Chicken two ways

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Stuffed chicken breast with Gruyere cheese and creamed corn

Stuffed chicken breasts are always a big hit. There is something about the satiny smoothness of the stuffing juxtaposed against the crisp-textured skin that makes for a wonderful dish. Creamed corn is a personal favorite that adds flavor as well as texture.

Wine Pairing: This dish is rich, with the earthiness of Gruyere cheese; a French white burgundy would be perfect.

Creamed corn:
6 ears yellow corn, husked, washed and dried (divided)
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons goat cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Shear the kernels off 4 ears of corn. Place in blender and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer, pressing gently to extract all the liquid. Set aside 3/4 cup of corn liquid.

Shear the kernels from the remaining 2 ears of corn and set aside. Place the 2 cobs in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes, until corn flavors are picked up.

Remove the cobs from the broth. Stir in the corn kernels and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until kernels are soft.

To assemble:
In a medium saucepan, pour in the heavy cream along with the corn liquid. Whisk at moderate heat until the liquid is getting thicker (Do not boil, as the mixture will curdle.)

When it thickens, reduce heat to low, whisk in the butter, add the corn kernels and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

To stuff and roast the chicken breast:
1 cup spinach, cleaned, dried and sliced into thin strips
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
2 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, cheese, egg yolks, garlic, rosemary and breadcrumbs. Season with salt and pepper. (The mixture needs to be slightly moist to hold the stuffing together.)

Lay each chicken breast on cutting board, skin side up. Using your fingers, separate the skin from the meat on the long side, creating a pocket. (Be careful not to tear the skin from the breast.) Use a tablespoon to stuff the breast, creating a 1/8 of an inch layer of filling between the skin and the chicken meat. Place the palm of your hand on top of the stuffed breast and shape it, molding gently. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To roast:
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter and olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. Add the stuffed chicken breasts, placing them next to one another. Sauté until the skin has turned a nutty brown color — do not touch them. If the heat is too high, lower to medium. (If you need to look, gently lift the breast with a narrow spatula to check for skin color. When golden brown and crispy, gently flip each breast over, placing the breast in the exact spot in the pan.

Place the pan in oven and roast for another 10 minutes, until firm to the touch. Remove from oven. Set the pan aside. After a few minutes flip the breasts and let the juices run through. After 5 minutes place breasts skin side up.

Pan gravy:
1 cup veal stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the chicken breasts from pan. Place the skillet on stove on medium high heat.

Add veal stock and let it simmer until it has reached a thin glaze. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve:
Mound a small amount of the creamed corn onto 6 plates. Place 1 breast on top of each mound, spooning over gravy. Serves 6.

The day before: Prepare creamed corn and stuffing. Cover and refrigerate.

Trick of the trade: When pan roasting the birds, the skin must be caramelized before flipping the breasts. Otherwise, they will be dry and dull instead of tender and juicy.

Coq au Vin at my parents

I don’t believe that any kitchen is complete, without a cast iron pot or cocotte, these hard to handle and mostly too big for any kitchen shelf.

Does have an important role in classical dishes such as ” Veal Osso Buco ” Braised lambshank, cooking oxtails and in this mention “Coq au Vin.”

Fall is upon us and much inspiration comes from these months… Usually braised items, is whats in fashion.

I’m not sure how many cooks have had the chance of actually making a real “Coq au Vin.” I do know that a lot of braised chicken in wine has been cooked by many culinarians over time.

I had the fortune to actually cook a real “Coq au Vin”.

My parents’ house has a chicken pen, it came with the house when they bought it. Not that they were looking to purchase live stock when they were house hunting at the time, but a fresh egg in the morning was intriguing enough to keep the pen.

At a visit some time ago, my dad told me he was getting a little tired of the pen, 7 roosters were making life miserable for 3 “girls” and egg production was on a decline, life with chickens was more of a burden, than fun.

Of course the cook in me immediately suggested to make a real “Coq au Vin.” Only one condition was made. I will not hurt the poor guy’s, but cooking them I will.

My dad took the task of getting the guy’s ready. I picked feathers, cleaned and got them ready for the “big cast iron pot.”

A good bottle of wine was selected for the dish. Note: never cook with “cooking wine.” Cook with wine that you would drink.

Once the birds had been browned and last ingredients added, waiting was next. More wine was opened, and we waited..

It took 7 hours before these old guy’s gave in. I now know why a braise is the way to cook when cooking these types of dishes, but 7 hours!

It was the best sauce that I have ever made, in any dish.

Coq au Vin is not new to the culinary scene. Using female’s versus males is new though, the proper main, is a good old rooster…

Some legends trace “Coq au Vin” to ancient Gaul and Julius Caesar, but the recipe was not documented until the early 20th century.

It is generally accepted as that it existed as a rustic dish long before. A somewhat similar recipe appeared in an 1864 cook book.

“poulet au vin blanc”

It can be debated what wine to use. When cooking a Coq au Vin, I like to use a good white Burgundy, or Chardonnay. I find red wine to be too pungent, and too dominant. Although, a mild red will do, such as a Beaujolais or a light Bourgogne.

All a personal preference.

One little addition I like to make is a generous pour of a good cognac, it only adds to the alcohol content but also add to the layer’s of flavors obtained by a good braise.

The word “Coq” in French means rooster, and tough birds with lots of connective tissue benefit from braising, capon is a good alternative.

But browning the birds and then simmering them until done is the main event and goal.

I don’t believe that any kitchen is complete, without a cast iron pot or cocotte, these hard to handle and mostly too big for any kitchen shelf.

Does have an important role in classical dishes such as “Veal Osso Buco” Braised lambshank, cooking oxtails and in this mention “Coq au Vin.”

In fact this recipe might suggest a new way of cooking the thanksgiving dinner…

French take on “Coq au Vin” into the simple dish that it is, made with mushrooms, onions, bacon, wine and chicken has since then been re-created in millions of kitchen, I have even seen variations, where chocolate was an ingredient.

Many versions was floating around when first documented recipes were cemented in mid 18th century.

But the main ingredient was always intended to be the male chicken “rooster or cock” well past his crowing day’s. A rooster who’s no longer cock of the walk has a flesh that is incredibly flavorful and sufficiently sturdy to stand up to the frying, simmering, and yet more simmering demanded by this style of cooking.

Also added were the cockscomb, feet, head and kidney’s to obtain maximum flavor. And using the drained blood in the end as a thickening agent was a very common touch.

Getting an old rooster and a cup of blood is not easy to find in the grocery store, so the addition of a brown stock can easily serve as a substitute.

It’s a simple and easy way of adding depth and complexity.

Consider the fact of eating less testosterones and a bloodless ‘Coq au Vin” the flavor will still remain pretty darn tasty.

1 large bird of your choice, 4 lbs (cut into parts, legs and breasts)
1/2 cup lardons of bacon, cut into 1/4 strips
20 peeled pearl onions
2 cups of a good Chardonnay
1/4 cup of cognac
2 cups of veal stock (ask your favorite restaurant for some, or also find in your local grocery store )
30 whole cremini mushrooms, stem removed
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sprig of thyme
Sprig of rosemary

Start with sautéing the bacon, once rendered transfer them to a separate dish using a slotted spoon. Next brown the mushroom caps in the same oil, when brown and succulent, transfer to a separate dish.

Make sure that oil has regained its hot temperature. Next brown the bird parts on all sides.

Next carefully add the cognac, turn the heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes..

Add the veal stock, wine, onions, mushrooms and bacon pieces.

Next let the dish simmer under a lid for an additional 1 1/2 hour, skimming the fat as the dish cook.

I believe that a simple dish like Coq au Vin should be kept simple, some recipes will tell you to marinate the birds over night

In a wine brind, but they were meant for birds that needed the brind.

Today we use chicken when we make Coq au Vin. Not that the dish has less flavor or integrity but it remains as one of the best dishes created by man.

And yes… You can find it at TWOCHEFS if you call ahead.

Enjoy.

Jan Jorgensen
TwoChefs Restaurant


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