Category Archives: Entrees, Poultry

The Humble Roast Chicken – Sunday Supper and Monday Lunch

Julie and I often enjoy a roast chicken dinner together. She has the breast and I the leg and thigh. This leaves a lonely carcas and lots of meat. Leave a little bit of breast meat aside for the dogs, and there is still another good meal waiting for a little magic. We call this Chicken Noodle Soup. You might call it Pho Ga.

The first step is to combine all of the skin, bones, meat trimmings, and any juice left on the carving platter in a pot. I use a 3 1/2 qt. pot, and I fill it to the top with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer while you prepare everything else.

Everything else is really not much, but the spices are really important to me.

I use one small onion, peeled and cut in half (in that order – the two ends will hold the onion halves together later.)  A nice, fat chunk of ginger about 1″ long, cut in half. Half a head of garlic cut in half across the equator. Then the spices: 3 cinnamon sticks, five or six cloves, five or six star anise, and a tablespoon of coriander seeds. The onion and ginger need to get cooked.

Place the cit sides down over the grates of gas stoves (or a grill) and cook until blackened. Turn occasionally to cook evenly. It should take about ten minutes over medium heat. Take your time. This step provides great color for the broth, but also adds depth of flavor.

As your pot of bones and trimmings slowly simmers, melted fat and dissolved proteins will rise to the surface. It’s not important to make it perfect, but I usually try to skim off most of the scum and fat and wash it down the drain.

After half an hour or so simmering and skimming, the liquid should be more or less clear.

Now it’s time to add the aromatic ingredients.

All you have to do is wait. Go about your business. The broth will simmer very slowly for somewhere between two and three hours happily.

In the meantime, soak your pho (rice noodles.) Enough cold water to cover them in a bowl is all it takes.

After an hour or so, the noodles will become completely soft and pliable. Drain them and hold until ready to serve the soup.

While you wait, you can also prepare the chicken meat and herb garnish. I like chopped green onions in the bowl, and a plate of Thai basil and shiso or cilantro on the side. You may also like thinly sliced jalapeno peppers. Julie does…

When the cooking time is up for the broth, and the liquid in the pot is slightly reduced,

strain through a sieve into another pot.

The color and aroma should be intoxicating…

Bring the broth to a boil (or use a separate pot of boiling salted water) and add the noodles.

30 seconds is enough, then transfer the noodles to warm soup bowls. Top with the shredded chicken meat and green onions.

Pour the broth over the top and enjoy!

Chicken in Yellow Curry

Here’s another recipe that I often make in large size to freeze. Defrost and add chicken and vegetables, a pot of rice, and dinner is ready in less than an hour.

Ingredients
3 oz. Canola oil
1 lb. head on shrimp, coarsely chopped
2 oz. Garlic, sliced
12 oz. Yellow onion, sliced
4 oz. Yellow curry paste
1/2 oz. Turmeric
4 cups Chicken broth
4 3/4 cups Coconut milk
3 1/2 oz. Palm sugar
1 1/2 oz. Lemongrass, crushed
2 oz. Galangal, sliced 1/4″ thick
2 oz. Thai chiles, coarsely chopped
20 each Kaffir lime leaves
2 oz. Lime juice
1 oz. Fish sauce

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Gather and prepare all of the ingredients. (That’s shrimp paste that you don’t need.)

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Heat oil in a suitable pot over high heat, and add the shrimp. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are well browned,and the aroma becomes nutty.

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Add the garlic, and stir to combine.

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Then add the onions and celery, reduce the heat to medium,

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and cook until the onions soften, about five minutes.

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Add the curry paste and termeric, and stir to combine evenly. Continue to cook until the paste is heated through, about two minutes, then add remaining ingredients.

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Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for one hour, then remove from the heat.

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Remove the lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal,

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then puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a storage container, cool completely, then cover. At this point, you can freeze the sauce or use it right away.

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Whenever you are ready, prepare the meat and vegetables. It can be almost any combination that you like. In this photo, I used chicken thigh cubes and shrimp with diced roast yams, green beans, halved grape tomatoes, and thai basil.

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Add everything except the tomatoes and basil to the pot, and bring to a simmer.

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Cook until the chicken and shrimp are done, about ten minutes, then add the tomatoes and Thai basil.
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Return to a simmer then serve over steamed jasmine rice.

The Best Fried Chicken

It’s true, I like simple food. Not much better for me than chicken, roasted, fried, in soup. It’s something that I never seem to get tired of. After making the Ad Hoc recipe for fried chicken several time and not being satisfied, I started looking further afield. I landed at the White on Rice Couple‘s page. In case you don’t want to spend days to explore the rich content like I did, here is the recipe for the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.

Ingredients:

  • about 2-3 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in. I usually cut up a whole chicken, leaving bones in just the drumstick, and the thigh, and cutting the breast into wing, tenderloin, with the remainder cut into three strips about equal in thickness.

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For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon (15ml) rice vinegar
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

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Mix everything together in a suitable bowl, and whisk to combine. The original recipe calls for marinating for 1 – 3 hours, but I like the meat better if it marinates longer, say 8 – 10 hours. Cut the chicken up when you get home from the grocery, then refrigerated until the next morning. It just takes a couple minutes to make the marinade, pour it over the chicken, toss, and cover it, then refrigerate. It will be ready for dinner when you get home from work.

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For frying:

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5) baking powder
  • about 2 cups (480ml) cold water
  • Oil for frying

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Cook it up!

One of the things that I like best about this recipe is the thin, crispy batter. Whisk everything together, and season with a little salt and black pepper, then remove the chicken from the marinade, letting excess drip off, then toss with the batter.

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I like to fry in peanut oil, about1 1/2″ deep at about 375 F. Move the chicken quickly from the batter to the oil to keep a thick layer of batter intact. I start by frying the legs, thighs first, and keeping them warm in the oven while I fry the breast strips.

I sprinkle a little chopped cilantro over the dish, and serve with steamed short-grain rice, and I make this almost once every two weeks. It’s that good!

BBQ Chicken in the Big Green Egg

Cooking in the Big Green Egg is not always simple. Sure I can fire it up with a big pile of charcoal and sear a 2″ steak to perfection in about five minutes, but the slow-roasting feature is where the egg really shines. OK, pizza, too, but that’s another story.

I like to apply a rub on the chicken before cooking, be it in the oven, or in the egg. I also use the vertical chicken roaster to get the legs and breasts done at the same time. I bought the model with the gizmo in the middle to put flavoring into, but I never use it. Save the $10 and get the cheap one. Here’s a simple rub.

BBQ Chicken Rub
1 lb                 Kosher salt
12 oz              Sugar
2 oz                Garlic salt
½ oz               Celery salt
1  oz               Chipotle chili
¼ oz               Ground cumin

Combine all ingredients in a bowl

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and mix to combine evenly. You can store this in the cupboard for a long time, and it’s also yummy on slow-roasted pork shoulder, so don’t worry about making too much.

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Remove the giblets from the body cavity, and cut the first two pieces of wing off. Rinse the body cavity, and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place into a bowl, vent end up and sprinkle the spice mix in the cavity to coat all surfaces. Shake out any that does not stick.

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Sprinkle over the outside surface, turning in the bowl to coat evenly. 030

Transfer to a clean bowl, leaving any excess rub in the first bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for three hours up to overnight. 033

When ready to cook, remove the cover and transfer to the roaster.

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Fire up the egg with about a half bag of charcoal (I use natural rather than briquettes because I think it burns longer. By far the best way I have discovered to ignite the egg is here. Not cheap, but gets the job done in about five minutes. Be careful not to leave it too close when the fire gets going or the aluminum outer cover will melt.

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Add the platesetter upside down,

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and put the bird in.

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Immediately dampen the unit down to around 250 F.

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Cook until the bird is done, about two hours. The temperature will slowly creep up to closer to 300 F.

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You might never cook a chicken differently again!