Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

Holly Herrick

1 2 3 67

Roasted Chicken – The Feast That Keeps on Giving – Part II

Divine Chicken Divan

Last week, I roasted one 6-pound, $7 chicken and created 4 separate dishes and 16 meals, beginning with the roasted chicken, the ensuing stock, a Chicken and Dumpling Soup made from the stock  a luscious Chicken Divan casserole, and four substantial chicken sandwiches enhanced with a homemade Nutty Whole Grain Bread. That’s going the distance in the economical and no waste cooking department, which was, and for the long-haul is, my most intense cooking ambition these days. Along with keeping things delicious, of course.

Here’s the original post for the roast for easy reference:

Roasted Chicken – The Feast That Keeps on Giving

It was cold last week and like most of us in the snowy, Northern Hemisphere, I was in the mood for some soothing, creamy, savory comfort food.  Chicken Divan, something a Facebook friend aptly described as ‘legacy fare,’ came to mind. Named after the restaurant where it was created in the Chatham Hotel in New York City, divan is a French word meaning ‘meeting place’ or ‘grand hall.’ In addition to being descriptive, like all French words, it sounds prettier than many English words and its base is a mother sauce, a Bechamel turned cheesy, also known as a Mornay sauce. Classically, it’s prepared with broccoli and mushrooms, but I kept broccoli out of the equation (mostly because I didn’t have any to use) and beefed up the mushroom ratio with dried porcini macerated in warm, dry vermouth which was later added to the Mornay. The end result was stunning and doubles as brunch (I served it to friends as such with a side of roasted asparagus), lunch, dinner or a midnight snack.

A word on bread crumbs and mushroom feet:

Unless you are one of the rare few that seldom has a nub of baguette or left-over bread hanging around, there is no reason to ever buy bread crumbs at the grocery. Store the bread bits and pieces in the freezer and crumble them in the food processor as you’re ready to use them, as in the topping for this casserole. Same goes for most types of cheeses (except soft cheeses), which I freeze and use in forgiving dishes such as a casserole or omelet frequently. In cooking school, we were taught not to use the feet of mushrooms in dishes, except in stock, but I disagree. Except for some very tough mushroom types, such as shitake, they are perfectly palatable. With all mushrooms (except morels which are another story), clean them simply by rubbing them down with a damp paper towel or clean kitchen towel to remove excess dirt.

Divine Chicken Divan

Divine Chicken Divan

(Makes 10 generous portions)

1 ounce dried wild porcini

1/2 cup extra dry white vermouth

3/4 cup chicken stock (from roasted chicken – see link above – or best quality commercial chicken stock)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

8 ounces, or 2 1/2 cups crimini mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced, feet-on

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Mornay:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose

2 cups whole milk

Reserved strained liquid from the porcini mushrooms

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Compiling the casserole:

Shredded meat from the 1 chicken breast and one leg/thigh from the roasted chicken, skin and bones removed – approximately three cups

5 scallions, finely chopped

1 1/4 bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, halved

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Place the porcini, vermouth, and chicken stock in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cook 3 minutes and set aside, at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, stir to coat, and cook over medium low heat until softened, 5 minutes. Add the chopped crimini, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir to coat and saute until softened, five minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, strain the liquid from the porcini through a coffee filter into a small bowl and set aside. Coarsely chop the porcini and add to the mushrooms in the saute pan and set aside.

Prepare the Mornay.  Melt the two tablespoons butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to combine with a wooden spoon. Cook 1 minute, or until blond and barely bubbling. Add the milk, reserved strained porcini liquid, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer over medium low heat. Cook, stirring, five minutes or until thickened. Season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses until melted.

To compile the casserole, use 1 tablespoon of the butter to rub down the sides and edges of a 4-quart casserole dish.  Arrange the shredded chicken meat on the bottom. Scatter with the chopped scallions and reserved mushrooms in the saute pan. Pour the warm Mornay sauce evenly over the top. Separately, melt remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast lightly, stirring to coat. Top the casserole evenly with the browned bread crumbs.  Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden, fragrant and bubbling. (Note: Can prepare/compile ahead, refrigerate overnight, and bake just before serving. Also, reheats well in oven or microwave after baked).

Happy cooking! Look for the Nutty Whole Grain Bread and Chicken and Dumpling Soup recipe next week. In the meantime, please remember to keep this upcoming cookbook writing retreat and Folly Beach spring wellness vacation in mind and by all means, tell  your friends about it. We still have spots open. Beckie and I would love to see you there! It’s going to be delicious, fun, and educational.

Cracking the Cookbook Code. Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat

 

 

Share

Roasted Chicken – The Feast That Keeps on Giving

Make the Most of  Your Roast with This Adaptable Method

Saturday mornings in my house are spent cooking, especially foods that need to be cooked (lest they expire) and will provide delicious, nutritious meals throughout the week.  It’s a relaxing time to enjoy cooking and put together odds and ends in savory, cohesive dishes. This challenges my practical and creative muscles while eliminating food waste,  something that’s very important in a world that’s far too wasteful.

This Saturday, I was dealing with an acorn squash that was getting a little tired and a whole, uncooked chicken waiting in the refrigerator wings. I decided to cook the squash my favorite childhood way, halved and filled with butter, cinnamon, stock, and a little maple syrup. Normally, I would roast this in a roasting pan and cover it with foil, but I realized I was out of foil. My small Le Creuset Dutch oven happened to be out from a post-soup washing, so I used it as a great, hassle-free roasting vessel (complete with top cover) alternative. Meanwhile, aromas of butter and cinnamon wafting  seductively through the air, I decided to put my larger 5.5 Le Creuset to use for roasting the chicken. The enamel coated cast iron is such a great conduit for even cooking and is easier than dealing with a hard-to-clean rack.

Instead of placing the vegetable aromatics underneath the rack, I scattered them on the bottom of the Dutch oven along with some halved lemon and fresh rosemary sprigs. In the center, I arranged an upside down oven-proof ramekin as a throne for the bird that would encourage air flow for even cooking and browning.  I left the onion, garlic, and well-scrubbed carrot skins on, since they add to both nutrients, color, and flavor both for the chicken and the stock that will eventually make a soup. Rosemary is prolific in my garden this time of year and pairs well with chicken. In summer months,  or according to preference, tarragon, thyme, parsley, sage, oregano, basil, mustard, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, ancho chile, and many other herbs and seasonings work fabulously with the culinary juggernaut, multiple meal-maker otherwise known as a whole roasted chicken.

An upside-down, oven-proof ramekin in the center of a Dutch Oven is the perfect perch for an evenly and beautifully roasted whole chicken.

Getting the Chicken Oven-Ready

  • Remove the neck, gizzard, liver, wing tips and add to the aromatics at the bottom of the Dutch oven (or traditional roasting pan)
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels
  • Truss the chicken to facilitate a better appearance and more even cooking. The easiest way is to cut two feet of kitchen string. Place the chicken backside-down on your cutting board. Place the string, length evenly distributed between your two hands, underneath the rear of the back, just above the backbone tip. Bring it around to the front and around the legs. Make an “X” and cross the string here (as pictured below!) and guide it through the space on either side of the breasts. Stop near the wrings and wrap the string around them as you flip the bird to secure the string in a knot on the top of the back of the wing near the neck cavity. Cut off any excess.
  • Season the chicken liberally, both the cavity and all of the breast and bottom with salt and pepper and any additional desired seasonings.  Rub down with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Start it in a hot oven (I begin at 475F) to form a gentle crust of the salt (this encourages tenderness and flavor), and after twenty minutes begin with a series of bastes using chicken stock.

Here’s what you’ll end up with!

Perfectly Golden Roasted Whole Chicken the Dutch oven way.

To Prepare:

One whole six pound chicken

Kosher or sea salt and ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion quartered, skin on

6 large cloves garlic, whole with skin on

1 lemon, rinsed and quartered

2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2″-lengths

2 stalks celery, scrubbed and cut into 2″-lengths

5 branches fresh rosemary

Wing tips, chicken neck, gizzard, liver if provided with chicken

2 cups chicken stock for basting

Prep the chicken as described in “Getting the Chicken Oven-Ready,” above. Preheat oven to 475F. Place the chicken on top of the ramekin. Place the Dutch oven in the center rack of the oven. Cook for twenty minutes. Pour 1/2-cup of the stock evenly over the top of the chicken. Reduce heat t0 400F. Pour another 1/2-cup of the stock over the chicken. Cook another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325F. Continue cooking another 1 1/4 hours (count on roughly 20 minutes per pound), basting with 1/2-cup increments of the stock every 30 minutes. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of  165F. Allow to rest at least 15 minutes before carving. Serve warm and enjoy the flavors and aromas!

To make a stock for next week’s soup, remove the rosemary and ramekin from the roasting pan. Chop the carved carcass into four or five large chunks, add to the roasting pan with roasting vegetables and lemon. Cover with water up to 1-inch of the top of the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for an hour, skimming and removing any fat or foam from the top. Cool and refrigerate.

Next week – We’ll turn this chicken into a week-long feast of soup, sandwiches, and hearty casseroles. Talk about the meal that keeps on giving. In the meantime, please take a few minutes to look over the details of this fabulous cooking and cookbook writing retreat I’m hosting with my friend and colleague Beckie Carrico Hemmerling in March. Come join the learning and delicious fun! And, please share the details with interested friends who may want to come along, too.

Cracking the Cookbook Code. Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat

Bon appetit!

Share

Cookbook Writing, Marketing, and Photography Retreat with Holly Herrick and Beckie Carrico Hemmerling

Cracking the Cookbook Code – Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography  + Wellness Retreat with a Generous Dose of Fun

Personal chef and blogger extraordinaire, Beckie Carrico Hemmerling and I, award-winning author of nine cookbooks,  will be hosting a food/cookbook writing, marketing, and photography retreat at Folly Beach on March 29 – April 1, 2019.

Our small group (up to eight attendees) will indulge in  a few days of enlightened fun on the beach edges of Charleston, SC, eating delicious food and learning new skills. Beckie and I will teach our guests how to become better food writers, stylists, photographers, and published cookbook authors drawing from our collective reservoir of knowledge and professional experience.  One-on-one consultations,  signed copies of The New Charleston Chef’s Table, a guided tour downtown, wellness walks, and sumptuous lodging at a private beach house are just some of what our guests can expect. Non-writing friends and family are welcome to join at modified prices. Read all about it on the link below.

We hope you can join us! It’s going to be educational, fun, and delicious. And, it’s typically a beautiful time of year in Charleston.

Cracking the Cookbook Code. Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat

Share

Dip Into Some Delicious To Kick Off The New Year

Two Recipes That Will Start 2019 Just Right

Rita’s Warm Blue Crab Dip and Lucky Prosperity Soup

My grandfather used to say nothing good ever happens after midnight and my parents generally subscribed to the same ideology. So, for the most part, my sister and I especially (not so much my brothers) were required to be home by 11 p.m. starting in 10th grade until college. The one year my parents did make an exception was New Year’s Eve of  11th-grade in high school.  I remember that because of the onslaught of a drunken boy’s midnight “kiss” and the unpleasant aftermath of a cheap Andre’s Cold Duck hangover the next morning – both firsts unfortunately not easily forgotten.

Ever since, I’ve been one to mostly stay home on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. A day of end-of-the year feasting and quiet reflection with friends takes top billing in my book, and so do both of these recipes. Rita’s Warm Blue Crab Dip, from my latest,  The New Southern Chef’s Table Cookbook (Globe Pequot Press, May 2018), offers just the right blend of ooey-gooey, sweet, buttery, warm blue crab dip for a decadent start and the Lucky Prosperity Soup (from Mashed – Beyond the Potato, Gibbs Smith) a smooth, gilded finish.

Rita’s Warm Blue Crab Dip

(Makes 4 – 6 Appetizer Portions)

Situated literally on the edge of what is alternatively deemed “The Edge of America” (or simply Folly Beach), Rita’s Seaside Grille is just a stone’s throw from the frothy, popular surfing waters of the Atlantic. Its breezy, beachy locale lends itself both to the mood and look of the place, as well as the hefty, gutsy menu options, which include lunch, and dinner and a very popular brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Though casual, Rita’s also retains a kind of muted elegance that comes through its captain chairs, high , glossy wood bars and tables. Beyond beach chic, it’s a great stop before or after the beach, or anytime your belly is aching and in search of a good time. And, your canine pal(s) are welcome on the covered outdoor patio, which also houses some great live bands.

Executive chef Billy Spencer has been at the helm here since Hall Management (of Slightly North of Broad, High Cotton, Halls Chophouse, and Old Village Post House Inn fame), bought it a few years ago. The Johnson & Wales grad describes Rita’s crab dip, which was originally inspired by a restaurant where he worked in Florida, as “creamy, but not too heavy.” It’s rife with crab meat that he sources from a fisherman in North Carolina and as he points out, each portion is roughly 50 percent chock-full of crab. It’s lovely that it can be made ahead and re-heated just before serving.

Rita’s Warm Blue Crab Dip with Warm Pita Chips from The New Charleston Chef’s Table Cookbook (Globe Pequot Press, May, 2018) by Holly Herrick

For the dip:

1 1/2 cups cream cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into strips or a chiffonade

2 cups claw crabmeat

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire

1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup roasted, drained and finely diced red peppers

1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh garlic

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese for garnish

Serve with tortilla chips or these dipping chips:

Two 6-inch pitas, each cut into eight wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

Generous sprinkling kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Melt the cream cheese and heavy cream together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside to cool. Fold the remaining ingredients into the cream mixture, stirring gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Portion out into six microwave-proof ramekins or small bowls. (Note: The dip can be prepared ahead, covered and refrigerated up to a day in advance).

Meanwhile, prepare the chips. Preheat oven to 4ooF. Toss together the pita wedges with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer, and toast until golden brown (tossing once or twice) about 12-15 minutes. Reserve warm.

To warm the dip “cups,” microwave, uncovered, on high for one minute. Sprinkle each bowl with the cheddar cheese garnish and broil under a hot broiler until melted, just before serving. Serve warm with the freshly prepared, warm chips.

 

Lucky Prosperity Soup 

(Yields 8 to 10 servings)

New Year’s Day in the South ushers in a call to wealth and prosperity, which are symbolized by black-eyed peas (representing coins) and collard greens (representing greenbacks). Often, they’re cooked separately, usually with some ham hock for flavor, and put together on the same plate with rice. This delicious soup takes the best of the bunch and puts them all in one pot, with the exclusion of rice. If you can’t find collard greens, substitute kale or another sturdy green. This soup is finished with a traditional sweet and onion splash from a southern garnish known as chow-chow. If you cannot find it, substitute a traditional relish, but modify the results as suggested in the recipe.

Recipe

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced

3 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

4 cups (1 1/4 pounds/ 565g) re-hydrated black-eyed peas, rinsed

3/4 pound (340g) smoked ham hock

8 cups (1.9l) water

1 large bunch collard greens, rinsed, tough stems removed and discarded, and cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) strips

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce or Tabasco

1/3 cup (80g) chow-chow or 2 tablespoons traditional relish

Directions/Method

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to coat. Cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Deglaze with the vinegar and reduce quickly to a glaze.

Add the peas, ham, water, collard greens, and remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high and reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour, until thickened and the greens have cooked down and the peas are soft, but holding their shape. Remove the ham hock from the pot and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, using an immersion blender, briefly mash the soup in the cooking pot to help incorporate the beans and the greens. When cool enough to handle, cut off and remove outer fat and skin layers from the hock. Cut off any visible meat, finely chop, and return to the pot; discard the rest. Just before serving, stir in the hot sauce and chow-chow. Adjust salt and pepper as needed. Serve steaming hot and sit back and count your lucky stars.

***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Wishing you and all you love all things wonderful and delicious as you transition into a new year and a happy, healthy 2019!

Love,

Holly and Rocky (principal taste tester and best friend!)

Share

Holiday Cauliflower-Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

Crunchy, Cruciferous, Winter Salad Doubles as a Holiday Table Side or Christmas Brunch Centerpiece 

Probably like many of you, I woke up this morning in a snowstorm kind of blur and realized Christmas is really just two nights and a day away. My favorite time a year, without a doubt. Church bells toll throughout a beautifully decorated downtown Charleston and my heart starts warming with memories of Christmas’s past and those yet to come.

I’d intended to get this recipe to you sooner, but here it is, hopefully in time to flesh out your holiday table with glorious cruciferous crunch, the red, green and white colors of the season, and cheerful, tangy creaminess. I’ve been making a conscious effort to get more of these foods into my diet, and this is a truly delicious way to enjoy them. I’m guessing most children will enjoy this, too. I know my cat Mr. Purrfect and dog Rocky were especially interested in their cauliflower offerings.

This salad would be perfectly wonderful alongside a standing beef roast or turkey and also paired with a Christmas morning or brunch frittata, omelet, or turkey sandwich. Make it a few hours ahead and up to the night before serving so the flavors can develop to their holiday best. To make the florets, cut away nearly all of the hard stems from the broccoli and cauliflower and either crumble or cut into the smaller pieces pictured here.

Holiday Cauliflower-Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

(Serves 6 to 8)

Holiday Cauliflower-Broccoli Salad with Dried Cranberries and Walnuts

For the salad:

2 large stalks broccoli, stalks removed and cut into florets – about 3 cups

1/2 large head cauliflower, core and stems removed, and cut into florets – about 2 cups

1/2 small onion, very finely chopped – about 1/4 cup

1/2 cup coarsely chopped sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

For the dressing:

1/2 cup whole sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise (preferably Duke’s)

1 tablespoon horseradish cream

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Method:

Toss the broccoli, cauliflower, onion, cranberries and walnuts together in a large bowl. Separately, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, horseradish cream, mustard, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and chives in a small bowl until smooth. Toss the salad with the dressing to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 8 hours before serving, chilled.

Photo by Helene Dujardin.

Bon appetit!

Wishing you and  yours  the best and most wonderful, happy, delicious, blessed and beautiful holiday and gateway into 2019. I have some exciting news to be sharing with you soon. Until we get there, I’ll be taking time with you to slow down and savor the joyful season.

Holly

 

 

 

Share
1 2 3 67
Cracking the Cookbook Code Retreat

Join me and blogger, chef and author Beckie Carrico Hemmerling March 29 – April 1, 2019 for Cracking the Cookbook Code, Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat. Limited to only 8 people, we will have a blissful few days in a beautiful, relaxing setting with like-minded souls, eating delicious food and having a wonderful time. Click for details.

Latest from the Blog
Books
Never Miss a Post!

Sign up for my newsletter and never miss a post or give-away.