Category: Chicken

Porter Braised Chicken Thighs

A lot Some of the things I eat won’t win any style points. There are all of these studies and diets about eating the colors of the rainbow. What about brown braised chicken in a brown sauce with mostly brown vegetables? Brown food = comfort food. Fact. I sometimes consider whether I should post some of these less-attractive things, but c’mon. This is real life.

Braising isn’t something I do often, at least not consciously. I don’t really think a whole lot about cooking methods in general [unless it’s sous-vide or deep frying, then pass]. End results only. Cooking with beer is also something I don’t do very often, and the idea of cooking with a porter of all things is particularly intriguing. Dark beers are generally my favorite beers. The lower the IBUs the better. Braising some skin-on thighs and some root vegetables seemed like a logical choice to create a pot of comfort. The sauce that is created at the end is slightly sweet on top of already sweet root vegetables. I highly suggest taking the time to get a crusty sear on the thighs. No, seriously, do it. Mine turned out a little less so, and then turned soft after all the braising. The texture turned out only ok. I couldn’t help but wonder just how much better the chicken would have been. They are thighs so they can take the abuse of longer cooking times that breasts can’t. Also, this was one of the first times I’ve cooked with a celery root. I’m a fan. You can give me just about any root vegetable and I’ll be happy.

The full-size recipe is below. I reduced it by about half when I made it because we’re only two people and I couldn’t possibly fit all those thighs in the Dutch oven without making batches. Who has time for that? Not me.

It is definitely a solid and comforting recipe, but the odds of me making it again are probably slim. I would rather roast the root vegetables until they’re crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, then pan sear the thighs and call it a day. It probably would have been prettier, too. Assuming I cared about such things.

porter braised chicken

Inspiration: Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients

  • Four skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 7 tablespoons butter, room temp and separated into 2 + 5 tablespoons
  • 1 large yellow onion, rough chop
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 celery root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bottles of porter
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Pat the chicken dry. Even if it seems dry already, do it again. This has been huge to my cooking successes lately. Season liberally with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium high heat. Let the oil get really hot. Sear the chicken on all sides. Work in batches. Crowding the pan does nothing for a good sear. When they’re brown, remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate/pan to rest.

Drain the rendered fat from the pan and add two tablespoons of butter. Once it’s melted, add the chopped onion. Sauté for several minutes until the color is glossy and golden. It’ll take at least 5-7 minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, porter, chicken broth, sugar, mustard, tomato paste, and thyme. Stir until everything is well combined. Make sure to scrape up some of the goodies from the bottom of the pan that have collected from the chicken and the onions.

Nestle the chicken thighs into the pot. Try to submerge them as much as possible. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Cover the pot and allow the mixture to simmer for about 30 minutes. When you’re approaching the 30 minute mark, mash together the remaining five tablespoons of butter with the flour in a large bowl that can hold at least 3 cups of liquid. The butter/flour mixture should look like a thick paste. Add two cups of the braising liquid to the paste and whisk to combine. Add this mixture back to the pot. Stir well and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste the braising liquid for additional salt and pepper before serving.

 

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Have you ever watched videos about Pyrex dishes exploding? It’s intense. I haven’t had one shatter [thankfully!], but I don’t usually bake with glass. If you do use Pyrex and have no idea what I’m talking about, it might be worth looking into.

That ends your PSA for the day.

Now on to buffalo chicken dip! Frank’s Red Hot is a really bizarre flavor. I like it and feel weirdly addicted to it when it’s around [which is next to never]. I think it’s that vinegar bite. I cringe almost instantly and then settle in for that spicy flavor. The idea of putting it in a dip with a cream-style base mellows out the vinegar just enough that I want to just eat it by the spoonful. That happened a lot.

The base really doesn’t have any cheese in it even though it looks like it. It was magic. It’s all that “cheeze” or cheese-like stuff. It’s actually kind of close — closer than any of the other fake cheese things I’ve tried. I wanted something that I could eat a ton of without worrying about the effects of it. When you’re eating it like a soup, I really didn’t need a bunch of cream. The chicken is also optional, but totally a nice addition. Give me all the protein! I used shredded, but looking back, I’d probably use ground chicken next time. The consistency of the dip can be a little thin, and it was really not all that easy to scoop out the mixture and pull out equal parts chicken and “cheeze.” Speaking of dipping, the celery was challenging. Maybe less so had I used the ground chicken. Chopping it up into the dip would be cool, too. The blue cheese would have been a stellar addition, but would have rendered it full of dairy. I should have served it on the side. WHAT WAS I THINKING?

I wasn’t. Clearly.

Inspiration: Chasing Some Blue Sky

Ingredients

  • 1/3-1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce [I used the full 1/2 cup]
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers [not pickled!]
  • 1 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch dressing mix
  • Water
  • 2-3 cups shredded or cooked ground chicken
  • Blue cheese, celery, pita chips, etc for serving

Preparation

Add all of the ingredients up to the Ranch dressing mix to a blender or food processor. Start with a cup of water. Blend until smooth. Continue to add more water to your desired consistency. I used a full 2 cups of water, which is why mine ended up so runny. I’d use less next time.

Pour the sauce into a pan with the chicken. Heat through. Serve hot.

Chorizo and Brussels or Brussels and Chorizo

Another successful tax season in the books. I’m ready for a change of pace, and I’m ready to get back into the kitchen. Latest bookmarks include: Chicken and Pesto Stuffed Sweet Peppers, Jerked Sriracha Roast Pork Tacos, and Kale White Bean and Farro Salad. I want to eat ALL.THE.FOOD. that isn’t catered.

I made this blueberry slab pie with rye crust for a pie contest at work a couple of weeks ago. [Sidenote: I was originally going to say a week ago, but then I remembered I have no idea how much time elapses anymore. It was at least two, going on three. Time flies!] We were having a Thanksgiving themed dinner and thought it a good idea to have people make pies. Mine didn’t have a lattice top because the dough turned out a little too dry for that. Besides, it looked like a giant pop tart. Way cooler. It was really good. The rye had a savory note that played off the sweet, mellowing it out. I really liked it. It didn’t win because frankly giant blueberry rye pop tart doesn’t win. Chocolate cream does. I really just wanted an excuse to make the pie. It all got eaten that night except for one piece, which I happily ate for breakfast the next day.

This bowl of brussels and chorizo is a dangerous one. If I’m not careful, I can easily eat the entire pan. I was thinking about these brussels this weekend. There are still brussels in the grocery store. We live in a world where we have year-round produce, and I’m still surprised. The original recipe calls for cured Spanish chorizo sliced thin. I went with the ground chicken chorizo for a little more of a spicy kick and I wanted the brussels to bathe in the rendered chicken fat. Using a cast iron skillet to do the dirty work leaves a nice char to the brussels. They’re super tender on the inside and a bit spicy — a winning combination. I put them on a bed of couscous for something different, but really they’re just fine on their own. I could go for a bowl of them right now. And a piece of pie.

Inspiration: Saveur

Ingredients

  • 1lb brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on the size
  • 1/2lb ground chorizo
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the brussels and cook until tender, about six minutes. Transfer them to an ice bath to stop them from turning to mush. After about five minutes, drain them and set aside.

Heat a skillet on medium high heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Toss the onion into the pan. Stir occasionally. Once it’s soft and translucent, add the chorizo and crumble. Once it’s almost cooked, add the brussels and garlic to the pan. Toss to coat in the rendered fat. Cook until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.

Shredded Chicken Tostadas

I’m such a tostada hater. I also spell toastada tostada wrong on the first time through nearly every single time. They’re good. I do like them. I like the crunch. I have a soft spot for Taco Bell Crunchwraps that I don’t indulge in and haven’t in years. But you take one glorious bite of that wonderful pile of Mexican goodness and the tragically fragile toastada tostada shell shatters into about seven hundred pieces and you now have a glorified taco salad on your hands [lap?].

Sidenote: I really had no idea what I was getting into with making a crockpot full of chicken. Chicken in a crockpot can get expensive. Unless you’re finding a good deal on it, buying three pounds of chicken at New Seasons isn’t exactly cheap [but it’s so good!]. It wouldn’t be so bad if it would last longer than two meals, but in this house? Leftovers aren’t really a thing.

The key to this chicken is the “zesty” Italian dressing. Zesty and Italian dressing is kind of redundant, isn’t it?

Sidetone: I can’t read/write/say the word zest without thinking of this commercial. It was made in the 80s. Of course it was.

The dressing is the key to all the flavor. I also added a ton teaspoon of cayenne pepper [Surprised? Me neither]. I think next time I’d split the chicken into 50/50 breasts and thighs. Thighs always retain moisture. The breasts still fell apart and shredded easily once they’ve cooked low and slow in the crockpot for hours, but I’m kind of a sucker for chicken thighs. More flavor. A lot of the chicken was eaten before we’d even opened the package of tostadas. Have I talked about this bean dip yet? It’s fan-freakin’-tastic. Any time I’m making anything remotely Mexican, I’m buying this. I spread it on everything. I eat it by the spoonful. It’s such a nice texture and has good spice for something off a grocery store shelf. This was the glue on the base of my tostada. I was convinced it’d help hold it together [it didn’t]. I ate one topped with fresh romaine, guacamole, and some fresh shredded queso fresco. After that, I just made a salad out of it and broke the shell into chips. That’s way more my style.

Inspiration: Cooking Classy

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2-3lbs boneless chicken breasts, thighs or a mix
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [optional, I suppose]

Preparation

In a bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients [except the chicken]. Layer the chicken in the bottom of a crockpot. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Place the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on low for 6-8 hours. I had to leave mine in for closer to 9 and it didn’t dry out. It should leave a little bit of of the sauce, but if you shred it in the crockpot and let it sit for another 15-30 minutes, it’ll soak right up.

Serve in anyway that sounds good — tostada, burrito, taco, salad, quesadilla, enchiladas or my favorite, straight into your mouth.

Chorizo Cornbread

This bread! I have to tell you about this bread. I made it for the Super Bowl because snacks are all I care about. I go to parties for the company food because eating is my favorite hobby. If you follow on Instagram, you saw the ridiculous spread of stuff of at my parents’ house. The dining table was packed full of food and then there was pulled pork, chili, and clam chowder on the stove. So. Much. Good. Stuff.

Picking what to make for social gatherings get-togethers parties is equal parts awesome and overwhelming. There are so many choices. I had a whole bunch of things in mind like Pan Roasted Clams with Potatoes and Fennel, Cheddar and Horseradish Dip, and Green Chile Posole. Then Food52 posted this bread on Facebook or something and it was a done deal. New Seasons makes that obscenely good ground chicken chorizo that was perfect for this. The only substitution I made was trying out Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free (GF) flour blend. They don’t kid that it’s a 1:1 tradeoff. I would have had no idea it was a GF flour both in mixing or in the final product. If you’re toying with trying it for you or someone you want to bake for, it’s not a bad idea. It’s not cheap by flour standards, but I don’t bake a lot so it wasn’t a big loss.

The rest of the recipe I followed to a tee. Even the sifting. I never sift a dang thing, but I didn’t want to risk it with the new flour. The result was a deliciously cake-y corn bread. It’s definitely moist, but it has chorizo, cottage cheese, and buttermilk in it. For some reason the majority of the spice baked right out of the chorizo. Every now and then you get a spicy bite, but it’s definitely not constant despite there being a lot of chorizo in there. Since it’s not corn season, I just thawed a bag of frozen corn and used that. I left the bag in my fridge overnight. I was afraid they’d get soggy, but they didn’t.

I’d absolutely make this again. It was great by itself, under a pile of chili or pulled pork, and soon to be smothered in a poached egg. Poached eggs make everything better.

Recipe: Food52

Ingredients

  • 1/2lb ground chicken or pork chorizo
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6oz buttermilk
  • 8oz cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup corn kernels

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375°. Prep a 9×9 or 11×7 pan with cooking spray or butter.

Brown the chorizo in a skillet on medium heat. Use a slotted spoon to remove the chorizo to a paper towel lined plate. Add the onion to the chorizo grease left in the pan. Stir occasionally. Let the onion soften an start to brown. The little charred bits of greasy onion are pretty awesome. Remove the onion to the chorizo pile once cooked.

In a large bowl, use a sieve and pour in the flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Tap the side of the sieve over the bowl until everything goes through. Push any lumps if you have any. Add the cornmeal and salt. Make a well and add the remaining ingredients, including the chorizo and onion. Stir until evenly distributed and all the flour is wet. This should be thick and relatively dry.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan and level out. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is browned and the top is springy beneath your touch. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and eating. It’s great cold or warm.