Roast Chicken with Garlic & Brown Butter Green Beans

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I’m stepping aside from the plant based proteins for one post and going back to a former recipe upon request. If you have been following my blog, you understand that I have made a choice to eliminate land animals (chicken, beef, pork) from my diet due to personal health goals. Striving towards a healthier lifestyle with diet is a very difficult task but i’m choosing to take it one step at a time, day by day to get by. I’ve learned to discipline myself and hold back on buying and cooking with the usual animal proteins I once loved to work with. A trick I have found to keep active with this change it to meal plan every week. Come up with a menu for what I will cook that week, write up a grocery list and shop for only those items. It not only saves me time and money but it keeps me motivated to cook again as I actually have a plan as to what I am going to prepare for that day or evening.ย  I am also married to a Chef, keeping a strict vegetarian diet is almost near impossible when food and culture is everything to us. I have to at least keep dairy, eggs and seafood in my diet or I wouldn’t be able to keep this blog going!

About two weeks ago on a cold Sunday evening, I went about the usual relaxing after dinner to a netflix show with the hubs until I decided to come into the computer room and check my emails, per usual I was distracted by facebook before doing anything else. Scrolling through the feed I came across my dear friend Tony who had posted about his apartment catching fire. Shortly after reading his post, I had seen numerous reports of an apartment fire very close to me which happened to be the same building my friend Tony lived in. I was worried for him and his girlfriend, however via his post, everyone was okay and out safely, their belongings and apartment were to be determined after the fire report. I was just happy to hear everyone was okay. The next day I messaged my best friend April who happens to be Tony’s sister about the fire, she confirmed everything and agreed to meeting with me as I wanted to help with anything I could. She told me over lunch that a gofundme page was set up in their name to help raise money in any funding they might need towards new housing, clothes and all personal items to start over. I offered to give money but was quickly denied as they requested I provide nothing more than a full meal for them to enjoy as Tony & his Girlfriend Moira were living off pop tarts and pizza rolls for the time while lodging at a friends house until they get their life back on track.ย 

When you lose everything in a fire, you also suffer personal traits you once enjoyed such as cooking because you don’t have your own kitchen and equipment to work with. Working in someone else’s can become challenging and most often awkwardย as you don’t want to abuse your welcome. I asked “What should I make?” and the answer was simple, “Just cook a whole bird with their favorite sides, green beans & broccoli.” This was literally the easiest task I’ve ever had and I couldn’t be more excited because I knew exactly what I wanted to do and it felt good to go back in time and pull from the archives one of my favorite techniques for a great meal, a simple brine and roast method. This recipe is comparable to the one I was provided when I worked at the Greenbrier. Working in the Forum-an Italian based restaurant, we would brine whole Chicken and then roast the next day. Then pulling the meat from the bone to be used in one of our pasta dishes. If I ate Chicken still, this would be one of my go to recipes. This brine not only adds great flavor, but keeps the right amount of juices in tact for a moist texture.ย 

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Mise en Place for the Brine:

  • 4 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Peppercorns
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 Small Bunch Parsley Leaves
  • 1 Small Bunch Thyme
  • 1 Whole Chicken ( I used about a 5 LB bird, insides removed)

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Mise en Place for the Roasting:

  • 1/2 Stick Butter, cut in cubes
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 Lemon, sliced in rounds
  • 2 Celery Stalks, chopped small
  • 2 Carrots, peeled, chopped small
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, chopped small
  • Vegetable Oil for brushing on top
  • S&P, for Seasoning

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Method of Prep:

  • In a wide 3 gallon pot, bring water, both sugars and salt to a simmer, continue to mix until both sugars are dissolved. Turn off heat, add in peppercorns, bay leaves, parsleyย and thyme. Allow the herbs and spices to steep for 10 minutes. Remove from stove and place in refrigerator to cool completely.
  • Remove pot from refrigerator, place whole bird in the brine. Fill with water until the Chicken is completely submerged, about 8 cups more. Cover and set in refrigerator overnight (or at least 4 hours).
  • When ready, set the oven to 325 degrees. Remove Chicken from brine and place on top of a roasting rack. Stuff the end of the Chicken with celery, onion, carrots (Mirepoix),ย  thyme sprigs and Lemon rounds. Under the skin of the breast, stuff with the butter cubes. Using a pastry brush, lightly oil the top of the chicken and season with s&p. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  • Enjoy!

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***You can save the used brine and reuse it again up to 3 times, just continue to use only raw poultry or pork in the brine. This brine will hold up to 1 week as long as it’s sealed tightly.

***Save your chicken bones and use for a stock! Take used bones from the carcass and seal in a ziploc bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months and use for homemade stock!

Green Beans Mise en Place:

  • 1 Bag Green Beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 Stick Butter
  • S&P, TT

Method of Prep:

  • Bring a large pot of water, about 5 cups to a rolling boil. Blanch beans by dropping in water, allowing to steep for 2 minutes. Remove from boiling water and drop in ice water to shock or stop the cooking.
  • Drain water from beans. Bring a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add in butter and allow butter to lightly brown, you will begin to smell a light nutty aroma. Add in garlic and stir until lightly browned about 1 minute. Add in Beans, season with salt and pepper. Toss until coated well with butter and seasonings. Reduce heat, using a zester, zest the 1/2 lemon rind over beans. Squeeze in fresh juice and toss again to coat. Cook until al dente, approximately 4 minutes.
  • Enjoy!
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{Chicken} Tikka Masala

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If you could choose 1 cuisine to eat every day for the rest of your life what would you choose and why?? For me Id go with Indian. I love everything about the many different spices included in each dish and I don’t think Ive eaten any form of Indian food I didn’t care for. My favorite Indian dish next to Goat vindaloo would be Tikka masala. Chicken is the common protein used in this dish but I also enjoy using tofu when I’m going vegetarian.

Tikka masala is the way to go if your ever trying to cook an international dish at home. I can guarantee you 99.9% of the time everyone, including the kids will enjoy it. This recipe is not spicy at all. If your a spicy lover like myself, add as much chili or cayenne powder as you wish to get it to your heat level.

I’ll shut up so you can go make this. Right now!

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Tikka Masala: Gluten Free/Vegetarian (substitute tofu)

Yield: 2 People

Mise en Place:

-1 Package Chicken Thighs, bone and skin removed, cut into cubes

-6 Tablespoons Tikka paste (see recipe below)

-1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt

-1 Tablespoon Oil

-1 Onion, Small Dice

-1 Garlic Glove, Crushed

-1 Jalapeno, seeded and small dice

-1 Inch Piece Ginger root, grated

-1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste

-1 Cup Water

-1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

-Fresh Cilantro

-Naan Bread, to serve with (optional)

-1 Cup Jasmine or Basmati Rice, cooked

Method of Prep:

-Mix 3 tablespoons of the Tikka Paste and 4 tablespoons of the yogurt into a bowl. Add chicken and let marinate for 30 minutes.

-Heat the oil in a pan and sautรฉ the onion, garlic, jalapeno and ginger for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the remaining tikka paste and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and water, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

-Once chicken has sat for 30 minutes in the yogurt, heat up a large pan on high heat. Add some oil and cook the chicken and season with a little bit of salt until done, approximately 10 minutes. Stir often.

-Blend the tikka sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return sauce to the pan.

-Add the remaining yogurt and lemon juice to the pan. Add cooked chicken. Let simmer on medium heat for another 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning or spices if needed.

-Serve over rice with a side of nan bread. Garnish with cilantro.

Enjoy!

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*Note: If sauce becomes to thick in the last step, add some more yogurt to it to thin it out.

Tikka Paste: Gluten Free/Vegan/Dairy Free

Recipe Credit: Best Ever Indian Cookbook

Yield: 2 Cups

Mise en Place:

-2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander

-2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin

-1 ยฝ Tablespoons Garlic Powder

-2 Tablespoons Paprika

-1 Tablespoon Garam Masala

-1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger

-2 Teaspoons Chili powder

-1/2 Teaspoon Ground Turmeric

-1/4 Teaspoon Salt

-1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice

-2/3 Cup White Wine Vinegar

-2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

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Method of Prep:

Place all spices and salt in a bowl and mix well.

-Add lemon juice, vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water and mix to form a thin paste.

-Heat the oil in a large pan and stir fry the paste over medium heat for 10 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. When the oil rises to the surface, the paste is cooked. Allow to cool at room temperature before placing in air tight jars. (The sauce is going to look broken and gross but I promise you there is nothing wrong with it.)

Chefs Tip:

-If you’re looking for a more Indian look and taste to your rice, add in 2 cardamom pods to the rice while its cooking. When the rice is fully cooked, sprinkle in 2 dashes of turmeric to give your rice the yellow color. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Chicken Stock

I always feel like it’s a slap in the face to my career as a chef every time I use the store bought chicken stock. If I can avoid buying it, I will. A lot of my recipes don’t include chicken stock but every now and again I’ll get a craving for something such as risotto that requires the use of chicken stock for half the recipe. If I don’t have it made then sadly I’m forced to buy it from the store. The best part about making chicken stock at home is its very little effort to make and you can freeze it for as long as you want until you are ready to use it. I love making chicken stock just for the fact that it makes my house smell fantastic and the taste is much better. To get a decent amount of stock you need quite a lot of chicken bones. I’ve been saving my bones for a few months now from the few whole birds I’ve roasted or the chicken thighs I’ve braised so that I can indeed make a large batch of stock. You can hold the chicken bones in your freezer for a few months until your ready to use them. I’m not saying you have to eat chicken every day to get a good amount of bones, but you should probably include a whole chicken into your dinner once a week.

I only had about 2 pounds of bones, so to up the amount of scraps, I purchased a pack of 10 whole chicken thighs (with meat and skin attached) and added that into the stock. Most people toss their chicken scraps at the end of the stock process, I like to keep the meat (if there is any) so I’m not wasteful in my product. I got a full size freezer bag of chicken meat from this stock and I wasn’t about to just toss it. Save it and add it into your salads for lunch, make tacos or chicken noodle soup or freeze it for when you want to make something with chicken.

Active Time: 40 Minutes

Total Time: 4.5 Hours

Yield: 1 Gallon

Mise en Place (Ingredients):

-5 Stalks of celery, cut into medium chunks———————————————————>

-5 Medium Carrots, peeled, cut into medium chunks———————————————> Mirepoix

-3 Medium Yellow onions, Peeled, cut into medium chunks———————————->

-5 Pounds Chicken Bones, roasted (This also include the package of chicken thighs)

-3 Bay leaves

-1 Bunch Thyme

-1 Tablespoon Whole Black Peppercorns

Additional Tools:

-Sheet tray

-Roasting rack

-1 Gallon stock pot

-Mesh strainer

-Vegetable oil

-Ziploc bags or holding containers for stock

-Cheese cloth

-Salt and Pepper

Method of Prep:

-Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place roasting rack over sheet tray. Lay chicken bones and thighs on roasting rack (If you don’t have room, you’re going to have to cook in separate batches). Lightly cover with oil, salt and pepper.

-Place in the oven until thighs and bones are a golden brown to dark brown color. Approximately 40 minutes.

-Cut up mirepoix (onions, celery, and carrot) set aside.

-In a cheese cloth, place bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme. Pull sides together and tie tight.

-Once chicken and bones have the brown color, remove from oven and let cool completely.

-Place bones and sachet of herbs inside the stock pot. Fill up to the top with cold water.

-Place on the stove on medium high heat and bring to a light simmer. Once stock begins to simmer, reduce heat to low. DO NOT let stock boil at any point, this will make your stock cloudy if you go too hard. Let lightly simmer for 2 hours. (if water begins to reduce, gradually add more)

-At the two hour mark, add in your mirepoix. Bring back up to a light simmer and continue to cook for a remaining 2 hours.

-Strain your stock into another large pot or pitcher (save chicken scraps if you want). Let the stock cool in the refrigerator uncovered. Once cool, separate into holding containers or ziploc bags. Label and place in the freezer until ready to use.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jerk Chicken

Before I meander on in this post about an incredible dinner option for you and your family, I want to share with you an Item Brandon came across in the grocery store a couple weeks back. This jerk marinade [pictured above] called “Boston Jerk seasoning, Jamaican Country Style.” I’ve had jerk seasoning both dry and wet on a few items before, and honestly this stuff is out of this world. It’s amazingly powerful in spice and flavor, requiring only 1 teaspoon needed for whatever it is you want to marinate. If you are a jerk seasoning fan or enjoy Jamaican cuisine, check your local grocery store for this marinade and buy some! You will thank me later.

As for this post, one of my absolute favorite menu items in my home is Brandon’s Jerk chicken served with black beans, coconut rice, and roasted bananas [or plantain’s if you prefer] . I ate a lot of chicken as a child so for me chicken is overrated. When I cook with chicken [which I seldom do anymore] I prefer to use chicken thighs for a few reasons: 1.) Dark meat, 2.) It doesn’t get dry like chicken breast does, and 3.) its awesome! You can use breast for this recipe but the wow factor wont be the same. This is a Jamaican dish, so to keep the flavors close and the plate somewhat authentic, I cooked my rice with 1 can of coconut milk instead of water. If your milk evaporates before your rice is cooked you can then add in a little bit of water or milk to finish cooking it. In most traditional Cuban and Jamaican cuisine, fried plantains are added as a side to your meal. I didn’t have plantains on hand, so I substituted using a whole banana roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes, no seasoning or sugar, just slice banana on parchment paper, on a sheet tray, in the oven, BAM. This is an awesome substitute, trust me. Lastly, for the black beans, open 1 15 oz can and pour into a pan [don’t drain the beans] season with some spices and cook until beans are soft. For best results with flavor of chicken, marinate overnight. I really hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Active Time: 25 Minutes

Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

-1 Package of Chicken Thighs

-1 Teaspoon Boston Jerk Seasoning

-1 Cup rice

-1 15 oz can Coconut Milk

-1 15 Can Black beans

-1/2 Onion, small dice

-1 Garlic clove, brunoise

-1 Teaspoon Cayenne

-1 Tablespoon Cumin

-S&P, TT

-1 Ripe Banana

Additional Equipment:

-Parchment paper

-Sheet tray

-Canola oil

-2 Sauce pots

-1 Fry pan

Method of Prep:

-Rub 1 teaspoon of jerk marinade all over chicken thighs until fully coated. Cover, place in refrigerator and marinate over night or for a minimum of 4 hours.

-Turn oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat a skillet up add oil and once hot, sear thighs until a light dark and crispy coat appears. Approximately 5 minutes on each side.

-Once chicken is seared, place on a sheet tray and finish cooking in the oven until chicken reads 165 or is fully cooked.

-While chicken is cooking, Add rice and coconut milk to a sauce pot. Cover and cook over medium heat until finished. Check often and stir.

-As the rice cooks, Saute onion and garlic until light brown. open a can of black beans into a pot [don’t drain the beans]. Add cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper. let simmer over medium heat until beans are fully cooked.

-By this point your chicken should be about ready. Pull from oven and let rest.

-Cut the banana on a bias, place on parchment paper and place in the oven for 10 minutes to cook, allowing all the natural sugars to pour from the banana ๐Ÿ™‚

-Once everything is cooked and tastes delicious, plate it up and eat.

Enjoy!