Mother’s Day Feast: Buttermilk Brined Chicken and Panzanella

Panzanella salad with buttermilk brined grilled chickenContinuing what I’m hoping will become a tradition, we hosted Mother’s Day at our house for the second year in a row.  We had last year’s weather in mind while planning the menu: Buttermilk Brined Chicken grilled on the barbeque, Italian Panzanella, potato salad, grilled asparagus, all topped off with carrot cake for dessert (whew!).  Continue reading

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Redneck Beer Can Chicken With Peruvian Purple Potatoes

Beer can chickenLast Friday was intended to be a BBQ night, as earlier in the week the weather called for a beautiful day, the warmest one of the year so far.  We had big plans to sit on our back deck, have a couple drinks, and fire up a delicious beer can chicken on the BBQ (I realized just now how completely redneck that sounds, hence the title of the recipe).  What we got were clouds, a lingering threat of rain, and temperatures dropping rather quickly towards the end of the day.  Let’s just say neither of us were in the mood to BBQ (Who am I kidding?  I am not the BBQer in the house.)  Instead, we made more or less the same recipe in the oven. Continue reading

Chicken Soup from Scratch

There are many different methods to make chicken soup.  On one end, you can use packaged broth and cook up chicken and vegetables right in the pot and have it ready in 30 minutes, and on the other the end you can start with a whole raw chicken, make the broth and then cook the soup.  The method I use most often and the one I am going to share today is closer to the second side of the scale. Continue reading

Not Quite Cajun Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

Although winter is still a ways away (I am so not ready for snow yet) as soon as the weather starts to get cold this time of year I run through all my favourite cold weather recipes as if I’ve been eating nothing but lettuce for months!  Yes, an excuse to stuff myself on carbs!  Thank you Fall!

This is a bastardized version of true jambalaya, as it doesn’t have seafood, but it does have two kinds of delicious local meats so I think that makes up for it.  Continue reading

Hearty Beer & Chicken Stew

One of the things I love about fall is that it gives me an excuse to have the stove on for hours heating up the house and making comfort food.  This was originally a slow-cooker recipe from Eating Well, but my slow-cooker isn’t big enough so I translated it to stove-top and made a few other tweaks along the way.

I used local meat to make this stew.  It’s so comforting finding a local butcher (or several) who you trust and can talk to about the origins of the food they sell.  The rich, smokey bacon flavour is really the star of this stew, so if you need an excuse to find a great local butcher I say now is the time!  If you’re in the Ottawa area, I got my meat for this meal at Sasloves.

6 tbsp plus 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I use Red Fife heritage wheat)
2 1/2 pounds local boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
4 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 pieces thick-cut local bacon, chopped
1 can of stout beer (I used Guinness, but would have loved to find a local microbrew!)
1 pound carrots, diced
6 medium red skinned potatoes, diced
1 cup red onion, chopped
1 cup white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups organic chicken broth
2 cups frozen baby peas, thawed
fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Combine 6 tablespoons flour with about 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge chicken thighs in the mixture to coat; transfer to a plate.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add half the chicken and cook until browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a clean plate and repeat with more oil and second half of chicken. Remove it to the plate also.

3. Add bacon to the pot and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over the bacon and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Add beer and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. (This whole mess with the flour was really annoying, but worth it – it helps the wonderful bacon flavour permeate throughout the stew!)

4. Add carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and broth.  Stir.  Turn down heat to low.  Cover and simmer about half an hour.

5. Add potatoes.  Cook another 20 minutes.

6. Stir in peas, cook for 10 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.