Category Archives: Chicken

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent

One of my favorite recipes is Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent. Some may know this as “creamed chicken”.  I actually make up a large batch of this delectable dish and freeze it in serving-sized portions.  It makes a quick and easy meal when all that has to be done is bake the frozen patty shells, heat up the creamed mixture, and toss a green salad.

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent

This recipe makes four generous servings. The great thing about this recipe is that it is a good way to use up cooked chicken if you have any or, if time is limited, it can even be made with a rotisserie chicken from the deli.  Even though it is called “chicken” vol-au-vent, turkey can certainly be used as well.

While my preference is to use the puff pasty shells, commonly called “patty shells”, because they are light, airy, and ever-so-flaky, this creamed chicken mixture can also be served over toast points or biscuits fresh from the oven. I have even used appetizer-sized patty shells to serve this dish as part of a savory course for an afternoon tea. Fancy enough for company fare but easy enough for a weeknight meal.

Creamed Chicken
Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent

[Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

Ingredients

Sauce:
2-3 tbsp butter
3½ tbsp all-purpose flour
¾ cup chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp cooking sherry (optional)
¼ tsp garlic salt
Sprinkle pepper
Dash of paprika
2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Filling:
2-3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp red pepper, finely chopped
3 tbsp celery, finely chopped
6-8 small white button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cooked chicken, cubed

4 frozen puff pastry patty shells (or, alternatively, biscuits or toast cups)

Method:

Sauce: In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour. Combine the chicken broth, milk, and sherry and whisk into the flour-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika.  Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.  Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Filling: In medium-sized frypan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion, red pepper, celery, and mushrooms.  Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.   Add the chicken and toss just until heated.

Assembly:  Bake patty shells according to package directions.  Add sautéed vegetables and chicken to the sauce. Stir gently to combine. Heat over medium-low heat to ensure all ingredients are heated.  Spoon hot mixture into baked patty shells.  Serve with a side salad.

Yield: 4 generous servings

Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-vent Recipe

An easy-to-make delectable creamed chicken filling encased in light and flaky puff pastry shells. Perfect for company fare but easy enough for weeknight meals.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken, Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent, Vol-au-Vent
Servings 4
Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

Sauce:

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp cooking sherry optional
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • Sprinkle pepper
  • Dash of paprika
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Filling:

  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red pepper finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp celery finely chopped
  • 6-8 small white button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 cup cooked chicken cubed

Instructions

Sauce: In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Combine the chicken broth, milk, and sherry and whisk into the flour-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Filling: In medium-sized frypan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, celery, and mushrooms. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and toss just until heated.

      Assembly: Bake patty shells according to package directions. Add sautéed vegetables and chicken to the sauce. Stir gently to combine. Heat over medium-low heat to ensure all ingredients are heated. Spoon hot mixture into baked patty shells. Serve with a side salad.

         

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        Creamed Chicken
        Chicken and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole Recipe

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        Casserole recipes are useful for the home cook’s meal planning. They are a convenient entrée for a dinner meal, can be prepared ahead of time, are often a great way to use leftovers and re-purpose them into a new entrée, and they can stretch the food dollar.  My Chicken Chow Mein Casserole is one that fits that bill nicely.

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        This casserole will easily feed four people and there might be some left over for someone’s lunch the next day! This recipe calls for cooked chicken but I often substitute turkey if I have some left over from a roasted turkey.  All it takes is one cup cubed chicken which is what one good-sized chicken breast will yield. So, when you think about it – if you were to serve chicken breasts for a family of four, you would need to buy four chicken breasts for a meal. However, you can make this casserole with one good-sized chicken breast and still feed four people (see what I mean about extending the food dollar).

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        This recipe does not take a lot of costly ingredients which makes it economical to make. Apart from the chicken breast, only celery, onion, mushrooms, a tin of cream of chicken soup, a bit of chicken broth, some garlic, red pepper, a few sliced water chestnuts (which are optional and I buy when they are on sale), some cashew pieces, and chow mein noodles are required as ingredients.

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        For the chicken, you can use leftover chicken (or turkey) from a roasted foul, poach a chicken breast, or even use some meat from a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.  The casserole itself is not difficult to prepare. Sauté the vegetables, open a can of soup, combine all the ingredients into a casserole, and bake in the oven.

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        This Chicken Chow Mein Casserole can be made several hours ahead, or even the night before, so it’s ready to pop into the oven when you get home from work.

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        Ingredients:

        1 cup cooked chicken, cubed

        3 tbsp butter
        2 cloves garlic, minced
        ¼ cup chopped onion
        1 cup chopped celery
        ¼ cup diced red pepper
        2½ oz sliced mushrooms (about ¾ cup)

        ½ cup chicken broth
        1 – 284ml tin Cream of Chicken Soup
        1/8 tsp ground ginger
        2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

        ½ cup cashew pieces, chopped
        2½ oz (72 g) sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed

        2½ oz chow mein noodles (reserve 1 oz for casserole topping)

        Method:

        Grease 1½ quart casserole and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.

        Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.  Sauté garlic, onion, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, just until the onions are transparent.

        Combine the chicken broth and soup together in bowl or large measuring cup.  Stir in the ground ginger and Parmesan cheese. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to large bowl and add the chicken, soup mixture, cashew pieces, and water chestnuts. Mix together.  Carefully fold in 1½ oz chow mein noodles.  Transfer mixture to prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining 1 oz chow mein noodles. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

        Yield:  Apx. 4 servings

        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        An easy-to-prepare flavorful casserole that makes great use of leftover chicken.
        Course Main Course
        Servings 4
        Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

        Ingredients

        • 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
        • 3 tbsp butter
        • 2 cloves garlic, minced
        • 1/4 cup chopped onion
        • 1 cup chopped celery
        • 1/4 cup diced red pepper
        • 2.5 oz sliced mushrooms (about 3/4 cup)
        • 1/2 cup chicken broth
        • 1 284ml tin Cream of Chicken Soup
        • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
        • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
        • 1/2 cup cashew pieces, chopped
        • 2 1/2 oz sliced water chestnuts, drained and rinsed
        • 2.5 oz chow mein noodles (reserve 1 oz for casserole topping)

        Instructions

        1. Grease 1½ quart casserole and set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F.
        2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion, celery, red pepper, and mushrooms, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, just until the onions are transparent.

        3. Combine the chicken broth and soup together in bowl or large measuring cup. Stir in the ground ginger and Parmesan cheese. Transfer the sautéed vegetables to large bowl and add the chicken, soup mixture, cashew pieces, and water chestnuts. Mix together. Carefully fold in 1½ oz chow mein noodles. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining 1 oz chow mein noodles.
        4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until casserole is hot and bubbly.

         

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        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole
        Chicken Chow Mein Casserole

        Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

        Homemade Turkey Stock
        Homemade Turkey Stock

        I am always dismayed (and disheartened) at how many people toss a turkey carcass after the turkey dinner. To me, that is such a waste as there is a lot of goodness in that turkey carcass and it makes great homemade turkey stock that can be used in many recipes.

        Roast Turkey
        Roast Turkey

        A good poultry stock is a handy staple to have on hand in the cook’s kitchen (or freezer).  The stock can be used as the base for soups, sauces, braised dishes, and gravies and it can also be used when called for in any number of different recipes and other dishes. One of the best things about a homemade stock is that you know what is in it, there are no preservatives, and the amount of salt can be controlled.

        Homemade Chowder
        Turkey Chowder

        I usually cook turkeys that are in the 7-9 pound range. Therefore, my recipe below for turkey stock is based on the carcass from this weight range of turkey.  However, this recipe is scalable meaning, if you cook a smaller turkey, reduce the amount of ingredients proportionately and, likewise, if you cook a larger turkey, add additional measures of the ingredients called for in the recipe.

        If it is not convenient to make the turkey stock right after the turkey has been roasted and carved (or the next day), simply bag up the carcass in to an airtight zippered freezer bag and toss it in the freezer and make the stock later.  In fact, at the time of writing, I have three turkey carcasses in the freezer waiting to be made in to stock whenever I need it. And that’s in addition to 16 cups of stock already made and frozen!

        Homemade Turkey Stock
        Homemade Turkey Stock

        So, to prepare the carcass for stock making, remove all the meat you want from the carcass and use it for other purposes (or cube it up and freeze it for later use in soups or casseroles).  Leave some bits of meat on the carcass. Now, it is entirely possible to make the turkey stock with just the carcass of the roasted turkey (and some aromatics and seasonings, of course) and I have often done so.  However, by adding 2 more pounds of turkey pieces, the result will be a deepened flavor of the stock.  These can be any kind of turkey pieces at all so long as they still have bone-in -– legs, wings, thighs. Generally, I buy whatever is on sale at the time.  Brush a light coating of oil over these turkey pieces and place them in a greased roasting pan.  Place them, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to prevent fat splatters), in a preheated 425°F oven for 25-35 minutes, turning once or twice during the roasting.  Remove the turkey pieces and transfer them to a heatproof dish.  Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits and drippings from the roasting pan. Add about ½ to ¾ cup or so of water to the roasting pan to deglaze it over medium heat, stirring up the brown bits. This will deepen the flavor of the stock when it is added to it.

        You will need a very large stock pot to make this stock – one that can accommodate the size of turkey carcass you are using, two additional pounds of turkey pieces, all the veggies, and 16 cups of water. Although possible, I don’t bother breaking down the carcass unless I need to do so to get it to fit in the stock pot.  Add everything to the pot, skin included, from both the carcass and additional turkey pieces along with the liquid from the deglazed pan.

        Turkey stock can be very bland if it does not have enough seasonings added to it. That’s why I add some aromatic and flavourful vegetables – carrots, leek, parsnips, onion, celery, rutabaga, mushrooms, and a hefty dose of garlic. There is no need to peel the vegetables (except for the rutabaga that often has a wax coating).  Just make sure the vegetables are very well washed.  You want all the flavour and colour you can get from the vegetables, some of which is contained in the skins/peelings which will later be discarded anyway once the stock is cooked and strained.  Celery is a big flavour agent in this stock and that’s why, in addition to the five ribs of celery called for in the recipe, the celery leaves and the celery stalk base are used to intensify the flavour. While an optional ingredient, any kind of mushrooms can be used in the stock – I usually use the white button or cremini variety.

        Fresh herbs can, of course, be used in this recipe (and I do use them when it is gardening season and I have them fresh). However, I have given amounts for dried herbs because we don’t all have access to quality fresh herbs year-round.  Even though this stock will be strained, I still like to gather up all the dried herbs and spices into a bouquet garni because it corrals them and keeps the stock cleaner.  To make the bouquet garni, cut an 8” square of double layer of cheesecloth, place the herbs and spices in the center, gather up the cheesecloth, and tie it with string.  Add this lovely aromatic sachet to the stock pot.  As the stock simmers, it will be infused by the herbs and spices. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, and sea salt.  The vinegar will extract the collagen, nutrients, and minerals from the bones through the slow simmering process.  Because only a small amount of vinegar is used, it will not leave a negative taste to the stock.

        Bring the ingredients almost, but not quite, to the boiling point over medium-high heat.  It’s critical that this stock NEVER boil – that will make it cloudy and the look you’re aiming for is a clear, translucent liquid. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.  The temperature of the liquid should reach and stay around the 200°F point. A candy thermometer is useful to verify the heat from time to time as the stock simmers. If the temperature of the liquid dips below 200°F, simply increase the heat just a bit to bring the temperature back up to the simmering point. If it exceeds 200°F, drop the heat back. It’s okay if you see tiny bubbles forming but they should not break the surface of the liquid. The other tip to a translucent stock is not to stir it as it is simmering. This will stir everything up and can cause clouding to occur, resulting in a murky stock. While a cloudy stock will not affect its flavour, a translucent stock is more eye appealing.

        Homemade Turkey Stock
        Homemade Turkey Stock

        As the mixture is simmering, you will likely notice some fat from the bones rising to the surface. Periodically take a large spoon and skim this fat away and discard it.  Don’t cover the stockpot while the stock is simmering as it is more difficult to keep the liquid at the simmering point if it is covered. Also, some reduction of the liquid is required in order to achieve desired flavour. If you find that too much of the stock is evaporating too quickly, add a bit more cold water to ensure all the ingredients are submerged in the liquid. However, be cautious about adding too much water as it will dilute the flavour of the stock.

        This stock can simmer away for up to 8 hours. However, I find 5-6 hours is generally sufficient. Once the stock has simmered for this length of time, remove it from the heat and strain it.  To do this, line a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Place the colander over a clean stock pot and pour the stock into the colander.  Discard the remaining solids – i.e., the bones, vegetables, meat, and bouquet garni.  Because the meat that came off the carcass and the turkey pieces has been simmered for hours and served its purpose, it is tough and is of no significant nutritional value so I discard it. Sometimes, I find the meat after this process can have an offputting flavor so it’s not the best to use in soups or casseroles.

        Wash the original stock pot in which the mixture had been simmering. Place a new piece of double-layer dampened cheesecloth in a fine wire mesh sieve and place the sieve over the clean stock pot.  Pour the stock through the sieve.  This second straining will help ensure a clear stock, free of all impurities. Place this stockpot containing the strained stock into a large sink filled with ice water to cool it quickly.  Skim off any further solidified fat as the stock cools. Place the cooled, strained stock in the refrigerator to chill completely (this will take several hours or overnight, even) then remove any remaining solidified fat from the stock’s surface.  For more intense flavored stock, it can be placed back on the stove at medium-low heat and simmered until reduced to one-half the amount, yielding a stronger, more concentrated flavour but there will obviously be less quantity.

        So, apart from the necessity to use the right ingredients in the stock, the three big tips I have for making a clear, high quality stock are:  1) Don’t boil it; 2) Don’t stir it; and 3) Don’t cover it while it simmers.  Basically, put the ingredients in a large stockpot, get the liquid to the simmering point, and let it be to do its thing.

        This stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days or it can be frozen for up to six months, at this point, in freezer-safe containers of desired size.  I usually freeze and label mine in different quantities based on what recipe I intend using it in. I will often freeze some stock in ice cube containers and use them for flavoring dishes, like rice or steamed vegetables, or stir fries where smaller amounts may be needed.

        Homemade Turkey Stock
        Homemade Turkey Stock

        [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

        Turkey Stock

        Ingredients:
        Carcass (with some meat left on it) from 7-9 lb roasted turkey
        2 lbs fresh cut up turkey pieces

        1 tsp mixed peppercorns
        1 tsp dried rosemary
        ½ tbsp dried parsley
        1 tsp dried thyme
        1 tsp dried dill
        1 tsp dried sage
        1 tsp dried basil
        ½ tsp dried coriander
        1 tsp dried summer savory
        3 whole cardamom pods
        6 whole cloves
        4 whole allspice
        1 whole star anise pod

        16 cups cold water
        1 tbsp cider vinegar
        3 bay leaves
        1½ – 2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste

        1 large onion, skin on, halved
        1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise
        2 large carrots, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
        Celery stalk base + 5 celery ribs and leaves (celery ribs cut into 3” chunks)
        1 head garlic, halved crosswise, skins on the cloves
        3 slices rutabaga, about ¾” thick, peeled and sliced in half
        2 large parsnips, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
        6-8 mushrooms (button or cremini), halved (optional)

        Method:
        Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush thin coating of cooking oil over raw turkey pieces. Place turkey pieces in greased baking pan.  Roast, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to avoid splatters in oven) for about 25-35 minutes, turning with tongs after 15 minutes.  Remove turkey pieces from oven and transfer to heatproof dish.  Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits left in roasting pan. Mix with approximately ½ – ¾ cup of warm water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.

        Place turkey carcass and turkey pieces into large stock pot along with the browned liquid from the roasted turkey pieces.

        Using a small 8” square of double cheese cloth, gather the dried herbs and spices together in the center and tie up cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni.  Drop the sachet in to the stock pot. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, sea salt, onion, leek, carrots, celery root and ribs, garlic head, rutabaga, parsnips, and mushrooms (if using).

        Bring mixture to just below the boiling point over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Reduce heat to a low simmer (liquid temperature should reach and remain around the 200°F point) and let stock simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. If liquid evaporates too much and too quickly, reduce the heat and add a bit more water (e.g., 1 cup, or so).  Periodically, skim the fat, as it forms, from the surface of the stock as it simmers. Do not stir mixture as it simmers as this may create a cloudy stock.

        Prepare a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth.  Place colander over large clean stock pot and pour the stock/broth mixture into the colander to strain it.  Discard the solids – i.e., bones, vegetables, and bouquet garni.

        Wash original stock pot in which the stock was made. Line a fine mesh sieve with a new piece of double layer of damp cheesecloth and place over the clean stock pot. Pour stock through sieve to remove any remaining solids, stray herbs, etc.

        Place stockpot containing the strained stock in large sink filled with ice water to cool the stock quickly.  Remove and discard any solidified fat. Place strained stock in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to chill completely then remove any remaining solidified fat from the chilled stock.

        Use stock immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Alternatively, pour stock into freezer-safe containers of desired size and freeze for future use.

        Yield:  Apx. 16 cups (depending on amount of evaporation and reduction that has occurred).

        NOTE:  Strained stock may be reheated over medium-low heat and reduced to one-half. This will yield a stronger flavored and more concentrated product but, naturally, there will be less quantity.

        Straining the stock twice through a cheesecloth-lined colander/fine mesh sieve will yield a clearer stock, free of any impurities.

        This recipe is scalable – if you have a smaller turkey frame, reduce quantities of ingredients; if it is a larger frame, increase quantities proportionately.

         

        Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe

        Turkey carcass, combined with a blend of herbs and spices and aromatic and flavorful vegetables, makes healthy and tasty homemade turkey stock
        Author My Island Bistro Kitchen

        Ingredients

        • 1 Carcass (with some meat left on it) from 7-9 lb roasted turkey
        • 2 lbs fresh cut up turkey pieces
        • 1 tsp mixed peppercorns
        • 1 tsp dried rosemary
        • 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
        • 1 tsp dried thyme
        • 1 tsp dried dill
        • 1 tsp dried sage
        • 1 tsp dried basil
        • 1/2 tsp dried coriander
        • 1 tsp dried summer savory
        • 3 whole cardamom pods
        • 6 whole cloves
        • 4 whole allspice
        • 1 whole star anise pod
        • 16 cups cold water
        • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
        • 3 bay leaves
        • 1 1/2 - 2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
        • 1 large onion, skin on, halved
        • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and crosswise
        • 2 large carrots, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
        • 5 celery ribs with leaves+ celery stalk base (celery ribs cut into 3" chunks)
        • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise, skins on the cloves
        • 3 slices rutabaga, about ¾” thick, peeled and sliced in half
        • 2 large parsnips, washed, unpeeled, halved lengthwise and chopped into 3” chunks
        • 6-8 mushrooms (button or cremini), halved (optional)

        Instructions

        1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush thin coating of cooking oil over raw turkey pieces. Place turkey pieces in greased baking pan. Roast, uncovered (or loosely tented with tin foil to avoid splatters in oven) for about 25-35 minutes, turning with tongs after 15 minutes. Remove turkey pieces from oven and transfer to heatproof dish. Using a large wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits left in roasting pan. Mix with approximately ½ - ¾ cup of warm water. Heat over medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
        2. Place turkey carcass and turkey pieces into large stock pot along with the browned liquid from the roasted turkey pieces.
        3. Using a small 8” square of double cheese cloth, gather the dried herbs and spices together in the center and tie up cheesecloth to make a bouquet garni. Drop the sachet in to the stock pot. Add the cold water, vinegar, bay leaves, sea salt, onion, leek, carrots, celery root and ribs, garlic head, rutabaga, parsnips, and mushrooms (if using).
        4. Bring mixture to just below the boiling point over medium high heat. DO NOT BOIL. Reduce heat to a low simmer (liquid temperature should reach and remain around the 200°F point) and let stock simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 hours. If liquid evaporates too much and too quickly, reduce the heat and add a bit more water (e.g., 1 cup, or so). Periodically, skim the fat, as it forms, from the surface of the stock as it simmers. Do not stir mixture as it simmers as this may create a cloudy stock.
        5. Prepare a large colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth. Place colander over large clean stock pot and pour the stock/broth mixture into the colander to strain it. Discard the solids – i.e., bones, vegetables, and bouquet garni.
        6. Wash original stock pot in which the stock was made. Line a fine mesh sieve with a new piece of double layer of damp cheesecloth and place over the clean stock pot. Pour stock through sieve to remove any remaining solids, stray herbs, etc.
        7. Place stockpot containing the strained stock in large sink filled with ice water to cool the stock quickly. Remove and discard any solidified fat. Place strained stock in refrigerator for several hours, or overnight, to chill completely then remove any remaining solidified fat from the chilled stock.
        8. Use stock immediately or store, covered, in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Alternatively, pour stock into freezer-safe containers of desired size and freeze for future use. Yield: Apx. 16 cups (depending on amount of evaporation and reduction that has occurred).

        Recipe Notes

        Note 1: Strained stock may be reheated over medium-low heat and reduced to one-half. This will yield a stronger flavored and more concentrated product but, naturally, there will be less quantity.

        Note 2: Straining the stock twice through a cheesecloth-lined colander/fine mesh sieve will yield a clearer stock, free of any impurities.

        Note 3: This recipe is scalable – if you have a smaller turkey frame, reduce quantities of ingredients; if it is a larger frame, increase quantities proportionately.

        Be sure to read the accompanying blog post to this recipe as it contains additional information and tips on making turkey stock.

        For my recipe for homemade Beef Stock, click here.

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        Homemade Turkey Stock
        Homemade Turkey Stock

        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Star Anise Vinaigrette
        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        We grow a garden and live out of it in the summer. We grow lots of different varieties of lettuce and so salads are an almost daily part of our menu.

        Lettuce from our Garden
        Lettuce from our Garden

        On hot summer days, I love to make what I call a main meal salad. I simply take a meat platter and lay a layer of mixed greens down the center bordered by a row of quinoa along both sides of the lettuce bed. I often marinate and cook chicken breasts then slice them for salads as I have done here.  I use whatever fruit I have on hand or that is in season to make a colorful and healthy salad. It could be strawberries, mango, melons, oranges or mandarins, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, and so forth.  Add some red onion rings, crumbled feta cheese, and top with crunchy pea and radish shoots and you have a very colorful, appetizing, and healthy dinner.

        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Orange Star Anise Vinagrette
        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinagrette

        What makes the salad super tasty is the vinaigrette.

        Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette
        Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        For this recipe,  start with 3 tablespoons of orange juice and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and add a small star anise pod and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let the juice cool. This allows the star anise to infuse the juice with a lovely subtle layer of licorice flavor. Discard the star anise and mix the vinaigrette ingredients in a small jar and shake vigorously.  If adding fresh herbs, only add them at the time of serving as, otherwise, they become quite limp and wilted.

        Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette
        Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        Now, I don’t tend to measure the ingredients for the salad itself. I go to the garden and pick a couple of handfuls of different kinds of lettuce. For a main meal serving for two, I cook 1/2 cup of quinoa and a large chicken breast. For the fruits, just add as many of each kind as you like and the same for the pea and radish shoots.  I don’t grow these shoots – I get them from Just A Little Farm in Bonshaw.  You can click here to read the story I wrote about this farm. Jessica grows the most amazing produce and her pea and radish shoots are so lovely crisp and fresh!

        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette
        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        This recipe will yield a generous main meal for two or, if serving as a starter, it could serve 4-6.

        [Printable Recipe Follows at end of Posting]

        Orange and Star Anise Vinaigrette

        Ingredients:
        3 tbsp orange juice
        1 small star anise pod
        ¼ cup olive oil
        1 tbsp red wine vinegar
        2 tsp Dijon mustard
        2 tsp liquid honey
        ¼ tsp garlic salt
        Salt and pepper, to taste
        Fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill), chopped

        Method:

        In small saucepan, bring orange juice to boiling point over medium heat.  Reduce heat to simmer and add the star anise pod.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, allowing the star anise to infuse the orange juice. Remove and discard star anise after orange juice has cooled.

        Combine all ingredients, except the fresh herbs, in a small jar. Shake vigorously.  Add the chopped herbs at time of serving.

        Yield: Apx. scant ½ cup

        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        Yield: Scant 1/2 cup

        A tasty vinaigrette with subtle undertones of licorice flavor. Perfect accompaniment to any salad but especially good with Chicken and Quinoa Salad

        Ingredients

        • 3 tbsp orange juice
        • 1 small star anise pod
        • ¼ cup olive oil
        • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
        • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
        • 2 tsp liquid honey
        • ¼ tsp garlic salt
        • Salt and pepper, to taste
        • Fresh herbs (e.g., parsley, thyme, dill), chopped

        Instructions

        1. In small saucepan, bring orange juice to boiling point over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and add the star anise pod. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely, allowing the star anise to infuse the orange juice. Remove and discard star anise after orange juice has cooled.
        2. Combine all ingredients, except the fresh herbs, in a small jar. Shake vigorously. Add the chopped herbs at time of serving.
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        Chicken and Quinoa Salad with Star Anise and Orange Vinaigrette

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        Crepes filled with delectable fillings are one of my favorite meals. Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce are a real treat and a lot easier to make than one might think. At one time considered the fare of stylish restaurants and bistros, they can actually be very easily made at home.

        I often make up a large batch of the crepes and freeze them, in between layers of plastic wrap, in a sealed freezer bag. If they are already made in advance, it does speed up meal preparation.

        Crepes can be made with all-purpose flour or, if following a gluten-free diet, made with gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour. In fact, the crepes in the photos in this posting are made with the 1-to-1 gluten-free flour and are very tasty and have a good soft texture. The crepe batter benefits from spending an hour in the refrigerator before being cooked. I find this gives greater structure to the crepe batter than cooking the crepes immediately after the ingredients are mixed together. The 1/4-cup measuring cup is a good size to use for the batter needed for each crepe.

        A slope-sided non-stick 8″ skillet is perfect for making crepes.  Make sure the skillet is hot before adding batter and that only the minimal amount of butter is added to the pan. The best way to get thin crepes is to hold the 1/4-cup with the batter in one hand and the hot pan in the other. Pour the batter in to the pan while quickly tilting and swirling the pan to evenly distribute the batter. Cook the crepe until the gloss is gone from the top of the crepe and it starts to look a bit dry, small tiny bubbles begin to appear, and the edges of the crepe start to curl slightly. I use the tip of a fork to gently life the edge of the crepe, then I grab it with my fingers, and flip it over to the other side. The second side only needs about 15-20 seconds of cooking.  Have a couple of clean tea towels spread out on the counter and, as soon as each crepe is cooked, flip it out on to the tea towel. A small amount of additional butter may need to be added to the pan after every few crepes are cooked. This will ensure that the batter moves freely in the pan. Even though pan manufacturers claim pans to be non-stick, I find they benefit from the addition of a small amount of butter.

        My recipe is a good use of leftover chicken (or turkey); however, if you are craving chicken crepes and don’t happen to have any leftover chicken, simply cook some chicken breasts especially for the crepes. It will take approximately one (1) pound of raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts to yield about two (2) cups of cooked cubed chicken.  When I am preparing the chicken breasts for cooking, I mix about 1/2 tsp liquid chicken bouillon with about a couple of tablespoons of water and drizzle it over the chicken. I will sprinkle a small amount of herbs and spices (e.g., dillweed, cumin, granulated garlic, or pretty much whatever strikes my fancy at the time) over the chicken, cover, and bake in the oven until done.  This adds some extra flavor to the chicken which can, otherwise, be a bit bland.

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        I recommend making this recipe in steps starting with the crepes, then the cheese sauce, and finally the filling.  I enhance the cheese sauce with the injection of some flavor boosters that include chicken stock, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne.  They do make a difference.  Those following a gluten-free diet will need to ensure that the chicken stock they use in this recipe is gluten-free.  If gluten-free chicken stock is unavailable, this sauce may be made entirely with milk though the flavor will obviously differ somewhat. The thickener in the sauce is all-purpose flour and, for those on a gluten-free diet, I have had great success using the gluten-free 1-to-1 flour as a thickener for this sauce.  While the sauce can be made entirely with grated cheddar cheese, I find it can be a bit too intense. Therefore, I use a blend of cheeses, my favorite being a mozzarella-provolone-parmesan mix .  With so many packages of pre-shredded cheeses on the market, it’s a quick and easy way to get a blend of cheeses for a recipe.

        The filling is easy to make and only takes basic, simple ingredients that include two (2) aromatics (onion and celery), sliced button mushrooms and, of course, the cubed cooked chicken.  What holds this filling together is a portion of the cheese sauce. Don’t add so much cheese sauce that the filling becomes soupy – all that should be needed is about 1/2 cup of the sauce to bind the filling ingredients together.

        To fill the crepes, simply divvy up the filling between the eight (8) crepes, placing the filling along the center line of each crepe. Gently fold one side of the crepe over the filling and roll again to form a cylinder.

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        If you want to plate the crepes, then I recommend baking them together in a baking pan (a 7″x11″ baking pan works well).  I like to bake my crepes in individual au gratin dishes like those in the photo below. I find they are great for presentation and they also ensure that each serving receives an equal amount of the cheese sauce. For presentation purposes, the crepes also look finished and undisturbed when brought to the table in their individual serving dishes.

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

         

        [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        Ingredients:

        Crepes:
        2 large eggs
        1 cup flour (to make gluten-free, use 1 cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
        1/8 tsp salt
        1 cup whole milk
        2 tbsp melted butter

        Cheese Sauce:
        ¼ cup butter
        ¼ cup flour (to make gluten-free, use ¼ cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
        Scant ½ tsp salt
        ½ tsp granulated garlic
        Dash paprika
        Dash cayenne
        1 cup chicken stock
        1 cup whole milk
        1 cup grated cheese mixture (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)

        Filling:
        2 tbsp butter
        ½ cup onion, finely chopped
        ½ cup celery, finely chopped
        1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
        2 cups cubed cooked chicken
        Fresh herbs for garnish (e.g., parsley, chives, tarragon)

        Method:

        Step 1 – Make the crepes.  In large measuring cup or bowl and using an immersion blender, beat the eggs lightly.  Combine the flour and salt and beat in to the egg alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 additions of milk).  Beat in the melted butter and beat an additional 30 seconds, or until batter is smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate batter for 1 hour.

        Over medium heat, melt apx. 1½ tsp butter in a 8” non-stick skillet with sloped sides. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop up batter. Pour the batter in to the heated skillet while quickly swirling and tilting the pan to ensure batter distributes evenly and completely over the bottom of the pan. Return pan to heat and cook crepe until top loses its gloss, tiny bubbles start to appear, and the edges of the crepe start to slightly curl. Gently lift an edge of the crepe away from the side of the pan with a tip of a fork and grab the crepe with fingers and flip it over.  Cook the second side of the crepe for 15-20 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a clean tea towel. Repeat for remaining crepes, adding small amounts of butter to the pan, if necessary, to keep the crepes from sticking to the pan.

        Step 2 – Make the cheese sauce. In small bowl, combine and mix the flour, salt, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne.  In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the flour mixture and cook until frothy.  Whisk in the chicken stock and milk.  Cook sauce, until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  Stir in the cheese until melted.

        Step 3 – Make the filling.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  In medium-sized skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently to prevent vegetables from burning.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for approximately 3-5 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat and add the diced cooked chicken.  Add approximately ½ cup of the cheese sauce to the vegetable-chicken mixture and stir to combine.

        Step 4: Assemble the crepes.  Grease 4 individual au gratin dishes or one oblong baking pan (apx. 7”x11”) that will hold 8 filled crepes.  Divide the filling mixture between the 8 crepes by placing filling in the center of each crepe.  Gently fold crepe over filling and roll again into a cylinder shape and place in baking dish(es). If using au gratin dishes, place 2 filled crepes in each dish. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over crepes to cover, leaving both ends of the crepes uncovered.

        Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs.

        Serving Suggestion: Serve with favorite green salad.

        Yield:  4 servings, 2 crepes each

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        Yield: 4 servings

        Serving Size: 2 crepes per serving

        A delectable chicken and mushroom filling encased in a thin, soft-textured crepe and smothered in a rich cheesy sauce.

        Ingredients

        • Crepes:
        • 2 large eggs
        • 1 cup flour (to make gluten-free, use 1 cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
        • 1/8 tsp salt
        • 1 cup whole milk
        • 2 tbsp melted butter
        • Cheese Sauce:
        • ¼ cup butter
        • ¼ cup flour (to make gluten-free, use ¼ cup of 1-to-1 gluten-free flour)
        • Scant ½ tsp salt
        • ½ tsp granulated garlic
        • Dash paprika
        • Dash cayenne
        • 1 cup chicken stock
        • 1 cup whole milk
        • 1 cup grated cheese mixture (e.g., mozzarella, provolone, and parmesan)
        • Filling:
        • 2 tbsp butter
        • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
        • ½ cup celery, finely chopped
        • 1 cup button mushrooms, thinly sliced
        • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
        • Fresh herbs for garnish (e.g., parsley, chives, tarragon)

        Instructions

        1. Step 1 - Make the crepes. In large measuring cup or bowl and using an immersion blender, beat the eggs lightly. Combine the flour and salt and beat in to the egg alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 additions of milk). Beat in the melted butter and beat an additional 30 seconds, or until batter is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate batter for 1 hour.
        2. Over medium heat, melt apx. 1½ tsp butter in a 8” non-stick skillet with sloped sides. Using a ¼-cup measuring cup, scoop up batter. Pour the batter in to the heated skillet while quickly swirling and tilting the pan to ensure batter distributes evenly and completely over the bottom of the pan. Return pan to heat and cook crepe until top loses its gloss, tiny bubbles start to appear, and the edges of the crepe start to slightly curl. Gently lift an edge of the crepe away from the side of the pan with a tip of a fork and grab the crepe with fingers and flip it over. Cook the second side of the crepe for 15-20 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a clean tea towel. Repeat for remaining crepes, adding small amounts of butter to the pan, if necessary, to keep the crepes from sticking to the pan.
        3. Step 2 - Make the cheese sauce. In small bowl, combine and mix the flour, salt, granulated garlic, paprika, and cayenne. In medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour mixture and cook until frothy. Whisk in the chicken stock and milk. Cook sauce, until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Stir in the cheese until melted.
        4. Step 3 - Make the filling. Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium-sized skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent, stirring frequently to prevent vegetables from burning. Add the mushrooms and sauté for approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add the diced cooked chicken. Add approximately ½ cup of the cheese sauce to the vegetable-chicken mixture and stir to combine.
        5. Step 4: Assemble the crepes. Grease 4 individual au gratin dishes or one oblong baking pan (apx. 7”x11”) that will hold 8 filled crepes. Divide the filling mixture between the 8 crepes by placing filling in the center of each crepe. Gently fold crepe over filling and roll again into a cylinder shape and place in baking dish(es). If using au gratin dishes, place 2 filled crepes in each dish. Pour the remaining cheese sauce over crepes to cover, leaving both ends of the crepes uncovered.
        6. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and, if desired, sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs.
        7. Serving Suggestion: Serve with favorite green salad.

        Notes

        Please read entire blog posting for additional details and hints on making the crepes that are not included in this recipe.

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        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes
        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes

         

         

        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce
        Chicken and Mushroom Crepes with Cheese Sauce

        Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe

        Asparagus
        Asparagus-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

        Asparagus is one of the most versatile vegetables, both in the ways in which it can be prepared and the ingredients with which it can be paired. Locally, in Atlantic Canada, asparagus has a very short growing season in late May/early June and it is a harbinger of wonderful produce to come from the land. And, as we all know, fresh, locally-grown produce is always best.  I am very lucky to live not far from an Island farmer, Tim Dixon, who grows asparagus and sells it at the farm gate – this means I’m buying produce that has just been harvested and has not lost its freshness through several days of transit to reach me. It also means I know where my food is coming from and, at the same time, I am supporting the local food movement with no middle men involved.

        I like to feature asparagus in springtime on my dinner table and, this year, I have chosen to combine Boursin cheese, prosciutto, and chicken breasts with the asparagus.  This stuffed chicken breast can be served whole or it can be sliced into 3/4″ slices and served on either a bed of rice or on a green salad.  The latter is quite colorful as it shows the green asparagus stuffing.

        asparagus
        Slices of asparagus-stuffed chicken breast

        This is not a difficult recipe to make and I hope you enjoy it, especially when the flavorful local asparagus is available in your region. I chose to pair this entrée with New Harbour Sauvignon Blanc (NZ 2013). This wine with its citrus, passionfruit, and guava notes, has a lovely crisp finish that compliments chicken quite well.

        Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe

        (printable version of recipe follows at end of posting)

        Ingredients:

        2 medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
        Salt and pepper
        3 tbsp Boursin cheese (French cream cheese), garlic and herb flavor
        1 – 2 tsp olive oil
        10 fresh asparagus spears tossed lightly in apx. 1 tsp olive oil
        2 thin slices prosciutto
        3 tbsp flour
        1 extra large egg, beaten
        ¼ cup fine bread crumbs
        2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
        1-2 tbsp cooking oil

        Method:

        Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8”x8” baking pan.

        Individually, place each chicken breast inside a plastic freezer bag and, using a meat mallet, flatten the chicken breast to approximately ¼” thick.  Season both sides of each breast with salt and pepper.

        In small bowl, mix the Boursin cheese with just enough olive oil to make the cheese barely of spreading consistency.  Leaving about a ½” border on the edges of each chicken breast, divide the cheese equally between the two chicken pieces and evenly spread the cheese on each chicken breast.

        Snap off the woody ends of each asparagus spear at their natural breaking point and discard. In medium-sized bowl, lightly coat the  spears with a teaspoon of olive oil (focus mainly on coating the tips of the asparagus that will be exposed during the baking). Lay five asparagus spears on each piece of prosciutto and roll the meat tightly around the spears.  Lay each bundle of spears on one long side of each flattened chicken breast and roll the chicken around the bundles tightly, leaving  the tips of the asparagus exposed .  Secure chicken pieces with two lengths of baker’s string.

        In separate shallow bowls, large enough to accommodate the chicken pieces, place the flour in one bowl, the beaten egg in another, and mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in the third bowl.

        Heat cooking oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Dip each chicken breast in the flour, then in the egg, and then roll in the bread crumbs-parmesan cheese mixture, being careful not to coat the tips of the asparagus spears.  Transfer chicken pieces to hot skillet.  Reduce heat to medium and brown the chicken pieces, turning them so that all sides of the chicken breasts brown evenly, about 1 minute per side.  Transfer chicken breasts to prepared baking pan and bake in pre-heated oven until internal temperature of chicken registers at least 165°F on an instant read meat thermometer.

        Remove baker’s string from each breast. To serve, lay chicken breast over steamed rice or, alternatively, let the chicken pieces rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board then, with a sharp knife, cut into slices, approximately ¾” thick and serve over rice or a green salad.

        Yield:  2 servings

        Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts by My Island Bistro Kitchen
        Chicken Breast Stuffed with Asparagus

        Asparagus-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe

        Yield: 2 servings

        Tasty chicken breasts stuffed with asparagus, prosciutto, and Boursin cheese - easy enough to make for weeknight dinners but fancy enough for company fare!

        Ingredients

        • 2 medium-sized boneless, skinless chicken breasts
        • Salt and pepper
        • 3 tbsp Boursin cheese (French cream cheese), garlic and herb flavor
        • 1 - 2 tsp olive oil
        • 10 fresh asparagus spears tossed lightly in apx. 1 tsp olive oil
        • 2 thin slices prosciutto
        • 3 tbsp flour
        • 1 extra large egg, beaten
        • ¼ cup fine bread crumbs
        • 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
        • 1-2 tbsp cooking oil

        Instructions

        1. Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8”x8” baking pan.
        2. Individually, place each chicken breast inside a plastic freezer bag and, using a meat mallet, flatten the chicken breast to approximately ¼” thick. Season both sides of each breast with salt and pepper.
        3. In small bowl, mix the Boursin cheese with just enough olive oil to make the cheese barely of spreading consistency. Leaving about a ½” border on the edges of each chicken breast, divide the cheese equally between the two chicken pieces and evenly spread the cheese on each chicken breast.
        4. Snap off the woody ends of each asparagus spear at their natural breaking point and discard. In medium-sized bowl, lightly coat the asparagus spears with a teaspoon of olive oil (focus mainly on coating the tips of the asparagus that will be exposed during the baking). Lay five asparagus spears on each piece of prosciutto and roll the meat tightly around the asparagus. Lay each bundle of spears on one long side of each flattened chicken breast and roll the chicken around the bundles tightly, leaving the tips of the asparagus exposed. Secure chicken pieces with two lengths of baker’s string.
        5. In separate shallow bowls, large enough to accommodate the chicken pieces, place the flour in one bowl, the beaten egg in another, and mix the bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese in the third bowl.
        6. Heat cooking oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Dip each chicken breast in the flour, then in the egg, and then roll in the bread crumbs-parmesan cheese mixture, being careful not to coat the tips of the asparagus spears. Transfer chicken pieces to hot skillet. Reduce heat to medium and brown the chicken pieces, turning them so that all sides of the chicken breasts brown evenly, about 1 minute per side. Transfer chicken breasts to prepared baking pan and bake in pre-heated oven until internal temperature of chicken registers at least 165°F on an instant read meat thermometer.
        7. Remove baker’s string from each breast. To serve, lay chicken breast over steamed rice or, alternatively, let the chicken pieces rest for 5 minutes on a cutting board then, with a sharp knife, cut into slices, approximately ¾” thick and serve over rice or a green salad.
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        Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Asparagus by My Island Bistro Kitchen
        Asparagus-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

        Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts

        It’s maple syrup time!  Finally, a harbinger of spring and those of us on the East Coast of Canada need something sweet after the wicked winter we have just come through!

        Today, I am featuring a product that is new to me and it comes from Lake Paul in Nova Scotia – PURE™ Infused Maple Syrup.  We are all familiar with the traditional maple syrup but PURE™ Infused takes it up a notch by infusing other flavours into the syrup, making it more versatile for culinary use.  They produce five unique flavors:  Vanilla, Cinnamon and Star Anise; Lavender & Chai; Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Cloves; Chipotle and Lemongrass; and Maple Gastrique (Maple Syrup, Ginger & Apple Cider Vinegar) which is the flavour I am using in my recipe today.

        I like this product.  It has a nice blend of flavours and the sweetness of the maple syrup balances well with the tartness of the cider vinegar and spiciness of the ginger.  This lends a depth and complexity of flavour to my recipe.   For more information on PURE™ Infused and their products, visit their website.

        My Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts recipe is easy to make. I like chicken but, to be frank, it can be kind of bland if you don’t add some flavour to it so I am combining maple, orange, and ginger in this stovetop creation.

        But first, some notes about this recipe.  I use liquid chicken bouillon for chicken stock in the recipe.  Traditionally, the ratio is 2 teaspoons of the bouillon concentrate to 1 cup of water; however, I find deeper  flavour if I use 3 teaspoons of the concentrate per cup of water.    When making the thickener for the sauce, combine the cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold chicken stock and whisk it well to ensure it is smooth.  It is very important that the cold mixture be “tempered” by adding some hot liquid – about 1 tablespoon or so — before pouring it into the hot mixture in the frying pan as, otherwise, it will be lumpy.

        I am a big fan of digital instant read meat thermometers for ensuring chicken is properly cooked.  The chicken breasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F.

        DSC_0336

        Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts

        Ingredients:

        4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (apx. 2 lbs)
        salt and pepper
        olive oil

        1½ tsp garlic, minced
        ⅓ cup onion, finely chopped
        2 tbsp fennel, finely chopped
        ⅓ cup orange juice
        ½ tbsp grated orange rind
        1¼ cups chicken stock (reserve ¼ cup)
        ½ cup PURE™ Maple Gastrique (Maple Syrup, Ginger & Apple Cider Vinegar)
        1 tsp ground ginger
        ⅓ cup orange marmalade
        2 tbsp cornstarch (mixed with the reserved ¼ cup cold chicken stock)

        Method:

        Assemble ingredients.

        Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts. Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in large frying pan. Add the chicken breasts and quickly brown 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once.

        Transfer chicken to heat-proof plate and tent with tin foil to keep chicken warm.

        Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté the garlic, onion, and fennel, just until onion is transparent, adding more olive oil if necessary.

        page 1 - Onions garlic and fennel

        In bowl or large measuring cup, combine the orange juice, orange rind, 1 cup of chicken stock, maple syrup, ginger, and marmalade.

        Pour sauce ingredients into frying pan.

        Over medium heat, heat the mixture to boiling, then add the chicken breasts, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook chicken slowly for approximately 10-12 minutes, turning and basting chicken with the sauce 2-3 times.

        In small dish, whisk together the cornstarch with the reserved ¼ cup cold chicken stock. Add apx. 1 tbsp of the hot liquid to the cornstarch mixture to temper it and whisk well until mixture is smooth. Stir into hot mixture.

        Continue cooking chicken, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened and internal temperature of the chicken breasts reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer.

        Serving suggestion: Serve over a bed of hot steamed rice with a side of your favourite vegetable.

        Yield: 4 servings


        Maple-Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts
        My Island Bistro Kitchen:
        4 servings
        Ingredients
        • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (apx. 2 lbs)
        • salt and pepper
        • olive oil
        • 1½ tsp garlic, minced
        • ⅓ cup onion, finely chopped
        • 2 tbsp fennel, finely chopped
        • ⅓ cup orange juice
        • ½ tbsp grated orange rind
        • 1¼ cups chicken stock (reserve ¼ cup)
        • ½ cup PURE™ Maple Gastrique
        • 1 tsp ground ginger
        • ⅓ cup orange marmalade
        • 2 tbsp cornstarch (mixed with the reserved ¼ cup cold chicken stock)
        Instructions
        1. Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts.
        2. Over medium-high heat, heat olive oil in large frying pan.
        3. Add the chicken breasts and quickly brown 2-3 minutes on each side, turning once.
        4. Transfer chicken breasts to heat-proof plate and tent with tin foil to keep chicken warm.
        5. Reduce heat to medium-low and sauté the garlic, onion, and fennel, just until onion is transparent, adding more olive oil if necessary.
        6. In bowl or large measuring cup, combine the orange juice, orange rind, 1 cup of chicken stock, maple syrup, ginger, and marmalade. Pour into frying pan.
        7. Over medium heat, heat sauce to boiling, then add the chicken breasts, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.
        8. Cook chicken slowly for approximately 10-12 minutes, turning and basting chicken with the sauce 2-3 times.
        9. In small dish, whisk together the cornstarch with the reserved ¼ cup cold chicken stock. Add apx. 1 tbsp of the hot liquid to the cornstarch mixture and whisk well until mixture is smooth. Stir into hot mixture.
        10. Continue cooking chicken, stirring occasionally until sauce is thickened and internal temperature of the chicken breasts reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer.

         

        Disclosure:  The Maple Gastrique used in this recipe was provided to me, free of charge, from  PURE™ Infused for the purposes of sampling it and creating a recipe with the syrup.  The recipe for Maple Orange Sauced Chicken Breasts in this posting is an original recipe developed by me in my home kitchen.

        ———————-

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