Archive for the 'chicken & turkey' Category

Crispy Chinese Meyer Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken 1 Crispy Chinese Meyer Lemon Chicken

One thing I love about my job is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone in small ways… if it were up to me, I’d leave Chinese food to the pros (and Vietnamese food, and Thai) – part of what makes it taste so good is the not knowing what exactly went into it, the experience of making ginger beef / lemon chicken / mu shu pork night after night in well-seasoned woks and skillets. Who am I to pull off a proper batch of lemon chicken? We talked about citrus on CBC this morning, and with Chinese New Year coming up on Friday, I figured I’d give it a go.

Lemon Chicken 2 Crispy Chinese Meyer Lemon Chicken
Lemon chicken 3 Crispy Chinese Meyer Lemon Chicken

And really, the ingredients that go into this are not at all exotic – you need not even venture down the aisle of the grocery store that has coconut milk and rice noodles and other no longer particularly extraordinary ingredients. It’s is really no more than chicken and soy sauce and lemon and honey and cornstarch – it’s all in how you put them together. Everyone liked the lemon sauce – which had the colour of unfiltered apple juice, rather than of lemon pie filling (it’s common to not use stock and add yellow food colouring) – but the chicken, which is simply marinated, dipped in cornstarch and fried, could be doused in any number of sauces – homemade or jarred sweet and sour sauce or some such.

It’s not that I want to replace Chinese takeout or food court ginger beef – but if you’re so inclined, it’s fun to DIY.

Crispy Chinese Meyer Lemon Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry and cut into strips or 1-inch pieces
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 egg white
½ cup cornstarch
canola oil, for frying

Lemon Sauce:
1 cup chicken stock
finely grated zest of a regular or Meyer lemon
½ cup lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. soy sauce

Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces or strips and put into a zip-lock bag with the soy sauce and ginger. Refrigerate for an hour, or overnight. When you’re ready to cook, add the egg white to the bag and squish it around to coat the chicken. Put the cornstarch into a shallow bowl.

To make the sauce, bring all the ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook for a couple minutes, until thickened.

Heat a couple inches of oil in a heavy pot or skillet set over medium-high heat. When it’s hot but not smoking (a scrap of bread should sizzle when dipped in), dip pieces of chicken in the cornstarch to coat, then gently lower into the hot oil. Cook in batches, then remove from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour the lemon sauce overtop and toss to coat; serve immediately, over rice.

Serves 4-6.

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January 28 2014 | chicken & turkey | 8 Comments »

Braised Chicken in Milk

chicken in milk 5 Braised Chicken in Milk

Let me preface this by saying the above photo does not do this chicken justice.

Also: I hope you don’t mind more photos of my PJ pants.

‘Tis the season for braising; short, grey and chilly days call for long, slow cooking. When so much time is spent puttering around at home, packing up decorations and weaning oneself off holiday chocolate, it’s the perfect time to slide a piece of meat into the oven and let it warm the house as it slowly cooks. Sure, you could put it into the slow cooker, but I love the dark stickiness you get from a pot, and the satisfaction of having it simmering in the oven while you pad around the house in your woolies.

chicken in milk Collage Braised Chicken in Milk

We made this on a day spent entirely in PJs. This chicken braised in milk with lemon, garlic, sage and cinnamon comes from Jamie Oliver – and if you look at his bird, it’s pretty gorgeous – dark and crisp and delicious-looking – but not likely as tender as one braised with the lid on. Cover it up and swap crispy skin for juicy meat and a tasty albeit unphotogenic dinner.

Or take the lid off for a half hour or so at the end and get the best of both worlds.

Chicken in milk 1 Braised Chicken in Milk

The combination of milk + lemon + heat creates this split sauce that’s delicious over the chicken, and requires no making of gravy. I gave it a go without the handful of fresh sage, as it’s not something I often have lying around, and next time I’ll hold the cinnamon stick too. I get a strange satisfaction out of tossing a cinnamon stick in just about anything, and yet unless it’s a curry, I find it adds a sort of medieval flavour to meat I can’t quite get into. But really I think you could make this plenty of ways, so long as you don’t mess with the chicken, milk, lemon and garlic. But who needs more than that?

chicken in milk 4 Braised Chicken in Milk

Jamie instructs browning the chicken in half a cup of butter first, then throwing away the excess left in the pot before adding the rest of the ingredients. I browned mine in oil, which still created those tasty browned bits, and I didn’t need to toss anything out. Bonus: the cloves of garlic, which have also braised in milk, can be squeezed out of their jackets (unless you peeled them completely) onto crusty bread or into smashed potatoes to serve alongside. Yum.

Braised Chicken in Milk

adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 whole chicken
salt and freshly ground black pepper
canola oil or butter, for cooking
zest of a lemon or two
1 head garlic, divided into cloves (no need to peel their skins)
2 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Pat the chicken dry, season it with salt and pepper, and heat a heavy, ovenproof pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and brown the chicken all over, turning it with tongs.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours, removing the lid for the last half an hour if you like to brown the top a little more.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and drizzle with sauce; add a few cloves of garlic.
Serves 4-6.

pixel Braised Chicken in Milk
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January 03 2014 | chicken & turkey | 19 Comments »

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