Poultry

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze

The first time I made a whole roast chicken was all due to a happy accident. Vehicle-less and not wanting to lug groceries on the T, my college roommates and I decided to test out Peapod online grocery delivery service. After the roommates and I added all our items, Matt added a couple of his own before completing the order. When it arrived a couple days later I pulled out an entire ten pound chicken. What college student buys a ten pound chicken? Especially in an apartment where we were living on grilled cheeses, frittatas and pasta! Turns out in his haste Matt accidentally ordered a whole chicken instead of chicken breasts. So we stuck it in the freezer until we could work up the courage to tackle the bird.

But when we finally did and took the first bite out of our labor of love we had seasoned, buttered and basted for hours, it was absolutely glorious. There is something so delicious about a roast chicken. It could be that the anticipation goes to your head while you’re waiting for it to cook. It might be that you get overwhelmed by a sense of accomplishment at having completed such a monumental task.

But if I was to really try and put my finger on it I’d have to keep it simple: from the juicy white meat to the tender thighs to the crispy skin a whole roast chicken is just damn tasty. This pomegranate molasses and apricot roast chicken is certainly no exception. The meat is moist, flavorful and fragrant, while the exterior is sweet and sticky. Finger-lickin’ great chicken.

You will wish you had five ovens so you could whip up a whole bunch of these bad boys at once. If you have never made roast chicken before don’t be shy! I promise you that if a couple of grilled cheese making college kids can do it then so can you. And if you have made a whole roast chicken before then you will regret not giving this one a shot. So go ahead, use some of that precious pomegranate molasses and tackle that bird.

Roast Chicken with a Pomegranate Molasses and Apricot Glaze
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 4-6 pound chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 orange, cut in slices
  • 1 lemon, cut in slices
  • ½ onion, cut in half
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Rinse the chicken inside and out and dry thoroughly.
  3. Salt and pepper then inside of the chicken the stuff the cavity with the orange slices, lemon slices, onion pieces and garlic cloves.
  4. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together, tucking the wings under the body of the chicken. Place the chicken breast-side down on the roasting rack in a deep roasting pan.
  5. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Use the melted butter to baste the chicken allover. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and continue to cook for 45 minutes. After 20 minutes baste the chicken again with butter.
  6. While the chicken is in the oven make the glaze. Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, orange juice, apricot jam and lemon juice until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. After the 45 minutes are up flip the chicken so the breasts are up then coat allover with the glaze. Cook for 30 minutes, basting with the glaze again after 15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or when the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.

Recipe adapted from The Global Jewish Kitchen.

Grilled Pineapple and Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas

Oddly, quesadillas are a food quite dear to my heart. It’s not as though they are a family favorite we used to have every week or a dish I always requested on my birthday. Nothing like that. My food memories with quesadillas come from a variety of places. Like how my grandma and I would order them as an appetizer, along with the chicken noodle soup she loves, if we were extra hungry during our weekly Friendly’s trips. Or how my stepmom would always make them for me, with extra sour cream, if my dad wasn’t home for the night. Or how they were the first meal Matt and I ever cooked together in his summer college dorm with tortillas and cheese picked up from the local convenience store, just excited to have a kitchen to cook in for the first time.

Whether or not you have loving food memories with quesadillas like I do, their cheesy goodness and ease of preparation is undeniable. I love seeking out interesting combinations for this great dish and when I stumbled upon a grilled pineapple and barbecue chicken version I knew I had to try it for myself. It certainly did not disappoint.

The beauty of barbecue sauce is you can veer this dish in any direction you prefer. Spicy, sweet, tangy, it’s up to you. The sweetness from the pineapple, the smokiness from the grill and the flavor from the barbecue sauce will have you chowing down silently, minus the moaning escaping from your lips between bites. And when you dip these into the grilled pineapple guacamole and some sour cream then take a bite? Well this meal might start sounding R-rated.

Grilled Pineapple and Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas
 
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 sections of whole pineapple (see note), or 4 rings of pineapple
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • ½ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded colby jack cheese
  • ¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sliced scallions, sour cream, guacamole and salsa for serving
Directions
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Grill the pineapple 2-3 minutes per side, or until light grill marks appear. Once grilled, cut the pineapple into ½”- 1” chunks.
  2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the same grill or grill pan over medium-high heat and grill the chicken breasts. Cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. During the last couple minutes of cooking coat both sides of the chicken with barbecue sauce. Remove and cut into 1” pieces.
  3. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and add the olive oil. Place 1 of the tortillas in the pan then top with ¼ cup of the cheddar cheese. Arrange half of the grilled pineapple chunks, half of the chicken pieces and half of the red onion on top. Drizzle with a little extra barbecue sauce if desired then top with ¼ cup of the colby jack cheese and a second tortilla.
  4. Cook until the cheese has melted and the bottom tortilla has started to brown, about 6 minutes. Flip the quesadilla then cook until the other side lightly browns, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Cut into 6 wedges and serve with sour cream, guacamole, salsa and scallions.
Notes
If using fresh pineapple follow these instructions:
1. Cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple.
2. Sitting the pineapple upright, cut it in half, then into quarters.
3. Standing each quarter upright, cut it in half to make 2 wedges.
4. Standing each wedge upright, cut the point off down the entire length of each wedge to remove the thick core, about ½” - ¾” into the pineapple.
5. Still standing each wedge upright, cut the skin off each wedge.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken

What is there to say about chicken? It’s healthy, a great source of protein and can be on the table in under thirty minutes. Did I put you to sleep yet? That is how I was feeling after all the chicken-eating going on in my apartment. The chickens were taking over! Well, at least of the boneless skinless variety. If you’ve been feeling like this lately then either you’re still traumatized from that childhood farm incident or you need to add some pizazz to your dinner table. Lets hope it’s the later, I’m a food blogger not a therapist.

I did not want to remove the chicken takeover from my kitchen as it has many mealtime benefits as previously mentioned. I decided I simply needed to add some new flavors and textures to re-excite myself about dinner. This baked pistachio crusted chicken has a crunchy exterior and juicy interior all while still bringing the health factor. It also pairs really well with last week’s roasted beet, blackberry and goat cheese salad; how convenient is that? So put down the grill pan and step away from the stir fry. It’s time to wake up your senses and reinvent your chicken.

I have some other chicken recipes I am trying out so I will be sure to share those here on Lemon & Mocha. However I am always looking for new suggestions. What is your favorite way to cook up this versatile poultry?

Baked Pistachio Crusted Chicken
 
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups unsalted shelled pistachios
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat a cooling rack or roasting rack with cooking spray. Set over a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan and set aside.
  3. Roughly chop the shelled pistachios in a food processor.
  4. Combine the chopped pistachios and seasonings in a shallow bowl.
  5. Place 1 chicken breast in the pistachio mixture and press down to coat. Flip and coat the other side of the breast. Carefully place on the prepared cooling rack. Do not pat the chicken dry as you will need the natural moisture of the chicken to help the pistachio coating stick. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
  6. Bake the chicken for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. The time varies because every oven is different and chicken can dry out quickly so it's best to use temperature rather than time to judge doneness.
  7. Remove and serve with a big salad or lemon orzo and asparagus.

 

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Fresh Rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Just in case you forgot I figured I would remind you. Although I’m counting down the hours until I can eat until I can’t eat anymore, what’s even more exciting than actual Thanksgiving day is the day after Thanksgiving. It involves leftovers and I love leftovers. You get to revisit all your favorite dishes from the day before and there’s no waiting for everyone to sit down for the big meal. The leftovers are in your fridge waiting for you, calling your name… Unless of course you didn’t have Thanksgiving at your house or word got out that you were cooking Monday’s mushrooms and unexpected guests ate all your would-be leftovers. Sorry about that.

But sometimes after a couple rounds of leftovers your stomach needs a break. All that stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie weigh on you and your body craves something light and refreshing. That’s when it is time to reinvent your leftovers. These leftover Thanksgiving turkey fresh rolls are exactly what you will need the day after Thanksgiving. They may look complicated, but I made about eight of these in less than ten minutes. After a long day you don’t need something that takes a lot of work.

Soaking the turkey in soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and sesame oil moistens the leftover slices. The cellophane noodles are a light filler and there’s no boiling required as they only need to be soaked in warm water. Then you can add whatever vegetables you have sitting in your fridge. Leftover avocado from guacamole? Done. Carrots, lettuce and cucumbers from leftover salad fixings? Done, done and done. I used carrots and lettuce in mine because that was what was in my fridge, but feel free to get creative. The sweet and tangy cranberry dipping sauce compliments the spring rolls well and helps you use up all that leftover cranberry sauce. So when you’re running out to the store today for those last minute ingredients make sure to pick up some spring roll wrappers and cellophane noodles. Your stomach will thank you for it, as will your taste buds.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Fresh Rolls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce
 
Yield: 8 fresh rolls
Ingredients
for the rolls
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 cup chopped roast turkey
  • ¼ cup grated carrot
  • ½ package cellophane noodles
  • 8 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 cup roughly chopped lettuce leaves
for the sauce
  • ¼ cup cranberry sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
Directions
for the rolls
  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and seasonings. Add the turkey pieces and grated carrot, stir to coat and let soak.
  2. Place the cellophane noodles in a medium mixing bowl. Heat 4 cups of water and pour over the noodles. Let soak for 10 minutes, or until soft. Transfer the noodles to a small bowl with a fork or tongs leaving the water in the medium bowl for the spring roll wrappers. Rip the noodles or cut with kitchen scissors into shorter strands about 1 inch long. It doesn't need to be exact or even.
  3. Take the first spring roll wrapper and submerge it in the warm water the noodles were soaking in. After the wrapper is soft and pliable, about 10 seconds, remove from the water and carefully lay flat on a cutting board or clean counter.
  4. Take a small amount of the noodles and place in a line in the middle of the spring roll wrapper. Add a spoonful of the turkey mixture onto the noodles and a couple pieces of chopped lettuce. Fold the two sides next to the ends of the filling line you created up and over part of the filling. Take the top of the wrapper and pull it over the filling then tuck it under and roll the wrapped filling towards you to finish the roll. It sounds complicated, but once you do one or two you will get the hang of it.
  5. Repeat for the rest of the rolls.
for the sauce
  1. Place the cranberry sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir and mash the cranberry sauce until mostly smooth.
  2. Whisk in the sugar, vinegar and soy sauce then bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to a simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce has slightly thickened, whisking frequently. Remove from the heat and serve with the rolls.
Notes
You can use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge as part of the filling. Some ideas include cucumber or avocado cut in 1 inch strips.

Inspiration from The Pioneer Woman.
Dipping sauce from allrecipes.com.

Grilled Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Today is a special day. Partly because I am presenting you with these outrageous stuffed mushrooms just in time for you to make for Thanksgiving, but I’ll get to that in a second. It is also my stepmom’s birthday. You should be wishing her a happy birthday, buying her presents and even throwing her a party! Because if it was not for her you would not be staring at these tempting, fragrant grilled stuffed portobello mushrooms. In fact, if it wasn’t for my stepmom you would probably be reading a blog about chicken fingers, noodles and fish sticks right now, although that does sound rather delicious.

My palate growing up was mostly limited to “kid’s food,” but my stepmom opened up a whole new world for me. Artichokes, couscous and eggplant, oh my! And mushrooms, thank heavens for the mushrooms. The greatest gift my stepmom has ever given me, aside from love, support and all that good stuff, is the gift of mushrooms. Although she didn’t gift them to me in the literal sense, as that would be a little silly and hard to wrap, I had never given mushrooms a second glance until she cooked them for me. And as they say, the rest is history.

Fast forward to today where these mushrooms sit on your computer screen exploding with juicy sausage bits, creamy marscarpone cheese, nutty Parmesan, crunchy bread crumbs and tantalizing herbs and spices. The mushrooms themselves have been grilled to perfection as they are hearty in taste, but delicate enough in texture to yield to your fork’s cut. Are you still with me or did you you already run to your kitchen to start making these? If you haven’t, then what are you waiting for?! Perfect as a side dish, main dish or even in place of traditional stuffing for a tasty twist this Thanksgiving, gifting these mushrooms to your guests might result in future spontaneous house calls around dinnertime. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Grilled and Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
 
Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces marscarpone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • Salt and pepper
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Crumble the sausage and add it to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until cooked through, stirring often.
  2. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute then remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Add the marscarpone, parsley flakes, oregano, bread crumbs and ½ cup of the Parmesan to the cooked sausage and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil or cooking spray then place the mushrooms stem side down on the grill pan. Lightly coat the tops of the mushrooms with olive oil or cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms for 4 minutes.
  6. Turn the mushrooms over and cook them for another 2 minutes.
  7. Carefully fill the mushrooms with the sausage mixture. Top with the remaining Parmesan cheese then tent some tin foil over the pan to help the Parmesan melt. Grill for another 6 minutes then remove from the heat and serve.
Notes
I used fully cooked roasted garlic chicken sausages from Trader Joe's and would highly recommend them for this recipe. If you use them as well follow these adaptations to the recipe above:
*Omit the minced garlic
*There is not a thick casing so you can simply crumble and tear the sausage with the casing intact
*Still complete the first step of the recipe even though they are cooked because it will help brown and warm the sausages

Recipe slightly adapted from Giada at Home.