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The Chicken Experience: A Guest Post by a Fellow Cuban!

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

I’ve FINALLY just returned from an entire month of traveling to DC, VA and Hawai’i. I never knew how exhausting being away  from your own space for that amount of time could be. I’m far from complaining, but it’s good to be back in my own bed. In my own office.

In my own kitchen.

But, before I get situated and back to cooking, I need to go through the boxes of goodies I received while I was out of town. So much to sift through and determine what I’ll make and share with you. In the meantime, my new friend Lazaro, a Cubano I met through 5 Star Foodie’s blog, is here in perfect time to help me keep you satisfied while I get some rest! Thank goodness for him and his utterly delicious palate; which by the way, far exceeds our every day Cuban home cooking! You know I don’t do swine, so I’ll let Lazaro entice you with things I wouldn’t normally do here on my blog.

Please welcome Lazaro Bernal of Lazaro Cooks and visit his blog! He’s got really great takes on all the food we both know and love so much. I’m excited about this particular spin on a classic Cuban dish. Hopefully you will too! Gracias, chico!

By the way, don’t forget to enter to win a free grilling set from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! You have until Wednesday! B-

Hello readers of Flanboyant Eats, my name is Lazaro, I blog over at Lazaro Cooks! It is truly a privilege to be guest posting on one of my favorite sites. Everything cooked on LC is sustainable, organic, and seasonal. Sustainable food and the environment are issues that I am incredibly passionate about. I will not get into it here. However, if you are so inclined you can read my work on Blogcritics.

Today we are working with the nation’s most fashionable bird’s most unfashionable part, the dark meat. That is where the flavor is and since I like flavor, this is what we will be exploring. The first thing we need is a stock. Oh no…not stock, it does not fit into my “30 Minute Meals” schedule. Nothing beats an organic wholesome homemade chicken stock. It is the launch point to so many wonderful creations and definitely worth our time.

Let’s start the chicken experience.

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.

Chicken and Rice

Saffron Puffed Rice

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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

Ingredients:

  • Organic chicken legs – boned and skinned. (skin reserved for garnish)
  • Ground chicken sausage
  • Granny smith apples – peeled and cored
  • Thyme
  • Center cut bacon

Method:

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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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0 thoughts on “The Chicken Experience: A Guest Post by a Fellow Cuban!

  1. Oye,

    Thanks for the kind words. Much appreciated. Thanks for allowing me some time on this fantastic site. Truly an honor.

    Have a great day

  2. Rosa: he sure did do a great job of presenting… i’m luvin’ it.

    JoanNova: He sure does and I’m glad he guest blogged, especially this week!

    Lazaro: gracias a ti chico. todo se ve super delicioso!! eres tremendo!

    Victoria: I agree! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi Bren,

    Isn’t it ironic how tiring vacationing can be, and funny how you can’t wait to go vacationing, but in the end, can’t wait to get back to your comfy home? Anyways, thank you for sharing this wonderful guest post with us. I don’t need to tell you what I think of Lazaro’s dishes. His magic already shines through in all his posts.

    Lazaro,

    As always, you never cease to amaze me with you skills and diversity. Beautiful dish! Lovely combination of flavors. I never would’ve thought to mix apples, bacon, and chicken together. Then again, that’s why you’re the master of creations. Another great guest post!

  4. Two amazing dishes from Lazaro! I haven’t seen the poached chicken dish yet and was excited to find it here – I love the combination of carrot and ginger in the vinaigrette.

  5. Hi Bren – this is my first visit to your blog and I think it and you really rock!

    Beautiful dishes Laz and the presentation, especially for the Chicken and Rice, is absolutely breathtaking! Love the fresh flower garnishes! Btw – that carrot and ginger vinaigrette has really caught my eye….

  6. Hi Bren, I know I have been by here before but was not able to bookmark. But I am signed up now, and enjoyable site you have here 🙂
    Lazaro, gorgeous as always…I love the details of this dish, and the salad is truly lovely 🙂

  7. Lazaro! I didn’t know you had Cuban roots! Love the food… though it is hard to find in Alberta. We celebrated multiculturalism here – and almost every cuisine is represented in copious amounts… but, not Cuban. The chicken looks like a 5 star restaurant, photography is lovely and now I am really worried about doing you proud when I do my guest post on your site!!
    Bren – I see the message from Joel Robuchon! Went to L’Atellier in Paris in July. He is a hero of mine, too. I have subscribed, so I will be reading more!
    Thanks for the referral, Mr. Lazaro!
    🙂
    Valerie

  8. Wow Lazaro – fabulous presentations. I love your style. Both dishes sound delicious too.

    Welcome home B – how fortunate you are to travel to wonderful places. I do agree that arriving home after travel feels good too.
    LL

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