Chicken Kiev

DSCN9992As far as chicken dinners go chicken kiev is one of my family’s favorites. It looks fancy but it’s pretty easy to make. This recipe was passed down from my mother-in-law when struggling_along and I married 10 years ago. I still remember the first time I made chicken kiev. Having never made it before, I did not realize that the chicken was supposed to be wrapped around the filling. I had simply rolled them up, allowing all the butter and herbs to melt right out into the bottom of the pan! It was still edible but it’s even better if you succeed in keeping the butter and herbs sealed in the center of the chicken.

The Recipe

First prepare 6 boneless, skinless, spilt chicken breasts by flattening them so that they are even in thickness and a bit larger, which makes them easier to roll up.Then combine the herbs in a small dish:

1/4 tsp dried tarragon

2 Tlb  dried parsley

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

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Then, using 1 Tlb butter for each piece of chicken, dip the butter into the herb mixture and coat well. Place the herbed butter in the middle of each piece of chicken.

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Roll the chicken up, around the butter, trying to tuck in the ends of the chicken. Secure with a tooth pick.

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Coat in a 1/3rd cup flour (or cornstarch if you want it gluten-free). Use the flour to help seal the ends of the chicken.

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Then dip the floured chicken into 1 egg beaten.

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Coat in 1-2 cups of bread crumbs (use gluten-free bread to make gf crumbs).

DSCN9959Place in a buttered baking dish. I like to use a Pyrex dish.

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Bake at 425 for 5 minutes then turn the oven down to 400 and bake for 40 minutes or till done. Baste with any butter that does melt into the pan.

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DSCN9982Serve and enjoy! Serves 4-6. This chicken goes well with a lot of different sides. For this particular dinner I made roasted potatoes and peas but any veggies, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf or what have you works well.

DSCN9991Here’s the recipe again, in short form:

Chicken Kiev

6 pieces chicken breast

1/4 tsp tarragon

2 Tlb parsley                   -Mix these herbs together

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

6 Tlb butter                   -Coat in above herb mixture

Roll up chicken around butter and secure with a toothpick. Dip chicken into (in order)

1/3 cup flour

1 egg beaten

1-2 cups bread crumbs

Place in a lightly buttered pan. bake at 425-5 minutes then at 400 – 40 minutes. Baste with any pan butter.

That’s it.

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{In the Kitchen} Foraging

Now that spring is finally here all the wild shoots, blossoms and roots are resurrecting from the winter’s freeze. Over the winter I read several intriguing posts on foraging and using stinging nettle most notably from And Here We Are: nettle mead, and this post on nettle pasta, which is the one I used, although I made 6x the recipe and froze some for future use.

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There was plenty of nettle to be found and all of it was below knee height.  My little helper boys and I picked a whole lot, wearing a shared pair of gloves, until our bag was full and one by one they accidentally touched the nettle and poor Ishi fell hands first into a patch. Sting nettle really does sting. Growing up my brothers and I always called it seven minute itch as that’s about how long it really itches for- give or take. It was time to call it quits.

When we got back I sorted through, rinsed and then blanched the nettle. It only takes about 30 seconds for the nettle to wilt, then the stinging aspect is gone. It’s important to really squeeze the nettle as not to make the pasta too wet. By the way the green water from the nettle makes a great dark green natural egg dye.

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It was really very simple to make. Just like making regular pasta and it has that same great fresh pasta taste. I’ll have to try making spinach pasta next. After kneading a bit and resting the dough I rolled it out using a vintage cast iron pasta machine my older brother gifted to me. I’ll go a tad thinner next time.

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Here it is cooked and lightly buttered. To be honest the nettle didn’t give much flavor but it does add a lot of nutrients. I’m thinking of using part of the frozen dough as lasagna noodles.

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We’ve also been enjoying the spring by foraging wild blossoms for jelly and trying woodchuck (aka groundhog) for the first time in a pot pie.

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What do you enjoy foraging?

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Make Your Own Rice Flour

Grinding your own flour doesn’t just mean grinding wheat berries- grains like rice and oats can be ground at home too. This is great news if you’ve gone gluten free. So many gluten free products are expensive and or full of processed ingredients I’d never bake with myself. Baking my own at home means I have control over exactly what goes in, I save us quite a bit of money and avoid all the excess packaging.

Rice flour is a common ingredient in gluten free baking. Our local stores carry a few gluten free flours (all tiny overpriced packages) and a growing section of processed goods. Last time I went there was no rice flour to be found so I can’t give a price comparison  but I did go home and get my grain mill out (and took it apart and gave it several very through washings).

In goes the rice. This is just white rice but type doesn’t matter you can grind brown rice or jasmine etc.

The results: A very fine rice flour. This stuff is quite dusty!

And it bakes up nicely too. We made some Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies – a recipe off the back of a package coconut flour from Bob’s Red Mill. I store the rest of the rice flour in a lidded container at room temp.

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Editing: I just want to add a link to this great post from The Frugal Farm Wife. Mix up your own gf flour mix using white rice, brown rice and cornstarch- and she’s worked out the savings.

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Grinding Your Own Flour

Grinding your own flour might sound too complicated or too time consuming but it’s actually really easy. Especially if you have an electric grain mill. I have a Family Grain Mill that I run off an attachment to my kitchen aid mixer. It also has a base that I can use if I need to hand crank, as well as other attachments like a flaker (home flaked oatmeal is soo delicious), a grinder (I’ve found the grinder doesn’t work well for meat. I have not tried it to make nut butter or spaghetti shaped pasta), and a food processor , which I don’t have.

My grain mill in action.

Wheat comes in hard and soft varieties. I like the softer, golden, variety because it it tender and bakes up results closer to that of refined white flour.  When making sourdough or just using a smidgen while cooking I grind once on the smallest setting but if I want the flour for other kinds of  baked goods then I grind the flour once again. It takes a bit longer but the results are finer and fluffier.

Wheat Berries- Golden Pairie

Berries in flour out.

I store it in the container you see above. My kitchen stays pretty cool and I use up the flour fairly quickly so I don’t store it in the fridge but it still stays fresh. I usually grind one hopper full (the white thing on top holding the wheat berries). Once  ground it equals just a little more than what’s in the container above.

It is pretty loud; although not much louder than running a kitchen aid mixer to make cookies is.

You can also sprout your wheat berries first and dehydrate them. Then, once you grind them, you can bake without soaking or going the sourdough route. I really like the results of fresh ground flour in sourdough- especially sourdough crackers. When baking with fresh ground flour hold back on the liquids until you can see just how much liquid the flour will absorb. Other than that use your fresh, full of nutrients flour the same as store brought.

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