12 February 2016

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potato

If you hadn't noticed, this past Sunday was the annual championship game of the National Football League. I don't follow football, but I do enjoy chicken wings and Pinterest has been wall-to-wall with chicken wing recipes in the weeks leading up to the game. So, Sunday I really wanted wings for dinner but I hadn't picked any up when grocery shopping and knew that ordering delivery on Super Bowl Sunday would have been an act of madness. However, I did have a leftover baked potato, rotisserie chicken, and a bottle of sriracha wing sauce so...


Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Potato

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 6-oz baking potato, well scrubbed and dried
  • ½ tsp (or so) olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 Tbsp wing sauce
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 scallion, white & green parts coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Prick the potato all over with a fork, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay it directly on the middle oven rack.
  3. Bake the potato for 45-60 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the potato gives a little when you squeeze it.
  4. Meanwhile, combine chicken, buffalo wing sauce, garlic powder, and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and warm for 1-2 minutes or until the butter is melted.
  5. Cut a cross on top of the potato and squeeze the sides open.
  6. Top potato with chicken mixture. Garnish with blue cheese and scallions. Eat.

Well, while it wasn't wings, but it was a pretty decent substitute ... and not just because I've recently become totally infatuated with baked potatoes. I used Sweet Baby Ray's. It starts off sweet and smoky like barbecue and then the tongue begins to tingle and there's a delicious bloom of heat. Mind you, I'm pretty much a lightweight when it comes to hot sauces, so ymmv.

10 February 2016

Mellow Red Lentil Soup

I'd picked up a bag of red split lentils around Christmas, because winter is Soup Season, but then the weather kept being so mild and spring-like that, while I still wanted soup, the thick rib-stickingness of lentil soup did not appeal. But then it starting snowing and now it looks as if it will never stop snowing. Hooray. Winter is finally here ... and now it can just go away already.


This soup is based on Chobani's "Red Lentil Soup" but I've mixed it up a little to create, imho, deeper flavors. I really don't know why the original recipe doesn't call for blooming the spices or sweating the onions in the butter first -- doing either (or both) creates a soup with deeper, more integrated flavors and a superior aroma.

I also used low-sodium fat-free chicken broth instead of water, doubled the amount of pepper, and threw in some sweet curry powder for extra flavor. Swapping the butter out for olive oil and omitting the pepper-infused butter drizzle was just because 1) I have lots of olive oil and 2) I didn't want a buttery soup.

Making this soup was also a great excuse for busting out the jar of Aleppo (halaby) pepper I'd picked up at Penzeys after I'd run out of crushed red pepper flakes. I wanted something a bit less brash and generic than red pepper flakes and the sales associate recommended Aleppo. It has a lovely smoky aroma and the heat is about on par with an ancho chile.

Mellow Lentil Soup

Yield: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp Aleppo pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sweet curry powder [Penzeys Maharajah Style]
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 oz bag red split lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 2 qts low-sodium fat-free chicken broth [Pacific Organic]
  • 4 oz cup plain Greek yoghurt
  • Salt and black pepper, as desired

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil, Aleppo pepper, and curry powder in a large Dutch/French oven. Add carrots, onions, and garlic. Cook, stirring regularly, until onion is translucent and everything is very fragrant.
  2. Add lentils and broth. Bring pot to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Remove pot from heat. Stir in yoghurt and process with an immersion blender until desired level of smoothness is reached. Season to taste.
  4. Serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Soup will thicken as it sits. If desired, add a bit more broth when reheating to loosen it.

When I make this again, I think I'll cut out the yogurt and replace some of the broth with coconut milk. The yogurt adds a welcome creaminess, yes, but the coconut milk would do the same while eliminating a step. Also, I just like the idea of red lentils, curry, and coconut.



08 February 2016

Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Potato

The Husband has been away at a conference and proper cooking for one seemed an ... onerous ... obligation when I'd rather be catching up with my giant backlog of graphic novels or reorganizing The Dread Cupboards of Random Storage under the bay window. So I've been eating a lot of fancy-ish grilled cheese and baked potatoes. Also, some salad ... but mostly cheese and carbs. And red wine to wash it down, because red wine's a heart-healthy, you know ...

This baked potato is a stuffed with a very simple combination of shredded rotisserie chicken and barbecue sauce with cheese and scallions to bling it out a bit. I bought the rotisserie chicken at the fried chicken place down the street. They keep their rotisserie -- always full of plump, golden chickens -- right in front of their side window so it's in front of you, tempting you with promises of juicy poultry goodness as you walk across the parking lot. Cunning fried chicken peddlers. Tricksy.


I actually baked three potatoes in one go, as well as a tray of broccoli florets and sliced carrots, because heating the oven for one potato simply seemed too decadent. However, I'm giving the directions for one, because I only made one barbecue chicken stuffed potatoes. The others were topped later in the week, with random toppings, as I needed them.

Yes, that means I ate three baked potatoes in one week. It. Was. Fabulous.


Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Potato

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • 1 6-oz baking potato, well scrubbed and dried
  • ½ tsp (or so) olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 Tbsp shredded reduced-fat four-cheese Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 scallion, white & green parts coarsely chopped
  • Black pepper, as desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Prick the potato all over with a fork, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lay it directly on the middle oven rack.
  3. Bake the potato for 45-60 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the potato gives a little when you squeeze it.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the chicken and barbecue sauce in a microwave-safe bowl and warm for 1-2 minutes or until evenly heated all the way through when stirred.
  5. Cut a cross on top of the potato and squeeze the sides open.
  6. Top potato with chicken mixture and cheese. Garnish with scallions and black pepper. Eat.

I'd meant to serve the potato with a dollop of plain 0% Greek yoghurt on top, but forgot and didn't end up missing it, anyway.