5.28.2016

Chicken Fricassee: Julia Child Style

I have been reading Julia Child's biography of her time in France. As a fellow adventurer; I can understand  her passion and love of the culture and how everything was to be viewed with splendor and awe. I felt that way a lot when I was abroad and every time I visit a country I find something I need to learn how to make. If I had the opportunities that she had to take cooking classes at Le Cordon Blue I am sure I could master an entire cuisine. As such I have to contend myself to being an amateur chef/cook.

I am fortunate enough to have a 1970's copy of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" vol. 1 in my bookshelf. One of the things that struck me about the book, was the way in which it was written. There were no ingredients list followed by directions. Rather it was a fluid way of writing. In order to know what you needed in the recipe, you had to actually READ it. Its about focusing on the ingredients at hand as they happen and taking care with those ingredients. While I am sure this was revolutionary, her later works did follow a more standardized method. I, personally, am a fan of the ingredients list then the directions, which is how I will post here, as it helps me organize my prep.

I will have to break down this recipe as it does call for a few things and to be honest this is one of those recipes that you will need to take your time with. FYI: This is NOT a healthy, This is NOT a quick recipe, and it IS completely worth it.

The first thing you need to do is READ carefully, and then second, prepare EVERYTHING you need as much in advance as possible. This cuts down on time and you are able to plan things more accordingly. The recipe is directly from her book however I will note where I made changes.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2- 3 lbs of chicken cut up, rinsed and dried thoroughly with a towel
    • I used chicken thighs, as that is what I had in my freezer and  that is usually the most forgiving, though it does produce quite a bit of liquid. More on that in the directions
  • 4 tbls butter
  • 1 thinly sliced onion
  • 1 thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 thinly sliced celery stalk
  • 3 tbls flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper 
    • I added more pepper because that is what I like.
  • 3 cups boiling white chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • A small herb Bouquet (thyme, parsley, rosemary and bay leaf)
    • I had to use dry herbs: 1/2 tsp of Parsley, Oregano, Basil)
  • 16-20 white onions braised (she means Pearl Onions here)
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms stewed in butter, lemon juice, and water

The Sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (aka Heavy Cream)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Pinch (1/16) nutmeg
  • Two drops of lemon juice
Directions
  1. Prepare the braised onions first either here or the day before.
    1. 18-24 peeled white onions (blanch them in boiling water for 10 sec. to make this easier) place in a sauce pan with 1/2 cup chicken stock, 2 tbls butter, salt, pepper, herbs. Cook for 40-50 min, until tender and they keep their shape.
      Finished Product
  2. Take a heave 10 inch fire proof casserole dish or large stock pot (I had the stock pot only) and heat the butter over low heat.
  3. Cook the vegetables slowly over low heat in the butter for 5 min, or until almost tender but NOT browned.
  4. Push them to one side and raise the heat slightly. 
    1. You should be boiling your three cups of stock at this point if you aren't.
    2. When using a stock pot this is more difficult, so I placed my chicken on top of the vegetable mixture
  5. Add the chicken turn the chicken every min for 3-4 min until the meat has stiffened but does not color.
  6. Lower the heat and cover, cook the chicken very slowly for 10 min, turning once, it should swell slightly but not change color.
  7. Meanwhile mix the flour, salt, and pepper  and sprinkle the mix on all sides of the chicken in the pot.
    1. Because I was using a stock pot I could only cook three thighs at a time so I had to repeat this step twice. It is important therefore, that you do not burn the butter and vegetables.
  8. Remove the chicken and pour the chicken stock in and mix it with the flour (scraping the brown bits of the bottom with your tongs)
    before adding the stock
  9. Add the wine, herbs, and more stock or water so the liquid just covers the chicken and bring to a simmer. 
  10. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and stew the Mushrooms.
    1. 1/3 cup water, salt, pepper, 1 tbls lemon juice. Bring to a boil and let simmer, covered, for 5 min. Reserve 2 tbls of juice then drain.
  11. Cover and maintain a slow simmer for 25-30 min. The chicken is done when the juices run clear yellow when the meat is priced with a fork.
  12. Remove the chicken to a plate and place in the preheated oven
  13. Add 2 tbls of the stewed mushroom juices and braised onion juices to the stock.
  14. Simmer the liquid in the casserole for 2-3 min, skimming off the fat. 
  15. Raise the heat to high and boil rapidly until the sauce reduces  and thickens enough to coat a spoon nicely, Correct seasoning, You should have 2-2 1/2 cups.
    1. This is the part that is most frustrating. While in the book it seems really simple to reduce it down, the reality was that the juices from the thighs added more liquid in addition to the juices from the mushrooms and onions. It would take you about two hours, and I am NOT that patient. So I brought it to a rapid boil and reduced it as much as I could for no longer than 45 min. It did coat a stainless steel spoon but it was WAY more than 2 1/2 cups. I just measured out the 2 1/2 cups and discarded the rest.
  16. Blend the yolks and cream in a mixing bowl with a wire whip. Continue beating and add the hot sauce by small tablespoonfuls until about a cupful has gone in. 
  17. Beat the rest of the cause in a thin stream
  18. Pour the sauce back into the casserole or into a enameled or stainless still sauce pan. Set over moderately high heat and, stirring constantly, reach all over the bottom and sides of the pan until the sauce comes to a boil. Boil for 1 min stirring.
  19. Correct seasoning, adding drops of lemon to taste and a pinch of nutmeg. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve. 
    1. I actually didn't do that because I didn't have a fine sieve. Honestly, its fine and tastes wonderful.
  20. Arrange the onions and mushrooms on a plate and add the chicken over top. 
  21. Pour some of the sauce over the chicken and serve.

5.27.2016

Greek Lemon Chicken: One Pot Recipe


The tradition of the one skillet meal is back. I remember in my youth that the most popular thing for moms to do was to make a whole meal in one pot. In particular the crockpot which is such and awesome invention.

I was given this recipe by my mom who got it from another site. The first time I made this, I used brown rice and the product meant the chicken was good but the rice was hard to cook through all the way. The second time around I made it with white rice and the result was SO much better. It is a perfect week night meal. Make a salad and you are good to go!

This is all you need....soooo easy!

Ingredients
  • Chicken Marinade-
  • 5 Chicken Thighs
  • 1-2 Lemons; zest + 4 tbls lemon juice
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp salt


Put all ingredients in a bag and marinate for 1 hour at least but preferably overnight.

Rice
  • 1 1/2 tbls olive oil, separated
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 c chicken stock
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tbls dried oregano
  • salt
  • pepper


Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Remove chicken from marinade, but reserve the marinade
  3. heat 1/2 tbls olive oil in a deep 10' or larger, oven proof pan over medium high heat. heat till the oil Shimmers
  4. Place the chicken in the skillet, skin side down, and cook until golden brown then turn over to cook the underside until golden brown. 
  5. Remove Chicken and set aside
  6. Pour off fat and wipe the pan.
  7. Heat 1 tbls olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat. Heat till the oil shimmers
  8. Add onion and saute for a few min until translucent.
  9. Add the remaining rice ingredients and reserved marinade
  10. Let the liquid come to a simmer. Add chicken on top then place lid over pan and put in the oven for 35 min.
  11. Remove Lid from pan and bake for an additional 10 min.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5-10 min before serving.



5.23.2016

Quinoa Energy Salad

healthy and filling!
So it is summer and though I am behind on this, time to break out the healthy eating so I can kind of look good in a dress....considering I am the worlds laziest person, this is difficult to pull off.

Anyways this is another creation from Kitchen Stories app, but with my own variations.  One of the things I love about this app is how easy and simple the recipes are. I found this energy salad from there and thought, PERFECT! I can finally start my health kick this week with a salad that won't leave me wanting more.

This recipe can be made vegan if you so choose by substituting broth for water but I find that quinoa needs extra help in getting the flavors just right.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 10 cups of spinach
  • 1 tbls raisins or crasins
  • 1/4 cashews or peanuts

  • 3 tsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbls balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbls olive oil

  • salt
  • pepper


Directions

  1. Rinse quinoa under water and add to saucepan with salted water. Bring to a boil. Then, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for approx. 15 min. until tender. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for approx. 5 min.
  2. Peel carrots. Cut sweet potato, apple, and carrots into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large frying pan heat 1 tsp of coconut oil, sauté sweet potato over medium-high heat for approx. 6 – 10 min. until golden brown and tender. 
  4. Add carrots and sauté for approx. 3 – 5 min.
    1. You may need to add more coconut oil at this point, it depends on your pan.
  5. In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, apple, carrot, spinach, raisins, and cashews. Mix well to combine.
  6. Whisk together mustard, honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle 1-2 tsp over entire salad then reserve the rest for others to add as they feel. 





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