Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Boneless Chicken

This is one of our favorite meals. Bonus: The chicken carcase makes a great stock for soup - 2 meals from 1 chicken!

The method for this one is a little complicated since you have to de-bone the chicken. We have made a video to demonstrate how to de-bone, stuff & truss the bird.

Here is what you need:

1 whole chicken
1 cup frozen spinach
4 - 6 dried mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons pitted Kalamatta olives, chopped up
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup tablespoons goat cheese
1/4 cup low-moisture mozarella
salt & pepper to taste

First you need to blend up your mushrooms in the blender to make a powder (this will absorb more moisture. You want a 'thirsty' stuffing).
 Then you want to sautee the spinach with the garlic until most of the water is out of the spinach. Add the goat cheese & heat until it's all melted down.

Then in a bowl, mix together the spinach, mushroom powder, olives and cheeses. Set aside while you de-bone the chicken.

De-bone the chicken. Check out Tyson's how to video here.

Once the chicken is de-boned, stuffed & trussed. season with salt & pepper, and then roast in the oven at 400 for roughly an hour or until internal temperature of 160.

 We roasted ours with some butternut squash and potatoes.

What you need for the roasted veggies:

olive or avocado oil (approx. 2 tablespoons)
1 butternut squash
potatoes (we had about 4 small russets)
unsalted garlic blend seasoning
salt & pepper to taste. 
cut up the veggies to about the same size pieces so they cook evenly. Toss them in a bowl with the oil & garlic seasoning. 

Spread out evenly on a baking tray and then season with salt & pepper. Season up high for even spreading.

 Bake with the chicken at 400 for 45 minutes until tender & golden brown.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Chicken Chile Verde

So we had a few chicken legs, and some left-over Trader Joe's tomatillo salsas in the fridge, so we decided to do them up chile verde style.

What you need to do is get your chicken legs (you could also use thighs)
Here is a comparison of chicken legs. We bought the larger ones at the Asian market and Foster Farms from the grocery store. Most American grocery stores sell the smaller 'young' chicken legs, while the Asian markets sell more mature hens. Either size will work.

Season the chicken legs with Chef Morito's pollo asada seasoning. Pictured below is the carne asada seasoning since the pollo asada label has peeled off.  Sprinkle the seasoning onto the chicken lightly dust with flour

 Then brown the seasoned chicken in a lightly oiled pan over medium high heat.

 Remove the chicken and fry up about 4 - 6 cloves of garlic sliced.

 Once your garlic is browned, add about 1 cup of chicken stock to your pan & deglaze.

 Place your chicken legs back in the pan and cover with tomatillo salsa. 

 You can get tomatillo salsa at almost any grocery store, but the Trader Joe's is definitely the best that we have found.

 We left the chicken on a very low simmer in a large pan with the lid on for about 2 hours, until it was fork tender and delicious!

 Serve with beans, cheese & tortillas!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Refrigerator Clean Out Chili

So Tyson decided to organize (and clear out) the refrigerator & the spice cabinet. 


Since we have a bunch of dried beans on hand, and a turkey carcase left-over from Practice Thanksgiving (yes...we do Thanksgiving in June as well as November!) in the freezer. We also had some smoked pork neck bones in there, and the skins from some pork belly we had from a cooking demo Tyson did a while back, we decided to make some stock & turn it into chili. 

Of course you don't have to make the stock from scratch, but if you have random left-over meat parts & bones, you can make some epic stock & use it for all sorts of things!

We started by soaking some white beans (we had a 24oz bag of dried white beans) overnight.

In the morning, we placed the turkey carcase, the ham hocks and the pork belly skins in a large stock pot. We then poured in 8 cups of water and tossed in a bay leaf. 

Bring the whole thing to a boil & then turn it down to simmer for a few hours. You want the meat on the ham bones to be tender enough to pull from the bone.

Once the stock is ready, pull out the big turkey carcase as well as any large pieces of meat & bone, and set aside. Then strain the rest of the broth. 

Pull the meat from the bones. Taste a piece, and if it's not completely depleted, you can put it back into your chili. 

For a little bonus, Tyson pulled the pork belly skins out & pan fried them up with some garlic. We served them nice & crispy on the side...YUM!

 This stock making step is optional. If you don't want to cook all day long, you can just use 8 cups of stock. Any kind will work....chicken, pork, beef, etc.

Pre-soak your beans. I usually do them the night before, but read the package.

For chili you will need:
8 cups of stock
1 bay leaf
24oz pre-soaked beans (we used white beans, but any beans will work)
1 bottle of beer (use a robust beer like a stout or a Newcastle)
large can of tomato sauce 
2 Tbs paprika
4 Tbs chili powder
1/2 Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tsp turmeric
2 Tbs cumin
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
4 squares from a bar of dark chocolate

Once you have your stock ready, put it back into the pot. Then rinse your beans well and place them into the stock. 

Bring the beans to a boil & then turn it down to simmer for about an hour. Once the beans are almost thoroughly cooked, take out about 2 cups & place them into a blender with a little stock. 

 Blend up the beans & put them back into the pot. This will help thicken up your chili.

After you put the beans in, pour in a bottle of beer, can of tomato sauce & add your spices.

 We also had in the fridge, some pico de gallo (left over from fish tacos) and some chili sauce. Dump it all in (if you have any random tomato based sauces, go or anything that could taste good in chili, go ahead & toss it in too.)

 Bring everything up to a boil & then turn it down to a low simmer. Let it all simmer for about an hour or so. Serve with corn bread!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hummus and Garlic Toasts

Since lobster prices are still gloriously low, we had another mini lobster fest with a good friend of ours! You can read about how to cook lobsters here.

Since we got nice, small 1lb guys, we made a few appetizer sides. We got a nice mix of olives to snack on, and Tyson made home made hummus. I made my famous garlic toasts to dip into it. 

For the hummus you will need the following:
3 cans of garbanzo beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cloves of garlic pan fried or roasted
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil (we didn't have any tahini on hand, so we just used a little sesame oil instead)
Put everything into the food processor (or the blender if you don't have a processor).

 Blend until smooth and refrigerate until cool.

For the toasts you will need:
1 baguette (I bought 2 at costco, and pre-sliced the second & left it in the freezer for next time)
6 - 8 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of anchovy paste or 1 filet of anchovy (you won't taste the fishiness, but the garlic sauce falls a bit short without it)
juice of 1 lemon
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt (depending on how much anchovy you use. When I make it for just me & Tyson I use more anchovy & less salt, but for others, less anchovy & more salt)
Make sure you use a good quality kosher salt, not iodized table salt.
1 teaspoon of whole or cracked pepper corns
1+ teaspoon herbs de provence

Blend up all your spices, oil and garlic until smooth. Be careful not to over blend as it will turn the oil a bit bitter.

 Slice up your baguette into 1/4" thick slices.

 Lay out your slices on a baking sheet.

Spoon out your sauce onto your bread slices. Be generous.

 Heat up your oven to 350 (this is not needed to be precise, if you happen to be doing something else in your oven, but want to toss these in, go ahead...just adjust your cooking time.) I baked them for about 20 minutes, but keep an eye on your toasts...some ovens are better than others. The idea is to toast until golden, but not over cook. If you over cook, they get REALLY crunchy! Not a bad thing, but they can scrape up your mouth a bit.