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Chicken Tikka Masala

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I haven’t had much experience with Indian food, but I found myself wanting to try it one night.  I thought I was taking a big risk when I made this, as I wasn’t sure if we would like it.  Luckily, there was no reason to worry, because we loved this!  It is now one of our most favorite dinners.  It was so full of flavor.  There were lots of flavors going on- the cinnamon, coriander, pepper, cumin, ginger, tomato, and garlic.  I loved how each stood out, but they all came together really well.  It is a fairly spicy dish, but if you want it less spicy, you can leave out the seeds in the chile.  The spicy flavors and the sweet flavors balance each other well, and you taste both in each bite.

This dish was pretty easy to prepare, and would make a good weeknight meal.  You first coat the chicken in a spice mixture, then you can forget about it for the next 30 to 60 minutes.  Then, you start making the sauce, and you broil the chicken at the same time.  Just before serving, you cut up the chicken, and stir it into the sauce.  I had never eaten basmati rice before this, but I really liked it.  It had a lot of flavor, and went really well with this.  It’s nice to have found a new dinner to put in the rotation, and I already can’t wait to have this again!

Chicken Tikka Masala
Source: Cook’s Illustrated September 2007

Chicken Tikka
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon table salt
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken beasts, trimmed of fat
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Masala Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala (can substitute 2 tsp. ground coriander, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

  1. 1. FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  2. 2. FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. 3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  4. 4. Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

Red Chile Chicken and Rice with Black Beans

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David and I just can’t get enough Mexican food, and I love finding new recipes to try.  I have heard such wonderful things about Mexican Everyday in the blogging world and I know I’m going to have to add it to my collection soon.  I came across this recipe and knew it would be something we would love.  We have never been “meat and three” eaters, and I love dishes like this that incorporate all the ingredients in one dish.  One-dish meals like this are also great because you can incorporate meat without having to eat a lot of it, which is definitely easier on the budget!  This was pretty easy to put together and took about 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight meal.  The rice was delicious.  It got toasted after cooking it for a short time before adding the broth, and it turned out so moist and fluffy- not dry at all, which can sometimes happen in dishes like this.  This dish was so full of flavor.  I love chili powder, and I loved having it in a dish where it played such a prominent role.  I will definitely be making this often!

Red Chili Chicken and Rice with Black Beans
Source: Elly Says Opa, who adapted it from Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless

2 Tbsp. canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1.25-1.5 lbs. total)
2.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder, divided
1 medium onion, large dice
1 cup rice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups chicken broth
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped green onions, roots and wilted outer leaves removed before chopping (OR 1/3 cup cilantro OR 2-3 Tbsp. epazote or hoja santa)
1/2 to 1 cup salsa

Heat the oil in a medium-large heavy pot (with a lid) over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with salt and 1 Tbsp. of the ancho chili powder. Place the chicken in the hot oil and brown on each side, 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, leaving behind as much oil as possible.

Add the onion and rice to the pot. Stir for several minutes, until the rice turns from translucent to opaque. Add the garlic and the remaining 1.5 Tbsp. ancho chili powder. Cook one minute, and then add the broth and salt to taste. Stir well. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken breast into 1″ pieces.  Add them to the pot along with the beans. Re-cover and cook 12 minutes longer.

Sprinkle the green onions and test a kernel of rice.  It should  have no more than a hint of chalkiness at in the center, in which case you place the cover back on, remove it from the heat and let it stand 5-10 minutes.  If it’s not cooked, cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Fluff the mixture with a fork and serve with salsa for each person to spoon on al gusto.

Cashew Chicken

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I have gotten into making my own Chinese food at home.  I’ve successfully made Mongolian Beef and Broccoli and Sweet and Sour Chicken (both of these need to be made again so I can photograph them and include them in this blog), and when I saw this one, I knew it would be a good recipe to try.  I’ve never actually had this before.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen it on the menu at a Chinese restaurant.  Anyway, this was really delicious and we both really liked it.  It was easy to make and was quick as well, making it a good weeknight meal.  You could pull this together in about 30-45 minutes because you can make the sauce while the chicken marinates.

This was such a great dinner!  I really liked the sauce.  In Amber’s original post, she said that she would double the sauce next time.  Even though I used just enough chicken for the two of us, I still doubled the sauce because I like to have a lot 🙂  I also got the idea of adding a little bit of honey to the sauce, which was a great addition.  It added just a little bit of sweetness to the sauce.  I intended to serve this with broccoli, but I forgot to pick it up at the grocery store.  Luckily, I had some peas and carrots in the freezer, so I used that instead.  I think broccoli, peas, and carrots, would all go great together in this.  I would definitely include a vegetable, though, because it really adds flavor.  I can’t wait to make this again, and hopefully soon I’ll have some more Chinese/Asian dishes to share with you.

Cashew Chicken
Adapted from Williams Sonoma, as seen on Amber’s Delectable Delights

3 Tbs. soy sauce

1 Tbs. rice wine or dry sherry

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into
bite-size pieces

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. Asian sesame oil

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. cornstarch

3 Tbs. corn or peanut oil

1-2 tablespoons honey

2 green onions, chopped

1 cup salted roasted cashews

Steamed rice for serving

Directions:

Marinate the chicken
In a large bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. of the soy sauce, the wine and ginger. Stir in the chicken to coat evenly and set aside for 15 minutes.

Make the sauce
In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbs. water, the remaining 1 Tbs. soy sauce, the Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, sugar and cornstarch, and stir to dissolve the sugar and cornstarch.

Stir-fry the chicken
Heat a wok or large fry pan over high heat until very hot and add 2 Tbs. of the corn oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade, draining it well, and discard the marinade. Add the chicken to the wok and stir-fry until opaque, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a bowl.

Return the wok to medium heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. corn oil. Add the green onions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Return the chicken to the wok and add the cashews.

Grilled Chicken with Ancho Barbeque Sauce

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I have been craving grilled chicken (any grilled foods really), and was searching for new grill recipes when I came across this.  It looked perfect, and I immediately put it on the menu for that night.  We are lucky that in South Carolina, we can pretty much grill all year, but I still like it more in the summer because we can pair the grilled meat with summer vegetables.  We had this with grilled corn and a black beans and tomato dish, which made it the perfect summer meal.  There is nothing better than taking advantage of foods while they are in season.

The sauce was simple to make, and it can be made in advance.  It also keeps well.  I put the leftovers in the freezer and we recently had it again and it was just as good.  The sauce was incredibly delicious!  It was so full of flavor and had the perfect sweet and spicy taste.  I omitted the steak sauce because we didn’t have it on hand and used olive oil instead of butter to cook the onions.  The marinade was also really simple and tasty.  The recipe says to use a vacuum marinator, but I used a simple Zip-lock bag and it worked out fine.  I prefer to buy chicken tenderloins, so I used that instead of the whole chicken.  I buy it in 5-pound bags at Costco, and it’s so easy and convenient.  I’ve also found that for dishes like this, tenderloins hold a lot of flavor throughout the entire piece of meat and not just on the surface.  This was a perfect summer dinner, but I know we will be eating it year round.

NOTE: As a southern girl who is passionate about BBQ, I must note that this may have BBQ sauce, but it is in no way BBQ.  Real BBQ is pulled pork.  You can use a variety of sauces, although since I am from South Carolina, I am partial to mustard-based sauces. 🙂

Grilled Chicken with Ancho Barbeque Sauce
Adapted from Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

1 ancho chili, seeded and cut into pieces

1 cup boiling water

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. salt

1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lb., cut into serving pieces

For the barbecue sauce:

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup steak sauce

2 Tbs. cider vinegar

1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

5 tsp. ancho chili powder

Directions:

In a small heatproof bowl, combine the ancho chili and boiling water. Let stand until the chili has softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving 2 Tbs. of the liquid.

In a food processor or blender, combine the ancho chili, the reserved liquid, the olive oil and salt. Process until a thick, smooth paste forms. Place the paste and the chicken pieces in the barrel of a vacuum marinator and marinate for 30 minutes according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let stand in the sealed marinator for 20 minutes more before grilling. If necessary, marinate the chicken in batches.

Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce: In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and chili powder. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat an indoor electric grill to 400°F.

Arrange the chicken, skin side down, on the grill. Cook, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through, 22 to 25 minutes total. Brush the skin side of the chicken with some of the barbecue sauce during the last 2 to 3 minutes of cooking.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve immediately. Pass the remaining barbecue sauce at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Chicken Bouillabaisse

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I love Ina Garten’s recipes, but sometimes I forget to look through her cookbooks or recipes on The Food Network when I’m looking for inspiration.  I was recently looking through Back to Basics, and thought this dish would be perfect to make on a gray, rainy Saturday when there wasn’t much else to do.  I had also just picked up some saffron at Whole Foods, and was looking for the perfect dish to use it in.

This recipe isn’t difficult, but does take a couple of hours because of simmering and baking time, so it’s probably not the best weeknight meal.  It’s great, however, for when you want to make something special to celebrate, or just because you have some extra time and want to spend it in the kitchen 🙂  I love potatoes in slow-cooking dishes like this.  There few better comfort meals than tender meat and potatoes.  The Rouille sauce was delicious and was a great way to thicken this dish to make it the perfect consistency.  I loved the way the flavors came together- it was the perfect blend.  I couldn’t find Pernod, so I just used a little extra white wine.  You could do this, or just leave it out entirely.  We both loved this and it is something I would definitely make again.

Chicken Bouillabaisse
Source: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces (you could also used bone-in chicken breasts, which is what I did)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves

Good olive oil

1 large head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled

1 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree

1 ½ cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons Pernod

1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halfved

Rouille, for serving (recipe follows)

Crusty French Bread, for serving

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season it generously with salt, pepper, and the rosemary.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large Dutch oven and brown the chicken pieces in batches until nicely browned all over, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch.  Transfer the browned chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, saffron, fennel seeds, tomato puree, chicken stock, white wine, Pernod, 2 teaspoons salt, and  teaspoon pepper to the pot.  Stir and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the garlic is very tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Carefully pour the sauce into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Puree until smooth.  Return the sauce to the Dutch oven and add the potatoes and browned chicken pieces with their juices.  Stir carefully.

Cover the pot and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is done.  Check the seasonings and serve hot in shallow bowls with big dollops of rouille and slices of crusty bread.

Rouille (Makes 1 cup)

4 large garlic cloves

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon saffron threads

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup good olive oil

Place the garlic and salt on a cutting board and mince together.  Transfer the mixture to a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Add the egg yolk, lemon juice, saffron, and red pepper flakes.  Process until smooth.

With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a thin, steady stream through the feed tube to make a thick mayonnaise emulsion.  Transfer the rouille to a serving bowl and store it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serves 3

Chicken Brunswick Stew

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I love soup, but David is not a fan of most soups, so we really don’t eat it all that often.  Luckily, though, he likes this kind of soup.  He says that “hearty” soups like this with the chicken or a beef stew are fine, so I tend to make things like this when I crave soup in the winter.  My mom made this soup several years ago, when I was still in high school.  The church just came out with a cookbook to support the preschool there.  This recipe came from someone she knew, so she decided to try it.  We all loved it, so we had it quite a bit while I was still living at home.

We are usually busy on Tuesdays, so I wanted to find a good dinner to make in the crockpot.  I immediately thought about this soup and decided to make it.  I love the way the flavors blend together.  It has the perfect amount of heat, but it’s definitely not too spicy.  I just love the taste of warm chicken in a soup like this.  The corn and tomatoes are the perfect addition to the shredded chicken.  I realized as I was making this that it had been forever since I made a meal in the crockpot.  I love coming home and being able to smell dinner cooking.  It’s maximum benefit for minimum effort!  We like to have this with rice, but you could have it on its own as well.

Chicken Brunswick Stew
Source: Pickles, Pies, & Presbyterians (a local cookbook from the church I grew up in)

2 large onions, chopped

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves

2 (15-ounce) cans cream-style corn

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (12-ounce) bottle chili sauce

1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup butter, cut up

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon pepper sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

Place onion in a 4-quart slow cooker; place chicken breasts on top of the onions.  Add corn, tomatoes, chili sauce, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, butter, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt, pepper, and pepper sauce.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or until chicken is tender.  Remove the chicken and shred; return to stew.  Mix thoroughly and serve.


Chicken Potpie

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Sorry for being a TWD slacker.  I have had so much going on over the past week.  I’ve been sick and we had to go out of town unexpectedly over the weekend for my husband’s grandfather’s funeral, so the rice pudding just didn’t get done.  I’m sorry, and I’ll be back next week for the Twofer Pie (which I’ve already made, and it’s delicious!).  So, instead, I will bring you a great dinner that I made recently.

Chicken Potpie is one of those dinners that I never liked as a kid, but discovered in college that I really do like.  I finally convinced David that we should have it for dinner one night, and I was so excited to make this recipe that I had saved for a while.  This was such a great recipe.  A great aspect of it is that you can adapt it based on the ingredients you have or based on your preferences.  I omitted the red peppers and mushrooms, but used green beans, peas, and carrots for the filling.  I just loved the filling.  It had such a wonderful, made-from-scratch taste.  Next time I will definitely include the mushrooms.  The crust was fabulous.  It was really flaky and the cream cheese and butter combination gave it a great flavor.  The recipe says you can make either individual potpies or make it in a larger dish.  I made half of the recipe and baked in in a 9×9-inch dish.  I already can’t wait to have this again!

Chicken Potpie

Source: Adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, who adapted it from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather

Chicken pot pie, adapted from The Pastry Queen
Filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-size yellow onion, chopped
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 purchased cooked rotisserie chicken or 1 whole stewed chicken, cooled (I use 4-6 chicken breasts, poached and shredded)
8 ounces fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (8-ounce) package frozen peas

Cream Sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Dash of Tobasco (I use 1/2-1 tsp or so)
Salt and freshly ground white pepper (I use black pepper)

Pie Crust
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
3 cups all purpose flour
10 ounces chilled cream cheese, cut into large pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper (I use black pepper)
1 large egg

To make the filling:
If cooking chicken breasts, pound the chicken breasts to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness and place in a pot of simmering water before chopping veggies so they’ll be ready to shred while the veggies are sauteing.

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan set over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms and sauté about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the crushed red pepper, thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.

While the vegetables are sauteing, skin the chicken, pull the meat off the bones and shred the meat or cut into bite-size pieces. Stir the peas and chicken into the vegetable mixture. Set the filling aside.

To make the cream sauce:
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the chicken stock and cook the sauce over medium heat until it thickens to the consistency of a cream soup. Add the cream, hot pepper sauce, and salt and white pepper to taste. Pour the cream sauce over the chicken filling and stir to combine. Fill individual 1/4-cup capacity oven-safe bowls three-quarters of the way to the top with the creamed chicken filling.

To make the crust:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (or don’t, if you’re cooking for the freezer). In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the butter and flour until crumbly. Add the cream cheese, salt, and white pepper. Continue pulsing just until the dough forms a ball.

Set the dough on a flat surface dusted with flour. Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness. Measure the diameter of the pot pie bowls-mine are about 4 inches across-and cut out dough rounds that are 1 1/2 inches larger in diameter. Lay the dough rounds on top of the pot pies, making sure the dough hangs evenly over each bowl. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg. Bake the pies for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

You can also bake this in two 9-inch dishes or a single 9×13 inch dish, rolling out the dough to just slightly larger than the dish and topping it with the pastry, and tucking in the sides of the pastry.

To cook from the freezer, preheat oven to 375. Cover top of the dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and brush the dough lightly with the beaten egg. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center registers a hot filling.



Spicy Italian-Style Chicken with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions- Scarpariello

I was looking through the Cook’s Illustrated website for dinner ideas and came across this recipe when I was searching for chicken ideas. It sounded interesting and I wanted to try something different, so I decided to go for it. We ended up really enjoying it. I haven’t done a whole lot of cooking with bone-in chicken breasts, so this was a great way to get some practice. I really liked this combination of flavors. I didn’t find this to be all that spicy, so if you like spicy food you might want to adjust the seasonings. I would definitely make this again!

Spicy Italian-Style Chicken with Sausage, Peppers, and Onions- Scarpariello

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 ounces sweet Italian sausage , casings removed

2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves , trimmed of excess fat and skin and cut crosswise into 2 or 3 pieces (see illustrations below)

Table salt and ground black pepper

1 medium onion , halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 large red bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips (about 1 1/2 cups)

3-5 pickled hot cherry peppers , stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch strips (about 1/4 cup)

3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/3 cup white wine vinegar plus 2 additional tablespoons

3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth plus 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sausage and cook, stirring to break sausage into 1/2-inch pieces, until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer sausage to plate lined with paper towels. Remove skillet from heat; pour off fat into small bowl and reserve; wipe out skillet with paper towels.

Return skillet to medium-high heat and heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil until smoking. Pat chicken dry and liberally season with salt and pepper. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and brown on other side, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to large plate. Remove skillet from heat and pour off fat into bowl with sausage fat; wipe out skillet with paper towels.

Return skillet to medium-high heat and heat 1 tablespoon reserved fat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and cherry peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until bell pepper begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sugar, 1/3 cup vinegar, and 3/4 cup broth; bring mixture to boil, scraping up browned bits from pan bottom.

Add sausage and chicken (with any accumulated juices) to skillet, arranging chicken pieces in single layer, skin side up, on top of peppers and onion. Transfer skillet to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees, 18 to 22 minutes, removing smaller pieces sooner if necessary. Meanwhile, combine cornstarch, thyme, and remaining tablespoon broth in small bowl.

Carefully remove skillet from oven (handle will be very hot) and transfer chicken, skin side up, to platter or individual serving plates. Place skillet over medium-high heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Simmer sauce mixture until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, taste sauce and add up to 2 tablespoons vinegar. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce around chicken, being careful not to pour it directly over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated May 2007

Chicken Saltimbocca

I was searching the Cook’s Illustrated website for dinner ideas, and I came upon this. I remembered seeing it a while ago and thinking that it sounded good, so I decided to give it a try. I was sure glad I did! I liked the combination of the ham and prosciutto. The sauce was also very good. I really like basic white wine and butter sauces, so I was pretty sure I would like this. The sauce had a bit of a bite, so if you don’t want a strong wine taste, you might want to reduce the wine a bit. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing!

Chicken Saltimbocca

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Ground black pepper
8 thin-cut, boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets (about 2 pounds), trimmed of ragged
edges as necessary
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaves, plus 8 large leaves (optional)
8 thin slices prosciutto, cut into 5- to 6-inch long pieces to match the chicken (about 3
ounces)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¼ cups dry vermouth or white wine
2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Table salt

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Combine flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in shallow dish.

Pat cutlets dry with paper towels. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off any excess. Lay cutlets flat and sprinkle evenly with minced sage. Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlet, pressing lightly to adhere; set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until beginning to shimmer. Add sage leaves (if using) and cook until leaves begin to change color and are fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds. Using slotted spoon, remove sage to paper towel-lined plate; reserve. Add half of cutlets to pan, prosciutto-side down, and cook until light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook on other side until light golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to wire rack set on rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and cutlets, then transfer to oven to keep warm while preparing sauce.

Pour off excess fat from skillet. Stir in vermouth, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Turn heat to low and whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Off heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from oven and place on platter. Spoon sauce over cutlets before serving.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated March 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

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This dish used to be in our regular rotation but we haven’t made it in a while.  The recipe is originally from Emeril, but as I have prepared and eaten it, it has been adjusted to my personal tastes.  Last week I decided that I wanted to make it again and since this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge was Pressure Cookers, Dutch Ovens, and Crockpots, I knew it was a good time to fix it.  I love this dinner because it has so much flavor and it’s very easy to prepare.  I made a few changes to the recipe.  I only used boneless skinless chicken breasts and pounded them thin and sauteed them after adding the seasonings.  I have found that this works better than cooking them in the sauce because the sauce tends to make the coating soggy.  I also use double the amount of mushrooms because I love mushrooms in a red sauce and I didn’t think this one had enough.  I also added a few dashes of red pepper flakes to make it a little bit spicier.  This is a great recipe and one that I always enjoy making, and I am submitting it to this month’s Weekend Cookbook Challenge, hosted by Lis of La Mia Cucina.

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4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
Cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper for coating chicken
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups mushrooms (I used cremini)
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chiffonade basil
1/2 pound cooked fettuccine or spaghetti
4 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Season the chicken parts with desired amounts of paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour, coating completely.  Saute chicken in olive oil until done, and place in warm oven until ready to serve.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add the oil. Add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, and basil. Add the chicken back to the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and cover. Simmer until sauce is of desired consistency and flavors are blended together.
Serve over pasta, garnished with cheese and parsley.

Source: Adapted from Emeril Legasse, originally in  New New Orleans Cooking, published by William and Morrow, 1993