Showing posts with label Chicken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicken. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chicken Julia - #recipe @LeslieBudewitz

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: A few years ago, Mr. Right and I spent a month in my France for my mumbledy-mumbledy birthday. For me, it was a dream come true. For him, it started out as something he agreed to because it was my dream—and ended up as possibly his favorite trip ever, for a man who’s traveled much of the world.

It was the people (seriously!), the art, the history, the landscape, and the food. The food, the food, the food. When we returned home, we set about transforming ourselves from decent home cooks to good ones. That Christmas, he bought me an armful of Julia Child cookbooks and videos, while I bought him a raft of kitchen accessories.

One of our go-to recipes we simply call “Chicken Julia,” based on a recipe in Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking. The sauce is incredibly simple, and so rich and flavorful--the perfect illustration of the importance of a simple technique like deglazing the pan and using the juices as the base for the sauce.

I'm honestly not sure I'd ever used fresh tarragon before we first made this recipe; now, I keep a pot growing on the back porch during good weather and do my best to nurture it inside through the Montana winter. In fact, I've kept the current pot going over two seasons--last fall, it had gotten quite leggy so I cut it back and dried the leaves, then forgot it in the laundry room. A couple of weeks later, I discovered that it had sent up new green shoots. Looks like it will keep going this year, too, making my 99 cent annual quite the bargain. (That's it in the terra cotta pot.)

Even if you can't grow your own tarragon, do try to find some fresh stuff at least once when you make this recipe. I can pretty much guarantee it will become a staple in your house, too!

Chicken Julia

2 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup dry white wine or French vermouth
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon

Place the chicken breasts in plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet or the flat of a large chef’s knife to about ½ inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large saute pan, add the oil, and heat. Saute the chicken breasts, about one minute a side, until thy are springy to the touch; be sure they are done but not overcooked—Julia says the juices should run clear or yellow with no pink. Remove the chicken; the sauce won’t take long to cook, but keeping them in a warm oven is a nice touch.

Deglaze the pan with the wine or vermouth. Add the shallots, stock, and vermouth, and cook two to three minutes, stirring, to make a sauce. Plate the chicken and divide the sauce, pouring it over the chicken.

Serves two. Bon appetit!  

From the cover of TREBLE AT THE JAM FEST, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #4 (Midnight Ink, June 8, 2017):  

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students, and performers. Was his death an accident?or did someone even the score?

Despite the warning signs to not get involved, Erin investigates. And when the killer attacks, she orchestrates her efforts into one last crescendo, hoping to avoid a deadly finale.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

An Irish Pasty?

Okay, I'm almost out of new Irish recipes (from this trip), but this one sneaked up on me.

I will happily cede the title of Pasty Queen to Rhys for her Cornish version. I'm not sure I've ever seen an official pasty in Ireland, and the ones shown online seem to lean toward beef stew in a crust. 

But I was having a nice lunch at The Coffee Shop in Union Hall (I love their house-baked pastries! see their Facebook page), and I ordered what was described on the menu as a chicken and Camembert panini with pesto. It arrived, and I was so intent on eating it that I didn't notice that it didn't quite fit the definition of a panini, which usually calls for something between two pieces of bread, pressed to cook, leaving a nice grilling pattern. 

What I got was delicious, but I actually observed it being made: no press involved. However, it did have a wonderful short crust, which I envied. And the filling was flavorful and interesting, so I decided to recreate it (as best I could). Call it whatever you like--it tastes good.

An Irish Pastypannini a la The Coffee Shop


(note: this recipe serves two, but you can expand it or make a second batch later--I had plenty of chicken and cheese left over))

1 recipe pie crust (I shamelessly borrowed Lucy Burdette's version of the Moosewood crust, which actually held together!) It is the simplest version I have ever seen.


one chicken breast, skinned and deboned, lightly cooked 

a small amount of pesto, to rub into the chicken

a small Camembert cheese

1 egg, beaten (this is the glue that holds things together)


Make the pesto, to your taste. I used fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper (no garlic, but add it if you like). Mash them together and massage the chicken with it and let it sit for a while to absorb the flavor.

Saute the chicken lightly in a bit more olive oil. Don't worry if it's not cooked through, because this is going into the oven once the thing is assembled. Let cool, then slice about 1/4-inch thick.

Slice the Camembert to about the same thickness.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and grease a baking sheet.

Make your pie dough (I used a food processor). Combine the flour, butter and salt and process until it looks like sand. Then add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until it holds together. Turn it out on a wooden board and form two balls.

I considered adding something like mayonnaise to the inside, but the contents are fairly delicate in flavor, so I decided against it. The crust is very buttery, so the results won't be dry.

Roll out the first ball of dough into a rough circle. Lay three or four pieces of the cooked chicken on one half, then the same number of slices of cheese on top. Don't overfill, or it will never hold together!

Beat the egg lightly, and brush some around the edge of the crust. Fold carefully and crimp the edges together--you want to seal this. Repeat with the second one. Brush the tops of both lightly with some more egg.

Place on the prepared cookie sheet and slide into the middle of the preheated oven. Set the timer for ten minutes, then check to see that the crust has begun to brown. Then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes. The chicken should be nicely cooked, and the cheese with be gooey. (And they didn't leak!)

Slice in half to serve. These can be served warm or at room temperature.

You can vary your ingredients however you like, but this is a nice combination. If you have some leftover chicken, you're home free. You can swap in a packaged pie crust if you want (easier still!), but I've never seen a simpler pie crust recipe, and I've tried at least a dozen.

Many a Twist, the next County Cork Mystery, coming next January. Maura actually gets to eat in a variety of restaurants. I'll make a foodie out of her yet!

The real Coffee Shop in Union Hall

Friday, July 28, 2017

Warm Chicken Salad

This recipe was inspired by one I enjoyed in Ireland, but there's nothing particularly Irish about it. It's a lovely summer recipe, easy to make, and you can swap in any ingredients you want.

The source is The Harbour Bar in Leap, just a few doors down from Connolly's, er, Sullivan's Pub. When I first saw it, it was an ordinary pub, one of a cluster on the main road through the village. Then it changed hands a few years ago, and the new managers tore down the old building and completely remodeled it, and found a chef who created menus of local Irish food with an Asian twist. I've been going back ever since, and I've never been disappointed.

This recipe is simple: take whatever greens you like, add a tart creamy dressing, sautee a marinated chicken breast, slice the chicken thinly while warm, combine the lot, and toss in some croutons. It's best if you use local greens only minutes away from the garden, and make your own croutons, but you can buy a bag of lettuce and a box of croutons and you might never notice the different. The end product combines crunchy, creamy textures with savory flavors, and a nice contrast between warm and cold (okay, you could use left-over chicken, but if it's freshly cooked, it's both warm and soft).

Warm Chicken Salad (with a nod to the Harbour Bar)
(this recipe makes two servings, but it's flexible)


one boneless chicken breast, marinated with olive oil, chopped shallots, salt, pepper and any herb you have on hand, fresh or dry

The US version

The Irish version

one package (or harvest your own) lettuce of your choice (the Irish call them
"mixed leaves" which always makes me giggle)

creamy yogurt dressing:

1/4 cup whole-milk yogurt
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tblsp minced shallot
1 Tblsp chopped fresh chives
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh croutons (I made my own from a brioche roll because I didn't have any packaged ones--just cut up whatever white bread you have handy into cubes and place in a low oven until they turn crispy but not brown)


If necessary, skin and bone your chicken breast. (A note: the ones they sell in markets here are huge. The ones they sell in Ireland are half the size. You can decide how much chicken you want, or cook yours and save some for later--or for your cat.) Whisk together the marinade and let the chicken steep in it for as long as you like.

Rinse your greens and let them dry. Make the croutons if you're going to.

When you're ready to cook, saute the chicken breast in a little olive oil. Important note: cook this over medium/low heat (until it's cooked through)--you don't need to sear it, you want it to remain tender and juicy. Keep an eye on it and turn it a few times so it cooks evenly.

While the chicken is cooking slowly, whisk together the yogurt dressing ingredients and dress your greens.

Dressed greens

When the chicken is cooked, place it on a cutting board and let it cool enough to handle. Then slice it thinly on the diagonal. It may sound odd, but you want the lettuce and the chicken slices to be similar in size and scale.

In individual bowls, place a bunch of your greens, then tuck in some chicken slices (do not overcrowd). Sprinkle with the croutons and serve immediately while the chicken is still warm.

The assembled salad
And there you have the perfect summer dish!

Doesn't it begin to sound as though I go to Ireland mainly to eat? I adore the Field's SuperValue market (I even have a frequent buyer card), I can't stay away from the weekly farmers market (every Saturday, with not only food but crafts and junk), and the burgeoning restaurants (you read about the newest one last week). Maybe next year I'll be able to go to the West Cork Food Festival.

Oh, right, I go to Ireland to do research for books--between meals. But young Rose in the County Cork mysteries is fast becoming a foodie. And that's only one of the unexpected turns in the next book, Many a Twist (coming January 2018).

Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Easy and Juicy Baked Chicken #Recipe @PegCochran & #Giveaway!

I found this recipe on the blog Give Me Some Oven.  It's a basic recipe that can be played around with to suit your tastes but which will produce delicious, juicy baked chicken breasts.  I find it's very easy to dry out chicken breasts, but this recipe works like a charm.


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts of even thickness, brined
1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika (I used smoked paprika)

      To brine chicken:

    Place 1 quart of warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt in a large bowl and add chicken breasts.  Brine for 15 minutes and up to six hours covered in the refrigerator.  

     To make rub:

    Combine salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika in a small bowl and mix well.  Feel free to experiment with spices!

I used smoked paprika for a bit of a kick!

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    Remove chicken from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels.  Place in an oven proof baking dish and drizzle with melted butter or olive oil on both sides.  Sprinkle with rub on both sides.

      Bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes or until thermometer reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from oven, cover dish with foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare your side dishes.

      Slice and enjoy! 

Giveaway! Sowed to Death
RT Magazine Top Pick!

Sowed to Death, book #2 in my Farmer's Daughter series, comes out on July 4!  You can pre-order now!  To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy 
of the first book in the series, No Farm No Foul.  
Please leave a comment below to be entered to win.


No Farm, No Foul
RT Magazine Top Pick!

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Friday, May 26, 2017

It's Asparagus Season!

I like asparagus. I like it steamed, with butter (oh, all right--I like almost anything with butter). I don’t like it drowned in sauce—hollandaise is good stuff but it kind of overpowers the delicate taste of fresh asparagus. But there are some things that it goes nicely with, and I found a new recipe!

Chicken with Asparagus and Leeks

2 medium leeks (white and green parts 
only, not the whole thing), sliced into 1/3” rounds

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
a few grinds of black pepper

chicken breasts or thighs (a note: chicken breasts vary widely in size these days, from normal to ridiculously large, so saying use two or four really doesn’t help you much. I prefer white meat so I’m using two monster breasts, which together weigh maybe three to four pounds. This should be enough for two adults with healthy appetites with some left over for lunch the next day.)

1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 cups chicken broth

3/4 lb medium asparagus with the tough ends trimmed off, cut on an angle into 2-3 pieces per stalk

1 Tblsp finely grated lemon zest
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 Tblsp fresh dill, chopped


Rinse the leeks to get rid of any grit.

Heat 2 Tblsp of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot (but not smoking). Add the leeks and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook, turning occasionally, until they are just turning golden (about 15-18 minutes). Remove them from the skillet.

Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In another skillet add the rest of the oil and saute the chicken pieces (f you’re using bone-in breasts or thighs, cook the skin side first), about 12-16 minutes depending on the thickness of the pieces (the chicken will finish cooking in the next step). Pour the fat out of the pan and discard.

Add the wine to the pan, bring to a simmer, and cook, scraping up the bits on the bottom (about 1 minute). Add the broth to the pan, then return the chicken pieces (skin side up). Lower the heat to medium-low and cover, cooking until the chicken is cooked through (maybe another 15 minutes—as I said, it depends on the chicken).

In the first skillet you used, cook the asparagus pieces in 2 Tblsp of water, covered, over medium heat, for about 5 minutes (don’t let the asparagus get mushy!). Remove the skillet from the heat and add 1/2 tsp of lemon zest, a bit of salt and a pinch of pepper. Stir gently.

To serve, place a chicken piece in each plate, then add the asparagus and the reserved leeks, Reheat the broth, add the lemon juice, then ladle the liquid over the chicken in the bowls. Sprinkle the top with chopped dill and some more lemon zest. You can serve this with rice or pasta.

Goodness! I'm in the middle of editing two books right now, but nothing new is coming until November! Don't forget me!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Honey Garlic Chicken and Veggies in One Pan #Recipe @PegCochran

The latest “craze” seems to be one pan dinners—the pan in this case being sheet pans (aka cookie sheets.)  And what’s not to love?  One pan to clean and a whole dinner pulled from the oven and ready to serve.

I tried this recipe from Damn Delicious although I changed it up a bit since I didn’t have broccoli but I did have a zucchini that needed to be used.  And that’s the beauty of this type of meal—use what you have!  My only recommendation would be to think about timing.  In this case, zucchini is going to cook faster in the oven than the potatoes or chicken so I gave those a head start and added the zucchini later in the baking process.  Still—only one pan and a whole dinner!

I made enough for several meals so I have another dinner in the freezer that only needs to be thawed and heated up!

3 T olive oil, divided
2 T butter, melted
2 T honey
2 T brown sugar
1 T Dijon mustard
3 minced cloves garlic
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb baby red potatoes, halved (or larger ones quartered) or potato of your choice like fingerlings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
24 oz. broccoli florets (or veggie of your choice)
Chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Prepare sheet pan with cooking spray.

Whisk together 2 T olive oil, butter, honey, brown sugar, mustard, herbs and salt and pepper.

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on pan, drizzle with 1 T olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Add chicken in a single layer and brush with honey /butter mixture.

Bake until chicken reaches 165 degrees—approximately 25 to 30 minutes.  Add vegetable during last 10 minutes (or adjust according to your vegetable.)  If desired, run under the broiler for a few minutes until caramelized. 


Have you read Berried Secrets, book #1 in my Cranberry Cove series?  I am giving away one copy to celebrate the release of the third book in the series, Dead and Berried.  Leave a comment below to be entered! Number four will be coming winter 2018.

Out Now!

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