She says: A while back, I posted a recipe for Chicken Adobo. We’re going to use a similar technique here.
Simply brown the chicken, skin side down, rendering as much of the fat as possible. Add some aromatics. Braise it all in a liquid (water or chicken broth — your choice). Then, finish the sauce. If you can make Chicken Adobo, you can make this — and vice versa!
For this recipe, I have a problem with the sauce breaking. To keep things together and help the sauce to cling to the chicken, I use a tiny amount of xanthan gum. I prefer xanthan in this particular recipe because it adds no taste, can be used at any temperature, and doesn’t dull the flavors or cloud the sauce. It acts as a binding agent and emulsifier. A little goes a long way. 1/4 teaspoon is all you need — any more than that and the dish will start to take on a weird mouthfeel. If you can’t find xanthan or don’t want to use it, that’s fine too! A quick cornstarch slurry should do the trick.
He says: Hung[a]ry? Rock the Paprikash-bah!
Nothing says that you HAVE to serve this entrée on an ornate platter emblazoned with arcane medieval Eastern European runes etched to ward off evil bland-food spirits (as pictured here)*, but on the other hand, do you really want to risk NOT serving it that way?
* OK, I’ve been informed by Ms. Legume that this platter has no actual magical powers, but is instead a popular Wendell August pattern. I countered that Wendell August might actually be a benevolent centuries-old wizard like Gandalf, but I was further informed by Ms. Legume that I should dial back the crazy talk before she’s forced to throw the net over me again.
- 8 Bone-in chicken thighs, about 3 pounds
- 2 large onions, sliced into half-moons (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup Hungarian paprika
- 1 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- chopped parsley, for garnish
- Place chicken skin side down into a 12-inch non-stick skillet. Cook over medium low heat until skin is golden brown and fat has rendered, about 15 minutes.
- Move chicken to plate. Drain off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of fat.
- Increase the heat to medium. Toss the onions into the skillet and cook until they begin to soften and brown on the edges, about 10 minutes.
- Add paprika to the onions and cook just until it starts to become fragrant.
- Stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.
- Nestle the chicken pieces into the skillet, skin side up. Tuck in the bay leaves. Cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low and slowly simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- Move chicken to serving platter, leaving onions and liquid in the skillet. Cover the chicken with foil to keep warm.
- If you're using cornstarch, make a slurry of 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. Mix well, then add to the sauce remaining in the skillet, stir until thickened. If you're using xanthan gum instead of cornstarch, simply sprinkle it lightly over top of the sauce, stir until thickened.
- Take the skillet off the heat. Whisk in sour cream until combined.
- Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle some parsley over top, and serve.
Feel free to use water instead of chicken broth in this recipe. We're using bone-in chicken, so it makes a sort of chicken stock as it's braising.
Quick fix: If you have leftover chicken sitting around in the fridge, chop it into chunks -- or even shred it. Instead of chicken fat (unless you have some in the freezer, too!), use butter or cooking oil to cook the onions and simply follow the rest of the recipe as-is. Serve over noodles!
Some folks wonder how we get so much chicken stock. The quick answer: I make it. It’s cheaper and better than anything you can find in a can or box. While homemade chicken stock is great for recipes, it also makes for a terrific hot beverage. I’ve even taken a thermos of it to work on occasion.
The longer answer is that it all starts with Sunday dinner, which is often roasted chicken. I roast two. We eat one for dinner. The other is used in other recipes and even lunches for the week. Stock is made from the remaining bones, scraps, drippings, and any leftover veggie scraps (typically carrot, celery, and onion ends along with any parsley that no longer looks pretty and fresh). The following recipe outlines quantities for fresh vegetables, but I usually have enough scraps accumulated in the freezer to be used in stocks.
Continue reading Chicken Stock
Peking duck is — or was — somewhat of a mystery to me. I’ve had it a few times at restaurants that have served somewhat disappointing versions with flabby skin and so-so texture.
So, what I learned is this: Peking duck gets its coloring from a mixture of soy and maltose. Much of the seasoning is simply the result of salting — essentially dry brining. Salting — rather than brining — also ensures more crisp skin. Finally, the duck is typically hung over wood fires. Imagine the rendered fat drippings burning on the hot coals and mixing with the wood smoke to add even more flavor and color. Swoon.
So, we don’t have that setup here. A few hours of research and three ducks later, here’s a recipe that anyone can do at home.
There are two ways to cook this bird. The first uses the same method as beer can chicken. Situating the duck vertically with the opening facing down will help the rendered fat to release from between the meat and skin, allowing the skin to get more crisp.
The second option is to simply roast the duck horizontally — just as you would typically roast a chicken. Situate it breast down on the middle rack of the oven. After 30 minutes, give the duck a 1/4 turn so that a leg is positioned at the top. Roast for 30 minutes and turn the duck 1/2 turn so that the opposite leg is positioned at the top. For the final 30 minutes, roast the duck breast side up.
The goals for either method is to render the fat completely and to deeply brown the skin. Depending on your oven, this may take less than 2 hours or slightly more than two hours. It may even require modifying the temperature a bit.
If the duck is brown, but the fat hasn’t rendered as much as you like, lower the oven temperature to 250 – 275 and cook for a bit longer. If the fat has rendered, but the skin needs more browning, increase the oven temperature to 375-400 and, checking frequently and turning as necessary.
Tip: If the family isn’t too fond of duck, try the recipe with a whole chicken fryer instead!
- 1 4- to 6-pound duck
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 Tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 empty, tall beer can
- 1 recipe Mandarin pancakes or 1 package of small flour tortillas
- 1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned
- 8 scallions, sliced lengthwise (white and light green parts only)
- 1/4 cup hoisin
- Place a wire rack inside a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Dry the duck -- inside and out -- with paper towels. Place the duck on the wire rack.
- Insert fingers between the breast meat and the skin and gently separate the skin from the meat, working. Use this same process to separate the skin from the meat on the thighs.
- Combine honey, soy sauce, and rice wine in a small bowl and microwave to 15-20 seconds. Stir the mixture until the mixture is completely blended.
- Spoon the honey/soy mixture over the entire surface of the duck. Sprinkle salt evenly over the entire surface of the duck. Place the duck back on the wire rack, breast side up. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 36-48 hours until surface is completely dry and leathery in appearance.
- Adjust rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 350°F.
- Fill beer can with water. Stand duck vertically atop beer can and place on wire rack set in lined baking sheet.
- Roast for 30 minutes and rotate 1/2 turn to encourage even browning. Roast for another 30 minutes.
- After this first hour, gauge the browning process. The duck should be a deep mahogany color. Also, the fat needs to be fully rendered. So if, after the first hour of roasting, the duck is getting too brown, reduce the oven temperature to 275 for another 45 - 60 minutes, allowing all of the fat to fully render.
- If the top is doing fine as-is, simply rotate the duck a third time and roast for an additional 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 for a final 30 minutes, allowing all of the fat to fully render.
- Carefully remove duck from beer can. Oven-proof gloves are immensely helpful at this point. I've also used dish towels to help in the process. Once, I even had to enlist the help of a second person to hold the can while I lifted the duck.
- Transfer the duck to a cutting board. Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.
- Spread pancake (or tortilla) with hoisin. Fill with cucumber and scallion. Top with a few thin slices of duck.
I almost never buy prepared dressings and marinades. Good Seasons dressing mix, however, is one of my compromises. It’s basically spices and other dried bits — and a small amount of “natural” maltodextrin and Xanthan both of which confuse me in this context. They are unnecessary thickeners/emulsifiers. A better solution would be to alter the vinegar:oil ratio. But we all need a bit of convenience from time to time. And, this bit of convenience tastes good and does a good job of marinating chicken — a trick I learned from my dad decades ago.
The marinade is fairly acidic, which will toughen meat if left to marinate for extended (overnight) periods. So, a quick 30-60 minute soak is all that’s needed.
Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken and Vegetables
This is so easy, it's more of an idea than actual recipe. Grill a double batch and use the leftovers for lunch and to top salads. I often use this when making Cobb Salad.
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds
- 1 package Good Seasons Italian dressing
- 1/4 cup vinegar, for dressing
- 1/2 cup oil, for dressing
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 8 oz baby portobello mushrooms
- salt, to taste
- Pierce chicken breasts with a fork and pound to even thickness.
- Prepare one package of Good Seasons dressing according to directions on box.
- Coat chicken pieces in dressing. Allow to marinade 30 minutes or up to an hour.
- Toss the tomatoes and mushrooms with olive oil and salt.
- Grill chicken along with cherry tomatoes and baby portobellos.
My son recently spent a few weeks in San Marcos visiting family. During his time there, he was led to Churchill’s Pub and Grille where he ordered tikka masala. A few days after returning home, he was feeling a bit of fernweh. So, I decided to make a batch of tikka masala for him. Continue reading Tikka Masala
Taquitos are a great way to use leftover chicken! If you don’t have leftover chicken on hand, simply boil a couple chicken breasts, cool, and shred.
Continue reading Chicken Taquitos
We love this recipe because it’s flexible and SPICY — try it with pork, chicken, or beef! You can also use a variety of cooking methods, making it easier for busy schedules. The meat can cook in a slow cooker during the day. Or, you can use a pressure cooker which is our preferred method when making single or double batches.
Continue reading Tinga