Mike’s Atomic Chicken Buffalo Tenders


This is a tried-and-true recipe that never fails to please. The secret is the second-run through the egg wash. It allows the breading to set up better. The result is a fantastically light, crunchy coating enhanced by the addition of corn starch which helps keep it from getting too dense, while locking in the juices.  You can use a digital meat probe to test for doneness. The chicken should be golden-brown and read 165° F in the thickest part. If you trim the pieces as indicated, you will not have any issues.  You’ll also get great results using wings — keep in mind they cook faster, so watch them carefully.

A note on the wing sauce — this is a favorite of mine from Buffalo, New York; the undisputed wing capitol of the United States. It is, however, by no means “suicidal.” It has plenty of heat and a lot of tang; the balance being just right for my taste. Try it. I think you’ll agree.

 

Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1.5 quarts peanut oil
Original Anchor Bar Suicidal Buffalo Wing Sauce

~For the Egg Wash:
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 – 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

~For the Seasoned Flour Dredge:
3/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tsp. garlic granules
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 tsp. ground ancho chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

~For the Breading:
equal parts plain, unseasoned bread crumbs and Japanese Panko bread crumbs

~For the Sides:
Buffalo Bleu Cheese Dressing
Thinly sliced scallion as a garnish
4-inch celery stalk planks

 

Directions:

Using a large cutting board, lay out the chicken breasts and cover with a double-folded piece of plastic wrap. Pound flat with a meat mallet. This ensures even cooking with no underdone spots in the middle.

Cut the chicken into 1″ strips against the grain to ensure they are tender. Then trim the strips so they are about 3 to 4″ in length.

Prepare the egg wash mixture by whisking the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl. Add the buttermilk and lemon juice. Whisk again. Add the chicken pieces. Coat well and set aside for at least 20 minutes.

Prepare the flour dredge ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Prepare the breading mixture in another bowl.

Preheat 1.5 quarts of peanut oil in a heavy cast-iron 4-quart chicken fryer until the temperature reaches 375° F.

Using a tongs, remove the chicken pieces from the egg wash and dredge in the flour mixture until evenly coated. Shake off the excess flour and set them aside on another plate while you work. Then quickly dip the tenders back in the egg wash and roll in the breading.

Working in batches of 3 or 4 tenders, carefully dip them into the hot peanut oil. A Chinese spider-strainer works great for this. Cook for no more than two minutes per batch, turning once at one minute until golden-brown. Remove and set aside on paper towel.

Place the tenders in a large mixing bowl and add the wing sauce to taste. Carefully toss until evenly coated.

Serve with the Buffalo Bleu Cheese Dressing and celery planks.
Garnish with the green scallion, sprinkled over the top.

 

Serves 4 comfortably.
Each breast will yield about eight tenders.

Note: Culinary Compost never endorses products for profit, and has received no monetary compensation for the content of this post.

Mike’s Backwoods Holler Rub


Mike's Backwoods Holler Rub | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is an excellent rub for fresh-caught lake fish or beer-can chicken. Use on tilapia, catfish, bass, bluegills, salmon, walleye and Northern pike. When applied to chicken, brush with XV olive oil first, and then let the bird sit overnight in the fridge so the flavors can adhere to the skin. I highly recommend making a double batch — you’ll be using that much anyway so you’ll save time by preparing it up front.

 

Ingredients:

1 tbs. Kosher salt
4 tbs. Hungarian paprika
1 tbs. ground ancho chili
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper (medium-grind)
1 tbs. thyme (crushed in mortar)
1 tbs. dry rosemary (crushed in mortar)
2 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. chipotle powder (hot Meco preferred)
1 tsp. ground coriander

 

Directions:

Measure ingredients exactly and funnel into a pint mason jar. Cover and mix well. Will keep up to a year in a cool, dry storage cabinet before the flavors start to fade.

If you double the amount it makes just over 1 cup.

Mike's Backwoods Holler Rub | Culinary Compost Recipes

Experimenting with the ratio of spices. Needed more punch on the aromatics…

Thai Lemongrass Curry Chicken


Thai Lemongrass Curry Chicken | Culinary Compost Recipes
This is a recipe inspired by one of my all-time favorites dishes featured at a local Thai restaurant. Sadly, the place closed and I was forced to reinvent it for posterity.  The flavor is intense and very complex. You will need a very sharp knife in preparing this recipe — lemongrass is a woody, fiberous stalk that is very hard to cut. The aromatic flavor of the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves are essential to this dish. Most Asian markets will carry both of these items, so you should have no trouble finding them.

If you don’t have a good wok, I highly recommend the Lodge cast-iron version. It is built like a tank and can be used indoors over a gas or ceramic electric stovetop, or outside on a charcoal grill. I love mine and it has never let me down. Order it from Amazon and save yourself about twenty bucks.

Enjoy — this is one of my favorite recipes.

 

Ingredients:

For the Marinade~
2 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4″ pieces
1 two-inch shallot, peeled and minced
1″ chunk grated ginger root
3 lemongrass stalks – trimmed to about 8″ in length (discard the narrow green tops)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbs. fish sauce
Juice from 1/4 lime

—————-

2 tbs. peanut oil
20 snow peas
1 fresh garden red bell pepper, sliced
5 leaves fresh basil
1 tbs. brown sugar
1 tbs. dry Balti spice
2 tbs. Thai green curry paste (or more to taste)
3 scallion, finely sliced with greens
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
4 kaffir lime leaves – very thinly sliced
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs. fish sauce
1 can Thai coconut milk

2 cups Thai jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions

 

Directions:

Marinade the chicken at least one hour prior to preparing the meal. Cut the chicken into 3/4″ pieces and place in a bowl. In a separate mixing bowl, add the soy sauce, lime juice and fish sauce. Add the minced shallot and ginger. Trim the lemongrass to 8″ and discard the root and green tops. Hit aggressively with a meat mallet and discard the tough outer sheath, keeping the inner core. Cut into 2″ sections and then finely julienne. Combine with the sauce and pour over the chicken pieces. Stir to ensure they are evenly coated and place covered in your fridge.

Cut, measure and prepare everything else so you are ready to go – Thai recipes are known for their short cooking times.

Preheat a wok over medium heat. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat. When shimmering, add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly so it doesn’t scorch. Quickly add the chicken and discard the marinade/lemongrass. Sear until no longer pink, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken stock and fish sauce and bring to a slow boil. Add the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves. Stir to incorporate. Add the Balti spice, green curry and brown sugar. Stir until slightly reduced, about 3-5 minutes. Add the snow peas, bell pepper, and basil and cook for three additional minutes.

Remove the wok from the stove and place on a heavy serving trivet. Serve the lemongrass chicken over hot jasmine rice with cilantro and scallion as a garnish.

 

Serves 4

 

Sunday Chicken Soup


Sunday chicken soup

I threw this recipe together about fifteen years ago, as a way to use up leftover chicken meat. I’ve made it so often for the kids — who still rave about it as young adults — that I realized I’ve never recorded it here on Culinary Compost.  Serve with a nice crusty bread and butter, and a tossed salad.  Great for a Sunday lunch or dinner. Leftovers keep wonderfully.  Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

4 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced with greens, finely chopped (the greens add a wonderful depth of flavor)
1/2 sweet red bell pepper – diced
4 tbs. salted butter
1 tbs. XV olive oil
2 tbs. flour
Leftover chicken meat – breasts or thighs, shredded
48 oz. chicken stock
1 10.75-oz. can of Campbell’s® Cream of Chicken soup
1 tbs. chicken base
1 small 4-oz. can Pennsylvania Dutchman mushrooms, stems & pieces, with liquid
1 15.8-oz. can Great Northern beans, with liquid
Small handful of angel-hair pasta, broken into thirds
Ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
1 large bay leaf
2 tbs. dry parsley
3 tbs. dry chopped chives
2 tsp. garlic powder (not salt!)

 

Directions:

Using a large, heavy, 6-quart stock pot, add the diced carrots, onion, pepper and celery to 4 tbs. butter. Heat over medium until softened, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden or silicone spatula. Add the olive oil and the flour. Reduce the heat slightly, and stir continuously for about five minutes to make a roux.  Add the chicken stock. Cover the pot and allow to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a very low simmer.

Prepare the chicken meat by removing from the bone, then shredding into bite-sized pieces with a fork. Add to the pot. Add the dry spices and stir occasionally. Add the mushrooms (with the liquid from the can). Add the cream of chicken soup. Stir to incorporate and let simmer for at least a half hour, until the carrots and celery are just undercooked and still a bit crunchy. The volume should be reduced by a third.

Add the beans (with the liquid from the can) and angel-hair pasta, and cook for an additional 15 minutes over very low heat until ready. At this point the vegetables will be perfectly done.  Add water if necessary and go easy on the salt – the beans are loaded with it.

Makes just over two quarts.
Serves 6.

 

 

Mike’s Note:
When preparing in a 3-quart soup pot, use 1-3/4 quarts water, and 8 tsp. chicken base. Do not add salt.

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Tuscan Chicken with Classic Alfredo Sauce


A variation of two classic, time-tested Italian recipes – the chicken should be seared on the grill over real wood charcoal – anything else is setting yourself up for an inferior presentation.

Enjoy!


Ingredients:

FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE:
2-4 large skinless chicken breasts
5 garlic cloves – minced
1/4 cup XV olive oil
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tbs. premium Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs. fresh-minced garden oregano
2 tbs. fresh-minced garden basil
Crushed black pepper to taste
Kosher salt to taste

FOR THE ALFREDO SAUCE:
3 tbs. XV olive oil
3 large cloves peeled garlic – minced
1 stick salted butter
1 cup shredded hard Parmesan cheese
1 cup heavy cream
White pepper to taste
DO NOT add salt until you taste after simmering

12-16 oz. Penne pasta, cooked al dente

 

Directions:

Six hours before serving time, pound the chicken breasts flat on both sides using a meat mallet – this will ensure even cooking on the grill. Season each side of the breast lightly with Kosher salt.

Place in a locked storage bowl or a Zip-lock bag with the marinade ingredients, prepared as follows:
Mince five garlic cloves and whisk with 1/4 cup XV olive oil, 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice, the Balsamic vinegar, minced fresh oregano, basil and crushed black pepper.

Chill until an hour before you are ready to grill – rotate the chicken occasionally in the marinade.

Prepare a heavy stock pot with enough water to boil the pasta. Heat on medium-high with a dash of salt.

Prepare an outdoor charcoal grill with enough wood charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When white-hot, level the coals and place the chicken breasts directly on the center of the grill grate.

Char and turn after four minutes. Turn again and check for doneness when the juices run clear. The breast should be firm with an internal temperature of 165° F. Remove from heat and let rest in a heavy covered dish.

While the breasts are grilling, heat a heavy, cast-iron pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and minced garlic. Saute for four minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to scorch the garlic.  Add the butter. Stir until melted. Increase heat slightly and slowly add the cream, grated Parmesan and white pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and stir constantly until thickened, about six to ten minutes. Shut off the heat and cover.

While the breasts are grilling, bring the pasta water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta, calculating the finished serving time, and cook according to box directions, stirring occasionally – about six to nine minutes, until al dente. Drain and keep covered.

When the alfredo sauce is done, add to the drained pasta. Mix lightly. Slice the chicken breasts and serve on top of the pasta/sauce.

Serve with a garden spinach salad and Italian bread.

Serves 2-4

Pasta Puttanesca with Pan-Fried Chicken Breast


This is a recipe reputedly served by ladies of Italian bordellos. They would place a large bowl in the window of their room, tempting hungry patrons to pay a visit.  I fell in love with it (um — instead at a local restaurant…) because of the contrasting salty/briny flavor imparted by the signature minced anchovies and green olives.

It is fantastic paired with pan-fried or grilled chicken breast – sliced and then gently tossed in with the sauce and pasta.  It’s only a bit of extra work.

Serve with a side of thinly sliced Italian or French bread, good quality XV olive oil and a green salad.

Ingredients:
2-3 tbs. XV olive oil
1 pound pasta – spaghetti or angel hair – cooked al dente according to package directions
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 tin King Oscar whole anchovies – removed from brine and finely minced
6 large cloves garlic – peeled and minced
20-30 brined green and/or Kalamata olives, removed from pits and roughly chopped
3 tbs. capers, drained
5 Crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and thinly sliced
1/4 red onion – thinly sliced
1/2 cup rinsed and trimmed flat-leaf parsley – finely chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1 28-oz. can whole or crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
Dash of red cayenne pepper flakes, to taste
Dash of kosher salt, to taste
Dash of red wine
Freshly shredded hard Parmesan cheese

For the Marinade~
3 large cloves garlic – peeled and minced
Bottled Italian salad dressing; about 3/4 cup

 

Directions:

Marinate the chicken breasts at least 3-6 hours prior to cooking in a ziplock bag, coated in Italian salad dressing and three minced garlic cloves. Rotate occasionally.

Remove the breasts and transfer to a dinner plate. Sprinkle each breast generously on both sides with shredded hard Parmesan cheese. Allow to warm to room temperature.

Prepare the remaining 6 cloves of minced garlic, the anchovies, onion, Crimini mushroom, flat-leaf parsley, olives, oregano and capers. Set aside.

Coat a cast-iron Panini pan with cooking spray and preheat until medium hot. While the pan is heating, place the tomatoes in a heavy cooking pot and heat until just simmering, stirring occasionally.

In a large cast-iron flat bottom skillet, heat 2-3 tbs. of olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the anchovies, garlic, mushrooms, onion, olives, oregano and capers. Sautee for about 5-7 minutes. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan. Transfer contents to the sauce pot with the tomato sauce. Season with red pepper, kosher salt to taste. Stir.

While cooking the above ingredients, place the chicken breasts in the Panini pan and cook about three minutes per side until golden with some char marks. Remove, set aside for five minutes and then slice in 1/2″ strips. Don’t fret if the chicken isn’t cooked all of the way through – you will simmer it with the sauce.

Prepare the pasta and cook al dente. Do not overcook. Drain and keep warm.

After the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, add the chicken and cook until heated through. Add the flat-leaf parsley.

Add the sauce to the pasta and toss until just mixed through. Serve immediately garnished with grated hard Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

Grilled Greek Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki Sauce


IMG_0561-grilled-chicken-pita

This recipe is a home-run for busy families.  I created it after examining and testing three different versions. Marinated chicken with a combination of Greek spices is skewered, then seared over hot coals and served in a warm Pita bread shell with an amazing Greek Tzatziki sauce. Minimal prep time meets maximum taste — Opa!

 

For the Chicken Marinade:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup XV olive oil
1 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 handful fresh oregano, stemmed and fine chopped – about 4 tbs.
1 tsp. ground coriander
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
3 large chicken breasts

For the Tzatziki Sauce:
8 oz. plain Greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and fine chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 small sprig fresh oregano, stemmed and fine chopped – about 1 tbs.
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

===

Feta cheese
Pitted and sliced Kalamata olives
10 small, ripe garden cherry tomatoes – halved
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
6 stalks scallion with greens, trimmed and cut into 1″ chunks
Greek flat or pocket pita bread
XV olive oil

5 wood grilling skewers – soaked in water for at least 1 hour

 

Directions:

Prepare the chicken marinade ingredients and whisk thoroughly in a bowl. Cut the chicken in 1/2″ slices and place in the marinade. Mix to coat and let stand covered in your fridge for at least 3 hours. Rotate once per hour.

Prepare the Tzatziki sauce and mix well. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours so it has time to set up.

Place the wood grilling skewers in water and soak for at least 1 hour so they don’t burn when placed on the grill.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers and alternate with the scallion pieces. Ensure the chicken is secure so it doesn’t fall off the skewers. Set aside on a plate to warm up to room temperature before grilling. Discard the marinade.

When ready to grill, prepare enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When the coal turns white-hot, level them and brush the grilling grate with peanut oil so the chicken doesn’t stick. Place the skewers on the grilling grate and grill for 2-3 minutes per side until the chicken’s juices run clear and there is a nice, even char. DO NOT OVERCOOK!  Remove immediately from the skewers and serve inside lightly-toasted pita bread brushed with olive oil, the tomato, red onion, Feta cheese, Kalamata olives and Tzatziki sauce.

Serves 4.

Grilled Greek skewered chicken with scallion | Culinary Compost

Grilled Greek skewered chicken with scallion | Culinary Compost