New Castle News

September 16, 2013

Culinary Conversation: All chickened out? Try these options

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — What I’m about to say may surprise you.

It came as a surprise to my brother, who after all these years, didn’t know this fact about me.

 I really don’t care for chicken that much.

Don’t get me wrong — I’ll eat it and it’s on the dinner menu several times a week at our house. But I would much rather have fish. Hubby doesn’t like that so much. And we try to eat red meat only occasionally.

 So it comes back to chicken.

I know I must be in the minority and you’re tsk-tsking right now. Or maybe clucking.

However, even my favorite goddess of the kitchen, Ina Garten, also admits that chicken tends to be bland; thus it needs a lot of flavor.

There are a few tried-and-true recipes for chicken that I really do like and they are included today along with some suggestions for side dishes and dessert.

If you’ve never had chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, try it. And don’t be alarmed by the amount of garlic. The result is mellow and delicious.

I would also like to know what goes into the absolutely fabulous lemon-cake-with-filling dessert I had at a certain New Castle restaurant. It was light, refreshing and I must have it again. But I’ll settle for the upside-down lemon meringue dessert that Kraft offered in its fall edition of Food & Family.

 Meanwhile, if you know of a an absolutely incredible chicken dish that will win me over, you’re on. Send it here. I’ll try it and let you know the verdict.

You may just make a chicken convert of me.

Chicken With 40 Cloves of Garlic

3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves

2 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, cut into eighths

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons Cognac, divided

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for a minute. Drain the garlic and peel; set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, sauté the chicken in the fat, skin side down first, until nicely browned, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or spatula. If the fat starts to burn, turn heat to medium. When a batch is done, transfer to a plate and continue to sauté all the chicken in batches. Remove the last of the chicken to the plate and add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower heat and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes, turning often, until evenly browned. Add 2 tablespoons of the Cognac and the wine; return to a boil and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes until all the chicken is done.

Remove chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the sauce and flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add remaining tablespoon of Cognac and cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce and the garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Sesame-Panko Chicken

Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450. Place rack in 18x12-inch jelly roll pan lined with foil. Spray with cooking spray.

In shallow dish, whisk egg, garlic powder, 1 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoons ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoons black pepper. In another dish, mix panko and sesame seeds.

Dip chicken into egg, then panko mix. Place on rack. Spray chicken with cooking spray; bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through (165 degrees.)

Toss cabbage with onion, sugar, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper.

In bowl, mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard and 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger. Serve chicken with sauce and slaw.

Zucchini Gratin

Preheat oven to 400. Melt butter in very large sauté pan and cook onions over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender, but not browned.

Add the zucchini and cook, covered for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg, and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce.

Pour the mixture into an 8x10-inch baking dish. Combine bread crumbs and cheese, and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling and browned.

Upside-Down Lemon Meringue Dessert

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Gradually stir in water until blended. Bring to boil on medium heat; cook 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add dry gelatin mixes and zest; stir 2 minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, microwave marshmallows and milk in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until marshmallows are puffed. Stir until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended. Stir in vanilla; cool 5 minutes. Blend in sour cream. Pour into 9-inch square pan sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Spoon gelatin mixture gently over marshmallow layer in pan. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm. Sprinkle with graham crumbs. Unmold dessert onto serving plate just before serving.

(Some recipes have not been tested.)