Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "Chicken"

Sautéed Chicken Breast w/ Cream Sauce


This is one of my favorite ways to do chicken breast. It is so simple that I can make it when I come home from work and it has so many great flavors! The first thing that you need to make sure when sautéing anything, particularly if you want to make a pan sauce, is to use either a cast iron or stainless steal pan. Put away the non-stick pans! The reason is you can't develop a good fond in a non-stick pan because, well...it's non-stick. Fond is a french cooking term for base and it commonly refers to the delicious browned bits and caramelized drippings from meat or veggies that form at the bottom of the pan when sautéing or roasting. We use the fond to create a much more complex depth of flavor. Enjoy!

Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablepoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 cup cooking white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and coated in flour 
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons italian herbs, optional
Directions

Remove chicken breast from packaging and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Lay the chicken breasts between a layer of saran wrap and pound thinly. Season the chicken breasts on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then dredge the chicken breasts in flour and pat off excess. 

Heat your pan (remember no non-stick!) over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add in your the EVOO, it should shimmer when added. Carefully add the chicken breasts to the pan and sauté 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove from pan to a cooling rack and let rest (Don't worry, the internal temp. will reach 165°F with the carry over cooking). 

You may need to add another tablespoon of EVOO to the pan, if you have enough don't worry about it. Add in the garlic and shallot and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. (It's very important to have all your ingredients, mis en place, ready for the pan sauce because the garlic and shallot will burn very quickly if you don't move quickly). Add in the white wine and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon (scrap all the brown bits off the bottom). Reduce the white one until almost fully evaporated, almost syrupy consistency. Add in the chicken stock and reduce that liquid by half. Remove your pan from the heat and add the butter in a few cubes at a time and whisk in until the sauce begins to thicken. Whisk in the cream and parmesan cheese until it has melted. Finally whisk in the herbs. You want to add your fresh herbs in at the end, off the heat because cooking them can destroy their flavor. Slice your chicken breast and drizzle the cream sauce on top. 

Don't mind the grease splatter on the Thermapen :)

One of the most important tools every...EVERY kitchen should have is a quality thermometer. Thermapen is the best hands down. 

"The Super-Fast Thermapen is a professional tool (originally designed for commercial kitchens, labs and manufacturing plants) that has become the top consumer cooking thermometer for home use. Its popularity among celebrity chefs, cooking magazines, top foodies, bloggers and competition BBQ teams has made the Thermapen into an essential tool in the best-equipped home kitchens and backyard BBQ rigs. 

Made by Hand in England, the Thermapen is faster and more accurate than any other cooking thermometer on the market. Competitors have tried to copy the Thermapen with mass-produced products made in China and have flooded the housewares market with slower, less-accurate knock-offs. However, when compared to true competing commercial thermocouple thermometers, the Thermapen is not only faster and more accurate, it's also less expensive! 

The Thermapen's speed and accuracy will reveal more about food and cooking techniques than you ever imagined. You'll learn that temperatures are always changing; a roast is never the same temperature throughout while cooking. If you want to know what's really going on, get a Thermapen

If you want to experience speed and precision (traceable to National Standards) and you're on a quest for culinary perfection, you will want a Thermapen  Add up the expense of wasted meats alone and you'll justify the cost of this professional tool. 

Thermapen an be used for virtually anything that needs to be cooked or chilled. Use it on meats, fish, casseroles, re-heated foods, breads, cakes, deep frying and candy. You don't have to have a Thermapen o be a great cook; however, more than one celebrity chef and several food writers have testified that a Thermapen ill make you a better cook...AND, you can choose your own color! Order one today."

They come in various colors and are the perfect thermometer for either the home cook or cooking professionals. I've owned several thermometers in the past and all of them have either broke, melted or a pain because you have to keep on calibrating them. Save yourself the frustration and money and just buy yourself a Thermapen!



Lee's Hot n' Sour Soup w/ Homemade Egg Rolls


As some of you know, I am not the only cook in my house. Lee, my girlfriend, is very good at it as well. One of her must-haves when we have Chinese is Hot n' Sour Soup. She has been saying for awhile how she wanted to make her own, which brings us to the next post. Delicious Hot n' Sour soup with homemade egg rolls! 

Hot n' Sour Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken or pork (optional)
  • 4 ounces fresh shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup bamboo shoots, cut into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 ounces firm tofu, well drained and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablesppons cold water
  • sliced green onions for garnish
Directions

Combine chicken broth, chicken/pork, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, venegar, soy sauce, chili paste, pepper and garlic in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 3-4 hours or on high 2-3 hours or until done.

Stir in tofu/ Combine cornstarch with water; mix well. Stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high until thickend (about 10 minutes).

Garnish with sliced green onions.



Pork Egg Rolls

Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 quart canola oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups coleslaw mix
  • 8 (7 inch square) egg roll wrappers

Directions

Season pork with ginger, garlic and garlic powder and mix thoroughly. Heat mixture in a medium skillet, stirring, until pork is cooked through. Set aside.



In another large skillet heat oil to about 375 degrees F. While oil is heating, combine flour and water in a bowl until they form a paste. In a separate bowl combine the cabbage, carrots and reserved pork mixture. Mix all together. 


Lay out one egg roll skin with a corner pointed toward you. Place about a 1/3 cup of the cabbage, carrot and pork mixture on egg roll paper and fold corner up over the mixture. Fold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll. Brush a bit of the flour paste on the final corner to help seal the egg roll. 

Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack. 


**A really interesting video on the history of American Chinese Food**

Jambalaya


My mother went on her annual mission trip to Mississippi to help build houses. She was kind enough to bring me home a really simple and delicious jambalaya mix (Cajun King) that I decided to try out the other night. I decided to do a andouille sausage, shredded chicken and shrimp jambalaya. She also got me a bottle of Slap Ya Mama cajun seasoning, that I tossed the shrimp in. It turned out really great and it made for a quick meal. Not to mention that I got to use my enamel dutch oven again, which I'm starting to fall in love with...not as much as my girlfriend :). I'm not sure if they sell this stuff in chain grocery stores or not, but you can always order online if you so choose.

The name speaks for itself :)
Ingredients
  • 1 - 1.25 oz pkg Cajun King Jambalaya Seasoning Mix
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 andouille sausages, sliced
  • 1 lb chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
  • 1/2 lb shrimp
  • 1 cup Uncooked white rice, not instant!
  • 1 - 8 oz. can Tomato Sauce
Directions

Re-hydrate seasoning mix by combining it with 1 3/4 cups of water, stir until well blended. 

Melt butter into a large enamel dutch oven (or whatever pot you like, but dutch ovens work great for this dish). Add in the sausage and brown, scrapping the bottom of the pot to remove the chips of deliciousness. Add in the rice and saute until brown. After the rice and sausage has sauteed for a few minutes, add in the re-hydrated mixture and tomato sauce, stir to incorporate and bring up to a simmer. 

Cover and cook for 15 minutes (Don't remove the lid until 15 min has gone by!!) After 15 min, stir in the shredded chicken and shrimp, return lid and let simmer for another 15-20 min until shrimp is cooked. Enjoy!


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