Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spotting Dinner - Braised Chicken with Scallion Purée

It's a bit later than I've been posting the "Spotting Dinner" post, but I had a busy day today. I checked e-mails, messed with Google Analytics, checked out Etsy, had some sort of sneezing fit in the shower (oh my, was that terrible!), did my hair, checked out my birthday gift from Patty, stopped at Starbucks, went out to Newtown to visit two teachers of mine - Cris Martino (jewelry) and Caren Friedman (printmaking), talked to some previous classmates, traded fixed earrings for a print, went to Doylestown to try and find special shampoo or colour glaze to keep my red hair SUPER red.... and if I came home to Terry B's braised chicken that I found on TasteSpotting I would have been in heaven!

Photo from blue-kitchen

Braised Chicken with Scallion Purée

via blue-kitchen

Adapted from The Cook and the Gardener

For Terry’s doctored broth:
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic
4 black peppercorns

For the chicken and scallion purée:
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 pieces of chicken—4 drumsticks, 4 thighs
salt, freshly ground black pepper
24 scallions, trimmed [leaving as much green as possible], sliced into 1/4-inch pieces, divided
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 medium to large potatoes [about 1 pound], peeled and cut into large chunks
3 cups Spring Stock or Terry’s doctored broth [or homemade stock or water]
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Make the broth. Combine broth and 1 cup of wine in a medium stock pot and bring to a boil. While it’s heating, “bruise” the rosemary sprig by rolling a rolling pin or the side of a glass over it to release its flavorful oils. Add to pot. Lightly bash the garlic clove with the side of a knife, remove the skin and add garlic clove to pot, along with the bay leaf and peppercorns. When broth comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly, then strain into a bowl and discard solids. You should have about 3 cups of wonderfully fragrant broth.

Cook the chicken. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large lidded skillet over medium high flame [I used a 5-quart sauté pan]. Add oil to pan, then add chicken, skin side down and sauté until it is very brown, but not burned, about 10 minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally to make sure oil is in contact with all chicken to avoid scorching. Toward the end of the 10 minutes, reduce heat to medium. Turn chicken and scatter two-thirds of the sliced scallions over and around it [this is why you reduced the heat a moment ago, to not burn the scallions]. Brown second side of chicken for about 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate. Spread scallions around pan and cook for another minute or so. Add 1/3 cup of wine and stir, scraping up browned bits. Reduce wine by half. Return chicken to pan, along with any juices. Add potatoes and enough broth to come about two-thirds up the side of the chicken [if you don't have enough broth, add water]. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, braising chicken for about 45 to 55 minutes, until potatoes are completely cooked.

Make the scallion purée. Heat oven to 175ºF. When chicken is done, transfer it to a plate and place in oven to keep warm. Strain the braising juices and reserve. Transfer potatoes and scallions to food processor and pulse a few times until potatoes are just crushed [as Hesser says, "pulsing any longer will turn the mixture into a starchy goo"]. Remove blade from processor and stir in cream with a spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover processor with dish towel to keep purée warm.

Transfer juices to sauce pan and reduce over high heat to a concentrated, highly flavored jus, about 1 cup of liquid. Lower heat to medium, add remaining sliced scallions and simmer until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

To serve, spread purée on serving dish and top with chicken. Spoon some of the jus with scallions over chicken. Serve, passing the remaining jus and scallions separately. You can also plate individual servings.

I love scallions... I've never used them as a main part of a dish before - but I'll use them to add an onion flavor to salads or top off an omelet or add to scrambled eggs... Of course scallions are good with sour cream on tacos or the like. I usually don't use them often enough to use a whole bunch before they start to go "funny". So this recipe is an awesome surprise with its use of scallion as a main ingredient.

Here's to scallions and full bellies.

- Cait

P.S. Keep on the lookout for an upcoming post about scallions vs. green onions!

Spotting Lunch - Caribbean Steak Wraps

When I was checking out TasteSpotting for a lunch idea I came across cheesypoof's wrap. It's got prefect island flavors which would surely brighten up my mood. It's been raining here so much, you'd think I was in Seattle! Not to mention that I watched a Bobby Flay's Throwdown tonight that involved Miami kind of flavors. It got me into some kind of warm weather food mood.

Photo from deestroyer

Caribbean Steak Wraps
via deestroyer

3 T. olive oil
3 t. jerk seasoning (purchased, or make it as follows)
1 t. salt plus more to taste
1 lb. thin steak (flank or carne asada cut)
2 cloves garlic
1 can black beans
1/4 cup water
1 ripe mango
1 ripe avocado
1 T. lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 T. rum
4 large flour tortillas

Preheat the broiler.
Combine 1 T. of the oil with 2 t. of the jerk seasoning and 1 t. salt in a small bowl. Rub this mixture into both sides of the meat and place the meat on a baking sheet. Broil until medium rare, about 5 minutes per side for flank steak (less for carne asada cut). Let it rest until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 T. oil in skillet. Add the garlic and remaining teaspoon of jerk seasoning and saute for a few minutes. Add the beans and and water and simmer gently for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, dice the avocado and mango and place in serving bowl. Drizzle with lime juice and add chopped cilantro. Toss with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the rum to the beans, and increase the heat to cook off the alcohol for a couple minutes. Season the beans with salt and pepper.
Slice the steak into thin strips. Serve fajita style with each component laid out, or roll everything into a burrito for your lucky guests. I also added a dollop of sour cream because I thought it was lacking in sauciness.

Easy Jerk Seasoning
1 T. brown sugar
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. ground ginger

After reading what's in the easy jerk seasoning, I thought it was funny. I often make spice combinations that use these kind of ingredients - so I'm sure the mixture will taste great! I absolutely cannot wait to try this recipe out. Now all I need is a few people to make this for.

Here's to Miami and full bellies.
- Cait

Spotting Breakfast - Orange Vanilla Bundt Cake

Sometimes I crave something sweet for breakfast... In my house, if there's leftover cake from a birthday or occasion of some sort - it often becomes a morning treat. I don't know how that habit started, but my whole family does it and we've done it for as long as I can remember. When I found uptowngirl's bundt cake on TasteSpotting, I thought that would be perfect. Why? Because it has orange in it! Yeah, I know... Cake that is flavored with orange doesn't count as a serving of fruit, but it would be amazing WITH fruit. Orange is a wonderful flavor to go along with something like fresh strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. So yes, orange cake with a cup of coffee or strong black tea and fresh fruit would make a nice sweet breakfast.

Photo from erinsfoodfiles

Orange Bundt Cake
via erinsfoodfiles
from Taste of Home

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk

2 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons orange juice (I used freshly squeezed)

In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy; beat in the eggs, orange peel and extracts. Combine flour and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Pour into a greased and floured 12-cup fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool. For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and juice until smooth. Spoon over cake. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Bake up this cake and brew yourself some french press coffee or a espresso. Enjoying this outside in the morning on a sunny day would definatly be a great days beginning.

Here's to Florida and full bellies.
- Cait