Wednesday, August 27, 2014 Elul 1, 5774

Haute Cuisine and How to Dress a Chicken

October 25, 2012 By:
Rivka Tal
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We don’t hear the expression “a meat-and-potatoes man” very much these days, if at all (too sexist, too unhealthy, etc.). But the truth is that protein and some kind of starch have been the basis of good old American meals for decades.
 
The lasagna below doesn’t exactly fit this image, but it’s too good to miss.
 
‘Unstuffed’ Couscous Chicken Breasts
(Meat)
 
I first developed this dish with rolled-up half chicken breasts, filled and stuffed with toothpicks. But one day when my husband, the amateur butcher, was unavailable to slice them thinly, I decided to throw caution to the winds and make them unstuffed. It sure was easier and ­didn’t detract at all from the taste. Add in parboiled winter vegetables, if you wish, to bake along with the couscous and chicken.
 
fresh parsley and/or dill, and/or basil and/or coriander to taste
6 oz. Israeli couscous (unprepared)
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
minced garlic
salt and pepper
oil to drizzle
 
Wash and dry the herbs; chop finely.
 
Preheat oven to 350˚.
 
Prepare couscous according to package directions. Stir in chopped herbs.
 
Season with garlic, salt and pepper (it’s a good idea to taste).
 
Line a baking pan with parchment ­paper and scatter about 1⁄3 of the prepared couscous. Lay half of the chicken breasts over the couscous. Add about another third of the couscous. Cover with remaining chicken and remaining couscous.
 
Bake until chicken is no longer pink in the center and juices run clear, 30 to 45 minutes. (An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165˚ F.)
 
Serves 8.
 
Roast Chicken With Onions and Vegetables
(Meat)
 
1 chicken (31⁄2-4 lbs.), skin removed
1⁄4 cup olive oil
8-10 small onions, peeled and halved
mixed herbs (use “poultry seasoning” or a combination of thyme, tarragon, garlic, pepper and paprika)
8 medium potatoes, scrubbed and halved
4 carrots, cut into small sticks
4 celery stalks, cut into small sticks
 
Preheat oven to 350˚. 
 
Rinse chicken and wipe dry inside and out with paper towels. Rub with olive oil. Stuff with onions and rub with herbs. 
 
Place chicken in an ovenproof casserole or roaster. Surround with remaining vegetables. Add water to almost cover the veggies.
 
Cover and cook for about 11⁄2 hours or until chicken tests done.
 
Serves 4 to 6.
 
Turkey-Vegetable Stew
(Meat)
 
6 medium potatoes
6 medium carrots (or substitute any orange winter squash)
2 medium kohlrabi
6 medium zucchini
2 Tbsps. oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. dark turkey, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 can (16 oz.) whole, peeled tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato paste, diluted with 2 cans water
1 tsp. paprika
1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
 
Prepare vegetables: Peel potatoes, carrots, kohlrabi and zucchini if necessary and cut into 1-inch cubes.
 
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Stir in onions and garlic and saute, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes. Add turkey cubes and continue to saute, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned.
 
Stir in prepared vegetables, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and water, and seasonings. Add water to cover and bring to a boil.
 
Lower heat to simmer and cook for approximately 45 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles.
 
Lasagna
(Dairy)
 
2 Tbsps. oil
2 packages (1 lb. each) lasagna noodles
2 large onions, chopped
2 green peppers, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 heads cauliflower, chopped (or substitute frozen)
4 cups low-fat cottage cheese
4 cups grated yellow cheese
1 jar (25 oz.) tomato sauce
25 oz. tomato juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. each dried basil, oregano, rosemary or 3 tsps. Italian spice mix
 
Preheat oven to 350˚.
 
Spread 1 tablespoon oil on bottom of two 9x12-inch baking pans. Layer one-half package uncooked lasagna noodles on bottom of one pan.
 
Repeat this and remaining steps with second pan. Top noodles with one-fourth of the vegetables.
 
Cover veggies with 1 cup cottage cheese. Top with one-fourth of the yellow cheese. Top with one-fourth of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle each pan with half of the seasonings.
 
Repeat layers, beginning with noodles.
 
Pour tomato juice over completed layers, taking care to fill the pan no more than one-half inch from the top.
 
Bake for 50 minutes and cut into squares.
 
Rivka Tal is a former Minne­sotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 46 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: talriv@gmail.com.

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