The Happy Tummy

for the love of food

Tag: chicken

Fresh Pasta with Chicken Ragu

I lucked out this Christmas and received a KitchenAid stand mixer with a pasta attachment. Last weekend I finally got to try it.

The braising liquid is garlic, onion, tomato, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme with chicken stock. Then the chicken stewed and stewed, all the day long, and finally I shredded it. (There should be a more elegant past-tense for “shred”. I shrod it.)

I used Anne Burrell’s pasta recipe. She’s so lively and enthusiastic I figured it couldn’t fail. And it didn’t! Hooray!

That’s the fettuccini cut. One of these days I’ll do the spaghetti cut, maybe with a scampi sauce! Stay tuned.

Chicken and Rice

The original title of this post was “Stuffed Chicken with Brown Rice Pilaf and Pomegranate Caramelized Pearl Onions”, but that is way too long.

Normally I’m not into stuffed chicken breasts. All too often the stuffing tastes old and weird and doesn’t add any value. But I happen to indiscriminately love corn bread stuffing, so I figured it couldn’t fail.

Stuffing is sprinkled with sage and held together with honey butter. Heaven. The brown rice pilaf is made with onions, dried cranberries and toasted almonds. And those things that look like cranberries are actually pearl onions in a fresh pomegranate glaze.

Then you mash it through the strainer with a wooden spoon. I’m just trying to prove that I actually did this from scratch. Validation.

This Really Expensive Burrito Place

Casa Gourmet Burrito in Lafayette, California is an institution in the community.  During high school, I used to sneak away – risking suspension at the hands of Paul, the golf-cart driving campus look-out – during lunch to snag one of Casa Dave’s stupidly awesome wraps.  Dave also provided “special sauce”, which at one point we all thought he made from scratch in the far recesses of his kitchen but which in actual fact is just sweet chili sauce.  But still.  Who would have thought of putting Asian sweet chili sauce on a Cali burrito?  It rocks.

This is the standard chicken burrito with added sour cream, cheese and guac. And it’s not actually that expensive.  I just said that because it’s an inside joke, which amuses me but probably irritates you.

If you go (and you should), you’ll be forced to choose between awesome menu items like the spicy Thai chicken, garlic lime steak and artichoke chicken burritos. Dave will probably give you a nickname (mine is Cindy Crawford; he definitely doesn’t know my real name), and if you ask, a complimentary bag of chips.  There are many photos of high school sports teams on the wall, usually with a note thanking Dave for his support of their team, cause Dave’s a nice guy. And there is a salsa bar, a soda station and a TV.  And that’s about that.

Here’s Case Gourmet Burrito’s Yelp page.

Plum Plum Plum Plum Plum Plum

It’s definitely one of those words which, said upon rapid successive repetition, becomes meaningless. Or “plump”.

The plum tree in my dad’s back yard was swollen with ripe and overripe fruit so I picked a shopping bag full, then peeled and stewed about half of them with a stick of cinnamon and 1.5 cups of sugar for several hours.  It’s not quite as thick as jam.

It can work in breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Here’s what to do with it:

  • Warmed and thinned with a tablespoon or two of water; poured over pancakes, French toast or waffles
  • Room temperature on a buttered scone with clotted cream or crème fraîche
  • Chilled with Greek yogurt, chopped nuts and honey
  • Room temperature to accompany a cheese board
  • Heated through as a sweet/tangy sauce for a pork tenderloin
  • As a marinade and basting sauce for grilled chicken pieces
  • Combined with caramelized onions as a side to thick cut pork chops
  • Warmed through, as a topping for good vanilla ice cream
  • Warmed in a shallow bowl with a moat of sweet cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg

Today I’m paying it forward.  I’m giving it for family members in some pint-sized mason jars.  I found the doilies while rummaging around in stacks of old linens.  Kind of pretty, right?

More from Chengdu, China

Chengdu is well known for its unique take on food (ie – it is all spicy), so I would be remiss to not post these.

Food on the street near our hotel.  Most dishes are housed in plenty of chili oil, or garnished with chilies or prepared with chilies.  Chengduvians need that mala.

Nothing wrong with a little food on a stick.  I would eat the hell out of that.

Sustenance before our hike up to the biggest seated Buddha in the world.  The WORLD!

Not the best meal of the trip – chicken, I think?

I can’t believe I forgot to take pictures of our hot pot meal.  What a waste.  It’s like it never even happened.

Leftovers – Chicken and Barley Soup

After the roast chicken dinner the other night, I made some basic stock from the chicken carcass, then turned that into some chicken and barley soup.  With lots of veggies.  I’m not a fan of waste, which can accumulate quickly when you’re cooking for two.

Recipe (a loose term):
(use whatever veggies you have in your fridge) 
olive oil
1 carrot, 1/4″ dice
2 celery ribs, 1/4″ slices
1 small white onion, small chop
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
3 or so sprigs of fresh thyme
at least 3 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup uncooked barley
1 1/2 cups shredded chicken
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the veggies altogether first in the olive oil, then add the chicken and thyme.  Add the barley and sautee for a bit (the oil coating the barley helps it keep it’s shape as it continues to stew – I think).  Add 2 cups broth (or more, to your taste), cover and let it simmer for a good while – 45 min. to an hour, stirring and checking intermittently, and adding more broth if it dries out.  When barley is soft and the flavors have gotten to know each other, it’s done.  Finish with salt and pepper, and fish out the thyme sprigs (the leaves should have all fallen off).  Add more broth if desired – the barley continues to absorb it for a good while.

Keeps in the fridge for about 2 days, and freezes well too.  Sick friends really love it when you bring them soup.  So do!

Roast Chicken Dinner

Last night for dinner I roasted a chicken.  Tragically all my photos turned out blurry, but you can see that it’s a chicken, right?

I got the bird at a great little grocery store called The Pines on Anfu Rd. near Wukang Rd. I love it because it’s always really well-stocked, compared to City Shop which is larger but much more sporadically supplied with the products I love.  Plus, City Shop’s chickens are surprisingly scrawny.  Pines’ chickens are always chubby, in the best way possible.

Inside the bird: Whole head of garlic, sliced horizontally; 4-5 sprigs (each) of rosemary and thyme; half a lemon, juice squeezed into cavity; 2 large shallots, chopped in half.  Outside the bird: dabs of butter under the skin, 2 bay leaves also under the breast skin, herbed salt, plenty of cracked black pepper, olive oil drizzled over top to complete.

Served with roasted shallots, radish, broccoli and brown rice.

In my eagerness to eat I forgot to take pictures of the final product, but imaginations will suffice.

Some tips I’ve learned about chicken-roasting:

  • Rinse the bird, inside and out, then dry very thoroughly – the drier the skin, the crispier it will get during the cooking process
  • Slip your hand under the skin on the breasts to create an air pocket.  Throw some dabs of butter or mayonaise between the skin and the breast to help it crisp (that’s also where I put bay leaves)
  • Before it goes into the oven, truss the hell out of it – tie the legs together around the cavity opening and secure the wings against the body for even cooking
  • After an hour of roasting, flip the bird upside down – the fattier underside will yield a ton of flavor that is captured in the roasting dish for gravy (flip it back over to the breast side for the last 10-20 minutes of cooking out of a total of about 90 minutes)
  • WAIT 5-10 minutes in between removing the bird from the oven and carving it – you lose a ton of juice if you just start hacking the second it gets onto the butcher board
  • I don’t have a ‘real’ roasting pan – I place the chicken on top of a cooling rack on top of an edged cookie sheet, which is also where I throw any vegetables I’m roasting at the same time – the bird juices drip all over the veggies and make them even more delicious

Since only two people were eating it, there was a lot of leftover meat.  Stay tuned to see what I did with the carcass and leftovers (I despise waste).

Check out Mark Bittman’s simple roast chicken from his days as The Minimalist writer for the New York Times. I enjoy him.