No matter where you live or what your food budget, you’ve been affected by the sweeping rise in costs at the grocery stores. In the U.S., the basic increase is at about 10% over the last year — somewhat less for produce and somewhat more for meat. To make it through the check-out line without crying, folks have resorted to all sorts of strategies, many of which include reducing meat purchases much of the time. (I’m a constant store cart snooper and am both amazed and saddened by by what shoppers have resorted to in order to feed their families.) While I’ve got the cash to feed our small family of two plus doggies, I, too, have been forced to cut back or at least look at the best buys to keep us fed. Chicken is always a hugely popular dinner yet the ubiquitous boneless breasts many people (not me) have lived on are now sometimes simply out of sight. I did just hear their prices seem to be beginning to drop; thank goodness. What’s available for a song (Why is a song cheap?), however, are the drumstick portions of chicken legs and how wonderful, how easy, and how delectable they are. Chicken legs are not just for kids any longer!! I’ve got a few ways to show you to cook and serve them, including the simplest way, which is to only brown them stove top and finish them in the oven. Sure there are sauces or rubs and great sides like grilled corn or a filling vegetable salad (see above) and only you know exactly how YOU’d want to eat them.Continue reading
While chicken often tops the list of dinner ingredients in the U.S., (“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!” or “A chicken in every pot!”) it doesn’t take much to figure out those meals today are often based on ubiquitous, tasteless boneless chicken breasts instead of the flavorful cage-free chickens Herbert Hoover supposedly wanted for us. The American obsession with huge chicken breasts (hmph) is a sad one and continues for many reasons–one being it’s easy to not remember where meat comes from if you only have a slab of it and no fat, bones, joints, tendons, guts, or skin. I’ve had more than one adult student who, faced with putting a whole chicken (already cut up, by the way) in a skillet to brown for a tasty fricassée, admitted they had never before handled a chicken with bones. I, on the other hand, almost never buy boneless breasts, though I’ll admit I adore boneless thighs for everything from sandwiches to chili. There are several reasons–the main one being the taste factor–but here’s the critical other one. Because we demand outrageous and overwhelming numbers of inexpensive low-fat, protein rich boneless breasts (just try to buy bone-in breasts in today’s market) compared to other parts, chickens today are often–though not always– raised in incredibly poor and horrific conditions by inhumanely treated workers. How’d that come to be???Continue reading
I know. Chicken-Corn Chowder — the salty-cheesy kind with bacon and lots of soft potatoes– is what you’re thinking. I love that, too, and can remember the very first time I ate it in the kitchen of Woodlawn Planation. But this is a tad different and works to do that sad? but stupendous thing folks sometimes find so difficult–
use up the leftovers.
Happy New Year!
While I seldom blog recipes from other places, this easy chicken stew from Bon Appétit is luscious and makes a quick change from my typical winter beef or lamb stews. I’ve made it a time or two for friends, fixing it mostly beforehand, adding the cream right before serving. A scoop of rice and some fresh, sauteéd spinach make for a healthier and well-rounded meal and even lowers the price per serving. However, not to fear: this recipe uses inexpensive chicken thighs to start with.
My kitchen is still a Christmas kitchen--tins full of cookies, crocks full of nuts. Leftovers in the frig. Christmas dishes in the cupboard. On and on. I’m really still in holiday mode and am not back to a regular routine of grocery shopping, cooking, writing, blogging, choir rehearsals, etc. It is only the tenth day of Christmas (10 Lords-a-leaping!) and I celebrate all twelve days of Christmas plus Epiphany. Come Sunday night (January 6–Epiphany), you’ll find a table full of people at my house, still decorated, come to have one last, light Christmas romp complete with games.
Monday morning will find me contemplating what will, by then, look like a very old Christmas mess, putting it all away and doing a thorough clean before contemplating returning to work on the soup book. Until then, I’m cooking quick meals, heating big pots of soup or bolognese I froze earlier in the season, ordering pizza, or hitting favorite restaurants while my daughter’s home. After all, a kid, even a 25-year-old one, at home for the holidays likes to have their favorites. And Mom, Mom’s a bit tired of cooking. I can’t believe I said it, but it’s true. (Thank God for the freezer.)
While you’re putting away your own holiday mess, cook up this fast stew and see if it doesn’t become one of your favorites. It’s made mostly from food you might already keep in the larder or freezer (I always have boneless chicken thighs for quick soups.) and if you don’t have the leeks, substitute onions. If you’re looking for lighter meals, you might try substituting non-fat evaporated milk, half and half, or a lower-fat milk for the cream. Try this:
chicken and carrot stew from Bon Appétit
4 servings (perhaps 6 if you add the rice and spinach)
- 2 cups 1/4-inch-thick rounds peeled carrots (about 3 medium-large)
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 2 medium)
- 1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Sea salt
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- Fresh thyme sprigs (for garnish)
Cook carrots in large saucepan of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Add leeks to pan with carrots and cook until carrots are tender, about 3 minutes longer. Drain; set aside.
Sprinkle chicken with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Whisk flour, thyme, and paprika in medium bowl. Toss chicken in flour mixture. Heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium- high heat. Add chicken to skillet and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Scatter carrots and leeks over chicken. Add broth, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Add cream and mustard. Stir until sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with sea salt and pepper. Transfer to large shallow bowl. Scatter parsley over and garnish with thyme sprigs.
Interested in entering a bread recipe contest?
Remember that your original bread recipes must be submitted via the online entry form by Jan. 31. Please, be sure to include King Arthur Flour and Fleischmann’s Yeast in your ingredients list! Recipes that do not include these two ingredients will be disqualified! Click on the link to read the rules.
Enter by January 31, 2013 http://www.americasbreadbasket.com/nfob
Sing a new song,