Posts Tagged 'Chicken'

Thai Chicken with Basil

As I was making my desserts this afternoon for this month’s gourmet club, it occurred to me that in all of June’s travel-related craziness, I never blogged my dishes from last month’s Thai-themed gourmet club.  They’re too good not to share!

I was initially a bit nervous about today’s dish – Thai Chicken with Basil – because it isn’t something you make ahead.  As many of you know, I prefer to do as much as I can ahead of time when entertaining to keep my kitchen space clean and my stress level low.  My kitchen is a gathering place and it isn’t a space I can close off, so cooking with company present involves putting on a bit of a show.

Thankfully, this dish was pretty easy to throw together.  Here are the “prep steps” I took to make things as easy as possible (everything was stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator):

  • I cut the chicken breasts and stored them separately.
  • I combined the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar in a small container.
  • I cut the onion and stored it separately.
  • I seeded and sliced the chiles, minced the garlic, and stored them together.
  • I washed the basil and stored it separately.
With the hard work done, all I had to do was combine the marinade and the chicken and then dump the right things in the pan at the right time.  Easy entertaining! Here’s the recipe:
Thai Chicken with Basil
Serves 4
Ingredients:
1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4), cut into 1-by-2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, cut into thin slices
3 fresh red chiles, seeds and ribs removed, cut into thin slices, or 1/4 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
Method:
In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with the fish sauce, soy sauce, water, and sugar.  In a large nonstick frying pan or a wok, heat the oil over moderately high heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Stir in the chiles and garlic; cook, stirring, 30 seconds longer.
Remove the chicken from the marinade with a slotted spoon and add it to the hot pan.  Cook until almost done, stirring, about 3 minutes.  Add the marinade and cook 30 seconds longer.  Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the basil. Serve topped with remaining 1/2 cup basil.

Thai Chicken with Basil

Oh, this dish is really yummy.  There’s a hint of sweet, a hint of heat, and the sauce is delightfully salty (not overpoweringly so).  The chicken came out nicely cooked, and I love the tender onions and fresh basil.  I didn’t take time to photograph the dish during gourmet club, so I gladly made it again the following week because we enjoyed it so much.  If you’re a fan of Thai food, give this one a try!

TIPS:  When I was working on this recipe in May, SuperTarget was the only grocery store I found that carried red chiles.  (They were Fresno chiles, specifically.)  I’m seeing them in King Soopers/Kroger these days as well.

Recipe link: Thai Chicken with Basil

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Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Dr. O’s brother and his girlfriend came to stay with us this past weekend (our seventh set of houseguests in under three months!).  I planned a barbecue for Sunday afternoon, knowing that we had family and friends who would want to see them before they left that evening.  The challenge, though, was in the timing… Every minute of their visit was scheduled until Sunday morning.  What kind of menu could I put together in a pinch that would still allow me to spend time with my guests?

Our friend Paul made part of the menu planning easy for me.  His family owns Gold’n Plump Chicken, so he bought me a whole pile of it at SuperTarget on Wednesday.  (He was our houseguest earlier in the week, so I got wine and chicken as my hostess gifts.  I’ll take it!)  I’m all for supporting his family’s business, but I don’t typically buy Gold’n Plump chicken because I don’t do my grocery shopping at Target.  I was curious to see, though, how it would compare to my usual generic grocery store brand.

I wanted to marinate the chicken in something before I grilled it, so I settled on Prudence Pennywise’s recipe for Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken.  Since I tripled the recipe for my crowd, I combined 1 cup of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of lime zest, 3/4 cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon each coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, 6 tablespoons of honey, and 1 cup of chopped cilantro in a medium bowl.  I divided the marinade equally between two large zip-top bags and placed six boneless, skinless chicken breasts in each (about 3 pounds total).  (I had pounded the chicken to 1/2-inch thickness for faster and more even cooking.)  I stashed the chicken in the refrigerator until it was time to grill it; my marinating time ended up being about six hours.

When we were ready to eat, I heated my gas grill to medium heat and grilled the chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side and then let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.  I rounded out the menu with Hill Country Coleslaw, Southwestern Two-Bean Salad (my next post, promise!), and watermelon wedges.

Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

I adore this recipe.  It’s so simple but incredibly delicious!  The lime is the predominant flavor, though you can definitely taste the garlic and cilantro as well.  I should have been braver with the jalapenos since they didn’t really come through; next time I’ll use two or three.  Other than that, though, the flavor balance was spot on; everyone at the table commented on how good the chicken turned out.

As for Gold’n Plump versus my regular grocery store chicken…

I promise I’d never sell out for a freebie (it would take a lot more to buy me off than some free chicken!), but I do think the Gold’n Plump product is superior to the stuff I buy on sale at King Soopers.  The breasts I grilled were exceptionally tender and juicy.  My cousin and I were talking about it on Sunday, and she said that she likes to buy it occasionally because she doesn’t have to trim hunks of fat or stringy veins off of it.  So true.  Plus, Gold’n Plump doesn’t add any hormones or fillers, which is a positive in my book.  It reminds me a lot of the chicken we used to get at Central Market when we were living in Dallas…  It’s more expensive, but you get what you pay for.  I will probably start picking it up for entertaining from here on out.

Recipe link: Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Curried Chicken Salad

Dr. O and I finally had our first picnic of the summer last week.  He loves – and I mean loves – ’80s music, so I thought it would be fun for us to check out That Eighties Band (music will play when the window opens – beware! 🙂 ) when they played a free outdoor concert at the Streets of Southglenn.  An outdoor concert definitely equals a picnic event, so I set to planning the perfect menu.

I decided to plan the meal around a recipe I’ve wanted to try for a long time: Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad.  For sides, I went with extremely easy, portable treats: grapes, pepper strips with hummus, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. It was picnic perfection.  I enjoyed the chicken salad so much that I made it again on Monday, but this time I took pictures.  Here’s Ina’s recipe if you’d like to give it a try:

Curried Chicken Salad
Serves 6

Ingredients:
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Method:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well.  Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten/FoodNetwork.com

Curried Chicken Salad

If you like curry, this chicken salad is simply the best.  It’s creamy (mayo), crunchy (celery and cashews), sweet (raisins), and spicy (curry and scallions).  I could happily eat it at least once a week for the rest of my life, and it’s my new go-to summer recipe.  Yum, yum, yum!

In the interest of full disclosure, I did modify the recipe a bit the second time around since it has three small issues: One, the full-fat mayo and the olive oil are heavy on calories; two, you end up with far more dressing than you need if you make the recipe as written; three, there’s absolutely no need to dirty the food processor in order to make the dressing.  Here’s my lightened, easier version, which is still incredibly delicious:

Lighter Curried Chicken Salad
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad
Makes four 1-cup servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt
3/4 cup light mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s Light)
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 cup medium-diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white and green parts (1 large scallion)
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Method:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the chicken breast and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Combine the chicken and the dressing.  (You’ll use most, if not all of it.)  Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of cashews and serve at room temperature.

Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine

I haven’t been picking winners lately.

Crispy Baked Tilapia with Panko Crumbs?  Sounds good, but the recommended cooking time left the fish a bit tough, despite my monstrous fillets.  I also should have known better when there was no mention of salting the panko.

Spring Vegetable Carbonara?  Inexpensive and pretty tasty, but certainly not blog worthy.

Crispy Breaded Shrimp with Cannellini?  (What’s with me and “crispy” this week?) Borderline gross.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked, but the rosemary completely overwhelmed the dish.  The cooked arugula and bean salad was surprisingly bitter.

Ugh.

So you can imagine how pleased I was to turn out a winner this week: Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine from the May 2006 issue of Everyday Food.  The tender, juicy meat, bright flavors, and amazing sauce restored my faith in the kitchen, y’all.  Plus, this is one of those dishes where even though the cooking time is a bit long, it’s pretty hands off.  Easy and delicious?  I’ll take it.

To start, I rounded up 8 bone-in chicken thighs.  Martha specifies skinless, bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, but those are a rare beast.  In my grocery store, there are two options: boneless and skinless, or bone-in with skin on.  Since skinning chicken thighs isn’t high on my list of things I love to do, I decided to just leave the skin on during cooking and then remove it on my plate.  If you fear the fat, you’ll probably want to skin them.  I have to tell you, though, that rendered chicken fat sure adds some unctuous goodness to the sauce in the end.

I put the chicken thighs bone side up in a 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid and gave them a generous sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  To the skillet, I added 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1 cup of dry white wine (I used Smooking Loon Sauvignon Blanc, my favorite cheapie), and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme.  I brought the liquid to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, covered the skillet with the lid, and cooked for 30 minutes.

(This is a good time to slice the lemon, chop the parsley, and have a glass of the leftover wine.)

When the 30 minutes had passed, I turned the chicken and placed 1 thin lemon slice on each piece.  I re-covered the skillet and continued cooking until the chicken was tender (15 minutes).  Leaving the garlic and the cooking liquid in the skillet, I transferred the chicken and the lemon slices to a platter and covered it with foil to keep the chicken warm.  Next, I raised the heat to bring the cooking liquid to a boil and cooked until it was reduced to about 1/2 cup (5 minutes).  I removed the skillet from the heat and added 1 tablespoon of cold butter (cut into small pieces), 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the reduced liquid, stirring until the sauce was smooth.  I checked the seasoning of the sauce (mine didn’t need any adjustments) and served it over the chicken.

Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine

Man, was this ever good.  Peeling back the chicken skin revealed juicy, perfectly cooked chicken and the sauce was absolutely fantastic.  The rendered chicken fat made it a bit naughty, I know, but it was worth it.  Although the flavor profile was different, this brought back memories of the dripping-with-chicken-goodness vegetables that came out of my attempt at Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken. Delicious!

TIPS:  As a person who typically cooks pretty healthy meals, I feel like I should issue a warning to those of you who are accustomed to low-fat cooking.  If you leave the skin on the chicken during cooking, there will be rendered chicken fat in the sauce. And, as we all know, high-temperature fat is often liquid, while room-temperature fat is often solid.  So what’s going to happen as any leftover sauce cools in the pan?  It’s going to congeal a bit.  I could go without the reminder that I’m eating actual chicken fat, but hey – that’s how it goes.  The sauce truly is delicious when it’s hot, though, so I wouldn’t let this sway you if you’re thinking about giving the recipe a try with skin-on thighs.

Recipe link: Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine




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