chicken

Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad

This week is a big one for my family because we get to celebrate my Aunt Janice’s birthday and nuptials!  In honor of Auntie Jan I am posting her famous Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad.  I have so many memories of having this dish at her house.  I used to spend at least a week at her house in Upstate New York every summer growing up and I would LIVE on this salad.  Its a great summer dish because its served cold/room temp and the leftover are just as good as when its fresh.  Perfect for a summer BBQ, picnic or easy weeknight dinners.  I finally managed to finagle the recipe out of her and I have been making it like a fiend all summer.  I tweaked the original (of course) just a little to make things a bit easier on myself and also because I like roasting rather than poaching chicken.  This is also a great salad to use up extra ingredients you have in your fridge so feel free to throw in snap peas or green beans etc if you have them on hand.  I am so happy for Auntie Jan and I am SO happy to have this recipe.

Chinese Chicken Noodle Salad (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  my Aunt Janice’s perfect summer dish
Special Equipment:  none

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoons black (or rice wine) vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 minced or grated garlic clove
  • 1 inch of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 2 pounds bone in skin on chicken breasts
  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 scallions, cut into 1/2 inch lengths
  • 1 bell pepper (I used red) cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 a head of napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

In a medium sized bowl wish together the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and peanut oil.  The sauce can be made several days in advance, just store in the fridge.  Heat your oven to 350 degrees and roast the chicken breasts on a baking sheet for 45 minutes, until cooked through.  Let cool and shred.  Chicken can also be made one or two days in advance.  Cook the pasta according to directions and drain.  In a large bowl toss the pasta with the sesame oil and set aside.  In a small dry skillet toast the sesame seeds over medium heat for 4 or 5 minutes (be careful not to burn).

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When ready to serve toss the chicken with the pasta and spread on a large platter.  Top with the napa cabbage, pepper slices, scallions and sesame seeds.  Drizzle on the sauce and toss – my aunt likes to set out the whole salad composed on a buffet and then toss with the sauce right before serving.  It makes for a great presentation.

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”Chinese

  • Servings: ”4-6″
  • Time: ”50
  • Print

 

Southern Fried Chicken Dinner

As I may have mentioned before, my mom’s desert island food is fried chicken (as is mine which would be really convenient if we ended up stranded on the same island) so in honor of her birthday today I thought I would post a menu all centered around my Fried Chicken Perfected – this has your weekend plans written all over it.

For this comforting, Southern themed meal I was inspired to use my vintage oyster cans as decoration.  I have been collecting these for several years – they are a symbol of the oyster industry that used to dominate the Chesapeake bay region.  I have them all over my house year round but they act as great vases for hydrangeas that I gathered from my front yard.  Since they were the center piece, and its almost summer, I figured just pull out all of my nautical gear and run with it.  How adorable is this row boat salt cellar??

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Paper placemats are my jam and great for a casual dinner party like this – I have several nautical themed ones (#ihaveaproblem) like this or these rope ones.  I used these rope napkin rings we got on Nantucket and the rattan chargers remind me of their famous baskets.  Seersucker napkins top off the preppy vibe.

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Curried Cashews

To start with I just wanted a couple of things to nibble on since the dinner is pretty heavy.  These curried cashews are easy to throw together and great with a beer or glass of rose.

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Broccoli Slaw 

I make this broccoli slaw from Smitten Kitchen ALL THE TIME.  It is so healthy and so addictive.  People will think you are nuts, shaving down whole heads of broccoli but they will be converts once they have tried it.  The dried cranberries give a little nod to my New England upbringing at this Southern meal and the slaw is a nice crunchy foil to the fried chicken’s tenderness.

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Fried Chicken Perfected

I can’t say better things about this fried chicken that hasn’t already been said by my friends.  Years of research and lots of mediocre fried chicken (which lets admit is still pretty good) led me to the perfect recipe that I share with you.  Eat it and be happy.

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Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese

Probably the second most requested thing I make right after the fried chicken so why not pair them together?  The Southern tradition of mac and cheese with fried chicken has been around forever and for good reason.  The velvety cheese sauce some times picks up crunchy bits of the chicken skin on your plate and then you are in heaven.

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Bourbon Peaches with Ice Cream and Candied Pecans

You need a sweet treat at the end of this meal and a nice simple fruit dessert is just the ticket.  I make these bourbon peaches just like I do in my pancake bar post – sauté them with a little bit of butter, sugar and bourbon.  You can use frozen peaches or fresh ones if they are ripe enough.  Either way paired with vanilla ice cream and candied nuts (I had Southern appropriate pecans on hand) they are delicious.

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So happy birthday mommy and I hope you all celebrate this weekend with fried chicken!

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Yes 40 cloves!  This beautiful French dish was one of my favorites as a kid – partly because of the novelty of how much garlic is in it and partly because its 100% delicious.  This is a great spring dish because its hearty but not heavy so no matter what the temps are outside its appropriate.  Please don’t be scared off by the garlic – this could even be a date night dish!  Once you have cooked the garlic it becomes totally sweet and not stinky at all.  Make sure to pick up some crusty bread to serve alongside so you can spread the melting garlic cloves on the bread and sop up all the sauce.  There are a lot of different versions out there so once again I went through and tried all of the recipes I could find and then combines the best of all of them to achieve this recipe.

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Peeling the garlic can be a pain but I sort of find it therapeutic.  If you want to do it in advance and store in the fridge for a couple of days you can do that.  I use the palm of my hand to push down on the clove ever so slightly so that the skin separates from the garlic but not so much that it crushes the clove (also I won’t tell anyone if you buy already peeled garlic, just make sure its whole cloves not chopped).  I would say it takes about 7 minutes to peel so factor that into your cooking time.  This is such great comfort food – serve it with mashed potatoes or polenta (and don’t forget that bread!) along with a nice clean green salad.

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  garlic galore
Special Equipment:  none

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 bone in skin on chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 40 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 3 teaspoons chopped tarragon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces then cook in batches just so the chicken is nicely browned, about 5 minutes per batch.

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When the chicken is browned reserve it on a plate.  Turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic.  Sauté the garlic for 5 minutes, turning down the heat if you need to so it doesn’t burn.  Add the white wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan getting up all the good brown bits.

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Return the chicken to the pot, skin side up, and add the chicken stock.  Cover and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken and garlic to your serving platter and cover with foil.  Put the dutch oven back on the stovetop and cook down the juices over medium high for about 5 minutes until reduced a bit.  Stir in the cream and tarragon, taste for salt and pepper, then pour over the chicken and garlic.

 

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Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 bone in skin on chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 40 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 3 teaspoons chopped tarragon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium high heat.  Salt and pepper the chicken pieces then cook in batches just so the chicken is nicely browned, about 5 minutes per batch.  When the chicken is browned reserve it on a plate.  Turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic.  Sauté the garlic for 5 minutes, turning down the heat if you need to so it doesn’t burn.  Add the white wine and deglaze the bottom of the pan getting up all the good brown bits.

Return the chicken to the pot, skin side up, and add the chicken stock.  Cover and place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the chicken and garlic to your serving platter and cover with foil.  Put the dutch oven back on the stovetop and cook down the juices over medium high for about 5 minutes until reduced a bit.  Stir in the cream and tarragon, taste for salt and pepper, then pour over the chicken and garlic.

Chicken Salad Canapes

I often have a hard timing figuring out what sort of canapés I can serve at parties that are filling.  Most meat based appetizers require them to be warm or are really expensive (think lamb lollipops) but if you are going to be drinking all night I want my guests to have more in them than just cheese!  Here little mini phyllo cups really come into handy.  You buy them in the frozen section of your grocery store and they are already cooked so all you have to do is fill them.  I decided for a recent party to go with chicken salad, most specifically chicken salad veronique, which is a French version with grapes.  It is really delicious as a regular chicken salad served alone or in a sandwich but for this application I cut the chicken and the grapes really small so they would fit neatly in the cups and be easy to eat.  These things went like hot cakes and I am sure your friends will appreciate the “heavy ap” at your next party.

Chicken Salad Canapes (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  phyllo cups
Special Equipment: none

  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts (or roast your own)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 20 green grapes, quartered
  • 60 phyllo cups – I used the Athens brand

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and place in a large bowl.

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In a medium bowl wish together the mayo, sour cream, white wine, tarragon and salt and pepper.

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Add 3/4 of the mixture to the chicken along with the grapes.  Stir to combine and then add as much of the remaining dressing as necessary.  The salad can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge.  When you are ready to serve, use a teaspoon to fill the cups with the salad.

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Chicken Salad Canapés

  • Servings: 60
  • Time: 5 minutes
  • Print

Special Equipment: none

  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts (or roast your own)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 20 green grapes, quartered
  • 60 phyllo cups – I used the Athens brand

Cut the chicken breasts into small pieces and place in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl wish together the mayo, sour cream, white wine, tarragon and salt and pepper.  Add 3/4 of the mixture to the chicken along with the grapes.  Stir to combine and then add as much of the remaining dressing as necessary.  The salad can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge.  When you are ready to serve, use a teaspoon to fill the cups with the salad.

Stuffed Shells with Chicken and Spinach

Continuing with the make ahead theme these cheesy rich shells are just what Santa ordered for Christmas Eve dinner.  Make them several days ahead and then just pop them in the oven when people get hungry.  This dish also makes a great gift for a neighbor or friend that has extra family in town and no time to cook!  I give you several sizes that work for this recipe – you can chose to make one mega dish or several smaller ones to share or make throughout the week.  The shells are pretty rich with the bechamel sauce and all the cheese to I would only estimate 3 or 4 shells per person with a nice Caesar salad on the side.  There are a bunch of steps to this (might be the longest directions I have ever written) but since you can do it in advance no one needs to see you sweat.  Also sometimes its nice to bury yourself in the kitchen for a little alone time!

Stuffed Shells with Chicken and Spinach (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  feed a crowd
Special Equipment:  a large baking dish or several smaller baking dishes

  • 12 ounces jumbo shell pasta
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces of diced pancetta
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Follow the directions on the pasta box and cook the pasta slightly al dente (the Barilla brand actually tells you how long to cook it for a baked pasta versus just serving them as pasta – if yours doesn’t just cook it a couple minutes shy of done).  Drain and spread the shells out on a baking sheet to cool.

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Once cool, toss any broken pieces.  In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pancetta to the pan and saute for 5 minutes or until the shallots are softened and the pancetta has cooked.  Start adding the spinach in large handfuls to the pan.

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From this…

As you add the spinach use tongs or a spoon to fold the spinach into the shallot mixture.  The spinach will start to wilt and you can continue to add until it all fits in the pan.  This should take about 3-4 minutes to get it all wilted down.  Once it is wilted, crank up the heat to medium high and cook off the liquid the spinach has released for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Take off the heat and reserve.

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..to this!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, if planning on cooking the shells right away.  In a large bowl combine the ricotta, egg, lemon zest, half the mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper.  Add the chicken and the spinach mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.  Now that your pasta shells have cooled they are ready to be filled.  I use my hands but use a teaspoon if that helps.  To make sure I have enough to fill all the shells I divide the filling mixture in 4 and then fill a quarter of the shells and then continue until they are all filled.

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In a saucepan heat the butter over medium heat.  When it is melted add the flour and stir with a whisk until combined and the flour has cooked, for about a minute.

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Slowly pour in the milk while whisking so there are no lumps.  Increase the heat to medium high, just until the milk starts to bubble.  Then lower the heat to medium low and stir constantly until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 5-6 minutes.  Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper and 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese.

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This recipe makes one very large tray of shells in a 9 x 13 pan, a medium sized 9 x 13 and a 7 x 5 pan, or two 9 x 9 pans.  It all depends on how tightly you pack in the shells and how many people you want to serve at once (for these pictures I have a 9 x 13 pan and a 7 x 5 pan which served a family of 4 and a family of 2 respectfully – with leftovers).  Once you have selected your pans spread a thin later of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Then fill the entire pan(s) with the shells, open side up.  Top with the rest of the sauce and then sprinkle on the other half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

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Cover the pans with tin foil.  If you are making the shells later, let the shells cool completely and store in the fridge for several days before baking.  If you are baking them right away bake the shells covered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then take off the tin foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

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Stuffed Shells with Chicken and Spinach

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Print

Special Equipment:  a large baking dish or several smaller baking dishes

  • 12 ounces jumbo shell pasta
  • 2 rotisserie chicken breasts, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces of diced pancetta
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 8 ounces grated mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Follow the directions on the pasta box and cook the pasta slightly al dente (the Barilla brand actually tells you how long to cook it for a baked pasta versus just serving them as pasta – if yours doesn’t just cook it a couple minutes shy of done).  Drain and spread the shells out on a baking sheet to cool.  Once cool, toss any broken pieces.  In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the shallots, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pancetta to the pan and saute for 5 minutes or until the shallots are softened and the pancetta has cooked.  Start adding the spinach in large handfuls to the pan.  As you add the spinach use tongs or a spoon to fold the spinach into the shallot mixture.  The spinach will start to wilt and you can continue to add until it all fits in the pan.  This should take about 3-4 minutes to get it all wilted down.  Once it is wilted, crank up the heat to medium high and cook off the liquid the spinach has released for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Take off the heat and reserve.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, if planning on cooking the shells right away.  In a large bowl combine the ricotta, egg, lemon zest, half the mozzarella cheese and salt and pepper.  Add the chicken and the spinach mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.  Now that your pasta shells have cooled they are ready to be filled.  I use my hands but use a teaspoon if that helps.  To make sure I have enough to fill all the shells I divide the filling mixture in 4 and then fill a quarter of the shells and then continue until they are all filled.

In a saucepan heat the butter over medium heat.  When it is melted add the flour and stir with a whisk until combined and the flour has cooked, for about a minute.  Slowly pour in the milk while whisking so there are no lumps.  Increase the heat to medium high, just until the milk starts to bubble.  Then lower the heat to medium low and stir constantly until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon, about 5-6 minutes.  Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper and 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese.  This recipe makes one very large tray of shells in a 9 x 13 pan, a medium sized 9 x 13 and a 7 x 5 pan, or two 9 x 9 pans.  It all depends on how tightly you pack in the shells and how many people you want to serve at once (for these pictures I have a 9 x 13 pan and a 7 x 5 pan which served a family of 4 and a family of 2 respectfully – with leftovers).

Once you have selected your pans spread a thin later of the sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Then fill the entire pan(s) with the shells, open side up.  Top with the rest of the sauce and then sprinkle on the other half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.  Cover the pans with tin foil.  If you are making the shells later, let the shells cool completely and store in the fridge for several days before baking.  If you are baking them right away bake the shells covered at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, then take off the tin foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Fried Chicken Perfected

Fried chicken is my mom’s desert island meal.  And it’s mine.  And I am guessing most of yours.  However, good fried chicken can be really hard to find, and bad fried chicken is just sad.  When I was a little kid we would make a once a year pilgrimage to this place called chicken.gifFontaine’s.  It was a depressing sort of place with zero natural light, right off of a highway but they served hands down the best fried chicken I have ever tasted.  All the meals came with old school sides like mashed potatoes with a giant dent in the middle flowing with butter.  Best of all they used to serve hamburger buns, slathered with butter, cooked on the griddle, as their “bread service.”  Writing this out now it sounds sort of gross, but I am telling you it was amazing.  Fontaine’s had been serving fried chicken (not something that is particularly easy to find in Boston) since 1952 so generations of families, including mine, got very attached.  Fontaine’s sadly closed about 10 years ago taking with it their incredible neon sign and life altering fried chicken.

Once I moved to DC I figured finding good fried chicken would be easy but alas the best fried chicken is usually made by people’s grandmothers and not in restaurants.  I do love the version at Central but it’s distinctly high end, not exactly Fontaine’s.  Levi’s Port Cafe (RIP) in SE used to crank out great fried chicken but it is no longer.  So I realized that meant I was just going to have to satisfy my cravings myself.  Years (seriously) of trying different methods and recipes have finally culminated in Fried Chicken Perfected.  I almost cried it was so great (and I am pretty sure Patrick and our friend Jon did too).  My research paid off as I combined many different tips from famous chefs (Thomas Keller) to my friend Kevin’s mom’s Oklahoma Ladies Club Cookbook.  First you brine – this ensures juicy chicken and is key for those who are afraid of overcooked chicken.  Even if you leave the meat in for longer than you need to it won’t dry out.  Second you give them chickies a buttermilk bath – the buttermilk helps the coating stick to the chicken but also imparts a tangy flavor and further tenderizes the meat.  Finally you keep it simple – the coating is flour and flavor and that’s it.  Here I used Old Bay Hot because it includes garlic, onion and paprika flavor with heat and well because I went to school in Maryland where Old Bay is required eating.

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If you are afraid of deep frying you are not alone – I actually sort of dread it – but this chicken makes it worth it.  It takes a lot of oil that ends up getting thrown away and can be mightily intimidating.  That’s why I am giving you a full proof recipe to totally make it worth it.  Also make a whole bunch once you are taking the time.  The leftovers are delicious cold and or reheated in the oven (you lose some crispness but it’s still delicious).  So if you know a fried chicken fan show them some love and make this.  It’s so good alongside my classic cole slaw, the over the top mashed potatoes or as I served it last with my smoked gouda mac and cheese.  Damn, now I want fried chicken…

Fried Chicken Perfected (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Fontaine’s
Special Equipment:  a large deep pan, large stock pot, candy thermometer and meat thermometer, cookie sheet and cooling rack, skimmer (optional)

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 ounces of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup whole peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • several pounds of bone in skin on chicken parts – I used 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 4 breasts cut in half, but there is enough brine and coating to do at least 4 more pieces
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 5 tablespoons Old Bay Hot (or regular Old Bay, or dash of cayenne and garlic powder)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 quarts vegetable oil
  • sea salt for sprinkling

In a large stock pot combine the water, lemon, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, salt, peppercorns and sugar.  Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved.

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Allow to fully cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour until cold before adding the chicken (the brine can be made a day in advance).  Once the brine is cold, add the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate overnight.  About 30 minutes before you are ready to start frying take the chicken pieces out of the brine and rinse them off (this is to get rid of any peppercorns stuck to the pieces and ensure it’s not too salty).  Put the buttermilk, along with some salt and pepper, into a large bowl and submerge the chicken pieces.  Let them hang out in the buttermilk bath for at least a half hour while you heat the oil.

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In a large deep pot (I use my large Calphalon dutch oven) carefully pour in the oil.  I like to buy my oil from Costco since this uses so much.  If you want to use less oil, then fry in a stock pot that isn’t as wide – only downside there is that you can only fry one or two pieces at a time.  Clip your candy thermometer to the side, turn the heat to medium high and wait until you reach 375 degrees before cooking.  While the oil heats and the chicken soaks in the buttermilk, you need to prepare the coating.  In another large bowl mix the flour with the Old Bay Hot.  Since there is a lot of salt and pepper in that seasoning there is no need to add more, if you are skipping the Old Bay (don’t!) add lots of salt and pepper.  Also set out a cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack (if you have one, paper towels if you don’t) to have a place for the chicken to land when it’s done frying.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Once the oil has reached 375 degrees it is time to start frying.  Make sure to wear an apron and be careful because once the chicken is in the pan, the oil can start spitting.  Using tongs take the chicken out of the buttermilk, let it drip off, and then put it in the flour.  Make sure each piece is totally coated in the flour and that you have shaken off all the excess (a process called dredging).  Don’t dredge your chicken early or else it will get gummy, just do it a piece at a time and once the piece is ready add it to the oil carefully.  You only want to add a couple pieces at a time, in my pan I could fit about 4, so that they have room to fry and that you don’t bring down the temperature.  Once you have the right amount in the pan, monitor the temperature, you can turn up the heat if needed.  Larger pieces can take up to about 20 minutes, smaller more like 15.  Since you have brined the chicken it,s ok to leave all of the pieces in for the longer time frame.  Using a skimmer or tongs flip the pieces in the oil occasionally to make sure they are browning on all sides.  Do not walk away from this project!  Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp if you would like – once the pieces are done remove them to the cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

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I then put the pieces into the preheated oven to keep them warm while cooking the rest.  Depending on the size of your pan and the amount of chicken you are frying it should take about 2 to 3 batches.  Serve the chicken hot and get ready for praise and adoration.

P.S. About that oil…I cover the pan and let it cool on the stove-top overnight.  I then just CAREFULLY pour the cooled oil back into the bottle, cap it and throw it away.

Fried Chicken Perfected

Special Equipment:  a large deep pan, large stock pot, candy thermometer and meat thermometer, cookie sheet and cooling rack, skimmer (optional)

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 10 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
  • 4 ounces of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup whole peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • several pounds of bone in skin on chicken parts – I used 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 4 breasts cut in half but there is enough brine and coating to do at least 4 more pieces
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 5 tablespoons Old Bay Hot (or regular Old Bay, or dash of cayenne and garlic powder)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 quarts vegetable oil
  • sea salt for sprinkling

In a large stock pot combine the water, lemon, bay leaves, parsley, garlic, salt, peppercorns and sugar.  Bring to a boil and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Allow to fully cool and then refrigerate for at least an hour until cold before adding the chicken (the brine can be made a day in advance).  Once the brine is cold, add the chicken pieces, cover and refrigerate overnight.  About 30 minutes before you are ready to start frying take the chicken pieces out of the brine and rinse them off (this is to get rid of any peppercorns stuck to the pieces and ensure it’s not too salty).  Put the buttermilk, along with some salt and pepper, into a large bowl and submerge the chicken pieces.  Let them hang out in the buttermilk bath for at least a half hour while you heat the oil.

In a large deep pot (I use my large Calphalon dutch oven) carefully pour in the oil.  I like to buy my oil from Costco since this uses so much.  If you want to use less oil, then fry in a stock pot that isn’t as wide – only downside there is that you can only fry one or two pieces at a time.  Clip your candy thermometer to the side, turn the heat to medium high and wait until you reach 375 degrees before cooking.  While the oil heats and the chicken soaks in the buttermilk, you need to prepare the coating.  In another large bowl mix the flour with the Old Bay Hot.  Since there is a lot of salt and pepper in that seasoning there is no need to add more, if you are skipping the Old Bay (don’t!) add lots of salt and pepper.  Also set out a cookie sheet lined with a cooling rack (if you have one, paper towels if you don’t) to have a place for the chicken to land when it’s done frying.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Once the oil has reached 375 degrees it is time to start frying.  Make sure to wear an apron and be careful because once the chicken is in the pan, the oil can start spitting.  Using tongs take the chicken out of the buttermilk, let it drip off, and then put it in the flour.  Make sure each piece is totally coated in the flour and that you have shaken off all the excess (a process called dredging).  Don’t dredge your chicken early or else it will get gummy, just do it a piece at a time and once the piece is ready add it to the oil carefully.  You only want to add a couple pieces at a time, in my pan I could fit about 4, so that they have room to fry and that you don’t bring down the temperature.  Once you have the right amount in the pan, monitor the temperature, you can turn up the heat if needed.  Larger pieces can take up to about 20 minutes, smaller more like 15.  Since you have brined the chicken it,s ok to leave all of the pieces in for the longer time frame.  Using a skimmer or tongs flip the pieces in the oil occasionally to make sure they are browning on all sides.  Do not walk away from this project!  Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp if you would like – once the pieces are done remove them to the cookie sheet and sprinkle with sea salt.

I then put the pieces into the preheated oven to keep them warm while cooking the rest.  Depending on the size of your pan and the amount of chicken you are frying it should take about 2 to 3 batches.  Serve the chicken hot and get ready for praise and adoration.

P.S. About that oil…I cover the pan and let it cool on the stove-top overnight.  I then just CAREFULLY pour the cooled oil back into the bottle, cap it and throw it away.

 

 

Chicken Burgers with Roasted Garlic Mayo

My herb garden is still going strong but as the weather gets cooler, basil starts to drop off my favorites list and I want more hearty, warming herbs like sage and rosemary.  For a quick weeknight dinner I thought a sage flavored chicken burger would be perfect, especially paired with some nice nutty roasted garlic mayo.

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As you learned in this post you can roast a ton of garlic and then freeze it for using later.  The burgers themselves are pretty flavorful with the addition of mustard and sage but the garlic mayo takes them to another level.  I like to do chicken burgers in a skillet as opposed to the grill because the meat is a lot more delicate and can fall apart on the grill.  If it’s still warm enough out and you want to save calories go ahead and grill these.  Potato salad or a grain salad would be great alongside these burgers for a healthy and simple meal.

Chicken Burgers with Roasted Garlic Mayo (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  bushels of sage
Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like the Light Duke’s version)
  • 4 cloves of roasted garlic (learn how in this post)
  • 4 hamburger buns (I like brioche ones)
  • a handful of arugula

In a bowl combine the ground chicken, sage, mustard and salt and pepper.  Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated then use your hands to score the meat into 4 equal portions.

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Form patties and place on a plate or cookie sheet.  At least point you can put them into the fridge for 24 hours or cook the burgers right away.

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In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the patties (use a skillet large enough to accommodate all of them or do in batches).  Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side until completely cooked through.

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While the burgers cook combine the mayo, roasted garlic and some salt and pepper.

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Once the burgers are cooked, let rest under some foil for 5 minutes.  Then put together your burger using the garlic mayo, brioche bun and arugula.

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Chicken Burgers with Roasted Garlic Mayo

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like the Light Duke’s version)
  • 4 cloves of roasted garlic (learn how in this post)
  • 4 hamburger buns (I like brioche ones)
  • a handful of arugula

In a bowl combine the ground chicken, sage, mustard and salt and pepper.  Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated then use your hands to score the meat into 4 equal portions.  Form patties and place on a plate or cookie sheet.  At least point you can put them into the fridge for 24 hours or cook the burgers right away.  In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of canola or vegetable oil over medium heat.  Add the patties (use a skillet large enough to accommodate all of them or do in batches).  Cook for 6 to 8 minutes per side until completely cooked through.  While the burgers cook combine the mayo, roasted garlic and some salt and pepper.  Once the burgers are cooked, let rest under some foil for 5 minutes.  Then put together your burger using the garlic mayo, brioche bun and arugula.

 

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