Tag Archives: poultry

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

Much like my obsession with collecting bolognese recipes, I love love love a good roast chicken recipe.  I adore the way in which a little love, butter or olive oil, salt, pepper and aromatics transform the lowly chicken into something worth honoring.  Crisp, golden skin and tender meat come into their own with very little effort, and a homestyle supper is on the table for loved ones without a second thought.  Or if you love them EVEN more, you’ll just tuck in with them without even leaving the kitchen.  Best of all the leftovers make at least one more meal, if not a gorgeous chicken stock.

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs © Photo by Angela Gunder

My husband saw me oogling over Jonathan Waxman’s pan roasted chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet and purchased me a Lodge Logic 15″ beauty from Amazon.  It’s heavy as hell (a two-hand job) but an amazing holder of temperature and big enough for a chicken and a mess of roasted veg to boot.  It needs a name.  Like Thor.  Or maybe the Kraken.  So whenever I take it out, I’m releasing the…haha…you get it.

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs © Photo by Angela Gunder

For the butterflying portion, you can certainly have the butcher do it, but it’s easy work with a nice pair of kitchen scissors.  Simply cut out the back (and save for stock) and flatten the entire mess with a little pressure on the breast bone.  Prepping the chicken in this manner cuts the cooking time way down and allows more of the surface area to come into contact with the lemon and herbs.  The whole mess forms a delicious sauce for the incredibly moist chicken, all with no fuss at all.  So basically, yes, your prayers were answered and that homecooked meal you’ve been dreaming about is here.  Now.  Go make it.

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs © Photo by Angela Gunder

Recipe for

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

1 whole chicken
2 lemons
1 bunch of rosemary
1 bunch of thyme
1 onion, thinly sliced
coarse sea salt and black pepper
good olive oil
1 bunch of tarragon
1/2 c. of chicken broth
2 tbs. of butter

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Rinse the chicken well and pat dry.  Using the poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it.  Flip the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten it.  Liberally season with coarse salt and black pepper and then rub with a bit of olive oil.  Place chicken skin side down in a cast iron skillet.  Surround the chicken with the onions and top with the rosemary and thyme.  Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice over the chicken.  Tuck lemons into the pan with the herbs and onions.  Drizzle with a little more oil and pop into the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the juices of the thigh meat run clear when pierced with a fork.

When the chicken is finished,  remove from the skillet to a platter and let rest.  Put the skillet on the stove and heat.  Add the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  When the sauce thickens a bit, add the butter.  Strain the sauce and set aside.  If you feel diligent, you can also pick out some of the roasted onions.

Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the sauce.

Chicken Paillard with Arugula

Poundin’ It Out

This recipe is a playful take on the humdrum grilled chicken salad.  Rather than constructing the plate as a salad topped with pannéed chicken breast, arugula and sun-ripe tomatoes are piled atop the protein.  The result is lovely and delicious, and the whole flip it around, “Alice in Wonderland” appeal is an approach that we should all take on a wider scale.  God forbid we ever get boring or bored or both.

Chicken Paillard with Arugula © Spice or Die

The dressing for the arugula is basically an Italian pico de gallo salsa – you macerate the tomatoes with garlic, olive oil and vinegar to form a fresh, bright sauce.  If you feel like taking this recipe even further, you can tuck slices of buffalo mozzarella between the chicken breasts for a lovely chicken caprese salad.  It’s the kind of dinner that will make you rue the day you settled for a boring salad. Continue reading Chicken Paillard with Arugula

Matzoh Ball Soup

Straight Ballin’

I grew up Catholic, replete with plaid jumpers and JMJ (Jesus-Mary-Joseph) initialed on the tops of all test papers, and yet I’m unabashedly EEO in the kitchen.  In the truest proof of this, I love love love to make matzoh ball soup.  It, for me, is a like a textural wonderland – fluffy matzoh balls swimming in pools of liquid gold broth studded with coins of carrot and celery and shreds of tender chicken.  I wear my shikse badge with pride, but this, my friends, is a champion soup that should know no religious leanings in any direction.  Matzoh ball soup for all!

This old recipe, by way of Vo’s friend from Brooklyn, will make you floaters (not sinkers) assuming that you follow a few key rules.

  • Eggs
    Before you make the dough, make sure that your eggs are at room temperature.  Cold eggs get you a thumbs down from Vo.  A quick trick to get the eggs warm quicker is to put them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes or so.
  • Schmaltz
    Also, I use butter for the fat in the matzoh balls, but if you have schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) and want to be super traditional, definitely use it.  Sometimes I’ll use some of the chicken fat skimmed from the soup to make the matzoh balls.  It’s goodness – trust me.  If you make your own chicken stock for this recipe, when you let the stock chill, the chicken fat will solidify on top of the stock in a sheet.  Simply scrape this up with a spoon and either use it in your matzoh balls or save it for another use (makes a great rub for roast chicken).
  • Wet to Dry
    Lastly, this is not an exact recipe – if your eggs are not so big, sometimes you’ll need to add an extra egg.  When you mix your dough, if it’s rather thick and dry, give it another egg and a scant few tablespoons of extra broth (or water).  It’s the egg that’s gonna fluff things up for you.

I serve this soup with tons of dill and occasionally, for a splurge, some blubbery egg noodles as well.  If I want to do this REALLY well, I make some of the easiest homemade noodles of all time – it’s like matzoh ball soup heaven.  Also, because I’m fussy at times, I shave my carrots and celery with a mandolin.  It looks gorgeous and imparts even more savory veggie flavor to the stock.  Not to mention, it takes less time for the veggies to cook up.  Try it sometime.  L’chaim!

Matzoh Ball Soup

1 whole chicken (can be cut up or left whole)
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
salt and black pepper

1 1/2 c. of matzoh meal
4 (or 5) large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 c. of melted butter (or schmaltz)
1/4 (or 1/2) c. of chicken stock, at room temperature
pinch of salt
two pinches of pepper
1 tsp. of dried dill (optional)

2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 bag of egg noodles (optional)
chopped dill (optional)

Place chicken (or chicken pieces) into your pot. Cut your carrots and celery into 2 in. pieces and toss into the pot. Add your onion, bay leaf, 1 tbs of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Fill pot with 12 cups of water and set to boil. Boil on high until the chicken starts to separate from the bone and the veggies become soft. Strain broth and put back into the pot. Set aside chicken and vegetables until they are cool enough to handle.

Separate the chicken, shred and set aside. Add the leftover vegetables, chicken skin and chicken bones to the pot and add water to the pot to make around 12 cups of soup (ie. if the water came up to 3/4 of the height of the pot in the first step, add enough water so that the soup comes up to the same level in the pot). Boil until the stock reduces by a quarter. Strain stock and taste for salt and pepper. Throw out the veggies, bones and bay leaf. At this point, you can cool the stock and chill overnight, or you can continue to cook the soup.

To make your matzoh balls, beat your eggs in a medium-sized bowl.  When your butter has cooled a bit (but still melted), beat into the eggs.  Add the chicken stock (I usually just ladle some out from my pot of soup and chill quickly in the fridge until it’s room temp), salt, pepper and dill.  Stir in your matzoh meal, adding more egg or broth if needed to make a sticky dough.  It should be a little gloopy, but not too wet.  Refrigerate for one hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Wet hands and divide dough into six portions.  With wet hands, roll portions into balls and drop them into the boiling water.  Turn the heat down to medium and cover the pot of matzoh balls.  Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until matzoh balls are cooked through.  Scoop out of the pot and set aside.

Bring strained stock to a boil and add the chicken, sliced celery and sliced carrots. Cook until your veggies are tender.

While your veggies are cooking, bring another pot of water to a boil and cook your egg noodles. If they give you a time frame for cooking (ie. 7-9 minutes), cook them for the lesser amount of time. Drain and toss with a small amount of butter or olive oil. Just so you know, I cook and serve the noodles separately so that they don’t become waterlogged and soak up too much broth.

To serve, put about 1/2 c. of noodles in a bowl. Ladle over the chicken, veggies and hot broth. Toss in 1 or two matzoh balls.  Top with a smattering of chopped dill and a couple extra cracks of black pepper.

Notes on Soup

  • Extra matzoh balls can be saved in the fridge in a tupperware container away from the broth.  Reheat in the microwave for a minute or so and then pour hot soup over them.  Leftover goodness.
  • This stock can be prepared with a lot of additional ingredients, to include smashed cloves of garlic, parsley stems, and celery tops. Add these ingredients after you strain the broth the first time when you return the chicken skin and bones back to the pot.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Relish

Satay It Ain’t So!

Well before I learned how friggin’ easy it was to make satay, I would order them every time I had Thai food.  There was something about the coconut milk bath that made the chicken so incredibly tender – I just couldn’t get enough.  This recipe is not only simple, but also a nice alternative to your traditional barbecue.  Throw your guests a curve ball and make some satay instead of the usual grilled chicken – it works great as not only an appetizer, but also as an entree with rice or as a protein in a deconstructed salad.  I even wrap them in lettuce leaves sometimes for a hand-held treat.

Chicken Satay © Spice or Die

The chicken gets an added kick from some crucial condiments – peanut sauce (make your own or buy a jar at the store) and a spicy, sweet cucumber relish.  The relish is usually prepared with slivers of red onion, slices of cucumber and bits of thai bird chilies.  I, on the other hand, make mine as a thai pico de gallo by dicing all of the ingredients and mixing with rice wine vinegar and cilantro.

The sauce gets a bit of heat from the red curry paste, a fragrant combination of red chilies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass.  If you don’t like things so spicy, leave out a tablespoon of the red curry.  You can also add a squeeze of lime to the marinade to brighten up the works.  I use chicken thighs because they are flavorful and don’t dry out easily, but you can use chicken breasts if you prefer them.  This is best on the grill outdoors, but you can certainly use a grill pan or the broiler in a pinch.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

1 1/2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tbs. of red curry paste
3 tbs. of fish sauce
2 cl. of garlic, minced or microplaned
2 tsp. of salt
1 can of coconut milk

Whisk the red curry paste, fish sauce, garlic, salt and coconut milk until smooth.  Slice the chicken thighs into thirds and add to marinade.  Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill to smoking hot.  Shake the excess marinade from the chicken and grill until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish.

Cucumber Relish

1/2 of a cucumber, finely diced
1/2 of a jalapeno, finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
3 tbs. of cilantro, chopped
4 tbs. of rice wine vinegar
2 tbs. of water
1/4 tsp. of sesame oil
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of sugar

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Put in the refrigerator to chill.  Serve cool with piping hot chicken satay.

Crispy Ginger Chicken

Kicking Boring Chicken to the Curb

When you are looking for something crispy and delicious, but aren’t keen on a ton of calories or frying action over hot oil, these baked chicken breasts are perfect.  I usually serve them atop some Sesame Mandarin Salad for added crunch, but you can also top them with a bit of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce for a little kick.  The technique of dredging chicken in seasoned flour, spraying with cooking spray and then baking is a nice trick anytime you want chicken cutlets without the frying.  I use this technique for a spin-off of Chicken Cordon Bleu – I’ll try to post that recipe soon as it looks gorgeous without any work at all.  For that matter, with crispy slices of this chicken over a bright green and gold salad, you’ll have the same sexy results with the same amount of work (read: none).  Let’s dredge!

Crispy Ginger Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1 egg
1 tbs. of soy
2 tsp. of salt
1/3 c. of flour
1 tsp. of garlic powder
1 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp. of white pepper
cooking spray (the olive oil version is nice)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Set out two shallow bowls and a cookie sheet lined with foil and lightly coated with cooking spray.  In the first bowl, beat the egg and soy together.  In the second bowl, blend the flour, garlic powder, ginger, and white pepper.  Dredge the chicken breast in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture and finally the flour again.  Place on the baking sheet, and then repeat with the second chicken breast.  Gently spray the tops of the chicken breasts so as not to blow all the flour off the chicken.  Bake until the chicken is cooked all the way through and when sliced, the juices run clear, about 20 minutes.  Let rest for 2-3 minutes and then slice thinly.

Italian Chicken Soup

Sippin’ Once, Sippin’ Twice

When I think of chicken and rice soup, I always think of the Maurice Sendak books from my childhood, and the ever famous line, “Sippin’ once, sippin’ twice, sippin’ chicken soup with rice.”  Carole King actually made an animated video of a bunch of Maurice Sendak stories called “Really Rosie” which included the “Chicken Soup with Rice” song.  It included dance moves that certainly rival the recent jammie “Chicken Noodle Soup” (with a soda on the side) which is so bad it’s good.  Well, not so much good as hilarious.  I think I only reason that I like the Chicken Noodle Soup video because a) it takes place in my hood and b) features kids with sweet dance moves.

Back to Maurice Sendak, this soup makes me about as happy as the sweet lyrics to “Alligators All Around” – I could only find this sh!t copy with the lyrics over the video, but it’s still good.  And for the record, my best friend Kate loves “P – Pushing People” the best.  Makes me laugh every time, and yes, I know I’m a child for life.

So about this soup – there’s something about the tender rice and chicken, salty parmasean and delicate bits of egg that make this a go-to for me whenever I need a bit of comfort.  Making the stock from scratch is important, but in a pinch, you could make this with broth – just make sure you don’t leave out the egg and cheese.  They are essential to balancing out the flavor of this soup, and a little bit of really good cheese (I always use locatelli) just seals the deal. Continue reading Italian Chicken Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup (Canja)

Brazilian Penicillin?

This soup was a part of my collective food memories well before I had even worked behind a stove.  Both my Brazilian and Sicilian ancestors believed in the power of chicken and rice soup, so as a kid, if I was feeling punkish, this is what I got.  If I was REALLY sick, I had this soup without the veggies and chicken – just broth and either rice or pastina (itty bitty italian pasta as small as grains of rice).  To this day, if I need a comforting meal, I make a pot of this recipe for canja or some Italian Chicken Soup.

The beauty of this soup is that it’s 100% made from scratch, all with ingredients lying around the kitchen.  Sure, it takes a little longer than cracking a can of Progresso, but the resulting soup is like a giant hug.  Last time I checked, canned soups weren’t passing out hugs.  I’ve detailed the recipe below as if you were making it without any leftovers, but know that I rarely actually make it this way.  Typically, I save the bones and leftover meat from a Roast Chicken night and use that as the basis of my stock.  Also, rather than simmering uncooked rice in the stock, I toss in a carton of leftover steamed white rice from Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese takeout.  If you want to learn more about my perfect tricks for stock, take a look at this. Continue reading Chicken and Rice Soup (Canja)

Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Apples

Ready to Shred

So rumor has it that chicken salad comes in a can?  I had no idea – I’d never touched the stuff.  Truly, my first taste of chicken salad came from the Corner Bakery in Tysons Corner.  There, diced chicken, apples and celery (and supposedly currants and red onion according to their website – neither were memorable) are nestled between slices of pumpernickel studded with walnuts and raisins.  It was insanely good, and that wasn’t even including their homemade kettle-cooked potato chips.

I haven’t been to the place in years, so I can’t speak for what the sandwich tastes like now.  No matter, though, because over the years, I’ve just been making this super simple chicken salad, and it surpasses all expectations that I’ve had for that Corner Bakery sandwich.  It’s the perfect marriage of sweet and savory, with the lovely zing of lemon and dijon to wake the whole thing up.  Tender white meat chicken becomes moist and delicious in a fine poaching liquid of lemon and pepper.  And if you can score a really good artisinal bread, it’s a treat and a half.  Dennis and I ambled over to the SpaHa Bakery on 116th and Lexington, and were able to purchase some Mulitgrain Foccacia for him and a Cranberry Walnut Pullman Loaf for me.  What a treat that place is!  Between the excellent bread choices and the freshly prepped chicken salad goodness, Dennis put the sandwich in the Pantheon of his top 5 sandwiches of all time.  I expect him to print out a certificate for this honor and frame it for me for Christmas. Continue reading Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Apples

Spicy Chicken Potstickers

For When You Want No Pork On Your Fork. I Mean Chopsticks

You know I love you guys.  And I have no problem with your dietary restrictions – I still want to fill your belly.  Which is why, if you are not fine with swine, I am posting this lovely recipe for chicken dumplings.

I call for no less than 4 types of pepper in these, so skip the chili oil and Sriracha (thai chili sauce) if you want it less piquant.  If you aren’t down with meat of any kind, check out this recipe for Vegan Dumplings. Continue reading Spicy Chicken Potstickers