Blog Archive

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Recipe Formula: Does it taste like Chicken?

A recipe is only one piece of the puzzle.

Chicken, the centre of the never answered philosophical question of which came first, the egg or you know. A feathered little creature that pecks at the ground, lays those beautiful breakfast packages and can have its bones boiled to make the all encompassing cure, chicken soup. As meat, chicken has more ways to be prepared than the famed chef's toque with its hundred pleats. It is fabled that those hundred pleats atop a chef's head symbolize a hundred different ways to prepare an egg. I know that as a chef or cook, whatever you prefer, I can cook chicken each day for a month and still have more recipes left over.

In today's society with so many struggling to put decent food on the table, the chicken is versatile and still relatively inexpensive. It is also a meat that is not frowned on in any faith, as pork and beef may be. So as an Aussie may say, “c'mon mate the chooks on the barby.”

At my chef's station I have travelled the culinary worlds from Southern – Style Baked Chicken, Moroccan, Indian Tandoori Chicken Meatballs through to Chicken Tagine with Olives & Lemon, ending for now with Chicken Chop Suey. Even with such a diverse scope of how to cook the versatile chook, I haven't even come close to scratching the vault of chicken recipes.

So when you're asked what's for dinner and you reply chicken to a chorus of frowns, smile and add, you've never had it like this before, and go for it.

Caribbean Chicken

6-8 chicken quarters
2 large tomatoes, sliced into big chunks
2 large onions, cut into large chunks
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp thyme
3 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup ketchup

Place first 12 ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
Let chicken stand in seasonings for at least 30 minutes, cover and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.
In a large heavy pot heat oil over high flame.
Add sugar and distribute it evenly throughout the bottom of pan.
When the sugar begins to bubble and the colour is getting brown take pieces of chicken and drop them into the pot.
Make sure the sugar does not burn.
Do a few pieces at a time and brown well on both sides.
When all pieces are browned return all the chicken pieces to the pot, add ketchup and the marinade.
Add 1 to 2 cups of water and stir until blended.
Bring chicken to a rapid boil, then lower the flame, cover pot partially and let cook for 1 hour.
You may need to stir it occasionally. Serve over brown rice.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Southern-Style Baked Chicken

16 thighs and or drumsticks
2 cups buttermilk
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tbsp butter softened
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine buttermilk, bay leaves, paprika, mustard & hot pepper sauce.
Add chicken and coat evenly.
Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or up to 24 hours stirring occasionally.
Combine flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper.
Lift chicken from marinade letting excess drip off.
Dip into flour mixture coating evenly, pressing to get coating to stick.
Place meaty side down on buttered baking sheet.
Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Turn chicken and bake another 15-20 minutes until coating is crispy.

(Serves 6 to 8)

Moroccan Chicken

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp buttermilk
chicken thighs or breast, your choice
1 medium onion diced
4-6 garlic cloves minced
1 tbsp ginger minced
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground tumeric
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pitted prunes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata or green olives, sliced
2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp lemon zest

Heat oil and cook chicken both sides until brown, then remove.
Reduce heat, saute onions until soft, add garlic & ginger, stirring constantly.
Add cinnamon, turmeric, chili pepper flakes, salt & pepper, stir to combine.
Return chicken, add apricots, prunes, olives, chicken broth, 1/4 cup parsley.
Bring mixture to boil, reduce and simmer for 30 minutes.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Tandoori Chicken & Pineapple Meatballs

2 tbsp Tandoori paste
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1 lb ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped pineapple
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Heat oven to 425° F
Combine tandoori paste, lemon juice, yogurt, vegetable oil
and 1/4 cup water in baking dish and set aside.
Add chicken, chives, garlic, ginger, pineapple, salt, pepper & bread crumbs in large bowl,
mix to combine.
Using wet hands roll into meatballs,
add onto baking dish & gently roll in Tandoori mixture to coat.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through & lightly brown.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Chicken Tagine with Olives & Lemon

8 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp paprika
4 tbsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp saffron
2 1/2 pounds of chicken quarters, chopped to bite size pieces
1 1/2 lemons, thinly sliced

Finely chop garlic, cilantro & parsley, transfer to bowl.
Add onions and next nine ingredients – mix well.
Add chicken with olives and lemons, and toss.
Chill covered for 2 hours.
Preheat oven at 400° F, cook in ovenproof pot.
Add 1/2 cups water and bake chicken until cooked.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Orange & Mint Rubbed Chicken

1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp ground almonds
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 small clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
6 skin-on-bone-in chicken breasts or 12 thighs (or a mixture)

For the chicken, preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine mint, almonds, orange zest, orange juice and garlic in a small good processor or a blender. 
Process until mint is finely chopped.
Add 1 tbsp of the oil, salt & pepper and process until fairly smooth.
Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
Brown chicken pieces, in batches to avoid crowding pan, for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Transfer to a large roasting pan with the skin-side up.
Spread mint pesto evenly over chicken pieces.
Roast for about 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer in the thickest part of meat reads 175° F.
Tent with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

(Serves 4 to 6)

Chicken Chop Suey – Chinese Style

2 1/2 lbs chicken
1 bunch green onion
2 medium sweet onions
4 medium carrots
2 yellow peppers
1 pack stir fry noodles
1 pack SHAN seasoning mix
3 eggs, whites only

Cut the chicken into smaller bite size pieces, you can use any type of chicken you wish.
Slice the yellow peppers, onions and carrots into thin pieces.
Dissolve 1 tbsp SHAN Chinese Chop Suey seasoning mix with egg whites,
1 tbsp oil, add meat and set aside for 15 minutes.
Dissolve remaining seasoning mix with 1 1/4 cups of water and set aside.
Heat oil and cook chicken pieces, then add the vegetables, cooking till tender and chicken is done.
You will need to stir regularly.
Add the remaining dissolved seasoning and cook till seasoning thickens, stirring regularly.
Serve over stir fry noodles or rice.

(Serves 6)