Category: Chicken

Quick Chicken Spinach Bolognese

I had a cooking fail. It’s amazing how much of a rage something like that sends me into. I was trying my hand at a Spanish tortilla. Finally. Finally because I stopped being so scared. Something about it intimidates me. It’s really easy. Maybe it’s because stewing potatoes and onions in olive oil isn’t probably something you should do regularly. No, it’s not that. It’s because it’s intimidating. It’s a perfectly pillowy, yet dense, cake of eggs, potatoes, and onions. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, so if you fuck it up [and I did], it’s obvious. I was doing well until I got to that whole “slide a plate over the top of your pan and flip it over” thing. Yeah, that wasn’t happening. My non-stick pan is losing its non-stick properties. It’s given up on me. I’ve been eyeing this one [but probably an All-Clad], but I’ve been holding out. The one I have was a perfectly good non-stick pan, but once eggs start sticking–even with boatloads of olive oil–you’re dead to me. Needless to say, the tortilla became a scramble. It tasted fine. It tasted just like it was supposed to, but it wasn’t what it was supposed to be. It made me want to throw things. Sigh. I’ll try again someday. Probably not until I get a new pan.

Until that happens, there is this really good chicken spinach bolognese that doesn’t take much time to throw together, and pretends to be super healthy with all that spinach. I wanted something to take to work the next few days, which really turned into the next day only because I ate that much of it for dinner. Pasta is a weakness. I bought a little block of Pecorino Romano to grate on top. Deliciously salty.

I’m starting to understand the whole ‘reserve some pasta water’ thing; it makes all the difference to the consistency of a bowl of al dente pasta. It elevates it from becoming a congealed mass of starch with toppings. It keeps better in the fridge so I can steal multiple bites any time I open the fridge door [read: all the time]. The original recipe called for turkey, but I was hesitant to recreate the feeling of thanksgiving. Every time I cook with it, browned turkey just smells like thanksgiving. Chicken was the easy and obvious substitute. Pork would have been equally delicious, especially of the hot Italian sausage variety.  This is a lot more mellow in flavor that way. Feel free to add tons of red chile flakes. I did.

Quick Chicken Spinach Bolognese

Inspiration: Fuss Free Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground chicken
  • 250g frozen spinach
  • 15oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1lb pasta of choice
  • Parmesan
  • Red chili flakes

Preparation

In a large skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil on medium high heat. Brown the chicken. Add in the frozen spinach and roasted tomatoes. Don’t drain them first. Stir until well mixed and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Let it simmer together and unthaw the spinach.

While the sauce simmers away, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Before draining, retain 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Taste the sauce and add salt, pepper, and possibly some red chili flakes.

Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir well and add pasta water to get the desired consistency.

Before serving, add a healthy dose of shaved parmesan.

Massaman Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s hardly soup weather anymore. Tax season ended with 80+° weather, and it’s hovered in that range ever since. Despite it being pizza week [think burger week, but y’know, with pizza], I made Thai basil pork my first meal back in the kitchen. Surprise, surprise. I have grand plans, but I’m easing back into it. Besides, pizza week.

This soup was stellar in that way that making something from scratch can be. I had a Massaman curry paste container in the fridge, but I went with the directions. Fresh lemongrass? Check. Fresh ginger? Check. Thai chilies? Check. It’s really, really simple in that way. It makes for a more complex chicken noodle soup, a soup that I normally avoid for its plainness. I spent way more time julienning carrots than I care to admit. My knife skills aren’t THAT good, and I don’t have time space for some fancy peeler. It left me with a ridiculous satisfaction though. Worth it.

Massaman Chicken Noodle Soup

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce + more to taste
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 4″ piece of ginger root, peeled
  • 2 Thai chilies
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 3 large carrots
  • 10 small baby potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 3 scallions, greens and white parts sliced and separated
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
  • 12-14oz udon/rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • Lime juice

Preparation

Heat the chicken stock and fish sauce in a large pot on medium-high heat. Remove the tough, outer shells of the lemongrass stalks. Cut off the root, and then into 6″ pieces. Cut those pieces in half. Add the lemongrass pieces to the stock. Cut the ginger into slices and add to the pot. Smash and peel the garlic cloves and add those. Slice the tops off the chilies and then cut them in half. Scrape out the seeds, or leave them in for more heat. Add to the stock. Increase the heat if the stock hasn’t started simmering.

Cut the carrots so they’re close to a uniform diameter the whole way. You can julienne those pieces for garnish. Slice the remaining carrots into thin medallions and set aside with the potatoes.

Taste the stock for salt or more fish sauce.  You want it to be fairly salty to stand up to the chicken and vegetables it’s about to cook. Add the chicken breast. Simmer until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool before shredding.

Skim the stock to remove the lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Stir in the curry powder and add the carrots, potatoes, and peanuts. Cook until tender. Slice up the scallions, leaving the sliced dark green parts for garnish. Stir in the coconut milk, shredded chicken, and remaining scallions. Once the noodles are cooked through, the soup is ready to serve in bowls topped with the remaining scallions. Taste for more fish sauce or lime juice.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Another rapid fire update and a recipe during busy season:

*Prince Coffee is a new coffeeshop in the ‘hood and they make stroopwafels. STROOPWAFELS. Yes.

*Speaking of coffee, our office now has Water Avenue espresso and Stumptown drip coffee. My caffeine intake is at an all-time high.

*Vitamix is sending me a new container. The old one has died after four years of heavy use. That warranty is the best.

*Amazing chicken sandwiches and waffle fries can be had at CHKCHK.

*Tickets to Germany have been purchased. Let the countdown begin. We’re flying in and out of Frankfurt, but have yet to solidify any other plans. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

*Spring appears to be short lived. It’s supposed to be in the 80s next week. WTF.

*Reading for fun again — making my way through the Wildwood series. I really like them.

This recipe is my first of what will probably be a ton over the summer. Tasty by Buzzfeed, if you aren’t familiar, is a video series that breaks down really simple and delicious sounding recipes. Andrew sent me this one and I think we made it same-day. Cheese stuffed meatballs will do that. Stuffing the meatballs are time consuming in the scheme of how long this recipe takes, but it’s worth it. Besides the obvious reasons why one would like a meatball stuffed with cheese, the addition of fennel seeds are key. I can’t get enough of that flavor. Also, using chicken instead of ground beef or pork seemed to make a more sturdy meatball. Less grease. Seriously good stuff. They’re fried to a golden brown before baking the cheese to ooey-gooey perfection.

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Meatballs

Inspiration: Tasty by Buzzfeed

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground dark meat chicken
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • flour for dredging
  • 1 container small mozzarella balls [or a big ball chopped into 1/2 inch pieces]
  • oil for frying

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400º. In a large bowl, add the chicken, onion, parmesan, parsley, fennel seeds, garlic, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Take a golf ball sized scoop of dough and stuff a piece of mozzarella into it. I found it was easier to flatten it out and wrap the meat around it. Once all of the balls are made, set up a station with the whisked egg and a plate full of the breadcrumbs. Roll the balls in the flour, coat the them in the egg mixture and then dredge them in the bread crumbs.

Fill a skillet with 1/4″ of oil. Heat on high. Fry the meatballs on all sides before placing them on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Enchiladas Suizas

There is something supremely satisfying about making your own enchilada sauce. I have no shame in using the canned variety, especially since you can find such a good ones these days from small-batch vendors, but that sense of accomplishment is addictive. I’m much more of a green over red sauce kind of person, so that’s what I made. Roasted tomatillos make the best kinds of sauces. I have a few recipes saved [here and here] to try at some point. Famous last words. For every recipe I try, another three join the list at least.

If you take the time to do this, please don’t do what I did. Move the rack of the oven closer to the broiler. My impatience kicked in. It was harsh, but ultimately worth it. Once you get the blackened vegetables ready to go, the rest of it comes together very, very easily. Enchiladas are great vehicles for whatever filling you choose — meat or veggie. I went with  simple chicken and cheese so I could focus on the flavor of that sauce. Do yourself a favor and heat up your tortillas before you feed them. I found that they would crumble a bit when I dipped them in the sauce and tried to roll in the filling. It didn’t affect flavor, of course. Despite putting an entire jalapeño in the sauce, it lost all heat. I could have used a little more. I think I’d consider having another jalapeño or even a habanero available in case the jalapeño wasn’t hot enough like it was. All of the remaining sauce and filling ingredients go on top of the enchiladas and baked in the oven so the cheese melts and the sauce gets nice and bubbly. They are really good. Really, really good.

Enchiladas Suizas

Inspiration: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 4 large tomatillos
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 jalapeño pepper [see above for notes on spice]
  • 4 cloves of unpeeled garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large handful of cilantro, save the rest for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice of one lime
  • Salt
  • 2 cups shredded or ground chicken, cooked
  • 2 cups shredded cheese [oaxaca or other melts white cheese]
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • Sour cream, avocado, radishes, etc for serving

Preparation

Turn your broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Chop the onion into quarters, or even smaller if your onion looks like argue. The more surface area touched by the heat, the better flavor you’re going to get. Remove the husks from the tomatillos. Arrange all of the vegetables and the garlic on the baking sheet. Place under the broiler until the vegetables start to blacken. Rotate them occasionally to get all sides.

Remove and allow to cool. Peel the garlic and remove the blackened skin and stems from the poblanos. Add them and the other vegetables to your blender. Pour the chicken stock and lime juice over the top. Blend until smooth. Taste for salt and more spice. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the mixture reduces.

Preheat the oven to 350° and ready a baking pan. Making each enchilada individually, dip the tortilla into the sauce. Add some chicken and cheese to the tortilla and roll it up. Place it seam side down in the baking pan. Continue this for the remaining seven tortillas. Sprinkle the top with any remaining chicken and cheese. Pour any remaining sauce all over the top. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted. Allow to cool a bit before serving.

Jok with Chicken [aka Rice Porridge]

Ohhhh man. There is a new food cart downtown that serves all the jook and bao I could possibly want. Jook is rice porridge of the Chinese variety. Jok is rice porridge of the Thai variety. I had no idea until now. The more you know. Anyway, the cart is aptly named the Jook Joint, and you can add some pretty awesome proteins to it, like their 12-hour brisket. It has a little bit of a sweet sauce, but it’s a-ok with the fish sauce goodness that you find in a porridge like this. The soft boiled egg isn’t a bummer either. It’s stellar comfort food. There are a few other places in town that serve it, like Sen Yai, with all the squeaky pork or fish that you could possibly want. Making jok been on my to-do list for awhile. Gotta love checking something off the list.

It’s really easy to make, but requires a little bit of babysitting because you don’t want it to burn to the bottom of the pan. It makes a ton because the solution to keeping it from burning is adding more and more water. I kept adding more and more fish sauce because I didn’t want the flavor to get too diluted. Like most soups, it’s really customizable. I used chicken, but you often seen pork or seafood. There are often soft-boiled eggs, but I couldn’t be bothered. Because rice porridge like a more smooth risotto, you probably have an idea how filling this can be. It’s just like that. It tastes just as good day one as day three. We ate it and ate it and ate it again. The recipe I originally used no longer exists, apparently. Their website went down. This one from Rachel Cooks Thai is very familiar.

rice porridge

Ingredients

  • 1 cup jasmin rice
  • 10+ cups of water
  • 1 pound ground dark meat chicken
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce + more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Green onions, soft-boiled eggs, diced chilies, or other hot sauce for serving

In a large pot, add the rice and 6 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil before turning down to a simmer. While the rice simmers, heat a skillet on medium high. Brown the chicken and add the garlic and ginger. Leave the chicken a little chunky to add texture to the rice when you add it. When it’s nearly cooked through, add a tablespoon of the fish and soy sauces. Add the fully cooked chicken and any remaining juices to the simmering rice.

Stir the rice occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add another cup anytime it starts to get too thick. At least another four cups is needed to achieve the typical creaminess. When the porridge is ready, stir in the remaining two tablespoons of the soy and fish sauces. Taste for more. I always love more fish sauce.