Creole Chicken and Rice

I recently did a Latin American chicken and rice dish (see recipe here) and now I’m going to do a Louisiana Creole version. This one has the Louisiana holy trinity of onion, green bell pepper and celery with a different set of seasonings and long grain rice instead of the short grain of the arroz con pollo.

It had the right amount of heat from the cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes for my palate but you can always put a bottle of hot sauce on the table for those who need more.

I make my own Creole seasoning (see recipe here) as I can more closely monitor the salt content.

Chicken cut off the bone and stirred into the rice for serving

This is a very tasty and comforting meal in a pot. My taste testers, Charlotte and Thomas, both enjoyed seconds and we all were members of the clean plate club.

Creole Chicken and Rice

Marinade:

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil

Chicken and Rice:

2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs or 4 skinless breasts with rib bones
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
1 cup long-grain rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth

Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl or zip top bag. Add chicken and turn to coat. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Brown chicken about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer chicken to plate and lower heat to medium low. Add in chopped onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Place in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in bell pepper and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes, until softened. Sprinkle on Creole seasoning and stir.

Add rice and stir to toast for 2 minutes. Pour in chicken stock, give it a stir, and bring to a simmer. Nestle chicken on top of the rice (pour in any of the juices that are left on the plate as well). Return to a simmer, then cover and place in the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed into the rice and chicken is done. During this time, cut the chicken off the bones and stir it into the rice for the final moments of cooking.

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Sausage, Potato and Cheddar Stew

My sister, Kathy, and her husband, Wayne, go to the Elberta Sausage Festival every spring and fall. Luckily for me, they pick up some delicious German sausage for me when they go.

While I typically poach the sausages in beer and finish them on the grill, this time I’m going with a recipe modified from the kitchen of my favorite Two Fat Ladies. Sausage and beer were made for each other and when you put in potatoes and cheese, you’ve nearly reached heaven.

I’m using German sausages here but you can use spicy Chorizo or Italian sausage or even Kielbasa. I took the sausage out of the casing as it can get too chewy. Just be gentle when browning it so it stays in large chunks.

Sausage, Potato and Cheddar Stew

2 lbs good quality sausages, cut into 2 inch lengths
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bottle beer
1 14.5 can diced tomatoes
6 medium potatoes, quartered
8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a heavy Dutch oven, brown the sausages. Remove the sausages from the pot and set aside. Heat up the oil and then add the onions and a little salt and sauté for about ten minutes or they start to turn golden. Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes or until fragrant. Pour in the beer and tomatoes with their juices. Season with pepper. Add in the potatoes. Return the sausages to the pot and stir to combine. Bring the stew to a boil and drop the heat to keep it on a simmer. Cover and cook for about an hour. You are looking for the potatoes to be fork tender. Uncover and add the cheese a handful at a time, stirring well between each addition to mix and melt. Cook for about 10 additional minutes for all the flavors to come together.

Serve this with plenty of crusty bread to sop up all the juices.

Butter Grilled Turkey Breasts

I’ve been wanting a fairly simple recipe for boneless, skinless turkey breasts so I can slice them for lunch meat. I wandered through my cookbooks and the interwebs and came up with a hybrid.

My local grocery store had a sale on bone-in turkey breasts for President’s Day, so I bought one, removed the bones (which I used to make stock) and was just left with the breasts to play with. You can add additional herbs – rosemary would be a nice touch but I wanted to keep things plain. I also didn’t want to brine so I used a dry rub of salt.

The turkey came out moist and delicious. The smoke added a subtle flavor and the turkey sandwiches were excellent. Of course, the added avocado helped there!

Thanks to Michelle and Stacey for being my taste testers.

Butter Grilled Turkey Breasts

5-7 lb turkey breasts
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 stick butter, softened

1 deep grill pan

Remove bones and skin. Sprinkle with salt and cover in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 12-48 hours. Reserve bones to make stock.

Prepare grill for indirect cooking. Soak hickory or other wood chips for smoke flavor. Remove turkey from the fridge and discard wrapping. Slather with softened butter and set in the grill pan. Place any remaining butter on top of the breasts.

Put the grill pan on the grill on the side away from the coals with the thickest part of the turkey breasts closest to the fire. Cover the grill with the vent over the meat so the smoke swirls around the turkey before escaping.

Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, basting occasionally with the butter and meat juices. Turkey is done when it reaches 165 degrees F. There is very little carryover as there are no bones, so you want it to hit that temp before removing. You can place it on the grill grates over the coals for a final touch if you want grill marks on it but that isn’t essential.

Let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Garlicky Baked Chicken with Potatoes

I really like the combination of chicken and potatoes and this recipe adds in enough butter and garlic to make a gal swoon. For an additional flavor, I used some of the Penzey’s Florida Pepper that I received free in my last order. It is pepper with citrus notes of lemon and orange. Of course, you can use lemon pepper or plain black pepper in its place.

The potatoes come out nice and creamy. Any leftovers potatoes go terrific in a frittata, too!

Garlicky Baked Chicken with Potatoes

4 lb chicken

Marinade:

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon pepper (or just black pepper)

1 stick butter, melted
2 lbs russet potatoes, cut into 1/2 rounds

Cut off the wings, backbone and rib meat and store for later use in stock. Cut off off the thighs and divide the breast in half to have 4 large pieces of chicken.

Make the marinade by stirring all the ingredients together. It will form a loose paste. Rub it all over the chicken and then place the chicken in a zip top bag with any remaining marinade. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour and as long as 8 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the rounds of potato along the bottom and sides of a casserole dish. Place the chicken with its marinade into the dish, skin side up, and pour the melted butter over everything.

Bake for 1 hour, basting occasionally. Check the internal temperature and continue to cook until the thighs reach 165 degrees F, about 15 to 30 minutes more.

Serve immediately.

Lemon Sage Roast Chicken

I was able to get a lot of sage for a little money and have been going wild with recipes. This is one of the few chicken recipes that I didn’t brine but I did marinade it overnight, so there is plenty of flavor and it didn’t dry out.

I served this with roasted Brussel sprouts and baked sweet potatoes.

Lemon Sage Roast Chicken

3-5 lb whole chicken
1/2 cup olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
1/2 cup sage leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cloves garlic

Spatchcock the chicken by cutting out the backbone. Finely chop lemon zest, sage leaves and garlic. Smush together with the salt. You can use a food processor to get everything good and chopped. Mix with the olive oil and lemon juice. Place in a zip top bag with chicken and place in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours.

Pull chicken from refrigerator about an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a cast iron skillet in the oven. Remove chicken from marinade and set in the hot skillet, breast side up. Press down on the breastbone to get it to lay flat. Roast for 20 minutes. Baste with pan juices. Continue to roast and baste after another twenty minutes. Drop heat to 325 degrees F and continue to cook until done (internal temperature should be 165 degrees F in the thighs) about 30 minutes more.

Let rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Rotisserie Standing Rib Roast

For my Mom’s birthday, we had a standing rib roast that we cooked using the rotisserie on Dad’s Weber charcoal grill. We were serving six, so we bought one that was a little over 8 lbs (3 ribs). We needed some leftovers for steak sandwiches!

For a side, after we pulled the meat off, I put the rack on the grill and smoke warmed twice baked potatoes. We used an extra set of ribs from the butcher to make a beef stock in the slow cooker and used that plus the meat juices to create an au jus.

Rotisserie Prime Rib Roast

6-8 lb rib roast
kosher salt
olive oil

Season the rib roast with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and let sit in the refrigerator, uncovered, 24 hours before you are ready to cook. Remove from fridge 4 hours before grilling.

Rub the roast with olive oil and sprinkle salt on the meat, leaving the fat cap unsalted.

Run the rotisserie skewer through the center of the meat. Secure with the forks once it is balanced. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking and medium high heat. Place a drip pan down. Use chunks or chips of seasoned wood for smoke. I chose hickory.

Place the rotisserie on the grill and start the motor. Let it turn for one to two hours or until the internal temperature of the meat (not hitting bone or skewer) reaches 120 degrees F for rare. It takes about 10-15 minutes per pound. Ours was done in 90 minutes.

Using heavy gloves, remove the spit from the grill and then the spit from the meat. Let rest for at least 10 minutes. Add the drippings to your gravy or au jus.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

For the last Monday of 2018, I went meatless. To do so, I used barley to make a risotto. Barley is low in calories, high in fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals, so it was a perfect way to end the old year on a healthy note. I added to it mushrooms that I had sautéed in sherry. Of course, you could substitute vegetable or mushroom broth and olive oil for butter to make it entirely vegetarian.

Mushroom Barley Risotto

4 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-salt chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup pearl barley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (I used portobello and shiitake), sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup sherry

Bring chicken stock to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Melt butter in large skillet over low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add barley, thyme, bay leaf and stir to combine. Pour in 2 cups of the warm chicken stock; bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Allow the stock to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until barley is tender, about 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter in another large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic. Reduce heat to medium and stir in sherry. Cover and cook until mushrooms are tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. Mix mushrooms into the barley. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Spoon risotto into bowls and serve immediately.