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Poultry

Chicken with Apricot-Fig Stuffing

Williams Sonoma, “Savoring Meat and Poultry”

Chicken with Apricot-Fig Stuffing

Chicken with Apricot-Fig Stuffing

A challenging dish to make but really beautiful results and DELICIOUS smelling when it comes out of the oven. I mean, you can’t go wrong with apricot jam and succulent little hens, can you? In reality, it looks really impressive and isn’t too hard to make – I would definitely make it again for a holiday dinner. All you have to do is mix up the stuffing (chopping all the ingredients is the hardest part) and then stuff it into the hens (see photo above). The stuffing part is really fun once you get over the grossness! I used toothpicks (see lower right photo) to keep the hen legs together in the oven. The chicken is shown here served with artichoke risotto (which sounds delicious but was a fail recipe – too fibery).

4 young chickens or Cornish hens, 1-1 1/4 lbs. each {turns out to be around $25 for four cornish hens}

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup minced fresh sage

1/3 cup minced fresh rosemary

Stuffing

4-5 cups sliced or cubed two-day old baguette

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 large yellow onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup chopped dried figs

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

Glaze

1/2 cup apricot jam

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

rosemary sprigs

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Rinse the birds and pat dry. Rub inside and out with salt and pepper, sage and rosemary. Discard herbs, or for a stronger flavor, leave some of the herbs clinging to the skin or tucked under the skin {can’t believe they tell you to discard the herbs!! definitely keep them on there!}.

3. To make the stuffing, place the bread in a large bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the boiling water and pour the mixture over the bread {yummm bread soup…}. Turn the bread to soak all the pieces. Let stand until the bread is cool enough to handle and the water has been absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Using your hands, squeeze the bread, breaking it down until a think paste forms {I opted out of squeezing it and used a wooden spoon to smoosh it instead}. Add teh dried figs and apricots, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper, continue squeezing to incorporate them into the paste.

4. Spoon the stuffing into the cavaities using 1/3-1/2 cup per bird {I didn’t measure at all – just stuff them full!}. Do not pack the cavities too full {okay fine…}. Gently slip your fingers between the skin and the meat of the breast to make a pocket and tuck some of the stuffing under the skin as well {this is tricky but you’ll find that there are definitely skin pockets on the bird, as gross as it sounds}. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the breasts {who has kitchen string?? use toothpicks…}.

5. Place the birds, breast sides up, on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast the birds for about 25 minutes.

6. While the birds are roasting, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the jam and vinegar and heat, stirring occasionally, until a syrup forms, 3-4 minutes.

7. Remove the birds from the oven and, using a pastry brush, coat them with the glaze. Return to the oven and roast until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with the tip of a knife, about 25 minutes longer.

8. Remove the birds from the oven, garnish with rosemary springs, and serve.

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Murgh Malai Kabab ~ Punjab, India

Williams Sonoma, “Savoring Meat and Poultry”

Chicken Malai Kabob with Lentil Dal
Chicken Malai Kabob with Lentil Dal

This is a delicious chicken recipe – tangy and spicy chicken pieces that go very well with plain or coconut rice and a lentil dal. It is a life saver because you can make it over the weekend and keep the chicken raw and marinating in the refrigerator and broil as needed (cooking a few pieces fresh each night). It is also very very easy and fast and once you get the hang of making the marinade it has potential for a go-to in a hurry dish that packs a flavor punch. I usually edit recipes to take out any extra oil or unhealthy ingredients and since I’ve made this recipe twice you can find my comments in parentheses.

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup plain yogurt {I recommend thick greek yogurt}

1/4 cup sour cream {I suggest just using more yogurt to keep it healthy}

2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon garam masala {if you don’t have just use a mix of cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves, black pepper and nutmeg}

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Cut the chicken meat into 1 1/2 inch pieces. Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and rub them with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, cilantro, ginger, garlic, garam masala, cayenne, thyme and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over the chicken and stir well/coat thoroughly. Carefully fold in 2 tablespoons of the oil {this is not necessary, I suggest skipping this step to reduce oil content}. Cover and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator {I make it the night before and let it marinate in the refrigerator while I’m at work}.

2. Preheat a broiler to maximum temperature and place the broiler pan 5 inches from the heat. Or preheat the oven to 500°F.

3. Thread 4 or 5 pieces of chicken onto each of four 10-inch metal skewers, leaving about 1/4 inch space between each piece {this is not necessary, if you don’t have skewers just lay the chicken pieces on aluminum foil laid over a baking sheet}. Brush with some more of the oil {again, unnecessary unless you want to be oily} and broil, turning and brushing occasionally with any remaining marinade until the chicken is opaque and firm to the touch {be careful, this happens really fast with the broiler on high! I would say check after 5 minutes}, 7-9 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking time, and again just before serving, brush the kabobs with some of the remaining oil to give them extra gloss. Transfer to a warmed platter and serve immediately.

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