Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Chicken Experience

This is one of my favorite dishes I have made recently.  We start with a wholesome organic chicken stock.  Make it at home.  Pretty please?!  Do not buy that sodium loaded crap from the store.  Making a chicken stock is simple, rewarding and relatively inexpensive.  Use only the best ingredients.  The stockpot is not the kitchen bin.

Throw in a stockpot, bacon, onions, Yukon gold potatoes, fennel, leeks, shallots, black peppercorns, thyme, and organic free-range chicken legs. Bring to a simmer, DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL. After 2 hours, the connective tissues will naturally break down. At this time, remove the chicken legs and scrape off all the meat clean. This is the first dish our stock yielded.

Poached Chicken Salad with Frisee and Ginger Carrot Vinaigrette

Cut the bones into three-inch pieces to expose as much surface area as possible, to aid the extraction of cartilage. The stock will simmer at a constant temperature for 8 hours. Strain through a China cap.  Now we have our stock. Time to go next level.

This next course is a playful riff on a childhood favorite of mine, Arroz con Pollo.  Obviously, this isn't the traditional version, this is me playing in the kitchen.

I tried to work as much chicken as possible into this dish.  Did I succeed?  I think so.  Do not skip out on the crispy chicken skin, this is a flavorful component.

Chicken and Rice

Stuffed Chicken Leg, Basmati Rice, Crispy Chicken Skin, Chicken Demi-glace

Saffron Puffed Rice
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch Spanish Saffron
Sunflower oil

In a saucepan, bring the rice, stock, and sea salt to a simmer. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Strain the rice thorough a fine mesh strainer. Preheat the oven to 170 F. In a glass bowl, mix the rice with the saffron. Spread the rice in one thin layer on a parchment lined sheet pan. Dry the rice in the oven for 50 minutes.

In a heavy bottom pan, bring the sunflower oil to 375 F. In batches, fry the rice. It should puff as soon as it hits the oil. Allow the puffed rice to completely cool and set aside.

Stuffed Chicken Legs
Organic chicken legs – boned and skinned. (skin reserved for garnish)
Lazaro Made ground chicken sausage
Granny smith apples – peeled and cored
Center cut bacon

In a food processor, pulse the apples finely. In a glass bowl, mix the chicken sausage, apples, and thyme.

Put down a piece of aluminum foil on a cutting board. Lay down four strips of bacon side-by-side. Next lay down the boned chicken leg. Now spoon some of the chicken sausage mixture. Finally a layer of puffed saffron rice. Roll the chicken leg into a nice tight log. Twist the ends of the foil. Fridge for 30 minutes to set.

Remove from fridge and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove foil. Preheat oven to 400 F. Add the chicken skins to one sheet pan. Place into the oven.

In a sauté pan, brown the bacon on all sides. Transfer to the oven. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Using an instant read thermometer, check the center of the chicken, you should have an internal temperature of 165 F. Place on a wire rack to rest.  Cut the chicken into 1 inch rolls.

Remove the crispy chicken skins and place on the wire rack to rest.

Basmati Rice
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken stock
Olive oil
Unsalted butter
1 Spanish onion – sliced thin on a mandoline

In a risotto pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the butter. Once the butter melts and foams, add the rice. Toast the rice in the fat and onions for 5 minutes. Add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

Chicken Demi-glace
In a saucepan, add about 2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a light boil and reduce to desired consistency. The more you reduce, the stronger and more intense the chicken flavor.

To plate:
1. Center some of the basmati rice
2. Garnish the rice with toasted black sesame seeds, daikon sprouts and edible flowers
3. Sprinkle some of the crispy chicken skins on the rice
4. Add the stuffed chicken roll
5. Plate some of the chicken demi-glace.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!


  1. Those are BEAUTIFUL photos!

    I'm all about making your own stocks with the best ingredients! Way to spread the word about good food, my friend!

  2. wow I second that amazing pictures and wow great food

  3. These are beautiful very well thought out composed dishes. The chicken salad is down right elegant, congrats on a job well done:)

  4. Huzzah for your encouragement to make one's own stock. And double huzzah for your gorgeous plating and photos on these two dishes. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration!

  5. Such beautiful dishes, but the presentation for the stuffed chicken leg on the basmati rice just takes my breath away! You are so masterful in the use of fresh flower garnishes...

  6. oh my, definitely quite the chicken experience indeed. what wonderful ways to use and prepare different parts of a chicken, from making an aromatic flavorful stock, right down to the chicken demi-glace. i love how you used the crispy chicken skins to sprinkle over the rice. an excellent way to ensure wonderful chicken flavor in every bite of rice - genius!

  7. I can tell it's nice just by looking at the pix! I love how u play with colours. Presentation is so pretty.

    I'm still trying to find out where I can buy edible flowers in S'pore. They're just lovely to add to a dish.

  8. I love both of these dishes...gorgeous! And this is an exceptional step by step tutorial. I love that you dried the rice and that you did not over season shadowing the strong beautiful flavors you were already working with :)

  9. WELL.....this is exquisite. I HATE BOUILLON CUBES! This is the way to experience a celebration, a science experiment that is exciting and is a learning experience and an authentic blend of real ingredients. A masterpiece, un vrai chef-d'oeuvre!!!

    BRAVO LAZ! Anita

  10. Oh my goodness- looks so delicious!!! This is the perfect meal for a romantic evening. I love to make my own stock as well. have a freezer full of chicken and vegetable scraps!

  11. I would have a hard time choosing which one of the dishes is more innovative and appealing, they are both stunning. Your plating is beautiful as well, truly masterful!

  12. Wow, seriously...amazing. Both dishes are fantastic, but my favorite is the stuffed chicken leg. Each component adds something unique and special to the dish, and I love how it's your twist on one of your childhood favorites. I NEED the chicken experience, lol!

  13. Two excellent dishes--they are both truly an entire chicken experience. Love your take on arroz con pollo. Great line about how the stockpot is not the kitchen bin. True!

  14. WOW!!! Both dishes look just spectacular! I really like how the arroz con pollo is a play on a sushi roll- at least to me it is- very creative! I'm all about making your own stock- it really does taste so much better. And thank you for distinguishing Spanish Saffron. Not many folks know there's a difference between saffrons....I'm going to have to try the puffed rice- I always wondered how that was done!

  15. I am a firm believe in making your own fresh and free. I, again, learned a new technique from you. You are a fountain of knowledge.

  16. Beautiful dishes! I really like your plating. Elegance. They really show the meal. I've been putting of making my own stock. I know :( This is another push for me to make my own!

  17. The first one was on a guest post, I recall... love the flowers on the second one... where is the leg bone? :) :) :)
    I have to make 50 cordon bleu tomorrow for mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary - so get ready for a RETRO post! The stuffed leg looks incredible - and CURRENT! (I still love my mommy and daddy)

  18. I love your use of fresh flowers, homemade chicken stock is really the only way to go...the play on arroz con pollo is truly refreshing, I must try the chicken demi glace..


  19. You're just like Peter, Lazaro - he also refuses to use that sodium-laden boxed/canned broth stuff (I, on the other hand, have no shame about splashing a little of that stuff into my dishes ... that's probably why Peter's meals always taste better). The real stuff really does taste better, though.

    I'm impressed with the number of delicious dishes you were able to get out of this chicken - it's the ultimate economical ingredient, no? Great job making your own demi glace! I just reach for the bottle of premade demi glace in our fridge (gah, did I really just say that??).


  20. Your plates just keep getting more and more beautiful, Lazaro! It's good of you to remind people about homemade stock... so wasteful to throw bones away when there is so much goodness left in them... wonderful recipe too... that salad is just too delicious looking!

  21. Lázaro waht lovely and special are your plates! always look nice, love flowers in food too! x gloria

  22. Homemade chicken stock cannot be beat! Good reminder to all of us.
    Both plates look amazing. The arroz con pollo twist is fun and sounds delicious!

  23. This looks wonderful, Lazaro! Very beautiful presentation!

  24. You really know about good food.
    Outstanding post ♥

  25. Your stock sounds like it's incredible. If it's not too much trouble, would you mind posting (or even emailing) idiot proof instructions with amounts of stuff you typically use. Stock is one of those things that I've been intimidated by, but really, really want to learn how to make right (not a half-assed version).

  26. Dearest Lazaro, it is Friday, it was PIZZA NIGHT, and food is a healing experience after a hard day at work. Thank you for coming to visit my fluffy world, but hey, whatever works to keep us focused.....enjoy an awesome weekend with those you love.


  27. Positively the most elegant chicken salad ever and I love your whimsical take on arroz con pollo! Congrats on two absolutely beautiful dishes and reminding us how easy it really is to make your own chicken stock.

  28. These are beautiful very well thought out composed dishes. The chicken salad is down right elegant, congrats on a job well done:)


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