I was looking for something to make that said summer but didn’t involve grilling. I also didn’t want to spend all afternoon making it. It was too darn hot.
So I started thumbing through my cookbooks and found what I wanted in Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook. (I reviewed it here if you want to more about it.) I had never made anything that combined fruit with chicken so I was intrigued. We grilled some green beans (okay, so we grilled one thing), and mixed them up with some diced shallots, olive oil and mustard. I’m here to say, it was a damn fine meal, I’m not going to lie.
Glazed Chicken and Peaches
with cheese and bacon biscuits
Jiffy biscuit mix. Yup a box of biscuit mix. You can certainly make them from scratch but these were just fine.
one cup of grated sharp cheddar
about 2 tablespoons bacon bits
Mix the biscuits according to the box, and then mix in the cheese and bacon.
Bake in oven following the box directions.
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 large peaches, halved or thickly sliced
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 boneless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1 shallot choppped
1 tablespoon dried ginger or 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3/4 cups chicken stock
a little more than 1/3 cup peach preserves
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Melt the butter with the lemon juice. Add the peaches to the skillet. Cook about 10 minutes until peaches are tender.
While peaches are cooking, put some EVOO in a pan and add the chicken. Cook about 10 minutes each side until tender. Take off the heat, put on a plate and cover.
In the pan that held the chicken, add a little more EVOO, chicken stock, peach preserves, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce. Cook until thickened. Put the chicken on a plate and cover with the glaze. Serve with biscuits and dig in.
We’re in the middle of a full-on nor’easter here in New England. It’s been snowing all night and shows no sign of letting up. Peter, S and G are all snug in their beds upstairs while I, chronic semi-insomniac, am up.
I am a fan of winter overall, at least in the beginning. Talk to me in March and I’ll tell a very different story. But today, with the snow falling and everywhere whisper-quiet, and the house feeling as cozy as a favorite sweater, I feel content. It’s a perfect soup day, don’t you think? Just the right antidote for those still crazy enough to shovel their driveways (that would be us, thanks to an odd Luddite anti-snowblower/plow streak in my husband) or for young children who come in fresh from playing in the snow or, if you plan to spend your wintry day indoors (sensibly) by the fire, for just the coziness factor. Nothing warms up the stomach and soul like a good homemade soup.
I’m not sure what I will make later today but soup is definitely on the agenda. I made this creamy leek soup a couple of weeks ago inspired by a recipe in Every Day with Rachael Ray, though, and it was delicious and I offer it up to you in case you’re on the soup prowl. If you don’t have all the ingredients, don’t worry — improvise! Happy slurping!
Creamy Chicken and Leek Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 leeks, white and green part split lengthwise and then sliced crosswise
4 ribs celery, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1 32 ounce container chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 pound chicken tenders, cut into small chunks
1 pound fresh gnocchi
1/3 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 teaspoon paprika
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the leeks, celery, and salt and pepper. Cook until the vegetables are softened over medium heat, about 5 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook about 5 minutes until the meat is lightly browned. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the cream and lower the heat to simmer. Add the gnocchi and cook about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sherry and paprika and serve it up.
For the first time in a year, everyone is home. The holidays are over and while a number of people are still calling for command visits by or to Miss M and Rachel, in between our family is grabbing moments together. The “Just Us” has changed forever of course, as it absolutely should. But I am enjoying watching our children engage and reconnect — over a game of Monopoly, in a video game face-off and just sitting by the fire bantering.
We had a little unexpected moment tonight because we had Rachel all to ourselves. G and S were headed to a basketball game and M was in bed so dinner was the three of us. I lit candles in the dining room and made a tasty dish from Rachael Ray’s new cookbook, Look + Cook, which I’ve been planning to try for a while. It was tasty but I think I will always remember it because the three of us had a brief moment together again of just being. And then Miss M called
Chicken Cutlets Brasciole
serves 4 (I reduced everything a bit to make it for 3, using 3 chicken breasts)
1/2 cup very hot tap water
handful of golden raisins (I didn’t have any so I used five prunes)
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (I forgot this and it was still tasty)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 slices white bread, torn into pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO in Rachael speak)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped (I used dried and about a teaspoon)
Put the raisins in very hot tap water. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium low heat. Watch them so they don’t burn. Set them aside to cool. Place the parsley, lemon zest, garlic, bread, cheese, raisins and nuts into a food processor and pulse into a stuffing.
Butterfly the chicken by cutting into and across the breast, but not all the way through. It opens like a book after that. Pound out the cutlets and season with salt and pepper. Fill the breasts with the stuffing, roll and secure with toothpicks.
Heat the EVOO and butter in a large skillet over medium-heat. Brown the chicken all over for 7-8 minutes. Then remove from the pan and deglaze the pan with the wine. Scrape up the drippings, stir in the tomato sauce and tarragon and return the chicken to the pan. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Slice and serve. As Rachael would say, “Delish.”
I happen to be a fan so I was thrilled to get in on a group conference call last week with Ray about her new cookbook, Look + Cook, which goes live today. When I say “live,” I mean that literally because the book, in addition to feature 100 “can’t-miss main courses in pictures,” also includes interactive 30-minute meals online where she cooks the recipes with the clock running in real time. In other words, you can follow along online or in the book by pictures and see how things really are supposed to look as you put the meals together. It’s multi-media all the way, which is impressive.
In the interview, Ray said the first 100 meals “are the equivalent of a paint by numbers set.” You can also, from the pictures, see if you’re really interested in making this particular meal. How many pots will you really need, for instance?
Anyway, the photographs look positively yummy, and I will definitely be trying a few out and let you know what I think. In the meantime, if you want to see the videos, click here.