Roast Chicken with Creamy Tarragon Pan Sauce

Today we had a faculty meeting. There is nothing in the world that can make me more angry and sad than a faculty meeting. Sometimes I feel like I am on the forefront of a failing education system with no ammunition. Yep, just shoot me now because I am powerless to do anything. It seems that people with little to no real-world teacher experience bring down these “best practices” and tell me how to do my job. The trouble started when people ceased to be people (and by that I mean the students) and started to be commodities that could be data pointed and tracked. As a teacher my job is so much more than what data points I reach, or standards I post on my board. You can’t quantify meaningful relationships. Each kid comes to my room with different strengths and abilities. A good teacher recognizes these inherent strengths and weaknesses and adjusts the curriculum to support them. The system is so intent on producing manufactured human beings they lose sight of the beauty that is our differences. One size does not fit all, not for kids and not for the teachers that dedicate their lives to helping them.

On a brighter note, one of the kids mentioned me as their favorite teacher in the paper and said very nice things. Those are the little things that keep me going.

Tonight’s Dinner:

Roast Chicken with Creamy Tarragon Pan Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer or roasting chicken
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4tbs of butter

Chicken

1. Open up the chicken cavity and put some salt and pepper inside the bird. The place garlic cloves and butter inside and seal.

2. Preheat Oven to 450

3. Sprinkle salt, pepper and tarragon on top of chicken

4. Place in oven for 25 to 35 minutes until the breast registers 120 degrees

5. Lower heat and bake another 25 to 35 minutes until the breast registers 160 (thighs 175)

6. Take chicken out and drain off pan juices and prepare the sauce.

Sauce:

  • 1/2 onion , minced
  • 1cup chicken broth (or juices from the chicken)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. While chicken rests,  Place skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tbs of fat from roasted chicken add onion, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and mustard, scraping skillet bottom with wooden spoon to loosen fond. Simmer until reduced to ¾ cup, about 3 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter, tarragon, and lemon juice. Season with pepper to taste; cover and keep warm. Serve with chicken.
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Chicken Tikka Masala

Around this house Indian is a favorite. It doesn’t matter what day of the week or the season of the year. Indian food is always in demand. Maybe it is the homey and rich spices, maybe it is a touch of the exotic, or perhaps it is just Indian food is a perfect combo of  all the wonderful things food has to offer. Tikka Masala is not authentically Indian, as it was invented in a London Curry house, but regardless…almost nothing is as satisfying on a cold evening.

 

Usually this recipe is a quick meal, coming in at around 45 minutes. But I made it this time with garden tomatoes from this past summer. There is something quite depressing about living at over 5,000 ft in elevation, and that is a short growing season, especially for tomatoes. My tomatoes don’t being to ripen until well into August, at which time Summer has blossomed and already started to fade as I head back to school. So as the tomatoes are coming in, and we can’t possibly eat all that the garden has to offer, I gently place them in ziplock bags and lovingly store them in the freezer until a perfect recipe comes along. When that day comes you simply pull the tomatoes for the freezer, run them under some warm water  and the skin comes right off . I then tossed them in the pot of simmering spices and onion and let them defrost in the pan. The rice is optional, as we know that people with PCOS should watch their carb intake. I enjoy mine without the rice, but some family members may not share the same affliction.

 

Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

The Chicken (this part can be omitted if you are in a rush for time, just cook the chicken in a pan and add to the sauce)

  • 1/2teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1teaspoon table salt
  • 2pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , trimmed of fat
  • 1cup plain whole-milk yogurt (see note above)
  • 2tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Masala Sauce

  • 3tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1medium onion , diced fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 2medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1fresh serrano chile , ribs and seeds removed, flesh minced )
  • 1tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1tablespoon garam masala
  • 1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (but I used frozen garden tomatoes)
  • 1/2teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3cup heavy cream
  • 1/4cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  FOR THE CHICKEN: Combine cumin, coriander, cayenne, and salt in small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with spice mixture, pressing gently so mixture adheres. Place chicken on plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, and ginger; set aside.
  2.  FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chile, tomato paste, and garam masala; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cream and return to simmer. Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
  3. While sauce simmers, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (about 6 inches from heating element) and heat broiler. Using tongs, dip chicken into yogurt mixture (chicken should be coated with thick layer of yogurt) and arrange on wire rack set in foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Discard excess yogurt mixture. Broil chicken until thickest parts register 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer and exterior is lightly charred in spots, 10 to 18 minutes, flipping chicken halfway through cooking.
  4.  Let chicken rest 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch chunks and stir into warm sauce (do not simmer chicken in sauce). Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning with salt, and serve.

 

Coq Au Vin

This recipe is a bit labor intensive, but the results are satisfying. The meal is a one-pot, vegetables include carrots,celery, onions. Recipe was adapted from The Girl and Fig Cookbook

Coq Au Vin
Marinade:

1 1/2 cups red wine
3 sprigs parsley
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp soy sauce
6 chicken legs
3 chicken breasts (or 6 thighs)

Braise:
1 carrot, peeled and roughly diced
1 onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
6-8 black peppercorns
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups red wine
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
6 cups chicken stock

Saute:
1 1/2 cups flour
salt & pepper
8 oz bacon, diced
16 oz button mushrooms, trimmed, cleaned and quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cognac (I used Calvados because that’s what I had)
2 cups red wine (or the rest of your 2nd bottle which will be about a cup and a half)
20 pearl onions, blanched and peeled or defrosted if using frozen

 

Marinade the Chicken for at least 24 hours.

Saute the vegetables in oil till soft. Add all the remaining ingredients from the Braise and cook until it is reduced to at least half.

Dry and coat chicken in flour and salt and pepper. Fry bacon, remove and saute mushrooms. Remove mushrooms and add dredged chicken to remaining grease. Place mushrooms, bacon and chicken in braise. Deglaze the pan with remaining wine. Pour into Braise. Cook in oven or on stove top until chicken registers 175 degrees.

 

Serve Hot. Traditionally it served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, but since we are PCOSing I left them out.