Archive | December, 2012

Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing

10 Dec

Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing

So, during finals I have this problem.  I decide to cook relatively elaborate meals even though I really shouldn’t take the time to do so.  Because cooking de-stresses me, and I need to be de-stressed during finals.  Luckily, the end result of my problem is delicious comfort food – in this case, roast chicken, homemade gravy, cranberry sauce, and delicious dressing.

Sure, I have about 3 1/2 lbs. of roast chicken left over – but it was so worth it.  This chicken is very flavorful, with pronounced garlic and coriander flavors.  It is also incredibly moist and well-seasoned thanks to the brining, with delicious crispy skin thanks to the overnight rest and butter basting.  As usual, I followed the basics of my perfect roast chicken recipe, altering some of the ingredients and the roasting style a bit by using a roasting pan and cooking the bird on top of a bed of simple aromatics.

This was the world’s easiest stuffing – I didn’t bother pre-cooking any of the vegetables.  I just mixed everything together and hoped for the best, and it worked out beautifully.  They veg had just a hint of crispness to make for an interesting variation in texture, but everything was tender and flavorful.  The focaccia is a nice choice for dressing because it holds up its texture well, but absorbs flavor and moisture to create a nice balance.

Coriander and Garlic Roast Chicken with Focaccia Dressing

Coriander and Garlic Brine:

1 4 lb. whole fryer

2-3 cups water per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup kosher salt per lb. of chicken

1/2 cup white sugar per lb. of chicken

2 tbs. whole black pepper corns

2 tbs. whole coriander seeds

2 tbs. garlic powder

1 tbs. dried parsley

1 tbs. dried oregano

1 tbs. dried basil

3 bay leaves

3 whole cloves

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Aromatics Base:

3 celery stalks, cut into 1″ pieces

2 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces

1 small yellow onion, cut into 1″ pieces

Butter Spread:

2 tbs. butter

1 1/2 tbs. garlic powder

1 tbs. ground coriander

Freshly cracked black pepper

To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water.  A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved.  It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar.  Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken.  This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.

Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding more water or ice if necessary.  Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution.  Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour).

Remove chicken from brining solution and discard brine.  Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.  Transfer chicken onto a wire rack on top of a plate.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let rest overnight.

When ready to begin cooking, preheat oven to 475º.

Place aromatics on the bottom of a roasting pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in garlic powder, coriander, and black pepper.  Using a pastry brush, brush breasts, legs, and wings of chicken with butter mixture.  Transfer to the roasting pan on top of the aromatics.

Transfer to oven.  Cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350° and roast 20 minutes per lb., or until temperature in the thickest part of the thigh or leg reaches 165°.  Baste occasionally if desired.  If the chicken becomes overly brown, tent with a piece of tinfoil.

Focaccia Stuffing:

1 1/2 cups focaccia bread, cut into 1/2″ to 1″ cubes

1 stalk celery, sliced into half moons

1 carrot, peeled, halved, and sliced into half moons

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1 tbs. butter, melted

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. dried sage

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Transfer to a casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until crunchy on top.

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Beef and Barley Stew

3 Dec

Beef and Barley Stew

I woke up on Sunday morning in full on finals mode, thinking about what I needed to accomplish to call it a successful day.  I knew one thing on that agenda would be some comfort food: a) because studying makes you hungry and b) because I haven’t cooked much of interest in awhile, and wanted to spend some time in the kitchen as an incentive/reward for finishing half of each of my final papers.

This beef and barley stew was perfect for both its goal and the chilly, dreary weather of the day.  It was super easy, but the depth of flavor was amazing.  The richness of the red wine combines perfectly with the beef and contrasts with the sweetness of the carrots and onions.  The pearled barley adds a heart healthy dose of whole grains, and this is absolutely chock full of vegetables – nothing to feel guilty about, here.  There is a great combination of textures here, too – slightly toothsome barley, tender beef, carrots with just a bit of bite left in them, soft potatoes, juicy mushrooms, and creamy stock ensconcing the whole thing.  Served with a crusty bread for sopping and dunking, this is a simple but immensely flavorful stew.  If possible, the leftovers are even better.  The recipe below makes about six servings.

Beef and Barley Stew

1 1/2 lbs. boneless chuck roast or other stewing beef, cut into 2″ pieces

1 tbs. butter

1/3 cup dry vermouth

Salt and pepper

2 small yellow onions, cut into 1″ chunks

1/4 cup all purpose flour

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup cabernet sauvignon or other red wine

3 cups vegetable or beef broth

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp. dried parsley

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ slices

3 stalks celery cut into 1″ slices

2-3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes

2 cups crimini mushrooms, rinsed

1 cup pearled barley

Over medium-high heat, add butter to a Dutch oven or large heavy pot with tight fitting lid.  Add beef, working in batches if necessary, and brown about 2-3 minutes per side.  Season with salt and pepper as the beef is browning.  When nearly browned all the way through, raise heat to high for about a minute and then deglaze the pot with vermouth.  Cook until vermouth is nearly reduced, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the onions and sauté for about 5-7 minutes, until softened and just beginning to turn a light golden color.

Reduce heat to medium low.  Add the flour and cook, stirring almost continuously, for about two minutes.

Add the garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

Add red wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom.  Simmer the wine over medium low heat for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add broth, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and the beef.  Bring back to a gentle simmer, then cover and cook on very low heat for about half an hour.

Add barley and vegetables after half an hour.  Cover and simmer another hour or until meat and vegetables are tender.  Taste for seasonings, then recover, turn off heat, and let sit 5-10 minutes.

Serve with crusty bread.

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