Tag Archives: chicken

Leek and Mushroom Fritatta Breakfast Sandwiches

28 Jun

After eating fritatta breakfast sandwiches every weekday for three weeks, hubby and I were ready for a little change.  We still wanted a tasty breakfast that was full of good things, so I grabbed some leeks and mushrooms, used a couple of chicken thighs, and came up with a new recipe.

This is brunch on a bun.  It’s all the gorgeous flavor of leeks and mushrooms that you can find in my leek and mushroom tart (and most of the same ingredients), in a cute little easy-to-eat package.  It’s savory and feels like you’re eating a meal, but it’s not heavy.  We’ve been shopping a lot at Trader Joe’s and this recipe was scaled up to accomodate two packages of leeks and a package of goat cheese…  As a result it’s going to make more than my original breakfast sandwich recipe does.  But that’s okay…  More leftovers!

It takes a little time to prep (especially since leeks are so difficult to clean), but the results are stellar.

Leek and Mushroom Fritatta Breakfast Sandwiches

  • 4 medium leeks, cleaned well and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dry thyme)
  • 8 oz mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 small chicken thighs, poached and shredded (or leftover chicken from another application; about half a pound)
  • 2 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 tbsp half and half, cream, or milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste

In a large sautee pan, cook leeks and garlic in olive oil on medium-low until softened.  Add mushrooms and thyme and cook through.  Season.  Drain off excess water (the mushrooms always give off lots) and place in large bowl with shredded chicken.  Allow to cool thoroughly before adding eggs, milk, and goat cheese and scrambling well.  Pour into two pans (I used a 9×13″ and an 8″ square) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until set.  I found that this takes a little more time than the spinach and mushroom fritatta to cook; just be sure that the center doesn’t jiggle when you take it out of the oven!  Cool and cut into 16 pieces (if you’re using English muffins, as we are this week, and you cut these according to their size, you’ll actually get “edge” pieces too – I think we have a total of 20 servings).  As with the original, simply let the fritatta cool complete and wedge it between halves of a bun or English muffin before freezing your sandwich.  When you’re ready to eat it, microwave it until it’s warm.

Now, you may be wondering why I don’t have any photos of this…  And there’s a very simple reason.  It looks ugly.  Lots of lumpy white bits, between the chicken, the goat cheese, the mushrooms (I used white button mushrooms this time, since that’s what they had at our local Trader Joe’s), and the leeks (which start off green but usually end up greyish when they’re cooked).  I thought the original wasn’t pretty – but I couldn’t even bring myself to take a photo of this incarnation of the breakfast fritatta.  I wish it looked more visually appealing – but regardless of visuals, you will want to try this, because it tastes amazing!!!

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The Best Way to Cook a Chicken

27 Jun

EVER….

Seriously.

It fell.apart.

Two mornings ago I threw two cornish game hens (little chickens, basically) into our crock pot on low; last night we had the most incredibly tender chicken dinner you’ve ever eaten. Like I said, I’ve been on this “crock pot once a week” kick… So far I’ve had two hits and one very large miss (not the crock pot’s fault… too much yogurt… ugh…). I was running later than I had anticipated yesterday and my husband had eaten part of what I had planned to cook with the chicken, but I lined the bottom of the crock pot with onion, celery and garlic (I didn’t even bother to pop the skins on the garlic) and salted and peppered the chickens before placing them on top. I added a pat of butter to the top of the chicken because I read someplace that it would help crisp up the skin (it did, but I don’t think I’d use it again because I don’t think it’s necessary). I wanted to add carrots and lemon and parsnips (and will next time) on the top. I would have probably added a bay leaf if I’d thought of it.

But that’s it.

And I turned it on low and ran out the door and came home (10 1/2 hours later) to the most incredible smelling roast chicken I’d ever cooked.  And everything – including the breast, which can dry out – was super tender.  It literally fell apart; the bones even fell apart from one another (which looked a little gross in the chest cavity but was awfully cool for getting all the little bits of chicken meat!).  The aromatics were mush, but the liquid they let out – coupled with the chicken’s juices – was just begging to be used.  So after I took the chicken out of the pot, I added about 4 cups of water to it and set it on low for another few hours.  Instant (okay, slow-cooked) chicken broth!

Of course I was too excited to take a photo (bad blogger!), but the chickens were not only delectable – they looked awesome too.  If you’ve ever boiled/poached a chicken, you know that grey color the skin gets when it’s not roasted…  The slow cooker amazingly produced a fabulous carmely-brown skin (perhaps because of the butter?).  It looked so pretty.

I think this will work just fine with a full-sized chicken (just make sure it fits your slow-cooker!).  And it’s DEFINITELY worth trying.  I have never had a chicken this tender!

Super Easy and Juicy – Poached Chicken

19 May

I wanted to quickly share my favorite technique for cooking chicken.  It makes foolproof, juicy chicken every time without much fuss.  Granted, poaching lacks the carmelized flavor and color of roasting or pan-searing, but it also lacks the propensity for dry meat.  For sandwiches or sauced dishes, this is my go-to cooking method.  The best part is that it’s totally low-maintenance!

Plain poached chicken might not be winning any beauty contests, but it's easy and tender and oh so good.

Plain poached chicken might not be winning any beauty contests, but it's easy and tender and oh so good.

 

Poaching chicken takes, literally, two steps. 

1) Fill a sauce pan about 3/4 of the way with water (eyeball it; if you are cooking multiple chicken breasts, use a bigger pot).  Add any aromatics you might want to use (garlic, pepper, parsley, onions, thyme…  the possibilities are limited only by your imagination) and set on medium-low heat until the water is hot and begins to steam just a tiny bit.  If the water begins to bubble, turn the heat down!

2) Once your water is hot but not bubbling, throw in your chicken.  You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or whatever you have lying around.  Keep the water low and walk away for 10-15 minutes.

Seriously, that’s it.  The nice thing is that you don’t have to watch it.  If you walk away for more time, you’ll be fine as long as your pan is low and the water is not bubbling.  Trust a girl on this one; if your pan bubbles, your chicken will be tough and stringy.  If you happen to see a bubble, turn the heat down – you’ll probably be fine.  But if your pan is boiling vigorously (as mine has done before), you’ll probably want to throw in some veggies and make your own chicken broth (which is yummy too, and easier than you’d think, but a totally different post), because the chicken meat itself will be toast. 

This morning, I poached three chicken breasts in a medium sauce pan for a potluck work luncheon (it was panini!day!).  They took about 15 minutes, during which time I went and took a shower.  Yes, this method is that low-maintenance.  They came out super-tender and juicy, and were easy to slice for sandwiches.  If you prefer, you can always toss pieces of poached chicken in salads or just in a nice flavorful sauce (I like to mix a 2:1 ratio of honey to dijon mustard and just warm it up and pour it on).

My favorite part about poaching, aside from the oh-so-tender meat, is that you can literally throw a frozen chicken breast in the water with no prep and have dinner on the table within a half hour (frozen chicken takes longer).  You just toss it in and ignore it.  You can also poach chicken in a microwave (in fact, that’s even easier, since the microwave generally won’t get hot enough to boil the water), in a bowl.  Which means, of course, that if you’re really strapped for time, you can make this dish at work for lunch.  Most fish can also be poached, since it’s a gentle cooking method that doesn’t dry out the meat.

Like I said, it’s not the prettiest stuff in the world, but poached chicken is a pretty fabulous addition to a busy girl’s lunch or dinner repertoire.  And since you don’t need to add any fat, this is a very lean preparation too.  I just couldn’t help but share!

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