Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Chicken seems to be everyone’s “go-to” protein these days, and while I love the bird just as much as the next person, let’s face it…chicken can be BORING! You know what I’m talking about..overcooked, dry, flavorless–the list goes on. Well, let me tell you, this dish absolutely ROCKS in the flavor department, and the cooking technique produces a bird so moist and tender it practically melts in your mouth! I was amazed!
I’m sure you’re thinking by now, hmmm….spatchcock, confit, preserved lemons…not for me. Hold on–don’t let those words scare you off. Granted, they may not be in your everyday arsenal of kitchen jargon, but fear not! I’m hear to break it down for you, and make it simple.
Spatchcock-this is nothing more than splitting, then flattening a whole bird. You do this by cutting out the backbone (not hard at all with a good pair of poultry shears or serrated knife), then pressing the bird down flat giving it much more surface contact. In our case, that contact is going to be with a scorching hot cast iron skillet…think “very crispy, beautiful” skin! One more advantage to this technique is that it cooks quicker! Fast AND crispy! Win, Win!! Click HERE for a step by step “how-to” on spatchcocking.
Confít-don’t you just love all this learning? What IS confit, you ask? It’s french, and it generally refers to meat that’s been cooked and preserved in it’s own fat. Here, however, instead of meat we have garlic, and the fat of choice is olive oil. Quite simply, the garlic cloves are s..l..o..w..l..y simmered in the olive oil for about 30 minutes or so resulting in tender sweet cloves that just melt in your mouth. The added bonus is that you’re also left with a beautifully infused oil that is both fragrant and delicious!
Preserved Lemons-I can’t say enough about these!! I have jars and jars in my fridge! They are cut lemons rubbed with salt, then packed in a jar with more salt & lemon juice. They sit at room temperature for about a month and pure magic happens. In the end, the peeling has this incredibly intense lemon flavor with no bitterness whatsoever. Click HERE for how to preserve your own lemons and a few options for how to use them once you have! You can also buy them…higher-end grocery stores will carry them, World Market has them for $5.99 a jar or you can get the same jar on Amazon Prime for $10.99. It pays to price compare!
Now, on to the recipe!
Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

Spatchcock Roasted Chicken with Garlic Confit and Preserved Lemon

adapted from Bon Appétit

Ingredients:

  • 20 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole organic chicken, spatchcocked (backbone removed and bird flattened-see above for instructions)
  • kosher salt & pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 preserved lemons, flesh removed, peel finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup whole cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup mixed tender herbs, chopped (such as parsley, chives, etc.)

Preparation:

Garlic Confit

Heat garlic and oil in small saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around garlic.  Reduce heat and simmer “gently”, stirring occasionally until garlic is light golden brown 10-15 minutes, being careful not to burn.  Let cool in pan.

Chicken

Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a cast-iron skillet on rack and heat oven to 500°.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels, rub with the garlic infused olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  When oven reaches 500°, remove skillet from oven, place chicken breast side down and immediately reduce oven to 450°.  Roast until well browned, about 30 minutes.

With heavy oven mitts, remove skillet from oven, and gently flip chicken breast side up. Add cherry tomatoes, brush chicken and tomatoes with more of the garlic infused olive oil and return skillet to oven for about another 10 minutes or until breast registers 160° and tomatoes start to pop. Transfer chicken to cutting board, cover with foil and let rest 10-15 minutes.  Place tomatoes in small separate bowl until sauce is ready.

Add broth to skillet and bring to boil over medium high heat, scraping up browned bits and cooking until reduced by about two thirds.  Add butter, one piece at a time whisking constantly until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, reserved cherry tomatoes, preserved lemon, half of the herbs and all the cooked garlic cloves.  Taste and season with salt & pepper.

To serve, carve chicken into pieces and spoon sauce over the top, sprinkling remaining herbs on top.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • Any oil left from the garlic confit is delicious in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted potatoes

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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One-Skillet Chicken with Summer Peaches

Nothing says summer like a really good peach! Their season doesn’t last long, but when it’s here, I love to take advantage and use them in as many recipes as possible! Today I had the opportunity to snag some great peaches from my local farmstead and decided to pair them with the chicken I had out for dinner. Since I haven’t gotten around to making my big batch of pesto yet, I still have a BIG pot of basil calling to me from our backyard. Yes, I think to myself, basil goes nicely with peaches!

The great thing about this recipe is it’s a one skillet dish! Who doesn’t like just one dish to wash?  Go grab yourself some peaches while they’re still around, and give this dish a try. Try tweaking it to your own taste…maybe try white wine or marsala wine instead of the sherry.  Maybe throw in some other fruit with the peaches like blueberries or blackberries.  Lots of possibilities here!  🙂

Got peaches? Give these other recipes a try, too!

Peach and Blackberry Trifle

Peach Galette

Fresh Peach and Blackberry Cake

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

One-Skillet Chicken & Summer Peaches

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3-4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (about a 1-inch knob, peeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3-4 peaches, sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves chiffonade (or chopped), more for garnish (see how to chiffonade in Liz’s Tidbits)
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Heat the oven to 400°. Pat the chicken dry on both sides with paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken, and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Reduce heat, add the shallot and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan, and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30-45 seconds. Add the sherry and chicken stock, and return the chicken along with its juices to the pan. Transfer to the hot oven, and bake about 10 minutes. Remove and add the peaches and basil, and bake another 5 minutes or until the juices run clear. Remove from oven and garnish with some small whole basil leaves.

Liz’s Tidbits:

  • The term Chiffonade means to finely cut or shred.  Click here to see a video on how to Chiffonade basil!

If you like this recipe, feel free to Tweet it, Facebook it, or just email it by clicking the “share” button below. 🙂

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Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

I’ve had some recent requests for easy but flavorful weeknight meals with chicken breasts.  I love the fact that boneless, skinless, organic chicken breasts are so readily available to purchase these days.  If you’re looking for high protein, but low in fat and calories, the bird is the word!

I frequently look to “Cooking Light” for weeknight meals since I can count on them being healthy and delicious at the same time.  I look for recipes that have high ratings on the posted “user reviews” and recipes that appear to be quick in their preparation.  What I don’t want to sacrifice, however, is flavor!  We’re all about eating food that tastes good!  I do lots of cooking, but if a finished dish does not measure up to our standard of flavor, it doesn’t make the blog!

This chicken dish has several flavor components…dijon mustard, fresh rosemary, parmesan cheese and walnuts.  The mustard/buttermilk mixture gives the chicken a nice tangy flavor while helping the crumb mixture adhere to the chicken.   I love the idea of using cutlets, because they cook up so quickly!  The cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken, but it you pound the breasts out to about 1/4 inch in thickness, they shouldn’t take more than about 13 minutes cooking time.

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas, Southern Style

Fresh Black-Eyed Peas, Southern Style

Walnut and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken Cutlets

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4 (1 cutlet each)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 (6-ounce) chicken cutlets (see Liz’s Tidbits)
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Rosemary leaves for garnish

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stir to combine, and add chicken turning to coat.

Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet, and coat rack with cooking spray. Heat a small skillet over medium high heat, and add panko crumbs.  Cook 2-3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently (watch carefully as the crumbs can burn very quickly).  Combine panko with grated cheese, walnuts, rosemary, salt & pepper and place into a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, dredge in panko mixture, and arrange on the wire rack.  Coat top of chicken with cooking spray, and bake at 425° for 13-15 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.

Liz’s Tidbits:

Chicken cutlets are very easy to make from the breasts.  Why pay extra when you can create your own in less than a minute? Just place a chicken breast onto your cutting board (always use a designated board for raw meat–mine is a black plastic one that can be disinfected in the dishwasher!), hold your knife parallel to the cutting board, and slice horizontally from the thickest end of the breast to the thinnest end.  I then put the cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap and lightly pound them to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.  Click here to see how to cut the chicken.

Tonight, I served the chicken along with a side of kale salad and some fresh black-eyed peas (cooked exactly like these butter beans), but the cutlets would also be great on top of a green salad!

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

I hit the jackpot the other day at my local grocery store when I found organic whole chickens at half price.  That’s quite a bargain, because usually those little girls are around $17 each!  Needless to say, I loaded up my shopping cart with every one of them to toss into the freezer.

I’m always looking for new ways to prepare chicken, and while perusing my favorite magazine “Fine Cooking“, I came across this recipe that was a perfect way to use a couple of my chickens and also some of my Meyer Lemons from my tree.   Since the chicken needs to marinate 6-12 hours (better if overnight), it’s not something to whip up on a weeknight.  But for a leisurely Sunday dinner, it’s perfect.  My guys said it was one of the best chicken dishes they’ve ever had.  The citrus flavored sauce it creates is absolutely delicious!

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

Ready to Marinate in the Fridge

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Citrus-Marinated Roasted Chicken

Fine Cooking Magazine, Serves 6

 Printable Recipe

 Ingredients:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 4-lb. whole chickens, each cut into 6 pieces (4 breasts with rib bones, 4 leg-thigh pieces, 4 wings)
4 large lemons
2 large oranges
8 medium cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano (or 1 Tbs. dried, crumbled)
3 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. honey
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Pour  olive oil into large enough “non-reactive” roasting pan to hold all the chicken in one layer.  Arrange the breasts in the center with the legs and wings around the edge.Zest one of the lemons to yield about a teaspoon of zest and transfer it to a bowl.  Cut 1 of the lemons into 6 wedges, and squeeze the remaining lemons to yield 2/3 cup juice.  Cut 1 of the oranges into 8 wedges and zest the remaining orange to yield about 1 teaspoon, then squeeze the orange to yield about 1/2 cup juice.  Add to the bowl.  Scatter the lemon and orange wedges around the chicken pieces taking care not to put them on top of the chicken so they don’t interfere with browning.Stir the garlic, oregano, soy sauce, honey, and pepper flakes into the bowl with the citrus juice. Pour the marinade evenly over the chicken. Cover with plastic and refrigerate, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours.Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.Turn the chicken so all the pieces are skin side up. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 375°F and continue to roast until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chicken with the lemon and orange wedges to a platter. Pour the pan juice into a fat separator and let sit until the fat rises to the top. Discard the excess fat and pour the juice into a 10-inch skillet. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1-1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the citrus wedges, passing the reduced pan juice at the table.

 Liz’s Tidbits:

1.  If your chicken is not sufficiently browned, place under the broiler (watching carefully so as not to burn) until golden.
 

Lemon Chicken Breasts

My guys know that I love Barefoot Contessa’s recipes, so they surprised me with another one of her cookbooks for my birthday. There are so many great looking recipes in the book that I’d like to try, so tonight I started with her Lemon Chicken Breasts. It’s great as a weeknight meal, because it’s quick and easy. It’s also a great entertaining dish, because it’s FULL of great flavors! What’s not to love about garlic, white wine, lemon & herbs?   For those of you who are looking for “REALLY easy” recipes, (Jeanmarie, you know who you are!), I think this is one you’ll love!  🙂

The recipe calls for boneless breasts with the skin on, but good luck finding those! With everyone so health conscious, it’s hard enough these days to find chicken with the skin on, so finding them boneless, too, is next to impossible.  I used bone-in, skin on breasts and had outstanding results.  You want the skin on for this recipe, because you want it to brown up really nice.  The mixture of lemon, garlic, wine, oregano & thyme took this dish over the top!  🙂

Lemon Chicken Breasts

Lemon Chicken Breasts

Adapted from the cookbook, Barefoot Contessa “How Easy is That?”

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves, more for garnish
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts, skin on
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400º. Prep all ingredients and have them ready to go.

Warm olive oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add garlic, and cook for just 1 minute being careful not to let the garlic turn brown. Take off heat and add wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Pour into a 9 x 12 inch baking dish.

Remove chicken from packaging and pat dry with paper towels.  Place skin side up over the sauce and brush each breast with a little olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper, and tuck the lemon wedges among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, until it is done and the skin is lightly browned.  If necessary, broil for about 2 minutes if the skin isn’t brown enough. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let rest for about 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt, and serve with the pan juices and roasted lemon wedges.

**Liz’s Cooking Tidbits:

Handling Raw Chicken…to rinse or not to rinse?

You might want to think twice about rinsing that raw chicken in your sink.  Instead of washing off any salmonella like we think we’re doing, we are actually spreading the germs all over our sink and countertop. Check out this article for the full scoop!



Chicken Pomodoro-Quick Weeknight Meal

I wanted to share this dish with you, because many of us are always looking for quick, easy, FLAVORFUL dishes to add to our weekly repertoire. Chicken seems to be the “Go To” meal for most people, so next time you have chicken out to cook and aren’t quite sure what to do with it, give this a try!  Don’t worry about the vodka in the list of ingredients…the alcohol cooks out, and you’re left with a really nice flavor.

This particular dish is made with chicken cutlets (thinly pounded breasts), and although you can buy them at your local grocery store, you’ll pay a premium. It really doesn’t take but a few minutes to lay the chicken between two sheets of wax paper and pound them out to about 1/4″ thick.  You can use a mallet, a rolling pin or even a heavy skillet.  Whatever works!

Have your ingredients prepped and ready to go…“Mise en place”(**See Liz’s Cooking Tidbit), as the cutlets cook pretty quickly.  🙂

Chicken Pomodoro

Chicken Pomodoro

Adapted from “Cuisine At Home” Magazine

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup scallions, minced

Preparation:

Season cutlets with salt & pepper, dust with flour and shake off the excess.  Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat, and saute cutlets 2-3 minutes (until golden brown) on the first side, flipping over and cooking an additional 1-2 minutes with the pan covered.  Transfer to a warm platter and pour off fat from skillet.  With pan OFF THE HEAT, add vodka, place back on heat, and deglaze until vodka is nearly gone.  Add broth and lemon juice, and return cutlets to pan.  Cook each side about 1 minute, then transfer to a warm platter.  Finish the sauce with the tomatoes and cream, heat through, then pour over cutlets.  Garnish with scallions.

**Liz’s Cooking Tidbit: “Mise en place”

From Wikipedia
Mise en place (pronounced [miz ɑ̃ plas], literally “putting in place”) is a French phrase defined by the Culinary Institute of America as “everything in place”, as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meatrelishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that he or she expects to prepare during his/her shift.[1]

Recipes are reviewed to check for necessary ingredients and equipment. Ingredients are measured out, washed, chopped, and placed in individual bowls. Equipment, such as spatulas and blenders, are prepared for use, and ovens are preheated. Preparing the mise en place ahead of time allows the chef to cook without having to stop and assemble items, which is desirable in recipes with time constraints.

It also refers to the preparation and layouts that are set up and used by line cooks at their stations in a commercial or restaurant kitchen.

The concept of having everything in its place as applied to the work in a kitchen is likely to have become a staple around the time of Auguste Escoffier,[citation needed] who is well known for his development of the brigade system of running a kitchen.

Chicken Canzanese…Italian Comfort Food!

It’s freezing outside!

Actually the temperature is 21º, but who’s counting?  If it’s below 75º, I’m cold, so suffice it to say, I’m dressed like I should be living in Alaska!

I’m definitely ready for some warmer weather, but for now I guess I’ll just hunker down and wait this cold spell out.  If nothing else, it gives me a chance to cook some great cold-weather dishes I’ve been wanting to try.  This italian chicken dish really hit the spot tonight!

Chicken Canzanese-Italian Comfort Food

It’s called Chicken Canzanese (can za nay zay), and I happened to see it prepared on the TV show “America’s Test Kitchen“.  What I love about that show is they do all the testing and experimenting beforehand, so what you get is the final “best of the best” dish.

This dish was delicious!

After the chicken is browned, it’s braised in the oven in a wonderful herbed sauce.  Since the top of the chicken isn’t submerged in liquid, it comes out with a beautiful crispy skin.  Next time, I think I’ll serve it over mashed potatoes or maybe polenta to soak up that wonderful sauce.  YUM!

Chicken Canzanese

America’s Test Kitchen

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces prosciutto (1/4 inch thick), cut into 1/4 -inch cubes
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, sliced thin lengthwise
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and skin
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 (4-inch) sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and minced fine (about 1/2 teaspoon), stem reserved
  • 12 whole fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325º, and adjust rack to lower-middle position.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch heavy-bottomed ovensafe skillet over medium heat until shimmering.  Add prosciutto and cook, stirring frequently, until just starting to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic slices and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes.  Transfer garlic and prosciutto to small bowl and set aside.  Do not rinse pan.

Increase heat to medium-high; add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and heat until just smoking.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with ground black pepper.  Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until well browned, 5-8 minutes.  Using tongs, turn chicken and brown on second side, about 5 minutes longer.  Transfer chicken to large plate.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from pan.  Sprinkle flour over fat and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Slowly add wine and broth; bring to simmer, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits.  Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, 3 minutes.  Stir in cloves, rosemary stem, sage leaves, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and reserved prosciutto and garlic.  Nestle chicken into liquid, skin side up (skin should be above surface of liquid), and bake, uncovered, until meat offers no resistance when poked with fork but is not falling off bones, about 1 hour 15 minutes.  (Check chicken after 15 minutes; broth should be barely bubbling.  If bubbling vigorously, reduce oven temperature to 300º.)

Using tongs, transfer chicken to serving platter and tent with foil.  Remove and discard sage leaves, rosemary stem, cloves, and bay leaves.  Place skillet over high heat and bring sauce to boil. Cook until sauce is reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 2-5 minutes.  Off heat, stir in minced rosemary, lemon juice and butter.   Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour sauce around chicken and serve.

Liz’s Notes:

  1. Don’t be tempted to substitute breasts for the thighs…they will turn out too dry!
  2. I prefer to use a stainless skillet that does NOT have a non-stick surface coating) for this dish.  This skillet will brown the chicken well enough to form “fond”, the crispy bits remaining in the pan that form the basis for the sauce.  Non-stick skillets do not produce this fond.
  3. The crispy skin is a MUST for this dish.  Be sure and pat chicken dry with paper towels before adding to your skillet.  If there is any moisture on the chicken, it will “steam” rather than “brown”.  After using a paper towel, I like to let my chicken “air dry” for another 15 minutes or so.
  4. As tempted as you might be to flip the chicken when browning, set a timer and DON’T touch it for at least 6-7 minutes.  When it’s nice and brown, the meat will release from the skillet without sticking.  If you try and turn it too soon, you’ll leave half your chicken stuck to the pan.
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