There are two kinds of roasts. One happens on Comedy Central and the other in my oven. Let’s talk about the one that tastes better!
Since I have been taking classes at ICE, many have been kind enough to offer encouragement and also have asked me to share what I learn. Perfect thing for a food blogger! So I have decided to write a “techniques series”. I have been learning so many new things at school that I thought I will try to write a little bit about the technique and how I applied it to creating my very own signature recipes. Seriously, school never tasted so good!
Roasting may be one of the easiest of all cooking techniques. My oven does all the work while I can chill. Simply put, roasting is nothing but cooking food in an uncovered pan in the oven. It is a dry cooking technique, as opposed to wet techniques like stewing or braising. The concept is that the dry, hot air surrounds the food and cooks it evenly on all sides. Large cuts of meat usually work best; whole turkeys or chickens or large cuts of tenderloins are good candidates. Roasting also works well for certain vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, beets, and winter squash, as it concentrates their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor. Depending on the food you’re preparing, you can roast at low, moderate, or high temperatures. One important tip: Always allow for 10 to 20 mins of resting time before serving. Large cuts of meat tend to retain enough internal heat and they continue to cook out of the oven, up to an added 8 to 10 degrees. Smaller cuts that do not have enough mass will only cook more by a couple of degrees. Either way, the main reason that meats should rest is to allow the juices to redistribute. If you slice into a roast chicken or beef roast immediately upon pulling it out of the oven, all the juices would pour out onto the platter and the resulting meat would be dry.
So while, roasting itself is quite easy (and there are a ton of recipes out there to roast whatever you want!), I decided to try something “signature” with the leftovers from my roast chicken. Diced or shredded, tender juicy roast chicken is perfect in these concoctions that take it to the next level!
Spicy Chicken & Corn Chowder
Makes 2 satisfying meals or 4 first course servings
2-3 slices of bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1-2 jalapeños, diced (and seeded if you don’t like its spicy heat from it)
1 medium-sized starchy potato (Russet, Idaho), diced
1 small red pepper, diced
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
freshly ground black pepper
scant 1 tsp chipotle chile pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups shredded/diced roasted chicken
handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped, optional for garnish
1 green onion/scallion, sliced, optional for garnish
lime juice, optional for garnish
In a large saucepot over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy and all fat has rendered out. Drain on a paper towel.
Drain off half the fat, add onions, garlic, jalapeños, potato, red pepper, corn, salt and black pepper, chipotle chile pepper and sauté on medium heat till the onions sweat and the veggies (including the potatoes) get tender, for about 10-15 minutes. Stir frequently so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
Remove from heat and then pureé half the mixture in a food processor or blender and add back to the pan. It would be ideal if you have a hand blender that you could use to approximately pureé half of the mixture in the pot itself.
Add the bacon, milk, chicken stock, and chicken. Mix well and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasonings.
Garnish each bowl with fresh cilantro, sliced green onions and a splash of lime juice. Serve hot.
Curried Chicken Salad with Cranberries & Red Onion
Another easy way to make the most of the leftover chicken is to turn it into a quick salad; and that’s what I did! I tossed dried cranberries, red onion and curry powder together to make this vibrant spicy-sweet chicken salad. The tart cranberries add a surprising element to flavor of the salad while the crunchy sweet onions burst into your mouth as you take a bite, followed by a little kick from the curry. Using roasted chicken adds depth and a little smoky flavor.
Enjoy this fruit-studded chicken salad with whole-grain crackers, serve it with greens as a salad or spread it on whole wheat bread for a sandwich.
Makes about 1 cup
¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise
¼ cup low/non-fat yogurt
1 tsp curry powder (hot/mild)
½ lemon, juiced (optional or use water instead)
1 cup shredded/diced roasted chicken
1 small or ½ medium (about ¼ cup) red onion, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp dried cranberries
3-4 sprigs cilantro, leaves minced
freshly ground black pepper
Combine mayonnaise, yogurt, curry powder, and lemon juice or water in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add the shredded chicken, red onion, dried cranberries, cilantro and combine.
Season with salt and black pepper. Serve chilled over greens or spread it over bread as a sandwich.