Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Thanks to their distinctive smokey flavor, canned chipoltle peppers really bring this recipe to life, but they can be a little intimidating if you haven’t worked with them before.

map of MexicoThe chipotle pepper is not actually a pepper, but rather the process of smoking jalapeño peppers. Such process is said to have originated in the area surrounding Mexico City.

The chipotle pepper, once smoked and dried, tends to be brown and shriveled. It loses very little if any, of its heat or spiciness through the smoking process. It is enjoyed by many for its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

You can remove some of the heat from a chipotle pepper by carefully cutting the pepper in half down the center and gently removing the seeds and membranes that hold the seeds to the inside of the pepper. There will still be a little heat, as the flesh of the fruit also contains capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies hot and spicy.

Be assured though, with the seeds removed, most of the heat is also removed.

A word of caution, if you choose to remove the seeds, be careful not to touch your eyes during the removal, as the pepper can be extremely irritating to the eyes and skin. If you want, just wear some gloves while removing the seeds.

Because of the chipotle pepper’s spiciness, only a small amount of the pepper needs to be used in a recipe, large or small to provide flavor without creating a dish that is too hot.

Freezing Canned Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce For Later Use

can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauceMost recipes call for a very small amount of the chipotle, which means you will end up with an almost full can when you finish. To get around this, remove the peppers from the can and pour all of the flavorful liquid into a food processor.

If you don’t have one, use a small glass bowl. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out and discard the seeds. The seeds pack a lot of heat, so keep some of them if you like extra spice.

Place the peppers in your food processor and pulse them until a paste is formed. If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the peppers with a knife and add them to the bowl of reserved liquid. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Next, line a large plate with plastic wrap and scoop the pepper paste in 1 teaspoon measurements onto the plate, leaving enough space between them that they don’t run together. Place plate in the freezer to harden.

Once set, wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the now-firm pepper paste portions and place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze. Pull out 1 or 2 teaspoon-sized portions and use in your favorite recipe that calls for a little heat.

Start small with the amount of chipoltle peppers you use. You can always add more if you like a little more heat.

Our featured recipe is Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons himalayan salt
2 teaspoons frsh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teasapoons from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

spicy chicken wingsLine a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next add chicken wings to baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure wings are not touching.

Season wings with salt and pepper, then place in oven. Bake until skin is crisp, approximately 45 – 50 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the wings are done, add garlic and butter to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until garlic becomes translucent.

Reduce heat to low and add ginger, chipoltle peppers, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid becomes syrupy.

Transfer the sauce to a glass bowl and add the cooked wings. Toss until coated and either serve immediately, or place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place under broiler for two minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with a side salad.

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Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

It looks as though bacon will always rule as king of the breakfast meats. Interesting enough, we don’t reach for bacon near enough to add great flavor and fat to other meals, like lunch or dinner. The addition of bacon to other dishes can be a good way to enjoy its smoked flavor.

Charcuterie - The Craft of Salting, Smoking & CuringDo you know the process of smoking bacon?

Chef Jeff Raycroft explains that homemade smoked bacon is a simple process. Jeff says the bacon should be hot smoked in a smoker that has reached an internal temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the smoker is ready, the bacon should be hung or placed on racks and smoked until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Afterward being smoked, the meat needs to be cooled and sliced.

If using charcoal in your smoker, add soaked wood chips directly on top of the charcoal then a water bath added above that to keep humidity up in the smoker which stops the meat from being dried out.

Chef Raycroft recommends the book, “Charcuterie – The Craft of Salting, Smoking & Curing” buy Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn. Link here to have a look inside the book.

Our featured recipe is Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts, and here is what you will need.

stuffing ingredients for chicken breasts2 tablespoons olive oil
4 6-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons crumbled cooked smoked bacon – 1 slice of bacon = 1 tablespoon crumbled, cooked bacon
6 basil leaves, rolled and thinly sliced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

butterfly cut chicken breast seasoned Butterfly the chicken by running a sharp knife horizontally through the thickest part of each breast. Place one hand on top of the breast to stabilize while holding the knife parallel to the work surface while cutting. Do not cut all the way through.

preparing stuffed chicken breastsOpen the breast so both halves can lie flat. Season the exposed surface with salt and pepper, then add 1/4 of the ricotta cheese, crumbled smoked bacon, and sliced basil leaves to each breast.

Fold the breasts in half so the cheese mixture is surrounded by chicken breast on the bottom, back and top. Secure with long wooden toothpicks, if desired.

pan searing stuffed chicken breastsHeat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large oven-safe skillet. Once hot, add the stuffed chicken breasts to the pan to sear.

Once browned on the bottom, carefully turn each breast over and repeat on the other side. Season top and bottom with salt and pepper, if desired, during this process.

Place skillet in preheated oven and cook until an instant read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted, approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover until ready to serve.

Smoked Bacon And Ricotta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts - close upA few minutes before removing the chicken from the oven, start making the balsamic glaze. Heat balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat.

Stir while heating until the vinegar is reduced to about 1/3 of its original volume. It will form a thick, syrupy consistency when it is ready.

To serve, place a stuffed chicken breast on each plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Pairs well with a mixed green salad or roasted vegetables.

Here are some ideas for roasted vegetables:

  1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Figs
  2. Citrus Herb Roasted Vegetables
  3. Excite Your Palate with Spice Roasted Vegetables

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Nashville’s Style – Hot Chicken

Nashville's Style  Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is a local specialty in Nashville,Tennessee (USA). If you ever plan to visit Nashville, you can find prepared Hot Chicken while out and about at Hattie B’s Hot Chicken – Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack among other restaurants.

Hot Chicken is prepared using the breast, thigh, or wing of the bird, and are marinated in a water-based blend of seasonings, and flour. After the chicken pieces have been breaded and fried, a spicy hot sauce using cayenne pepper is drizzled over the chicken pieces. The hot chicken is served over slices of white bread with pickle chips.

Already mentioned, there are several restaurants in Nashville that serve up hot chicken. There is even a city-wide festival and competition commemorating the dish. Check it out here: Nashville Hot Chicken Coalition.

Here’s a easy Hot Chicken recipe, so you can give it a try.

Ingredients:

2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into tenders

1 tablespoon freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoon kosher salt

Hot Chicken

Image Credit: Joe Buglewicz/The Bitter Southerner

Brine Mixture:

1 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoon hot sauce, such as Sriracha

Buttermilk Breading Mixture:

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk or whole milk

2 Tbsp. hot sauce

Seasoned Flour:

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon spanish paprika

½ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon dried sage

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon onion flakes

Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce:

3 tablesppon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ cup vegetable oil for frying, such as refined coconut oil or avocado oil for high heat cooking

Directions

Sprinkle the tenders with salt and pepper.

Whisk buttermilk with hot sauce in a large bowl, then place the tenders in the bowl.

Cover and chill for two or more hours (or overnight).

Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce for buttermilk breading mixture in a large bowl.

Whisk all of the ingredients for the seasoned flour together in another large bowl.

Fit a deep pan with a lid, or a Dutch oven with a thermometer, and pour enough vegetable oil to measure 2 inches inside the pan.

Heat the oil over medium-high until the thermometer registers 325°F.

Remove the bowl of marinating tenders from the fridge, then take the tenders out of the bowl and pat them dry.

Working with 1 tender at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shake off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture. Allow any excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge the tender again in flour mixture and place on a baking pan.

Place 3 to 4 tenders in the hot oil, one at a time.

Fry tenders, turning occasionally, until coating is golden brown and crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. If you want, you can check the tender doneness by inserting a meat or instant thermometer into the tender; it should register 165°F.

Continue to fry your tenders in batches of 3 or 4, allowing the oil to return to 325°F between batches.

Place finished tenders on a tray lined with paper towels.

On the side, whisk cayenne, brown sugar, garlic salt, and paprika in a medium bowl; then whisk in ½ cup frying oil.

Arrange the finished tenders on a serving platter and drizzle with the spicy oil.

Serve with dill pickle chips and white bread.

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Article Credits:

Recipe adapted from: Wonder How To – Food Hacks 

Header Image Credit: Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

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Enhance Your Chicken Breasts With These Simple Maneuvers

Raw chicken breast with peppers and salad leaves on the wood backgroundChicken breasts, particularly boneless, skinless breasts, are the healthiest cut of chicken, but they can also be dry and flavorless if not prepared right. You might say that cooking chicken breasts is easy, and we agree. But getting them moist and tender all the time can be a problem.

No matter which cooking method you use, that is grilling, baking, or pan cooking them, there are two important steps you should always take.

Never Wash Or Rinse Your Meat With Water

On Food and Cooking by Harold McGeeAuthor Harold McGee in his book – “On Food and Cookingexplains that excess moisture on meat‘s surface thwarts the Maillard reaction, which is a chemical process that occurs when carbohydrate molecules react with amino acids, yielding that gives that brown color to the meat along with rich, complex flavors.

McGee says the Maillard reaction begins at approximately 230 degrees Fahrenheit, were as water turns to vapor at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, and washing the meat with water before cooking it simply won’t get hot enough to allow the Maillard reaction to occur.

That means a washed piece of meat won’t start browning until all the water is cooked off, and by that time your chicken breast may already be well done.

Marinating Your Meat

slits cut into chicken breastsMaking small crosswise slits on chicken breast no only helps the marinade penetrate the meat, which disperses the marinaded flavor throughout the meat and not just on the surface, but also helps the chicken cook evenly.

Also most marinades call for vinegar, which is a great meat tenderizer as well as cooking meat evenly and juicy.

Pound Chicken Breasts To An Even Thickness Before Cooking Them

This is a very important process to perform as each piece of chicken breast can be a different thickness or size. If you don’t pound them out, some breasts will cook faster than others, leaving the thinner breasts dried out, while the thicker ones can be under cooked.

Pounding also tenderizes the meat, making the meat more tender.

Tools For Tenderizing

meat tenderizer

Image credit: William-Sonoma

When it comes to pounding your chicken breasts for an evenly cooked meat as well as tender and juicy, you can use a meat mallet.

But if you don;t have one you can also use a rolling pin, the back of a skillet or even the bottom of a mason jar.

Wrap the breasts in plastic wrap or wax paper, and pound until all the pieces are even in thickness, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness is ideal, but the important part is making sure the width is as uniform as possible.

Here are some of our favorite chicken breast recipes from our kitchen to yours.

Greek Grilled Chicken

Bacon Wrapped Garlic Lemon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Italian Five Cheese Chicken Roll Ups

Spanish Chicken Salad

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Rotisserie Chicken Baguette Sandwich With Basil

Rotisserie Chicken baguetteRotisserie chicken sold at Costco and other markets for $4.99 is a great deal. They say that they are actually losing money by doing that, but it gets you in the warehouse or store to by commodities, like food, clothing and other products that they sell. So their loss is made up in the other things that you buy.

Cooking 3 rotisserie chicken on the grill with Charcoal and Briquettes Most are familiar with what a rotisserie chicken is.

For those who are not familiar, the chicken is skewered on a spit or a long solid rod while it is being cooked over an open fire, such as in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in a rotisserie oven.

The rotation of the chicken on the spit cooks the meat evenly in its own juices and allows easy access for continuous self-basting.

Rotisserie cooking was popular in medieval times and in early modern kitchens that had a fire place.

Some fresh baguettes in the basket at the bakery The loaf of baguette that we used is a long thin loaf of French bread.

The history of the baguette according to Wikipedia is that the word “baguette” was not used to refer to a type of bread until the 1920’s, but what we know as a baguette today, may have existed well before then.

The word is derived from the Italian bacchetta which simply means “wand” or “baton.”

Our featured recipe is a delicious meal that can be ready in 20 minutes from start to finish.

Here is what you will need for your – Rotisserie Chicken Baguette Sandwich With Basil

1 (1 lb) loaf baguette

1 (18 oz) bottle bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce (We use BBQ sauces from Whole Foods that do not have soy or canola oil in them)

2 cups cooked and shredded Rotisserie chicken

1/3 cup chopped red onion

3-4 fresh torn basil leaves

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cut baguette loaf in half lengthwise.

Pour 1 cup each of BBQ sauce on top of both halves of bread.

Next, place 1 cup of shredded rotisserie chicken onto each baguette half.

Evenly sprinkle 1 cup of mozzarella cheese onto each of the baguette halves.

Evenly sprinkle chopped onion over the cheese between the two baguette halves.

Place the two baguette halves on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread is heated through.

Rotisserie Chicken baguetteSprinkle some torn basil leaves over the tops of both baguette halves. Note: do not tear basil leaves until you are ready to place them over the prepared cooked sandwich.

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Garlic Thyme Chicken Thighs

Garlic Thyme Chicken ThighsGarlic has been used for many purposes other than food, throughout history.

  1. Homer mentions garlic in his famous Odyssey, saying that the deity Hermes, gave garlic to Odysseus as a protection against the goddess Circe‘s evil sorcery in which she turned men to swine.
  2. fresh grlic clovesDuring the Roman Empire garlic was a symbol of the common people, since no noble would debase himself by smelling of garlic.
  3.  Unfaithful Egyptian husbands relied on garlic’s unique “scented” properties, as they would chew a clove or two on their way home from visiting their mistresses, ensuring that a jealous wife would be unable to detect any stranger’s perfume.
  4. At the peak of  Egypt’s power over 4,00 years ago, garlic was given to the laborers and slaves who were building the great pyramids in order to increase their stamina and strength.
  5. Modern day Germany and Czechoslovakia both have an old Proverb that says, “A bite from a watch dog is much more cutting and painful if the dog has eaten garlic at the New year,” and another says, “Garlic is as good as ten mothers.”
  6. Garlic has been used to ward off vampire’s, so the legend goes, and during the medieval era when children went to play or work in the fields, cloves of garlic hung around their necks to protect them from the evil spells of the local witch.
  7. French priests of the Middle Ages used garlic to protect themselves against bubonic plague.
  8. During World War I, European soldiers prevented infection by putting garlic directly on their wounds.

After 6000 years of folklore, garlic has now come to be valued not only as a food source, but seen for it’s therapeutic benefits. Such as an article in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry states saying that garlic taken in conjunction with whole grains appears to increase the body’s absorption of iron and zinc.

Over the centuries of human history, garlic has remained synonymous with eternal youth, health, vigor and vitality.

Our featured recipe has fresh garlic cloves, 20 to be exact. Here is what you will need to prepare – Garlic Thyme Chicken Thighs.

2 tablespoons avocado oil 

4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on

Himalayan salt

Black pepper

20 cloves garlic, separated and peeled, about two full heads

2 tablespoons gluten free multi-purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

10 sprigs fresh thyme leaves, leaves removed and stems discarded

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Over medium high heat, in a cast iron skillet, heat the avocado oil .

chicken thighs seasoned with salt and pepperSeason the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper.

chicken thighs skin side down in a cast iron skillet

Cook the chicken thighs skin side down on medium-high heat until well browned, for about 5 minutes, then flip the chicken thighs skin side up and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic to the same skillet, and cook, occasionally turning, until garlic starts to brown, 3 or 4 minutes.

partially cooked chicken thighs and gralic cloves in a cast iron skilletReturn the chicken to the cast iron skillet, cover with a lid (if the skillet has one) or aluminum foil, and place in oven for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and put it on a stove top. Have caution though removing the cast iron skillet, as the pan will be very hot.

cream sauce with thyme for Garlic Thyme Chicken ThighsRemove the chicken thighs, garlic, and all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan. Over medium heat, whisk in the 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour with the oil in the pan.

Next, gradually whisk in the chicken broth and fresh thyme leaves for 1 or 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Remove the pan from the heat, and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Garlic Thyme Chicken ThighsAdd the roasted garlic and chicken thighs back to the pan. Serve with your favorite side dish, a salad, and enjoy.

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Curried Chicken With Dried Cherries

Curried Chicken and Dried Cherries - over head viewHave you ever heard of the Curry Tree? It is a tropical to sub-tropical tree in the rue family, which also includes the citrus. The tree is native to India and Sri Lanka.

Curry Leaf Tree

curry leaves in a skillet with olive oil

Curry Leaves In A Skillet With Olive Oil

The leaves of the curry tree are used in many Indian dishes. The “sweet neem leaves” are often used in curries, as they (the leaves) are highly valued as a seasoning in southern and west-coast Indian cooking, as well as Sri Lankan cooking .

The leaves when used in curry dishes are add with the chopped onion in the first stage of the preparation of the curry dish.

potted curry leaf tree

Image Credit: Garden Amateur

The tree can be home-raised as a potted plant as it is easily grown in warmer areas of the world, or in containers where the climate is not supportive outdoors. In this image is a potted Curry tree in the yard of an Australian gardener.

Our featured dish is  – Curried Chicken With Dried Cherries – and here is what you will need, and no you will not need to hunt down some curry leaves. Unless you have a tree and want to add some leaves to the dish we are featuring.

3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks 

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon avocado oil

1 small red or purple onion, thinly sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

1/2 cup fresh water or chicken broth

1/3 cup chopped dried cherries

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 to 1 teaspoon Himalayan Salt (optional)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons flour

cooking chicken meatIn a large ceramic coated skillet or cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stir occasionally until meat is oblique colored and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and set aside.

cooking onions and celeryTo the same pan add the 1 teaspoon of avocado oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sliced celery and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.

adding curry and dried cherriesNext add the cherries and 1/2 cup water and bring to a light boil. Next stir in the curry powder, salt and pepper.

Next, pour in the cream and mix in. You can also use coconut milk, which is used in traditional Indian dishes. When making this dish, we didn’t have any coconut milk, but we did have some heavy cream.

adding in chicken meat to curry mixNext add the cooked chicken along with any juices and mix in.

Curried Chicken and Dried CherriesServe over rice, couscous or eat as is.

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