Spicy Chicken A La Diable Is A La Delicious

Spicy Chicken A La Diable Is A La Delicious

Le French Oven cookbook cover

Many thanks to a good friend who gifted me Hillary Davis’s “Le French Oven” cookbook for Christmas this year. The photos are gorgeous and I could not wait to dive in and try one of the recipes right away.

All I needed was a French oven (which I do) and a sous chef (that would be me). Most of the ingredients for this divine dish were already in my pantry and refrigerator.

Full disclosure: I know Hillary Davis’s version would be much better looking. But I intend to get better with practice!

Let me first say this chicken dish is divine. The flavors were so good I wanted to lick my plate. My dinner companions called it the most delicious chicken and biscuits they’d ever had.

Hillary Davis gets full credit for the recipe and the instructions. The photos are all mine!

Spicy Chicken A La Diable

Ingredients
1 whole chicken (organic preferred)
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-4 potatoes peeled and sliced into matchsticks (1/4 inch)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp stone ground mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I only used 1/8 tsp.)
1 tsp. honey
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (I wish I had made my own rather than using store bought)
2 Tbsp minced shallot
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup dry white wine (I used Riesling)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used homemade)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 medium tomato diced (I used 2 Romas)

Directions

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Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil into French oven. Toss in potatoes with salt and pepper. Place cleaned chicken onto potatoes. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 400 degrees 15 minutes per pound.

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While the chicken is cooking whisk together sone ground mustard, cayenne, honey, and thyme. (I misread the instructions and also whisked in the tarragon. It still turned out great.) Set mixture aside.

When chicken is ready, remove it from the oven and spread the mustard mixture all over it. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the mustard paste and pat them down.

Return the chicken to the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes longer. The thermometer should read 165 degrees F. My breadcrumbs were starting to get too brown, so I put the lid on for the last 5 minutes.

Move the chicken and potatoes to a large platter.

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Place the French oven on the stovetop. Add the shallot, vinegar, wine, half the tarragon and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Add the stock, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, Dijon mustard, 1/8 tsp. cayenne, and heavy cream. Simmer 10-15 minutes longer.

Just before serving stir in the remaining tarragon and the tomato (seeds and juices as well). Cook 2 minutes longer.

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To serve, ladle sauce on a plate and top with chicken and potatoes. I served it with roasted brussels sprouts and biscuits.

I hope to try many more of the great-tasting recipes in this new cookbook. I’ll keep you posted!

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Chicken Thighs: Budget-friendly and Delicious

Chicken Thighs: Budget-friendly and Delicious

I happened upon this video from Epicurious last week and then gave it a try using items already in my fridge and pantry. It’s brilliant…simple, delicious, and looks like I spent hours. I’ll be trying more combinations over the coming weeks. This will be the best 2 1/2 minutes you’ve ever spent! Watch it!

Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with White Beans

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Ingredients
8-12 chicken thighs
1 fresh lemon, thinly sliced
4-5 cloves fresh garlic, slivered
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine
Salt, pepper
2 cans white beans or 2-3 cups dried beans you’ve soaked and cooked

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Directions
Please rack in top third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Arrange in 9×13 baking dish. Brush top of each piece with a small amount of olive oil.

Spoon beans around chicken. Space out the slivered garlic. Tuck in the lemon slices. Pour liquid so that it comes about halfway up the chicken. Leave tops exposed. Lay rosemary sprigs around dish.

Bake in top half of oven until chicken browns, about 30-45 minutes.

It was really that simple!

For a more exotic way to prepare chicken, try spicing things up with chipotle and ancho chili!

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

Not Your Momma’s Chicken and Rice

I was in the mood for chicken and rice last week but wanted a healthier option than I grew up with as a kid. I looked through my pantry and fridge for what I had on hand and typed a few of my available ingredients into Bing. Batta-boom. Chipotle Braised Chicken and Rice with Zucchini courtesy of Epicurious was just what the doctor ordered. I have included a link to the original recipes. I made a few twists and turns of my own. If you give it a try, let me know what adaptations you make!

Chipotle and Ancho Braised Chicken

Ingredients

1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leafs
1 T butter
salt
pepper
1 1/2 T olive oil, divided
3-4 pounds chicken quarters
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili pepper
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 T fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

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Cook onion, garlic, and bay leaf in butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil with 1/8 teaspoon salt in a skillet over medium heat until onion starts to cook down and caramelize, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

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Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in remaining tablespoon oil in and transfer to a plate.

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Stir in chile powders and onion mixture into pan and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add stock and simmer.

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Place chicken back in, and ladle some of the onions and broth over each piece. Cover and look on low 25-30 minutes. Turn once or twice to get flavor over entire pieces. Transfer chicken and onions with a slotted spoon to a platter. Skim off and discard fat from sauce, then boil until slightly thickened. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and spoon sauce over chicken.

Zucchini Rice

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice
1 3/4 cups cold water
3 T vegetable oil, divided
1 T coriander seeds, slightly crushed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini cut into 1/2-inch rounds, then quartered
1/2 cup chopped mixed cilantro, parsley, and mint
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Cook rice and water with 1 T oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 50 minutes. Place in bowl to cool down.

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Saute coriander and cumin in 2 T oil in skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes.

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Add garlic, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Saute until zucchini is crisp-tender, and slightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.

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Toss zucchini with rice, chopped herb mixture, lemon juice, pecans, and salt and pepper to taste.

This made a delicious and healthy dinner if I do say so myself. I hope you will share your favorite chicken and rice dish! Please leave a comment and remember to friend me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/brad.nierenberg.9 and Twitter https://twitter.com/GourmandBrad

Buon appetito!

Chicken Pot Pie – The Perfect One Pot Meal

Chicken Pot Pie – The Perfect One Pot Meal

Many of my friends abhor cooking. I think one of the reasons is that home cooking makes such a big mess in the kitchen. Perhaps another reason is that they know I’ll take pity on them and invite them to eat at my house! lol Whatever the reason, it’s nice to have a few dependable one pot meals up your sleeve to cut down on the mess. Chicken pot pie is also among my favorite comfort foods. I’ve ordered it off menus and restaurants try to jazz it up. But honestly, nothing tastes better than the traditional version. Oh, and kids like it too!

If your traditional version differs from mine, I hope you’ll leave a comment with a link to your own chicken pot pie!

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Precook your chicken in the veggie remnants to add flavor before you use it in your pot pie.

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Thyme, dijon mustard, and black pepper are the only seasonings you need! Well, you may need salt if your stock is homemade.

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Chop up your veggies. Pictured is some chicken stock I made in advance. I always warm my stock before adding it to a roux to speed up the cooking process.

 

Saute your vegetables in butter for 4-5 minutes then sprinkle in your flour, stir, and cook 2-3 minutes more.

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Slowly add your chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened. Then remove from heat and add the chicken, peas, thyme, pepper, dijon, and salt (if needed).

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Roll out your dough and lay it over your chicken mixture. Cut small slices to vent. You may brush with an egg wash if desired.

 

Bake in a 250 degree oven for 30-4o minutes until crust is golden. Set, then serve.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1-2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 or so cups chicken stock (Hint: Make your own. As you will read below, you can even do it while you chop!) (Or use boxed stock, homemade from another day, or even some white wine and water!)
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • salt to taste – this will depend on whether you use your own chicken stock or boxed.
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 3 cups cubed cooked chicken (Hint: I used boneless skinless breast because I was in a hurry. Use whatever you like. Even a grocery store rotisserie chicken would work!)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Prepared pie crust, thawed (Hint: I have not yet mastered making my own pie crust, but you could use homemade, or even a sheet of puff pastry.)
  • 1 egg, beaten (optional)

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Precook your chicken before you cut it. I boiled mine on the stove top and added my vegetable peelings and some extra celery, carrot, onion, and peppercorns as well. This flavors the chicken before you use it and provides the stock you will need!
  • When cooked through, remove from stock and let cool. Chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  • Chop your veggies. (Not the peas!)
  • Melt butter in an oven-proof skillet.
  • Add your chopped vegetables and saute for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over sauteed vegetables and stir for 2-3 minutes longer. Slowly add chicken broth and bring to a boil over low heat. Stir until thickened.
  • Remove from heat and fold in remaining ingredients (except for pie crust). (Hint: If you have fresh parsley on hand or other fresh herbs, this is the time to add it.)
  • Roll out one sheet of pie dough so that it fits over the contents in your skillet. Cover top of chicken mixture. Cut a few slices to vent the dough.
  • (Optional) Brush the dough with the beaten egg.
  • Bake at 350 until dough is golden brown. This takes about 30-40 minutes.
  • Let set a few minutes before serving.

Make sure you comment below and leave a note about your favorite recipe for chicken pot pie! I look forward to trying some variations.

Bradley Nierenberg’s Top 10 Cooking Websites

Bradley Nierenberg’s Top 10 Cooking Websites

Unlike many cooking bloggers, most of my home cooking adventures are the result of delicious looking recipes I’ve found online. But there are an overwhelming number of websites for cooking, (39,700,000+ Google results to be exact), so how does one choose which ones to use?

This is one of those personal preference lists which I hope you will contribute to by leaving a few comments with your favorites. Here are mine:

10. http://www.foodnetwork.com/ I like watching the Food Network and frequently search the site for recipes I’ve seen made on the show. The website has very good search options, plenty of videos, great photos, and recipe reviews. In fact I featured a couple of Emeril’s recipes in my previous blog post on Creole cooking.

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9. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/ Believe it or not, the Williams-Sonoma site has a fantastic recipe collection. It’s a smart idea because I am always tempted to order another kitchen gadget while searching for recipes! I recently made their pomegranate salad and was not disappointed. And the Breakfast Skillet is a home run!

8. http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/ Looking for quick and easy? Look no further than Six Sisters Stuff. I first found them on Facebook and now drool over their photos and recipes.

7. http://ourbestbites.com/ I really like the recipes that come out of the kitchens of these Mormon Moms. I use their first cookbook regularly. It is nice the way they build upon recipes. For example, after you make their shredded pork, they offer a number of recipes that use it. Their caramelized green beans are truly amazing.

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6. http://www.finecooking.com/ I started using the Fine Cooking website and app after I received a gift subscription to the magazine. I must say, if this was a magazine list, it would be my top choice! Every recipe I’ve tried from this site is a keeper. If you are wondering how to cook your own chick peas and then how to use them up, go to Fine Cooking. I’ve made a pastry wrapped roast chicken, baked Alaska, and many other delicious meals because of this exceptional website.

5. http://www.tasteofhome.com/ When I’m looking for a recipe for something I ate as a kid, but don’t have it in my mish-mash handwritten collection of recipes, I go to Taste of Home. This site seems to have a great collection of recipes moms and grammas (dads and grandpas too) have been making for ages. Are you craving that baked oatmeal you loved in your childhood. Guess what? It’s in this website waiting for you!

4. http://joyofbaking.com/ This is really a website for baking, but belongs on my list because I use this site all the time. Stephanie Jaworski’s scone recipes are fantastic. I also like her quick breads. In fact, her zucchini bread with coconut is the best recipe out there. I like how Stephanie explains things as a preface to each recipe. There are also plenty of videos if you need visual help on a technique.

3. http://barefootcontessa.com/ I like to watch Ina Garten on the Food Network and then try the recipes she demonstrates. I have a couple of her cookbooks too. Ina’s recipes are always a hit for dinner parties. If you have not yet tried her coconut cake, you don’t know what you are missing! And yes, it calls for five sticks of butter!

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2. http://thepioneerwoman.com/ Ree Drummond is my go to gal for comfort food. You cannot beat her meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, or sweet rolls. It’s not health food, but when you want to sink your teeth into something really delicious, check out The Pioneer Woman.

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1. http://www.epicurious.com/ It is the only cooking app I even use on my iPhone. It combines recipes from Bon Appetit, Self, and Gourmet magazines and features guest recipes from other chefs too. The photos, instructions, and reviews never let me down. I’ve used it for years.

Remember to add your favorites below!

NEVER Buy Chicken Stock Again

NEVER Buy Chicken Stock Again

IMG_2644When I stop and consider how much money I’ve wasted on packaged chicken stock over the years, I cringe. It is loaded with sodium and yellow food coloring. How could I do that to my home cooking?

I saw the light back in 2012 when taking a knife skills cooking class in New York City. While learning the proper way to handle and use various knives, the instructor enlightened the students on how simple making your own stock really was.

I was converted. Here’s how I make mine. You can improve upon it however you’d like.

Waste Not, Want Not

Save every peeling, nub, core, seed, wilted, too soft to use in a salad vegetable you’ve got. Start a freezer bag and add to it whenever you are cooking with veggies. I save it all: onion peels (yes, the outer brown part contributes to a nice rich color), squash innards (seeds and all), carrot peels, wilted parsley, cauliflower cores. The sky’s the limit. Pack it in your freezer bag and wait for it to fill up.

In the meantime, save your chicken bones, chicken parts, wing tips, and whatever you’ve got. Store them in a separate freezer bag.

Watch Football While Stock Simmers

When you’ve got some bones and a gallon bag of veggies, throw them together in a stock pot (or deep pot), add a few peppercorns, bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat to simmer for a few hours. Sunday afternoons are a great time to make stock while watching football.

IMG_2642Let things cool off (including your temper if your team loses) and run your fresh stock though a strainer. At this point you could add the refuse to your compost pile, or if you don’t compost, trash it.

TIP: Here’s one more brilliant tip given to me by a friend. You see, I got to be so stock crazy, my freezer was filled with little tupperware containers. I barely had any room for ice cream! So he suggested I use freezer bags for my stock. Now, I zip them up, lay them flat until they freeze, then stack them against the side. They take up much less room and are easy to thaw under some warm water!

Note: If you are super eco-friendly and the thought of using plastic bags is painful, I reuse the veggie nub and chicken bone bags. I guess you could wash out and reuse the frozen stock ones too.

Cooking with Stock

You will need to make seasoning adjustments to your cooking with home-cooked stock because there’s no added salt to the real stuff.

That’s it. Enjoy! And let me know how you like it.

Does Beer Go with Chicken? What Do You Think?!?

Asian-Sweet-Chili-Sesame-Chicken-10With the LA food and wine festival past, I want to bring another food and beverage pairing to everyone’s mind: craft beer. Some might not think of craft beer the way they think of wine. I love pairing a good craft beer with a home-cooked meal. IMO, a fizzy, spicy, vaguely fruity Saison complements the spice and depth of flavor in Asian-inspired dishes perfectly. I’ve been attempting variations on this recipe  (http://www.carlsbadcravings.com/asian-sweet-chili-sesame-chicken/)  trying to find the perfect beer pairing for the sweet/spicy Asian flavors.

 

The base recipe is as follows. (You’ll need a crock pot.)

Asian Sweet Chili Sesame Chicken
2 lbs chicken breasts
1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch
¼ cup water
Sriracha to taste (I added this at the end.)
Sesame seeds (your preference on amount)
Green onion (your preference)

For the sweet chili sesame sauce:
1/4 -1/3 cup Asian sweet chili sauce (I use this stuff in everything.)
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar (I added just a bit more)
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (Unseasoned is my preference.)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced (see Tip)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (see Tip)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Tip: Avoid all that grating and mincing and get yourself a good blender. Personally, I use a Vitamix* and would never be without one again. I just toss my garlic and ginger (peeled of course) in whole with the other ingredients and the blender does the rest. Seriously, if you make a lot of marinades and dressings, a quality blender is the way to go. (Or smoothies and milk shakes for that matter!)

Carefully toast your sesame seeds and chop up some green onions for garnish.

Directions:
Add chicken to the bottom of the crock pot.

Little known fact: If you are like me, you ALWAYS forget to thaw your meat a day or two in advance. Am I right? Personally, I’m not a fan of thawing meat in the microwave. But you can throw your frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot with the other ingredients and they will still cook! Try it!

  • Whisk the sweet chili sesame sauce ingredients together, and pour them over the chicken.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
    Shred the chicken! Then add 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch, mixed with ¼ water, to the crock pot.
  • Stir everything around and cook on high for 20-30 minutes… or until the sauce thickens.
  • Add Sriracha if you want it spicier, brown sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
    Serve with rice (and beer). Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

Let me know what you think and what favorite beer you’d pair with this recipe!

*No one paid me a darned thing to mention Vitamix. I just happen to be a huge fan!