Who doesn’t like a delicious serving of stuffed chicken or a roasted turkey drumstick for dinner? Chicken and turkey are staples on everyone’s menu, and are my go-to protein for dinner. But how many times can I serve the same roasted chicken with potatoes, rice or vegetables? About a year ago, I realized that I have gotten so used to serving the same chicken dish week after week, with just a different side dish, that I had lost my taste for having chicken altogether – and I’m sure I’m not the only one. Well, I decided: no more BORING chicken; time to use it, along with its user-friendly relative turkey, in new and tasty ways.
I introduced myself to the possibilities of ground chicken and turkey. Looking up recipes that lead me to my new favorite chicken raviolis along with reinventing some old beef recipes and making great new turkey meat ball and chili dishes. I started playing with leftover chicken from my typical roasted chicken meals and found great new recipes for chicken corn chowder, chicken salad and Mulligatawny soup.
I realized that this fairly inexpensive, underappreciated protein is really an at-home gourmet chef’s best friend. The recipe list is endless and majority of them don’t have to include ay side dish at all. The next time you’re thinking of having chicken or turkey for dinner, remember it doesn’t have to be your old stand by meal, try something new and different and watch your family gobble it up and ask for seconds.
Garlic and Herb Chicken
It’s amazing what your body craves when you’re pregnant. For me it was coke, feta cheese and whole cooked garlic. Out of desperation for lots of cooked garlic I came up with this chicken one pot recipe. I can’t explain why, now that I have a daughter, Tunie, do I still crave whole cooked garlic?
1 whole chicken
2 heads of garlic (about 20 cloves)
1 bag boiler onions, tops cut off and semi peeled
Fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 tsp. fresh dill
2 tsp. cilantro
2 tsp. ginger
2 tsp. parsley
6 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 ½ cups semi dry white wine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Stuff the whole chicken with a quarter of the fresh garlic cloves and as many boiler onions as you can fit. Lay chicken belly up and generously sprinkle salt and pepper onto its skin and in its cavity. Use your hands to massage it onto the skin. Do the same with half the fennel seeds and half of all the herbs
Place the chicken into a Dutch oven belly side down, and repeat sprinkling salt, pepper and herbs on the top of the chicken. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of chicken.
Add your quartered potatoes around your chicken, and then add the rest of the garlic and onions. Sprinkle with a little paprika.
Pour white wine into pot so that it comes to a little less than halfway up the chicken. Cover pot and place in oven, and cook for an hour. Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes, making sure not to burn bottom of chicken. If necessary add a little more white wine. Check for doneness and remove. Serve hot with potatoes, garlic, and onions around the chicken.
Follow these guidelines when choosing a whole turkey or breast of turkey:
Whole Bird - allow 1 pound per person
Breast of turkey (with bone) - allow ¾ pound per person
Boneless breast of turkey - allow ½ pound per person
Spicy Chicken and Corn Chowder
For some inexplicable reason I am obsessed with corn chowder. No matter where I go, if they have it on the menu I order it, or if I see a recipe for it, I have to try it. This hearty filling soup/stew is a great addition to any ones dinner menu. I chose this recipe for the poultry section for this series because it is such a quick and easy recipe. The perfect blend of this chowders smoky flavor mixed in with a sweet bite that hits you in the end with a spicy mild punch you’ll be just as obsessed as I am.
2 cups chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 package smoked turkey (about 5-6 slices)
4 pieces pastrami
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. cilantro
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. curry powder (optional)
2 15 oz. cans creamed corn
1 can of white and yellow corn niblets
½ cup soy milk
Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to pot with broth. Simmer, covered, over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes, flipping chicken half way through. Transfer chicken to plate and reserve broth. Shred chicken into bite size pieces.
Cook smoked turkey, pastrami and onion in soup pot with the spices for about 5 minutes. Add all corn, cook for 2 minutes. Add reserved chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened. Stir in soy milk and chicken and let it cook for another 5 minutes.
Tips: While I love homemade chicken stock, I almost never have time these days to make it fresh. Now you can find great organic and msg free chicken or vegetable stock/broth in your local groceries that will work great in this and any other recipe that call for it. The key to a good grocery chicken stock is too look for one that has a short ingredient list that includes vegetables like carrots, celery and onions.
Chicken Salad Twist
There are nights that I am so rushed and harried that sadly I don’t have a minute to ask the question “what’s for dinner tonight?” Instead I look to see what might be left over in my fridge that I can reinvent or as one of my friends like to call it, “re-cooking with a twist”. The truth is, I love this chicken salad so much that there are times that I just go get a rotisserie chicken and make this dish even if there are no “leftovers” in my fridge. Then the next day I use this salad’s leftover for lunch in a wrap or pita.
3-4 cups shredded cooked chicken
¼ cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. ginger powder
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
¼ tsp. white vinegar
1 head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded
¼ cup craisins
¼ cup sliced almonds
In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken and carrots. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic powder, ginger powder, mustard, teriyaki and white vinegar. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the chicken and combine well.
To serve, place the lettuce on individual plates or in the center of a large platter. Spoon a nice heaping of chicken salad on the lettuce and sprinkle with craisins and almonds.
Food knowledge: 3 things to know when buying rotisserie chicken
Best & freshest time to buy the chicken is between the hours of 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Look for moist skin on the chicken. Taunt, dry skin is indicative of chicken that's spent too long in the rotisserie.
Select a chicken that has plump legs and breasts.
For the last 8 years Sarah Lasry has been the heart and soul of the successful and celebrated Tastebuds Gourmet Café & Flower Shop in Howell, NJ. Sarah opened and ran Tastebuds to much critical appraise for her unique approach to delicious, kosher gourmet cooking as well as her legendary parties, original style and artistic culinary flair. In 2006 Sarah wrote the acclaimed bestselling cookbook “THE DAIRY GOURMET” which revealed all the secret recipes of Tastebuds Café. With much anticipation from her many fans and fellow foodies, Sarah’s brand new cookbook “THE AT HOME GOURMET” just hit the stores with high praise and reviews. Sarah currently resides in Lakewood, NJ where she has recently left the restaurant business to concentrate on her passion for writing cookbooks and is hard at work as the Food and Home contributing editor for Binah Magazine and www.Kosherstreet.com.