Organic, Grain-fed Chicken Two Ways: Breast Stuffed with Caramelized Onions & Slow-Braised Legs

For many years now, I’ve cooked everyday of my life, whether it be professionally or personally.  I’ve never had the opportunity, however, to document my culinary adventures.  I’ve never owned a nice digital camera, or anything even close to it.  Any pictures I’ve ever taken of my food just didn’t do it justice.

This past week, I invested in a Canon Rebel t2i.  It was recommended to me by many photographers as one of the best entry DSLR cameras, taking professional grade photos, without being incredibly complicated like most professional DSLR cameras.

Long story short, the pictures Moira and I will be uploading from now on will be a whole lot nicer.

On to the food…

Last night I picked up this gorgeous-looking free-range, grain-fed, organically raised (bla bla bla) chicken and designed a tasty dinner around it.  Because the chicken itself was slightly outrageously priced ($17), I wanted to keep the rest of my costs down.  As such, I stuffed the breasts with caramelized onions (I always have onions in the pantry), braised the thighs and drumsticks with mirepoix, stock and wine, and used the carcass and bones to make a rich stock, which I used to make a parmesan risotto (parm also being a staple in my house).

Caramelizing onions is the easiest thing to do, and yet yields such a rich, tasty product.  It is slightly time-consuming, but well worth the patience.  Simply heat your pan, slice your onions (2 should be enough), and put them in the pan with about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a couple tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt and sugar.  Turn the heat to very low, cover, and let cook for at least 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a stainless steel sauté pan.  Take the legs (which you have butchered yourself or asked your butcher to do), salt & pepper, and sear skin-side down in the skillet until golden brown.  Flip, sear for a couple more minutes, and deglaze with ½ cup of white wine and ½ cup of chicken stock.  Cover and put in a 350 degree oven until the chicken falls of the bone.

Once the onions have caramelized, add about half a cup of grated parmesan cheese and chill.  Slice the chicken breasts and stuff them with the caramelized onions as neatly as you can.

Heat a cast iron skillet and add about 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil.  Salt and pepper the stuffed breasts.  Sear the breast skin-side down in a very hot pan until it has a nice golden brown and crispy skin.  Flip over and place in oven (450 degrees preferred) until cooked through.

I served my chicken two ways on parmesan risotto.  I made chicken stock with the bones of the chicken and made a very simply risotto with shallots, onions, celery, thyme, white wine, and a whole bunch of parmesan and cold butter.

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Steak Frites

Nothing is better than Steak Frites done right.

The secrets you need to know:

1.  Always sear your steak in REALLY HOT pan.  Let the pan heat up for a minute or two and add the oil – if it starts to smoke, it’s hot enough.

2.  DON’T OVERCROWD THE PAN.  If your pan isn’t big enough, sear your steaks separately.  The last thing you want is an overcrowded pan.  The hot pan will cool down substantially if it is overcrowded with meat, and steaks that are too close to each other with cause steam to form.  This will essentially mean you are steaming your steaks and you will never get a nice crust – eww.

3.  Get a thick cut – at least 1 1/2 inches thick.

4.  Have your oven preheated to 450 (throw your thick steak in once you have a nice caramelized crust, until its to your desired doneness)

5.  Blanch your fries before you crisp them up! Fry your potatoes at a low temperature (325-350) until they are soft and cooked through, but not browned.  Then, increase the temperature of your oil (to 375-395) and let them get crispy.  Also, make sure to salt your fries as soon as they come out of the fryer to ensure the salt sticks!

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pan-seared Jumbo Scallop w/ Avocado & Shrimp Salsa

One of the most simply beautiful things to put in one’s mouth is a perfectly pan-seared scallop.  Although relatively simple to execute, I’ve had many over-cooked, chewy or soggy scallops in my short lifetime eating them.  It’s the simplest things that are the easiest to fuck up, excuse my language.  Eggs, for instance, require a certain patience and skill.  They are deceivingly simple, shall we say.

Getting back to scallops: when you pan-fry them, the best seasoning is simple salt and pepper.  Dry them off as much as possible before you fry them in a very hot pan.  I like to use duck fat instead of oil for my scallops.  Duck fat is always a good call in my books.  If you’re can’t get your hands on duck fat, pork fat (lard or bacon fat) is also a great alternative.  After all, bacon and scallops are a classic combination.

Because fresh scallops are very delicate and sweet in both flavour and texture, I usually serve them with something delicate and neutral in flavour, so as to not overwhelm and mute the scallop’s beautiful taste.  In this recipe, the avocado and shrimp salsa pairs perfectly!

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 2:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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