Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent (Adult) Chicken & Rice

The reasons why our mothers made chicken and rice - that classic cream o'mushroom + rice + chicken mix - are simple. It was quick, easy, and could cheaply feed an army of hungry kids.

It's a guilty pleasure to us all, still. No one wants to admit they love White Trash Cuisine but this dish is one of the hallmarks.

I was mouth-agape/appalled at Paula Deen's take on this. No where does she have fresh anything (except the onion) and to top it all off, you use precooked chicken in it. To her credit, though, to give her dish some pseudofresh crunch she adds in water chestnuts...canned, of course. It's probably the only thing with crunch that comes in a can but I thought it was a neat addition. Still, welcome to the sad state (or future) of American cooking.

This one here, folks, is good enough to feed to guests and doesn't take too much work. You'll need a very large pan for this, either a roasting pan or a 10 x 15. This will not fit in a 9 x 13.

And yes, it still uses canned soup.

1 eight-part cut whole chicken*
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can Progresso Creamy Mushroom Soup
1 can Campbell's Condensed (of course) Cream of Celery Soup
2 cups Jasmine rice
1½ cups dry white wine
10 Shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into ½" strips
8 carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
4 rutabagas, peeled and cut into ½" cubes
6 parsley sprigs, leaves minced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves minced
3 ounces sliced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1 TBS butter
Extra virgin olive oil

* You can buy whole chickens precut if you want to save time.

Preheat your oven to 325.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken parts. Generously salt and pepper the pieces. In a large skillet add the butter and heat to medium high. Brown the chicken parts, 2 - 3 at a time, for about 3 minutes each or until the skin has browned. For the legs brown each side. Set pieces aside.

[If you notice in my picture, the leg bone near the ankle is exposed. You can do this by cutting a ring around the ankle of the leg prior to cooking with a very sharp knife so you cut through the tough, white tendons. What results is a big, mega-tender, meltingly delicious ball of chicken meat on the end of the bone.]

In a large bowl add the two soups together, the parsley and thyme, and 10 ounces of water (one Campbell's can). Stir to mix and set aside.

Turn the heat down to medium and add about 1 TBS of olive oil and the onions. Saute for about 8 minutes, until the onions are nicely yellowed and near translucent. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add the rice and stir to mix for two minutes.

Add the white wine and simmer an additional two minutes and then the carrots, rutabagas, water chestnuts. Saute one more minute and then add the soup mixture. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Lightly butter the roasting pan. Pour in the rice/soup mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Set the chicken pieces, skin side up, on top of the rice with the larger pieces toward the ends of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.


[Or, in Deenish, "VOH-WAH LAH!"]

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lou's Most Excellent Easy Migas

"If that dog gets near my fuckin' breakfast I'm gonna kill him." - JKF, October 11, 2009.

My wife, JKF, has that in common with the dog b/c if you get near his breakfast he's likely to kill you too.

JKF also introduced me to migas, which is a Mexican style of scrambled eggs with tortilla's in them. It's a great way to use up staled corn tortillas...if you have them.

And most often, one doesn't. But tortilla chips work just fine.

I should not be eating eggs. If you haven't guessed it by the blog here, I pretty much eat anything with reckless abandon and I shouldn't. Eggs are LOADED with cholesterol. I mean, they're a cholesterol delivery vehicle. One egg gives you about 80% of your daily USDA recommended cholesterol intake. Now think about a three egg omelet with cheese, ham and fried in butter. Buttered toast on the side and you're done.

Egg whites, however, are virtually cholesterol and fat free. But they taste like egg whites and are watery and just ick scrambled up.

Compromise here: 2 parts egg white plus 1 whole egg. Sure, it's still running high with fat & cholesterol but tastes pretty damned good. In this recipe, which is for two, I use 5 whites plus 1 whole, which still works pretty well.

5 egg whites + 1 whole egg [extra large sized eggs], scrambled
3 TBS chopped onion
1 Jalapeno pepper, minced
1 big handfull of tortilla chips
¼ cup of cheese of your choice (fontina used here)
Canola oil
Salt & pepper

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add a TBS of canola oil to the pan and the onion. Saute for about 3 minutes. Add the Jalapeno and saute for an additional minute and then add the eggs all at once.

Let the eggs sit for about 30 seconds, just until it's solidifying on the bottom. Crush the chips with your hands and add to the eggs, continuing to cook the eggs the way you normally make scrambled eggs. With 30 seconds left on the clock, remove from the heat, add the cheese, toss to mix and voila.

You can eat these alone or put them in a tortilla to make a breakfast taco. Judy went for the taco but I went with a bagel on the side since they were fresh from the Old Georgetown Bagelry.