Category: chicken

Ahhh… Fresh Bay Leaves.

I recently came across a small blurb about buying fresh bay leaves from a French purveyor. It caught my eye because the photo made it appear that you could tie some kitchen twine around the stems and hang this aromatic in your kitchen. I wanted to learn more about this ubiquitous herb, that I use but don’t much about. Here’s what I learned.

Apparently there is “good” bay laurel from Turkey and Central America and then there is the bay laurel from California. The California version is more minty, a little oilier and can be bitter. If you are allergic to bay leaves, or have had allergic like symptoms, it is the California version. Bay Leaves are native to the Mediterranean and have a natural oil that has a similar nose to eucalyptus or clove but a lot more mellow. When you do start to cook with either the fresh or dried versions, remember you don’t need much to reap all the benefits.

Typically, bay leaves are used in vegetarian stocks, brines, and longer cooking dishes like soups and stews. I was intrigued with the idea of adding them to your coals for barbecue like you mesquite wood chips. You can also light a couple on fire and toss them into a covered dish, right before serving, to impart a smoky, aromatic flavor. Bay leaves pair well with anise, lemon, onion, oregano and white pepper. As a matter of fact you can grind dried bay leaves with any of these and make your own spice blend. Stay tuned. When I try this I will let you know.

Fresh bay leaves are usually available in the produce section of your local market or can be found at your farmer’s market. I even found a link to buy them from Amazon, of course. When buying fresh make sure they are Laurel.

Here’s a couple of fun facts about bay leaves. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, calcium, Vitamin A, C and iron. They are great for digestion and are a natural anti-inflammatory. Food with benefits.  I love it!

Here are a few recipes that use bay leaves in a more forward way.

Bay Leaf Roasted Chicken
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Bay Leaf Roasted Chicken
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375° Remove giblets and such from cavity of bird and discard. Rinse inside cavity and let dry completely.
  2. Loosen skin on breasts and legs with fingers. Rub salt and pepper all over the chicken and under skin on breasts and legs. Arrange 3 bay leaves under the skin on one breasts, in a decorative design. Repeat on other side and under the skin of legs. Place remaining leaves in cavity of chicken.
  3. Tie legs with twine and tuck wings under chicken. Arrange celery, carrots and onions in roasting pan in a single layer so that chicken can roast on them.
  4. Place chicken breasts side down on vegetables and bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Turn chicken breasts side up. Increase heat to 450° and cook for 25 minutes longer. Watch that chicken doesn't burn. Check internal temperature to 170°.
  5. Remove chicken to cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes before carving. You can serve chicken with the carrots and onions or discard all vegetables. I think this chicken will be juicy and flavorful without a gravy. However, if you want a gravy; bring pan drippings to a simmer in a saucepan. Make a slurry of 2Tbs. flour and 3 Tbs. water. Stir slurry into simmering drippings until clear and thickened.
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Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Bay Leaves
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A fresh way to prepare potatoes. Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe.
Braised Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Bay Leaves
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A fresh way to prepare potatoes. Adapted from a Food & Wine recipe.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In an enameled cast iron pot or large saucepan, arrange potatoes in a single layer and pour chicken broth over. place bay leaves, garlic and olive oil also in pot. Before covering, give a good sprinkle of salt.
  2. Cover and cook over a low heat until potatoes are tender. This really depends on size of potato, but think 30-40 minutes. Check occasionally on broth. You can add more if needed.
  3. When cooked tender place in a serving bowl and give another sprinkle of salt. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

One great thing about this really flavorful potato dish is leftovers. I made a potato salad the next day by simply adding some dijon mustard and a little celery for some crunch.  Wow! it was great.

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You can serve these together. I think the bay leaf flavors show up very differently. But you can also dip your toe in slowly with one or the other. As always please let me know what you think of these recipes or how you are using bay leaves other than in soups and stews.

Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot

There is nothing better on a cold night than good old-fashioned Chicken in a Pot. That is unless it’s Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot. I made this last weekend and it was delicious. It comes from her Everyday Dorie, the Way I cook, cookbook. Like any recipe I made a few adjustments as I was shopping and cooking. For the most part, though, I stayed true to the original.

This is not a “Lemon” chicken and the fennel does not taste like licorice. All the flavors meld together to make the perfect balance of sweet, tart and savory. Dorie does recommend and I concur to have good crusty bread for sopping up all the good juices. This recipe is going into my regular rotation and I hope you enjoy it too.

Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
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I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
Print Recipe
I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Take chicken out of refrigerator and let sit out while preheating oven to 450° and preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Trim the stalks and fronds and cut off the bottom of the fennel bulb. Remove the outer layer leaves. They can be tough. Cut the remaining into 6 - 8 wedges. Toss into a Dutch oven.
  3. Cut one lemon in half and the other into 8 wedges. Reserve one half and toss the wedges and other half in the pot. Peel and trim the shallots and then cut in to wedges. Toss into pot. Put the garlic halves in the pot.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, honey, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and toss until everything is well coated.. Make a well in the center of the vegetables.
  5. Make sure the chicken is really dry with paper towels. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the reserved half lemon all over the the outside of the chicken then put in the cavity. Put the reserved fronds and stalks and 2 of the thyme sprigs in the cavity, also. Rub the 2 Tbs. olive oil all over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Nestle the chicken down in the well of the vegetables. Pour the chicken broth over the chicken and vegetables and give a quick stir to get the broth all around the vegetables. Toss in the 2 other thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  7. Cover the pot and cook for 90 minutes. Do not peek. At 90 minutes you can take the lid off and place under broiler for maybe another 5 minutes to brown the top.
  8. You can serve this straight from the pot, but I like putting in a shallow bowl/platter. That way its cut and easy to grab and the vegetables and broth are right there for the dipping. Make sure you have good crusty bread. Either way, serve immediately, very hot.
  9. I wish I had a picture of the final product. Thats what happens when its that good. We all dove in and it was gone. Maybe next time. LOL
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Everything, Everything!

I remember when Everything Bagels first hit the scene. A New York bagel store employee was sweeping out the oven and instead of tossing the seeds and seasoning crumbs, he through them on top of a plain bagel. He thought he was being cute when he called it the “everything”.  They were amazing! All the bagel flavors you love were now in one bagel. Ahh, bliss! And if you toast them, forget it, HEAVEN! So imagine how excited I was when Trader Joes created Everything but the Bagel Seasoning. I love using this flavor blend and put it on, well, everything.

The blend is made up of sesame seeds, sea salt flakes, dried minced garlic, dried minced onion, black sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Some of the great ways I’ve used this blend are: stir it into cream cheese, salad topping, stirred into scrambled eggs, a small shake on top of sour cream in soup or a baked potato.

My two favorite ways to use this blend are to stir about 1/4 cup into latke (potato pancake) batter right before frying them up. We like our latkes extra crispy and this seasoning brings out all the best flavors of the potato.  If you do this adjust your salt down, or even none. This seasoning has plenty of salt. The other great recipe is to use it as a chicken coating.

Chicken is the great blank canvas of food.  I mean it was just made for sauces and anything that adds flavor. The recipe below is simple and quick.  I make a dredge tray of seasoned flour, egg white and Everything but the Bagel seasoning.  You can use your own recipe for the seasoned flour. Remember to use little or no salt.

One other little tip. Some of you struggle on knowing when chicken is done when you bake it. The best way is to use a meat thermometer to 160°. However, 20 minutes per pound at preheated 325° oven is a great rule of thumb. You can cover the chicken foil half way through if it is getting too brown.

 

Everything Seasoned Chicken

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Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4

Servings
4

Everything Seasoned Chicken

Print Recipe

Juicy, baked chicken with all your favorite tastes of an everything bagel.
Servings
4

Servings
4

Ingredients

Servings:

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°.

    Combine flour and all spices, except Everything Bagel, together in a zipped plastic bag. Give it a good mix now and right before you use it. You don't want all the flavors to settle to the bottom.

  2. Set up your dredging station (I use shallow soup bowls). You want the first one to be the seasoned flour. The second should be your egg whites and the third is the Everything seasoning.

  3. I get my chicken good and dry with paper towels and then let it sit out about 20 minutes before starting the dredging process. I also keep one hand for dry and one for wet.

  4. Start with dipping chicken in flour. Give it an even coat and shake off excess so you don't have clumps. Then a quick dip in egg whites and let excess drip off, then right into the everything seasoning and into a butter baking dish.

  5. Into the preheated, hot oven and bake for 20 minutes per pound. You are probably at just about a pound with 4 chicken breasts so check at 20 minutes. It's okay to cut into one breast, if you don't have a thermometer. You want the juices to run clear.

  6. Serve with a green vegetable and rice or potato. Enjoy!

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