Thursday, September 30, 2010

Crusty Chicken Thighs with huitlacoche sauce

My wife doesn't doesn't like chicken too much, but if she has it she desires to have it crusty. An easy way to have crusty skin is do it on a rotisserie. That's a lot of work, sticking it on the spit etc, for a weekday dinner.

This recipe will have you super crunchy crispy skin and great taste since it uses the more moist thighs. It only takes about 20 minutes and is pretty easy, not too many items so it's something I do once every month or so.

The neat thing is that you cook this in a skillet, skin side down so the end result is a crisp, dry and nicely browned skin.

You can make any sauce or gravy for it if you like, this one is using the special fungus that grows on ears of corn. It has a mild taste and has some similarities to truffles, kind of an earthy hint.

Preparing the chicken

Take the chicken thighs and with a sharp paring knife trip any excess skin that is not directly under the meat. The take and cut meat off each side of the bone, so what you have left is the meat on one side with bone in the middle without any meat on the top or sides of the bone. So when finished you will have the thigh opened, skin side down, and the meat separated from the bone all around the bone except for the side that is on the bottom. This method leaves the bone for flavor and flattens out the meat for more even cooking. Otherwise the thigh would be too thick and not cook in 15 minutes.
You can watch a video of the chicken trimming away from the bone here.
(Hey it is my first attempt at video)

Dust the thighs with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper . ( both sides)
Preheat a non stick skillet to medium high.
Place the thighs on the skillet skin side down. Cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium.
Check the thighs after about 8 or 9 minutes , you should see signs of browning on the skin side. Do not turn the thighs. Leave them on the skin side, cover and cook for another 8 or 9 minutes.
If the browning is getting too dark after 8 or 9 minutes reduce the heat some more to low, cover and continue to cook for another 8 minutes or so.
At about 18 minutes remove the chicken and put in a warm oven, place the skin side up on a plate, do not cover, otherwise the chicken skin will soften.
(You don't want soften chicken skin)
Remove all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan, toss in the onion, garlic and huitlacoche , and sauté over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon each, and the wine. If there are any juices on the plate in the oven from the resting chicken, add them to the juice, stir once more, on high heat to reduce to sauce consistency.

Plate the thighs and top the thighs wtih the sauce and serve.

Stuff you will need:

4 to 6 chicken thighs with skin on
1 cup diced white onion
1.5 tbs finely chopped garlic
2 cups huitlacoche (can find in Mexican mercado and also available in a can in Mexican stores
1/3 dry white wine
1/2 cup cream* optional for the sauce.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Easy Cucumber Salad, 3 ingredients

One of my favorite salads and easy to make is the cucumber salad. You have to use the English hothouse cucs, or the Armenian ones, or any cucumber that is not used for making little pickles.
The cuc needs to be about 5 to 8 inches long.

Wash and peel the cucumber, you can test it and determine if the skin makes it bitter or just peel it, using one of those peeling gadgets, takes about 15 seconds each

I use a mandolin for speed but you can use a plain old kitchen knife. The idea is to have uniform slices. The whole thing takes less than 5 minutes

Once peeled slice the cuc into equal rounds, I cut them into about 1/8 inch or thinner pieces.
Remove the outer skin of a red onion, slice as thin as possible.

Toss in a bowl or fixture that you will store them in with a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of seasoned vinegar.
Let stand at room temp for about 30 minutes, toss again.
Serve as a side salad or top some shredded lettuce.
That's it.

Stuff you will need:

  • One large Red Onion
  • 2 to 3 Long cucumbers
  • 6 oz seasoned rice vinegar

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