Monday, November 29, 2010

Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Porcini Sauce

The best part of making this recipe was that I finally used my meat pounder, the 2-pound MIU 3600. I think I'll keep dried porcini mushrooms as a permanent part of my pantry so I can make this recipe more often. It was pretty fast and perfect for a weeknight dinner. What's better after a long day at work than pounding out some frustrations on a chicken breast?

Of note, I didn't have the shallot this time, but I think it would have made the sauce even better.

Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Porcini Sauce
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated March 2009

Serves 4

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 small shallot, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tbsps cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Freeze chicken breasts for 15 minutes to make cutting into cutlets easier. Trim breasts of excess fat and halve horizontally with chef's knife. Place each cutlet into bag from cereal box or between two pieces of parchment paper. Pound with your favorite meat pounder into 1/4-inch thick pieces.

Rinse porcini in large bowl of cold water, agitating them with hands to release dirt and sand. Allow dirt and sand to settle to bottom of bowl, then lift porcini from water and transfer to microwave-safe 2-cup measuring cup. Add chicken broth, submerging porcini beneath surface of liquid. Microwave on high power 1 minute, until broth is steaming. Let stand 10 minutes. Using tongs, gently lift porcini out of broth and transfer to cutting board, reserving broth. Chop porcini into ¾-inch pieces and transfer to medium bowl. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer lined with large coffee filter into bowl with chopped porcini.

Combine ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in pie plate. Working one piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour, shaking gently to remove excess. Set aside on plate.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place 4 cutlets in skillet and cook without moving until browned, about 2 minutes. Flip cutlets and continue to cook until second sides are opaque, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer to large plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty skillet and repeat to cook remaining cutlets. Tent plate loosely with foil.

Add remaining teaspoon oil to now-empty skillet and return pan to medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 30 seconds. Add remaining teaspoon flour and cook, whisking constantly, 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium-high and whisk in wine, soaked porcini and their liquid, tomato paste, soy sauce, and sugar. Simmer until reduced to 1 cup, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer cutlets and any accumulated juices to skillet. Cover and simmer until cutlets are heated through, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat and transfer cutlets to serving platter. Whisk butter, thyme, and lemon juice into sauce and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Edition: Butternut Squash Soup with Red Pepper Puree

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it's just about family, friends, and food without the pressure of gift giving! I am happy to make side dishes for Thanksgiving. The pressure of making a good turkey is just too much for me.

I've made this butternut squash soup before, but for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to actually follow all the directions. I wasn't a fan of the orange flavor, so I left the orange peel out in my final version of the recipe. The red pepper puree was a great addition, though. From reading the comments on, I also decided to roast the squash a bit to add a little extra flavor.

Next post: Mushroom and Leek Stuffing (as seen in picture)

Butternut Squash Soup with Red Pepper Puree

adapted from Gourmet Magazine via epicurious

For soup:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-1/4 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 2 1/2-pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
5 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

For puree:
1 cup coarsely chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Roast squash in toaster oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; stir 1 minute. Add squash and 5 1/2 cups broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until squash is soft, about 40 minutes.

In the meantime, place ingredients for puree in food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature before using.)

When squash is done, cool slightly. Working in batches, puree soup in food processor or blender until smooth. Return soup to pot. Thin soup with more broth if desired. Simmer 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving, thinning with more broth if desired.)

Ladle soup into bowls. Swirl 1 tablespoon Roasted Red Pepper Puree into soup in each bowl.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dave's Marinated Salmon

I've made this recipe six or seven times in my toaster oven, and it makes for a great weekday meal. Tonight, I served it over a bed of watercress stir-fried with garlic and oil. It's my go-to salmon recipe, and I didn't even make any changes to it! Thank you to whoever Dave is!

Dave's Marinated Salmon

adapted from Gourmet Magazine via epicurious
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (1/2-lb) pieces center-cut salmon fillet with skin (1 inch thick)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, oil, lemon juice, garlic, scallion, ginger, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Add salmon, turning to coat, and marinate, covered, at cool room temperature 30 minutes.

Remove salmon from marinade, letting excess drip off, and discard marinade. Bake salmon, skin sides down, on baking sheet until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Lift salmon from skin with a metal spatula and transfer to a plate (discard skin).

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pasta with Lemon Cream and Prosciutto

My husband will pretty much tell me anything I make for dinner is good. He always has a healthy appetite, so he eats second helpings almost every night. However, I know dinner's really good when he tells me how good it is multiple times. Tonight's meal was one of those times. The mixture of the lemon with cream took the dish to another level.

I made a few substitutions noted below for what I had in my fridge and pantry. I used green beans instead of peas because we had received so many green beans from our summer CSA that I blanched and froze them several bags. Now we're enjoying summer produce deep into autumn!

Pasta with Lemon Cream and Prosciutto
Adapted from Bon Appetit via epicurious
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 medium onion, minced
1-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
16 ounces penne pasta
4 thin slices prosciutto

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Simmer over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 2 minutes. Add cream, lemon peel, and cayenne. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add beans; simmer just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon juice. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Toss pasta with sauce to coat.
Divide pasta among plates or bowls. Cut prosciutto into strips and mix into pasta and serve.