Tag Archives: sage

Recipe Review: Crispy Fried Chicken

I’ve tried many methods for fried chicken. The ones that use only flour, or the three stage flour–egg–breadcrumb process, or the buttermilk marinade followed by breading, but it seems like the crispness doesn’t hold up for more than a minute or two past frying. They all taste good, but I really expect a crisp coating if I’m going to go to the trouble of frying. This recipe—Crispy Fried Chicken from Taste of Home—delivers. The name says it all.

What they do differently than most recipes is add flour to the egg wash, so that you are really dipping it in a batter before adding a final coating of seasoned flour. The final coating makes a shaggy layer that crisps up all over the chicken. Sometimes you get that shaggy look when you start with a buttermilk soak, but I find this egg–water–flour batter works even better than buttermilk.

I usually use an electric deep fryer, but I only made four pieces today, so I used a high-sided stock pot with a couple inches of oil. Unlike the original recipe, I did not use bone-in chicken; I used boneless thighs, which cook more quickly, about a total of five minutes in 375° oil for each piece.

Crispy Fried Chicken

  • Servings: will coat about 4 lbs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt or garlic powder plus 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons  white or black pepper
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning—I used a combination of sage and celery seed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • up to 4 lbs chicken pieces, with or without skin. I used boneless thighs.
  • cooking oil for frying
  1. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl for the final coating and set aside. The original recipe suggests a plastic bag, but I find patting on the flour works better, creating a shaggier coating that has lots of crispy edges.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and water, then whisk in the second amount of flour and salt, until the batter is smooth.
  3. Coat chicken pieces in batter then dredge in seasoned flour, patting the flour on until all the batter is covered and the coating is dry enough to handle and set aside.
  4. Heat cooking oil to 375° not allowing it to fall below 350° between batches. Fry chicken in small batches, depending on the size of your fryer, so that you keep the oil temperature high throughout. My boneless thighs cooked in 5 minutes, one piece at a time. The original recipe suggests that bone-in pieces would take about 5-6 minutes per side. My oil was deep enough that I didn’t need to turn my pieces over.

★★★★★ = Five Stars


Apricot Walnut Stuffed Chicken Roll

I just had to know if that other method of de-boning a chicken/turkey, the one where you start at the breasts and work around to the back, was any better than the one where you start at the backbone, and I’m glad I tried it before Thanksgiving, because I now know not to use it on the turkey. I’ll stick with the traditional method of starting at the backbone. See videos of the two methods here: Turkey Planning or Am I Crazy? I didn’t have any trouble taking the carcass out and keeping the skin intact, but I ended up creating two holes trying to get the wing bones out. I had a terrible time getting the leg bones out, as well, something that wasn’t hard in the other method. In addition, I don’t like how this method leaves the breast meat on the outside edges instead of mostly in the center. Yes, you can move the tenders to the center and butterfly the breasts to fill in empty spaces, but I found it easier in the other method.

Anyway, I decided to make this roll different from last week’s with a fruit and nut stuffing. I happened to have dried unsweetened apricots and walnuts on hand, so that seemed like a good way to vary the stuffing. I had already picked up a loaf of Pain de Campagne for the bread crumbs, and I always have celery and onion on hand. The stock from the carcass and other bones was simmering on the stove, so it was easy to put together while the de-boned chicken rested in the fridge.

This time, I set up a large cutting board in a sheet pan lined with paper towels to keep the work mess contained. As you can see, it all worked out, and the good news is that once stuffed and rolled up, it still makes a company-worthy main dish.

Apricot Walnut Stuffing

  • Servings: makes 3-4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

I made this stuffing with fresh bread, because I like a soft crumb, but you can toast the crumbs in the oven to dry out and brown first, or you can use croutons.

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 large onion, diced

1 cup chopped celery, preferably from the innermost stalks with leaves

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

about 5 cups bread crumbs, pulsed in the food processor until roughly chopped

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Stir in onion and celery, cooking until translucent.
  2. Stir in apricots, walnuts, and herbs to combine.
  3. Stir in bread crumbs or pour butter mixture over crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. Slowly add chicken stock to moisten stuffing mixture so that the crumbs are still distinct. You might not need all the stock, depending on the texture of your bread. Very fresh bread that has not been allowed to become stale will need a lot less stock. Also keep in mind that the apricots, even though dried, will release some moisture into the finished stuffing.
  5. Stuff your bird or pork chops or whatever meat you’re having, or place in buttered dish and bake at about 375° for 25 minutes or until browned.

I must say that I am the worst at slicing these rolls and have tried all kinds of knives. It doesn’t really matter, but it does annoy me. The larger turkey will have to cook longer, so maybe it will hold together better.

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I picked up a variety of winter squash this weekend—butternut, delicata, and spaghetti—and it’s easy to let them be the inspiration, the star in a meal. Butternut is my favorite, especially in risotto, but today, I’m making it the star of lasagna, along with bacon, sage, shiitake mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese. I’m leaving out the heavy cheeses—ricotta and mozzarella—so that the squash stands out. Still, it will be plenty rich enough, even though I’m making the béchamel with 2% milk.

The combination of squash and sage produced a sweet filling with floral notes. My husband pretended to not know what that means, although I know he knows what a flower is.

Roast the squash ahead of time:

Infuse the butter for the béchamel with sage leaves, remove, then brown the mushrooms:

Make layers of no-boil noodles, squash, bacon, béchamel, and parmesan:

Bake, covered with foil for 30 mins, then uncovered for about 20 mins or until browned and noodles are done:

Butternut Squash Lasagna

  • Servings: 6-9
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Roast Squash and Bacon

Preheat oven to 400°

about 4 lbs butternut squash (I had two medium squash)

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper

6-8 slices thick-sliced bacon

  1. Peel, seed, and cut squash into 1/2 inch dice.
  2. Toss with olive oil and spread out on non-stick baking pan or pan lined with parchment. My sheet was a little overcrowded, but it worked out fine.
  3. Roast for about 30 mins or until tender and browned.
  4. Put bacon slices on a second pan lined with non-stick foil. Put it on a second shelf or put it in the oven when the squash is done. The bacon only needs 15 mins.
  5. Set squash aside to cool or refrigerate if making another day. Chop or break bacon into small crumble.

Make Béchamel (medium white sauce)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour

salt & pepper

4 cups milk (I used 2%)

fresh sage leaves, about 6-8 leaves

2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat with sage leaves, cooking until you can smell the sage and the butter is bubbling. Remove the sage leaves.
  2. Brown the mushrooms in the butter—about 5 minutes or until browned.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste, about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  4. Stir in flour until combined and free of lumps. You could add a little more butter or a little oil, if you think too much has been absorbed by the mushrooms. Usually if you cook them long enough, they give back the fat. You can tell if you need more if the mixture is dry and the flour cannot be completely incorporated.
  5. Slowly pour in the milk, which you can warm in the microwave first for quicker cooking. Just once, I’d like to find a measuring cup that pours without running its contents down the side and onto the stove and floor.
  6. Stir until the sauce is thickened, maybe 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Assemble Lasagna and Bake

Preheat oven to 350° (or lower if you just made the squash and bacon)

Butter a 13″ x 9″ baking dish

1 package whole wheat, no-boil lasagna noodles

2-3 cups shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  1. Place one cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish.
  2. Arrange three lasagna noodles over the sauce, evenly spaced in the dish. You could certainly use more if you are concerned about covering every inch of the dish, but the servings are easier to cut if the noodles are fewer.
  3. Arrange half the roasted squash over the noodles, sprinkle with half the bacon, cover with 1/3 the sauce and up to 1 cup of the cheese.
  4. Top with three more noodles and make a second layer as the first.
  5. Top the second layer of filling with three more noodles. Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.
  6. Cover dish with aluminum foil that is tented a little—it helps if the foil has a non-stick side against the casserole.
  7. Bake for at least 30 minutes.
  8. Uncover and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top is browned and the noodles are tender.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Another fall dish with the butternut squash. I adapted this dish from Martha Stewart’s What to Have for Dinner (New York: Time, 1995), a compilation of recipes from her magazine, arranged by season. I always found it to be a good post Thanksgiving dish to use up all the turkey stock I had from cooking the turkey carcass, even though the recipe calls for chicken stock.

My changes are few:

  1. Using more stock instead of wine
  2. Using sage instead of rosemary
  3. Using ready-made stock if I don’t have any of my own on hand
  4. In addition, Stewart’s risotto uses mashed butternut squash, which makes a really thick and hearty consistency to the final product. I like to use half mashed squash and half cubed for a little variety in the consistency.
  5. I have made the same recipe with long-grain brown rice, which adds a whole different taste, but today I used the arborio rice called for in traditional risotto.

You can find Stewart’s recipe here: http://www.marthastewart.com/338749/butternut-squash-risotto

Note: If there are people in your family who, like my husband, don’t recognize al dente as a valid stage of doneness, you don’t have to cook the risotto to death, just cover the pan when it’s done and let it sit and steam for a few more minutes until the grains of rice are more fully tender.