Chicken lollipops are always a great idea, whether you have to prepare a party buffet or a simple lunch. Underneath their crispy crust lays a tender, juicy and flavorful meat. It is a wonderful dish, yet quite simple and budget-friendly.
I make lollipops very often and every time I use only the drumettes (the thick part of the wing, the part that has only one bone). I generally marinate the drumettes with a lemon, olive oil, garlic and sage mixture and I refrigerate them overnight. Yesterday I did the same thing and this morning I prepared some flavorful, tender and adorable lollipops. They were simply amazing but I decided to serve them with a spicy tomato and chili sauce which made them even better.
Ingredients (for 6 servings):
- 12 drumettes
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp milk
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
for the marinade:
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- juice and zest from half a lemon
- 1 tsp soft brown sugar
- 3 garlic cloves
- 7 sage leaves
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Prepare the marinade by mixing in a large bowl all the ingredients above.
- Prepare the drumettes. Grab the thin part and cut the skin and the ligaments surrounding the bone. Scrape the bone with a knife and pull the meat up, towards the thick end. Carefully pull the meat over the fat to create a sphere (picture).
- Place the drumettes in the marinade bowl and toss to cover. Place them in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Remove them from the refrigerator and take 3 bowls; place the flour in the first bowl, the bread crumbs in the second bowl and the egg, milk, salt and pepper in the third.
- Roll the drumettes in the flour, dip them in the egg mixture and then in the bread crumbs.
- Deep-fry them at 340°F/170°C for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown.
- Carefully remove them from the oil and place them on a paper towel.
Quail soup with homemade duck noodles is undoubtedly my favorite soup. Personally, I find this soup the very quintessence of a Sunday, it’s the reason we gather around that familiar, round, wooden table, it’s what makes a sunday, Sunday. It’s happiness in its purest form, it’s the very reason I felt deeply in love with gastronomy.
I’ve had quail several times before, and I grew fond of it more and more on each occasion. It’s definitely more chewy than chicken and it resembles from this point of view with duck breast. I’d rather place it in the dark meat category, it has an earthy, rich taste and a subtle gamey flavor. This quail soup manages to preserve that lovely aroma, it is tasty, rich and nutritious; also, homemade duck noodles are a wonderful addition to this flavorful soup. Since it’s may, I thought it would have been terrible if I didn’t use spring vegetables, freshly picked from my own veggie garden. I seldom use a bouquet garni for soups, but I found that the freshness of the thyme and the earthiness of the sage complements wonderfully the gaminess of the quail. Continue reading Quail Soup with Homemade Noodles
Cream of pumpkin soup is one of my favorite soups. I know I say the same thing about almost every soup I try and I’m also aware of the fact that I might have a problem. I wouldn’t call it a problem, though. I would rather call it an affinity for everything that’s nutritious, delicious and hydrating.
Pumpkin-wise, this year has been extremely productive and rewarding. I harvested some huge pumpkins from my own veggie garden. And when I say huge, I mean huge-huge, that’s-the-biggest-vegetable-I’ve-ever-seen kind of huge. If last year I had two semi-decent looking pumpkins (who am I kidding, they were a cross between a melon and a tennis ball, to be more accurate), this year I had about a dozen giant ones. And they were so incredibly tasty! Sometimes I looked at them and I felt it would be a shame to cook them, and then I remembered their perfect flavor and their addictive sweetness. And that was the nudge I needed to get things going! Continue reading Cream of Pumpkin Soup
In a farm, the rooster has an extremely active life, from fertilizing the eggs, to mentaining the social order and chasing me like a crazy person whenever he’s in the mood for some action defending the chicken family from any potential predator and this active lifestyle must be sustained by a powerful muscular system. After the rooster meat is cooked, this muscular system (which is essential for the fulfilling daily attributions) often turns into a chewy, rubbery, uncomfortable, almost painful mess. To tenderize the meat and to make it juicy I pulled off some two simple and efficient tricks:
- Aging the meat. I learnt this trick from my grandmother. She used to wrap the rooster in parchment paper and refrigerate it for 2 – 4 days. And let me say, this trick really works. It is very important to wrap the meat in parchment paper, and not cling film, because the paper allows the meat to breathe.
- Slow-cooking the meat. I take the aged meat from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking and I let it get to room temperature. I pad dry it and I sear it, I deglaze the pan with wine, I cover the meat halfway with chicken broth and I slowcook it, covered, for about 1 hour, making sure I drizzle some juices from the pan every 15 minutes.
These two basic tricks allow me to get a tender and juicy steak each time. The taste is incredible, earthy, somehow buttery, with subtle notes of wine and sage. To conclude, if I didn’t manage to bust the “rooster is too rubbery” myth, at least I hope I made you curious! Continue reading Braised Rooster Legs with Wine and Sage Sauce
These crispy polenta rectangles are a delicious side dish, a satisfying and healthy alternative to good old potato sides. These beauties have a crispy and fragrant crust and a creamy center. They are very easy to prepare and quite quick. The less simple parts (because I cannot define them as challenging) are the preparation of the polenta and the baking part. Between those two parts there is a waiting period, a part where the polenta is refrigerated to firm up. In order to save some time I prepare my creamy polenta, I pour it in a tray and I leave it aside to cool down. While my polenta is firming up, I always prepare my protein. After the polenta is nice and firm, I slice it, I place the rectangles on a parchment paper-lined tray and I broil them to get them nice and crispy. To get the crispy crust you can also fry them in a nonstick frying pan but I prefer the broiled version.
I like to pair my crispy polenta with a rich, nutty and tangy beurre noisette and sage sauce. For this sauce I melt some butter in a skillet. When the butter has melted, I get rid of the foam from the surface and I continue cooking the butter until it turns golden brown. I add some fresh sage leaves, lemon juice and walnuts. Super simple and de-li-cious! Continue reading Baked Polenta with Butter, Sage and Walnut Sauce
Whenever I want to roast pork, I seem to choose tenderloin more and more often, and the reasons are multiple: it cooks fast, it’s tender, it’s delicious, it’s moist and it’s inexpensive. While pork shoulder is sometimes quite fat and the pork loin quite dry, the tenderloin has just the right amount of fat. It’s so easy to work with tenderloin because it remains moist and juicy long after it’s sliced, not to mention that regarding the side dish, tenderloin literally goes with everything.
Don’t get me wrong, even without being marinated, tenderloin is juicy and flavorful, but today I chose to run the extra mile and I brined it in pomegranate tea and sea salt. It became even more tender and the fruity flavor was spot-on. After the marinating process, I coated the tenderloin with creamy roasted garlic and I wrapped it in thin bacon slices.
It’s not a big culinary secret that pork goes heavenly with all sorts of fruit, so I dressed up this marvelous steak with a sweet and tangy sour cherry sauce. To keep it simple, this morning I’ve picked some lovely new potatoes, I’ve boiled them in broth and I sauteed them in sage-flavored butter. The whole business took less than an hour, including the time spent waiting for the garlic to roast / drinking a coffee / taking more than a dozen trips to my vegetable garden as I have the memory of a 90 year old and I always forget half of my ingredients. Continue reading Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin with Sour Cherry Sauce
Swedish meatballs (svenska köttbullar) is a delicious dish of Swedish origin (doh!), served traditionally with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. These exquisite meatballs are bathed in a delicate yet flavorful broth-based white sauce. Continue reading Swedish Meatballs with Homemade Dumplings, Zucchini and Cranberries