Chicken Chop Suey

chicken-chop-suey

I don’t get take-out from Chinese restaurants often, but when I do, Chop Suey is one of my favorite menu items to order. Chop Suey usually consists of shredded veggies and a protein in a lighter sauce. It’s actually easy enough to make at home.

Chicken Chop Suey

2 handfuls of dried shiitake mushrooms (about 6 large or 12 small)

Sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins, sliced
1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly slivered
1/4 head green cabbage (Napa is great too), thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 8 oz can bamboo shoots, drained and julienned

Hot rice, to serve

Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until rehydrated, about 20 minutes. Remove stems and thinly slice. Throw out the soaking liquid.

Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok (or large skillet) over high heat. Add the sliced chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink. Empty into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok place back over high heat. Add the onion, cabbage, carrots, and celery and stir fry until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the bamboo shoots, reserved sliced shiitake mushrooms, and reserved chicken. Cook a few minutes longer. Add the sauce mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the chop suey is heated through.

Serve with hot rice.


Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

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This is a nice change from a heavier, spicier beef chili. I like this dish a little more on the soupy side. If you like a thicker chili, add less chicken broth and definitely add the masa harina to help thicken. Serve the Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili with cornbread or fresh tortillas.

I think this could easily be made into a crockpot freezer meal. Add all of the ingredients except for the canned beans and masa harina to a gallon-sized freezer bag. Freeze flat. You could make several at one time and have them on hand for easy crockpot meals. The day before cooking, place the frozen bag in the refrigerator to defrost. Place the defrosted contents of the bag in the crockpot with the drained canned white beans and cook 6 – 8 hours on low or 3 – 4 hours on high. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry 30 minutes before serving.

chicken-and-white-bean-chili

Crockpot Chicken and White Bean Chili

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large breasts)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, stems and seeds removed and finely chopped
1 4 ounce can roasted chopped green chiles, drained (or the equivalent of chiles you roasted yourself)
2 15.5 ounce cans white beans (Great Northern, Cannellini, Navy), drained
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons Masa Harina mixed with enough water to make a slurry

Possible toppings:
fresh cilantro, chopped
cheese, shredded (Monterrey jack, pepper jack are great options)
avocado, sliced
lime wedges
serranos, sliced

Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, paprika, Mexican oregano, cayenne, and salt over the chicken. Add the onions, bell pepper, garlic, jalapenos, roasted chiles, white beans, corn, and chicken broth. Cook on low for 6 – 8 hours or on high 3 -4 hours.

30 minutes before serving, remove the chicken breasts and shred with a fork. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot. Stir in the masa harina/water slurry and continue to cook 30 minutes until the chili is thickened.

Serve and let each person customize their toppings.


Kimchi and Chicken Stew

kimchi-and-chicken-stew

I like making Kimchi, but I usually make too much. Making a stew with the remaining Kimchi is a great way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. I have made a Kimchi Stew using tofu, but I like this one made with chicken more. It’s even better the next day.

You will have to go to an Asian market (or Korean market) to find the Gochujang and Gochugaru. I’ve never seen these items in a regular grocery store. If you don’t want to make your own Kimchi, you can get it at the Asian market too. Get the fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand) and the Chinese cooking wine there as well. These ingredients are essentials for many Korean or Asian recipes. Buy them and challenge yourself to use them.

Kimchi and Chicken Stew

5 dehydrated shiitake mushrooms
1 small onion, thinly slivered
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups your favorite kimchi
1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean fermented hot pepper paste)
1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Chinese cooking wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
salt and black pepper, to taste

Cooked rice, hot

Place the shiitake mushrooms in a bowl. Add enough hot water to cover. Soak until the mushrooms are soft, about 20 – 30 minutes. Remove the stems from the rehydrated mushrooms and slice thinly.

Heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook a couple more minutes, until fragrant.  Add the kimchi, Gochujang, Gochugaru, fish sauce, Chinese cooking wine, chicken broth, raw chicken, and the sliced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the stew to a slight boil. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with hot rice.


Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

One of the blueberry bushes in my yard is heavy with blueberries right now. Being a fan of savory fruit sauces, I used some of the fresh berries to make this dish for dinner tonight. It was really, really good. Served alongside some roasted fingerling potatoes, this was a meal worthy of a special occasion.

Fresh Blueberries sm

This recipe makes enough sauce for four generous servings. If you are cooking 2 chicken breasts, only use half of the sauce and save the remainder for another time. I think it would be excellent on salmon.

Chicken with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce

2 – 4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion (or favorite sweet onion)
1 cup fresh blueberries (frozen should be a fine too)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey (you may want to add an additional tablespoon of honey if your blueberries are not very sweet – taste the sauce and adjust as necessary)
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Place the seared breasts in a baking dish and place in the oven.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet the chicken was seared in (no need to clean it out). When the butter is melted, add the finely chopped onion. Cook, stirring, until softened and starting to caramelize. Add the blueberries and cook for 1 minute. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Keep warm.

Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken breasts and return them to the oven until cooked through, about 10 more minutes.

Serves 2 – 4.


Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

This is one of my favorite soups. It’s so flavorful. Traditionally, it is not done in the crockpot, but there is no reason why it can’t be. Cooking it in the crockpot is not only easy, but it allows for the flavors to meld as it cooks over several hours. It turns out fantastic! To make it a little more substantial, sometimes we will eat this soup over some cooked rice vermicelli noodles.

This recipe contains several ingredients that may not be easy to find in a regular grocery store. Use this recipe as an excuse to visit an Asian market. I cook so much Thai food that I tend to keep these ingredients on hand.

Galangal: I have rarely been able to find fresh galangal, but I have been able to find it frozen or dried at Asian markets. If you use dried galangal, don’t mince it, instead throw a handful of slices into the soup. Remove the galangal slices (as you would a bay leaf) before serving. If you are unable to get galangal, you may substitute ginger instead.

Galangal

Lemongrass: I am able to find lemongrass at my local Asian market. I will buy a bunch and clean it up and freeze it to use later. I have also seen a lemongrass paste in the produce section of my Publix. I would think 1 tablespoon of the paste could be used instead of minced lemongrass. If you can’t find lemongrass, you can leave it out.

Kaffir Lime Leaves:  These are actually kind of hard to find in any store. This may seem strange, but I buy them on ebay, usually from someone in California that has a kaffir lime tree growing in their yard. They go out and pick the leaves and mail them. The leaves ship well and don’t need to be refrigerated right after picking. Once I get my kaffir lime leaves, I freeze them. They keep forever in the freezer. Lime zest can be substituted for kaffir lime leaves. The flavor isn’t exactly the same, but it is similar.

Sambal Olek:  They actually sell this at Target in the ethnic food section. It is usually right next to the sriracha.

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai

Crockpot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces mushrooms, washed and thickly sliced
5 cups chicken broth
1 13.5 (approximately) ounce can coconut milk
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece galangal, minced (substitute ginger if you can’t find galangal)
1/2 stalk lemongrass, finely minced
3 kaffir lime leaves, rib removed and julienned (substitute zest of 1 lime)
1 teaspoon sambal olek (or sriracha)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon Thai basil, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Combine all the ingredients except the Thai basil and fresh cilantro in the crockpot. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Right before serving, remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the crockpot along with the Thai basil and fresh cilantro. Serve with additional chopped fresh cilantro.


Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

The Hatch green chile season is winding down. For those who don’t know, Hatch chiles are a type of mild New Mexico chiles grown in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico. They have to be grown in that area to be considered Hatch chiles. That particular environment is responsible for their uniqueness. They are a big deal and they are fabulous.

When I lived in Texas, it was easy to find Hatch chiles. You just had to follow the smell of roasting chiles in mid to late August/early September to a local vendor. Outside of the southwestern part of the United States, it is harder to find Hatch chiles. I was lucky to find some here in South Carolina this week. I bought all they had (only about 5 pounds) and roasted them for future use. I skinned, seeded, and chopped the roasted chiles and froze them in 1 cup portions. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, Anaheim chiles or other long green New Mexico-type chiles can be used.

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas with Hatch Green Chile Sauce

For the Hatch Green Chile Sauce:
8 Hatch green chiles, roasted, skinned, seeded, and chopped* (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 cups chicken broth

For the Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas:
1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded (this is a great way to use leftover chicken)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 8 ounce package mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 cup, fresh spinach, chopped
salt and black pepper, to taste
4 ounces pepper jack cheese (or Monterrey jack cheese)
8 corn tortillas

To make the Hatch Green Chile Sauce:
In a skillet or large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.  Add the flour and continue cooking for another minute. Whisk in the chicken broth. Add the chopped green chiles, cumin, coriander, and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Reduce the heat to a low and simmer for about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened but still very pourable. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can puree the mixture with a hand blender at this point. Keep the sauce warm until ready to use.

To make the Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas:
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release their liquid. Stir in the shredded chicken and chopped spinach. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture until any liquid is gone.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Spray a baking dish with Pam. Spread a thin layer of the Hatch Green Chile Sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.

Wet several paper towels and wring them out. Wrap the corn tortillas in the damp paper towels and microwave for 45 seconds or until warm and pliable.

Divide the chicken and mushroom filling evenly between the 8 corn tortillas. Add about 1 tablespoon of shredded pepper jack cheese to each enchilada and roll up (not too tight) to enclose the filling. Place the enchiladas seam side down in the baking dish. Top the enchiladas with the remaining Hatch Green Chile Sauce. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the enchiladas and bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly

*How To Roast Fresh Chile Peppers

Gas Stove
This method works well for roasting a small quantity of chile peppers. Use a long handled cooking fork with a handle made with a non heat-conducting material. Pierce the pepper with the fork and hold the pepper over a gas flame (or grill flame), about 4″ from the heat source. Or use tongs. Keep turning the pepper until it is evenly charred on all sides. The pepper skins should turn black when properly roasted.

Dry Grill
For a larger quantity of chiles you can use a stove-top grill that fits over a gas or electric burner. Sit the chiles on top and turn occasionally to allow even charring.

Oven Method
Preheat your oven to 450°F. Spread the peppers evenly on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. Roast the peppers on the top oven rack for about 4-5 minutes until he skins blister. Watch carefully so they do not burn.

Clean and Peel
Place the roasted peppers in a plastic or paper bag and seal the bag – or – in a large bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Allow the chile peppers to sweat in the bag or bowl for about 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them from the bag or bowl they will be easy to peel.  Do not peel them under running water.  Peel the chile, remove and discard the skin, seeds, and the veins.

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Thai Chicken and Eggplant Curry

Thai Chicken and Eggplant Curry

Chicken and eggplant is a classic Thai combination. When stir-fried with a curry paste, it makes for an easy meal. This recipe took me less than 20 minutes from start to finish. I served it with some Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice (Brown Basmati). So easy.

I used Maesri brand Prik Khing curry paste, which I bought at an Asian market, when I made this. I’m a huge fan of Maesri curry pastes.

Prik Khing Curry Paste

You can use your favorite Thai curry paste. Thai Kitchen makes red and green curry pastes and they are easily found in the ethnic section of some grocery stores. If using Thai Kitchen curry paste, you probably want to reduce the amount of curry paste. I would suggest with starting with 2 teaspoons and going from there if you want it spicier.

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I don’t always have access to fresh Thai basil. When I do get Thai basil, I chop what I don’t use immediately in a food processor and freeze it. I just break off a piece of the frozen Thai basil and add it to my dish while I’m cooking it.

Thai Chicken and Eggplant Curry 3

Thai Chicken and Eggplant Curry

2 tablespoons oil (I used canola, but coconut would be good too)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons Thai curry paste (I used Prik Khing curry paste)
1 large unpeeled Japanese eggplant (or 2 small), sliced (about 1/4-inch) diagonally
1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
fresh Thai basil, torn (about a handful)

Heat the oil in a wok (or skillet) over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is just starting to lose it’s pink color. Add the curry paste and stir-fry until the chicken is coated. Add the eggplant and bell pepper. Season with fish sauce and sugar. Stir-fry until the chicken is cooked through, and the eggplant is cooked to your preference. I like mine tender, but not mushy. Add the Thai basil and take off the heat. Serve with hot rice.

Thai Chicken and Eggplant Curry 2