped Cauliflower
1 head cauliflower
2 Tbsp half and half
1 Tbsp butter
1 can chicken broth
Fresh ground pepper(or white pepper)
Special equipment: Food processor or blender

Cut head of cauliflower into florets. Trimming stems closely. Place in pot and pour in chicken broth. Boil until tender (approx 10 minutes). Strain. Place in food processor with all other ingredients. Pulse approx. 5 times or until the texture pleases your palate. Season to taste.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do!