LUSCIOUS CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Perhaps you would think that the time for blogging about soup is pretty much over. But two facts conspired to bring it to our table. First, Phil got a little cold, and second, the weather turned pretty nasty. Forecast for Saturday and Sunday: chilly and full-time rain. Great combination for a rotten weekend. I will disclose to you that we do resort to Campbell’s canned soup sometimes. Yes, it’s not that great, but whenever we feel like we might be getting a bit sick, we buy a couple of cans and call them dinner. I squirt a little lemon juice over my bowl, freshly ground black pepper, and it does a reasonably ok job. But, this time I decided to take this classic soup medicine into my own hands. I would start by making my own chicken broth and use that to cook chicken thighs until  fork-tender. I won’t be humble. This was one spectacular chicken noodle soup. Even if for my bowl I used zoodles instead.

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

A pressure cooker is preferred, but not mandatory

for the chicken stock:
2 pounds of chicken wings
2 carrots, cut in chunks
1 celery rib, cub in chunks
1/2 large onion
10 whole peppercorns
1 piece of ginger, about 1/2 inch
1 piece of kombu, about 3 inches long
1 bay leaf
7 cups of water

for the soup:
6 chicken thighs, skinless, with bone-in
4 medium carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
chicken broth, as much as needed
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice to taste
cooked noodles or zoodles

Start by making the chicken broth. Mix all ingredients in a large stockpot or pressure cooker. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 40 minutes under pressure, release steam, open the pan, strain the stock. If using a regular pan, simmer for at least one hour, preferable an hour and a half.

Return about 2 cups of broth and 1 cup of water to the pressure cooker, add the chicken pieces seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook under pressure for 20 minutes. Alternatively, simmer in a regular pan until the meat is very tender. Remove the pieces of chicken to a bowl, allow it to cool until you can handle it.

As the chicken cools, return the pressure cooker to the stove, add the carrots, celery, cook under pressure for 5 minutes, or in a regular pan until the veggies are tender. The base of the soup is now ready.  Shred the chicken with a fork or your fingers. Reserve.

When it’s time to enjoy the soup, cook some noodles (or zoodles) in boiling salted water.  Re-warm the soup by mixing the soup base, the reserved chicken meat, and any reserved stock until the consistency is the way you like. Squirt fresh lemon juice, adjust seasoning if needed with salt and pepper. Place some cooked noodles in your serving bowl, ladle the soup over, and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I got the inspiration for this soup from a couple of sources. For instance, the use of kombu in the chicken stock came from the book The Longevity Kitchen. It is an interesting ingredient, one that I advise you to use just like you would fish sauce. Don’t sniff it. Big turn off. But it does a great job, not only nutritionally speaking, but in terms of flavor. The stock made with chicken wings has been my method of choice for years now, after a basic recipe found in one of my favorite cookbooks  Simple to Spectacular. I pumped it up by using the pressure cooker, and it does a great job extracting all flavors and goodies from the wings. In the composite photo you can see the color of the stock (upper left), no photoshopping was involved.

You will notice that I used the pressure cooker three times in a row, but you can do it all in a regular pan. Make sure to allow the wings to simmer for one full hour at least, and the chicken thighs until very tender. I’ve seen recipes recommending a 10 minute simmer, and I have no idea what those people are talking about. You would have to pretty much wrestle the meat off the bone with such a quick cooking.

All in all, this was so good that I had to blog right away. Contrary to what normally happens, you are reading on Wednesday a recipe we enjoyed only three days earlier. Also contrary to my principles, with this post I line two articles in a row involving chicken. Oh, well. That shows you how much I enjoyed this recipe, I simply could not wait to share.  I hope you’ll give it a try if you are headed to winter where you live, or if someone is feeling lousy with a cold. Heck, try it if you simply love chicken noodle soup. No other reason needed!

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ONE YEAR AGO: Orange Mini-Cakes and a Bonus Recipe

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, May 2015

THREE YEARS AGO: Chestnut Brownies and a Blog Award!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Quinoa with Cider-Glazed Carrots

FIVE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday: Heirloom Tomatoes Steal the Show

SIX YEARS AGO: Pain de Provence

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Golspie Loaf, from the Scottish Highlands

 

NIGELLA LAWSON IN THE BEWITCHING KITCHEN

Did I get your attention? Well, unfortunately she was not here in person. I would love to have her over for dinner, but this time it was just virtually through one of her tasty recipes.  Nigella is clearly a person who is happy in her own skin,  someone who enjoys life to the fullest. Watching her cooking shows brings me that “I’ll have what she’s having” feeling… And, to make things even better, her recipes are never too fussy.  I have several of her cookbooks, but for some reason forgot all about them for a long time. The other day, talking to my friend Denise, she reminded me of one of Nigella’s recipes, a favorite of hers. A chicken and sausage one pan kind of deal. I immediately remembered making it years ago, before my blogging life started. Got this absurd craving for it, made it next day (!!!), fell in love with it all over again.  Sent a picture to Denise, and that’s when we realized we were talking about two different recipes.  Obviously, I now have another one to try. They both join poultry with sausage, but one takes Italian sausage, the other chorizo. One has potatoes, the other doesn’t. And a few more departures on the overall flavor. Anyway, I sense a Nigella-phase in our kitchen.  Yeah, I must have what she’s having…

ROAST CHICKEN THIGHS WITH SAGE AND SAUSAGE
(modified from Nigella Lawson)

1 medium shallot
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons English mustard
1 tablespoon dried sage
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 lemons
8 chicken thighs, bone and skin in
6 Italian sausages
salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves

Peel and cut the shallot into four pieces, and put into a freezer bag with the oil, mustard, dried sage, a good grinding of pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Cut lemons in half, squeeze juice into bag, and then cut the halves into eighths and add them. Squeeze everything around to mix, then add the chicken pieces. Leave to marinade in the refrigerator for a few hours (overnight is perfect).

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature in its marinade. Arrange the chicken pieces in a roasting tin skin side up with the marinade, including all the bits and pieces, and tuck the sausages around them. Season with salt. Sprinkle the fresh sage leaves over the chicken and sausages and then put the pan into the oven, covered with aluminum foil for  to cook for 1 hour. Remove the foil, increase heat to 425 F and keep roasting until the skin turns golden brown and starts to crisp up.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is such an easy recipe to put together! It is originally from her cookbook Feast, but she featured the recipe in one of her shows back in the good old times of FoodTV Network. I modified it quite a bit not so much in terms of ingredients, but cooking method, because as I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I think nothing beats the texture of chicken that starts cooking low and slow. For weeknights this would be a bit tricky, this is the type of cooking I reserve for weekends.

Phil loved this so much that he started getting nervous about the possibility of not enjoying it again for another 8 years. He kept dropping hints:  ” I would not mind having this chicken every couple of weeks… Actually, you “could” make it weekly, you know?”  So there you have it, it’s really a wonderful way to enjoy chicken, with the spicy tasty bits of sausage, and the flavors of sage and lemon. A keeper.

Dinner is served!
A little pasta with olive oil and grated cheese was all we needed…

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CHICKEN KORMA-ISH

Chicken Korma is a classic Indian recipe, but due to the considerable amount of liberties I took with this classic, I must be upfront about it in the title, to avoid the Food Police coming after me.  For starters, I cooked it sous-vide. I know, what was I thinking?  But I tell you, the perfect texture is worth it. Perhaps you are familiar with the concept of velveting meat before stir-frying? It is widely used in Chinese cooking and does wonders for chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or shrimp, typical types of protein that will often dry up when submitted to the intense heat of the wok. Chicken Korma is not a stir-fry, but the improvement in texture offered by the gentle cooking in the water-bath made me think of velveting. To add insult to injury, I omitted several spices that make Korma a Korma. There you go. Rebel. My middle name. Inspiration came from this recipe at Anova Culinary, a great source for sous-vide cooking.

chicken-korma

SOUS-VIDE CHICKEN KORMA
(inspired by Anova Culinary)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, cut into small dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Fresh cilantro, for serving

Set the sous-vide to 150°F (65°C).

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, salt, ginger, garam masala, curry powder, cinnamon, turmeric and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Add the cream, yogurt, cashews, lemon juice, and honey. Process until smooth, about 1 minute. Combine the pureed sauce with the chicken in a large zipper lock bag. Seal the bag using the water immersion technique and place in the water bath. Set the timer for 2 hours to 3 hours.

When the timer goes off, remove the bag from the water bath. Transfer the entire contents of the bag to a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served

Comments: We adored this recipe. Period. If you look at the original, you’ll notice I substantially reduced the amount of heavy cream. It was plenty rich this way already, and it had enough sauce in the bag to form a luscious sauce. Of course, if you prefer the extra richness given by more cream, go for it.  I also used fewer spices.  On my second time around, instead of cilantro I sautéed a few cashews until golden brown and sprinkled all over when bringing it to the table. Phil liked the second version even better, I cannot decide.  One thing is certain; this will go in our regular rotation of recipes. If you don’t have sous-vide, simply use a regular pan, saute the chicken pieces (you could velvet them before for better texture), then add the ingredients for the sauce and simmer very gently until cooked through.  Yogurt has a tendency to separate, something that might be a bit more likely cooking on the stove top. Indeed, that is another benefit of sous-vide, with such a gentle heat, the yogurt mellows down gently, without putting up a fight and curdling right in front of your eyes…

secondSecond time around… double cashews, ground in the sauce,
and sautéed for serving…


chicken-korma-from-bewitching-kitchen

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ONE YEAR AGO: Sunday Gravy with Braciole

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A SPECIAL BIRTHDAY DINNER

The planning of my beloved’s Birthday dinner went all backwards. First I settled on the dessert, covered in my previous two posts. You know, the dessert that almost killed me. Then, I chose the side dish. Rice. Rice for a Birthday dinner? Yes. But let me explain. Ever since I met Phil he talks about this Persian rice his roommate used to prepare when they lived in their communal house. I call those times his hippie-days, I’ve seen pictures, and can tell you he was almost as handsome then as he is today. Back to rice. It is very traditional in Persian cuisine, countless ways to make it, probably each family has its own way, like feijoada for Brazilians. The ultimate goal is to produce a golden crust at the bottom of the pan, which when the rice is served, ends up on top. You break that crust and enjoy it with the perfectly cooked and perfumed rice underneath it.  I don’t know why it took me so long to finally make it at home, but better late than never. And with the side dish decided, I picked a main dish to match:  chicken thighs braised in Middle-Eastern spices, cooked with dried apricots and prunes. Green beans tied it all together…

served1

So let’s start with the rice. The crust (tahdig)  in this case was a mixture of butter and grapeseed oil, which has a very mild taste, and helps prevent the butter from browning too much. That would make the rice bitter. Some recipes elaborate on this simple concept by making the crust with thin slices of pita bread, for instance. Or using yogurt, even potatoes. A nice culinary project to play with. I ended up using inspiration from several sources, but kept it simple, butter it was.

rice1
CHELOW (PERSIAN RICE)
(adapted from several sources)

1 + ¾ cups Basmati rice
2 Tablespoons salt for cooking rice
A pinch of saffron strands
A pinch of sugar
A pinch of salt
2 tbsp very hot water
2 tbsp butter, divided
2 tbsp grapeseed oil

Rinse the rice in several changes of cold water until the water runs clear, then leave to soak in a large bowl of water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the rice and cook for 5 minutes. The grains should still be pretty firm at this point. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water to prevent it from cooking any further. Reserve.

Make the saffron infusion by using a pestle and mortar to grind the saffron strands with a pinch of sugar and salt, then dissolve it with the very hot water.   Leave to steep for a few minutes. To make a plain tahdig for this amount of rice, you need an 8-inch nonstick saucepan with a snug-fitting lid. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the grapeseed oil over medium heat on an 8-inch nonstick pan.  Add 1 tablespoon of the saffron liquid. When the oil is hot, sprinkle a thin layer of rice over the bottom and firmly press it down, covering the bottom of the pan. Carefully lay the rest of the rice on top, allowing it to form a domed shape at the center. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make a few holes in the rice, almost reaching the bottom of the pan.

Place the remaining tablespoon of butter, cut in little pieces, in the holes you formed.  Sprinkle the rest of the saffron liquid on top of the rice, then put either a tea towel or four layers of paper towels on the surface, tucking the edges in. Cook the rice on medium heat for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down, as low as your stove will go, and cook for 15 minutes longer.  Take it off the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes, while you fill your sink with a couple of inches of very cold water.

Place the saucepan in the water. That will loosen the crust at the bottom, and should allow you to un-mold it nicely.  Take the lid off, put a large plate on top, and without hesitation, flip the pan over to release the rice on the plate. If all goes well, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful rice “cake”, a nice crust on top of perfectly cooked Basmati rice.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I wanted to follow the recipe quite closely, so I was compelled to get a mortar and pestle for it. I know, life can be tough. But the Force was with me, because Marshalls had a few for sale – cannot beat their prices –  in fact they had two kinds, and I brought one home with me. The method of choice to deal with saffron in Middle Eastern cuisine is to crush it with a little sugar and a little salt. Water then is added to solubilize it as best as possible, and that beautiful golden liquid is used in the recipe.

compositerice
My heart was beating fast when I un-molded the pan, but it worked like a charm!  That crust is simply addictive. Even though Phil was the guest of honor for obvious reasons, I put up a mild fight for the real crusty bits, after all, I slaved away at the whole menu. Carioca Cake, remember? That should give me bids on 85% of the rice crust. But because I am of magnanimous nature, I settled for 60%.

Now let’s move to the main dish…

chicken

CHICKEN BRAISED WITH APRICOTS AND PRUNES
(adapted from The Saffron Tales, pressure cooker optional)

Grapeseed oil
2 shallots, finely chopped (or 1 large onion)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1 + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 + 1/2 cups chicken stock (approximately)
12 dried apricots
12 prunes
good pinch of saffron
pinch of sugar and salt
2 tablespoons very hot water
lemon juice to taste (a tablespoon or so)

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan and fry the shallots over very low heat until golden brown, take your time and allow the deep flavors to develop. Season the chicken pieces all over with salt, add to the saute pan with the caramelized shallots, then add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon,  turmeric and black pepper.   Cook until the chicken is golden on all sides, then transfer to a pressure cooker. Add one cup of stock, if it almost cover the meat it will be enough, if not add another half a cup. Close the pressure cooker and once it reaches full pressure, cook for 18 minutes.  In the meantime, add boiling water to the apricots and prunes in a small bowl, and let them sit to soften slightly. At the end of 18 minutes, release the pressure running the pan under the faucet with cold water.

Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar and salt in the pestle and mortar and then transfer to a cup and leave to steep in very hot water for 2 minutes.

When the chicken is ready, add the softened fruit, along with the lemon juice and the saffron liquid. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes with the lid off, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Adjust seasoning and serve over rice, or another side dish of your choice.

No pressure cooker? Use any heavy pan with a tight lid and cook the chicken for about 40 minutes, until very tender, then proceed with the addition of fruits and saffron liquid.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

sauteeing

Comments: Most important step of this recipe, taking your time to caramelize those shallots (or onions, if you prefer). I used the pressure cooker because I love the texture it gives to the meat, and also it speeds the preparation so much. But, you can definitely use a regular pan. This is a recipe that gets better next day, so you can make it in advance. I actually made it in the morning and we enjoyed it at dinner, when all I had to do was warm it up, and take care of the Persian rice and the green beans.  It was a delightful meal…

birthdaybw

One more Birthday celebration together!
Great food is mandatory, dressing up is optional… 

😉

a-special-persian-dinner-from-bewitching-kitchen

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ONE YEAR AGO: Duck Confit for a Special Occasion

TWO YEARS AGO: Tuscan Grilled Chicken and Sausage Skewers

THREE YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with Pork Tenderloin & Apples

FOUR YEARS AGO: Salmon Wellington

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Green Chip Alternative

SIX YEARS AGO: Weekend Pita Project

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Let it snow, let it snow, eggs in snow

SLOW-COOKED WHOLE CHICKEN

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for a while, and now I feel it’s ready to be shared with my beloved readers. The problem with many recipes designed for the crock pot is that they take the lazy approach. First they tell you to “dump” ingredients inside, then turn it on low and leave it there for 8 hours or more. The “dump” part always gives me a chuckle. I guess to make it sound easy you need to be very quick, no “carefully placing.” Let’s not even consider taking the additional step of browning or sauteing ingredients before slow cooking them. For some types of meat that will work fine, but for poultry? No bueno. I usually make a recipe the first time following it very closely, and this was not an exception. I cooked the chicken for 8 hours. The texture was simply wrong. Stringy, kind of dried up, with the exact mouth feel that gives crock pots in general a bad reputation. So, I turned to America’s Test Kitchen to learn their take on it. Voilà! They recommend cooking the chicken breast side down, and limit the time to 5 hours. Of course, if you work and would like to have the chicken ready for dinner, it could be a problem, but you can always make it after work and enjoy it next evening.  For us, it is not a big deal, we go home for lunch, so all I have to do is get it ready, place it in the slow cooker (sorry, no dumping, just not my style) and have a very easy meal later.

crockpot-whole-chicken

SLOW-COOKED WHOLE CHICKEN
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, adapted from several sources)

1 whole chicken
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lemon, quartered
a few carrots, cut in sticks

Spray the inside of your slow-cooker with a little olive oil (not a mandatory step, but helps avoid stuff to stick).

Mix all the dried ingredients in a small bowl.  Sprinkle all over the chicken skin, try to get a little bit inside the bird too.

Stick the lemon quarters inside the chicken.

Scatter the carrot pieces in the bottom of your slow cooker. If you have a small rack to elevate the chicken, use it, if not, simply place the chicken breast side down in the crock pot.

Cook on low for 5 hours.

Remove the chicken, discard lemon quarters, cut chicken into serving pieces and place in a baking dish. De-grease the liquid that formed in the slow cooker, add some of it on top of the chicken pieces. Run under the broiler to crisp up the skin, and serve with the super soft and tasty carrots.  Adjust seasoning with salt if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

cooked

Comments: This is a very basic method that you can vary in all sorts of directions by changing the spice mixture, adding potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips to make it a complete meal. If  you have no issues with butter, a little smear of butter right before the broiling step will give it very nice flavor and a darker skin.  There is no need to add any liquid, you will be surprised by how much liquid will accumulate in the crock pot. That stuff is tasty, with a lemony tang, and subtle heat from the cayenne.  I know some people serve the chicken straight from the slow-cooker, but I find the additional step of crisping up the skin worth every second of additional work.  I tried reducing the cooking time to 4 hours, but the meat was not as tender as I like. You might have to play around with the timing, depending on the power of your slow-cooker, the size and quality of the chicken you find in your grocery store.

served

Dinner is served!

slow-cooked-whole-chicken-from-bewitching-kitchen

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ONE YEAR AGO: Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Chocolate Frosting

TWO YEARS AGO: Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Honey-Mustard Dressing

THREE YEARS AGO: Bewitching Kitchen on Fire!

FOUR YEARS AGO: Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chiarello’s Chicken Cacciatore

SIX YEARS AGO: Donna Hay’s Thai-Inspired Dinner

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Panettone

ZAKARIAN’S PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREAST

One of the only shows I watch on FoodTV these days is The Kitchen, with Marcela Valladolid, Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro,  and the one and only Geoffrey Zakarian. The crowd has great chemistry together, each person bringing something different and fun to the show. Zakarian offers that touch of class and knowledge, sophisticated without ever being obnoxious, a tricky line to negotiate. Recently he shared a recipe with his characteristic signature: elegant, complex, but not overly fussy.  Chicken breasts filled with ricotta,  wrapped in prosciutto, crisped up on the stove top and finished in the oven. A quick pan sauce beautifully crowned the dish, bringing capers to the party. I have a weak spot for capers, in case you did not notice yet…  As I watched him prepare the recipe, I could not stop thinking that the whole thing would be perfect for sous-vide.  And sous-vide was the path I took. It was O.M.G. delicious. With the most enthusiastic happy dance to go with it.  Of course, if you don’t have the Anova gadget, don’t let that stop you.  I give you the exact method used by Zakarian in the show. However, I tell you, the texture of the meat cooked at that magical 141 F for hours… was superb. Superb!

zakarian-chicken-breast

PROSCIUTTO-WRAPPED CHICKEN BREAST
(adapted from G. Zakarian)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup (about 60g)  sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (divided)
150g ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh sage
1 large egg yolk
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
9 slices prosciutto
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 shallot, finely diced
1/4 cup (60 mL) Verjus (or white wine)
1/2  cup (120 mL) chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter

If using regular cooking, heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using a small knife, make an incision in the top rounded end of a chicken breast, cutting through the center and to the ends without breaking the sides, to form a pocket for the stuffing.

Combine 1/2 cup of the tomatoes, ricotta, walnuts, sage and egg yolk in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Using a spoon (or place the filling into a piping bag without a tip), stuff each chicken breast with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then lay the prosciutto into sheets of three pieces each, and roll around each stuffed breast. Heat the canola oil in a large, ovenproof saute pan until almost smoking. Sear the chicken breasts on the seam side of the prosciutto, then flip and sear the other side.Transfer the whole pan to the hot oven until the center of the chicken registers 160 degrees F, about 15 minutes.

If using sous-vide method: wrap each piece in plastic, then seal in a foodsaver type bag. Submerge in a water bath set to 141 F for 4 hours. When the time is up, remove the meat from the package, dry well and proceed to browning both sides on the stove top.

For both types of cooking, continue to make a pan sauce:  remove the chicken from the pan, add 1/2 cup of the sun-dried tomatoes, capers and shallots and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute to soften the shallots. Add the Verjus to deglaze the pan, the chicken stock and cook until reduced by half, then swirl in the butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Slice the chicken and serve with the sauce.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

composite

Comments: I had a bit of a tough time filling the chicken. First I tried it as recommended, without a tip in the piping bag, but my bag was too thin, not sturdy enough to force the filling in. I tried with a tip, but the largest one I had was not wide enough and kept plugging with the pieces of walnuts. Since I was going to wrap the pieces with plastic anyway, I ended up cutting a slit around the side, opening the meat like a book, then rolling the prosciutto around. During the sous-vide cooking, it all turned into a perfectly shaped package. If you have a sturdy piping bag, it should work well.

What I love about sous-vide is how flexible you can be with timing. I served this meal for dinner on a super busy Sunday, in which we had no idea when we would be ready to finally sit down to eat. I set the water bath at 3pm and knew that whenever we wanted to have dinner, it would be a matter of 10 minutes to sear the pieces, and make the pan sauce. I had side dishes already made, just waiting to be re-heated. Easy but very impressive dinner.  Meat was perfectly cooked, the prosciutto gets all crusty and salty and tasty. And the sauce… capers are the perfect addition.  Zakarian really knows his way around food, Iron Chef that he is. And his beautiful gray hair only adds to his charm. Partial? Me? You’d think?   😉

About that Verjus: If you don’t have it, use white wine or simply chicken stock.  I am getting more and more fond of its subtle flavor, the way it brings mild acidity to a sauce or dressing.  And, by the way, did you know that a little Verjus mixed with carbonated water is a fantastic drink? Elaine tried it first and raved about it. Some people add sweetener, but we both like it straight. I am very fond of carbonated water with drops of bitters such as Angostura, so I’m not surprised that Verjus pleased me so much.

But, I digress. This is about the Zakarian’s recipe, and you definitely need to try it!  Perfect for a dinner party, you can assemble the chicken before, sear it quickly and bake it. Your guests will be impressed, thinking you slaved away for hours. But truth is, you did not…

prosciutto-wrapped-chicken-breast-from-bewitching-kitchen

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TURKEY STIR-FRY WITH ALMOND BUTTER

I was not going to blog on this recipe, since it was one of those improvised things, quickly assembled for lunch on a weekday. But I tasted a spoonful straight from the saute pan, and the “Must-Blog-This” alarm went off, loud and persistent. I quickly transferred some to a serving bowl  to be immortalized on camera. The almond butter takes this simple stir-fry to a higher level of deliciousness. Amounts for the recipe are pretty flexible, I was just using stuff that I had in the fridge so you can go with the flow and add a bit more of this, a bit less of that.  If you care about this type of info, this concoction would be low-carb and also Paleo-friendly. But what I really care about is that it is mighty tasty.

 

gary

TURKEY STIR-FRY WITH ALMOND BUTTER
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 pound ground turkey (preferably not super lean)
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons almond butter (a must!)
5 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
fresh lemon juice

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the mushrooms, season with a little salt and pepper, saute for about 5 minutes.  Add the ground meat, Aleppo pepper, a little more salt and regular pepper, cook moving it around every once in a while, until the meat is golden brown.  Add the almond butter, incorporate well, keeping the pan in medium-heat.

Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Right before serving, squirt some lemon juice all over the meat. Adjust seasoning if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

served
Comments: I’ve mentioned many times I was a picky eater as a child. Very. One of my favorite things to eat was ground beef and rice, which Mom called “picadinho.” Ground beef and rice. I know, so exciting, right? One summer we were all in my Grandma’s home in São Sebastião, a beach town between São Paulo and Rio, and my Aunt Sônia was getting ready to feed her three very spoiled Siamese cats.  She cooked a big batch of ground beef and rice for them, and I was fascinated! Those cats were very lucky to get my favorite food on a daily basis.  From then on, whenever Mom would make me “picadinho“, both me and my Dad would call it “comida de gato” (Portuguese for cat’s food). I was actually complimenting her cooking, I suppose Dad was more in his usual teasing mode. Good times. Decades passed by, but ground meat (chicken, pork, beef) is still something I resort to often for my lunch, although usually with additions that would make my younger self leave the table screaming in horror. When I make some, I always ask Phil  “would you like some comida de gato?”  It is blatantly clear that I am a lovely wife…

Wanna say it like a native? Click

Turkey Stir-fry with Almond Butter, from Bewitching Kitchen

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