Welcome to Lazaro Actually Cooks Saturday
The nation’s most fashionable bird’s most unfashionable bit. An overwhelming majority of the people I know do not like the chicken’s dark meat. My lovely, gifted, accomplished wife for one, will not go anywhere near it. I have tried to reason with her. Tried! However, you can lead an exceptional lawyer to the table, but you cannot make her eat. Que Sera, Sera!
Chicken legs are the most flavorful part of the bird. There is no room for debate there. Additionally, they are much more affordable than the white meat. Case in point, today I purchased some free-range organic chicken at my local farmers market. I paid $5.00 lb for chicken breast for the wifey. For myself, I paid $2.00/lb for some wonderful chicken legs. I win…
This dish has two different preparations of chicken. The drumstick is baked in the oven varnished with a tangy Asian glaze. I know I’ve been on an Asian flavor kick. Don’t worry my mind works in cycles. While the thigh, covered in eight secret herbs & spices, is rendered on the pan at medium-high heat, then finished in the oven.
My mashed potatoes are ethereal. I have no problem saying that. Every spoonful is like a silky, luscious, cloud on the palate. I learned this approach from a man who in my opinion is the greatest living chef in the world, Joel Robuchon. It takes some work, however as is the case with most things in life that do; it is well worth it. You will need some kitchen equipment, such as, a potato ricer, a Tamis “drum sieve”, and a whisk. Please never make mashed potato in a food processor; you will be left with a gluey mess.
The last component of the dish is my Moscato d’Asti leeks. Moscato d’Asti from Coppo Moncalvina, an Italian sparkling white, is my favorite wine. You can purchase it online for around $20. These leeks are caramelized on a pan, then I add wine and reduce till dry. Add the same amount of wine, and cook to a syrupy consistency. This be quite the versatile side dish, so give it a go. PSA – Countless Moscato d’Asti bottles were decimated in the production and consumption of this dish. Hopefully the People for Ethical Treatment of Moscato d’Asti will not come after me?!
Note: You must butcher the chicken legs. Separate the drumstick and thighs. Carefully debone the thigh.
The wifey's Chicken Breast version
Chicken & Mash with Moscato d’Asti Leeks
For the drumsticks:
10 chicken drumsticks
Sea salt & White pepper
6 tbs organic honey
3 tbs fish sauce
3 tsp Ponzu sauce
Juice of 1 lime
3 tbs rice wine vinegar
4 tsp sesame oil
1. Heat the oven to 400 F
2. Season the drumsticks with salt & pepper
3. Arrange on a sheet pan
4. Drizzle with walnut oil
5. Bake for 20 minutes.
6. Mix the glaze ingredients in a glass bowl
7. Take the chicken out of the oven. Pour the glaze over the chicken. Coat well
8. Return the chicken to oven. Bake for 25 minutes.
9. Remove the drumsticks to a RACK to rest
For the Chicken Thighs:
10 chicken thighs
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tbs onion powder
1 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs ground cumin
1 tsp all spice
1 ½ sea salt
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp chervil
1. Coat the thighs in walnut oil
2. Season generously with the spice rub
3. Lay the chicken on a cold frying pan. No oil.
4. Turn the heat to medium-high.
5. The chicken slowly renders as the pan heats. 11 minutes total
6. Once the skin is nice a brown, (Not Black), transfer the pan to the oven
7. Cook at 400 F for 8 minutes. Coordinate with the cooking of the drumsticks
8. Remove to a RACK to rest. SKIN SIDE UP. Sprinkle with Fleur de Sel
For the Mashed Potatoes:
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes – (peeled)
8 oz heavy cream
8 oz crème cheese
1 vanilla bean – (split)
4 oz Gruyere cheese – (finely grated on Microplane)
1. Fill a pot with water. Bring the water to boil.
2. Reduce to simmer. Add potatoes.
3. Simmer potatoes for 30 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife
4. Rinse a small sauce pot with water. Do not dry.
5. Add the heavy cream & vanilla bean
6. Bring to a simmer
7. In a large bowl, add the crème cheese. Rice the hot potatoes through a potato ricer, onto the crème cheese
8. Mix well to incorporate
9. Push the potatoes through the drum sieve
10. Return the potatoes to the pot. Over medium heat.
11. Discard the vanilla bean. Slowly pour the cream over the potatoes. While whisking vigorously.
12. Remove for the heat. Stir in the gruyere cheese.
For the Moscato d’Asti Leeks:
3 leeks – (white & light green parts only) – (sliced thin on a mandoline)
2 cups Moscato d’Asti wine
2 tbs butter
1. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter.
2. When the butter begins to foam, add the leeks.
3. Sprinkle with cane sugar. Cook till soft.
4. Drain the leeks of the fat.
5. Return to pan.
6. Add 1 cup of wine. Cook till completely reduced
7. Add 1 cup of wine. Cook till syrupy consistent
That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!