Panko Covered Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Legs

Recently, a friend asked for ideas on what to do with panko, a type of breadcrumb used in Japanese cuisine. Panko has become increasingly popular throughout the years, working its way from specialty stores and into local supermarkets and grocery stores. It’s larger than traditional breadcrumbs and has a crispier, airier texture. After passing it several times in her neighborhood supermarket, my friend decided to buy it and give it a try. She called me a few days later, unable to come up with a creative way to use it. I promptly gave her the recipe for crispy, panko covered rosemary-garlic drumsticks. These juicy, crispy legs don’t disappoint.

The legs are my absolute favorite part of a chicken. Even as a little girl, I had a preference for dark meat. I find it to be so much juicier and flavorful than the rest of the chicken. White meat cooks a lot quicker and can dry out if overcooked by even a few minutes. I usually substitute chicken thighs or drumsticks for most recipes that call for shredded breast. Chicken legs are inexpensive, which means you can get a lot more for your money. In this economy, it’s always a great thing when you can stretch a buck. Drumsticks and thighs can range anywhere from $1.29 to $1.99 a pound, depending on where you shop. If you buy the entire quarter leg and cut them yourself, you can pay as little as 99 cents a pound. These definitely qualify as cheap eats!

Panko Covered Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Legs

Adapted from Tyler Florence

What You’ll Need:

10 chicken drumsticks
3 cups panko bread crumbs
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
4 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put a baking sheet in the oven while you preheat it. In a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic and rosemary with a bit of olive oil. In a shallow dish, mix the panko with the garlic, rosemary and olive oil mixture. Add salt and pepper, to taste. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper.  Place the flour in a third dish and season with salt and pepper. Take each chicken leg and dredge in flour, then the egg wash, then coat in the panko mixture. Lay the chicken on a tray while you finish the rest.

Remember that empty baking sheet you placed in the oven? Well, remove it  and brush some olive oil onto the hot surface. Carefully place the chicken legs onto the tray, making sure they are not crowded together. The drumsticks will sizzle when they come into contact with the baking sheet. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Roasted Picnic Shoulder with Fingerling Potatoes

Although it’s mid-May, there’s still enough of a chill in the air to turn on the oven without making the kitchen uncomfortably hot. Knowing there would be few opportunities left to make a roast, at least until next Fall, I had my little brother, Stephen the Butcher, bone out a beautiful picnic shoulder of pork. I fantasized about smothering the pork in herbs, drooling before I even brought it home to actually season it.

Picnic shoulder comes from the lower part of the pig’s shoulder. It can be a fatty piece of pork, so be sure to have it trimmed. Picnic shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat and is extremely versatile. It can be barbecued, braised, roasted, used in stews or kabobs. This is the cut most commonly used for one of my favorite dishes, barbecued pulled pork. Picnic shoulder is also used to make smoked hams and ground pork. In many Spanish-speaking countries, especially those in the Caribbean, picnic shoulder is extremely popular during the holidays and special occasions, used to make pernil, a slow-cooked roast richly seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, a splash of bitter orange, and lots of garlic.

When I first thought about bringing home a picnic shoulder, I immediately thought about making pernil. I could almost taste the succulent pork, which would have tasted even better dipped in mojo. I quickly dismissed that idea, deciding to think outside the box, using some flavors I had never tried before with pork. I came across a recipe for an easier, American-ized version of porchetta, and decided that rosemary and sage were the way to go. It proved to be a fantastic decision.

Roasted Picnic Shoulder with Fingerling Potatoes

Roasting the pork shoulder on a bed of fingerlings results in tender, flavorful potatoes that require almost no work!

Boneless Picnic Shoulder

If you’re uncomfortable boning out a pork shoulder, or any cut of meat for that matter, just ask your butcher. They’ll be more than happy to help!

Prepare to get your hands dirty! You’ll want to rub the seasoning into every nook and cranny of the pork!

Stuffed with goodness, this pork smells delicious before it even goes in the oven!

Pork Crackling is Gooooooood!

Don’t be afraid of roasting this baby at high heat. Keeping the skin on protects the rest of the meat, leaving it juicy and flavorful. The added bonus is the pork crackling, a delicious treat!

Roasted Picnic Shoulder of Pork with Fingerling Potatoes

Adapted from Anne Burrell

What You’ll Need:

For the Pork:
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
20 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 picnic shoulder of pork with the skin, bone removed
Kosher salt
black pepper
 
For the Potatoes:
10 garlic cloves, smashed
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut lengthwise
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt
1 bundle fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the rosemary, sage, garlic and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Mix with enough olive oil until a paste has formed. Cut the sides of the pork so it opens and lies flat on your cutting board. Rub the paste all over the inside of the pork shoulder, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roll the pork and tie tightly with butcher’s twine.

Place the potatoes at the bottom of a large roasting pan. Season with salt, then toss in the bundle of thyme. Rest the pork roast on top of the bed of fingerling potatoes, making sure the pork skin faces up. Rub the top of the pork with a bit of oil and put in the oven. Roast for about 30 minutes. By this time, the skin should start to become a gorgeous brown color. Don’t be afraid of browned pork skin – it’s tasty!

Add the wine and chicken stock to the roasting pan. Roast for another 2 to 2 ½ hours, basting the skin occasionally with the pan juices. Tent the roast with aluminum foil if you feel the skin is becoming too dark, but be sure to remove the foil during the last half hour of cooking.

Once the roast is done, remove from the pan, cut the string, and let the pork rest for about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the skin and cut into large squares. Slice the pork and arrange on a platter with the fingerling potatoes, making sure to spoon lots of the the pan juices on top. Garnish with pork crackling and serve. Prepare to chow down!

Stracoto with Porcini Mushrooms

Stracoto, Italian-Style Pot Roast


To me, nothing says “yum” better than a good ol’ hunk of meat. It fills your belly and leaves you satisfied. After watching “Giada’s Family Christmas” on Food Network, I made a mental note to make stracoto, which is an Italian-style pot roast, as soon as possible. Once I did, I was NOT disappointed! Even my husband, who tends to be wary of new recipes, absolutely loved this one. The meat was fall apart tender, the flavors were bold, and the sauce was thick and rich. Stracoto will be my “go to” pot roast recipe from now on.



This recipe calls for beef chuck roast, so please make sure to use just that. Don’t substitute, I beg of you. Don’t use bottom round roast or anything else just because it was sitting in your local supermarket. Chuck is a fairly inexpensive cut of meat. If your local butcher or supermarket doesn’t have it at the time, then go elsewhere or hold off on this recipe all together! A nice piece of chuck is what makes the difference between a delicious pot roast and a dry hunk of beef. Trust me, I’ve been there. You can ask my husband! ::rolls eyes::


Check out that marbling! Isn't it beautiful? ::swoon::


Once you’ve browned your roast and have gotten through the first few steps of this easy recipe, you can pop this baby in the oven and forget about it till later. After a few hours, you’ll have a tender pot roast ready to “wow” your dinner guests. Serve it with simple mashed potatoes or creamy polenta, a side salad, and dinner is done!




Stracoto (Italian-style Pot Roast) with Porcini Mushrooms

adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
yields about 6 to eight servings



What you’ll need:

1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
2 onions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth, plus extra, as needed
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining oil and the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the broth and mushrooms. Return the beef to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the beef is fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning the beef over halfway through and adding more beef broth, as needed.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Using an immersion blender (or regular blender), blend the pan juices and vegetables until smooth. Add the rosemary and thyme. Bring to sauce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cut the beef into 1-inch pieces and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve the remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy!