Friday, February 26, 2010

Pan Roasted Chicken with Fresh Parsley and Lemon

I used to spend lots of time creating very elaborate meals.  They were wonderful - and are wonderful (when I have the time.)

But for daily cooking, I still think simple is best.  With a few techniques it is easy to create a wonderful meal.  Pan roasting is a good example of this.

Here is a basic recipe for pan-roasted chicken.  You can vary the flavorings, use the juices from the pan and add a few fresh herbs and some lemon zest to liven things up.  But, for terrific chicken flavor - easy - this one can't be beat.

1 chicken cut up into 6 or 8 pieces (you can also split a small chicken in half and "flatten it").
Olive Oil (enough to coat bottom of heavy oven-safe frying pan)
Chopped fresh parsley and lemon slices for serving

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Dry off chicken parts and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.  Let stand for about 15 minutes to "marinate." 
2.  Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed frying pan that is large enough to fit all the pieces of chicken without crowding.  Make sure the oil and pan are REALLY hot so the chicken doesn't stick and you get a good sear on the skin. (Note: If the chicken is really close together, it will steam instead of crisping.)
3.  Place chicken skin side down into hot oil.  Be careful!!
4.  Let brown in frying pan for about 5-7 minutes or until really golden brown (take the time to make sure it really crisps and looks browned!)
5.  Flip chicken over and put pan into oven. 
6.  Roast chicken for another 10-11 minutes until juices run clear and chicken is done. 
7.  Transfer to platter and sprinkle with fresh parsley and lemon!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

My first pressure cooker brisket

The pressure cooker was an absolute revelation to me (thanks DAD!)

I cooked a brisket in under 1 hour in the cooker - and it was delicious!   Tender, flavorful - and on a weeknight - unbelievable!  The kids loved it, and I look forward to many happy meals together!

So - here is the recipe.

4-5 lb. brisket
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions chopped
3 carrots chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
4-5 whole garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup red wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

1.  In the pressure cooker, heat the olive oil and brown the brisket on all sides.  Remove brisket.
2. Put carrots, onions, celery, garlic and bay leaf in the oil/fat and saute quickly until starting to brown a bit. Season with salt and pepper
3. Put brisket back in the cooker.  Cover with liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Put cover on the cooker and lock it.  Cook at 15 lbs of pressure (setting 2 on my Fagor) for 50 minutes.  Cool down the cooker under cool water. 
4. Slice and enjoy!!

For those that don't have a pressure cooker - this can be made (of course) the same way - set oven to 300 degrees - brown brisket/saute veggies/cover with liquid and braise in oven (covered) for about 3 1/2 hours or until tender.

Serve over noodles, with a salad, etc.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pressure Cooker

I did it.

I bought one. 

6 quart Fagor Pressure Cooker. 

I will be making brisket in it tonight. 

I will let you know how it goes.

If you hear a really large explosion coming from a house near Bell School on Chicago's North Side - and the smell of brisket fills the air - you know what happened.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Carmelized Apples, Onions and Leeks

Last night I had bigger plans for dinner than I was able to pull off.  I had originally thought I would have time to make a brisket, etc. etc...  As it turns out, the kids had bagels and cream cheese, yogurt, bananas, etc.

But! I did have time to make a quick salad for me and Jay.   I roasted some cored and quartered apples with quartered onions and leeks (cut into about 1/2 inch coins) for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.  They were tossed with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then I scraped all the carmelized onions and apples and put it on top of a salad of frisee, baby greens and chopped romaine for some crunch.  A bit of vinagrette - and sliced baguette and voila! Light dinner.

This would also be terrific with some crumbled goat cheese for a more substantial salad - or as a side dish. 

Have fun!