Sept 2009 COTM: SOUTHERN Poultry
September 2009 Cookbooks of the Month:
SCREEN DOORS AND SWEET TEA: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook, by Martha Hall Foose (SDST)
BON APPETIT Y'ALL: Recipes and Tales from Three Generations of Southern Cooking, by Virginia Willis (BAYA)
Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for chicken, fowl, poultry, etc here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the book or author and page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe. This thread includes:
Chapter 5: Gospel Birds and Game Birds
poultry dishes from Chapter 4: DIshes from the Backyard and Kitchen
A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.
Mama's Orange Glazed Cornish Game Hens: BAY'A pg 120.
I just love the term "spatchcocking." In this recipe thats what you do to two poor little Cornish game hens. Then a mixture of butter, herbs, (I used chives and thyme) the grated zest of an orange and 3 shallots is slipped under the loosened skin. The hens are then salt and peppered. the remaining herb butter is spread over the top and into a 450 degree oven they go.
Ahh, these almost instantly started to smell sublime....I had to cook mine for 40 minutes instead of 30, but then they were a bit larger than what the recipe calls for. Next the little guys are removed to a platter and tented to keep warm.
The roasting pan is then deglazed with sherry and the juice of the orange and one cup of chicken stock is added. Ms. Willis says to cook this down for only a couple of minutes until it thickens some. I thought it needed more time. The sauce is then served over the birds.
The results? Well those birds were certainly declicious, but I felt the sauce was lacking. The orange didn't come through as much as the shallots did. Perhaps that was just the fault of my orange....or that my stock didn't cook enough, but the birds developed a glaze of their own while roasting and I think the flavors there were such that the sauce wasn't really necessary. The new puppy, who likes to steal things certainly enjoyed it though. In the thirty seconds it took to take our plates to the kitchen counter, he managed to slurp the rest of what was sitting in a bowl without even disturbiing the spoon. He got half a stick of butter too....
Oven-Fried Chicken Breast with Pecan Crust, BAYA p. 102
Delicious! I made it for a dinner party and everyone liked it. The pecan flavor in the crust really came through. We all enjoyed the Vidalia Honey Mustard dressing that went with it too (although I used Walla Walla, because that was what was available). I was a little apprehensive as I was making this dish that it would be a gussied up versions of chicken fingers and too sweet dipping sauce, but not at all. The dressing was quite tangy, in fact.
However, I was very sad to pour 4 cups of buttermilk down the drain after it had been used to brine the chicken. Such a waste. How much difference does the buttermilk really make? Could I have used just 2 cups, which would have been sufficient to cover the 4 breasts Or brine in water and dip in buttermilk before the egg? Actually, the buttermilk still clinging to the chicken made it hard for the egg mixture to adhere. I guess I'm not convinced about this part. The flavor of the egg mix (with mustard and thyme) was great and definitely came through.
There was excess egg dip left, no surprise, but the pecan panko mixture got used up entirely by 4 breasts -- I don't know what I would have done if I had had 6 breasts to coat. I used tongs to serve the breasts off of the rack, but I think a spatula might have been better, because the coating did tend to crack and fall off when I handled them with the tongs.
But all in all, very tasty! I accompanied ith with Corn Spoon Bread and Smoky Collard (chard) greens.
Hmm, I didn't have a problem dissolving the salt (I used a whisk), but as I say, I too am not convinced that there was much benefit to the buttermilk. The flavors I could really taste were the mustard & thyme from the egg mixture and the pecan crust. If I make it again, I would probably brine in just salted water, not bother with the garlic or bay leaves, and dry the breasts before dipping in the egg mixture (add the paprika here perhaps?), which might help the crust stick better.
New Southern Chicken and Herb Dumplings BAY'A pg. 236
After I opened the "reply" box I realized this might not be be the right thread for this, since it's in the soups and stews chapter, but what the heck...
Made this dish last night. What's not to like about chicken stew with dumplings on a chilly September evening? One starts by poaching chicken breasts, cubed, in chicken stock enhanced with a Bouquet garni. I didn't notice that I was supposed to cube first, but no harm done. As the chicken is cooking one assembles the dumpling dough. Then one sautees chopped onion "preferably Vidalia" with some sliced carrots and cubed sweet potato. Then one adds garlic. In goes the reserved stock, bring to a boil, then drop the dumplings in, cover and cook. Lastly one adds the cubed chicken then the spinach and two minutes later it's all done.
Based on Lulu's Mom report in the original BAYA thread, I was wary of the dumpling part. Would mine be dense and heavy too? I was particulary wary of mixing the dumpling dough in advance of it being called for in the recipe. Since baking powder will start reacting as soon as it hits the liquid (warmed milk with butter melted into it) I thought that might be Lulu's Mom's problem. So, I mixed the dry ingredients together and did not add the milk mixture until just before adding the dumplings to the stew.
When I did add the milk mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients, a rather strange thing happened. After one or two quick stirs (never overmix your dumplings) the whole thing kind of puffed up with the flour totally absorbing that liquid. It was acutally dry!
Dropping the rounded tablespoons of dumplings into the stew, Chowpup, who was stirring, and I both remarked: "that's a whole lotta dumplins." We had to monitor the pot closely for overflow. I should have used a larger pot, as you can see by my picture....wasn't quite sure how I was even going to fit all chicken in. But I did.
This dish was delicious and perfect for a Thursday night one dish meal. We stuffed ourselves in a most "comforting" way. (Chowpup now wants me to buy this book so she can make notes in the margins.) One note though: I didn't think the flavor of the Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese included in the dumplings came through. Next time I would use more.
Thanks Gio. Chowpup has been helping me in the kitchen for most of her 16 years. I actually used to cook with her in her backpack. What I really love is that now she is cooking on her own occassionally. And, she is teaching her friends how to properly measure ingredients for baking.
Looks wonderful. I'm glad that in some way my report was of some help. I don't *think* I mixed the dough in advance, but it's been a few months now. I really want to try this again, especially now that the weather is cooling down a bit. We did love the flavor. Anyway, glad it was a hit.
Herb Roast Chicken with Pan Sauce
A classic roast chicken with a shallot-white wine pan sauce, this made a nice dinner last night, served with Baker's Potatoes. Chicken is seasoned with herbs de Provence (I used Penzey's), s&p, and lemon, rubbed with butter, and tied. I did this earlier in the day. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 450, decrease to 350 and roast for 15 minutes, then add chopped carrot and onion to the pan and continue to roast. I basted with a little bit of homemade chicken stock a few times. The pan sauce is made with shallots, white wine, and chicken stock. She never mentions what to do with the vegetables, but since they were roasted and caramelized, I seasoned them and served alongside the potatoes as a side dish.
Chicken Fricasee with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar, BAY'A page 105
Now I know y'all made and discussed this on Gio's original BAY'A thread, but just to let ya know...I made it last night. In the intro to the recipe, Willis says: "In France, this dish is often made with guinea hen, which has rich, dark meat, and much more complex flavor than chicken." Soooo, I thought this recipe was a good candidate for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. And it was!
As were others, I had doubts about the red wine vinegar "good quality" thing, especially as Mr. Clam isn't too fond of vinegary stuff. But he wasn't home when I poured it in and never knew it was vinegar and not wine. (Let that be our little secret.) The Chowpup and I thought it was very good. Mr. Clam thought it was good but a little too "winey." I served it with the Baker's Potatoes from page 171. That was a good match, and wow, I actually followed two recipes at once....doesn't happen much around here.
Once again I think the problem lies more with me than with the recipe, but this one didnt' work for me. I think in the end vinegary stuff (aside from salads) doesn't appeal. It was pleasant, but ... but maybe I never did find that perfect vinegar. I'm so glad everyone else is loving it.
Ain't No Thing, Chicken Wing: Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, Pg. 32
The marinade and subsequent sauce from this recipe makes a very tasty dish. It can be used with shrimp, chicken and pork as well as wings. Because I ain't got no chicken wings I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. And, ain't got no chili sauce so I used about 1/4 c Chinese chili paste with garlic mixed with 1/2 c ketchup. That combo alone was terrific but I digress. To the chili sauce cumin, ginger, cider vinegar, Tabasco, and honey are added and mixed. The meat is submerged in this goodness and marinated for an hour in the fridge, then baked in a 375 oven for 30 minutes, turned over and baked for an additional 20 minutes. Meanwhile the marinade is cooked till somewhat thickened...then the meat is brushed with the sauce and baked for about 8 minutes. Whoooooeeeeee.....what spicy, sweet, yummy deliciousness this is. And I ain't jes whistlin' Dixie. BTW: shoulda been "Ain't No Thang."
The sides were the Roasted Beetroot salad from Ottolenghi and steamed Jasmine rice.
Ever since Gio's report on this "Ain't No Thing, Chicken Wing" I've been dying to try this recipe. It's the thing that sent me back to the library to get Screen Doors for myself. And last night (I finally remembered to take the chicken thighs out of the freezer on time) I had the chance to make them.....
But, yes there is that chili sauce conundrum. There are so many "chili sauces" available these days that I was shaking my head as to the appropriate sauce for this dish. Plus, an initial perusal of my local grocery didn't result in anything labeled just "chili sauce." So I thought this must be some kind of classic Southern condiment and pulled out my ever trustworthy cookbook The Women's Home Companion Cookbook (from the 1940's) and there in the pickling and preserving section was a recipe for Chile Sauce. So using the ingredients as a guide, back to the store I went. I read the labels for taco sauce and enchilada sauce. Both seemed pretty close....Then I thought to check again in the condiment aisle, and lo and behold, a bottle simply labeled "Chile Sauce." Must be the classic one thought I. I brought it home.
Gio's big "Whoooooeeeeee" wasn't lost on me. Since I too used boneless, skinless thighs, and this was to be the main dish for dinner, I didn't want it to be overwhelminly spicy. So, I reduced the three tablespoons of hot pepper sauce called for to two, and added a tablespoon of water to equalize the liquid. And I'm glad I did. It had just the right amount of heat. Yummy and sinus-clearing at the same time.