Chicken and Stuffing Bake

I appear to be on a streak of nostalgia led cooking. I remember having a dish like this on a retreat in my late teens. Simple food, prepared well, with a lot of flavor.

Every recipe I found online for “chicken and stuffing bake” put the chicken on the bottom, added condensed soup on top of the chicken and then piled the store bought stuffing on top of that. That did not match my memory or desire so I made it up as I went. Not bad for a first pass though I missed a couple of things which I’ve corrected in the recipe.

This recipe has several components so I’ve written each component in its own section with a final set of directions at the end of combining everything together.

Chicken and Stuffing Bake
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours

Stuffing Ingredients:

  • 12-16 cups bread cubes (I used a mix of sourdough and multi-grain bread)
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp. fresh sage
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp. rosemary powder
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (chicken broth is OK too)
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Stuffing Directions

  • Preheat oven to 250°F. Distribute bread cubes in a single layer across 2 rimmed baking pans. Bake for 20 minutes, swapping the position of the pans halfway through.
  • While the bread cubes dry out heat the olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrots, celery and onions, sprinkle with salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook for ~10 minutes until carrots begin to soften and onions are translucent.
  • Add the butter, herbs, and broth. Bring to a simmer, stir so the butter is spread throughout the vegetables and taste. Add salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside.
  • When the bread cubes are done transfer them to the bottom of a large casserole dish. Add the veggie mixture and toss combine. Spread evenly across the bottom of the dish and set aside.

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup milk (anything but skim)
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Sauce Directions

  • Put the mushrooms in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 5 minutes on high. Drain liquid from the cooked mushrooms and set aside. Careful, that bowl will be hot.
  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the shallots. Sprinkle with salt. Cook for 5 minutes until the shallots have softened and are beginning to brown.
  • Add the butter to the pan. When it is melted add the mushrooms and cook for another 5-10 minutes until they are browned. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, stir until all the flour is moistened. Cook for about 1 minute to drive off the raw flour taste.
  • Add the broth to the pan and stir until combined. Add the milk and combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. The sauce will be slightly thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside.

Final Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • kosher salt and black pepper

Final Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Trim the chicken breasts of excess fat and cut in half across the middle of the breast.
  3. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Distribute the chicken pieces over the stuffing.
  4. Give the sauce a stir to reincorporate any “skin” that has formed on top. Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces. Use a spatula to smear sauce over to top of the pieces.
  5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.
  6. Remove the foil and continue cooking for another 10 minutes to lightly brown the top of the chicken. Check the chicken temperature; they should reach 160°F when fully cooked.
  7. If possible, allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve directly from the baking dish and enjoy.

Notes:
My estimates for total time here assume you don’t mind having multiple pans on the stove at one time. If you’d rather do everything in a serial fashion (make the stuffing, then make the sauce, then assemble and bake) add an extra 30 minutes.

Skillet Green Beans with Bacon and Mustard

I made these as a side to go with roast pork loin and potato gratin a couple of weeks back. They’d probably go pretty well with the ubiqutous turkey and mashed ‘taters of American Thanksgiving.

Skillet Green Beans with Bacon and Mustard
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of bacon, diced
  • 2.5 lbs. green beans, stemed and cut into 1.5″ pieces
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add cold bacon to a large skillet. Place over medium heat and cook until the fat is fully rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with a couple of sheets of paper towels; set aside. Transfer the bacon fat into a small bowl, returning 1 tablespoon of fat to the skillet. Try not to snack on the bacon too much.
  2. Return the skillet to the burner, return to medium heat and add the green beans. Cook green beans, tossing periodically, for 5 minutes. Add shallot and 1/3 cups water and cover. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. While the green beans cook combine the mustard and vinegar together and mix until combined.
  4. Remove cover and allow the water to evaporate, about 1 minute. Add the mustard/vinegar mixture. Toss until green beans are coated. Add the bacon pieces and combine. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Notes:
Method copied from Cook’s Illustrated.

Shaved Carrot Salad with Spiced Pork

Our favorite winter farmer’s market has returned and with it a bounty of root vegetables. One of our favorites is rainbow carrots. They come in purple, yellow, white and the usual orange. They are a wee bit of color in the otherwise drabness of winter.

This recipe is inspired by one we saw Jamie Oliver make on Food Network (or maybe it was Cooking Channel).

Shaved Carrot Salad with Spiced Pork

Shaved Carrot Salad with Spiced Pork

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Quick Pickled Shallots

I decided to make a sort of tacos al pastor tonight with some of the leftover pulled pork we had on Saturday. In addition to an avocado and some cilantro I wanted some sort of pickled flavor so I did a quick pickled shallot.

I should have included the bottle of red wine vinegar in this picture so you could see how simple this is to make.

Recipe under the cut