Je Mange

“I eat therefore I am”– Culinary Genius

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Herbed Milk Chicken

So this is something I created today. It's Chinese New Year so I've mostly been cooking and eating Chinese food but tonight I wanted something different. 

I had a bunch of skinned chicken thighs cut in half and low on aromatics, 1 onion, shallots and garlic. 

The idea of butter chicken came to mind (I have a ready jar of ghee in my cuboard) a tasty Indian dish but I had no clue of its ingredients and was too lazy to check. From butter my mind went to Italien spices of which I have ample dried. This dish developed itself, it is rich, creamy, balanced and aproaching etheral.

This could be a soup, sauce or a saucy dish over rice, potatoes, pasta or some other light grain. I think I'll cook up some orzo.

Don't be too concerned about over salting. Since chicken is fast cooking its very important to season it well enough and usually in advance (esp if its thick). My sauce was too salty initially but the milk took care of it. It's an interesting practise to make something no longer salty as opposed to coming at it from the other end (many people are afraid of putting too much salt in and would be agasht at the amount of salt used in restaurants). Whenever you cook a food in a large amount of liquid it should be slightly over seasoned in order to get enough salt into the protein. If the liquid is under seasoned it will just leach salt from the protein.

  1. 5 shallots, sliced
  2. 1/2 head of garlic, sliced
  3. 1.5 quarts of chicken, seasoned
  4. 2 T butter: clarified, whole or ghee
  5. 2 t thym
  6. 1.5 t rosemary
  7. 1.5-2T summer savory
  8. 2 t black pepper
  9. 1+ t light vinegar (I used some high quality sushi rice vinegar, which is lower acid)
  10. plenty of salt
  11. ~1c water or stock
  12. 1t thai sriracha sauce
  13. ~1 c milk; heavy and delicious (we have a fine organic milk from Archer farms)
  14. 1-3 T roux

  • Sweat the garlic and shallots in the butter, season with salt
  • put the chicken in, turn it and let it get white all over.
  • add thyme, rosemary, savory and pepper, turn.
  • add stock/liquid and vinegar.
  • bring up to a boil. lower heat for a simmer, covered.
  • dont over cook! cook for about 8 minutes, checking the largest piece.
  • remove the chicken, blend the liquid (I used an immersion blender)
  • pass the liquid through a fine mesh
  • put the liquid back on the heat, add the hot sauce and milk. dont put too much milk or too little, adjust as desired.
  • adjust the acidity, it should be rich but not cloyingly so. 
  • adjust seasoning. 
  • mix in roux to desired thickness
  • have loved ones taste it and be impressed.

Other thoughts:

  1. further processing of the meat in order to get more herb flavor inside, perhaps marination if its not thick, an herb brining or a paste. 
  2. garnish with fresh herbs. use something that's in the dish, not parsley. 
  3. I think marjoram would be delicious too. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chipotle Chicken

3 large onions (substituting shallots for some or all if you have them)- med dice
1/2 head garlic, sliced
1.5 T paprika
3 T tomato paste (and some diced sun dried tomatoes if you have some)
5 chipotle, seeded, cut in half or chopped fine if you want to eat them
2 green thai chili if you have them, seeded and chopped fine
dry sherry, chinese cooking wine or light wine to deglaze, about 1/2 cup
stock, about 1.5 cup (you can also use tomato water)
1/4 cup ketchap manis (thick, dark sweet indonesian soy sauce) or 2 T sugar with dark (double black or mushroom) soy equaling 1/4 cup
protein equaling about 12 largish drum sticks; well seasoned with salt beforehand. you should not salt it more than an hour before cooking it. if using tofu make sure to salt it well!

1. sautee onions in olive oil or appropriate fat until translucent (season with salt), add the garlic (season with salt) and cook until onions are brownish and you have a slight fond. dont burn it.

2. add tomato paste, paprika and chiles. cook for another several minutes adjusting heat to avoid burning. season with some more salt.

3. deglaze with alcohol making sure to clean the bottom of the pan.

4. add the other ingredients except the  protein. depending on the length of cooking time for your protein you should let the sauce cook and meld, adjusting salt as needed. tofu and fish take little time to cook. you can brown your protein but with the dark soy and tomato paste i usually don't.

5. once your sauce is brought up to a near boil taste and reseason. you can then add whatever it is you're adding. i like using drumsticks or pork shoulder.  comercial meats and some varieties of tofu let off a lot of water others don't so you may need to add more stock, you can always reduce the sauce by itself at the end.

6. you can braise or just briefly cook food in this sauce. tender beef, tofu and seafood would be very short. Chicken has to be cooked through but is still pretty fast. Tough meat requires true braising and could take many hours. 

7. once cooked you may do several things. you can strain the sauce, blend it, blend and strain or leave as is. if youve left seeds in your peppers you may very well want to strain it. You can also saute veggies and toss in the sauce and cook briefly to let it meld. make sure to adjust seasoning, veggies give off lots of water. I like to saute onions, bell pepper and sliced garlic and toss it. 

8. with any real braise the food is usually best the next day while spending the night emersed in its sauce. degreasing is often useful, when i deskin/fat chicken before cooking i dont bother. otherwise and easy method is to put the meat in the container large enough for everything. put the sauce in another contain with a narrow mouth and let it sit, seperate and congeel in the fridge for an hour or two. defat it, let the sauce come to room temp or heat it and pour it over the meat. deep fried, frozen and pressed tofu would probably benefit greatly from letting it sit over night.

9. as veg i think thinly sliced celery, sliced galic and med-small diced vidalia would be delicious.