I go through a LOT of chicken stock in my kitchen, so I like to make my own, and this simple chicken stock is my go to.
I discovered a few years back the those chicken wing-tips that I usually cut off the wings before cooking, have a near perfect ratio of skin to bone for making a rich, delicious stock.
I keep a zip-bag in the freezer and toss my wing tips in it whenever I cook a chicken, or chicken wings. About once a month, I’m usually ready to make a half-gallon batch of stock.
Note:If you don’t have the wing-tips, you can use the leftover carcass of a rotisserie or roasted chicken, instead.
Here’s the recipe…
Chef Perry joinmykitchen.com
Simple Chicken Stock
1 gallon water
1 lb chicken wing tips
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs salt
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
1 tsp. black pepper
Note: You can customize your stock based on the recipe you plan to use it for, I made my last batch specifically for some roasted mushroom udon soup, so I also added 2 Tbs of Thai fish sauce, 1 cup of roasted mushrooms, star anise, and fresh cilantro to the stock.
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The Wilkinsons are not only old and dear friends, but they’re also staunch supporters of our MY KITCHEN Program, and my best personal chef clients.
For marketing purposes I won’t say that they’re also my favorite clients (but…they’re also my favorite clients.)
Don’t tell anyone.
I have had the honor of cooking in their beautiful kitchen many times, and when Ron called and asked if I could prepare a nice, upper-end, chicken-breast dinner for them and a few of their friends, I immediately thought of an old favorite: Chicken Georgia.
A simple recipe, Chicken Georgia is easy to prepare, lends itself to a fancy presentation, and with its thick, creamy mushroom sauce, falls solidly in the umami comfort food category.
As his lovely wife, Karen, requires a gluten-free menu, I’d incorporate the old-English method of using egg yolks, instead of flour, to thicken my sauce.
However, this was Ron, and Ron appreciates a little “over the top” when enjoying a fine meal. So, I took my old recipe to the drawing board…
Bacon, of course, would be absolutely essential and, along with a flavorful compound butter stuffed inside, would virtually guarantee that the chicken breasts remained juicy inside and out. Replace the onions with diced shallots – check. A little of my favorite pecorino romano to add a bit more depth to the sauce, and I give you…
Chicken a la Wilkinson!
The test dish received rave reviews from the home team, and was a smashing success at the party, served along with some Southern-style green beans, cilantro-lime rice, a nice green salad, and warm Dutch rolls. It was…lovely.
Combine the salt, sugar, and hot water and stir until completely dissolved. Add ice to chill.
Once chilled, add the chicken breasts and brine for 4-6 hours.
Remove breasts from brine, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and set aside.
Prep the Chicken:
Egg Eash: Whip your raw egg yolks in a flat-bottom bowl, and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Using a small knife, slice a deep pocket in the side of each breast (be careful not to pierce the other side!) and insert a teaspoon of chilled compound butter, pushing it as far back into the pocket as possible.
Dip the outside of the breast, along the pocket seam, in egg wash to seal.
Refridgerate breast for 20-30 minutes to set the seal.
Wrap each breast with 1-2 strips of back (depending on size) slightly overlapping, and secure the end with a toothpick.
(If you have trouble with the breast being slippery, use 2 toothpicks and secure the beginning end, first.)
Melt butter over medium heat and add the olive oil, mixing to combine.
When hot, add the bacon wrapped chicken and sear 1-2 minutes on each side, just long enough to start the bacon browning.
Remove chicken to a baking dish, top with mozzarella, and place in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes*** while making your sauce.
Mushroom Cream Sauce:
Put the pan back on the burner and lower the heat to medium. Deglaze your pan with 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
Add mushrooms and shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 15-20 minutes covered, stirring often, until your mushrooms have reduced by at least half (the more they reduce, the more flavor they’ll have).
Add chicken stock and mushroom powder, and bring to a low simmer. Add your raw egg to the heavy cream, whisk to combine completely. While whisking the sauce vigorously, slowing pour in the cream/egg mixture until incorporated.
Whisk in the grated pecorino-romano cheese, reduce heat to med-low, and let the sauce reduce slightly, stirring often to keep it from separating.** (A sauce “separates” when the milk content curdles, creating an unappetizing texture.)
When the chicken reaches an internal temp of 160F, remove the roasting pan from the oven, pull out all of the toothpicks, top the chicken evenly with mushroom sauce, and pop it all back in the oven for 5 more minutes.
Allow the dish to rest (the sauce will thicken slightly) about 5 minutes, then serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta.
Mushroom Garlic Compound Butter
1 stick of sweet cream butter, very soft
1 Tbs. coarse black pepper
1 Tbs. mushroom powder
1 tsp. roasted garlic, or more to taste (you can sub this with garlic powder, but it won’t be as good.) 😉
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Using the back of a metal spoon, combine all until mixed evenly (If using the compound in another recipe, which do not include brining, add 1 tsp. of fine sea salt before mixing.) Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of plastic-wrap and roll into a cylinder and twisting the ends to seal. Chill until hard.
Compound butter is great in soups and sauces, to top burger or steaks, and it’s a lovely way to fry or scramble eggs!
HOME CHEF NOTES:
*If you can’t find mushroom powder, you can make your own with dried mushrooms and a spice blender.
**If you get distracted and your sauce DOES separate (it’ll look like you’ve mixed cottage cheese into it) don’t panic, it happens! 😉 Using a slotted spoons, remove the mushrooms from the sauce. Using a stick-blender, or traditional blender, blend the sauce briefly until it’s smooth again. Wipe the pan clean. Rinse the mushrooms very briefly in hot water to remove the milk curds, and return to the pan with the mushrooms.
***If you’re using those huge “factory chicken” breasts, you may want to pound them slightly flatter (before brining), and add 10-15 minutes to the roasting time. Be safe – use a thermometer and cook to temp.
I picked up this trick a few weeks ago from a fellow chef’s blog (I wish I could remember, but whoever you are, thank you!) and tried it for the first time with this year’s Thanksgiving turkey…it’s magic!
First of all, I ALWAYS brine my turkey, which, while making for moist, succulent meat, can cause problems with getting the skin, saturated by the brine, to crisp and brown evenly. And, let’s face it…crispy is skin is the whole reason for roasting a turkey in the first place!
Here’s the trick to perfect, crispy skin on a brined turkey…
Just in time for Thanksgiving…perfect roasted whole turkey in just 90 minutes!
Every year I cook up a bunch of turkeys (11 this year, a new record!) and take them to a local homeless shelter for their annual Thanksgiving dinner. Even with some amazing volunteer’s help, that’s a lot of turkeys!
Spatchcocking* not only allows me to roast a turkey in (less than) half the time, it also results in more even roasting (ie: a juicy turkey breast), and more flavor by browning all of the skin, not just the skin on top.
Here’s a video I put together of the whole process, from roasting to slicing…
*Spatchcocking involves removing the backbone from tail to neck so that the bird can be opened out flat (also referred to as butterflying). This method results in a much shorter cooking time. It also allows for easier access to the cavity and exterior of the chicken for seasoning purposes.
This method works just as well for all types of poultry, roasting an average-sized chicken in just 30 minutes!
12-14lb turkey, spatchcocked
Preheat oven to 450F
Roast 90 minutes, rest 20 minutes
Oh, and if you really want to amp up the flavor and juiciness of your bird, brine it! You can check our our post My Best Brined Turkey Recipe, over at our youth outreach site, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.
(By the way, if you’re enjoying this article, you may want to subscribe to our free newsletter; and get even more Chef’s tips, tricks, and techniques. Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk teens!)
Looking for more great holiday recipes? Check out the new guidebook, “Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef’s Guide.”NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!
If you don’t believe that…this recipe will convert you!
Guanciale (gwan-chalie), an Italian-style bacon made from hog jowl, is a prized gourmet delicacy in central Italy. Typically, it’s dry-cured, hand-coated with fresh cracked peppercorns, then smoked over smoldering hickory logs for nearly 24 hours. The result is a meat with a noticeably richer flavor than typical bacon, and is a popular addition to such classic dishes as spaghetti alla carbonara and pasta all’amatriciana.
I found it with the uncut bacon, and smoked hocks, at Fred Meyer, for about 1/2 the price of good bacon (about $2.50/lb).
Here’s what I do with it:
Grilled Chicken and Guanciale Bacon Alfredo
1 pound dried fettuccine or spaghetti
1/2 lb chicken tenders, brined and grilled
1/2 lb pork cheeks (jowls) bacon, or Guanciale
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp fresh minced garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup finely grated Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs yolks
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat oven to 350d
Slice guanciale into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on a rack over a a foil-lined baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until bacon appears crisp at the edges. Remove to paper towels to rest. Reserve the fat in the pan.
Cook the fettuccine in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. NEVER RINSE YOUR PASTA.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until tender, add garlic. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Roughly chop bacon and return to pan, heat, and then toss cooked pasta with bacon and fat, over medium-high heat along with the reserved cooking liquid. Add the butter-cream mixture, half of the asiago, and chicken, and toss to combine thoroughly.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Sprinkle with remaining Asiago and garnish with raw egg yolk.
PS – The raw egg yolk is another Italian thing, and adds an extra layer of richness to the recipe. Once served, break the yolk and gently fold into the dish. Alternatively, you can add the yolks to the pasta along with the sauce and blend it in then.
“The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen” was your overview of the basic concepts and tips for taking your cooking to the next level, but let’s face it, you can only fit so much information into one book!
Each Home Chef Guidebook delves more deeply into the professional quality recipes and techniques of specific cooking styles and cuisines.