Monday, July 17, 2017

Deli Roasted Chicken Breast

Since relocating to a new town that is sans Italian deli, Mexican tiendas, panaderias, and marcados, Indo-Pak takeout shops with small grocer attached, I've had to get a little more creative and up my game.  A lot.

Without the incredible Italian deli counter to serve my charcuterie needs, better and more versatile recipes are not just a thing I want, but something I need to keep my house - and more importantly my kitchen, from descending into madness and too much Panera takeout.  But, I digress.  A better recipe for tomato basil soup is in the works, I just need to put the finishing touches on it.

What I was craving lately was a simple, but flavorful, chicken sandwich.  Just roasted chicken, sliced thin, and piled high on a hearty sandwich roll with a a mound of mixed greens, a smear of basil-pesto or really good mayo, and a sprinkle of black olives.  I wasn't looking for buffalo chicken or mesquite chicken, just a classic and versatile chicken.  That way the leftovers would be great tossed on a salad or in a pasta dish with some angel hair and a drizzle of olive oil, crunchy red bell pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.

This is so full of classic chicken flavor, I'm instantly smitten.
And, all the ingredients are generally on hand, which I may love even more.


1 1/2 tsp. each: salt and pepper
2 tsp. each. oregano and roasted garlic powder
1/2 tsp. each cumin and onion powder
2-3 T. olive oil
2 large chicken breasts, fat trimmed
1/4 C. white wine
2 T. butter
2 tsp. basil, if desired

Heat oven to 350.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and onion powder, and oregano.  Sprinkle over chicken lightly, coat both sides.  Heat olive oil in a cast iron dutch over over medium-high heat until hot.  Add chicken to pan and cook for 7-9 minutes or until chicken pulls away from the pan easily.  Flip and sear for 5 minutes.  Add white wine to bottom of the pan then top each chicken breast with 1 pat of butter.  Let wine reduce by half (takes 2-5 minutes).
Remove pan from stove into oven, covered.  Roast chicken for 15-20 minutes or until thermometer reads 175-180.  Cool completely before slicing thin for sandwiches.

Yields: 6 sub sandwiches

Leftover makeover ideas:
1.  Chop chicken and add to pasta
2.  Chop chicken and toss with thin sliced onions and peppers for killer fajitas
3.  Add to mixed greens, sliced almonds, parmesan, and thin sliced pear for an entree salad.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Carnitas Cheesesteak Sandwich

Carnitas Ingredients:
3 lb. boneless pork roast
1-2 medium red bell peppers, sliced julienne
2-3 small onions, sliced thin
1 minced shallot, optional
2 tsp. each oregano, cumin, black pepper, and ancho chile powder
2 T, minced garlic
1 tsp. each granulated garlic, smoked sweet paprika, salt
1/4 C. each orange juice and red wine
2-3 T. worcestershire sauce
2 T. olive oil
juice of 2-3 limes

Cheesesteak ingredients:
1 T. olive oil
4-8 oz. thin sliced or shredded cheese (I used provolone and cheddar)
16" loaf French bread or 4-6 sub rolls
2-3 T. butter

In a small bowl, mix well the minced shallot and garlic, oregano, cumin, black pepper, chile powder, granulated garlic, salt, and paprika.  Pat pork roast dry and drizzle with olive oil.  Coat with seasonings.

Add all remaining carnitas ingredients except pork to bottom of a crock pot, stir to combine.  Add pork roast.  Cook on low for 10-12 hours.  Lightly shred the meat.  Reserve the cooking liquid.

Add 1 T. olive oil to skillet and add carnitas meat along with onions and peppers.  Fry lightly for 5-10 minutes, stir occasionally.  (Deglaze pan with cooking liquid from the crockpot as needed.)  Top with cheese.

Lightly butter French bread (cut into 4-6 sections) or sub rolls.  Toast in the over at 400 for 5-7 minutes or pan sear on a griddle over medium-high heat until lightly golden brown.

Top with cheesesteak mixture and additional cheese, if desired.
Serve with salad or fresh fruit.

Yields: 8-12 servings

Leftover makeover ideas:
Serve meat in tortillas for tacos
Use in enchiladas
Add to baked bean casserole for hearty side dish
Stir in BBQ sauce for kicked up pulled pork