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Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Remember that Asian-Orange Chicken I told you about a few weeks ago, the one that was my debut into Asian cooking on this blog?  Well, it’s back again, kinda, sorta.

These Orange and Soy Glazed Chicken Thighs are the rich man’s version of orange chicken.  They are the solution to a dinner party where you want to impress but know your guests would be just as happy with some chinese takeout.  Many of the same flavors are married together in a different presentation, leaving you with all the flavor you wanted without the accompanying soy sauce packets and crumbly fortune cookies.

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Orange and Soy Glazed Chicken Thighs
Originally from finecooking.com, Fine Cooking 103, p. 89
Serves 4

Vegetable oil for the broiler pan
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 small to medium shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
3 medium scallions (green parts only), cut into 3-inch lengths
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. mirin * I subbed this with half honey, half corn syrup since it’s not an ingredient I need often
1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
1-1/4 tsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Position a rack about 7 inches from the broiler and heat the oven to 450°F. Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil and lightly oil the top of the pan.

Season the chicken all over with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Arrange the shiitake in 8 pairs, gill sides up, on the prepared broiler pan and season with salt and pepper. Arrange 2 or 3 scallion pieces on top of each mushroom pair, then put a chicken thigh, skin side up, on top. Press with your hand to flatten. Roast until the edges of the chicken begin to brown and an instantread thermometer inserted in a thick part of the biggest thigh registers 165°F, about 20 minutes. Turn the broiler to high and broil until the skin is crisp and deeply browned, 5 to 6 minutes, rotating the pan once for even browning.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

In a small bowl, stir the orange juice and cornstarch; add this mixture to the saucepan. Return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and glossy, about 1 minute.

To serve, transfer the chicken, scallions, and mushrooms to dinner plates, drizzle with the sauce, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

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Oh man am I looking for easy these days.  Easy and about oh, zero ingredients since we are packing up our entire house and that means clearing the fridge of its contents.  This recipe uses only ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

It’s totally simple.  I think I was drawn to try it mostly because it reminds me of a dish I used to rder every once in a while from Coco Pazzo Cafe back when I worked a block away from it.  A chicken paillard served with a fresh helping of greens, goat cheese and grapes.  No carb-heavy side offered.  No need to sauce it up.  Just simple, fresh food.

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Lemon and Oregano-Rubbed Chicken Paillards
From cookinglight.com
Serves 4

4  (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
5  teaspoons  grated lemon rind
1  tablespoon  olive oil
1 1/2  teaspoons  dried oregano
3/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/4  teaspoon  water
2  garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
4  lemon wedges
2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley

Prepare grill.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Combine lemon rind and next 6 ingredients (through minced garlic); rub evenly over both sides of chicken. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove from heat. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge evenly over each chicken breast half. Sprinkle parsley evenly over chicken.

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It’s 55 degrees and windy here.  What better day to start bringing in the Fall flavors and cooking techniques?  It’s time to celebrate the use of your oven for the warmth it provides and start roasting everything!  Roasting can be a perfect option for the at-home mom.  It often takes only simple prep work up front to get the dish in the oven.  What it does need, though, is considerable time to sit there and grow warm and tender.  When you get home from work at 6:20 as I used to, it feels cumbersome to have to wait 50 minutes to eat.  But these days I can start the roasting at 5:30 and have dinner on the table right when the hunger pains start.

This chicken is a Mediterranean-influenced, perfect cross-over between Summer and Fall with it’s citrus flare and use of thyme and sage.  The best bites are those that combine a little of caramelized chicken with a hint of shallot and a nice bite of briney olive.

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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Olives and Lemon
From Fine Cooking 103, p. 21
Serves four

One 4-lb. chicken, cut into eight pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium lemon
1 Tbs. unsalted butter; more as needed
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
5 medium shallots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
3/4 cup jarred brined olives, rinsed, pitted, and halved
8 fresh sage leaves
6 small fresh or 3 dried bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 tsp. chopped

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

Season the chicken generously on all sides with salt and pepper.

Cut the ends off the lemon, stand it on one end, and slice off the peel and the bitter white pith to expose the flesh. Cut the lemon segments from the membranes, letting them drop into a small bowl. Cut each segment crosswise into 4 pieces.

Heat the butter and the oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, cook the chicken skin side down until golden-brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 2 Tbs. of the fat. Add the shallots, olives, sage, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and lemon segments, and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan skin side up and transfer to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 165°F, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with the chopped thyme.

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Asian Orange Chicken

I believe this is my first-ever Asian-inspired post.  About four times a year I get a craving for Chinese food, but that usually means a run to the local Chinese take-out place.  Nate, on the other hand, loves Chinese and considered this a roaring success.  “Tastes just like real take-out,” he said.  I’m not sure whether that is a particularly good thing or not, but I’ll tell ya what – the leftovers are long gone.

I appreciated being able to control the freshness of the vegetables and the amount of oil that went into this dish, unlike when we order take-out.  I also enjoyed being able to pair it with some simple noodles with a dash of soy sauce instead of the usual fried rice, which always ends up in our garbage can.

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Asian Orange Chicken
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Yield: 8 servings

Sauce:
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut
into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 head of broccoli crowns, chopped and steamed until tender crisp
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
In a resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides.  Add mushrooms near the end of the cooking time and saute lightly.
Add the sauce to the skillet.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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Always trying to mix up the burger scene.  It’s summer, there are lots of burgers around, burgers are simple but burgers can be … dull.  So I’m generally up for trying a twist on the traditional burger.

This particular twist, Chicken Parmesan Burgers, gets a middling rating in my book.  Perhaps if I was ecstatic about Chicken Parmesan to begin with I would have been more gung-ho about this.  But I’ve always found Chicken Parmesan to be somewhat dull.  So why did I make this recipe?  I liked the idea of fresh mozzarella and radicchio being incorporated.

In the end, they were good but they were nothing fantastic.  If I made them again I’d skip the radicchio.  We decided it was too tough of a lettuce to work well on a burger.  The texture overwhelmed the ground chicken and mozzarella.  I’d make some fresh marinara because the store-bought is well, store-bought tasting.  Additionally the breading seemed almost unnecessary as it didn’t shine through when topped with sauce and a bun.  So I guess what I’m saying is I’d change almost everything about this recipe.

And yet, these burgers were perfectly fine to eat.  They just weren’t over-the-top good.  So my guess is that if you like Chicken Parmesan, you’d like these burgers.  And if you don’t, I’d recommend skipping these for a delicious burger with blue cheese, bacon, guacamole, caramelized onions, gouda or anything else sumptuous enough on top.

Chicken Parmesan Burgers

Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
10 1/2-inch-thick slices French bread (4 inches in diameter); 8 slices toasted, 2 slices (crust removed) diced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons minced fresh basil, divided, plus 12 large basil leaves
3/4 cup purchased refrigerated marinara sauce
12 ounces ground chicken (white meat)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon grated onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
4 large radicchio leaves

Blend diced bread and Parmesan in processor to fine crumbs. Transfer to pie dish; mix in 2 tablespoons minced basil.

Mix marinara and 2 tablespoons basil in small saucepan. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce to large bowl. Add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon oil, onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle with pepper; blend. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties; coat with crumbs. Heat sauce over low heat.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook patties until bottoms are crusty, 4 minutes. Turn patties over; top with cheese. Cook 3 minutes. Cover; cook until cooked through and cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

Assemble burgers with bread, radicchio, basil leaves, and warm marinara.

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This week I was craving good food.  I was craving green vegetables, bright fruits.  I was craving fresh flavors, forget the roasting or steaming process.  I was craving summer.  Or maybe I was just craving a meal that hadn’t been sitting in a Tupperware in my fridge for a week.

Either way, this recipe came to me.  It was a combination of a few different sources of inspiration that I thought might pull together nicely in a meal that boasted both quick and fresh.  The salty, tangy teriyaki infuses the chicken in no time and mingles with the fresh tomato and cilantro flavors without overpowering it.  The bit of artichoke comes through loud and clear, as artichoke should in my book!

Served with a side of out-of-season corn on the cob it gave me exactly what I was looking for in a light, bright meal.

Teriyaki Chicken with Artichoke and Tomato Salsa
Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts pounded thin

Marinade*:
½ cup soy sauce
1/3 cup water
¼ c. pineapple juice
¼ cup brown sugar
1 pinch ground ginger
1 clove minced garlic
1/8 cup minced onion

*Or, if you are 9 months pregnant I’ll let you use store-bought teriyaki sauce.  Or, okay, if you’re just really busy or hungry.

To make the marinade, place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Add chicken to marinade and coat completely.  Set aside on the counter while you make the salsa.

Salsa:
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
¼ cup jarred artichoke hearts (NOT marinated), diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Scant ½ teaspoon salt

Make salsa: Place all salsa ingredients in a medium sized bowl and toss gently to mix well. Set aside.  (The salt may seem a bit meager, but remember that teriyaki sauce tends to be quite salty on its own.  We amped up the salt a bit when Nate started eating the leftover salsa plain out of the bowl.)

Heat a large pan over medium high heat.  Add 1 T. olive oil to the pan.  When hot, use tongs to take chicken out of the marinade and place in the pan.  Cook, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in the middle or has reached 165 degrees.  The chicken should have some nice, dark caramelization from the marinade. (Alternately, this would be even more delicious grilled to char-ry perfection on a warm summer day.)

Plate chicken.  Spoon salsa over each chicken breast and serve immediately.

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Sandwich Friday has managed to go the way of the wind, since our life has turned to total scheduling mayhem. Every week looks different, every week seems booked solid, every week we are too rushed to run out the door on time to have a well-planned meal. Fortunately this week Sandwich Monday (which doesn’t really exist) was in effect. And this was a sandwich worth a Monday night in.

I managed to finally cook this chicken perfectly; still juicy and tender on the inside with a nice layer of slight caramelization on the crust. This is something that has eluded me lately as I’ve rushed through the dinner-making process. Having it done right this time reminded me that it’s worth the extra attention for the end flavor result. Badly cooked chicken is just bad.

I know there is a whole contingency of people out there who are against “pungent” cheese, but I pretend they don’t exist. Blue or gorgonzola cheese can never go wrong on a sandwich, in my opinion. What makes this sandwich unique is the contrast that the sweetened fig jam provides against the salty cheese. (I actually had some leftover balsamic fig preserves which worked deliciously). And then the bite of the arugula that has been dipped in lemon juice for arugula is a warranted finishing touch.

Chicken Panini with Fig Jam, Arugula, and Blue Cheese
Taken from loveandoliveoil.com.  Recipe from Cooking Light.
Makes 4 servings.

1/4 cup fig jam
1 (8-ounce) ciabatta, cut lengthwise
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces sliced or shredded cooked chicken breast
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups arugula leaves
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Spread jam over cut side of top half of bread. Combine cheese and butter in a bowl, stirring until smooth (if using goat cheese, skip this step). Spread cheese mixture over cut side of bottom half of bread. Arrange chicken evenly over cheese mixture; sprinkle with pepper. Place top half of bread, jam side down, over chicken.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add sandwich to pan. Place a heavy cast-iron skillet on sandwich; cook 5 minutes or until both sides are browned, turning once.

Place arugula in a bowl. Drizzle juice over arugula; toss gently. Remove top bread half from sandwich. Arrange arugula mixture over chicken. Replace top bread half. Cut sandwich into 4 equal portions.

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