Chicken Piccata

In my last blog I gave you the tips for successful sautéing. Now here is a recipe for sautéing. Chicken Piccata is a regular on my class menus as it is simple and delicious.


  • 2 whole chicken breasts with skin and bone, weighing 14-16 ounces each (or 1 pound of chicken cutlets, organic or free range)
  • 2 -3 Tbsp. flour for dredging
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ – 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped shallots
  • 1 Tbsp. sliced garlic
  • 1 lemon sliced thinly
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine or vermouth
  • 6 Tbsp. chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Rinse and dry chicken breasts. Bone chicken breasts or have the butcher do this. Save skin and bone for stock. Remove tendon in fillet portion of breast. Slice the cutlet lengthwise to make two thin cutlets. You will have four fillet pieces and eight thin cutlets for a total of twelve pieces. Place a piece of wax paper on the cutlet and pound each cutlet piece slightly to even them out. This can be done with a meat pounder, the side of a heavy cleaver, or a rubber mallet.

Mix the flour, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper.

Lightly dredge the chicken in the flour seasoning mixture using as little flour as possible. Tap off excess flour. Rinse then place a 12-inch stainless steel skillet over high heat for 1 minute.
Turn the heat to medium.
Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and ½ tablespoon of butter to the skillet. After adding the chicken, lightly salt and pepper the breasts. Turn the heat to medium high and sauté half the amount of chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Lower the heat if necessary. The chicken should be nicely browned on both sides. Repeat with other half of chicken. Place chicken cutlets on a serving platter.

Turn the heat to low. Pour off the oil if necessary, and then add in same skillet add ½ Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil; sauté the garlic and shallots; add ½ tsp. salt and black pepper to taste, until they just begin to take on color. Add 2 tsp. olive oil, then add lemon slices and sauté another minute or two turning once until slightly brown. Add the white wine and simmer a few seconds then the chicken stock. Simmer until reduced by half. Then add the 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Add remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter stir until butter is incorporated into the sauce. Re add the chicken breasts and coat in the sauce for about 30 seconds. Pour sauce over chicken breasts and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.

La Sauce C’est Tout


The French say, “The sauce is everything”.

For the roasted Poussin I just wrote about on March 18th, a simple but delicious sauce can be made from the natural drippings from the skillet in which you roasted the Poussin (little chicken).

To Make The Sauce

After having removed the Poussin to a plate, add 2 tablespoons white wine or sherry to the drippings in the skillet in which you have roasted the Poussin.  Reduce over low heat for 2 minutes.  Add 3 tablespoons of chicken stock and reduce a few minutes  or by 50 percent.  Dissolve 1 teaspoon arrowroot or water chestnut powder in 1 tablespoon water.  Add this binder to sauce to thicken. Still over low heat pour the binder slowly with one hand while continuously stirring with the other. You could swirl in 2 teaspoons of butter to make the sauce extra delicious but you can also get away without the butter.  Remove sauce from heat immediately lest the butter will break, i.e., will separate from the sauce.  Done.

For sherry I like Savory and James Amontillado, Jerez.   For the white wine I like Mokoroa, Cosecha, 2011.  I buy these two brands at the 67 Wine and Spirits, 212-724-6767.  Ask for Oscar.




Quick Dinner

Tonight I roasted a Poussin (baby chicken) from Citerella. It weighed a little over a pound.

You can also buy them at Fairway (D’artagnan) or Food Emporium.

This is what to do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Measure out a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a small shallow dish.

On a plate mix a teaspoon of salt with 6 turns of the pepper mill. Also on the plate put 1/6 of a lemon, half of a shallot or a clove of garlic and a sprig of rosemary or thyme.

Wash the Poussin by submerging and lifting the chicken in a bowl of cold water.

Dry well with paper towels. Remove the kidneys if they have not been removed (they are lodged in the chicken near the tail end and look the color of liver).

Rub down the Poussin with the olive oil and then the salt and pepper. Put the lemon, shallot, and rosemary into the cavity.

Wash your hands and clean all surfaces that have come in contact with the chicken.

Place the Poussin in a small skillet and roast for 45 to 50 minutes. No basting no turning.

The chicken is done when the juices run yellow and the leg moves freely in the joint.

Bake a potato in a small iron skillet in the oven at the same time while the Poussin is roasting.  Once the bird is removed, crank up the oven to 450 to finish baking the potato.

With dinner in the oven, you can make your salad.

You can make a sauce from the natural drippings of the chicken.  The instructions are described in a previous poultry blog.

N.B. If you roast 2 Poussins at a time they might take 10 minutes more. Choose a pan that just fits the one or two birds you are roasting (not more than 1 inch of extra space).

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo

 Karen Lee’s adaptation of a Julie Sahni recipe.   Julie Sahni is the author of Indian cookbooks.

You can get a good butcher to cut up the chicken.  If the chicken is 3 pounds or less then leave the thighs whole.   I like to slip the skin off the legs as well.  Easy to do.  I prefer to skin the chicken as the sauce is less fatty this way.

This braised Indian dish is wonderful and flavorful.  A lemon rice pilaf (next week) , mint chutney (soon) and the saag paneer (see table of contents) would make a delicious dinner.

A good opportunity to use healthful Indian spices.  Chicken Vindaloo reheats well and lasts in frig for 3 days.

Julie Sahni says:  “A specialty of Goanese Christians of Portuguese descent, Vindaloo is a very hot and spicy curry flavored dish with cayenne and green chilies.  The Vindaloo sauce by itself may be used over meat and fish.  Combined with an equal portion of tomato sauce it makes a delightful barbecue sauce.”

One 3 to 3½ pound chicken (organic if possible) cut up, skin removed (remove legs and wings then skin the chicken, cut thighs in half and cut breast in 4 pieces)

¼ cup olive oil

2 cups chopped onion

1 Tbsp. chopped garlic, green stem removed if any

2 Tbsp. minced ginger

2 tsp. mustard seeds

1½ tsp. cumin

½ tsp. turmeric

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground cloves

¼ tsp. cayenne

2 tsp. paprika

½ to 1 cup chicken stock

1  full tsp. tamarind paste

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 tsp. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

Garnish: 2 to 4 jalapeño finely diced, no seeds, no membrane; and cilantro leaves

Wash chicken by submerging and lifting the pieces in a bowl of cold water.  Dry each piece well.  Remove the kidneys if they have not been removed (they look like the color of liver and are lodged in the cavity near the rear end).

Place a 12–inch skillet over high heat for 1 minute.  Add ¼ cup olive oil and then the chicken pieces; spread them out in a single layer with a wooden spoon.  Turn the heat to medium.  Let them build a crust before turning.  Sauté about 8 minutes or until brown. Remove to a plate.

Turn the heat to low and add more oil if necessary; add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes; then add the onions and sauté for one minute; then add the ginger and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.  Add the cumin, mustard seeds, cinnamon, clove, turmeric, cayenne and paprika.  Sauté for about 3 minutes; then add the tamarind paste, sugar and vinegar and stir a minute; then add the chicken pieces and any resting juices from the plate.  Stir to mix, then add 1 cup of chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat, and cook cover askew until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with the chopped hot peppers and cilantro.

Cooking With Cousins

Alexis, age 10 (my granddaughter), entered my apartment.

“Smells like cauliflower.”

“Well you are very close.”

I had just blanched some brussels spouts.  They are a cousin to cauliflower.  Both vegetables are in the cruciferous family along with cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, radish, turnip, and mustard greens.  This family of vegetables has been given credit for helping prevent cancer.

Our cousins were soon to arrive from New Jersey.  Julie the mother, Sophia age 12, and Nina age 11, walked in the door bearing freshly picked lemon thyme from their garden.

Making “Rosemary Roasted Chicken” was first on the agenda.  Because of their amazingly aromatic lemon thyme, we decided to substitute that herb for the rosemary.

We preheated the oven to 400 degrees.  I took out the chicken from the refrigerator and shared with them my tip about how to get a crusty skin:  The day before, I had washed, dried and salted the chicken. Then I let it air-dry on a plate with a loose cover of wax paper in the frig.  I explained to them that if you follow this procedure for the chicken, the skin becomes even crustier when roasted and the meat is moister.  When roasting chicken another good tip is not to baste it.  Basting draws the juices out of the bird and renders the skin soggy.

My favorite chickens are Eberly or D’artagnan.  The girls laughed when I said, “They really are the classiest chickens in town.”  Same chicken…different distributors.  They are organic.  Alexis asked, “What does that mean?”  I explained that the chickens are allowed to roam free and are fed an organic feed, which makes them taste succulent and delicious.  The raw skin of an organic bird will always have a purple cast to it.  Sophia immediately questioned why, to which I replied, “This is because of their diet.  It is all about what the animal eats…just like us.  No trace of yellow that you would see in a bird shot up with hormones.”

I like chickens just under 3 pounds or up to 3 ½ pounds. The smaller birds are more tender.

In New York City, you can buy them at Whole Foods and at supermarkets such as Food Emporium.  Other stores, too.  A good substitute is Bell & Evans air-chilled organic chickens but their free-range are good too.  They are available at various stores in New York City including Gourmet Garage.

The girls were eager, expectant, and ready to cook.  I asked, “Who would like to season the chicken?”  All the hands went up.  I was careful all afternoon and evening to give out equal task time.

Nina rubbed down the chicken with olive oil, rubbed in the pepper, then put the shallots, lemon, garlic and thyme in the cavity.

I selected a stainless steel fry pan that was just slightly bigger than the chicken.  Not having a rack that would fit into the fry pan, I told them we could substitute four bamboo chopsticks in a tick tack toe pattern.  Two of the sticks were too long so Julie broke them in half.  I placed the chicken on the chopstick rack in the fry pan with the chicken breast-side down, back-side up.  (You can buy bamboo chopsticks at Kam Man, 200 Canal Street or Gracious Homes, 67th Street and Broadway or 70th Street and Third Avenue.)

In the oven the chicken went.

Next was making lemonade from freshly squeezed organic lemons.  Alexis stirred the lemon juice and sugar in a big glass pitcher with chop sticks until the sugar   dissolved.  Then she poured in the filtered water and then finally the ice cubes.  Big hit.

I had put out some buffalo mozzarella with a fresh basil dip for the girls to munch on before dinner was ready and it was gobbled down in no time.  [Recipe to follow in the next few weeks.]

We heated two iron skillets and roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts.  [See recipes in previous blog]  We roasted them separately so as not to overcrowd them.  When roasted vegetables are overcrowded they do not brown or form a crust.  Julie asked, “How do we determine if the vegetables are too crowded?”  To which I replied, “You have to be able to see the pan in spots on the bottom.”

After 35 minutes we turned over the chicken.

After another 40 minutes the chicken was golden brown and very crusty.

Nina made the sauce for the chicken.  She was fascinated to see that torn pieces of paper towel could remove the fat from the drippings.

The hardest part of the day was letting the chicken relax for 10 minutes before we carved it.  So important for the juices to settle and the chicken becomes more tender that way.

Sophia and Alexis took turns making a simple version of fried rice with some left over rice I had made the day before.  [Recipe to follow in the next few weeks.]

We all toasted, wine and lemonade in hand.  “To the cousins.”

Turkey Fried Rice

A great way to use leftover turkey or chicken or duck is to make Fried Rice.  This recipe is for Turkey Fried Rice made with your leftover Roasted Turkey.

The secret to cooking fried rice is to use cold leftover rice.  Brown rice is considered a whole grain.  Turmeric has been given credit for playing a role in preventing inflammation, acid reflux, and some even say cancer.  Cumin is considered to be a healing spice in regards to the prevention of Alzheimer’s.  Cayenne has been given credit for lowering cholesterol, fighting infection, and inflammation and is easy to digest.

You don’t have to have all these ingredients, just the spice mix, the rice, turkey, turkey skin and a few vegetables (onion, pepper, carrot will suffice).  Sometimes I add corn to the mixture of vegetables.  If adding corn, steam or boil for 4 minutes then shave off the kernels after steaming.  I like to mix 2 or 3 different kinds of brown rice but just one kind is good too.  If you prefer you can use white rice.

Turkey Fried Rice


  • Spice mix
  • Measure all spices by scoop and sweep method i.e. level
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 Tablespoon of peanut oil or pure olive oil
  • 3 ½ cups cooked cold rice (see yesterday’s blog for Steamed Brown Rice)
  • Generous ½ cup of turkey skin (leftover from your roasted turkey), diced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of peanut oil or pure olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion diced, about 3/4 cup ( green stem removed)
  • 1 leek diced
  • 1/3 cup carrot diced (scrubbed but not peeled if organic)
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper, diced (no seeds no membrane)
  • ¾ cup diced red pepper (no seeds, no membrane)
  • 1 cup diced leftover turkey meat


  1. Mix together the spice mix: curry powder, cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Make rice and let cool, then refrigerate until cold. This can be done in the morning or the day before. Or just use left-over rice.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To make the roasted turkey skin crisp, place in an iron skillet and roast in the oven about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Heat an iron skillet or a steel wok over high heat for about 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add red onions and leeks. Sauté until translucent. Add carrots and sauté another minute. Add Jalapeno and red peppers; sauté another minute. Remove contents of wok to a dish.
  5. In the same skillet (or wok), add another 1 ½ tablespoons oil; add rice, turn heat to high. Press down on the top of the rice with a spatula then sauté about 2 minutes breaking up the rice. Turn heat to medium and add the spice mix and continue to stir fry a minute. Then add the turkey; stir a few seconds. Empty contents of skillet (or wok) onto a serving platter.
  6. Drape the vegetables over the rice.
  7. Top with the crispy turkey skin.

Stuffing for Roast Turkey

This stuffing yields enough to stuff a 14 to 17 pound turkey.

Since I have called for a 10 to 12 pound turkey then use the balance of the stuffing to bake in a soufflé dish or baking dish greased with butter or olive oil. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. After 15 minutes drizzle with pan drippings from the roasted bird or moisten with a little turkey stock.

A stuffed 10 to 12 pound turkey will take about ½ hour longer to roast.  Remove stuffing from bird before refrigerating left over’s to avoid bacteria from forming.

I like to make the stuffing the day before , ie Wednesday.


1 lb. of Italian chestnuts- make a crisscross in each chestnut. Place in a large iron skillet and roast in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or more, peel while warm, then chop then set aside .

1 lb. of  cubed-bread Sourdough Pullman loaf from Sullivan Street Bakery 47th St. between 10th and 11th or Pullman loaf from Citeralla, made by Pain D’avignon or Tom Cat Brioche Rolls, purchased at Fairway.

Cube the bread in ¼ inch cubes 2 days before making the stuffing and leave out in a roasting pan. Cover loosely with wax paper or a sheet pan. If bread is not dry by Wednesday, then roast bread cubes in a pre-heated 250° oven, until dry with no color. About 15 to 20 minutes.

Heat 8 Tbsp. (1 stick or ½ cup of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the foam subsides. Add:

  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 tsp. Bells poultry seasoning

Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Optional-Add ¼ to ½ lb. ground pork and cook until pork is white, if using pork then use less butter.

Remove from the heat and stir in:

  • ½ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme (or 2/3 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 tsp. fresh marjoram (or 2/3 teaspoon dried)
  • ¾ tsp. salt mixed with a pinch of cayenne
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup turkey stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1 large egg, beaten

Stir in the bread cubes and then 1/3 cup turkey stock and toss until well combined. Let mixture cool.  Add chopped chestnuts to the stuffing mixture. When the mixture has cooled, stir in the  beaten  egg.

Because the stuffing expands while cooking, do not over stuff the bird.

Tips for Thanksgiving Turkey


It would be good to make some chicken stock or turkey stock.

Buy bread for stuffing. I like to use the Pullman loaf at Sullivan Street Bakery, 47th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue or the Tom Cat brioche rolls at Fairway, or the Pullman loaf at Citeralla made by pain d’avignon.  To save time, ask for loaf to be sliced.  Cube the bread then loosely cover for a few days.

To make stock, buy a chicken or chicken bones or a turkey. Wash by submerging and lifting in a big bowl of water. then put the chicken in stock pot filled 2/3 of the way with water.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, skim the scum then add cut-up vegetables: celery, carrot, onion, leek greens, parsley stems, parsnip and/or turnip, bay leaf. Simmer 6 hours, no cover. cool, strain, refrigerate.


Remove the fat from the stock.

Buy your turkey. I like the kosher turkeys the best as the koshering process is like brining and that makes the turkey juicy. Organic turkeys are good too. In nyc I like Elberly or D’artagnon. Buy or order a turkey between 10 and 12 pounds (small turkeys are more tender and have more flavor). If you are having a crowd then buy two. Figure one pound of turkey per person to insure leftovers.  Remove from bag and wipe the turkey down with a damp paper towel inside and out. Using another piece of paper towel remove the kidneys located in the cavity near the tail end (they look like liver but are not and they are bitter when cooked).  Place a few whole sage leaves in-between the skin and meat of the breast. Put the turkey breast-side up on a rack resting on a shallow roasting pan. First choice roasting pan is stainless steel or enamel, second choice is aluminum. Do not use Teflon.

I use rack make out of bamboo chopsticks in a tic tack toe pattern. I buy them at Can Man, 200 Canal Street in Chinatown.

Let the turkey air-out in the refrigerator for 2 days.  This dries the skin and produces a crispy skin when roasted.


Make a seasoning mixture of 1 teaspoon salt, one teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Rub down the turkey with extra virgin olive oil and then the seasoning mixture (just on the outside skin). Place a bunch of rosemary in the cavity along with a lemon cut in half, a few cloves of crushed garlic, green stem removed and one or two shallots, peeled and cut into quarters.

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the turkey breast side down on a rack  resting on the roasting pan and roast for 1 and 1/4  hours. Turn the bird breast side up and continue to roast for about an additional 1 and 1/4 hours or longer if needed. If the bird is not browning well, paint on a tablespoon of melted butter. No basting. Basting draws the juices out of the bird and prevents the skin from becoming crusty. During the first hour of baking check every 30 minutes to make sure the juices on the bottom of the pan are  “not” getting too dark. If they are then add 1/2 chicken or turkey stock to the pan.

A 10 to 12 pound bird will take 2½ to 3 hours. I like to test the temperature with a Taylor instant meat thermometer (buy it at Gracious homes or Zabars).  175 is the internal temperature you are looking for.  I know all the books say 165 or 170 but I find that a lower temperature produces bloody thigh meat.

Before carving let the bird rest 20 minutes on a big wooden board or china serving platter (not plastic). You can make the sauce while the bird is resting. Make the sauce by first pouring the juices from the roasting pan into a Pyrex measuring cup or anything glass or stainless steel that is tall.  Remove the fat with a spoon.  The last little bit of fat can be removed by floating torn pieces of paper towel on the top. Pour the defatted juice back into the roasting pan along with 1/ 2 cup of white wine and reduce a few minutes, no cover and over a medium heat. Add 2 cups of stock and reduce a few minutes. Then thicken by making a slurry of 2 level Tablespoons of arrowroot dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water. stir with one hand and pour very slowly with the other hand until the sauce thickens. you may not need all of the slurry so just add it gradually. season with  salt and pepper if necessary (if you are using a kosher bird then no salt). When thickening the sauce, pour in the slurry in one spot and stir with a wooden spoon at the same time.

Carve turkey by removing the breast from one side and then the other side.  Then slice breast.  Wings and legs can be removed whole by cutting at the joint. Any skin that is not crisp can be returned to the oven for 15 -20 minutes in an iron skillet and roasted in 375 degree oven.

If you follow these instructions, you will have moist meat and a crusty skin, i.e., raves from your guests.

Tomorrow I will talk about stuffing.