Friday, September 25, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent Italian Chicken Sandwich


Look at that. Will you just look at that and tell me you're not going all Pavlov on me right now?

My friend Barb gave me a packet of Louie's Italian Beef seasoning a few months back. It had been sitting in my cupboard for awhile; I don't make Italian Beef (or pork) during the summers as it's a slow cooking kind of thing and best enjoyed in front of football.

But the other day I made a beer can chicken. Notice no recipe for that is posted here since it wasn't that special. I prefer my brined chicken to beer can any day. While beer can is good, brined is better.

So I had this left over chicken: a breast and two hind quarters. How could I make this taste good?


The bread here is just as important as anything else. I got some baguette from Bonaparte, which I've rediscovered after a long absence. Their baguette is somewhat chewy but when toasted crusts up just right. It was an excellent chicken and broccoli delivery vehicle for the evening.

1 cooked chicken breast and two cooked chicken hind quarters
2 heaping TBS of Louie's Italian Beef seasoning
1 bunch broccoli rabe
6 cloves garlic
Aged Italian provolone cheese (don't get the American crap)
Extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper

Remove the skin from the chicken and debone the meat (save the leg bones). Cut and pull the chicken as best you can; you want nice, thumb sized pieces.

In a 2 quart pot add 1.5 cups of cold water, bring to a boil then reduce to simmer. Add the seasoning and two cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed) and stir. Add the chicken and leg bones and stir to mix. If too thick (like sludge) add some additional water. Cover and set to simmer for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile....

Bring 4 quarts of water to boil. Peel the leaves from the broccoli rabe, cut off about the bottom inch of stem and rinse. When the water is boiling, add about 2 TBS of salt and blanch the broccoli for 1 minute. Strain into a colander and rinse under cold water until cool.

In a large saute pan add about 4 TBS of olive oil and heat to medium. Shave or mince the remaining garlic and add to the oil with ½ - 1 TSP of red pepper flakes, 6 - 8 cranks of pepper, and two big pinches of salt. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the broccoli has become tender but still has crunch.

Remove the inner crumb from the top half of your sandwich bun/roll. Toast the roll and prepare your sandwich with chicken (a lot - watch the bones), broccoli (a lot - and get that oil on there too), and a good helping of thick cut provolone.

Have a good time.

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