I loved the Two Fat Ladies cooking show back in the day. Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson were funny and wise and proponents of cream and butter (and lard) in rich traditional cooking. I used their recipe for Chicken Jerusalem from their Obsessions cookbook as a stepping off point.
I prepared the meal in the slow cooker as it is Labor Day and I didn’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. As I had another 10 lb bag of leg quarters, I cut off the drumstick and took off the skin to only use the thigh. I think that next time, I may go for boneless chicken here. I may also add a little more herbs as well.
5 lbs of chicken, cut into pieces
Flour, for dredging
salt and pepper to season flour
1 stick of butter, divided
2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
2 boxes (9 oz) frozen artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1 cup sherry
2 cups half and half or cream
2 cups rice
2 cups boiling water
Season the flour with the salt and pepper and place in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken. In a large skillet, melt half the stick of butter and brown the chicken on all sides. Remove from the pan. Melt the remainder of the butter and add the mushrooms and artichoke hearts. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the sherry and stir well. Add in the cream and remove from the heat.
Put two cups of rice in the slow cooker. Pour in the boiling water and stir. Add in the mushrooms, artichokes and all the pan sauces. Place the chicken in the pot, being sure to submerge the pieces in the liquid. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low 4-5. It is done when all the liquid is absorbed and the chicken meat is falling off the bone.
Observed on the first Monday in September, Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.
Most of us, however, focus more on the weekend before Labor Day being the last blast of summer and celebrate with cookouts and gatherings. I’m no exception and it helped that Rouses Supermarket had a marvelous sale on 10lb bags of chicken leg quarters.
The chicken I grilled was very juicy and flavorful, with a crisp crunch to the skin.
Lemon Brined and Grilled Chicken
5 lemons, juice and zest
1 gallon water
1 cup salt
2 quarts ice
2 whole chickens, 4-5 pounds each or 10lbs of leg quarters
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Zest the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons and place the lemon juice, water, and salt into a pot large enough to hold the chicken and a gallon and half of liquid. Bring to a boil. Stir well before adding ice to cool the liquid.
Add the chicken to the brine and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.
Combine 2 tablespoons of kosher salt with the lemon zest and put in an air-proof container.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Sprinkle both sides with the lemon salt and let sit on the counter while you prepare the grill for indirect cooking.
Grill skin side down for 30 minutes, rotating 90 degrees midway. Turn chicken over and cook for an hour or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
We had been talking about homemade pizza and decided to make a skillet version of Michelle’s famous Chicken Alfredo pizza that she used make at her restaurant back in the day. We added a few leaves of basil from her garden to the top after about 15 minutes of cooking for an added layer of flavor.
Pizza Dough Recipe:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Proof the yeast in the warm water. Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead the dough for around 10 minutes or until the dough comes together. Let stand in a lightly oiled bowl until doubled in size, about an hour. Punch down and divide in half. One half can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and placed in freezer for later use.
Prepare the chicken and Alfredo sauce (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Coat a cast iron skillet with extra virgin olive oil. Set it in the oven while the oven preheats. When the oven is at temperature, remove skillet and sprinkle a little corn meal in the bottom for an additional crunch.
Form the dough into a circle, slightly larger than the skillet. Carefully place the dough into the pan and push it up around the sides about an inch. Drizzle with a little olive oil and prebake for 5 minutes. Let rest for a moment before spooning on the sauce and adding your toppings.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese and sauce are bubbly. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting, then serve immediately.
Chicken Alfredo Sauce for pizza
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup whipping cream
¼ cup milk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 tablespoon white wine, optional
1 teaspoon flour
Roughly cut chicken and saute in skillet until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from skillet.
Cook whipping cream and milk on medium with the cheese and spices until it reaches a light simmer. Drop temperature to medium low and stir constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add flour as necessary. The sauce should be a little thicker than you would use to put on pasta.
Return chicken to the pan, turning to coat. It is now ready to spoon onto the prepared pizza dough.