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Archive for Meat & Poultry

TIP OF THE DAY: Swedish Meatballs & The Other Meatballs Of Europe

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs In Gravy

Frozen Meatballs Ikea

Frozen Mashed Potatoes Ikea

Sour Cream

Fresh Dill

Lingonberry Preserves

[1] Classic Swedish meatballs (here’s the recipe from The Kitchn). [2] Some people like lots of the sour cream gravy (here’s the recipe from The Recipe Critic). [3] Frozen meatballs from Ikea, in beef/pork, chicken or vegan. [4] Frozen mashed potatoes from Ikea. [5] Sour cream [6] Dill (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [7] Lingonberry preserves from Ikea.

 

Cocktail parties in 1960s America had a set of de rigueur cocktail food that included cheese balls, deviled eggs, Lipton onion soup dip with potato chips, pigs in blankets, rumaki*, stuffed celery (often stuffed with olive cream cheese) and bite-size Swedish meatballs.

In Sweden, these small meatballs are made wutg a blend of pork and beef seasoned with allspice, ginger and nutmeg. They are served in a tangy sour cream sauce with a side of mashed potatoes and cream sauce.

In the U.S., many people serve Swedish meatballs over noodles. Well O.K., but that’s not authentic.

For the true Swedish meatball experience, a serving of lingonberry preserves is as essential as cranberry sauce is to turkey in the U.S.

What’s a lingonberry? It’s the Scandinavian version of America’s cranberry, also tart but half the size (see photo #7, below). They are different species of the same genus†.

Swedish meatballs are Sweden’s number-one dish, the unofficial national dish (although BBC Good Food gives that honor to kanelbulle, a cinnamon bun).

In the U.S. they have their own food holiday: March 9th.
 
FOR A QUICK DISH, HEAD TO IKEA

The Swedish-based retailer makes it easy, by selling the components for Swedish meatballs in their food markets. Ikea also sells a white gravy mix, but you can’t beat fresh sour cream—or homemade mashed potatoes, for that matter.

The gravy is easy to make, just sour cream, butter and flour. Here’s a classic from-scratch recipe from The Kitchn. For the potatoes, just boil and mash with butter and/or milk or cream, plus seasonings. Fresh dill is a nice touch.

At Ikea, you’ll find everything you need (except the fresh the sour cream sauce) to assemble the dish:

  • Meatballs, a.k.a. kottbüllar (frozen, in original, chicken and vegan, $8.99 per 2.2-pound package (photo #3 at left).
  • Mashed potatoes, a.k.a. allemansrätten (frozen), $2.49/package (photo #4 at left).
  • Cream sauce, a.k.a. gräddsås (a basic white sauce), $1.79/packet.
  • Lingonberry preserves, a.k.a. sylt lingon, $3.99/jar (photo #7).
  •  
    SWEDISH MEATBALLS FROM SCRATCH

    Make your own with one of these recipes:

  • Swedish meatballs recipe from The Kitchn (this has the best explanation and photos—photo #1 above).
  • Swedish meatballs from Alton Brown.
  • Swedish meatballs swimming in gravy from The Recipe Critic (photo #2).
  •  
    MEATBALLS AROUND EUROPE

    While we live in a city with a small chain of meatball shops (five types of meatballs, six sauces, a total of 30 combinations), our American experience has largely been the Italian-American meatball in tomato sauce.

    So we took a look at the traditional meatballs of other European countries. For the world list, including meatballs from the Americas and Asia, head here.

  • Albania: Fried meatballs with feta cheese.
  • Alsace, France: A blend of beef and pork with onions, bacon, eggs and bread, served plain or with cream sauce.
  • Armenia: Stewed meatballs and vegetables, often over rice.
  • Austria: Fried meatballs.
  • Bosnia: Made from ground beef and served with mashed potatoes.
  • Belgium: A blend of beef and pork with bread crumbs and sliced onions. Variations use different types of meat and chopped vegetables.
  • Bulgaria: Made from ground beef, pork or a blend, often with diced onions and soaked bread, pan- fried or grilled.
  • Croatia: Typically made with beef, pork or a blend, and served with mashed potatoes or rice, often with a tomato-based sauce.
  • Denmark: Usually a blend of ground pork and veal with onions and eggs, flattened somewhat for pan frying.
  • Estonia: Similar to those of Finnish and Swedish cuisine.
  • Finland: Ground beef or a beef/pork blend or reindeer meat, mixed with breadcrumbs soaked in milk or beef stock and finely chopped onions or French onion soup mix. Traditionally served with gravy, boiled or mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and sometimes, pickled cucumber.
  • Germany: Along with traditional meat blends, a very famous recipe is Königsberger Klopse, which contain anchovy or salted herring, and served with caper sauce.
  • Greece: Fried meatballs with bread, onions, parsley and mint; or stewed meatballs mixed with rice.
  • Hungary: Pork mixed with minced onions, garlic, paprika, salt and breadcrumbs, deep fried in oil or pork fat and eaten with potatoes or fozelék, a thick Hungarian vegetable stew. Liver dumplings are popular in soups.
  • Italy: Meatballs are generally eaten as a main course or in a soup. Made from beef and/or pork and sometimes poultry, salt, black pepper, chopped garlic, olive oil, Romano cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, and parsley, mixed and rolled by hand to a golf ball size.
  • The Netherlands: Usually made from minced beef and pork, eggs, onion and bread crumbs. They are associated with Wednesday, as evidenced by the saying woensdag, gehaktdag (Wednesday, meatball day). They are often served with boiled potatoes and vegetables.
  • Norway: Different types of meatballs, all typically small, with influences from Sweden and Spain, served with with potatoes, pasta or both.
  • Poland: Seasoned ground meat with onion, eggs and bread crumbs, typically fried and served with tomato sauce, mushroom sauce or brown gravy, along with potatoes or rice.
  • Portugal: Meatballs are usually served with tomato sauce and pasta.
  • Romania and Moldova: Meatballs are made with pork or poultry, moistened mashed potatoes and spices, usually deep fried.
  •  

  • Slovenia: Made with ground beef or a blend of pork and beef, served with mashed potatoes and a tomato-based sauce.
  • Spain (and Hispanic America): Originally a Berber or Arab dish, brought to Spain during the period of Muslim rule in the Middle Ages. Spanish albóndigas can be served as an appetizer or main course, often in a tomato sauce. Mexican albóndigas are commonly served in a soup with a light broth and vegetables.
  • Sweden: Ground beef or a blend of ground beef, pork and sometimes veal or elk, sometimes including breadcrumbs soaked in milk, finely chopped onions, broth and often, cream. They are seasoned with white pepper or allspice and salt. Traditionally served with sour cream gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. Traditionally, they are small, around 2–3 centimeters (.79–1.18 inches) in diameter, although larger meatballs are often served at restaurants.
  • United Kingdom: Faggots are a type of spicy pork meatball. A faggot is traditionally made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavoring, and sometimes bread crumbs.
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    If you’re looking for ways to vary your meatballs, look no further!
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    *Rumaki, created at Trader Vic’s, are skewers of broiled, bacon-wrapped chicken livers and water chestnuts.

    †Here it is, food geeks: Lingonberry Order Ericales, Family Ericaceae, Genus Vaccinium, Subgenus Oxycoccus, Species Vitus-idaea. For the lingonberry, everything is the same except the species. The cranberry has four genuses (varieties): V. erythrocarpum, V. macrocarpum, V. microcarpum and V. oxycoccos.

    Blueberry, bilberry/whortleberry and huckleberry are members of the same genus. Lingonberry is also known as cowberry.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Roast Your Roots

    While we wait for spring vegetables to appear, we’ve been eating lots of root vegetables.

    Root vegetables have sustained mankind through millennia of winters, because they last for long periods in cool temperatures.

    Before the advent of modern refrigeration, root cellars provided vital cold storage that kept a family fed through the winter.

    Growing underground (photo #1), the root are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. These large roots are eaten as vegetables.

    WHAT ARE ROOT VEGETABLES?

    Root vegetables are plant roots eaten as vegetables (photo #2).

    Beet, carrot, parsnip, potato and sweet potato, radish, and turnip are widely consumed in the U.S.

    Some roots, such as galangal, ginger, horseradish, turmeric and wasabi, are used for condiments or seasonings. Arrowroot is used as a thickener. Gingseng is used medicinally.

    To give you a perspective on the category, here’s a categorization of the root vegetables more familiar in the U.S.

    True Roots

  • Taproots: beetroot (beet), burdock, carrot, celeriac (celery root), daikon, dandelion, jicama, parsley root*, parsnip, radish, rutabaga, salsify and turnip, and others not well-known in the U.S.
  • Tuberous roots: cassava/yuca/manioc, Chinese/Korean yam, and sweet potato, among others.
  • Bulbs: fennel; garlic, green onion/scallion, leek, onion, shallot and the rest of the Allium family.
  • Corms: Chinese water chestnut, taro.
  • Rhizomes: arrowroot, galangal, ginger, ginseng, lotus root, turmeric
  • Tubers: Chinese artichoke/crosne, Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke), potato, ube, yam.
  •  
    Roasted taproots and tubers are popular roasted vegetables in American cuisine. Even people who fuss over eating vegetables enjoy the sweetness of the sugars that come out during roasting.
     
    TWO WAYS TO ENJOY ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

    There are endless recipes, of course; but here are two recipes from Idaho Potatoes with some added glamour.

    RECIPE #1: ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES WITH CHICKEN

    We like the convenience of this recipe. Root vegetables are hardy, and can keep for a few weeks. It’s easy to pick up a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have time or inclination to roast one.

    You can use substitute other root vegetables, or create a grain bowl with a bottom layer of a favorite grain.

    Ingredients

  • 4 russet Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 turnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into wedges
  • 1 red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup butternut squash, chopped and peeled
  • 2 beets, rinsed, peeled, cut in half and then cut into wedges
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
  • 3 cups Swiss chard, removed from stem and chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped
  •  
    For The Maple Aïoli

  • 3 tablespoons fresh mayo
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
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    Root Vegetables Illustration

    Root Vegetables

    Roast Chicken & Vegetables

    Whole Roast Chicken

    [1] An old illustration showing how root vegetables grow (photo courtesy Etsy). [2] Harvested root vegetables (photo courtesy DIY Naturals). [3] Recipe #1: roasted root vegetables with chicken (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [4] Rotisserie chicken (photo courtesy McCormick).

     
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

    2. TOSS all of the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and fork tender, flipping once, halfway through. Meanwhile…

    3. HEAT the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the Swiss chard with the chopped garlic, until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    4. MAKE the aïoli: Whisk the mayonnaise with the maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. Spoon into a serving dish.

    5. DIVIDE the chard evenly in serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and chicken. Serve with the maple aïoli on the side for dipping.
     
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    *Parsley root is not related to parsley, the herb, but is a beige root vegetable that resembles a parsnip or turnip. The edible leaves that grow above the ground do resemble curly parsley leaves, but taste like celery. Parsley root is also called turnip-rooted parsley. In Germany it is known as Hamburg parsley, and is a popular winter vegetable in Germany, Holland and Poland.

     

    Scalloped Root Vegetables

    Purple Top Turnips

    Smithfield Honey Cured Spiral Ham

    [5] A three-potato gratin with turnips (photo courtesy Idaho Potatoes). [6] Turnips (photo courtesy Good Eggs). [7] We served the casserole with a beautiful Smithfield spiral-cut ham (photo courtesy Smithfield).

     

    RECIPE #2: SCALLOPED ROOT VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

    This casserole reminds us of a tian, a beautiful way to serve summer vegetables.

    It is actually a gratin†.

    This recipe serves a trio of potatoes plus turnips under a cloak of melted cheese. They work together in this recipe because they can be sliced into roughly the same sizes, which cook evenly.
    Ingredients

  • 4 large russet Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 red Idaho potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 2 sweet potatoes, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • 3 turnips, sliced thin, approximately 1/8″
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 2 packages of whipped chive cream cheese
  • 16 ounces heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoon of salt, more to taste
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan and diced chives for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Slice the potatoes and turnips and set aside in a large bowl.

    2. HEAT 1/2 tablespoon butter over medium heat in a medium, non-stick skillet. Add the onions and garlic; sauté until translucent.

    3. ADD the cream cheese, heavy cream, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and stir until smooth. Turn off the heat.

    4. SPRAY a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place half of the potatoes and turnips in a separate large bowl. Slowly add 1/3 of the cream mixture into the bowl with the potatoes and turnips and mix to coat well.

    5. PLACE the coated potato and turnip slices into the baking pan vertically, using your hands. Make sure the slices are close together (see photo #5). Add another 1/3 of the cream mixture to the remaining potatoes and turnips, coating well. Layer them into the baking dish. Once all the slices are in the baking pan…

    6. POUR the remainder of cream mixture into the baking pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for an additional 40 minutes.

    7. REMOVE from the oven, sprinkle on the parmesan cheese and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Garnish with the chives right before serving.

    We liked the recipe so much, we’re making it again today!

     
    †WHAT’S A GRATIN?

    Gratin (grah-TAN) is a method of food preparation in which a protein, vegetable or starch is served with a browned crust of grated cheese. The crust may also include breadcrumbs, egg and/or butter.

    Gratin originated in France and is usually made in a shallow baking dish. The main ingredient can be baked (roasted) in the oven or cooked on the stove top. In the latter case, the toppings are then added and the dish is finished in the oven or broiler.

    The baking dish is usually brought to the table piping hot. It’s a perennial favorite: Who doesn’t like their food topped with melted cheese?

      

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    RECIPE: Crispy Chicken Thighs Two Ways

    Skillet Chicken Thighs

    Chicken Thighs

    Tuscan Kale

    Castelvetrano Olives

    [1] Chicken with kale and olives, recipe below, made with [2] chicken thighs, [3] Tuscan kale and [4] castelvetrano olives (photos 1-3 courtesy Good Eggs, photo 4 courtesy Maiden Lane Restaurant | NYC).

     

    Every time we see chicken thighs on sale, we load up and make recipes like these, plus a big vat of chicken soup (Jewish-style and Mexican-style chicken soup recipes).

    Chicken thighs are economical, versatile and more flavorful than white meat (frankly, we can’t understand the premium placed on white meat chicken and turkey).

    We also love the ease of one-pan cooking in the recipes that follow. You can bring the entire pan to the table and serve from there (be sure to lay down a trivet ahead of time).

    These two recipes are from Good Eggs—a terrific purveyor of groceries in the San Francisco area.

    Serve them with a green salad and some crusty bread to sop up the pan sauce.

    RECIPE #1: CRISPY CHICKEN THIGHS WITH KALE & OLIVES

    Sweet from the tomatoes and salty from the olives, this recipe features the it green of the moment, kale. If you don’t like kale, substitute beet greens, broccoli rabe, chard, collards, spinach or other greens (we used mustard greens).

    Cook time is 35 minutes.

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, or 2 whole chicken legs with drumstick
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 handful Castelvetrano† green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks—or—2 cups diced canned tomatoes, drained*
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed
  • Fresh thyme or oregano stems, leaves removed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. WARM a 9-inch cast iron pan inside an oven preheated to 425°F. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs on both sides. When the oven is hot, carefully (carefully!) remove the pan from the oven and add the thighs, skin side down. Place the pan back in the oven and cook the chicken until browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 30 minutes.

    While the chicken cooks…

    2. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more as needed) in a second skillet (you can serve from this skillet). When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. When the cloves are lightly browned…

    3. ADD the tomatoes, thyme and olives and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook until the tomatoes have released their juices and the sauce has a nice consistency, about 15 minutes.

     
    4. ADD the kale to the tomatoes and combine with a pair of tongs. Cover the pan for a few minutes to let the greens wilt, then uncover and stir again with the tongs. Cook the kale and tomatoes together over low heat until the chicken is ready.

    5. PLACE the cooked chicken on top of the greens and serve in the skillet.
    ________________

    *We use canned San Marzano tomatoes when fresh tomatoes are out of season.

    †Castelvetrano olives from Sicily are the “greenest” green olives. Not only does the color look great, but these meaty olives have a unique flavor that makes them our favorite. Here’s more about Castelvetrano olives.

     

    RECIPE #2: CHICKEN THIGHS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES

    Ingredients For 2 Servings

  • 2-4 chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 475°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper; let it rest until it reaches room temperature.

    2. HEAT 2 tablespoons of olive oil (more as needed) in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the chicken thighs skin side down. After 3 minutes, decrease the heat to medium high and cook the chicken for another 12 minutes. After another 5 minutes…

     

    Skillet Chicken With Cherry Tomatoes

    Here’s the recipe from the New York Times, which adds shallots and Dijon mustard to the recipe.

     
    3. ADD enough cherry tomatoes to fill in the gaps between the thighs and rearrange the chicken as needed to make sure all the tomatoes are getting equal heat. Add a few sprigs of thyme and the garlic. When the 12 minutes is up…

    4. USE a spoon to roll the tomatoes around in the chicken drippings, flip the thighs skin side up and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for another 13 minutes.

    5. REMOVE from the oven and check the chicken for doneness by making sure internal temperature is 165°F (or the juices run clear). Remove from the heat and let the chicken rest for a few minutes for the juices to settle.

    THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE CHICKEN

    Bet you can’t name them all! Check out our Chicken Glossary.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Chicken Salad Without The Sandwich

    Like chicken salad, but trying to cut back on bread?

    If you want to avoid the bread, croissants and wraps, there’s always a scoop of chicken salad on greens, in lettuce cups, or stuffed into a bell pepper, tomato, or avocado half.

    But we thought these ideas from Willow Tree Farm add allure to a long-time favorite.

    Whether a filling for celery or fennel stalks, or a base for mini “cucumber sandwiches,” these make fun appetizers or snacks.

    Use your own chicken salad, or one from Willow Tree Farm.

    cucumber sandwiches. Serve #Sriracha Chicken Salad between two cucumbers for a crunchy, cool and spicy bite.

     
    RECIPE: CHICKEN SALAD STACKS

    For snacks, with beer, or as an amuse bouche before dinner. For something sweeter, you can use apple slices.

    Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 container of Willow Tree Farm Sriracha Chicken Salad (or your recipe)
  • Garnish: cilantro or other herb
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SLICE the cucumber into 1/2″ slices

    2. PLACE the chicken salad on half of the cucumber slices. Top with a cucumber slice.

    3. ROUND the edges with a spatula. Garnish with cilantro and secure with a toothpick.

    THE HISTORY OF CHICKEN SALAD

    It may come as a surprise—because modern mayonnaise was invented around 1800——but the Chinese were the first to serve variations of “chicken salad” (see below).

    The ingredients were not the same as what we call Chinese chicken salad*, but included pieces of chicken mixed with a variety of spices and oils and another binder, such as rice.

    The American form of chicken salad was first served in 1863 by Town Meats, a meat market in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The owner, Liam Gray, mixed leftover chicken with mayonnaise, tarragon, and grapes. It became such a popular item that the meat market was converted to a delicatessen.

    Modern Chicken Salad

    In the U.S., chicken salad is a cold salad with chicken as the main ingredient, and typically bound with mayonnaise with optional mustard. Other ingredients can include bell pepper, celery, hard-boiled egg, onion, pickles or pickle relish, plus herbs, such as dill, rosemary or tarragon.

    It can also include diced apples, grapes or dried fruit, such as cherries, cranberries or raisins. Diced mango is another popular addition as are nuts, such as almonds, pecans and walnuts.

    In some areas of the U.S., especially the South, chicken salad may be a garden salad topped with fried, grilled, or roasted chicken, sliced.

    While today chicken salad is mostly served in a sandwich or wrap, it has a history as a ladies’ luncheon staple, served on a bed of greens with sliced tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, bell pepper rings, and olives or other garnish, served with crackers.

    Variations were inevitable, using ingredients specific to regional and international cuisines.

  • Chinese chicken salad is made with celery, sliced almonds, fruit (diced apples, mandarin orange segments or pineapple chunks) and mayonnaise, and topped with fried Chinese noodles.
  • Southwestern chicken salad includes avocado, black beans, cilantro, corn kernels, diced tomatoes, onion, shredded cheddar cheese and a garnish of crushed tortilla chips (recipe).
  •  
    Modern recipes expand the concept of chicken salad to pasta salad or Caesar salad with chunks of chicken; add wing sauce and blue cheese for buffalo chicken salad.

    Binders can include anything you like: blue cheese dressing, hummus, pesto, remoulade sauce, Russian dressing, Thai peanut sauce, and on and on.

    In other countries, chicken salad can be made with any number of dressings, along with couscous, pasta, rice and vegetables.

    So don’t be wary: Experiment!

    Fancy presentations serve it in a lettuce-lined coupe; molded into a ring; or scooped into a toast cup, avocado half or pineapple half.

    As with any recipe, add whatever you like; from bacon to capers to pickled jalapeño.

    ABOUT WILLOW TREE FARMS

    Willow Tree Farms makes pot pies and chicken salad from premium white meat.

    In addition to original chicken salad, there’s a flavorful selection of:

  • Avocado Chicken Salad
  • Buffalo Chicken Salad
  • Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
  • Sriracha Chicken Salad
  •  
    The products are sold at major retailers, including BJ’s, Stop & Shop and Whole Foods in New England and the East Coast. Here’s a store locator.

     

    Chicken Salad Celery Sticks

    Chicken Salad Cucumber Stacks

    Chicken Salad In Wonton Cups

    Mango Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado

    Southwestern Chicken Salad

    Avocado Chicken Salad

    [1] Filled celery sticks and [2] cucumber stacks from Willow Tree Farm. [3] Chicken salad in wonton wrappers (here’s the recipe from Shared). [4] Mango chicken salad in an avocado (here’s the recipe from The Real Food Dieticians). [5] Southwestern chicken salad recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. [6] Avocado chicken salad (here’s the recipe from Whole And Heavenly Oven).

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Poach Your Proteins

    Poaching Salmon

    Poached Tenderloin

    Poached Chicken

    Poached Salmon

    [1] Poaching salmon is the easiest way to enjoy moist, tender fish, without cooking fish aromas. Here’s a recipe from Cooking Light. [2] Our favorite way to make beef tenderloin is to poach it. Here’s a recipe from Martha Stewart. [3] If you make chicken in a pot, or chicken soup with pieces of chicken, you’ve poached a bird. Here’s a recipe from Enki Village. [4] Our first poaching attempt was inspired by classic French dish (here’s the recipe from Buck Cooks).

     

    Poaching food is a topic that doesn’t come up much these days.

    The age-old moist-heat cooking technique simply submerges raw food in a liquid. The technique cooks the food without pulling the moisture from it: The protein is moist, never dry.

    The food cooks at a relatively low temperature (about 160°–180°F), which is especially good for delicate foods (eggs, fish) that might fall apart or dry out with other cooking methods.

    Heartier foods—an entire beef tenderloin or chicken—work equally well.

    Decades ago, when we tried to master the art of French cooking, we purchased a large, oblong fish poacher, a pan created to poach a whole fish.

    Cold poached salmon was a mainstay of French cuisine, served with dill sauce and marinated cucumbers. We loved it and ate it regularly, at the numerous classic French restaurants that graced New York City back then. It looked easy to make, and it was.

    But we subsequently discovered that serving it nicely takes a bit of training. The captains at the French restaurants new how to cut neat slices, avoiding the bones. Our salmon looked like it had been hacked by starving hordes. Sigh.

    We stuck the poacher in the cupboard (until, 10 years later, we learned to poach an entire beef tenderloin, a cinch tot slice), and stuck to poaching fillets. They require zero skill to serve.

    START POACHING TODAY

    Just about any food can be poached, poaches up moist and flavorful, and can be served warm or cold.

    Poaching proteins are an easy and healthy preparation; all your healthcare providers and trainers approve. Poaching has:

  • No added fat.
  • No unwanted aromas drifting through the house.
  • No “watching the pot” (or the grill).
  • Clean-up is easy: nothing sticks to the pan.
  •  
    Bonus:

    You end up with an extra dish, or part thereof.

    The poaching liquid becomes a delicious broth that can be served later, thickened into a sauce, or used in other recipes.

    WHAT’S IN THE POACHING LIQUID?

    The poaching liquid can include whatever flavors you want, from the base to the add-ins.

    Our wine editor, Kris Prasad, who taught us to poach a tenderloin, advised: “Toss in whatever you have: leftover wine, herbs, soy sauce instead of salt, a splash of balsamic, citrus juice or vinegar for tartness. Anything works.”

    The poaching liquid can be:

  • Water or stock/broth
  • Milk, as appropriate
  • Plain or blended with wine (including leftover sparkling wine), beer, dry vermouth, fruit juice
  • In terms of add-ins: Add in whatever flavors you like, from classic mirepoix—carrots, celery, onions—and fresh herbs, to the less obvious—cardamom, cinnamon sticks, star anise, whole nutmeg, etc.

     
    There are recipes galore online, and plenty of videos on YouTube, for anything you might want to poach.

    Don’t wait to try them: You may discover that poaching proteins is your favorite food discovery of the year.

     
      

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