chicken

Easy Chicken

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After cleaning a whole chicken, thoroughly dry with paper towels. Inside and out. I know, it’s icky. You can do it. On occasion, you’ll find a bit of a quill left in the skin. It’s easiest to grasp them using a paper towel so you have enough traction to pull it out.

A lot of recipes will call for lemons or butter. We’re going to avoid those so the chicken can get nice and crispy! And who doesn’t love a recipe that calls for just three ingredients?

I like to let the chicken come to temperature and dry one more time. Add salt and dried thyme into the cavity and place the chicken in a pan. You don’t want the pan to be so large that your chicken is floating out in space. I like to use our trusty Dutch oven. Then truss the chicken. This just means you’re going to use a bit of baker’s or butcher’s twine to tie the chicken legs together to cover a portion of the breast, and it helps the chicken stay juicy.

After trussing the chicken, tuck the wings as close to the body as you can manage. You don’t want them to get too dry, either. Lightly sprinkle dried thyme over the chicken. Now, for the magic. With a heavy hand, salt the chicken with kosher salt. Add a second pass. That salt is going to be where your flavor comes in.

Bake at 450 for an hour. Double check the internal temperature of the breast meat- it needs to be at least 165. Let cool for ten minutes, carve, and serve. Tastes great with a whole grain mustard or Dijon for dipping. Pairs really well with blistered carrots with labneh.

Be sure to save the bones and scraps for chicken stock!

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*the link to the Dutch oven is an affiliate link; it doesn’t increase your price, but a portion of the proceeds come back to me.

Creamy Chicken, Gnocchi and Spinach Soup

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Joe, you finally get a copy. Earlier that it comes in the mail, too! You won’t see it until October, but I’ve done what I could.

Brown 1 pound Italian sausage in a Dutch oven, do not drain. If you are skipping the sausage, instead drizzle two glugs of your favorite olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion, 2 finely chopped stalks of celery, and 2 large shredded carrots.Stir to coat. Cook until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add 6 cups chicken stock, 2 cups diced chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, 3/4 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds. If you want to add a bit of heat, add 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes here. Bring to a boil. Add 2 packages of gnocchi, boil 4-6 minutes until gnocchi rises to the top and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Add 1 cup chopped fresh spinach and cook an additional 2 minutes to wilt the spinach.

Slowly stir in 2 cups of half and half (one cup of half and half if you’re trying to cut extraneous calories). Keep the mixture from boiling, as the cream will separate if it gets too hot.

Serve immediately.

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Chicken Stock

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To a large stock pot add the bones of one chicken, 2 quartered onions, 3 quartered carrots (scrubbed but not peeled), 3 chopped ribs of celery, 1 large leek (quartered with the greens and ends discarded), 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves, 4 sprigs fresh parsley, 3 small bay leaves, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, 3 cloves peeled garlic and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Cover all this goodness with water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Keep simmering, partially covered, for 8-10 hours. Check in on it often and add water as needed. Pour through a colander and use as you normally use broth.

If you’re in a hurry or don’t want as full a flavor, you can remove the mixture from the heat when it begins to smell and taste like chicken (about three hours). If you do this, I recommend adding another teaspoon of salt.

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Chicken Dumpling Soup

Chicken Dumpling Soup

For the soup:

Heat 4 tablespoons of EVOO in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 3 cups cubed butternut squash, 3 medium carrots thinly sliced into rounds, 2 ribs chopped celery, and 2 leeks (halved and the whites cut into thin slices). Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp ground pepper and 1/4 tsp salt. Nestle in 3 bay leaves and a bundle of parsley, sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary among the vegetables. Partially cover and cook about ten minutes, stirring once about half way through. Deglaze your pan with 1/2 cup white wine or chicken stock. Reduce until almost dry, remove bay leaves and herb bundle. Add 3 cups chicken broth, bring to boil, reduce to simmer.

In a sauce pan, melt 3 Tbs salted butter over medium heat. Whisk in 3 Tbs flour until combined. Whisk in 3 cups of milk (unflavored almond or otherwise), 1/8 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg. Cook until thick enough to coat a spoon then add to simmering broth mixture. Add 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken. Zest 1 lemon into mixture. Keep simmering for approximately 40 minutes.

For the dumplings:

Combine 2 1/4 cup Bisquick and 2/3 cup milk. Drop dough by spoonfuls into simmering soup. Cook 10 minutes uncovered then 10 minutes covered. If there isn’t enough space in the Dutch oven, you can cook the dumplings in another pot with 5 cups of chicken broth.

Serves 4-6.

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Better Than Ranch Chicken

If you’ve ever had ranch chicken, you know it’s pretty good. It has a lot of flavor, and just the right amount of crunch from the panko breadcrumbs.

One of the things they tell you to do is use mayo to dredge the chicken pieces, before rolling them in the ranch power/panko bread crumb mixture. But there’s a better way. We recently tried adding Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and it changed everything.

You’ll need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup mayonnaise
1 1-oz. packet Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
¾ cup unseasoned panko crumbs
1/4 cup buffalo sauce
RECIPE DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a bowl, mix the mayo and buffalo sauce.
In a shallow bowl or plate, mix the panko crumbs and ranch dressing mix .
Dip each breast in the mayonnaise mixture turning on all sides until well-coated.
Shake off any excess.
Lay the chicken in the panko crumbs mix and turn until evenly coated.
Arrange the chicken on a foil lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until an internal temperature of 165°F or until juices run clear. Crumbs will be slightly browned.