Sunday, January 31, 2010

Julia Child inspired chicken with mustard and black rice risotto

Julia Child has been a big source of inspiration for me over the years. When I was very young I delighted at her practical approach to French cooking on PBS.  She was just happy to be there and share with us and I was charmed by her.  I still reference her books for inspiration and recently found some.


I am always getting e mail about chicken. Everyone seems to be tired of it but at the same time it is cheap, it cooks quickly and they buy it, but are bored by it. Julia Child had a pretty wonderful duck prep that I have adapted for chicken that is full of flavor and so good. 

The big problem is that in typical grocery store meat the chicken might as well be tofu for all the flavor it has.  It is just bad. If you can't get a good free range chicken from a reputable farmer or butcher I would say use tofu and do the marinade, but not the simmer. There is no reason to eat flavorless grocery store meat. You are not doing your body or the planet any favors.

When you find a good chicken you need a good butcher, this chicken needs to be hacked into small pieces. Chinese duck cut would be the term needed, but if you are not in NY or San Francisco they may not know this cut. The wing needs to be separated into 3 pieces, The drumstick in half meaty end cut off. The thigh in 3 pieces across the bone and the breast, once separated should have 3 cuts rendering 4 pieces. 

Once cut like this, the chicken will happily feed  6 people. 

Marinade/braising liquid

4 cups orange juice
11 garlic cloves crushed
4 hot red peppers crushed (fresh or dried)
1/2 cup salt well dissolved in juice

Remove and save the skin and place chicken in Marinade for one hour minimum or as long as 24 hours. 

Take skin and spread out on a plate,  salt lightly and leave uncovered in the refrigerator. Take the skinny part of the drum and wing, the back neck, etc and with salt and onion, brown and bring to a boil and make stock for your risotto.

Once the flavor has gone into your chicken bring your marinade to a boil with the chicken in it and then simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool. 

1 cup Mustard (I have used both Dijon and Spicy Brown and they both were good) have more on hand if needed.
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
Cooking Spray

Heavily coat chicken with mustard (you can't use too much here) and then roll in bread crumbs til covered.  Place on a sheet coated with cooking spray and spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray. You will bake at 400 for 30 minutes til crisp and lightly brown. 

Black Rice Risotto is a stunning dish to accompany the lightly toasted chicken with a bright green vegetable you will have a beautiful plate. There are a lot of varieties of black rice. I used the Thai because for me it was the easiest to source. Just watch your cooking time and taste and any variety will work. 

1 onion
1 clove garlic
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine (give or take)
A little water if needed
A good splash of heavy cream
1 cup grated hard cheese (any kind)
2 tablespoons butter
A little olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of oil until soft, add in rice and stir til you get that toasty smell. Begin adding the stock bit by bit stirring often.  When the stock is absorbed, add the wine, if you need more liquid a little water is fine. You want the rice just barely tender to the tooth, not soft or mushy. 

When the rice is ready melt in the butter and cream along with the cheese. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. That's it...serve. 

The skin you have kept have two choices. If you are adept you can fry it to crisp in a little oil and crumble the crackling on the risotto just before serving, or if you are a selfish cad like I, you can save it and fry it up for yourself and have with the leftover risotto the next day. 

This combo is dinner party ready and with some veg on the plate and absolutely beautiful presentation. 

(Thanks again to my Datalounge edit team who pointed out to me the many typos in this post. I can cook, but I clearly can't type or spell sometimes. I do appreciate the email allowing me to correct my editorial errors)

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