Eclectic Eats: Chicken Edition

Once again, I’m here to share with readers some of the unique dishes I’ve encountered during my online wanderings. this time around, i thought to go with a theme: chicken. I’m also looking outside the united states for more inspiration (I’ll probably continue to seek more international dishes in the future). As usual, I’ll add my thoughts on each entry and then I’ll give my verdict on whether or not I’d try the dish. In addition to my final verdict, i’m adding a numerical score (based on a 10-point scale) which reflects my excitement over each dish.  First up:

CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK

Over the years, I’ve heard of various dishes that make use of bricks in the cooking process, and they all look and sound so appetizing. This one is no exception. While there may be a bit too much butter for my tastes (the recipe for the dish follows), overall this looks mouth-wateringly good. The presence of rosemary delights me, as rosemary is my absolute favorite herb. I love the taste and the aroma it gives a meal. Combined with the shallots and lemon juice, this dish just looks and sounds out of this world. If you’re interested in making it yourself, here is the recipe:

Chicken Under A Brick

Serves 3 to 4 people

1 3-pound chicken 1 brick wrapped in tin foil
A few sprigs of thyme & rosemary
1/2 pound butter
3 tablespoons capers chopped
3 tablespoons shallots chopped
1 lemon
1 quart rosemary-lemon infused chicken stock

• De-bone the chicken, leaving drumstick on wing intact. Separate drumstick from carcass and poach it in chicken stock infused with rosemary and lemon until fork tender.

• Season the chicken skin with salt. Flip and and season the flesh with salt, black pepper, and zest from one lemon. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

• In a smoking hot pan with extra virgin olive oil add chicken, skin side down. Place the brick on top. Once the edges begin to brown, place the pan in oven at 400 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes.

• Remove from oven and remove the brick. Add butter, thyme and rosemary to the pan. Baste the chicken. Add capers and shallots. Cook until brown. Add parsley and sprinkle red pepper flakes

Verdict: Hell Yes! I’d eat this.

Score: 10

****

CROCK POT SANTA FE CHICKEN

Chicken. Black Beans. Rice. Scallions. Corn. Tomatoes. Sour Cream. This dish almost makes me want to reach through the screen and scarf it down. The only thing that prevents me from doing so (aside from, y’know, the impossibility of doing that) is the presence of tomatoes and sour cream. Co-workers over the years have gotten a chuckle over the fact that I *love* salsa, but don’t like tomatoes. More specifically, I don’t like the texture of whole tomatoes. When they are pureed sufficiently, I’m fine with them, and in fact, I find them quite nice. I love ketchup and tomato sauce and tomato paste. It’s just whole tomatoes. I don’t want to bite a piece of tomato (even some salsas aren’t to my preference, as I’ve come across many that are too chunky). As for sour cream–that’s in my ‘do not eat cuz it’s yucky’ folder. Don’t like the smell, taste, or texture. All that said, the *rest* of the dish looks awesome and if I were to prepare this, I can easily puree the tomatoes further, and simply leave off the sour cream. Which is what I’m going to do. One day. When I own a crock pot. Yes, my kitchen is crock pot-less. Want to make it yourself? Here’s the simple recipe:

Directions

Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes (with their juice), cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin and Mojito Lime Seasoning or chili power in the crock pot.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and lay on top.

Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.  Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.  Return chicken to slow cooker and stir.  Adjust salt and seasonings to taste.  Serve over rice or tortillas and your favorite toppings.

Verdict: With some very minor tweaks, I’d gobble this down.

Score: 9.5

****

CHICKEN IN BOUILLON WITH GRAIN & GOUTWEED

I’ve been meaning to branch out in my online quests for new dishes. Most of the Eclectic Eats have featured USAmerican fare, and really, there’s no reason I need to limit this series to just items in the US. So I did a search for Nordic chicken dishes (I picked this…not quite at random bc I did want to look at countries in Europe, but I didn’t have a specific country in mind), and this is one that came up in my searches. Aside from chicken, the main ingredients are asparagus, goutweed, pesto, and a gastrique. This meal doesn’t sound bad, but there’s something that’s holding me back from thinking it would be stellar. Part of that is my lack of familiarity with goutweed. I have no idea what it tastes like or what its texture is like. Another thing-I’m not the biggest pesto fan. It’s ‘ok’. But given that it’s served on the side, that’s not too big a deal.

Were I to prepare this dish, I’d only use the top half of the asparagus stalks, bc the bottoms are too tough (my dogs like ’em though, so they won’t be wasted). Actually, I’m not certain I’d prepare it myself, as it’s a more time-consuming dish than I usually like to prepare at home (and it’s a bit fancier than I’m accustomed to, so I’m sure I’d fuck it up somehow). Best to try it in a restaurant. Anyway, here’s the recipe for anyone interested:

Serves 4

Chicken in bouillon
4-6 chicken legs, both upper and lower thigh
2 tbsp. cold-pressed rapeseed oil
2 shallots
2 tsp. fennel seeds
2 dl. cold pressed apple juice
6 dl. chicken stock (or water)
200 gr wheat grains (polished barley, spelled or rye can also be used)
400 gr green asparagus
160 gr goutweed (or spinach or kale)
Salt and pepper

Seaweed pesto
100 gr of carrageenan seaweed
15 gr hazelnuts
1 cup cold pressed rapeseed oil
15 gr “hay” or “North sea” cheese (other rich cheese can be used)
½ clove of garlic
Salt
1 tsp. cider vinegar

Gastrique
1,25 dl balsamic apple or plum vinegar
100 gr sugar

Wholemeal bread

How it’s done

Prepare all the vegetables.

Chicken
– Heat the rapeseed oil in a pan and sauté the chicken thighs until golden.
Finely chop the shallots and add them to the pan along with fennel seeds.
Add the apple juice and let it boil. Then add the stock, bring to a boil and let simmer for approx. 30 minutes.
Rinse the wheat grains in a sieve and add them to the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Cut the asparagus into 3-4 pieces, depending on size, and add to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and gastrique, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Roughly chop the goutweed, and add to the dish just before serving.
Seaweed pesto – Boil the seaweed in water for 10 minutes. Strain the water and let the seaweed cool. Lightly toast the hazelnuts in a pan or in the oven. Blend hazelnuts, oil, cheese and garlic in a food processor before finally adding the seaweed and blending it all into a tapenade. Season with salt and cider vinegar.

Gastrique
– Melt the sugar to caramel in a pan or in a heavy-based saucepan. Pour in the vinegar and let it cook until caramel is dissolved, and the mass has the consistency of syrup with bitter, sour and sweet tones. Keep the gastrique in a bottle in the refrigerator or on the kitchen shelf.

Dinnertime
– Serve with bread and seaweed pesto on the side.

Verdict:  I’d try it.

Score: 7.5; potentially 9.

****

 Dahi Chicken

If you travel 6,530.5 miles (and 159 hours) from Denmark to India, you’ll find the home of the next dish, Dahi Chicken. The star of this dish is obviously the chicken but it looks like the ingredients used to cook the chicken-as well as the gravy-are what make this dish look so damn appealing. There are onions, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum, yoghurt, green chilies, cumin powder, masala, and more. Living in the Southeastern United States, I’ve had very little Indian food. In fact, the only Indian food I’ve had has been from one Indian restaurant here in Pensacola, The Taste of India. I don’t know if that food is authentic Indian food, but I do know one thing: in the three times I’ve dined there, I’ve quite enjoyed everything. Whether it is authentic or not, from the image of Dahi Chicken above, as well as the components of the dish, I have a feeling the dish is divine. Want to make it? Here you go:

Method

  1. Take 2 cups of dahi. Mix 2 green chillies slit finely. Add 1 tsp cumin powder, 1 tsp garam masala, 1-2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, pinch of haldi, a pinch of kasoori methi and salt.
  2. Mix 500 gms of boneless chicken in this marinade and set aside for atleast 30 mins.
  3. In a hot pan, add 2 tsp oil. When its hot, add 1 tsp cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add 2 finely chopped onions. Fry well. Add 2-3 finely chopped garlic cloves.
  4. When onion is translucent, add 2 finely chopped tomatoes.
  5. When the tomatoes are soft, add the above marinade with the chicken.
  6. Cover and cook on a slow flame till the chicken is cooked. When chicken is 80% done, add finely cubed capsicum. Cover and cook for a few more minutes.
  7. You can adjust the consistency of the gravy according to your taste. You can open the lid and let all gravy cook till its dry if you want less gravy. I added a pinch of sugar to balance the tanginess.
  8. Garnish with coriander leaves and kasoori methi and serve with chapatis or rice.

 

I kinda wonder how it would taste over couscous. One of my absolute favorite discoveries from several years ago, I’ve found I can eat couscous by itself, or with fish, chicken, or steak. It is incredibly versatile, and I think it could easily be used in place of rice for this dish.

Verdict: I do believe I would quite like it and there is no part of this dish that sounds or looks unappealing.

Score: 10

****

SHOYU CHICKEN

For the final chicken dish of this edition of Eclectic Eats, we travel more than 7,000 miles back to the United States-Hawaii, to be exact-for a popular dish called Shoyu Chicken. This relatively simple dish (taken from I Love Hawaiian Food Recipes) only uses a few ingredients: chicken thighs, ‘Shoyu’ (a borrowed Japanese word for soy sauce), brown sugar, chicken broth, corn starch (though I imagine flour works just as well), water, garlic, and ginger. The scallions (or green onions) are a garnish, and thus optional. The dish is often served over a bed of rice, which nicely absorbs the sauce (heck, from the sound of things, I could eat a plate of the rice & sauce by itself). Here’s the recipe (there are, of course, many other versions of this dish floating around the net-many of the others look just as good as this one):

Ingredients
  • Chicken:
  • 2 pounds frozen or fresh chicken thighs, with skin and bone-in
  • Sauce:
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • ¾ cup Aloha shoyu, or Yamasa premium soy sauce
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 (2-inch) fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Garnish:
  • 2 to 3 stalks of green onions, sliced or chopped
Instructions
  1. Chicken Preparation: If using frozen thighs, thaw completely in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

  2. Sauce: In a large pot, add soy sauce, brown sugar and cook over medium high heat until sugar dissolves. Then stir in chicken broth, add garlic and sliced ginger, heat for a few minutes. Then add chicken thighs and bring to a boil, then turn heat down and simmer on low.

  3. Cook 1 to 2 hours, or until chicken is fork tender. Periodically skim surface to take out oil and brown impurities floating on the surface. When chicken is done, place on a platter.

  4. Combine cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Set aside.

  5. In another pot or bowl, pour remaining sauce through a strainer, then add strained sauce to pot and bring to a boil. Add about a third of cornstarch mixture to sauce and whisk, then bring back to a boil and whisk in more cornstarch until thickened. When sauce coats the back of a spoon turn off heat.

  6. Pour some of the sauce over chicken and reserve some to pour over rice, if desired.

  7. Garnish with chopped green onions.

Verdict: Yes, yes, and yes. I’d eat this.

Score: 10

 

Which dishes sound good to you? Any of them? Some of them? All of them? Let me know in the comments and join me next week for a new Eclectic Eats, where I’ll be looking at starters and appetizers from around the world.

 

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Eclectic Eats: Chicken Edition
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3 thoughts on “Eclectic Eats: Chicken Edition

  1. 1

    Yay for Eclectic Easts!
    1. Chicken Under A Brick. Good, solid chicken recipe that resembles chicken tabaka. Not my favorite dish (I prefer turkey over chicken and I don’t like chicken skin and wings), but very good nonetheless.
    2. Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken. I don’t like boiled meat. This looks like a bad, needlessly complicated recipe. Cook some rice with chicken soup powder, fry and/or bake the chicken and serve the salad separately with cucumbers instead of sour cream. It’ll take only a fraction of the time and will be even better.
    3. Chicken in bouillon. I only like clear bouillon, i.e. one that was boiled twice to remove chicken fat, and I use the meat from the 1st boiling in other dishes (the second boiling is just bones and wings). Given my dislike for boiled meat his dish doesn’t sound very appealing at all.
    4. Dahi Chicken. I also only tried Indian once and I’ve found it to be over spiced and simply bad. It was like they were using spices to kill off the flavor of the ingredients so that I wouldn’t know how bad they were. It could have been just a bad restaurant (it was in Britain and we all know what their food is like), but the looks of this dish don’t inspire me to give Indian food a second chance.
    I agree with you about couscous. It’ll do a better job of soaking all of that stew and gravy.
    5. Shoyu Chicken. It looks scary.

  2. 3

    I’d probably eat all of them.
    Especially the Dahi chicken. I love Indian food and eat it whenever I can, which is not nearly often enough. But that gets me on a smallish rant about “authentic” food.

    I find the concept problematic. Sure, there are some clear cut cases where people who do not belong to a culture and who have no fucking clue cook dishes that do not remotely resemble anything common in that culture. Like my American housemate in Ireland who cooked spaghetti with ketchup and untoasted wonderbread and then told me about how that’s “real Italian food”.
    But in other cases I find the idea that there’s some pure authentic food to be quite patronizing and also racist. It presupposes that those cultures are essentially monolythical and eternally stable, to be preserved at a specific point in time. I mean, within any culture there’s a huge variety of “authentic recipes” for a single dish and I’m pretty sure that a lot of them would be labelled “not authentic” by a lot of people. And as people get more access to different foods those things change.
    I mean, potatoes are a staple of much European cooking. Imagine Italy without tomatoes. All those things were at one point new and “not authentic”.
    Besides, I have my great-grandma’s “authentic” recipe for cinamon waffers. Flour features heavily. Sugar and butter not so much. Did I mention that she was a miner’s wife with ten children?

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