Roast Chicken over Scalloped Potatoes

My little electric oven is such a treasure!  While my gas-fired baby oven is my ultimate favorite (after all I have been baking with it for more than 3 decades – so now you know how old I must be!), my little electric is really more convenient since there’s usually just 4 or 5 of us.  It is just a bit larger than a toaster oven (but yes, it is a fully functioning oven, with rotisserie too!). The largest sized pan that can fit in it is a 9-inch square and even that is a bit pushing it.

Still, it is absolutely perfect for half a batch of cake, 6 cupcakes, a regular brownie or a dozen cookies or so. And for meals? It is just right! A whole chicken with the rotisserie function (but no, a turkey or a super jumbo chicken won’t fit) or half a chicken in a baking pan.

Take this roast chicken meal… quick and easy, and best of all, tasty!

6 pieces chicken legs, cleaned and patted dry
salt and pepper, to taste

5 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced very thinly
1/2 cup shredded mixed cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan mix)
butter
1/4 cup 35% whipping cream
3/4 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste

Make slits on the chicken legs.  Rub the chicken legs with salt and pepper (I like using sea salt), place some between the skin and meat as well.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 375F.

Butter a baking dish (mine is about 6 by 8 inches.  Arrange half the sliced potatoes in the pan, sprinkle the shredded cheese all over.  Top with the remaining half of potatoes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour the cream and milk over the potatoes.

Arrange the chicken legs over the potatoes.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is done, at 165/170F internal temperature.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

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Adobong Manok at Atay

Chicken and Liver Adobo

My family prefers the pork variety of adobo to the chicken variety. But hubby and B’s lola like liver; and liver cooked adobo-style is especially tasty for them. So, since the other family members do not particularly care for liver, I mix in chicken so that everyone can eat! Win-win, right?

My recipe for Chicken and Liver Adobo is a bit different from our favorite pork adobo, although the basics are similar – adobo is adobo after all.

500 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs
300 grams chicken liver (remove any other attached organs)
5 to 6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons sukang puti
1/2 cup chicken stock or plain water, or more as needed
Bay leaf

First thing to do is to mix the adobo sauce together – soy sauce, vinegar and half of the smashed garlic. Let it sit for a minutes while the chicken and liver are being cleaned. I remove the white fatty, slimy thingies from the chicken and slice each piece in half to form chunky pieces. Clean the liver as well and remove any slime, and other non-liver parts.

Marinate the liver in about 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce, and the chicken in the remainder of the sauce. Do not marinate together in the same bowl.

Meanwhile, heat some canola oil in a pan. Flash fry the liver but do not cook all the way through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add oil in the pan, if needed. Sauté the garlic until fragrant. Add the peppercorns. Add the chicken pieces (don’t pour in the marinade yet). Stir fry a couple of minutes, until the surface of the chicken is lightly browned. Pour in the rest of the marinade and the chicken stock; add the bay leaf as well. Simmer about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked just about through.

Pour in the liver and simmer several seconds more or until the liver is just cooked. It is crucial not to over-cook the liver.

This is the saucy, soupy kind of adobo. For the other kind – the oily kind, take the chicken (and liver if desired) out of the sauce/soup and sauté for a few minutes in hot oil, adding adobo sauce if necessary. And that’s it!

Now, I have beed asked a few times why I flash fry the liver first and add it again later. Honestly I don’t know the reason. All I know is, that has been the way it has been done in the family. I will admit, however, that at one time I was feeling lazy and skipped the flash frying of the liver and just dumped it toward the end of the cooking. It just was not the same… so even if I was feeing lazy, I didn’t skip the flash frying… instead I would skip the pre-marinating part! 🙂

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Once in a while I cook for my mom and when I do, I always try to make the dish no-salt-added.  Why?  Because she developed hypertension early (in her late 30s I think) and since then she has tried to reduce her salt intake.  So her taste buds (and ours, too because she cooked reduced salt for everyone!) favors the blander side of food.

When I cook of course I use soy sauce and other condiments to flavor the dish, but if the dish is for my mom, I would never add table salt or sea salt, or fish sauce.  Of course it goes without saying, we don’t use MSG.

It is not easy to please my mom, but somewhere along the way, I stopped trying.  I just send over the dish and if she has no complaints, then it’s good news to me!

Braised Chicken with Chestnuts and Mushrooms, no salt added.

400 grams boneless, skinless chicken wings
12 pieces dried shitake mushroom, rehydrated, reserve soaking liquid
100 grams cooked chestnuts
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
about 8 thin slices of ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
5 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 pieces star anise
1 piece cinnamon stick
1 to 2 pieces dried chili
3 stalks leeks, sliced diagonally, white and green parts separated
boiled eggs, optional

Rinse the chicken thighs and remove the fatty membranes.  Slice each into 2 or 3 chunks.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons of mushroom soaking liquid, half the ginger, half the garlic, star anise, and cinnamon stick.

Saute the remaining garlic and ginger, onion, dried chili, and white part of the leeks.  Add the chicken and marinade.   Add the mushrooms and chestnuts.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  If the mixture seems too dry, add reserved mushroom liquid by tablespoons.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the boiled eggs in the last 3 to 5 minutes, if using.  Thicken with cornstarch slurry.  Garnish with the green part of the leeks.  Serve immediately.

The secret to the dish is the very flavorful mushroom soaking liquid!

Marjoram Citrus Roasted Chicken Thighs

One my most favorite chicken dishes! The best part is it is soooooo easy to make. Here is the recipe:

5-8 pieces chicken thighs, with bone
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rock salt, or to taste
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, sliced thinly
1 lime, sliced thinly
1/2 an orange, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons fresh marjoram

Rinse the chicken pieces clean and pat dry.
(note re the chicken, if using large pieces 5 will do, for smaller pieces, use 8.)

Mix together the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Arrange the chicken in a 9-inch pie plate (I used a glass baking dish), skin side up. Pour the olive oil mixture over the chicken pieces and make sure that they are well coated. Arrange the slices of lemon, lime and orange all around and even under the chicken. Sprinkle the fresh marjoram all over.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 45 to 60 minutes.

 

Chicken Gyros

The “boys” haven’t been around for a while, but tonight they’re here!  So they are having something that hubby really likes!

Chicken Gyros with Tatziki, My Way…

Chicken:
1/3 cup olive oil
juice from 1 large lemon
6 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Greek-style yogurt

750 grams boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips

Mix all marinade ingredients together. Add the chicken and mix until the chicken is well coated with the marinade. Set aside in the fridge for at least 2 hours. When it’s time to cook, heat a skillet until very hot and cook the chicken until done (do not over-cook!)

Tatziki:
1 large cucumber, grated, water squeezed out
1 cup Greek-style yogurt
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
juice from half a lemon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, or as desired
fresh ground black pepper
splash of olive oil

Mix all ingredients and store in the fridge until ready to serve/eat.

tomatoes, sliced thinly
onions, sliced thinly
iceberg lettuce, sliced thinly

pita bread or soft tortillas

To serve, warm the pita bread and/or tortillas. Add shredded lettuce, onions and tomatoes. Top with chicken and tatziki. Fold the tortilla and enjoy!

Baked Chicken and Potatoes

When I was young ( a long time ago! ), the turbo broiler was a popular kitchen appliance.  We often had turbo roasted chicken.  The seasoning/s we used were rather simple – rock salt, pepper, garlic and calamansi.  The problem I usually had with the turbo broiled chicken was that it was almost always a dry bird!

But, to be honest, I didn’t know if the dryness was because of the turbo broiler or human error.  In any case, the turbo broiler was never a priority in my kitchen because it seemed to me to be a heavy, bulky appliance that was only good for one thing…  And since I have my little electric oven that was a rotisserie as well, I did not really need a turbo broiler!

What I wanted was a taste of my childhood chicken sans the dryness!

Unfortunately the market was out of whole birds, so I had to settle for the drumsticks.  But I forged ahead…

There wasn’t a “real” recipe for the chicken of my childhood…. it was more of a just do this and that and pop it in the broiler thing – basically juice from several calamansi would be rubbed all over the chicken.  Then a mixture of rock salt, coarsely ground black peppercorns and minced garlic would be rubbed on the chicken and under the skin ( if there were gaps ).  The chicken would then be placed in a cellophane bag and left in the fridge for at least an overnight.

In the present case, I thought since I veered away and used chicken drumsticks, I might as well make another change, which was to put thinly sliced potatoes under the chicken… the drippings from the chicken would surely make the potatoes really tasty!!!

And it did!  The chicken was even better than I remembered as a child and the potatoes? well, let’s just say the hubby is a happy hubby!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inasal na Manok

Hubby is predicting that our electric bill is going to skyrocket, with the baking I am doing with the small electric oven!

But I am just soooo excited!  And I’m having fun with it.  Especially the rotisserie function.  Here’s my second chicken project – the Inasal Chicken.

Inasal Chicken is a local dish of Bacolod, in the Western Visayas (Panay region) and its neighboring provinces.  The chicken is marinated in native vinegar, calamansi, achuete and pepper, then roasted, in pieces on a wooden skewer, on a charcoal grill.

My chicken inasal, at least for this occasion, is not grilled over charcoal.  Instead I cooked it rotisserie style.  I really like the rotisserie function of my ovenette – it enables me to multi-task.  I put the chicken in and leave it to roast.  I go and do whatever else that needs to be done and violà, an hour and a half later, we get to eat!  Isn’t that wonderful?

The recipe –

1 whole chicken, about 1.2 kilograms, cleaned and patted dry

8 cloves garlic, grated
1-1/2 tabelspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup sinamak (spiced coconut vinegar)
1/3 cup pure calamansi juice
2 to 3 stalks tanglad (lemon grass), white part only, smashed
reserve the green part
1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh coarsely ground pepper
a pinch of annatto powder

Clean the chicken and pat dry.  Place the chicken inside a ziplock bag.

Combine the marinade ingredients together.  Pour into the ziplock bag containing the chicken.  Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 48 hours, turning the chicken every 4 to 6 hours.

Skewer the chicken on the rotisserie rod, stuff the cavity with the reserved green part of the tanglad (lemongrass) and (as I prefer) tie the chicken securely.  Roast the chicken at 240C for about 70 minutes.  Check the inner temperature of the chicken.  It should be between 75C to 77/78C.  Alternatively, chop into pieces, skewer on wooden sticks and cook over charcoal.

I got my recipe from a friend who claims to have gotten it from a native of Bacolod.  She says that the secret is using sinamak, the native spiced vinegar.  Sinamak is also the condiment served with the chicken.  Sinamak can be purchased at the supermarket but it is not difficult to make your own!  (Recipe coming up in the next entry!)

Rotisserie Chicken

Rotisserie chickens from the grocery store or the neighborhood “iwahan” (grillers) are life-savers! Whenever I am pressed for time (or feeling lazy), I just buy a rotisserie chicken and serve that for lunch or dinner. Extra bonus that leftovers (rare as they may be) can easily be transformed into other dishes!

I have long wanted to try and make my own rotisserie chicken. But for me to do that, I needed a rotisserie! And I didn’t have one because it was bit too much to buy a rotisserie for that specific purpose, and it would take too much space in the kitchen.

So I would roast the chicken in my big gas oven… and I would worry about the gas consumption!!! and truth be told, the oven is way too big for a single chicken cooking inside (the oven can actually fit a small piglet for lechon!)

Fast forward to the present when our microwave exploded (yes, it kinda did when it sparked, put out a soft “boom” and died). We don’t really need a microwave (we only got one when we were displaced by Ondoy and lived elsewhere) so I thought of getting a small electric oven instead. But even then I never got around to buying one although I went around looking.

Until I found a small electric oven that had a rotisserie and grill function… and a very reasonable price!

Guess what the first thing I did after getting the oven?

Yep, I went out and bought a whole chicken!  And as my mother taught me, smaller chickens are more tender and flavorful.  So I never bought a whole chicken that weighed more than 1.2 kilograms!  Besides there’s just 4 of us plus a little kid who does not like eating… so a small-ish chicken is good enough for us.

As for the marinade, I found several in my mother’s recipe files… here is the first one I tried:

1 whole chicken, about 1.2 kilograms, rinsed, cleaned and patted dried

1 cup Sprite (or 7-Up)
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce (optional)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh, coarse ground black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt (not iodized refined salt)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Mix the marinade ingredients together.  Place the chicken in a ziplock bag and pour in the marinade.  Here is the secret – leave the chicken to marinate for 3 whole days!  Yes, 3 whole days!  Just flip and massage the chicken every half day or so.

Then, AFTER the 3 day-marinating period, skewer the chicken on the rotisserie rod and, if desired, tie the chicken securely (this is so the chicken stays put while the rotisserie rod goes round and round).

Roast the chicken at 240C for about 70 minutes.  Check the inner temperature of the chicken.  It should be between 75C to 77/78C.

If you like a bigger chicken, then the same marinade can be used for a chicken up to 2 kilograms, but it would be necessary to turn the chicken more often.  Roasting time is about 80 to 90 minutes.

If you don’t have a rotisserie, the chicken can be roasted in an oven.  But I have discovered that if it is to be roasted in a roasting pan in the oven, it is better to butterfly the chicken so that all of the skin is browned evenly.

Enjoy!!!!

(My next chicken project is… Inasal Chicken!!!)

 

 

 

KFC Original Recipe?

When I was a child, my mother made her own version of the KFC chicken.  I’m sure it was not the real thing, but it was close enough for us.  I eventually found her recipe but it had nowhere near 11 spices!  Even so, I have to admit, I would like to know the secret recipe!  Well then, after all this time, it appears that the secret is out!

According to the Chicago Tribune, the “original” recipe, that closely guarded recipe of KFC, has been unearthed!  A nephew of Col. Sanders, Joe Ledington, claims the original recipe is handwritten in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia (Sanders’ second wife), and that as a child, he worked in Sanders’ cafe.  He alleges that the recipe is authentic, having prepared it as a young lad.  But, he does disclaim the handwriting of the note, saying that it is not that of his aunt.

A snapshot is reproduced in the article and is as follows, with “Ts” representing tablespoons, according to trials conducted by the Chicago Tribune.

11 Spices – Mix With 2 Cups White Fl.

1) 2/3 Ts Salt
2) 1/2 Ts Thyme
3) 1/2 Ts Basil
4) 1/3 Ts Origino (as written)
5) 1 Ts Celery Salt
6) 1 Ts Black Pepper
7) 1 Ts Dried Mustard
8) 4 Ts Paprika
9) 2 Ts Garlic Salt
10) 1 Ts Ground Ginger
11) 3 Ts White Pepper

The procedure was not outlined, but it can be safely assumed that the chicken is dipped in egg (a standard in foods with breading) then in the flour mixture, before deep frying, or pressure-fried.

In the trial that Chicago Tribune made, the chicken was dipped in a buttermilk-egg mix then dipped in the flour-spice mixture, then pressure fried (Ledington says that “It was individually hand-breaded and dropped in those pressure cookers. You cooked it until it started turning brown. And then you put the lid on the pressure cooker and brought it to 12 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes. And then you started letting the pressure off, and when you uncapped it and the pressure was off, it was perfect: golden brown and fall-off-the-bone.”).  An “accidental” sprinkling of Accent (an msg-based flavoring) made the recipe indistinguishable, they say, from the chicken bought from a KFC store.

So, I am off to the market to buy chicken and spices.  As for my planned cooking method, I think I will use the process my mother used since I don’t have a pressure fryer (and have no intentions of buying one!)

Let’s see what I come up with…

 

Chicken ala King

While I fell in love with baking at age 10, I did not like cooking until after I finished high school.  Maybe it had something to do with the saying that there cannot be two queens in a castle.  My mother had strict rules in the kitchen – the proper way to slice onions, tomatoes and everything else.  I was more carefree – after all, I was not racing to be the best chef!

My love for cooking began with a special dish – Chicken ala King!

chicken king 1

I learned the recipe from a crash course my mother forced upon me after my high school graduation.  My siblings love it so much that I made it every week!

CHICKEN ALA KING RECIPE –

2-3 chicken breasts
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1 small thumb of ginger

coarsely chopped garlic and onions
1 large potato, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (fresh variety preferred)
1/4 cup frozen green peas
pimiento (canned variety), diced
1 cup all purpose cream
salt and pepper to taste
dash nutmeg

Boil the chicken breasts with ginger, onion and tomato.  Debone chicken and dice. Strain the broth and set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic. Add the diced chicken, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, peas, and pimiento. Add the reserved broth, just enough to cover all ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are done. Pour in the cream and heat through, stirring constantly. Do not boil. Season to taste. Thicken with cornstarch water. Sprinkle a dash of nutmeg (a little goes a long way!) Serve in patty shells (I buy the patty shells from French Baker)

I have not stopped cooking since then!