Chicken Satay

I have been looking forward to making this since it was first posted at Runs with Spatula on the 15th. Trying to figure out the right night to have time to set the marinade up and let it do its job meant I had to put it off until today.  Totally worth the wait.

Daring Cooks: Pork Chicken Satay

Marinade

  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root, grated
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Protein/meat

1 pound of chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

In a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the chicken and blend until smooth.
Cover chicken with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.  If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.

Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.

Broil or grill a 3 – 4 minutes per side on a hot grill or grill pan or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 3 – 4 minutes.

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic-chili paste, or to taste (highly recommend at least this much)

Mix the brown sugar, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes and garlic-chili paste in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.  Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and soy-lemon seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.  All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.  Adjust seasoning as needed at this point.

I used chicken instead of the pork that Amy originally used. When I think satay, I think chicken. Plus, we had pork for dinner last night.

Chris’s verdict: home run, make this again*

Because I am incredibly lazy and because during the marinating time, I ran to the pharmacy which took too long and I got home after the MSU game started, I skipped skewering and just laid my strips out on to the foil for going under the broiler.

My other major change: I added more peanut butter after tasting. We use Simply Jif, a low salt/low sugar peanut butter. After melting, the sauce felt too thin and also not very peanutty. I think this might be due to the reduced salt along with the competition from the other strong flavors.

Served with shiitake mushrooms and bell pepper stir-fry (soy sauce, sesame oil and a dash of fish sauce) and rice seasoned with cardamom.


I imagine this sauce would go well with any protein. The vegetarians will just want to skip the fish sauce. I can’t offer any substitutes but I can say to not add more soy sauce. You may need to adjust your salt as fish sauce has a fair amount. I use low sodium soy sauce and didn’t any salt to any part of the dish.


*Lucky for Chris
, I had a whole extra chicken breast that I tossed in the marinade after dinner. He’ll have a nice treat tomorrow.

Good stuff: Chicken, bacon, cream, wine

A week ago Sunday, Chris went to bed complaining of a sore throat. Monday, he was convinced he had strep throat and went to the doctor. Diagnosis: no strep, no swine flu, no regular flu. Most likely a cold. Now, 9 days go by and I’m good, free of illness. I think I’ve won, I’ve dodged the bullet. Tuesday night, I felt a little scratch in my throat. Dang Dang Dang!! I am in the class of employees who get Veteran’s Day off and I had a list of things to do. Not one of which I did. Instead, during my day off yesterday, I watched all the Top Chef episodes from this season minus the two I’d already seen. I laid on the couch and watched people cook some crazy stuff in some crazy environments (3 kinds of ceviche after a night spent sleeping in a teepee in the Nevada desert- really?), occasionally dozing.

Eventually, I made dinner for Chris and I but I was too beat from my hard day of lounging (really, I was exhausted) so he cooked up some boneless pork ribs marinated in chimichurri sauce on the grill while I made rice and some peppers & onions with a slight South American bent thanks to some cilantro and cumin. Then, we sat down to watch the newest episode of Top Chef. The new ep featured Nigella Lawson as guest judge. The quickfire (initial short challenge, for the uninitiated) was focused around the idea of breakfast in bed from room service. I’m not a big breakfast eater but some of those dishes had the potential to turn me around- if someone else were cooking- I’m not in to breakfast because I’m not in to mornings, in general.

The second part of the show was the elimination challenge where each chef had to cook a dish, inspired by a casino in Vegas, for 175 people. Nothing too mind-blowing here and the chef who should have gone home weeks ago finally went home. At the end of the show, we saw a preview for next week- the guest judge is Thomas Keller of the French Laundry- very big deal and all the competition chefs were visibly freaking out. This led to a conversation between Chris and I on who all these people were and I learned that he didn’t know who Nigella Lawson was. Now, Chris doesn’t watch food shows all the time but he likes a certain body type and usually picks up on that instead of one’s cooking ability for TV food celebs. Nigella is right up his alley, especially with her sensuous food talk, lots of oohing over flavors, moaning over aromas, etc.

Cutting to the chase, I brought up her website and while we were talking, I looked at some recipes and found something I thought he’d like, no matter the source. And it used a number of ingredients we had on hand. Upon further review, I ended up making a number of tweaks.

Chicken with mushroom-bacon sauce

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin, seasoned with salt and pepper
3 slices bacon
1/2-3/4 cup creme fraiche
2-3 handfuls shiitake mushrooms, sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, one sliced, one diced
3/4 cup white wine (approx)
olive oil

mashed potatoes
steamed peas with tarragon

To begin, fry three slices of bacon (I used thick-cut) in a large saute’ pan. Remove bacon when done, draining on paper towels. Drain most of the fat, leaving just a thin coating on the pan. If you don’t have much fat- well what kind of bacon were you using?!? And, if necessary, add a bit of olive oil to the pan. You will probably have some crunchy bits on the bottom of the pan- leave them there. Add two chicken breasts to the pan. Cook 3-5 minutes per side until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm.

While chicken is cooking, chop bacon in to small pieces.

After chicken has been removed from pan, add a teaspoon of olive oil, if necessary. Add garlic and rosemary to pan, cooking and stirring frequently until fragrant and garlic is turning golden brown. Add mushrooms, stir to coat then add bacon. Allow to cook until pan begins to dry then add 3/4 cup wine to deglaze. Turn heat to medium-high to bring sauce to boil. Cook until wine is reduced by 2/3. Reduce heat to low and stir in 1/2 cup creme fraiche.

Serve in layers: mashed potatoes then chicken breast then mushroom-bacon sauce. On the side, we had steamed petite peas with just a bit of butter and 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon.


If the ingredients don’t tempt you, the pictures surely will. Except I didn’t take any pictures because I couldn’t find the camera!! Of course, this is the night my plate looked perfect- great presentation with the mushroom sauce draped lovingly over the chicken breast, small amounts of sauce pooling at the bottom, lying on a bed of mashed potatoes with a nice bright green along the side thanks to the peas.

I’ll make this again. Next time, I’d like to cream up the sauce even more. I was using up the creme fraiche we had. I probably would have used more if I’d had it. The advantage of creme fraiche over heavy cream is that the creme fraiche is less likely to curdle on the high heat. You have to be more cautious with heavy cream- turning the heat down before adding and waiting a few minutes for security.

Mushroom-Sage Sauce & Squash Risotto

We are in the midst of moving right now (literally, thinks to scheduled posting). Due to my work schedule, size of some of our furniture and general laziness, we hire movers from Two Men and a Truck and they are doing the heavy lifting this afternoon. This will be my 4th move with them since March 2007 and the fifth between Chris and I- how about a volume discount.

For me, using Two Men became a necessity after moving myself (with my parents & aunt’s help) in to a 2nd floor apartment in Charlotte: the building was 120 years old and the 2nd floor was 27 steps up. And it poured rain that day- there might have even been a tornado that night. I immediately started saving money aside for my next move so I could hire movers and I did just that a short 6 months later thanks to my hard-partying, drug-dealing upstairs neighbor. Meeting Chris and moving in with him was a wonderful thing but it also meant that most of my stuff went to storage while we finished out his lease in a 1 bedroom apartment. Our current place, while 2 bed/2 bath was still not big enough for both our belongings and things like my washer/dryer were not needed. Finally, after the dog came to live with us in July, it became glaringly obvious that we needed more room and a place with space to store things rather than pay the storage company another 100 bucks a month.

Our new house, while still a rental, is awesome. Its not huge but we have 3 bedrooms: one for us, one for guests and one as an office/craft room (for me, Chris is not a scrapbooker). A bigger kitchen, a great view of the 10 acres inhabited by deer, wild turkey and something I heard running around in the trees last night. Oh yeah, and a garden tub in the master bath plus, drumroll please: a gas stove!!!

To save time (and money) with the movers, we have been taking boxes of things over to the house, a bit at a time, since October 1. As of Thursday morning, we had the pots and pans, some utensils and most of the dishware in the house. But other than pantry foods, we hadn’t moved or bought any edibles. With Chris’s brother in town, eating out was an opportunity/excuse to eat out but that was getting expensive. So, last night, Chris bought some chicken, squash and beans before calling me on my drive home from work to ask if I “wanted” to come to the house and cook dinner. As soon as he mentioned squash, I knew he wanted the risotto so I sent him out for broth while I stopped at the apartment to load another box with things like butter, olive oil and the like. While at the apartment, I did a quick search for some kind of sauce for the chicken as I didn’t have time to marinate nor did I feel like doing the whole breadcrumbs thing.

Over at Elise’s blog, I found a recipe for Mushroom Sage Sauce. Simply Recipes is one of my go-to websites although I often end up varying from her original based on what’s on hand. While you are there, check out the pictures of her parents’ new kitchen. I’m definitely saving those links for some future reference (I hope).

As per usual, I varied but did use the main elements from this Mushroom Sage sauce recipe. I probably would have been slightly more faithful except I didn’t write anything down and did not have access to the recipe once I got to the house.

Original Ingredients
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
8-10 ounces mushrooms, cremini or shitake, thickly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream (light cream may curdle, so use heavy cream)
3 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pieces pounded to an even 1/4 inch to 1/3 inch thickness
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

I only had 1/2 package of mushrooms and no parsley. I did have creme fraiche but didn’t use it here because I forgot. With less mushrooms, I used less sage, about 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped. To add liquid, I used some of the extra broth from the risotto and then swirled in one tablespoon butter at the end.

In Elise’s version, she cooked the mushroom sauce separate from the chicken. Since I already had a burner going to simmer the broth and another for the risotto, I opted to cook the chicken first, hold it warm in the oven and prepare the sauce using any pan drippings/fond to add more flavor.

Basics:

1. Season chicken with salt, pepper and seasonings of your choice. While in Vermont, we bought some Maple Pepper with Garlic so I used that (just like it sounds, pepper with maple sugar and garlic).

2. Heat pan over medium-high heat with olive oil. Saute chicken breasts until light golden, about 5 minutes per side.

3. Remove from pan, cover to keep warm.

4. Add chopped shallots and garlic to pan, plus a little more oil if the pan is a bit dry. Cook about 1 minute then add mushrooms. Allow mushrooms to soften and release their juices. Add 1/2 cup wine to pan to deglaze.

5. Add about 1 cup broth to pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer until slightly reduced. Just before serving add 1 tablespoon butter to thicken sauce.

 


 

To accompany the chicken with mushroom sauce, I made the squash risotto which Chris loves so much. This time, I used some butternut squash from the freezer. Chris had bought me a squash- the biggest butternut squash I’ve ever seen. Peeling and chopping that sucker is going to take some time so I was quite happy to have my freezer stash for last night!!

For this version, I used Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc which was on sale at Horrocks and received 90 points from Wine Spectator. Seasonings were sage, thyme and a little cayenne (to counter the sweet squash). I also used about 1/3 cup of Creme Fraiche instead of butter at the end. For cheese, I had picked up of chunk of their special of the week: a really nutty, easily grateable variety from D&W in Williamston last weekend. Fresh sage at the end really added to the “oomph” factor and made the whole house smell delicious!

Both boys went back for seconds so its still a hit.

Garlic-Rosemary Chicken

Having barely posted over the last several weeks and now coming back post-honeymoon to a big project at work, I am struggling with the “swing of things.” I have many drafts, many posts circulating in my head but not yet drafted and, as of Wednesday, our wedding photos to edit and play with in Photoshop. I may have to schedule my blogging time in to my day like a job.

For now, I shall start simple. Saturday night, we decided to make some chicken but didn’t want buttermilk chicken as we had just done that a few days before. Chris found a recipe online for a garlic-rosemary rubbed pork loin which intrigued him but was rather time consuming with creating an oil infusion then letting it sit for several hours followed by cooking it in the oven.

I don’t know the source of the original recipe but basically, you mixed fresh rosemary and chopped garlic together with olive oil to infuse the oil, by letting it sit for several hours. Then this is mixed with salt to create a paste which is then rubbed on the meat. I knew that introducing heat to the equation would speed up the infusion process and I also knew we had some garlic olive oil from a store in Traverse City. Its a tasty oil but does not hold up to high heat cooking like a non-infused oil so we don’t use it a lot.

In a small saucepan or saute pan, mix 2-3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, finely chopped with 2 cloves fresh chopped garlic (okay, I used the stuff in the fridge) and 3-4 tablespoons of oil (use extra virgin if you don’t have flavored). Heat over medium-low until aromas fill your kitchen. Allow to cook at a medium-low or lower temperature about 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld without frying the garlic.

Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in enough salt to create a paste. I didn’t measure this but I’d estimate 3/4 to 1 tablespoon worked for me. Rub paste in to all sides of chicken breasts. Allow to sit about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add chicken breasts and saute 5-7 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. We used thin cut chicken breasts, as usual, so total cooking time was about 12 minutes.

Served with sweet potato fries: 2 sweet potatoes, cut in to similarly sized chunks, tossed with olive oil and seasonings, baked 30 minutes or so in a 425 degree oven (watch these- they will burn).

To accompany the sweet potato fries, I had some sweet garlic mustard from Vermont. Yummy!

The chicken was incredibly easy and very flavorful; I expect to see a return engagement to our kitchen in the near future. Not really having to measure anything makes it very nice indeed.

Arroz con Pollo

I borrowed this recipe from Elise, over at Simply Recipes. Some modifications for serving size and timeliness along with what was handy.

Arroz Con Pollo

Ingredients

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 package boneless skinless chicken breast, patted dry (approx 3 breast halves with tenderloins)
1/2 cup of flour for dredging
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Paprika

1 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups* chicken stock
1 cup of diced tomatoes (canned, oregano, basil, garlic flavor), strained
Pinch of oregano or more
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup frozen mixed vegetable blend (beans, carrots, peas)

Directions

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan with a lid.

Mix flour, salt, pepper and paprika together on a small plate. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and saute in pan until lightly browned on both sides. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan. Then allow it to sit and brown lightly. Add the onion and garlic. Cook the onion, garlic and rice mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the stock, salt, oregano and tomatoes together.

Place the chicken pieces on top of the rice. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and chicken. I added a little more dried oregano here but its optional. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook 15 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the stock.

Add frozen vegetable blend to pan and return lid. Cook 3-5 minutes until vegetables are heated through. Fluff rice with a fork before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

This made 4 servings. It all came together pretty quickly – maybe 30 minutes start to finish. No picture- it was quick but a late start to dinner so I didn’t want to impede Chris by taking glamour shots first.

Arroz con Pollo would make a great make-ahead dish. You could freeze individual portions.