Chicken Breasts Diable

April 13, 2012

It’s Friday the 13th today! Scary, spooky! The belief that Friday the 13th is unlucky is one of the most widespread superstitions today. The year 2012 is particularly bad for folks who suffer from this fear since it holds 3 Friday the 13ths – January 13, April 13 and July 13 – and these unlucky days are exactly 13 weeks apart. Yikes! However, the origins of this phobia are pretty murky. It seems that many cultures have regarded Friday as an unlucky day. It is said that the Crucifixion took place on a Friday. And 13 has long been regarded as an unlucky number. Many buildings do not have a 13th floor. Many cities do not have a 13th Street. Many Hospitals do not have a Room 13. Many Airline Terminals omit Gate 13. Legend has it that if 13 people sit down together at dinner, one of them will die within the year. (ie. the Last Supper, Norse legend) As an aside, for those of you looking for a career change, in France there is a custom of the “quotrozieme” a professional guest who can be called on short notice to prevent there being 13 at a dinner party. So it figures that the joining of such an unlucky day with such an unlucky number would be exceptionally bad on the luck front.  And as proof of this, there have been some horrible events which have taken place on Friday the 13ths. The Knights Templar were slaughtered by the Church on Friday October 13, 1307. And more recently on January 13, 2012, the Costa Concordia cruise ship sunk off the island of Giglio killing at least 25 and injuring many others. And looking to the future, who knows what may happen on Friday April 13, 2029 when the asteroid 99942 Apophis will pass very close to the Earth. (at least it’s not asteroid 66642…folks would absolutely freak!…just saying…)Hmmm…..

Yikes!

So I tried to come up with an appropriately ominous dish for all those folks who are holed up at home for the day. The best I could come up with was Chicken Breasts Diable from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. (Come on!… It has “devil” in the title! That’s scary!) Apparently, according to Ms. Greenspan, whenever you see the word “Diable” on a french menu the dish will include Dijon Mustard, which is as hot as the condiments get in a French kitchen. (o.k., I admit it, mustard isn’t very scary…but work with me here…) This Diable Sauce is, dare I say it, heavenly! The dijon mustard provides a serious kick to those otherwise plain and boring chicken breasts. Apparently this sauce also works well over steak. All in all, a very tasty meal which is quite easy to prepare. Make this dish soon! (though maybe not tonight…it is Friday the 13th after all!)

Chicken Breasts Diable

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table

yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded lightly, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons Dijon or grainy mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F. Pat the chicken breasts dry.

Put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and 1 Tablespoon oil. When the butter is melted, slip the chicken pieces into the pan. Adjust the heat so that the butter doesn’t burn, and cook the chicken until it’s well browned on the underside. Turn the pieces over and cook until the other side is also well browned and the chicken is cooked through. If the pan dries out, drizzle in just a touch more oil.

Transfer the breasts to a heatproof plate, season with salt and pepper, cover lightly with a foil tent and keep warm int he oven while you prepare the sauce.

Lower the heat to medium, toss the shallot and garlic into the pan, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, just until they soften, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the wine, and when it starts to bubble, stir it around so that you can pick up whatever little bits might have stuck to the bottom of the skillet.

Let the wine boil for a few seconds, then pour in the heavy cream. As soon as it reaches a boil, stir in the mustard and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Taste and decide if you want more mustard, Worcestershire or pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven, pour any juices ont he plate into the skillet and stir the sauce again.

Serve the chicken with the sauce.

Enjoy!


Lasagna Cupcakes

February 10, 2012

Finally! A way to make Lasagna a portable, finger food. Lasagna Cupcakes! No utensils needed, you can just pick them right up and proceed to chow down! Of course, if you feel compelled to bring out your cutlery, don’t let me stop you. Serve them in whatever way makes you happy.

I was inspired to make these after seeing a post at thegirlwhoateeverything. I did make a few changes to her recipe however. Her cupcakes call for ground beef and I decided to go with Italian Sausage. She also used wonton wrappers in lieu of lasagna noodles. I must admit, I am intrigued by the use of the wonton wrappers, and may give that a try next time I make these. ( and oh yes, I will be making them again) The wonton wrappers might prove a bit easier to work with. I bought fresh, refrigerated, fresh lasagna noodles and held them over steam from a boiling pot of water to soften them up a bit and then used a cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes to line each muffin well.

If you don’t like having to fiddle around with things, this recipe might not be for you. Or perhaps the wonton wrapper method might suit you better. (you will need 24 wrappers for this recipe) But if you have the patience to play around with the fresh pasta, you won’t be disappointed with the results. I assembled these little gems early in the day and refrigerated them until I was ready to prepare dinner later that evening. Then I just popped them into the oven and 20 minutes later, they were bubbling hot perfection, crispy pasta noodles on the outside, filled with layers of spicy italian sausage sauce and three types of gooey cheeses. Yum, yum, yum!!!

Lasagna Cupcakes

recipe: inspired by the girlwhoateeverything

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup marinara sauce (I actually used Arrabiata – I’ve mentioned previously that we like spicy! )
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage ( of course, we used “hot” but “mild” would be fine )
  • 2 packages of fresh lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 3 ounces Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • Basil to garnish

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Spray Muffin tin with cooking spray. Put sauce pan of water on to boil.

Brown the sausage and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain. Add the marinara sauce and stir to combine.

Remove one sheet of lasagna noodles and hold over steam from boiling water to soften slightly. Using a 4″ cookie cutter, cut circle shaped pieces and fit them gently into the muffin tins, covering the bottom and sides of the muffin wells. Reserve the noodle scraps for later layers.

Start layering the lasagna cupcakes. Start with the sauce/sausage mixture. Place approximately 1 Tablespoon in each well. Place 1/2 tablespoon ricotta cheese on top of the meat mixture. Continue layering with a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Using a 2″ cookie cutter and some of the reserved lasagna noodle scraps, cut circles of noodle to layer in next. Repeat the layers, ending with the parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are browned. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove use a knife to loosen the edges and then gently slide each cupcake from the tin.

Garnish with basil and serve.

Enjoy!


Gringo Chili

January 14, 2012

So I just can’t shake this spicy kick I’m on. Gringo Chili is my spicy offering today. Unlike my Texas Beef Chili, which shuns beans of any type, this chili is chock full of black beans. Jay and I just kind of threw this together, without any proper recipe a few years ago. But we liked it so much, I jotted the ingredients down. Every New Year’s Eve we settle down with a big pot of this chili to ring in the New Year, and it usually makes several other appearances throughout the winter. Let me say right now before we go any further, this chili is spicy! It gets the majority of its kick from the jar of Green Mountain Gringo Salsa that we add to it. (Hence its name) Generally we do add an entire jar and we usually use the “hot” variety, though I listed “medium” heat salsa in the ingredients list, since I know everyone does not share our love of spice. Green Mountain Gringo also has a “mild” heat salsa for those of you with really tender taste buds. Of course, you can substitute in your favourite salsa if you have one, but if you haven’t tried the good old Green Mountain Gringo brand, you might want to give it a whirl. This chili is wonderfully flavourful, hearty and spicy. It will definitely warm you up on a cold winter’s eve. I usually serve it with several toppings. Folks seem to love the Fritos for adding a lovely salty crunch to each bite and the guacamole/sour cream toppings for cooling things down a bit! I also make up a batch of corn muffins (Cheddar & Cilantro Cornbread Muffins to be specific – recipe to follow soon!) to go along with the meal, which are always welcome. Pop open your favourite beer and you’ll be set to dig in!

Gringo Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. hot Italian Sausage
  • 2 –  14.5 oz. cans of Petite Cut Diced Tomatoes (we use the ones with zesty jalapeños or chilis)
  • 1/2 – 1 jar of salsa of your choice – we usually use Green Mountain Gringo medium heat salsa
  • 1 – 15.5 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 cup of lager beer
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 Tablespoon cornmeal (used to thicken chili)
  • Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, Fritos, guacamole, chopped cilantro

Directions:

In a large pot, brown ground beef and sausage. Drain off excess fat.

Add diced tomatoes, salsa, beans, beer, Worchesterhire sauce, chili powder and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well. Cook over medium low heat for 30 minutes. ( If you are not in a rush, I usually bring the chili to simmer and then reduce the heat to low and let it go for 1-2 hours).

Once you are close to getting ready to serve, place 3 tablespoons cornmeal in a small dish and add remaining lager beer, or broth from chili to cornmeal. Add enough liquid to the cornmeal that it is pourable. Mix well, making sure there are no lumps. Add cornmeal mixture to chili, stir well and increase heat for 3-5 minutes until chili has thickened.

Stir in the fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve garnished with toppings of your choice, corn muffins and plenty of beer to wash it down!

Enjoy!


TexMex Chicken & Dumplings

January 10, 2012

Chicken & Dumplings. What better example of good old down-home, country-style cooking is there? My husband loves them! I’ve made the dish for him a few times, but was very excited to come across this adaptation of that classic comfort food. I’ve already confessed our weakness for spicy food. The Chicken & Dumplings I’ve had in the past have been very tasty, but I must say, they never had any kick to them at all and for all their “stick to your ribs”-ness, they were often quite bland. So, I was so happy to find that the good folks from the Lone Star State have really made quite an improvement to an already delicious dish by adding some chorizo sausage, cumin and cilantro into the mix. And oh no, they didn’t stop there, they went on to top it off with some big, fluffy, jalapeño, cilantro and cheddar cheese filled dumplings.

Mercy! Have I gone to heaven?!! The stew part of the dish definitely had overcome the somewhat boring flavours found with its Northern cousins. It delightfully had some heat to it.  And those dumplings….Oh, those Dumplings. They were simply out of this world! No floury, doughy, bland dumplings here. These fellows could really wake you up all on their own. This hearty TexMex Chicken & Dumpling dish is the best my husband and I have ever eaten! No contest whatsoever! Want something spicy to really warm you heart and soul on a cold winter’s evening? Look no further. Enjoy a bowl tonight!

TexMex Chicken & Dumplings

slightly adapted from: Today’s Nest

serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. chorizo sausage, 1-2 links
  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken, I used boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 medium onion – diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup diced celery, 2-3 ribs
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, 3-4 medium-sized
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons cornmeal

For the Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 beaten egg
  • milk enough to make up 2/3 cup liquid with the beaten egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons diced jarred jalapeño peppers

Directions:

Put Chicken stock and water in large pot over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer.

Cook chorizo sausage in dutch oven over medium heat. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.

Place chicken breasts in pan with chicken stock for 20 minutes to poach.

Remove chicken breasts from pan and set aside to cool to touch. Once chicken and sausage have cooled, chop into 1″ pieces.

Bring sausage drippings in pan up to medium heat again and add onions, carrots and celery. Saute for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add salt, pepper and cumin. Stir well.

Sprinkle all-purpose flour over vegetables and stir to coat. Slowly  add chicken stock, stirring until flour is combined. Add remaining chicken stock to pan.

Add in the chopped chicken breast and chorizo sausage. Stir. Add chopped cilantro. Stir again. Keep mixture at low simmer. If stew does not seem thick enough to you, place 2 tablespoons cornmeal into small bowl. Add some of the broth from the stew to the cornmeal until it is a pourable consistency. Add cornmeal mixture back to stew and stir to combine. Continue to simmer the stew and it should thicken after 4 minutes or so.

Make dumplings by sifting together cake flour, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Stir in the chopped cilantro and shredded cheddar cheese.

Place egg in measuring cup. Beat egg. Add milk until total liquid measures 2/3 cup. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture. Stir until just moistened. Add melted butter and stir until just combined. Fold in chopped jalapeño pepper.

Using a small cookie scoop, drop  scoops of dough onto the top of the simmering stew. Leave room between the dumplings for expansion!

Place lid on pot and continue to cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid. (This was really hard for me…I soooo wanted to peek!)

At 15 minutes, remove lid and check for doneness.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!


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