Posts Tagged 'Chicken'

Butter and Herb Chicken Dumplings

Have you ever had a recipe that was supposed to be easy but caused you no end of doubt and worry? I just had that experience with this recipe and it was terrifying. As I was cooking I kept asking, “Are these supposed to look like this?” “Is this dough too thin?” “Isn’t this supposed to be thicker?” “Does that look mixed to you?”

The recipe looked easy, simple, and quick–and it was–but, boy, was I anxious about how these would turn out. I think it’s because I expected something a bit more involved and was caught off guard when the work was finished in less than five minutes.

Dumplings in chicken soup.
In the end, they tasted great and were one of the easiest meals I have made. Not all my dumplings were picture-perfect, but they sure tasted great.

Why did it cause me problems? Well, click through to find out.

I was flying blind. Not only had I never made dumplings before, but I could also not remember ever having them before. I had no idea how they were supposed to cook or what they were supposed to look like. I was still tired and a bit under the weather, so I skipped my usual research for new recipes. I just chose the recipe from How to Cook Everything that was next to the chicken soup.

They were fine, it turns out I can follow instructions.

Chicken dumplings in soup.
Butter and Herb Chicken Dumplings

Ingredients
6 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons butter (half a stick) (softened)
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/3 fresh parsley
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

Bring the 6 cups chicken stock to a simmer.
In a mixing bowl, mash the butter with a fork until soft and creamy. Add the eggs and mix until combined (it’s fine if it doesn’t get completely incorporated).
Add the rest of the ingredients (salt and pepper to your liking). Add any other herbs you like (I added about 1/2 teaspoon of Herbs en Provence). The dough will still be creamy, don’t worry, it’s fine.
Measure out about teaspoon sized amounts and, using another spoon or your fingers, scoop it out into the simmering broth. Try to keep the dough together or you will end up with some oddly shaped dumplings, as I did.
Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with chicken soup.

Easy Chicken Stock

A few days ago I mentioned that I made a chicken soup. I highly reccomend making your own stock for this. It’s neither hard nor particularly difficult to make your own stock. And because I was a bit under the weather when I made this particular version, I took extra pains to make sure it was easy.

Finished Chicken Stock

Finished Chicken Stock

Once you make your own, you’ll realize that it is much better than any of the dozen or so of the brands offered at the supermarket. Sure, one or two may be serviceable, but making it yourself is truly stunning.

Interested in making the simplest chicken stock? Click through to find out how.

Continue reading ‘Easy Chicken Stock’

Broiled Chicken and Couscous

This dish is very easy to prepare and comes out great. When you are looking to cook something tasty, but don’t want to spend much time, broiled chicken fits the bill. That crisp skin and tender meat tastes as good as it looks.

The key to outstanding chicken is to brine it. What is a brine you ask? Well, funny you should ask, the yesterday’s post this explains that!

Broiled Chicken and Lemon Couscous (with pistachios)

Broiled Chicken and Lemon Couscous (with pistachios)

Couscous—-sooooo easy. If you can measure a cup of water into a skillet and bring it to a boil, you can make couscous. You don’t even need to time it. And if you get something wrong, it’s easy to correct! (I’ll get into correcting it and making it fancy after the jump.)

Lemon Couscous with pistachios

Lemon Couscous with pistachios

And the broiled chicken. Easy, simple, and can be made extremely tasty if you have some seasonings. Don’t forget to brine it though! Continue reading ‘Broiled Chicken and Couscous’

Pan-roast Chicken

Pan-roast chicken with lemon and herbs

Pan-roast chicken with lemon and herbs

I wanted to make a roast chicken the other day, but I can never seem to get a good sauce base when I roast a chicken. All the juices and flavor that come off the chicken basically burn in the bottom of my roasting pan. I am a big fan of pan sauces though. So my problem was this: I want the flavor and crispy skin that you get when you roast a bird, but I want a pan sauce that can only be made with the fond that comes from browning meat directly in a skillet. Fortunately, Cook’s Illustrated was here to help me out.

I came across an recipe in their recent November issue for pan-roasting a chicken, resulting in crisp skin and a versatile pan sauce base. Their suggestion was basically take a cut up whole chicken and brown it in a skillet–I used my trusty cast iron 12-inch skillet for this. Then once a fond has developed and the chicken is golden, pour in some liquid to deglaze the pan and basically steam the chicken. Once nearly cooked through, you pour the liquid out (but keep it!) and re-brown the chicken in the pan. Now you have crispy chicken that you can set aside for a moment and use the remaining liquid to make your pan sauce! Perfect!

Pan-roast Chicken with lemon and herbs

Pan-roast Chicken with lemon and herbs

Here is the way I did mine:

Pan-roast Chicken
adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

For the chicken:
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 parts (skin-on thighs, drumsticks, breasts cut in half)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken broth (I always use low sodium)
1/4 dry vermouth (you can use dry white wine)
salt and black pepper

For my Sauce
1 tsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp flour (AP is best)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp herbs en provence
1/3 tablespoon butter (unsalted)
salt and black pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced

Instructions

  1. Season your dry chicken with salt and pepper. Heat about 2 tsps olive oil (I used some regular, not extra virgin. You can use almost any kind of oil) in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. When the oil is hot (you should see it begin to ripple) add chicken, skin-side down, and cook 5 to 8 minutes. Try not to move the chicken once you put it in the pan. Moving the chicken will prevent the fond from forming and actually cause it to stick more.
  3. Flip the chicken skin-side up. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add about 3/4 cup broth then cover the skillet. Cook about 10-15 minutes. For those of you like me who like measurements, an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part should be 155 degrees for the breasts and 170 for the legs/thighs. If some parts reach that temperature before others, go ahead and remove them to a plate (skin-side up).
  4. Pour the liquid from the skillet and reserve. Go ahead and give the skillet a quick wipe with a paper towel.
  5. Add about a tsp of oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until hot (again, it should just begin to ripple). Return chicken pieces skin-side down and cook until skin is golden brown and that great crispy texture that we were trying to get all along. At this point, you want the internal temperature of the breasts to be 160 degrees and the legs to be 175 degrees. It should take about 5 minutes, give or take one or two. When cooked, transfer to serving platter and tent loosely with foil.
  6. Using spoon, skim fat from reserved cooking liquid and add the rest of the broth and wine-or-vermouth.
  7. Heat about a tsp of oil in now-empty skillet over low heat. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 1 minute.
  8. If the pan is particularly dry, add up to a tsp more of oil. Then add the flour and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
  9. Increase heat to medium-high, add the herbs en provence and the reserved cooking liquid, broth and wine-or-vermouth mixture, and bring to simmer, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Maintain a brisk simmer until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 5 mintues.
  10. Off heat, whisk in lemon juice and butter. Add salt and pepper to taste (go ahead and taste the sauce, it’s good). Pour sauce around chicken and serve immediately.

I garnished with some parsley (to make it look pretty for the pictures, of course). Also, don’t pour the sauce all over the skin, it will make it soggy.


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