Key Lime Pie Bars

This recipe came across my screen from the very nice folk at Pillsbury, and, since my husband loves him a citrus-y dessert, and the under-10 set I was going to be seeing later that week have pretty sophisticated palates for being, well, under 10, I figured that this would be a hoooge hit.

It was. With the husband, the under-10 set, and the no flour moms who gladly scraped off and ate the creamy key lime topping.

So, winner winner, right?

Well…

I will, happily make these again, but I might make a few changes – like make my own, from scratch, sugar cookies, and use real whipped cream, but, all in all, this was a tasty, pretty simple to make, and very popular treat.

INGREDIENTS
•1 pkg or roll sugar cookies, baked
•16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed*
•2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
•3/4 cup key lime juice
•2 tbsp grated lime zest
•2 (6 oz) containers key lime yogurt

*You know what we’re talking about, here; go ahead and use the name brand, if you like.

Note: the nice folk at Pillsbury called for using a roll of their sugar cookie dough and regular lime juice from six limes or so; but I figured “Hey! If this is supposed to be ‘easy,’ why should I be bothered with cracking open a roll and separating the cookies, when I can buy a pouch like the one above and have them pre-sorted?”

Then, “why juice all those limes when I can just buy a bottle of (very good) Key Lime Juice at the market?”

Seriously, Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice is good, and their web site has a lot of interesting recipes.

So, the tedious cracking of cookie rolls and juicing of limes dealt with, I thawed that whipped topping and baked some sugar cookies (according to package instructions), which turned out all right and were no trouble at all.

Until…

I popped the cooled cooked cookies into a zipper bag, brought out my meat mallet and commenced to making cookie crumbs.

And…

Nothin.’ These cookies were not crumbling in a satisfactory way at all.

Sooo…

I brought out the big guns, my Breville food processor, and proceeded to well and truly turn the cookies into nice, fine, crumbs.

Of course, not to be too nit-picky about it all, now I had to wash the food processor bowl and bits. Not a huge deal, by any means, but one more step to this “easy” recipe.

OK. Cookies crumbled, let us get to the assembly.

Stir one cup of the whipped topping into the cookie crumbs until well combined, then press into the bottom of an ungreased glass 13×9 inch pan.

Hmmm.

So, I was pressing the mixture and things were not going well.

So, quicklikeabunny, I grabbed the waxed paper out of the pantry and arrange it over the cookie mixture in the pan.

That did the trick! The base crust was well and truly spread, more or less evenly over the bottom of the pan.

Note: I do not mean to be disparaging of this recipe, or its merit as an “easy” one. I just want to prepare folk who try it of some of the things that came up as I was putting it all together. I freely admit to having difficulty with some recipes (the tot waffle debacle comes to mind) that other folk find simple and straightfoward; and so would like to point out when I have come across issues with a recipe. I more than likely will make these again, but, as I said at the top of this post, I will more than likely make my own, very good sugar cookies, using this recipe and skipping the jam bit, and then whipping real cream.

I’ll still use the Key West Lime Juice, though.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sweetened condensed milk together with the key lime juice until thick and nicely smooth.

See? I did not mention yet another bowl, appliance, what-have-you that now needs washing up.

Fold the remaining whipped topping and the Key Lime yogurt into the milk and juice mixture, then spoon over the cookie crust and smooth out with a spatula.

Grate the lime zest evenly over the top, cover, and stash in the fridge for at least eight hours, until it is completely set.

One of the coolest things, to me, about the nice folk at Pillsbury calling for using a glass 13 x 9 baking pan is that most of them come with a cover now, which makes covering and storage a snap.

Gotta give credit where it’s due, after all.

So.

Key Lime Pie Bars.

Really pretty popular and, for all of my kvetching, not too, too bad to toss together.

And now that I think about it…

Hmmm. Lemon Pie Bars? Orange Cream Pie Bars? Interesting…

 

 

 

 

 

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Asparagus Salad

One of my very favorite salads is Asparagus, and I have a bunch of different toppings and additions and add-ons; but this particular combination; crisp tender asparagus, thinly sliced red onion, Honey Mustard Egg Salad, and slightly frizzled Italian cold cuts, all lightly topped with Swiss Style salad dressing, and crumbled blue cheese seems, to me, to be absolutely perfect.

A big platter of this salad is practically guaranteed to please dinner guests, but it’s also simple enough for everyday!

I use an asparagus pot, because we have asparagus a lot, but any large covered skillet or sauce pan will work.

Rinse your asparagus and cut about an inch off the bottom of each stem.

Note: you can, of course, toss these woody stems, but I like to stash ’em in a freezer bag to add an extra bang of flavor to stock for asparagus soup.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling bowl, then add one tablespoon of Kosher salt and the asparagus.

Cook for four or five minutes, until the asparagus is bright green.

Remove from the pot and plunge the asparagus into a large bowl of ice water. This will stop the spears from cooking any more, and the ice shock will lock in that lovely bright green color.

Remove the asparagus from the water and dry well. Stash in the fridge until needed.

Now, for the salad…

There is no real recipe, but I took this assortment of thinly sliced Mortadella, Genoa Salame, and Coppa and cooked ’em in a a skillet until nicely crisped. I then crumbled ’em and stashed ’em in a bowl until it was time to make the salad.

Salad Fixings and Toppings:
•Sliced asparagus
•Chopped Romaine lettuce
•Thinly sliced red onion
•Honey mustard egg salad
(or sliced hard cooked egg)
•Frizzled, crumbled cold cuts
•Crumbled blue cheese
•Swiss Style Salad Dressing
•Chopped toasted pecans
•Sliced pears

A real king among salads.

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Swiss Style Salad Dressing

I came across a discussion on the interwebs of a Swiss version of the traditional French Salad Dressing (not my creamier, tomato-y version) – made with mustard. The notes I found said that a brown mustard would be more traditionally “Swiss,” but I had some of my favorite Dijon already open and in the fridge, so I chose that instead.

I also added paprika and used my own Seasoned Salt in place of plain to give the dressing a bit more zip. It worked, but for the next batch, grated onion, I think.

INGREDIENTS
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp sugar
•1-1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp paprika
•1/2 cup olive oil
•1/2 cup canola oil
•1/4 cup cider vinegar – I used salad vinegar
•2 tbsp heavy cream

A note on the oils: most salad dressing recipes call for using all olive oil. I choose to split it half and half with canola oil because the blend helps to keep the dressing from solidifying in the fridge.

Making the dressing couldn’t be simpler; place all of the ingredients in a beaker and use your immersion blender to emulsify the dressing.

No immersion blender? No problem! Simply add the vinegar and seasonings to your blender jar and, with the blender running, slowly stream the oils through the hole in the lid.

Or… you could go old school and just whip the dressing together using a whisk.

Transfer the dressing to a covered jar and stash in the fridge until needed.

This was lovely drizzled over an asparagus salad with blue cheese and…

those details, tomorrow!

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Sausage Gravy

“So.” you ask yourself.

“Why would you want to share something as basic as sausage gravy?”

“Well” I reply, “I was not raised with the concept of this ‘sausage gravy’ thing, and so, when I set about to make a batch for Breakfast for Dinner, I had to look it up, and thought there might could be other folk out there who could do with a bit of guidance on the subject.” It also turns out to be quite tasty on Ham and Cheese Waffles.

INGREDIENTS
•12 oz tube pork sausage (I like the sage)
•2 tbsp flour
•2 cups milk
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Cook the sausage in a large skillet over medium high heat until it is nicely cooked, and mebbe just a bit crispity in spots.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the cooked sausage from the pan and let rest in a bowl.

Add the flour to the sausage fat in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.

Whisk the milk slowly into the flour in the pan, then lower the heat and simmer for two minutes more, until the gravy is nicely thickened.

Return the sausage to the pan and continue to cook on low until heated through.

Give it a taste.

Nice, right?

Still; it needs some seasoning.

I went with Sherry Peppers Sauce because, well, I add that stuff to just about everything but cake; and then went with black pepper, dried parsley – though fresh would be nice here, too – and Aleppo pepper. Feel free to use whichever additional seasonings you prefer.

Once the gravy was ready, I pulled some Ham and Cheese Waffles from the freezer and popped ’em in the toaster.

Fine breakfast for dinner!

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Parfait! Honey Mustard Jardinière Salad

I thought I would close out this week of adding Honey Mustard salad dressing to egg salad and Catalina salad dressing to steak for tacos by adding the both of them to… wait for it…

macaroni and cheese (Kraft Dinner) to make a tasty, nicely zippy, and really kinda orange, pasta salad.

It really is one of my favorite pasta salads and, you don’t really have to tell folk what’s in it, after all.

INGREDIENTS
Basic Salad:
•1 box Kraft dinner (we like the creamy)
•1/4 cup butter
•1/3 cup Catalina dressing
•1 tbsp Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
•Milk to measure 1/2 cup
•Black pepper
•3/4 cup diced red onion
•3/4 cup chopped celery
•1/4 cup sliced blanched asparagus
•1/4 cup diced peperoncini
•1/4 cup diced Kalamata olives
•1/2 tsp Salad Elegant*

Stir in Later:
•2 tbsp Catalina dressing
•1/4 cup Honey Mustard dressing

*Salad Elegant is a tasty blend of cheese and seasonings made by the very nice folk at Penzey’s Spices and is available at their stores or on line.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, stir in a tablespoon or so of salt, then stir i the macaroni and cook for 9-1/2 minutes.

Yes, I know the box says 7-1/2 minutes, I happen to like mine a bit softer.

Drain the pasta and rinse well (you want to rinse pasta if you’re using it for salad), then return to the pan with the butter.

Add the tablespoon of Honey Mustard to a measuring cup, then add milk to make 1/2 cup. Stir until well blended.

Add the milk to the macaroni and butter in the pan, then stir in the cheese packet until you have yourself a nice pot o’ mac and cheese.

Now, stir in the 1/3 cup of Catalina dressing, cover the pot, and set it aside to cool.

While the mac and cheese is cooling, you can prep your veggies.

I had some asparagus leftover from a salad, so added that to diced red onion, celery, and then chopped Kalamata olives and peperoncini.

Note: you wanna make an already very nice pasta salad even nicer? Replace the plain mayonnaise with my Cuban-inspired Medianoche Mayonnaise – made by stirring 1/4 cup of Italian dressing into one cup of mayonnaise, along with a bit of hot sauce, to taste. Nice!

OK, mac and cheese cooled and veggies chopped, stir the mayonnaise (or Medianoche mayo, if you’re going that route) into the mac and cheese, along with some fresh ground black pepper.

Transfer the mac and cheese to a container, and consider it for a minute.

Looks kinda soupy, dosn’t it? Almost as though we’ve add too much stuff to the salad, right?

Nope! This is exactly how it should look at this point. The macaroni is gonna soak up all that extra liquid (and flavor) while resting, covered, in the fridge for a couple of hours or (you know what’s coming) always more better – overnight.

Consider that same container of almost Jardiniére Salad just a couple of hours later.

Now, we’re ready to stir in the veggies and Salad Elegant, or, whichever other seasonings you prefer. Paprika could be nice as well as poppy and/or celery seeds.

Toss the veggies and seasonings together with the mac and cheese until nicely mixed, then give the salad a taste.

Hmmm.

Good, but, it needed something…

Another two tablespoons of Catalina and another 1/4 cup of Honey Mustard stirred into the mix was just the ticket.

Cover and stash in the fridge until ready to serve, mebbe with some freshly chopped parsley on top.

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Catalina Steak Tacos

This is a kinda weird – but very tasty – taco combination that may leave some of the taco purists out there cold and dismayed.

I don’t really care, these were fine – if ‘untraditional’ – tacos, and, they helped deal with a bunch of leftovers after my husband left for a long-ish bidness trip.

See… our market had this terrific deal on three New York Strip steaks, and so we thought we would have a nice steak dinner before he left.

Y’know, the whole thing, marinated grilled steaks, Korean potato salad (because that’s how we roll around here) and a nice chopped romaine salad with feta and onions and tomato and such.

The steaks were kinda hoooge, so I am glad I only marinated and grilled two because, look at the leftovers.

What to do?

Well, I also had leftover Korean potato salad, that tossed salad, and there was a nicely smelly chunk of Provolone in the cheese drawer from my favorite Italian deli; so, I naturally thought: “TACOS!”

This is really more of a concept and method than a recipe, but I will give you a list of ingredients, if not actual amounts used. Play around with it and have some fun.

INGREDIENTS
Tacos:
•1 tbsp butter
•1 tbsp olive oil
•Grilled NY Strip Steak, sliced
•1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced
•Sliced peperoncini, drained
•Provolone cheese, sliced
•Catalina dressing*
•Flour tortillas

Toppings:
•Shredded lettuce
•Chopped tomato
•Diced onion
•Feta cheese
•Thousand Island dressing*

*A note on the salad dressings. The nice folk at Kraft foods have really cleaned up the contents of all of their dressings, elimination artificial flavors and colors, but, if you’d like more control of your food, here is a very respectable Catalina substitute which is ALL real stuff and contains about 1/4 of the sugar of commercial dressings. Likewise with the Thousand Island, I used Marie’s because I had a jar in the fridge. Again, if you’d like to make your own, I also have a couple of very fine options for you to try; here and here.

Salad dressing controversy out of the way; melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the sliced onion and peperoncini and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and tender, about eight minutes.

Toss in the sliced steak, then continue to cook for another minute or two.

Drizzle with Catalina dressing and toss to coat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, still stirring often, until everything is nicely warmed and some of the steak and onion slices are a bit charred on the edges – mebbe five more minutes.

Arrange the slice Provolone over the top, cover the pan, remove from the heat and let rest until the cheese has melted.

Hmmm, mebbe I shoulda called this a pepper steak taco?

Whie the cheese is getting all ooey gooey over the steak, warm another skillet over medium high heat, then lightly toast flour tortillas, two minutes or so per side, until each side has some browned or lightly blackened patches.

Remove to a platter and keep warm while you repeat with the remaining tacos.

To serve, spread one side of each tortilla with the Thousand Island Dressing, then arrange the cooked Catalina steak and Provolone mixture in the lower third of the tortilla.

Add the toppings of your choice (because I was using leftover chopped salad, mine had lettuce, red onion, carrot strips, Feta cheese, and crispy rice noodles), and enjoy.

I think I need to make me some more leftovers…

soon.

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Not Your Momma’s Egg Salad (Plus, a Bonus!)

Not to say that there is anything wrong with your momma’s egg salad. For me, I don’t recall my mom every making the stuff, and the concoctions I came across at gatherings and university cafeterias made me kinda glad she didn’t.

But…

This egg salad really is different, and, I think, better than your more usual salads made out of eggs; more flexible, too, just look at some on a cracker with asparagus.

And let me tell you, it was goood!

What makes these so different? I do have some pretty custom ingredients in here, but the real game changer, for me, was the mustard, or allow me to be perfectly clear, the home made honey mustard, which comes together in minutes, and contains nothing but real ingredients. And that recipe, available elsewhere on this here blog thing-y, is your bonus content to today’s post because I really feel it is that important to making these eggs as nice as they are.

Note: I am at home alone this week while my husband travels for work, so I just made a small amount of egg salad. The honey mustard dressing will be more than enough for you to scale the salad recipe up three of four times.

INGREDIENTS
Honey Mustard Salad Dressing:
•1/2 cup mayonnaise
•1/4 cup yellow mustard
•1/4 cup honey
•1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper

To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended, an immersion blender works a treat here, then transfer to a covered jar and stash in the fridge until needed.

Egg Salad:
•2 large eggs
•2 tbsp mayonnaise
•Chopped red onion
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 tsp Salad Elegant
•1/2 tsp Honey Mustard
•1 tsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•Kosher salt
•Black pepper
•Aleppo pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: Salad Elegant is a tasty blend of spices, seasonings, and Parmesan cheese available from the nice folk at Penzey’s on line and in their stores. Check them out.

Add cold water to cover your eggs by an inch or so, then bring just to the boil, uncovered,  over high heat.

Cover the pan, remove from the heat and let rest for about ten minutes for large eggs.

Remove the eggs from the water and place in a bowl of ice water to cool them down and stop them from cooking any further.

Once cooled, peel and make your salad, or stash in the fridge for up to two days.

Note: making a lot of eggs and find the peeling is a pain? Try this pressure cooker method, which will give you perfect eggs that are easier to peel. No joke!

Honey mustard dressing made, and the eggs cooled and peeled, let us get to making us some championship egg salad.

Stir the honey mustard together with the mayonnaise, red onion and other seasonings until nicely mixed.

Chop the eggs roughly and add to the honey mustard mixture, mashing with a fork until the egg salad is well blended.

Transfer to a bowl and stash in the fridge until needed.

I used a bit the evening I made the egg salad over an asparagus and blue cheese salad, then topped that with frizzled Mortadella, Genoa Salami, and Coppa; then drizzled a bit of my new Swiss Salad Dressing (details to come) over all.

This was one pretty terrific salad, and I plan on sharing it with friends in the near future.

But, don’t forget the goodness than can be this egg salad on top of a crispity cracker topped with asparagus tips or capers, or perhaps a slice of cucumber with a piece of Cowboy Candy on top, or spread into a stalk of celery and sprinkled with chopped chives.

Really, who knew that egg salad could be so very interesting?

And tasty!

 

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Gluten Free Apple Crisp (well, except for the Scotch)

OK, here’s the deal. Friends of ours have been on a little-to-no gluten diet for a while and were feeling much better for it.

Then, the holidaze came, and all the gatherings, and The Book Club, where I try to plan accordingly, there would be some things on offer that had flour, or egg roll wrappers, or something that wasn’t gonna be good for them. So they decided that “Huzzah and pass the punch bowl!” my house, and all the goodies that came out of it were, miraculoulsy, gluten free!

So. That’s over now.

Fortunately, the interwebs have a host of helpful suggestions for, say, turning some apples I had not gotten around to eating, into a very nice, pretty darned easy to toss together, and gluten free, apple crisp.

“Huzzah and pass the punch bowl!”

Ermmm, except…

it turns out that Scotch, is not considered to be gluten free because it comes from grain.

Sooo, I made my friends a gluten free dessert that wasn’t actually, totally, 100% gluten free. Next time I’ll try tequila.

Still a pretty terrific crisp, and you could just substitute water for the Scotch. Or, mebbe, port. Yeh, port would be AWESOME!

INGREDIENTS
Filling:
•6 cups peeled and sliced apples
•2 tbsp Scotch Whisky
•1 tbsp water
•1 tbsp sugar
•1-1/2 tsp cornstarch
•1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
•1-1/2 tsp allspice
•1/4 tsp nutmeg

Topping:
•1/2 cup almond flour
•1/2 cup old fashioned oats
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•1/2 tsp cinnamon
•1/2 tsp allspice
•2 tbsp softened unsalted butter
•2 OR 3 additional tbsp butter

Heat your oven to 350º and apply cooking spray to a pie dish, my small paella pan worked a treat here, and made serving just a bit nicer.

Toss the apples with the Scotch, water, sugar, cornstarch, and spices and set aside in a bowl while you put together the topping.

To make the topping, gently stir the oats, brown sugar, almond flour, and spices together with the two tablespoons of softened butter.

Arrange the apples in the prepared baking pan, then top evenly with the mixed crumble topping.

Here’s where, next time, I’m gonna add additional butter: dot the top of the crumble with additional butter, then bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the apples are cooked through, the crisp is bubbling nicely, and the topping is browned.

Serve this crisp hot, warm, at room temperature, or, pop a cooled spoonful in the ‘wave for a few seconds for a warm, spicy, (mostly) gluten free treat.

Oh, and be sure to top it with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

Just because.

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Best! Pan Fried Potatoes

I had a half bag of baking potatoes leftover from my last batch o’ Korean Potato Salad, and was looking for something different to do with them. Baked? Not in the mood. Mashed? Nope.

Pan fried? Hmmm. Pan fried souded really good to me, but, mine never really turn out quite right, crispity crunchy outside but almost fluff on the inside.

So, I did some research on the interwebs and you know what?

This works!

Now, brace yourself, because these steps are simple, but they take time; ideally you should prep the night before.

So, first step?

Soak.

Wash and cup your potatoes into more or less uniform sized pieces, then cover with cold water and let rest for at least an hour, or – you knew this was coming – always more better, overnight. This will help get rid of excess starch in the potato pieces and is a very good thing.

Drain and rinse your potatoes well, then, prep for the second step:

Par-boil.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then stir in a tablespoon or so of salt (I used Kosher).

Add the drained and rinsed potato pieces and boil for five minutes.

Full disclosure. My water really wasn’t quite hot enough when I added my potatoes, so I gave mine eight minutes, covered in all. It took a good three minutes to get the water back to bubbly, but all worked out.

Potatoes soaked and par-boiled, you’re gonna want to drain them again, well, and then, if you can, let them dry completely.

*sigh*

I know, you just want some pan fried potatoes, not a long term commitment, but it can be done, and in time for brunch!

I gave my potatoes just an hour to soak, and then mebbe another 30 to 40 minutes to air dry in the colander before I began the main event; which worked out, because the dog needed a walk at that point, anyway.

Potatoes well and truly prepped, let us begin pan frying!

INGREDIENTS
Prep:
•4 cups chopped baking potatoes
(I did not peel mine)
•Cold water
•Kosher salt

Pan Frying:
•1 sweet onion, chopped
•5 garlic cloves, smashed
•1 tbsp butter
•3 tbsp olive oil
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 tsp sweet paprika
•1 tsp fried parsley
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•Black pepper, to taste
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•Chopped pepperoni (optional)

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then add the potatoes, onion, Sherry Peppers Sauce, paprika, parsley, Seasoned Salt, and pepper and toss to coat.

Cook, moving the potatoes around often, until the potatoes are nicely browned and crispity on the edges.

At this point, I tried mine and thought them quite nice, but that I could do just a wee, tiny bit better, so…

I added a handful of chopped pepperoni and one tablespoon of sherry vinegar, stirring them in until blended in and heated through.

Really terrific potatoes, and even better the next day, reheated in a pan with a bit of olive oil, some sliced Barbecued Corned Beef, and a fried egg.

Worth every bit of effort.

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Parfait! Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken

This Parfait! recipe, to me, perfectly illustrates this week’s Food For Thought quote from the most esteemed Douglas Adams in, that, in my mebbe not so humble opinion, this is the way chicken should be done. And possibly duck, too. I will get back to you on that.

Loaded with flavor, moist and tender, with a pan gravy that is pretty hard to beat, this chicken also has the advantage, with the help of modern technology, a one pan procedure!

I mean, shut the front door and call me Mildred, but that is pretty cool beans.

All you need is an electric “multi pot” – a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, risotto and yogurt maker, combo with a couple of other buttons no doubt on the control panel.

I was able to brown my chicken, then sauté the aromatics, the pressure cooked the chicken with the aromatics, then, while the chicken was resting, brought the pan juices to a simmer and reduced them to make the gravy. This one recipe is worth the price of the pot. Add in making stock from leftover bones, and the easiest peeling hard cooked eggs you’re likely to come across, and we are talking about a multi-functional kitchen gadget.

And do not even get me started on the risotto.

Yum!

So all that said, let’s put together one. FINE. Chicken.

INGREDIENTS
•1 whole chicken (about 4 lb)
•1/2 cup peperoncini juice (from the jar)
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tbsp veggie oil
•2 cups diced sweet onion (1 medium)
•1 cup diced celery
•1 cup diced carrot
•1 tbsp sliced peperoncini (from the jar)
•1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
•1/2 tsp dried rosemary
•2 tbsp flour
•1/2 cup Prosecco (or other white wine)
•3/4 cup chicken stock
•2 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 tbsp Sherry Vinegar
•Black pepper, to taste

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Note: we use a cage free, vegetarian bird with no preservatives or other stuff added.

Remove the giblets from the bird and toss – or – set aside to maybe make a gluten free gravy thickener.

Drizzle the chicken, inside and out, with the oil and the peperoncini pickle juice (or, just  use white vinegar) and set aside to rest for ten minutes.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season, again inside and out, with the Seasoned Salt, black and Aleppo peppers, and the paprika.

Heat the oil in your pot on the “BROWN” setting until the oil begins to smoke.

Add the chicken, breast side down, and cook for four minutes.

Using a good pair of tongs, flip the bird and cook for another four minutes.

Remove to a bowl or platter, then add the onion, celery, carrot, and peperoncini to the hot liquid in the pot and cook for five minutes.

Add the garlic and rosemary and cook for about a half a minute, just until they are nicely fragrant.

Stir in the flour and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Note: if you want, or need to go gluten free, skip the flour at this point and I’ll have another couple of options (no additional ingredients) later on in the recipe.

Stir in the wine, scraping up any tasty crispity bits from the bottom of the pan and continue to cook on “BROWN” for about 30 more seconds.

Stir in the chicken stock and the Sherry Peppers Sauce, then place the chicken, breast side up, in the pot.

Turn your pot off, then lock the lid into place and set the timer for 25 minutes at HIGH pressure.

Note: no, your chicken will not now be ready in 25 minutes, that bit is one of the annoyances I find with most pressure cooker recipes. Your pot will need to come up to pressure before the cooking (and the timer) will start – so, plan on adding mebbe 10 to 15 more minutes to this bit.

Once the time goes off. chill! Your pot will cycle to “KEEP WARM” for 15 minutes or so; but, if you are ready for your chicken, turn the pot off, then do a quick release of the pressure (be mindful off that very hot steam).

Transfer the chicken to a platter or cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and set aside to rest while you finish the gravy.

Skim any excess fat from the top of the pot, then bring to a boil using the “SAUTÉ” setting.

Whisk in the butter and sherry vinegar (or, lemon juice will work here, too) and simmer until the gravy is as thick as you like it.

Note: you’re going no gluten? Add those giblets you didn’t toss earlier and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the giblets are well and truly done. Give the whole thing a whizzz with your immersion blender, and you should have a nicely thickened gravy.

Either way, give it a tasted and add additional salt, pepper, or sherry vinegar, if you think it needs it.

We totally enjoyed this with smashed potatoes and steamed asparagus, with the gravy over the top.

I can truthfully say that I would make this every single week, at least once, but then the chicken bones stashed in the freezer to make stock – and then, of course, the stock, would begin to overwhelm this two, full size, fridge/freezer household so I keep it down to once a month or so.

Besides, absence actually does make the heart grow fonder.

Note: my appliance is a 6 quart Fagor LUX multicooker, and I have been very happy with it. Friends have the Instant Pot and seem equally pleased, so look around and find what works best for you.

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