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Chicken in Tomatillo Sauce

In Poultry On September 25, 2015 0 Comments

This chicken recipe is from Mexico. It seems impossible to find this dish in a local Mexican (Los Angeles). My friend, Lina, introduced the recipe to my husband, Victor. Yes – you guessed it – he’s the one who makes this dish and I get to sit and enjoy it.

And so, I decided to try my hand at this recipe and it turned out delicious. You should try it, too!

Prep time: 35 to 45 minutes (includes 15-minutes for tomatillos to cool)
Serves: 4 to 6

For the Tomatillo Sauce:

2 pounds tomatillos (12 to 14 count), husks discarded
1 jalapeño or red chili pepper, stem and seeds discarded
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt


1. Wash the tomatillos and place them in a 4-quart sauce pot.

2. Bring the tomatillos and the jalapeño or red chili to a boil.

3. Boil the tomatillos and chili for 5 to 8 minutes or until they are soft.

4. Carefully drain the tomatillos, taking care not to let them burst; set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

5. After 15 minutes, transfer the cooked tomatillos to a blender.

6. Remove stem from chili and add the flesh to the tomatillos in blender.

7. Add the garlic and salt to tomatillo-chili mixture in blender; puree the mixture until it is smooth.

8. Taste the tomatillo sauce and adjust salt level; set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken:

For the Chicken:

1/4 cup vegetable oil (safflower or sunflower oil preferred)
2/3 cup chopped white or brown onion
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), cut into 2 to 3-inch chunks
Salt, to taste

1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil.

2. When oil is hot but smokeless, add the chicken chunks; stir fry on medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken turns white.

3. Stir in the onion and sauté for 2 minutes or until it becomes translucent.

4. When onion is translucent, pour the reserved tomatillo sauce over the chicken mixture in skillet.

5. Simmer the chicken on medium-low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes or until it is cooked through.

6. Taste and add, if needed, add salt.

7. Serve Chicken in Tomatillo Sauce immediately with steamed white or brown rice.
Text and Photograph ©2015 Nancy DeLucia Real

Chicken Tagine with Apricots & Cranberries

In Poultry, Soups and Stews On November 29, 2013 1 Comment

Enough with turkey now. Why not make a delicious chicken tagine which brings to mind all those luscious flavors of Morocco? Tagines are slow-cooked meat stews with dried fruit and/or almonds and lots of exotic spices. Here’s a great recipe. And yes – you can substitute the chicken with turkey breast and thigh pieces.

Accompany this chicken tagine with a side of Couscous with Zucchini, Yellow Squash & Red Chili Peppers (previously published on this website).

Prep time: 20 minutes (to prepare ingredients)
Cook time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours
Serves 4 to 6

1/3 cup olive oil
2-1/2 to 3 pounds chicken breasts (about 3 half-breasts), skinned and cut in half (to make 6 pieces)
1 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/4 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and finely minced
1 cup pureed fresh tomatoes
4 to 5 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger root
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup dried apricots, halved
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

1. In an 8 to 10-quart stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil.

2. Add the chicken breast pieces. Fry the chicken pieces on medium-high heat until they are browned all over, about 6 to 8 minutes.

3. After the chicken pieces are browned, stir in the onion, bell peppers and ginger root.

4. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes.

5. After 2 minutes, stir in the tomatoes and 1-1/2 cups of the broth.

6. Bring the chicken and liquid to a high simmer and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.

7. After 15 minutes, stir in cinnamon, cumin, paprika, chili pepper flakes, ginger, the sugar with 1 cup of the broth.

8. Cook the chicken on medium-high heat for an additional hour or so, stirring occasionally. As the tagine becomes dense, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup broth every 10 to 15 minutes.

9. After one hour, taste the tagine. If the flavors are too concentrated, add 1 cup water and continue cooking, stirring occasionally.

10. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the apricots and cranberries.

11. After 5 minutes, taste the tagine. If needed, add salt.

12. Serve Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Cranberries and a side of Couscous with Zucchini, Yellow Squash & Red Chili Peppers.

Note: To substitute the chicken with turkey, cook the turkey tagine. for at least one more hour. Add one additional quart of broth in 1-cup increments, every 10 to 15 minutes.

Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real

Tuscan Turkey for Four

In Poultry On November 21, 2012 0 Comments

Every year at Thanksgiving, my Italian mother (Francesca) made traditional delicious turkey stuffed and baked – Molise style. Our usual 20-pounder would feed 15 to 20 people.

While I love traditions and large family holiday gatherings, there have been times when it’s been just my husband, my son, my mother and me – four of us.

I learned how to make this Tuscan Turkey for Four in Gaiole, the Chianti area of Tuscany. It’s simmered with wine, broth over low heat. After 2 hours, the turkey is fork tender, succulent and delicious. Buon Appetito e Buon Thanksgiving!

Cooking time: 2 hours
Serves: 4

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green or red bell pepper, stem & seeds discarded
1 medium carrot, peeled
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
One turkey breast half with bone (about 3 to 3-1/2 pounds), cut into eighths & skin discarded
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 quarts chicken broth (4-1/4 to 4-1/2 cups)
Dash ground nutmeg
3 whole bay leaves

1. In a food processor, mince together the onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots; set aside.

2. In an 8 to 10-quart saucepot heat the oil. When oil is hot, add the turkey breast pieces and brown them 1 to 2 minutes per side on medium-high heat.

3. Stir in the onion mixture. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes or until onion mixture is tender. Turn over the turkey pieces once.

4. After 4 to 5 minutes, stir in the wine. Cover and cook on medium-high for 6 to 7 minutes.

5. After 6 to 7 minutes, turn over the turkey pieces once; gently stir. Continue cooking for 3 more minutes or until the onion-wine mixture has reduced by half.

6. When mixture has reduced by half, stir in 1 cup chicken broth, dash nutmeg and the bay leaves.

7. Cook, uncovered, on medium-high for 10 minutes or until broth has reduced by half. During this cook time, turn the turkey pieces over once.

8. Stir in 1/2 cup of broth and continue cooking on medium heat for 15 minutes, gently stirring occasionally.

9. Continue cooking on medium-low heat for an additional 1 to 1-1/2 hours, adding 3/4 cup to 1 cup broth every 15 minutes or each time the liquid reduces by half.

10. Serve one to two pieces of turkey per person. Accompany with Drunken Brussel Sprouts and Potato-Yam Chipotle Mash (previously published on this blog).

White wine pairing suggestion: chilled Pinot Grigio.

Text and Photograph ©2012 Nancy DeLucia Real

Pesto Grilled Turkey

In Poultry On September 2, 2011 0 Comments

Turkey cutlets or breast can sometimes be tough and tasteless. Transform this dry meat into a gourmet selection by marinating it in pesto and then grilling it. The pesto marinade coats the meat on the outside while making it flavorful throughout. And if you don’t feel like a cookout, don’t fret – Pesto Grilled Turkey is equally delicious when broiled or grilled in the oven.

Active Prep time: 20 minutes
Inactive prep time: 30 minutes (for marinating)
Serves: 4 to 6

1 to 1½ pounds Trader Joe’s® turkey cutlets or breast (boneless)
¾ cup prepared pesto sauce (see Cilantro Pesto, published on this website on April 28, 2011)*

1. In a large glass or porcelain bowl, evenly coat the turkey cutlets with pesto sauce.

2. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Outdoor Cooking Method:

3. After 30 minutes of marinating, grill the turkey cutlets on an outdoor grill, 5 to 7 minutes per side (check doneness by slicing the cutlet in half – the cut side should be white, as opposed to pink).

Indoor Cooking Method:

1. After 30 minutes of marinating, arrange the cutlets on a foil-lined baking sheet.

2. Place the baking sheet 6 inches away from oven’s top broiler or grilling element.

3. Grill turkey cutlets for 7 to 9 minutes per side (check doneness as in above directions).

Serve cutlets with a side of Jalapeño Slaw (published on this blog on August 24, 2011).

Wine pairing suggestion: Chilled Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio or your favorite white wine.

*Note: Store-bought, traditional basil pesto sauce can also be used in this recipe.

Text & Photograph © 2011 Nancy DeLucia Real

Chicken Paillard with Fines Herbes & Mustard Sauce

In Poultry On March 22, 2011 2 Comments

In 13th century France, Dijon became an important center for the production of mustard. In 1336, at a feast held by the Duke of Burgundy, historical records state that guests consumed 70 gallons of mustard or “moutarde”. Later, in 1777, Grey Poupon®, the famous mustard manufacturing company, was established in Dijon.

Also part of French cuisine, “paillard” is a term used for thinly pounded, rapidly cooked meat. This easy chicken paillard recipe is delicately laced with “fines herbes”, a Mediterranean herb blend consisting of chives, chervil, parsley and tarragon. The accompanying sauce, made with Dijon mustard, adds a perfect zest to this dish. Your guests will rave and say, “It’s scrumptious” or “C’est si delicieux”.

Active Prep time: 25 minutes for chicken; and 10 minutes for mustard sauce
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4

For the Chicken Paillard:
4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded into 1/4-inch thick cutlets
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
1-1/2 teaspoons Fines Herbes*
1 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 325˚F.

2. Wash the chicken cutlets and pat them dry with paper towels; set cutlets aside on a plate.

3. In a wide, 1-quart bowl, beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Place the cutlets in the bowl, coating them with the beaten egg mixture; set aside.

4. In the meantime, in another wide, 1-quart bowl, stir to combine the breadcrumbs and fines herbes.

5. Gently coat the cutlets with the breadcrumb mixture and set them aside on a clean plate.

6. In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil. Fry the cutlets on medium heat until underside is golden brown, about 4 minutes.

7. Turn each cutlet once and repeat frying instructions.

8. Transfer the cutlets to a baking dish; cover and keep warm in preheated oven while making the mustard sauce.

For the Mustard Sauce:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon Grey Poupon® Dijon mustard
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg yolk, beaten in a small bowl
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a 4-quart saucepot, melt the butter.

2. Stir in the minced shallot and sauté until it is translucent, about 30 seconds.

3. Add the wine and the mustard. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes.

4. Stir in the cream and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.

5. Transfer half of the sauce into a bowl with beaten egg yolk.

6. Return the egg yolk and cream mixture to the saucepot; cook and stir for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.

7. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir and taste. Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

8. For a thicker sauce, mix together 1/4 cup cold water with 2 teaspoons cornstarch until smooth. Pour a little cornstarch mixture into boiling sauce, stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken immediately. Stop adding the cornstarch mixture when sauce reaches desired consistency. Adjust seasonings, to taste.

Serve warm, as an accompaniment to Chicken Paillard with A Side of Carrots & Green Beans, previously published on this blog on February 15, 2011.

Wine pairing suggestion: Chilled White Bordeaux.

*Fines Herbes is a dry herb mixture found in the spice section of most supermarkets or in a gourmet cook’s store.

Text and Photograph ©2011 Nancy DeLucia Real.