Thursday, December 18, 2014

Southern Baked Chicken Casserole

I recommend ALL of the above.

Southern cooking: it invokes a mental image of large women in floral apron working in big old hot kitchen with a screen door for the breeze, lots of chicken and veggies, simple but rich. I could go on, but you get the idea. This is what was going through my mind when I read this recipe. Does it hold up? Let us find out!

An aside before we begin. By completing this recipe, you are inherently a bad person in my book. I like crackers and crushing a whole sleeve is an act of gratuitous violence in my book.

A thing of beauty.
I am a MoNsTeR! I will have nightmares of this day.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped pimentos, drained (more or less a 4-ounce jar)
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed (4 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 350° (if you have not chopped everything up, preheat in the middle of chopping). In a large saucepan, melt the butter in the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 6-10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Season the mixture with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the mayonnaise, chicken and pimentos.

Transfer the chicken mixture to a 2 (ish) quart baking dish. Scatter the crushed crackers on top. Bake for about 30-45 minutes, until the casserole is golden and bubbling. Let rest before serving.

No bubbles: not ready. Or in this case, not cooked at all.

Lots of bubbles = done.

I left the instructions as rotisserie chicken even though I did not use it. I love those chickens. $5 at the grocery or Sam’s gets you a whole chicken cooked to salty perfection.  Hell they are typically cheaper than an uncooked chicken (which confuses me). Drool… point is when I buy one I eat the hell out of it. I see recipes all the time for the leftovers. Does not happen in my world. So I used about 1.5 lbs of diced lightly seasoned chicken breast meat.

Speaking of salt, be careful here. You salt before a salty ingredient. Sure the salty chicken is mixed in but the Ritz are yet to come. Just make sure you balance salt added to the chicken AND Ritz.

I would not sweat the exact vegetables and quantities here. I threw in TWO stalks of celery because I am a wild and crazy guy.

Vegetables are tasty.

Vegetables are even more tasty when drowning in milk and butter and oil.

I used skim milk since it was what was in the fridge. The sauce still thickened quite nicely and tasted relatively rich.

Frank’s was originally tabasco sauce but otherwise this is more or less unmodified from the original. I did not use much. I was convinced I could talk the wifey into trying this one. Did not happen. I wish I used more. Pregnant wifeys: they are trouble, I am telling you. ;)

It was good. Southern enough. I am a life long Northerner, so I am guessing honestly. Anyway I am unsure if I will ever make it again, but I have no regrets.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Baked Apple Butter Brown Sugar Chicken

Let us just get this out of the way: I ROYALLY fucked this up. Forgive the language, but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. Next time, I will possibly follow the original recipe or remake as I have below. However you, my loyal viewing audience, get what I actually made. Why? Something about honesty or integrity or some other BS like that. Plus the original recipe does not match my pictures.

Not a chicken wing.

Also I just want to point out, I keep my promises. I said I would revisit apple butter after the last recipe was just ok. More integrity! I am an integrity MACHINE!

2-3 pounds chicken breasts cut into 3-4” long, 1-2” wide pieces
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (canola)
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup apple butter
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon Sriracha, or more (much more) to taste, divided

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking dish with foil.

In a medium bowl, mix everything besides the sour cream and half the Sriracha (ie 1 tablespoon DOES get mixed in). Stab the chicken with a fork repeatedly until well punctured and the everything is well mixed.

Place chicken onto prepared baking dish and baste with remaining sauce. Place into oven and bake for 25 minutes, using tongs to turn halfway and basting with apple butter glaze on other side of wings.

To make the dipping sauce, whisk together sour cream and Sriracha to taste.

Upon removing from oven, drizzle sour cream sauce over the chicken and serve.

Ok so this is a Frankenstein monster here. I substituted breast meat for wings. That part was planned. But this recipe was originally a three part sauce: one to mix the chicken in, one to baste, and the sour cream drizzle at the end. Because I cannot follow basic instructions, the chicken sauce and the baste became one. You know what, I was having a good day, I did not let my screw up ruin it. Do not judge me!

This helped.

An additional screw up occurred when I decided to wash the bowl with the remaining sauce before I basted for a second time at the half mark. I am unsure of how much wine I had drank at that point, but we will blame it on the wine.

In regards to the sour cream, I kept adding Sriracha until it tasted good. If I had to guess I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 tablespoons. One was just was not enough! Very little heat comes through in the chicken itself. This is the place you want to control the heat.

As an aside, hopefully when you copy and paste my recipes you will not get this crap.
I am unsure how to add nicotine to the recipe.

FABULOUS! I ate the sauce with a spoon after I was done. Seriously, and I say that without shame.

Note the cleanliness of the spoon. I did not even stop at this point. I ate half of what you see here.